Not only is Wintel feeling the pressure in price/performance for ARMed tablets running FLOSS“Ex-factory pricing of a 7-inch white-box tablet is expected to drop to between US$30-40 in 2014 and every inch larger will add US$10 to the price range, indicating that a 10-inch white-box tablet’s ex-factory price will be about US$70-80.” The lowering of prices will continue for a year or more longer. Information will be $free, nearly, in the future with Wintel no longer able to tax the roads, rails and air-waves. Intel is giving away its processors to stem the tide but Google’s dream of exposure to every human on the planet is another year closer.
While stifling competition for decades, M$ fostered the myth that it was the one true way to use IT in business operations and personal life.“In terms of technology development, demand for the new desktop Windows operating system has been weak since Microsoft has placed its focus on strengthening Windows 8′s touchscreen control, causing an inconvenience for users who are used to mice and keyboards. Windows RT 8.1 is currently having issues over weak performance and lack of applications, while Windows Phone is seeing problems in application compatibility.” What happens when most of the planet has seen other operating systems (Android/Linux for example) doing the job as well as or better than M$’s stuff? There will be a pronounced rebound in “customer loyalty”. Seeing proper IT happening on small cheap computers completely blows out of the water that behemoth of a lie that computers have to be big and expensive.
Today, I see M$’s big box computers gathering dust in retail establishments and only selling well into businesses who may not have accepted BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) or the fact that new employees may not actually have used M$’s OS ever. On the other hand, many more small cheap computers sold last year than M$’s legacy stuff and this year even more will sell. M$ is compensating by raising costs for business but that is just cutting off the limb of the tree … Even if M$ somehow manages to persuade the majority of businesses to stick with them, consumers seem to be lost forever, cutting M$ off from a huge and growing market. At best M$ will get 1/N of that pie and for the moment they are far less than that. With businesses using more web applications and M$ not having any monopoly on web-browsers, M$ has nowhere to go but down. It’s late but better late than never.
Businesses are M$’s most loyal customers. Some businesses have“come 13 May Microsoft will issue security patches that detail flaws they are fixing and those flaws will be left unpatched for all Windows 8.1 users until they apply Update 1. A nightmare scenario. Users who stay with Windows 8.1 will face the same scenario Windows XP users are in after Microsoft cut off security updates this month, but that came a generous 13 years after XP’s initial release. Come 13 May Windows 8.1 will be just 8 months old. Major updates to previous editions of Windows (then dubbed ‘Service Packs’) also had ‘cut off’ dates for users to apply updates, but they were never so short.” thousands of PCs laden with M$’s software. They have learned to depend on it. Their businesses can’t run if M$’s software does not run.
So, what does M$ do? Require them to take a major update on every installation if the customer wants to receive security updates with just a few weeks’ notice. Give me Debian’s APT package manager any day. I can get package and security updates until the next major release, years in the pipeline, with scarcely any problems. That’s because Debian GNU/Linux is modular and every dependence is known and APT just keeps track of that for you. Give me FLOSS (Free/Libre Open Source Software) any day over that crap that M$ puts out.
M$’s biggest customers may be OK with this. They probably have ways of rolling out updates overnight or whatever with little fuss. They can spend $millions fixing the breakage. The smaller guys may be left exposed for months with this problem. How much damage will the malware do? Want YOUR business left by the side of the road for the carrion-eaters because the software failed to work? Stick with M$. They practically guarantee broken systems.
The breakout by GNU/Linux in the Czech Republic is demonstrated by the following graph. It shows the loss by M$ of desktop page-views since the beginning of 2013 versus the gains by MacOS and GNU/Linux. One can see that MacOS was getting all the joy until mid-2013 but then GNU/Linux rapidly gained half the loss by M$. The rate of decline of M$’s OS is increasing as well. It’s all good.
After years of using GNU/Linux in schools and introducing it to many students and teachers,“All these tools together, Sch-scripts for setting-up PC labs, Epoptes for managing them, and LTSP are used in more than 500 schools, all over Greece. The free and open source solutions help save teachers valuable time. One grateful teacher posted a testimonial on the support forum for Sch-script in 2010: "Within one hour, a PC lab set-up which had been giving me all kind of headaches (8 computers with Windows 2000 and dozens of problems) became operable… from my laptop! Tomorrow, I am doing the first real test-drive with students, but it was amazing how fast and easy everything was. I’m speechless. Now I can share my desktop with all the lab PC users, and monitor them, it is incredible."” I became skilful enough to set up a lab in an hour or so, replacing that other OS with something that worked. That’s becoming “old school” these days with many distros provide setting up the software through the package-manager.
Now even more of the configuration and additional tools are all available by a set of scripts developed in Greece. 500 schools is a whole bunch more than I worked. GNU/Linux works in education. It can work anywhere. Finding the recipes for all this and sharing is obviously more efficient than buying solutions sold by M$ and “partners” that cost too much or don’t work at all sometimes. The world can and does make its own software better than those guys. This is just another example of doing IT the right way.
As expected, Intel has raised prices in an attempt to maintain profits as long as possible rather than trusting the market to yield them a reasonable living.“PC Client Group revenue of $7.9 billion, down 8 percent sequentially and down 1 percent year-over-year.” This will hasten the demise of Wintel as consumers see greater advantages to switching to */Linux on ARM. Without the monopoly on retail shelves for legacy PCs there’s no way Intel would raise prices at all and consumers should vote with their wallets. Expect 2014 to be the greatest year yet for FLOSS on ARM.
See Intel News Release.
The US Internal Revenue Service is spending good money after bad on that other OS. “According to the IRS, it has approximately 110,000 Windows-powered desktops and notebooks. Of those, 52,000, or about 47%, have been upgraded to Windows 7. The remainder continue to run the aged, now retired, XP.” If it ever was a good idea to have used XP in the first place (BSODS, re-re-reboots, waves of malware…) it certainly isn’t in the best interests of the taxpayers of USA to take another step on the Wintel treadmill ensuring an infinite future sum of payments far above market cost (GNU/Linux: $0 per copy and $0 to upgrade each copy, forever). What are they thinking? That no one was ever fired for choosing M$? That M$ is essential to get PCs to do what PCs are capable of doing? Wrong on all counts.
To find multiple sources of better and cheaper software, check out the more popular distributions of Free Software on Distrowatch.com. I recommend Debian GNU/Linux for general desktop and server computing.
One of the most fun things in life is the site of a buoyant balloon taking flight, reaching unimaginable heights gracefully and easily. That was the old Wintel monopoly when neither Intel nor M$ had to do anything to dominate all of IT. When the leak started in the middle of XP’s reign, no one was fired for buying Intel and M$’s stuff. Many folks were run out of business simply for providing good products at reasonable price. Not so now. M$ has had to actually build decent products over the last decade but it wasn’t enough to keep the balloon up. Wintel was too expensive, too bulky, and too rigid to do what users wanted done.
“executive VP in charge of operating systems Terry Myerson, told ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley that he was OK with a services model. Specifically, when she asked about the Nokia X line of phones–those new low-priced Android phones running Microsoft services announced at Mobile World Congress. He was cool with a phone running Android, precisely because he was happy to see Microsoft services running on as many devices as possible, regardless of the operating system”It took a lot of work but ARM and the FLOSS community have bypassed both companies. To remain relevant, Intel is diversifying into ARM and making x86 as efficient as they can with Moore’s Law and every other trick they can find. Still Intel’s processors are more expensive than ARM even if energy consumption is not as much disadvantage. There’s just too much silicon involved. Meanwhile, 8-core CPUs and great graphics modules abound in the ARMed world and ARMed CPUs are outselling Intel by a wide margin. Android/Linux has done a similar number on M$’s stuff, so much that M$ now seeks to leverage its PC and server platform into services to sell, just like Google which Ballmer accused of having no business-plan…
The New York Times is at it again, suggesting GNU/Linux as a worthwhile alternative to M$ and Apple’s stuff.“Linux did revolutionize computing. If you own an Android phone or a Kindle e-reader, you are a Linux user. Linux is at the core of those popular devices and is found in a variety of other places, from the world’s most powerful supercomputers down to the tiny Raspberry Pi device that is a favorite among electronics hobbyists.” Good for them. They are helping their 2 million readers escape slavery.
Well, the good news for me is that shipments of PCs, mostly Wintel desktops and notebooks is down 4.4% compared to last year.“Worldwide PC shipments have now declined for eight consecutive quarters as a result of shifting technology usage and competition (notably with tablets & smartphones) as well as economic pressures (including high unemployment, slow growth & investment, tight credit, and currency fluctuations) related to the Great Recession, sovereign debt crises, and their related impact on international trade” The news could have been better if more XP units were migrated to GNU/Linux or Android/Linux but it’s not clear because IDC doesn’t publicly report that division. My view is that since most legacy PCs ship with Wintel, down is a good thing. GNU/Linux is holding its own despite that decline so shipments of GNU/Linux must be up.
The bad news for me is that still too many people are locked in to Wintel and don’t see that they are being ripped off or are working hard to ignore that fact. I do notice that Wintel prices are coming down rapidly. My favourite supplier will sell motherboard and CPU (AMD) for much less than $90. A good ARMed system will trump that with more throughput and far less wasted power but it’s good that it’s available. Dell, here, in Canada, even shows the price of that other OS on Intel boxes. Unfortunately, they only sell one GNU/Linux box… It’s the token OS for Dell and that box is priced outrageously at $943 even with GNU/Linux. What are they thinking? Money grows on trees? Wintel still has a monopoly? Nope. Consumers can get better for $400. Wintel is still not even close to providing what consumers want.
Still, overall, we are seeing competition actually gain traction against Wintel. OEMs, retailers and consumers are actually seeing a major share of the market go to other platforms. Most consumers are happy with Android/Linux on ARM. Imagine how overjoyed they would be with GNU/Linux on ARM… I’m looking forward to more good news when M$ reports in a couple of weeks.
The death of XP is an opportunity for GNU/Linux but only on the huge installed base. Folks who have XP gasping its last breath on a PC or organizations with a whole department“Unfortunately, while Linux does represent a lifeline for Windows XP users, I suspect it will be one that is not taken. The simple reality is that many of those users who are still with Windows XP simply just don’t know enough to care. Yes, I know there are lots of XP machines running cash machines that banks do care about, but there are also many machines sitting in libraries, schools and homes around the world where people simply don’t know any better.
The challenge for Linux is the same as it always has been. Linux desktop vendors need to more aggressively push the message of Linux as widely as is necessary. Linux can provide a freely available, safe option for Windows XP users, but only if the choice is clearly explained and promoted.” running XP on desktops have to make the choice to install GNU/Linux or to convert those old PCs to GNU/Linux thin clients.
The severely locked in and the ignorant will keep XP until it can no longer work for them and replace their machines with what OEMs/retailers offer. The opportunity lies with those millions of still-good machines that can browse the web, play some multi-media or check the e-mail. There, millions will have cheap desktop PCs or people will recycle the machines using GNU/Linux to make them purr. The OEMs can’t help GNU/Linux do that. There’s no money in shipping a PC back to China just to change the OS… There is lots of money to be made “fixing” PCs by installing a proper current and supported OS like Debian GNU/Linux. Go for it.
Christopher Tozzi wrote, “The sad reality is that everybody needs to run a Windows app now and then” in an article about the increasing difficulty of virtualizing that other OS on a GNU/Linux system. He’s right about the RAM/CPU/storage burdens of that other OS increasing but he’s wrong that this is bad for GNU/Linux and FLOSS.
The thing is the cost of virtualization is just one more cost of using that other OS. The world is tired of those endless costs. In 2013 we saw ARM and Android/Linux explode in popularity because the costs are so much less. On the desktop, some folks are even using Android/Linux today if they don’t need a big load of applications running simultaneously. Those of us who live in the real world may feel the need for more multiprocessing and for that GNU/Linux works well.
The death of XP means many individuals and organizations have an opportunity to think outside M$’s box. Many will spend huge amounts to remain locked up but some will escape. That’s good for FLOSS and GNU/Linux. The more the merrier.
The last desktop application I ever ran on XP was about five years ago when the school where I worked used XP. I switched that school over to GNU/Linux on more than 90% of the seats. The last time I ever used Wine to run a self-extracting .exe was a few years ago when I got a new motherboard. I just don’t need that other OS ever again. If anyone pushes me to use it, I will just say, “NO!” and really mean it.