Amateurism

One of the false charges that anti-FLOSS protestors hurl at FLOSS is that FLOSS is run by amateurs. Begging that question, they conclude that FLOSS cannot be as good as their favourite non-free software.

Chuckle. Those protestors must be squirming as news leaks out that M$ fluffed an update of their updating software on Phoney 7. Contrast that with Debian GNU/Linux repeatedly updating many thousands of packages on more than a dozen hardware platforms using only about 1000 developers.

M$ and Nokia seem to be the amateurs in this, M$ for bricking 10% of their customers phones and Nokia for choosing such a bunch of amateurs to anchor their system. BTW, 10% is more than M$’s market share of smartphones… so they could be going backwards this week.

see Phoney 7 Amateurism

Are we worried these guys will take over the world with “8” ported to a new platform? Nope. They won’t be up to speed for a few years at this rate and they won’t be able to put Linux back in the bottle by then with hundreds of million of satisfied consumers using Linux for all their personal computing.

This week, my wife went exclusively to GNU/Linux (Ubuntu on a netbook and Debian on a desktop) box and everything works for her. Believe me, GNU/Linux is ready for anyone. My wife is the ultimate high maintenance user… She ran for years using recipes for many common GUI operations written on loose-leaf.

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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68 Responses to Amateurism

  1. Another example which I consider more serious is OOXML. It is an open standard containing things like do this the way Office ’95 does. Any patents on technology in Office ’95 may then be applied against anyone succeeding in business who needs to be harmed by M$. Interestingly, M$, itself, does not follow OOXML even for their .docx file format, so competitors are wasting their time if they try to implement the bloated “open” standard which is ten times larger than ODF. The purpose of contributing to standards for a business should be to lower costs by increasing standardization, not raising costs to competitors. Mono is a problem but far more implementations of OpenOffice.org exists across all distros than mono. It’s like M$ poisoning the well.

  2. Richard Chapman says:

    What license do release your software under and if you use multiple licenses what are the percentages. Mono is considered by some to be Free software but it is encumbered by Microsoft’s IP. In other words, it’s an IP time bomb.

  3. Ken Ham says:

    It clear to any reader that the “Mike Hunt” (Ha!) and the rest of the recent contributors (“Willian Nemoy”, etc) are all trying to push M$ FUD. M$ probably pays people to do this. It’s actually hilarious reading these posts.

    Ah yes, anyone who disagrees with you must be a Microsoft shill.

    Just for argument’s sake: we’re all Microsoft shills. Does that make the arguments presented wrong? Steve Ballmer could be saying this stuff himself but that doesn’t make it any less true.

    If these guys are for real and don’t work for M$, do they run pirated/cracked versions of win7 or are they using windows 8(?) betas. No one can afford the real stuff anymore in US. Read the news pals, unemployment is about 10%.

    This doesn’t make any sense, unemployment in the US is 10% so the 90% of people who have a job can’t afford Windows anymore? What?

    Personally, I don’t run Windows. This machine is running Ubuntu 11.04 development, which I’m using to find and report bugs back to Canonical. We also have a desktop and a couple of laptops running 10.04 and 10.10 and a server running Debian stable (with a few packages, like nginx, from testing).

    Mike and Willie, start using your writing talents to push eloquent articles in psychology journals, or if you really are tech-talented with so much free time to respond to blogs, start by helping your fellow Americans by writing free software.

    I’m not Mike or Willie but you were addressing ‘Mike, Willie, etc.’ earlier, so I’m assuming you’re talking to me too.

    I already do write Free software and you should realise that just because someone is critical of GNU/Linux that does not mean they’re automatically anti-Free software.

    A group that cannot critique itself is one that cannot improve, your with us or against us attitude is damaging to Free software.

  4. Mike Hunt says:

    “By the way, does M$ pay you per paragraph or per response.”

    Don’t forget your tinfoil hat!

  5. D-G says:

    “If you then became the boss of your very own consulting company, would you legally be allowed to use the software for business purposes?”

    What is not to understand when I write “full retail license”?

    “By the way, does M$ pay you per paragraph or per response.”

    They pay me per person who bites. It’s a very lucrative business. I actually have another side job going on, where I accuse people of being M$ shills on prominent open source news sites like Slashdot and so on. It doesn’t pay as good, but I do it out of patriotic fervor. Yessir!

    (Hey, Natalie Portman just won the Oscar for Best Female Lead. But she’s using products from Apple and RIM. What a shill!)

  6. Spock Shatner says:

    D-G said “Ah, I forgot that the unemployment rate is totally Microsoft’s fault. My bad. Besides I didn’t give a reason WHY to use Microsoft software. I merely stated that I’m a student and was able to get it discounted. Had I not been a student I still would’ve bought it. Does that bother you?”

    Nowhere did I say M$ is the cause of unemployment. Reading is an important skill, debating skills are even more important.

    “You’re very funny when you’re agitated.” You’re funnier. LOL

    D-G said
    “Wow! Someone has done his research. Microsoft’s student licenses offered via this program aren’t actually student licenses but rather full retail licenses that can only be bought by students. So, yes, I can use both Windows and Office after I have graduated.”

    If you then became the boss of your very own consulting company, would you legally be allowed to use the software for business purposes? Get the box out and let me know. I’m curious. Most likely it would only allow for strictly personal and non-commercial use. But do let me know.

    By the way, does M$ pay you per paragraph or per response.

  7. Dell has advertised GNU/Linux a bit but nothing like the way they push that other OS. That’s their choice and not the customers. Dell has lost a few customers lately.
    “Lenovo surged in all regions. The company’s strategy to defend the enterprise market and target emerging markets appears to be working.”

    Isn’t that the way it goes? If you give the customers what they want, they buy from you.

    see also Emerging Markets

    see also Search Google for lenovo desktop topseller freedos site:lenovo.com

    Lenovo knows people don’t want to pay “the tax” to M$.

  8. Mike Hunt says:

    Last I heard, what retailers put on their shelves was not as a result of pleas by customers but of negotiations between buyers and distributors/OEMs.

    But that would force people to buy other solutions such as Macs and other computers. Dell would be meeting a demand that no one else is satisfying and so Dell would be offering more – not less – models running Ubuntu and Linux in general.

    Even if I assumed that you have references to show this as true and even if I assume your conspiracy theory is correct your premise is flawed; the free market would rebel and purchase something else and Microsoft would have gone out of business years ago.

  9. D-G says:

    “yes, but when you graduate you must uninstall it or buy the program,
    so that means you’ll be out another 200$ (Ha!). Same thing goes for M$ Office, and you’ll be out another 200$. LOL!”

    Wow! Someone has done his research. Microsoft’s student licenses offered via this program aren’t actually student licenses but rather full retail licenses that can only be bought by students. So, yes, I can use both Windows and Office after I have graduated.

    “ohhh wait… You have to be a student to get that price?????”

    I thought that was clear. Did I overestimate your comprehension abilities?

    “Then, if your not, you have to pay 200$????? That’s real fair isn’t it.”

    Since when is life fair? To create fairness in life is ultimately the job of politics. It’s not Microsoft’s job. They’re a company that wants to sell things.

    “How about telling the 10% of Americans who are unemployed and aren’t in school that joke of a reason to use M$ software.”

    Ah, I forgot that the unemployment rate is totally Microsoft’s fault. My bad. Besides I didn’t give a reason WHY to use Microsoft software. I merely stated that I’m a student and was able to get it discounted. Had I not been a student I still would’ve bought it. Does that bother you?

    “Sure, we’ll just enroll in University to get a real bargain! LOL.”

    You’re very funny when you’re agitated.

    Well, I already told another troll that Microsoft is not the cause of the rift between rich and poor. They also aren’t the cause that the US has such a high unemployment rate. If you can’t understand as much, then don’t bother.

    Even if Microsoft would sell Windows and Office to someone who’s unemployed for 1 USD each this person would still be unemployed. Have you complained to Dell that they don’t give computers to unemployed persons for free? Probably not.

    And this is the big problem with you zealots: you tend to think all bad things in the world will go away if only Microsoft and other supposed monopolies go away.

  10. Mike Hunt wrote:“North Americans don’t want Linux”

    Last I heard, what retailers put on their shelves was not as a result of pleas by customers but of negotiations between buyers and distributors/OEMs. I have met a lot of North Americans who love GNU/Linux because it works for them, doesn’t need a bunch or re-re-reboots and does not slow down with use. No one wants those things.

  11. I don’t know about Ubuntu but my Debian systems boots really fast and does hibernation smoothly. My windowing controls are on the right in GNOME.

  12. D-G says:

    “Lately I wanted to run some Windows only software and I can say that Windows 7 is almost as easy to install as Ubuntu and boots almost as quickly. But note that it is Ubuntu setting the pace here and Microsoft playing catch up.”

    Ubuntu sets the pace? Just what do you mean by that? Could it be:

    – The f’ugly redesigned default theme that gives you eye cancer?
    – A music store?
    – A custom Ubuntu font that actually trips up other locales like Japanese? (QA is very high on the list at Canonical.)
    – Window controls moved to the left?
    – No GPU-accelerated video playback out of the box although the VDPAU libraries are there?
    – Hibernation taking ages in comparison to W7 if it works at all?
    – The constant need for PPAs if you want to update software in-between releases?
    – An unreliable sound stack?
    – The need to check if hardware is actually supported?
    – No Blu-ray playback?
    – Problematic DVD playback with many newer DVDs because the DVD spec has never been fully implemented by libdvdnav?

    Yes, I can totally see how Ubuntu is setting the pace. Especially the “boots really fast” argument that your great leader Shuttleworth so emphasizes is the lamest excuse ever for the fact that hibernation on Linux is a mess.

  13. Mike Hunt says:

    Then why are you here spewing hatred?

    I’m curious what your definition of ‘hatred’ is. I don’t recall stating or inferring any sort of hatred towards Pogson or anyone else on this blog.

    On the contrary in fact. What I said to and about Pogson pertaining to his employment status was genuine. I also don’t recall seeing any other ‘shills’ spewing hatred.

    I agree. It doesn’t make sense to extend a desktop brand into the mobile realm

    Unfortunately you’ve missed the point completely. His point was Google is not attempting to associate Android with Linux period since most people want to avoid Linux entirely.

    Case-in-point: Dell dropping most of their Ubuntu computers due to lack of sales which is of course the market making it quite clear: North Americans don’t want Linux. Otherwise Dell would be selling many different models with Ubuntu and other brand name computer manufacturers would be doing the same thing.

  14. Spock Shatner says:

    M$ shill said above,

    “Well, as a student I paid 35.- Euros for “Windows 7 Professional” and 69.- Euros for “Office 2010″ in Germany.”

    yes, but when you graduate you must uninstall it or buy the program,
    so that means you’ll be out another 200$ (Ha!). Same thing goes for M$ Office, and you’ll be out another 200$. LOL!

    William Nemoy said,
    “Well, as a student I paid 35.- Euros for “Windows 7 Professional” and 69.- Euros for “Office 2010″ in Germany.”

    ohhh wait… You have to be a student to get that price?????
    Then, if your not, you have to pay 200$????? That’s real fair isn’t it. How about telling the 10% of Americans who are unemployed and aren’t in school that joke of a reason to use M$ software. Sure, we’ll just enroll in University to get a real bargain! LOL.

    It’s pretty clear you have too much time to comment (but you don’t read contractual fine prints) and to advertise the Euro price for M$.

    Now, you say you work for Ballmer? Is he paying you 40$ a post?

  15. Don’t forget the price of “software assurance”. Obviously some portion of that boondoggle goes to stuff like Office. The ordinary small business/school gets no such price retail. If an ordinary person adds Office to a PC it costs a bundle. Some are paying hundreds of dollars.

    see M$’s advertised price for Office, $669 CAD

    Ad from M$ for Office

    While one may value software differently, I value it by what it helps me do. If OpenOffice.org lacks some feature that Office has it matters not a whit to me because I can do what I want one way or another. For instance, I can do databasery from a command terminal, a web browser, and several other clients packages. I can always import text, tables, charts or whatever I need in OpenOffice.org. So far, I have been able to do whatever I needed/wanted without using Office since about 2003. I have used Office 2003 a bit but find 2007 dreadful. They changed the UI throwing away all that “training” folks were supposed to need when switching to OpenOffice.org. What a joke.

  16. oldman says:

    “My main issue about licensing fees is that they buy us nothing”

    Dont you mean that YOU have decided they buy you nothing Pog? I know many people who have the opposite view, especially for large institutions where a MS office license costs $67.00 per user with software assurance (which guarantees a free upgrade to the next version of Office when it comes out). That works out conservatively to $6.7 @ year for a full function product that makes OpenOffice look like the at best mediocrity (the database portioon os outright crap in comparison to access IMHO). WHy not spend the money on the superior product when you can afford it Pog?

  17. “periodic technology refreshes” are a bottomless pit for money. That is going extinct. Many organizations, not just schools, keep stuff until it dies. Something that is not dead is still useful.

    Of course cost of maintenance is large when using thick clients. That’s why I recommend thin clients. With GNU/Linux and thin clients all costs are reduced. In my systems work on clients dropped to almost nil. Helping users was a rare need. The servers were the main sink of manpower but there are so few of them compared to clients that the overall labour cost was much lower than for that other OS on thick clients. Largo FL reports that they spend about 1/5 as much on clients and 1/3 as much on servers for the labour.

    My main issue about licensing fees is that they buy us nothing. If GNU/Linux can do the job for $0 licensing, why spend $100+ per client for licensing? I would not do that for lightbulbs. Why do it for licences? We don’t need to spend money on licences.

  18. Thanks for the comment. It is interesting to hear what is happening elsewhere. Here in Canada, GNU/Linux is very rare on retail shelves although Android/Linux is doing well on smart thingies. We are seeing some noOS.

  19. Bob Parker says:

    I live in Chiang Mai Thailand most of the time and I can report that the laptops/netbooks on sale here are divided 3 ways, Windows 7, Freedos and Linux which are about 50-50 Mandriva and Ubuntu. Sure the Freedos boxes are probably destined to run $3 Windows most likely XP. But Linux is making definite inroads.

    As for me, I fired Microsoft at the Windows 98 stage and installed (then called) Mandrake 8.3 or so. During the time since I moved to Debian and then onto Ubuntu. I have never experienced any hardware problems. Though that means I have had to research Linux compatibility before buying peripherals.

    Lately I wanted to run some Windows only software and I can say that Windows 7 is almost as easy to install as Ubuntu and boots almost as quickly. But note that it is Ubuntu setting the pace here and Microsoft playing catch up. Fortunately the Windows software runs in Linux from the Windows partition using wine. So I never really have to boot Windows anyway.

    Bob Parker

  20. oldman says:

    “Cost of licences is just one of a bunch of points where Free Software matters”

    The cost of licenses is only a small portion of the cost of software use and you know it Pog. It fact it is the lack of considerations of those additional cost that is the major reasons why many Attempts to migrate to linux have either never happened or failed outright.

    While I recognize that you have had successes in your portion of the educational market, you experience is really acorner case – that of chronically underfunded institutions who get stuck purchasing underpowered cheap configurations and then get to use that using equipment long after the end of its useful life or who have to subsist on donations of use equipment that is both old and underpowered.

    No institution with a proper IT budget that includes periodic technology refreshes is going to forego features that commercial software brings, especially when the most most of the commercial vendors have in place deep institutional discounts. FOSS will have its place as well, but running on commercial OS’s along side commercial software.

    As you have said Linux will be there working for us as well at what it does best, as a server class OS supporting commercial Line of business applications.

    And that is that.

  21. Software products have the strangest names. Check out DistroWatch.com for some distros…

    Even in the non-FLOSS world the naming of products can be very strange. I have even seen products advertised wherein the ads did not reveal what the product did… Chuckle.

    So, there is no need to name everything that contains Linux after Linux. For brand name recognition shorter/snappier names probably help.

  22. Where I have worked in the last 10 years, the price of software licences does matter. I built a system for a school once with a budget of $100K. The retail advertised price of licences for that other OS would have been $15K, not counting servers which would have been many times as much (Don’t forget the damned CALs). Instead of paying licensing fees we bought a ton of heavy-duty peripherals so that everyone in the building could scan and print in colour. So, the school could have bought an incomplete system using that other OS or a nifty one which is the envy of all who visit the school. Free Software matters.

    Many large employers pay people to code software. Many include support of FLOSS projects as part of the cost of doing business. They do pay. Apply for a variety of jobs and put on your resume the FLOSS that you have worked on and you have a better chance at finding suitable employment. If you want to be self-employed coding FLOSS that is problematic but nothing prevents you for charging licensing fees in FLOSS. It’s your code after all. A lot of FLOSS has a $0 licensing fee because in mass production the end-user can share his copy for $0. One-off or limited distribution software does not have that problem. Many developers create FLOSS for $0 but charge for support. It can work for you.
    In much of the world GDP per capita is rather small. In terms of time worked to earn money to pay licensing fees, it can be months. In Canada, it’s a day or two. If Free Software matters in Canada, it is essential in most of the world. Cost of licences is just one of a bunch of points where Free Software matters. Security, flexibility, and independence/absence of lock-in are also huge.

  23. Dan Serban says:

    Wow, judging by the length and fiestiness of comments above, the Microsoft astroturfers are out in full-force these days. There must be good money to be made shilling for Microsoft.

    In comments above, someone says:
    “I have absolutely no interest in your FOSS religion.”
    Then why are you here spewing hatred? There are tons of forums for Windows fans where you will find like-minded people.

    Anyway, I found this other comment above and had to laugh.
    “Part of the reason Android is selling as well as it is is because Google was smart enough to not associate the Linux brand with it.”

    I agree. It doesn’t make sense to extend a desktop brand into the mobile realm. Apple understands that and refrains from calling their phones “Mac OS Phones”. Google understands that and calls their phones “Android Phones”. HP calls their stuff Pres and Veers and WebOS phones.
    So everybody who’s anybody in mobile gets it.
    And who doesn’t seem to get it?
    Yep, that’s right, somebody who’s a nobody in mobile.
    And then they wonder why their WP7 crap won’t sell in any numbers.

  24. D-G says:

    “It clear to any reader that [they] are all trying to push M$ FUD. M$ probably pays people to do this.”

    That’s true. Last night Steve Ballmer came to my house with the money bag. I’m thinking about quitting university and becoming a full-time Microsoft shill. Would look good on my CV.

    “[D]o they run pirated/cracked versions of win7 or are they using windows 8(?) betas. No one can afford the real stuff anymore in US. Read the news pals, unemployment is about 10%.”

    Well, as a student I paid 35.- Euros for “Windows 7 Professional” and 69.- Euros for “Office 2010” in Germany.

    Besides, your argument is ridiculous. No one can afford this stuff? No, the majority still can afford this stuff. The growing rift between rich and poor is a universal socio-political problem, not a Microsoft problem. Do you really think it will all disappear once we all switch to free software after Microsoft has toppled over? Compared to living expenses an operating system license for an OS that usually lasts for years is a mere drop in the bucket. Besides, you need a computer first to install GNU/Linux on, don’t you? Being usually much more expensive than an OS license, let me ask you: who’s gonna give it to you?

    I really despise this pseudo-philosophical Stallmanian thinking that free software will make it all go away.

    “… or if you really are tech-talented with so much free time to respond to blogs, start by helping your fellow Americans by writing free software.”

    Will you pay?

  25. I live near Winnipeg which has about 600K people. I am a bit old to be starting a new career but a small business could work well. It’s just that I have no experience of business. Most schools will not hire me because I and my education are too old. Younger people have the current credentials and lower pay scale… I think I am too old to go back to university just to retire.

  26. oe says:

    Pogson:

    I read this somewhere (it’s not my statement but I can’t recall who to attribute it to but it describes my own anecdotal experiences over the past 15 years being stuff as free tech support to families and friends)…”Linux turns an old junk heap into flashy new kit and Windows turns flashy new kit into an old junk heap”. Neither is perfect, but I have found that LINUX involves a lot less effort to keep running, and increasingly over time has not only closed the gap on the functionality of the other OS choices out there (not that it ever lacked in some aspects like scripting, I/O, server loaded taskes, etc.) it has surpassed them. Also, the fact is that it is free (in cost) has actualled hindered LINUX’s uptake among folks I have seen switch over, most for good, in the past years due to cost bias….

  27. Mike Hunt says:

    Hey Pogson,

    I didn’t read that post on the 22nd about being unemployed. While I can only speak from this “winbred’s” perspective, sorry to hear.

    Differences of opinion aside, it’s a hard thing to deal with. Hope you find what you’re looking for.

    Have you thought of moving closer to civilization? That opens up doors although it can also increase cost of living.

    Either way, cheers.

    MH

  28. Several took systems home with GNU/Linux and I taught all the Grade 9 and 10 students how to install Debian GNU/Linux, so I expect the kids can take care of themselves. It was unfortunate that most homes had dial-up and the bosses had me shut down the free wifi…

  29. oldman says:

    “Sstudents could choose to use an XP or a GNU/Linux machine. They often chose GNU/Linux. Both OS were available to the students on identical machines in the same room.”

    Actually, given the pile of crap that you got to work with Pog. A well tuned system beats an ill tuned one any time.

    As to whether the Linux desktop would continue to meet their needs once they left the confined of your school, that is another matter entirely.

  30. Mike Hunt says:

    If these guys are for real and don’t work for M$, do they run pirated/cracked versions of win7 or are they using windows 8(?) betas. No one can afford the real stuff anymore in US. Read the news pals, unemployment is about 10%.

    Very poor attempt at ad hominem. But for the record all of my software is legal and has always been. I pay for my software because I’m honest. Question is are you? Do you pay for your movies and songs? If not, you’re a hypocrite. Either way you’re argument is invalid.

    Mike and Willie, start using your writing talents to push eloquent articles in psychology journals, or if you really are tech-talented with so much free time to respond to blogs, start by helping your fellow Americans by writing free software.

    You make way too many assumptions and therefor stand very little chance of winning any sort of argument. I’m not American and I have absolutely no interest in your FOSS religion.

    On a side note, have you perchance contemplated the economic repercussions of writing free software for “fellow Americans” and what economic impact that will be for software developers that are attempting to earn an honest living? I bring this up since you seem to (or seem to want to appear to) be concerned with and knowledgeable in economics.

    If you envisage that last concept you may find yourself consumed by cognitive dissonance just as your fellow FOSS supporter poor Richard Chapman is.

  31. Bender says:

    And yes, i was wrong, it wasn’t 23%, it was about 30%.

  32. DJ says:

    It clear to any reader that the “Mike Hunt” (Ha!) and the rest of the recent contributors (“Willian Nemoy”, etc) are all trying to push M$ FUD. M$ probably pays people to do this. It’s actually hilarious reading these posts.

    If these guys are for real and don’t work for M$, do they run pirated/cracked versions of win7 or are they using windows 8(?) betas. No one can afford the real stuff anymore in US. Read the news pals, unemployment is about 10%.

    Mike and Willie, start using your writing talents to push eloquent articles in psychology journals, or if you really are tech-talented with so much free time to respond to blogs, start by helping your fellow Americans by writing free software.

  33. Mike Hunt says:

    I write 89 words and someone replies with 606 words. Wow, they have a lot to say and, they have a lot of time on their hands to say it. Note to self: must find time to read all their words.

    That’s most likely cognitive dissonance at play in your brain due to solid arguments that have proven that your arguments are invalid and thus, you are faced with the uncomfortable position of realizing that you are wrong.

    But cheer up, admitting you have a problem is the first step.

  34. Richard Chapman says:

    I write 89 words and someone replies with 606 words. Wow, they have a lot to say and, they have a lot of time on their hands to say it. Note to self: must find time to read all their words.

  35. Sstudents could choose to use an XP or a GNU/Linux machine. They often chose GNU/Linux. Both OS were available to the students on identical machines in the same room.

    Only about 10% of users of PCs install an OS. The retailers often do not offer the choice of GNU/Linux pre-installed. They should if they want to serve their customers.

  36. D-G says:

    “I have had labs where dead XP machines were refitted with GNU/Linux and so students had a choice.”

    Which choice do you speak of? Apparently these machines were GNU/Linux only after refitting them. And if they were “dead” to begin with, the system administrator probably wasn’t very good at what he was doing.

    “Students appreciated that GNU/Linux was faster and they could get their work done on the same hardware more easily. So, ‘the GNU/Linux desktop just isn’t good enough for the majority of users’ is wrong.”

    Wrong conclusion. Your students use computers in a limited environment guided by a curriculum. They can hardly be considered general users in this context.

    And I have actually seen my share of schools as a student in Germany, where for no good reason on behalf of overeager GNU/Linux evangelists the switch was made. Only afterwards they found out that crucial, good software that was already paid for a) had no viable alternative on GNU/Linux, and b) wouldn’t work properly in Wine (VirtualBox was out of the question).

    See also: “Munich school network to be migrated to Windows XP” (http://tinyurl.com/4l8vk88).

    “Surveys made by organizations considering switching to GNU/Linux showed that GNU/Linux works.”

    I don’t understand … if they were only considering it, they didn’t actually switch. Yet they know that it works? May I refer you again to the Munich City Council pre-study which concluded that a Windows-based solution would be a lot cheaper (including licensing costs) and have better interoperability? Alas, Munich’s government party thought they had to make a statement pro open source.

    “If the GNU/Linux desktop were ‘not good enough’ no one in their right mind would migrate or choose it.”

    That’s funny, because the same argument can be applied to Windows (and Mac OS X). If these operating systems wouldn’t be good enough, no one in their right mind would choose them. Yet you imply that those users — by all means the majority — who do choose them are dumb and need to be woken up. But, alas, we’re not in “The Matrix”.

    “Do not confuse market share with quality when the monopoly excludes choice.”

    There’s no exclusion of choice. I can buy computers without Windows and install GNU/Linux on them, I can assemble computers without Windows and install GNU/Linux on them, I can buy computers with Windows and install GNU/Linux on them. No one hinders me. I choose not to install it.

  37. This is not a simple issue of a driver. There are layers of drivers. Some deal with particular hardware and others may deal with protocols to communicate with the lower-level drivers. The result may be that you can print on a multi-function device but not scan etc. Where hardware manufacturers publish documentation or provide source code, the devices are well supported in GNU/Linux. Expecting a reverse-engineering effort to get everything right immediately is silly. That some drivers still require revers-engineering is a problem with the manufacturer, not the kernel folks. It may be that a particular person has a device for which there is no good driver for GNU/Linux. That is only one of many factors in a decision to use GNU/Linux. Because a car does not come in pink is no reason not to buy it if red will do.

    I have worked in a different school each year for the last ten years. I went into systems with sometimes 3 or 4 suppliers of PCs and a similar number of suppliers of peripherals and I have only once encountered a device for which there was not a good driver for GNU/Linux, a Sharp copier. There was a work-around to set up an XP print-server and ship JPEGs to it. That problem did not prevent migration to GNU/Linux which was found to be superior in every other way. Sharp refused to divulge the protocol for sending data to the printer. We could communicate with the printer but no file format would work with it. So one layer of drivers worked but the higher-level stuff did not. You have to ask Sharp why they build stuff that does not work with GNU/Linux when GNU/Linux is a popular choice of OS.

  38. I tries gNewSense because it is easy to start the installation from XP via http://goodbye-microsoft.com. In my attempt the installation started normally but during the installation of packages hung up on some sysvinit stuff. I then switched to Debian GNU/Linux as I had an unbootable system at that point. I set up a PXE server to make the system bootable and carried on.

    M$ does not publish unit shipments except selectively (e.g. “7”) but where I shop “7” is the only thing on the shelves and M$’s unit sales are much less than PCs shipped. Some of that could be people putting that other OS on no-OS machines but I think that does not explain the discrepancy. There are not that many retail noOS machines.

    While bragging that 240 million copies of “7” were sold in the first year, 350 million PCs were sold. Vista was not selling and neither was XP.

  39. I have introduced GNU/Linux to thousands of students. They have no problem choosing GNU/Linux. I have had labs where dead XP machines were refitted with GNU/Linux and so students had a choice. Students appreciated that GNU/Linux was faster and they could get their work done on the same hardware more easily. So, “the GNU/Linux desktop just isn’t good enough for the majority of users” is wrong. Surveys made by organizations considering switching to GNU/Linux showed that GNU/Linux works. Some have migrated or not for other reasons. If the GNU/Linux desktop were “not good enough” no one in their right mind would migrate or choose it. Do not confuse market share with quality when the monopoly excludes choice.

  40. see http://www.idc.com/about/viewpressrelease.jsp?containerId=prUS22383910&sectionId=null&elementId=null&pageType=SYNOPSIS

    IDC reported that in 2009 296 million PCs shipped not including handhelds. 169 million were portable.

    Their mid-year estimate for 2010 was 354 million PCs and 217 million portables. That’s 61%

    Also, see Treflis They show for Nov 2010 global shipments of notebooks at 210 million and desktops at 140 million for Intel processor types. That’s 60%.

    I seem to recall netbooks with GNU/Linux were selling like hotcakes before XP came on the scene. That’s not a failure. Netbooks with GNU/Linux are still selling as are units with noOS. That’s not failure. It’s just a bias by retailers in certain regions. People would not be selling them still if they were a failure. In fact sales are stuck although share is decreasing. Although they use the word “plummet” units sales of netbooks were only down 8% according to DisplaySearch
    10.1/10.2“ (Typical clamshell mini-notes) Q2’09=7.1million Q2’10=6.5 million Y/Y=-8%

  41. D-G says:

    “I installed GNU/Linux on a friends computer a month ago. I forgot to turn on the printer before the install. When the install was finished we turned on the printer (a new HP all in one type). A second later an installation window popped up. About two clicks and 14 seconds later it was installed. Even I was surprised.”

    You’re a GNU/Linux enthusiast and surprised? Very surprising. Because pretty much everyone knows that GNU/Linux follows the “all drivers in the kernel” approach and that almost all GNU/Linux distributions include HPLIP (http://hplipopensource.com) nowadays. The crucial difference: it’s a native HP-developed solution, not some reverse-engineered crap. That’s why it works.

    “Compare that to the ‘Just simply insert the installation CD…’ Neanderthal style Microsoft method. I guess when you can tell people what progress is there’s no need for real progress.”

    If you look past your rosy HP experience you’ll see that the fabulous claim of GNU/Linux supporting the most hardware out of the box [1] is pure BS. Since “support” in GNU/Linux’s case unfortunately all-too-often means: it somehow, kinda, barely works. Or even only: the hardware is recognized, but I can’t do jack with it.

    Here’s a surprise for you: I bought a cheap external 7.1 USB sound card for a friend’s computer running Ubuntu 10.10, since the internal audio pretty much sucked. It’s based on C-Media’s CM6206, an age-old chipset. GNU/Linux recognized it and it even made sound.

    BUT:

    1) The volume wasn’t preserved across reboots and hibernation. Instead the sound card chose to blare at its loudest at every boot or return from hibernation. Nice. I had to scour some fraggin’ mailing lists to fix that and ultimately change PulseAudio’s default configuration.

    2) Obviously I disabled the internal audio in the BIOS as it wouldn’t be needed. But then alsamixer presented a blank screen in the terminal, since Alsa is crap (I digress) and was pre-configured to ignore USB sound cards as primary devices. Nice. Another editing of a system config file was necessary.

    3) Random pops in the output. Especially when starting or stopping playback of sound of any kind, but also while playing. I couldn’t fix that. I even went to the length of trying another bare-bones GNU/Linux distribution that came without PulseAudio. But, alas, same result. And no amount of Alsa tweaking brought results.

    BUT:

    I plugged this very same sound card into my computer that runs WINDOWS 7. It was recognized instantly, I had NOT to use a CD, and I was OFFERED A DRIVER UPDATE through Windows Update. Very nice. NONE of the problems I encountered on GNU/Linux happened on Windows 7.

    Is that representative? In my opinion: YES. When you plug in hardware on a Linux box you can consider yourself lucky, if it runs flawlessly out of the box. On Windows 7 this is generally a given. Yes, sometimes I have to install a driver provided by the vendor first, but the end result is the same: it works right the first time. No post-installation monkeying around necessary.

    Now you could say: choose your hardware more wisely! But if GNU/Linux dictates to me what hardware to buy … am I then not very, very unfree? GNU/Linux is a mess on so many levels that you are constantly in awe how it runs at all.

    Feel free to go ahead and blame it all on evil, evil vendors who only offer proprietary drivers. The excuse for the C-Media chip in question was that supposedly the Windows driver uses undocumented registers which do not appear in the offical documentation. I blame it on the incompetence of the developers involved.

    [1] http://broadcast.oreilly.com/2008/10/how-linux-supports-more-device.html

  42. Ray says:

    “I remember seeing last results showing Windows sales goind down at about 23%?”

    Where’s the statistics?

    “It was a very smooth installation except that GnewSense failed to install from Goodbye-Microsoft.com”

    gNewSense for someone new to Linux? I thought Linux Mint, or Ubuntu would be a better match. O_O

  43. Ken Ham says:

    They could sell more if they advertised more models.

    They used to sell a number of different models (desktops and laptops) when they first put together an Ubuntu range, it seems to have dropped to almost nothing now.

    It’s sad, but the GNU/Linux desktop just isn’t good enough for the majority of users. In the server section Dell sell plenty of GNU/Linux boxes, so the reason they’re not selling GNU/Linux desktops isn’t Microsoft pressure.

  44. William Nimoy says:

    It was flawless.
    Again, you have a very, very strange definition of flawless.

    With that other OS, how many reboots would it have taken

    Based on my admittedly limited experience with Windows in recent years, just one. Of course I use a custom slipstreamed installation image.

    It just worked instantly. No “New Hardware Detected…”. Cool, eh?

    I can’t say I’ve ever had to install drivers for a monitor. Though I was impressed about how trivial it was to hook up a second monitor on my father’s Windows workstation. Just plugged it in, went to control canel and clicked on the pictogram of a single desktop stretched over a second display. Same story for my three-headed Mac.

    Granted I did have to reboot in the second case, as I had to put in a second video card.

    M$ made inroads on the server tying sharing, authentication/LDAP together. Good for them. However, a shop using GNU/Linux can get similar benefits with higher performance and lower cost.

    I’ll have to respectfully disagree, Active directory is in a class all by itself. Maintenance is negligible and administration is simple and straightforward and it’s powerful. GPO alone is worth the price tag. there’s a reason AD killed Netware overnight, and questionable business practices isn’t it.

    price/performance ratio usually isn’t a metric used for directory services, it’s more of a cost/benefit ratio, and this is an area AD destroys the competition in.

    What MS did with AD wasn’t making inroads, AD is the top dog in its domain (lol?). I’ve taken the LDAP road myself, and while I found OpenDS to be quite impressive, it’s just not a substitute for AD, OpenLDAP on the the hand needs to die a painful death, preferably in a fire.

    Web servers, for instance, see little competition from M$ because there is littley tying the desktop to the server.

    How do you figure? IIS isn’t avilable for desktop systems, or at least has not been for 10 years. Windows Server has had the GUI elements be optional for a while. I’m going to be honest here, I’m a JEE/Solaris/Glassfish guy myself, but credit where credit is due, IIS has come a long way since IIS 5, performance is quite good, and last i took a gander, IIS7 had a better security track record than even Apache. That being said, the strongest argument to run IIS is if you’re using Active Directory anyway, you might as well, it’s already there. That last part wasn’t a shot against Apaxhe, might I add, but a well deserved kudos to IIS. It scales better, too, but that’s mostly because IIS is excellent at threading, and NT’s underlying thread (and fiber) implementation is top notch.

    And let’s please not conflate http servers for web servers in general (application servers and servlet containers are web servers, too, and Apache’s Geronimo isn’t doing too well in the appserver field – specifically because of it being tied to the Apache httpd, while Tomcat was demoted from being the reference implementation for servlet containers). There’s no dispute that Apache is the king of the httpd hill, but 21% and growing is hardly “little competition” seeing as all of it came at the expense of Apache. If nothing else, what prevents IIS from taking a larger chunk of the market is that it is tied to the Windows server stack.

    there’s a whole, huge world out there in the server space outside of HTTPd servers, and at the upper midrange and topmost tier, neither Linux nor Windows Server are significant players.

    M$ is trying to encumber their OS with cloudy stuff to do that but it is not working particularly well

    Azure is actually quite popular for a new product. Though I’m not sure what qualifies as “cloudy” my view on “the cloud” is pretty similar to Larry Ellison’s view.

    “7″ is not selling well unless you configure starving people queuing up at the only bread store in town a success.

    Seven overtook OS X in overall share in a matter of weeks, and Vista in a matter of months. $6.63 billion NET for a single quarter is insane, for contrast, that’s 68 years of profit for Red Hat (extrapolated from the $97.13 million they’ve made in the past 12 months) in a single quarter!

    When you rake in $60billion per annum, you should be held to a higher standard and can afford to test stuff before releasing it.

    That’s gross, it’s 20 bil net. It’s funny you say that though, IBM rakes in 99 billion (gross) and HP 130 billion (gross) I don’t see you hating on them anywhere near as much as MS.

    Further, the argument that they should be releasing bug free code solely on the basis that they generate a crapload of revenue (primary in other markets!) is ludicrous at best. Does it work both ways, do you hold Linux to an even higher standard due to the billions upon billions the likes of IBM, HP, Intel Red Hat and Novell pour into it? Of course you don’t, you’re just looking for excuses.

    Bigger companies release products with bugs that need fixing.

    If you count non-M$ OS on tablets and smartphones,

    How does that affect the desktop and workstation markets, exactly? Linux enthusiast fantasies aside, phones and tablets are not going to replace workstations and desktops.

    The mobile paltform does matter.

    Nobody said it doesn’t. It just doesn’t have anything to do with the desktop and workstation markets. Realistically Linux enthusiasts are the only ones who care about running the samer OS on their phone as on their desktop (if that’s what you’re getting at) and they’re in the minority.

    60% of x86 PCs shipped these days are notebooks

    Are you going to provide a citation for that, or shall I just take your word for it?

    and notebook users will see the advantage of ARM later this year.

    The trouble is, as evidenced by the failure of the first round of Linux netbooks and how poorly walmart’s budget Linux PCs performed, people aren’t going to flock over to a platform if they can’t take their apps with them. It’s a trap many Linux people fall into, it might meet your needs and be good enough for you, but you aren’t the layman (and neither am I (or at least I don’t meet any laymen who have Novel, Red hat and Sun certs). Of course, you’re ignoring that Microsoft has already demonstrated Windows Seven and Office running on an ARM tablet, meaning they’ve already locked everyone else out of the tablets in the enterprise market. Which is traditionally the market Microsoft goes after, they’re quite good at playing their strengths, which is also why they won’t outright challenge Apple and the iPad for everyone else3’s tablet – Apple is just as good at playing to their own strengths – effectively, the tablet market will split itself along the same lines as the desktop market: Apple on the high end, Windows for everyone else, Linux for the nerds.

    If you go to a computer store and see GNU/Linux and that other OS offered side by side,

    the 1990s would like to remind you how much of an abject failure trying to sell Linux like that was. Of course, this is the information age, anyone who gets online knows about Linux, yet it hasn’t made a dent. Part of the reason Android is selling as well as it is is because Google was smart enough to not associate the Linux brand with it.

    . M$ has to bundle their OS to get it to move

    You have to wonder then, why, given that all majot OEMs offer PCs with no OS installed, the ones with Windows preloaded are the best sellers. You have to keep in mind that Microsoft’s primary customer is NOT the consumer. Microsoft sells to the OEMs. Even back in the Unix days (yes, once upon a time, Microsoft was the dominant Unix vendor, look up XENIX), they sold to OEMs.

    They make a pretty penny selling boxed upgrades as well, mind you.

    Of course most buyers will not install an OS but nothing prevents OEMs from distributing a choice of OS. It is done in other parts of the world. It could be done in North America.

    It’s done here too, there just isn’t much of a market for it for consumers. Most OEMs offer DrDOS or no OS as alternatives, some (Dell most notably) offer Linux, and Walmart used to offer ONLY Linux preloaded. It doesn’t sell. Consumers actually want Windows, and weather or not you want to accept it, Windows is considered ‘added value’ it does move more units. Just look at how the netbook market exploded once OEMs started packing Windows on it.

  45. oe says:

    As a consumer of computer systems, I have never bought complete at a mainline store in the last 15 years as none are 1) no O/S, or 2) Linux pre-installed (my preference). That’s not much choice to me, so it’s bought from parts assembled together or second hand shops who’ll sell old guts. Doing so requires a little saavy, so yes, there is not a lot of choice for average consumers.
    As to the wife she was the last holdout for Windows among the dwellers at our house half dozen of us) until last Winter when her “Vista 7” laptop from HP failed to boot at all. A half day of working with it, another 1/2 day of phone calls to MS and HP, and then a repair shop saying they’d have to wipe it, made her groan and willing to try Lucid Lynx. Since then about 1/2 hour of quick intro and she’s been off and running and dare I say liking it….Oh her sister did buy a new Vista 7 HP machine this last December, but she hasn’t used it much, perhaps 15-20% of the time, and complains “it’s not the same” and “doesn’t run as well” unlike the 8-year old clunker in the kitchen she is on the other 80% of the time (running Mandriva).

  46. Are you writing that Dell is advertising a product that it does not sell? They could sell more if they advertised more models. Since they build to requested configurations there would be little extra cost. Ask Dell why they stick with the monopoly and give lip-service to choice. Dell does offer choice in other parts of the world.

  47. Bender says:

    @Mike Hunt

    I remember seeing last results showing Windows sales goind down at about 23%?

  48. Mike Hunt says:

    … but nothing prevents OEMs from distributing a choice of OS. It is done in other parts of the world. It could be done in North America.

    You are forgetting about Dell and their Ubuntu computers (laptops, netbooks, and desktops). That whole thing started back in 2009. Let’s see how they are doing: http://www.Dell.com/Ubuntu

    The “vast selection” contains 1 model: Studio XPS 7100 n-Series.

    The market (i.e. consumers of North America) have “voted” if you will. They have chosen not to purchase computers with Linux and instead of chosen Windows.

    How you paint this in your mind is up to you Robert but the truth is, the consumer market in North America doesn’t want Linux on their computers. They want Microsoft Windows.

  49. Richard Chapman says:

    I installed GNU/Linux on a friends computer a month ago. I forgot to turn on the printer before the install. When the install was finished we turned on the printer (a new HP all in one type). A second later an installation window popped up. About two clicks and 14 seconds later it was installed. Even I was surprised. Compare that to the “Just simply insert the installation CD…” Neanderthal style Microsoft method. I guess when you can tell people what progress is there’s no need for real progress.

  50. If you go to a computer store and see GNU/Linux and that other OS offered side by side, you could say that “7” was selling well. Otherwise I say “7” being bundled with PCs from most manufacturers is a trap. M$ has to bundle their OS to get it to move. Of course most buyers will not install an OS but nothing prevents OEMs from distributing a choice of OS. It is done in other parts of the world. It could be done in North America. It is the PC that is selling well, not “7”.

  51. Mike Hunt says:

    “7″ is not selling well unless you configure starving people queuing up at the only bread store in town a success.

    What does that even mean? Oh yeah, here’s an interesting statistic:

    Total quarterly revenue has been pegged at $19.95 billion with $6.63 billion in net income.

    From:

    http://www.infopackets.com/news/business/microsoft/2011/20110207_windows_7_sales_hit_300_million_plateau.htm

    So 6.63 billion net is not selling well? 6.63 billion. That’s one long bread line … according to Robert Pogson’s world.

  52. When you rake in $60billion per annum, you should be held to a higher standard and can afford to test stuff before releasing it. Can’t M$ afford one of every smartphone out there? I probably could.

  53. M$ made inroads on the server tying sharing, authentication/LDAP together. Good for them. However, a shop using GNU/Linux can get similar benefits with higher performance and lower cost. M$ had the better salesmen, not better stuff. Web servers, for instance, see little competition from M$ because there is littley tying the desktop to the server. M$ is trying to encumber their OS with cloudy stuff to do that but it is not working particularly well. “7” is not selling well unless you configure starving people queuing up at the only bread store in town a success. The average selling price of “7” is going down while the retail price has gone up because of lower attachment rates. If you count non-M$ OS on tablets and smartphones, it’s almost game-over. How many of those run “7”? Phoney7 still does not have cut and paste… The mobile paltform does matter. 60% of x86 PCs shipped these days are notebooks and notebook users will see the advantage of ARM later this year.

  54. I could have gone to the store to buy a CDR but it was easier to install tftpd-hpa and configure my DHCP server on the firewall. The installer was very smooth. It was flawless. I had a local mirror but the installer parts were not in it so I did a minimal install from the web and added what I wanted on the first and only reboot. With that other OS, how many reboots would it have taken and do you think my old eyes could type/transcribe that godawful key? Nope. Debian GNU/Linux is much smoother. Further, we had to buy a new monitor for that machine and even though it went from 20″ to 24″ the user nor I had to do anything. It just worked instantly. No “New Hardware Detected…”. Cool, eh?

  55. Each to his own. At least with GNU/Linux you can do something to make GNU/Linux better. With M$, you are out of luck unless you send M$ a lot of money.

    I have used GNU/Linux on the desktop almost exclusively for ten years. Nothing I saw in XP, Vista or “7” was in the least superior to what I have had with GNU/Linux. In the early years, I was getting constant crashes from XP and GNU/Linux was smooth. I had XP updates prang systems at work. Vista was too slow to be usable on our hardware and we were not going to switch hardware based on M$’s next release just as I would not buy a new car just to install a new or engine. “7” on old hardware is slow too. Old hardware is perfectly adequate to do lots of office stuff which is what I and my users do. We got nothing but headaches from that other OS and GNU/Linux flew like an eagle.

  56. William Nimoy says:

    As an addition to the above, I think it’s far more interesting to compare how MS is doing in Linux’s core markets, versus how Linux is doing in MS’ core markets.

    Windows in mobile, hpc, “servers”, etc vs Linus in desktop, infrastructure, consoles, etc.

    It’s too easy to say one is dominating the other in their core market (while the inverse is also true) and ultimately pointless.

  57. William Nimoy says:

    It’s sad see the beloved feverishly running interference for their Microsoft. Blaming Microsoft’s current woes on everything from Sun spots to Mercury being in retrograde

    How do you figure? Microsoft’s shortcomings are nobody’s fault but their own. But what woes are we talking about? MS has been riding out the recession quite well, Seven has been enjoying record sales, the only competition to which is Vista and XP. The XBox is performing solidly, Kinnect is widely recognized as the most innovative product of ’10. And they inked a potentially highly beneficial deal with Nokia, which can only strengthen their position is a peripheral market they were never strong in to begin with.

    Or are we pretending that peripheral markets far away from their core markets in which they have never been particularly strong in (mobile phones, search) are dooming them?

    Why is it that anything short of utter domination for Microsoft is a resounding failure> Any growth in such markets is growth, considering there’s no room left in their core markets for them to grow.

    now with WP7 the theoretical difference was that all the software is vanilla (manufacturers can’t modify it in any way)

    Not so much, OEMs have been allowed to make customizations to Windows for Bob knows how long. the difference is Joe mcCoder can’t make changes as he pleases, where I come from (reality) there’s a difference between an OEM and Joe McCoder.

    Though the response isn’t surprising, it’s always Microsoft’s fault, but never Linux’s. It’s kinda cute, honestly, how people so hateful of MS hold them to such a higher standard.

    It was a very smooth installation except that GnewSense failed to install from Goodbye-Microsoft.com. I had to set up a network booting installer from a local server, my notebook.

    See, normal people don’t consider that to be smooth, let alone very smooth.

    Her BIOS booted PXE

    This should not be a required step on a home desktop, this is a very, very strange definition of “very smooth”.

    and from Mozilla FireFox to Google Chrome browser the way I set things up.

    In theory, any system is straightforward if someone else sets it up for you and irons out the problems for you. Is her experience the same on a stock install? How is this a selling point at all?

    Let’s see… severs nope

    You do know that Windows is the runaway leader on the infrastructure end of the server market, right? Don’t underestimate the ubiquity of Active Directory and Exchange.

    That and IIS has made significant inroads on the upper tier of the enterprise market (via Itanium), an 21% of the httpd market (which I assume is what you mean by “servers”) is nothing to sneeze at. Don’t get me wrong though, I’m a Solaris guy myself for servers (though Active Directory powers the infrastructure). And there’s the enterprise RDBMS market (those are servers, too you know) where SQL Server is in a close race for second with DB2?

    HPC nope

    It’s starting, MagicCube (in China) is an impressive first attempt, while not as impressive as Cray’s petascale installation, nor anywhere remotely close to challenging JAXA (in Japan, powered by Fujitsu Sparc, 91% efficiency) or EarthSim2 (also Japan, powered by NEC’s monsterous 120 gFLOP per core, 95% efficient Vector processors), 78% efficiency places it behind the undisputed leaders, but ahead of the Linux pack (ranging from 40% effic for the installations using GigE interconnects, to 70-75% for the big boys (RoadRunner, Jaguar) using high performance proprietary interconnects.

    Personally, I’m looking forward to Fujitsu’s 10 petaFLOP monster that’s supposed to be unveiled either late this year or mid-next. 10 times the output of Jaguar on 1/10th the cores, and they’re taking a run at NEC’s efficiency and FLOPs per core crowns as well. It’ll be running some variant of Solaris if you’re curious.

    The interesting battle in HPC isn’t on the everyone else vs. Linux front, it’s on the vertical vs horizontal scalability front. Hundreds of thousands of inneficient lower power cores, versus tens of thousands of hyper-efficient cores.

    IBM has been toying with smaller scale AIX/POWER based installations, and Fujitsu just might push IBM to put together a massive, hyper-efficient AIX/Power7 based installation. I’d love to see how that holds up to Sparc. Who knows, maybe that’ll cascade into pushing HP to pick up where SGI left off and unveil a cluster of SuperDomes behemoths, putting VMS back in the spotlight.

    It’s much more interesting, to me at least, than tragging the tired old Windows vs. Linux debate into HPC.

    Either way, it’s a nonsensical talking point, since it focuses on markets outside of MS’ core (there’s no sensible reason to assume they’d be doing as well in peripheral markets as they are in their core). How’s the desktop market looking? How about Office suits? How about directory services?

  58. Nope. I installed Google Chrome browser because it has Flashplayer built in and vlc as provided by Debian’s repository could play all her media files produced by various digital cameras. No drivers had to be specially installed. It was a very smooth installation except that GnewSense failed to install from Goodbye-Microsoft.com. I had to set up a network booting installer from a local server, my notebook. I did not have a CDR in the house and her machine could not read DVDRs nor boot from USB. Her BIOS booted PXE and picked up the installation kernel, initrd and everything it needed from Debian’s repository. The Xerox multifunction printer driver was already in-house. I just copied it over from my machine.

  59. Mike Hunt wrote:“So now instead of recipes written on loose leaf she needs to learn esoteric command line commands? And this is better how?”

    From what time-warp do you get this? That has not been the case with GNU/Linux desktops for years. She is using XFCE4 desktop environment and only GUI apps. She has no interest in computers except to create, find, modify and to present information. She can do that well with GNU/Linux. All she had to do was change from WMP to vlc, Office to OpenOffice.org, and from Mozilla FireFox to Google Chrome browser the way I set things up. She uses a few icons and has quickly learned where to find her documents.

  60. Richard Chapman says:

    Gee, no one wants to give poor old Microsoft a break. They screw up once, JUST ONCE, and the world pounces on them. Android and Apple on the other hand are almost ignored when they transgress. That’s a shame. No wait, that’s business!

  61. Ken Ham says:

    It’s telling that you assume anyone criticising GNU/Linux must automatically be a Windows fan.

    Chuckle. Those protestors must be squirming as news leaks out that M$ fluffed an update of their updating software on Phoney 7.

    I can only speak for myself, I am a ‘protestor [sic]’ but don’t care a jot about Microsoft’s phone updates.

    Please understand: most of us protest because we are disappointed with GNU/Linux (on the desktop), not because we’re fans of Microsoft.

  62. Mike Hunt says:

    “his week, my wife went exclusively to GNU/Linux (Ubuntu on a netbook and Debian on a desktop)”

    So, GNU Linux and not Linux? So what you’re saying is that she didn’t download those ebil closed source drivers for important things like videos, fonts, Adobe PDF reader?

    Remember, if you use any of those it’s not “GNU Linux”.

  63. Mike Hunt says:

    “My wife is the ultimate high maintenance user… She ran for years using recipes for many common GUI operations written on loose-leaf.”

    So now instead of recipes written on loose leaf she needs to learn esoteric command line commands? And this is better how?

    Also, sounds like she didn’t have much of a choice. That sounds rather totalitarian.

    “…by then with hundreds of million of satisfied consumers using Linux for all their personal computing.”

    Riiiggghtt. So all accounting software, graphics software, business software will be ported over to Linux? Again, the modern business world and how it works seems to escape your consciousness.

    We’ll be back in a couple of years to remind you of this post because Linux will be at the same place it’s been for 15 years: < 1%

    But keep dreaming. Perhaps next year will be "the year of the Linux Desktop(TM)".

  64. Bender says:

    @Joe

    The difference is that every manufacturer has basically their own fork thus it is harder to make an update as the burden to do that falls on the manufacturer, now with WP7 the theoretical difference was that all the software is vanilla (manufacturers can’t modify it in any way) so it SHOULD be flawless but it isn’t as we can see. We can blame SAMSUNG but the only problem samsung had that the firmware prevented a reflash AFTER the hardware being bricked by the update!

  65. Joe says:

    Now then, what about all of the bricked Android phones caused by updates? Seems hypocritical and shady to not mention those in this context.

  66. Richard Chapman says:

    It’s sad see the beloved feverishly running interference for their Microsoft. Blaming Microsoft’s current woes on everything from Sun spots to Mercury being in retrograde. And then, mixing 90% imagination with 10% reality, they try to paint Microsoft’s errors on par with established brands. The key word is “established”. They are, Microsoft isn’t. Which is kind of odd since Microsoft has been at this mobile business a lot longer than Google, the company who is currently kicking their butt. But enough of this mobile business, let’s talk about something that could cheer them up, maybe. Let’s see… severs nope, HPC nope, big screen TV nope, set-top boxes nope, routers nope, anything ARM not yet. There must be something, ah yes, the desktop. But not for long, it’s beginning its disappearing act.

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