Forget “8”. “7” Is Not A Good Investment

Computerworld’s survey reveals that only one quarter of businesses have migrated to “7” and most are still using XP. The reasons are many, but they all boil down to one thing. The migration to “7” is not a good investment. They get nothing out of it that justifies the expense/effort. If what M$ has been telling the world, that “7” will save them money, then businesses would be rushing to change but they are not. Many of the respondents do think “7” is a good OS but there is no reason to spend money just to have it.

  • Some are locked in to IE6 as M$ intended when it made IE6 incompatible with the web.
  • Some are keeping PCs for five years because they work.
  • Some have apps or hardware not compatible with “7”.
  • Some just don’t have the money because business has slowed.
  • Some are just going to stick with XP as long as they can.

If you add up all the reasons not to migrate to “7” you come to a pretty compelling list to avoid this problem in the future and migrate to GNU/Linux when they finally do migrate. All the problems would be the same and they won’t have to go through this whiplash again.

  • GNU/Linux releases are not tied to any wave of hardware.
  • GNU/Linux releases are not tied to any version of applications.
  • You can run, examine, modify, and distribute the code as you wish.
  • GNU/Linux is standards-compliant.
  • GNU/Linux has a licensing fee of $0.
  • GNU/Linux has no deadlines.

On top of that, you can say good-bye to Patch Tuesday, re-re-reboots, phoning home, the BSA, salesmen and many other annoyances of that other OS. The Wintel treadmill is getting old. Get off it.

see Windows 7 is on a (slow) roll

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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14 Responses to Forget “8”. “7” Is Not A Good Investment

  1. ThoRa wrote, “The empirical data based on publicly accessible Linux support forums for the myriads of distributions seems to suggest otherwise.”

    Now who is irrational? The support forums are filled with people who have problems. Doctor’s offices have clusters of sick people. That proves nothing that some hardware is not supported by GNU/Linux, not that a lot is. I have worked in many different schools with random COTS stuff, purchased with no regard to GNU/Linux and in ten years I found only one video card which was old in 2004 and a couple of dial-up modems last year that did not have a driver in Linux. That’s out of thousands of systems I have touched.

  2. ThoRa says:

    “But more doesn’t work on Windows, especially out of the box.”

    Doubtful. Windows having the majority market share by large means that Windows drivers for every possible product do exist. So how can it be that Linux supports more hardware than Windows?

    Hey, here’s a thread for you:

    http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=361237

    Desktop Hardware Incompatibility List. Are all those people writing there paid Microsoft shills or is there a reason such a thread exists?

    The claim for superior hardware support solely stems from the fact that embedded in Linux are drivers for age-old hardware that’s no longer sold and by all means and purposes virtually doesn’t exist anymore.

    “Yeah, to hell with stable and unstable and testing repos. Or the option to use bleeding edge software. It’s such an unorganized mes– oh wait, that’s not GNU/Linux at all.”

    Wow, can I do that on Windows? Wait, I think I can. I can install stable software, I can install unstable software, I can install bleeding-edge software. And best of all: it’s all self-contained with no side effects.

    “Dosbox”

    So what? An emulator? On Linux? You don’t say!

    “Also, why do you keep mentioning recompiling? You do know they have binary distributions these days…”

    And why would you play “evasive action” when it’s been the Linux evangelists’ claim since the dawn of time that Linux’s superior legacy compatibility rests on the possibility to simply recompile the source code?

    “Because people pirate Windows?”

    No, because all things considered licensing fees are irrelevant for a business. I’d claim that they are even irrelevant for private users.

    Let me say it: your counter “arguments” are really, really weak. And you’re not even unintentionally funny.

    And people pirating windows must be like a stab in your little heart, with GNU/Linux being free and all that.

    “Because they want to stay relevant, as opposed to trying to stay secure.”

    Oh, really? Funny. Here I was thinking that GNU/Linux could be relevant AND secure. That’s what Mr. Pogson always claims. But thanks for confirming that for GNU/Linux these are in fact mutually exclusive conditions.

    “This is just silly =)”

    Self-awareness is the first step to self-improvement. Glad to see you noticed your foolishness.

  3. ThoRa says:

    “You are the one exaggerating. I cannot remember the last time I encountered hardware that did not work with GNU/Linux.”

    And that’s proof how? The empirical data based on publicly accessible Linux support forums for the myriads of distributions seems to suggest otherwise.

    And again: how do you define “working”? Here’s an example that might elucidate my point. One of my computers has an ALC883 sound chip on the mainboard. It generally works, meaning that sound is audible. Unfortunately the set volume isn’t kept across reboots or hibernation, instead being reset to maximum volume. Jack sensing doesn’t work. The SPDIF output doesn’t work. Believe me that I’ve tried to rectify these problems, installing new ALSA versions from source, shutting down PulseAudio, doing stupid voodoo that some guy on some forum claimed has worked for him, reading the frackin’ source code (!). But alas, to no avail.

    So: does the state of support for this sound chip constitute “working”? Because that’s in my experience the state of affairs concerning hardware support in Linux. Lots of “80% functionality with 20% effort” drivers which are buggy and idiosyncratic.

  4. You are the one exaggerating. I cannot remember the last time I encountered hardware that did not work with GNU/Linux. There are 15 PCs in my home. Every bit of hardware works with GNU/Linux. I have not used a “hardware compatibility list” for years.

  5. Dann says:

    “Because lots of hardware doesn’t work under Linux ”
    But more doesn’t work on Windows, especially out of the box.

    “As Linux doesn’t give a damn about stable APIs/ABIs, this is unnecessary. You can always have a fun time recompiling crap.”
    Yeah, to hell with stable and unstable and testing repos. Or the option to use bleeding edge software. It’s such an unorganized mes– oh wait, that’s not GNU/Linux at all.

    “On the other hand, that other OS, in my case Windows 7, runs age-old DOS business applications without complaining. ”
    Dosbox.

    “recompiling age-old Linux applications which rely on libraries that have been long abandoned since and aren’t in the repositories of a distribution anymore.”
    What software? Care to name some?
    Also, why do you keep mentioning recompiling? You do know they have binary distributions these days…
    And VirtualBox is free to use if you have legacy distros you need to install, also binary.

    “licensing fees are nowadays pretty much irrelevant, regardless which OS you’re using”
    Because people pirate Windows?

    “That’s true. But distributions do have deadlines.”
    Because they want to stay relevant, as opposed to trying to stay secure.

    This is just silly =)

    I’ve played with Win8. It’s… well, ugly.

    @Pogson
    I’ve stopped worrying about distro this and version that. Since using Gentoo, I just update. The hairdryer I’m running this on can compile absolutely every package (I’m guessing about 2+ GB of package source code) in less than 6 hours. It’s nice to be in power and if something doesn’t work or looks hideous, I can just change it. Not being at the mercy of someone else really is empowering.

    Cheers.

  6. ThoRa says:

    Hmm, let’s see:

    “GNU/Linux releases are not tied to any wave of hardware.”

    That’s true. Because lots of hardware doesn’t work under Linux in the first place. (No, showing up when you enter “lspci” or “lsusb” doesn’t constitute “working”.)

    “GNU/Linux releases are not tied to any version of applications.”

    That’s true. As Linux doesn’t give a damn about stable APIs/ABIs, this is unnecessary. You can always have a fun time recompiling crap.

    Also, you’ve got your argument wrong. It’s trivial nonsense that “GNU/Linux releases are not tied to any version of applications”. But applications can be quite tied to specific GNU/Linux releases, with the dependency hell and all. On the other hand, that other OS, in my case Windows 7, runs age-old DOS business applications without complaining. With Linux it’s a different story. I will have a very hard time recompiling age-old Linux applications which rely on libraries that have been long abandoned since and aren’t in the repositories of a distribution anymore.

    “You can run, examine, modify, and distribute the code as you wish.”

    That’s true. Hypothetical security is very important. I feel better already, knowing that someone somewhere is checking every line of Linux code.

    “GNU/Linux is standards-compliant.”

    That’s true. Unfortunately GNU/Linux hasn’t got a whole lot of standards it has to adhere to. So it is kind of a moot point.

    “GNU/Linux has a licensing fee of $0.”

    That’s true. Unfortunately licensing fees are nowadays pretty much irrelevant, regardless which OS you’re using. Look to your beloved LiMux project in Munich for proof. The pre-study (which you can read online) concluded that a Windows environment (new licenses for all PCs included) would come out substantially cheaper than switching to Linux. And if one considers that the need for the total reworking of Munich’s IT landscape arose not because of Windows, but rather because of shortsighted planning and a lack of organization, this switch makes even less sense.

    Trying to make an argument by means of licensing fees will perhaps woo those people who are also impressed by spinning Compiz cubes.

    “GNU/Linux has no deadlines.”

    That’s true. But distributions do have deadlines.

    Six claims, six exaggerations/lies. You’re good, Mr. Pogson.

  7. oiaohm says:

    Stuart check the bios you did not tell us what dell.

    Some dell system require a firmware update before some of the newer Linux is installed. Please be aware I have current debian on a 12 year old Dell and everything between.

    Be warned some of the pentium 4 dells need the firmware update so windows run proper stable on them as well. Yes some of the pent 4 dells have bad acpi tables. Installation can be forced if you know how but normally not advisable if it a firmware issue without either fixing or placing the work around.

    Would have been helpful if you had include exactly what dell you are having hell with.

    Linux will install on old hardware it does not always do so willingly. Particularly if the hardware has a issue you have to manually work around.

    Linux on new hardware can be just as bad as old at times. Its what quality hardware you have more than anything else.

    By the way do you have a link to where you reported this problem in a distribution forum/mailing list.

  8. I don’t think RAM is the problem. Do you have the exact error message. I routinely install Debian GNU/Linux in 512 MB with no problem at all. LTSP on a thin client runs in 72MB RAM. It could be you are installing lots of extra packages beyond the default. That can pump up the peak RAM.

  9. Stuart says:

    Mr. P:

    I think the latest Linuxes may be tied to new hardware these days. At least, for me.

    I tried to move (I won’t say “upgrade”) my old Dell Pentium 4 to Ubuntu 11.10, and I got an error message that I didn’t have the hardware to run it. (Even with 1 GB of RAM, the max on my machine.)

    I have also tried CentOS 6 and vanilla Debian 6.03, and they also refused to install.

    So, it looks like I’ve gone as far as I can with Linux on my old machine with 11.04, unless I go to Xfce, which I hesitate to do. I prefer classic Gnome.

  10. Yes, it will. I don’t have those problems because I migrated to GNU/Linux years ago.

  11. JairJy says:

    Migrating to Linux will not solve the 5 problems you mention above.

  12. Contrarian says:

    I think that it is also important to note that these analyses of slow migration to newer versions of Windows in business invariably cite economic conditions, but they never mention Linux as an alternative. The issue is always the length of the timeframe that changeover will take, never the direction. All you can draw from that is that Microsoft is well-positioned for a long future of upward moving sales.

    For example, #pogson’s cite goes on to say;

    “IT executives cite several reasons for the foot-dragging. At Pella, it’s the economy. “The housing industry has not recovered [so] we have tightened down our investments,” Thomas says. PC refresh cycles, which used to rotate in new machines every 3 1/2 years, have been extended out to about 5 years — which in turn extends the timeline for Windows 7’s rollout. Pella doesn’t expect to see a rebound in the housing market this year – or in 2012, for that matter. But Thomas says they won’t run their machines into the ground either. “I have a feeling that [the Windows 7 migration] will drag out until the end of 2012,” he says — but not beyond. “

  13. Contrarian says:

    Well yeah, but what about the surge in sales of smart thingies?

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