Lies, Damned Lies and Steve Jobs

Seth Weintraub makes minced meat of some of the bullet-points of Jobs introduction of the iPad 2. No doubt Apple makes a decent product, but why do they have to lie? Lying is a no-no in technological evangelism.

We see all kinds of lying in tech:

In fact, GNU/Linux is doing very well indeed and there are only a few places on Earth where that other OS still dominates: business, and retail shelves in North America. Business will eventually see the advantages of being more competitive by using GNU/Linux on the desktop and retail businesses will eventually have to give customers what they want or lose share to start-ups. I see huge inroads in the smartphone and tablet markets. That will spread more generally to personal computing in 2011. The advantages of ARM processors in personal computing systems combined with the advantages of GNU/Linux are too many to resist much longer. It does involve change but change is necessary for survival.

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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28 Responses to Lies, Damned Lies and Steve Jobs

  1. It’s all just vapourware for a year or more.

  2. It could also be that other GNU/Linux distros are more successful in Germany. Debian GNU/Linux is very popular, I hear.

  3. D-G says:

    – Go to:
    – Click on “Angebote ansehen” at the end of the page.
    – Find a mere TWO (!) computers listed, of which only one can be delivered with Ubuntu 10.04

    Look at all the desktops and notebooks and netbooks Dell Germany offers and find that they all come with Windows 7.

    Browse to Direct2Dell and find that the last blog entry dealing with Linux is from November 2009. [1]

    Yes, Dell are a) obviously 100 percent behind Linux on consumer systems and b) were extremely successful with Linux on consumer systems. They were clearly so successful that only a true believer couldn’t understand the sole remaining system as what it is: a big, outstretched middle finger.


  4. “Speaking of ARM there is a possibility that M$ (in partnership with some hardware company) does to ARM what Longsoon did to MIPS”

    I think that’s quite possible. Indeed, without it I’d say that ARM/Windows is going to be a non-starter, as users will quickly discover that their “PC” isn’t really a PC. At one time it was rumoured that ARM might use Transitive’s binary translation software, which would work… but the performance and power cost which was tolerable for PPC code on Intel Macs would not be so good on laptops and netbooks. The solution would be hardware-accelerated x86 emulation, just like Loongson.

  5. see

    So, how many netbooks did Dell sell? How many did the world buy?
    ” about 36 million netbooks shipped worldwide in 2009, and an estimated 43 million will ship in 2010.”


    Do the maths.

  6. What’s advanced about Ubuntu? My wife is one of the least savvy users of PCs you will ever see. She uses Debian GNU/Linux on her main computer and Ubuntu on a media-centre and a netbook.

  7. Anon Delivers says:

    Here’s some fact for you Robert:

    “the reason why they’re not on our main pages is because Ubuntu systems are primarily targeted towards advanced users and enthusiasts, and the vast majority of consumers purchase PCs with Microsoft Windows pre-installed.”

    See that? Given the choice, the vast majority of consumers that visit Dell are interested in Microsoft Windows pre-installed.

  8. Anon Delivers says:

    Dell, HP, Lenovo and lots of smaller guys do make millions of PCs with GNU/Linux.

    Again, saying it over and over again in your mind or typing it doesn’t make it any more true.

    What you’ve posted is just your opinion and it’s an ill informed one at that. Without proof (i.e. references) from say Dell, Lenovo, or HP, you’re just paraphrasing your own opinion.

  9. Dell, HP, Lenovo and lots of smaller guys do make millions of PCs with GNU/Linux. They scarcely bother with low volume stuff. Why would they?

  10. Anon Delivers says:

    There are millions being built. They must be selling somewhere.

    Here’s some advice Pogson: saying it over and over again in your mind or typing it doesn’t make it any more true.

  11. Digital Atheist says:

    Now now Linux Apostate, we all know that Linux supports all hardware alll the time… well except for that pesky wi-fi in my Laptop that no Debian based distro will let work, or that pesky audio card in my desktop that no Fedora distro can seem to make work, after all.. those MUST be MY fault… yes? haha. As for Linux in China, I’ll take the opinion of someone who lives and works in China over that of some one who believes something to be true because he wants it to be true. I think (may be wrong) I read somewhere that pirated versions of XP are one of the biggest OS’s in China.

  12. nightgoblin says:

    I think that China government’s position on Linux is that it is OK for common users to have that other OS installed (legal or “pirated”, doesn’t matter), because the government can then spy on them easily and shut them down if necessary.
    Their view on government computers is probably the complete opposite of this.
    Speaking of ARM there is a possibility that M$ (in partnership with some hardware company) does to ARM what Longsoon did to MIPS, i.e. add some sort of virtualization enhancement for x86 instructions to allow for unmodified NT based windows to execute on ARM.

  13. Linux Apostate says:

    “There are millions being built. They must be selling somewhere.”

    I suspect that Linux or FreeDOS PCs are sold with the expectation that most users will just install pirated copies of Windows.

    These machines are seriously cheap. The cost of even OEM Windows will cut into the already slim profit margin. So the machine is sold with a free OS which makes it *technically* usable out of the box. Legally, this covers the retailer. If a customer voids the warranty by installing pirated XP then that’s hardly the retailer’s fault, right?

    A dead giveaway is the presence of hardware that doesn’t work in the preinstalled OS. I’d bet that most of those “millions being built” include WiFi and video chipsets that don’t work properly in the preinstalled OS, but work just fine if you install Windows.

  14. oldman says:

    “There are millions being built. They must be selling somewhere.”

    I ‘m sure that there are Linux enthusiasts in China and given the scale of that countries population, it is probably in absolute terms a large number. After all One percent of 1.5 billion is larger than One Percent of 320 Million.

  15. There are millions being built. They must be selling somewhere.

  16. Yonah says:

    Robert and I have crossed paths over China before. Once he read a report from an analyst that showed Linux use on Chinese servers (SERVERS, not desktops) was on the rise. Robert interpreted this to mean that desktops were following suit. They weren’t.

    Another time he looked at a map showing all infections from the Conficker worm in China. His explanation for the vacant spaces inside the country? GNU/Linux must be used there; ignoring the fact that personal computers are not easily found in the deep countryside of China.

    Pogson is often wrong about China because his only knowledge of the situation here is via web articles from various sources and his fellow advocates on the net. Come and see for yourself. You will find Linux used on servers and some embedded devices, but desktop use? Virtually non-existent.

    Living in Beijing and traveling as far south as Shenzhen/Hongkong, I have not witnesses a single PC being sold with or even running GNU/Linux. Not one. That includes the big name stores like DaZhong Electronics all the way down to the grubby flea markets in the outskirts. Chinese people, everyday people who live and work in China, by and large use Windows. The POS cash registers in the Ito-Yokado store near my apartment uses Windows. Even the Beijing Subway system is running windows in their control rooms and on the trains.

  17. Dell sells lots of PCs with GNU/Linux, just not in the USA/Canada. They are competing with OEMs who also sell GNU/Linux overseas. see TheVarGuy. He provides a link to where a search for “ubuntu” gets lots of hits. There were 7 at the time TheVarGuy wrote. There are several times as many now.

    The PhotoShop thing is an example of chicken-and-egg. PS uses lots of non-free software which distros do not distribute. e.g. CMYK colour standards which are patented/copyrighted and proprietary. e.g. Pantone. This prevents GNU/Linux distros from providing standard colour matching. This is not a barrier to Adobe doing the same.

    There are more machines running GNU/Linux than MacOS so prevalence is not an issue. Adobe seems to think that users of GNU/Linux are cheap even though there are lots of proprietary software licences sold for all kinds of apps on GNU/Linux.

  18. D-G says:

    “What retail outlets in your neighbourhood offer consumers the choice?”

    Wow, Pog, have you missed Economics 101? Linux as an option on consumer PCs would DRIVE UP costs for the OEM, WITHOUT them GAINING any benefits due to the miniscule audience of potential buyers.

    Ask Dell about it, who’ve all but scrapped Ubuntu on their customer PCs.

    In the same vein, ask Adobe why Photoshop isn’t coming to Linux. Actually, someone has already asked, and a Photoshop developer has responded. [1]


  19. Dann says:


    combined with bullying, extortion, monopolistic behaviour, reducing choice, buying out competitors, suing with patents, and more.

    Lying by itself is a no-no. More than that is how M$ got away with being a dick, though practically everyone knows it now.

  20. Ray says:

    “Are people with an Internet connection more capable than those with feet?”

    Nah, selling stuff online gets to more people than having several stores sell them.

  21. Strange then, that on-line outfits have no problem selling no-OS, FreeDOS, GNU/Linux as well as Android/Linux. Are people with an Internet connection more capable than those with feet?

  22. oldman says:

    “What retail outlets in your neighbourhood offer consumers the choice?”

    Walmart used to offer it in my area Pog. I was friends with the manager there and when I asked I was told that they stopped carrying it because nobody wanted them. People were coming in and buying windows systems, but the few linux systems whent nowhere and were eventually discontinued.

  23. What retail outlets in your neighbourhood offer consumers the choice?

  24. D-G says:

    Lying means to intentionally deceive. Jobs doesn’t do that. Apple’s marketing is just as “truthful” as any other company’s marketing. In fact it has been long established by sociology that the consumer expects and anticipates “lies” from a company’s marketing. And as he’s not dumb, he can deal with it.

    Apple’s exaggerations are part of the Apple image and the Apple show. And the consumer KNOWS that. It’s only you who underestimates the consumer. That’s why you’ll never understand why the majority of consumers CHOOSES Windows over Linux. You dumb down and belittle the consumer with your pitiful rants.

    Really, it’s pathetic.

  25. China promotes GNU/Linux in government, business and personal computing. There are a few other countries that do that: Brazil, Russia, India are leaders., the Chinese equivalent of sells lots of Linux-related products and has its own repositories. Why would they do that if it were not for demand?

    “Today, Taobao announces its open source community —

    This is a historical day, a China local internet and e-business leading company joins open source world by its practice approved activity.

    The first project released on is TAIR. Tair is a distributed, high performance key/value storage system, using in Taobao’s infrastructure for time. Taobao is on the way to make more internal projects to be open source. Yes, talk is cheap, show the code !”

    see The Announcement

    So, even big business in China uses FLOSS. Banking, education and government are in GNU/Linux up to their eyeballs.

    “HP is updating its business laptops with Penryn processors as its rivals Sony, Acer, IBM Lenovo, Toshiba and Fujitsu.HP 17.1″Compaq 6820s, 15.4″ Compaq 6720s and 14.1″ Compaq 6520s notebook PCs are based on Intel Santa Rosa Refresh platform and are powered by …
    -Each has 2-in-1 media card reader (SD / MMC) but they can run on one of Vista Basic, Vista Business, Windows XP Professional, Red Flag Linux (in China) on the system.”


    HP’s products in China come with GNU/Linux. There is a market.

  26. Officially, M$ gets its partners to do the lying.

  27. Linux Apostate says:

    You write about the success of Linux in China. Are you sure about this? I’m not saying that you are lying, but I think you are mistaken. Which is kind of ironic, given the subject of your article. says:

    “There is no Linux in China. Red Flag Linux went nowhere. Loongson uses Debian. Every government office in the country works on Windows-powered machines. The Chinese Linux userbase is identical to the US Linux userbase: the geek crowd.”

  28. bla says:

    “lying is a no-no in technological evangelism”

    According to you, “M$” lies all the time and they are successful.

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