Barriers to Migration to FLOSS

Judging by some of the comments to my blog posts, one would expect that lack of applications would be the prime reason for not migrating to FLOSS but it seems the real world sees things differently. A survey in 2010 found these reasons:

Shocking, eh? Lack of functionality is in third place with 16% of respondents. Hey! Only 1% claimed that satisfaction with non-Free software was holding them back! I’ll buy that!

The biggie is lack of knowledge. That does not surprise me as most of the bosses I have had were quite incompetent at choosing IT. They almost always asked someone else and, if that person knows little or nothing about FLOSS, you get what you get. 26% of organizations found no barrier at all. That suggests that if we can fix the “knowledge” part, the other barriers would only affect 48% of organizations. I think “knowing FLOSS” would fix some of those “company policies”, too. In my experience going to FLOSS does free up a lot of resources, so we are down to ~20% of organizations with real rather than imagined barriers to migration.

I did a bit of fixing knowledge by exposing students and staff of K-12 schools to GNU/Linux. We sure freed up resources by bringing “dead” machines back to life and getting better and more reliable service from our PCs. Only a few schools have an official policy against FLOSS. Many just don’t know.

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.
This entry was posted in Linux in Education, technology. Bookmark the permalink.

27 Responses to Barriers to Migration to FLOSS

  1. oiaohm says:

    Clarence Moon yes and all All Australian marines sub or not train in inside and outside ship combat.

    “ship crewman and a combat soldier” This difference does not exist in Australian Mil. A crewman has to be a soldier.

    A crew form an Australian ship must be able to fight as a Unit on Dry land. This is a lesson of world war 2 embed in Australian Mil. To be correct its linked to the battle of the coral sea and other major battles around that area. The ships crews that made it back had SAS(back then z force) with them and had been trained in the field to fight. They were able to battle there way back to Australia and do other attacks. Yes we lost subs in world war 2 as well and cases that there crew did make it back.

    At this point the idea of ship crewmen just being ship crew died for the Australian mil. That everyone better be trained as a soldier to at least a basic level.

    There is very little difference in combat ready state of Australian ship crews and USA marines. In fact on dry land the Australian ship crews have beaten USA marines in war games. Being able to fight on dry land after you ship has sunk is part of survival training.

    Australian ship crews are not specialists to land battles but they can more than hold there own.

    SAS forces have been the specialists units. The two SAS groups that are officially changing title to Marine corps are more in grade of USA Navy Seal. They just have not had a base on water to use the title Marine. The new ships give them means to be Marine Corps. I am serious not kidding. SAS units only take the best.

    Yes SAS has been the wrong title for those units. Special Air Service? Those two units mostly did not fly because they are marine specialist of the SAS.

    So expect cases of Australian Marine Corps kicking USA Marine Corps buts. Because it will not be a fair fight. Australian Marine Corps will have to face off against USA Seals for a fair fight.

    Stupid formal rules of Australian Mil.

    This also links to Australian patrol boats. Complete crew of a patrol boat is only 21. To be scary that includes two boarding/landing parties of 8. So fully deployed 16 personal from that ship can be on land in combat. 5 crewmen left on patrol boat when its in full assault mode.

    Yet those 16 are not Marine Corps. You have to get your 3 watches out of that crew of 21. That group of 16 that do the same job as USA Marine Corps as well as being clearance divers and other ship require roles. Particularly when multi patrol boats are used in one assault. The ships can be max loaded to 29 to allow 3 landing parties per ship.

    This is something difference. US ships have huge numbers of crew that are not deployable because they are not design to run in skeleton mode. Even the the new Canberra class in combat conditions sections of the Complement crew will be expected to deploy to fight.

    The Australian Navy is way different to the USA one Clarence Moon. Ship crew are also front line combat soldiers inside Australian Navy.

    Comes down to a simple logic. If the ship cannot be held get as many people of yours off with the means to fight. Then let enemy come and scuttle the ship.

    Yes there is only 5 crew left on a patrol boat because ship defence from being taken is destroy ship. Same applies to all Australian Fleet ships. So just because you are a crew person in an Australian ship you cannot think that it will be taking you home.

    Clarence Moon. My statements have not been wrong. Australian Mil is a different configuration. USA ships normally don’t deploy there Complement crew to the point that the ship is only defensible by scuttling charges. You kinda cannot take this option when you ships run on nuclear reactor.

    This is the point. Australian Fleet in ships is way different USA ships. The results in crews being trained way differently. Due to the fact the different ships Australia has allows complete different tactical options. These tactical options means training of personal is different.

    The Australian fleet includes the option to deploy all crew to a island or something scuttle ship and get another ship that they can sneak through enemy line with. So ranks and titles between the two Mils don’t Line up at all. An Australian crew must not only be able operate a ship they must be able to take another one without there own.

    Yes another lesson of World War 2. You might not be able to get the Australian ship back but the crew might make it if you you take a ship the enemy will not search.

    Clarence Moon the Australian Mil has learnt from history and trains from what was learnt.

    Heck Australian Marine Corps being= USA Navy Seals. Is kinda way out. This makes normal Marine in Australian forces be quite a decent fighter because they have to be.

    Clarence Moon you need to look at the Collins class sub. It does use thin terminals it also uses a cluster computer system. Where any of the cluster can do every other role. Yes thin terminals are used in Australian subs. They do save power. This does means silent running can be done for longer. Homework you should have looked up what computer systems where in the Australian subs and why.

    Clarence Moon if you could do you homework you would know by now you are a complete idiot.

    You are not thinking that I could be 100 percent correct.

  2. Clarence Moon says:

    Keep squirming, Mr. Oiaohm, you are nothing if not amusing. Your latest hair-splitting pilpul here would have more weight had you not gone to extremes to point out that you clearly understood the difference between a sailor and a marine being the difference between a ship crewman and a combat soldier:

    “Take the case that a sub is damaged for some reason. Yet there is a surface ship that has been captured. Remember diesel subs. Yes scuttling the sub and taking the sea worthy captured ship has to be considered. If the sea worthy captured ship will increase combat strength it will be taken.”

    Also, don’t lose sight of the absurdity of your original premise, namely that thin client use by Marines has added importance due to the lack of electrical power on submarines. It is that kind of inane thought that makes your ideas have little value even without the fakery of your anecdotal stories.

    You are a charlatan, Mr. Oiaohm, and everyone here has come to understand that.

  3. oiaohm says:

    Clarence Moons how do you cook the books.

    Marines in the USA Marines Corps sense. Australia has had none.

    Our army special forces does of the same role Marine Corps. Now that we are getting ships they will be on full time they are becoming Marines. Not really changing what they know just that the will be full time stationed on ships instead of land.

    This is where it gets down to nasty points of english. Clarence Moon

    “marine means “navy” in French, Dutch, and German.” Should include Australian Mil as well.

    What is the Australian military meaning. Sea going Navy is Marine.

    Due to the differences between countries words can have completely different meanings. So if you asked an Australian Mil personal to point out a Australian Marine they will point to any sea going navy person sub or ship does not matter.

    Of course you have forgotten that Marine means Navy.

    Anyone reading Australian internal force counts will see marine used how sea going personal Australian Mil has. If you are a idiot you will get Australian force size wrong.

    Clarence Moon USA terms do not apply to Australian mil.

    You did not ask how many Marine Corps are in Australian subs. The answer is None. Because up until recently there were no Marine Corps at all.

    If you ask how many Marines are in a Australian sub the answer is 100 percent. Because everyone in the sub is sea going Navy.

    USA people have dropped the key word Corps.

    USA Mil meaning of Marines is different to Australian. Basically USA Marine would be referred to as a USA marine corp. Where Australian Marine is a vague term.

    Yes I screwed up about the USA limitation. I knew there was a difference I was just having trouble expressing it. Its a base language difference.

    Clarence Moon picking on me over this shows that you are small minded to the language venation over the world. Asking a french or german person if marines are in subs would get the same stupid answer. Because there subs just like Australian subs are full of marines. Australia is not unique with this difference.

    Language differences are evil because words have different meaning to what people expect.

  4. Clarence Moon says:

    Mr. Oiaohm, you seem to know less and less about more and more. Have you found any Marines lurking about your submarine lately?

  5. Clarence Moon wrote, “IBM was shortchanging Microsoft by not paying for licenses for computers that they had shipped with DOS.”

    The audit was about much more than counting PCs. The licence was very complex and shifted from counting processors to counting systems and multiple products were included. M$ viewed IBM as an enemy, not a customer. You can see that here in a note sent by Bill Gates. M$ wanted to control IBM, not sell them products. I am amazed that IBM stayed with the PC business as long as they did. The investment in GNU/Linux and work with Java and StarOffice/Lotus were worth more than the fees paid to M$ over the years.

  6. oiaohm says:

    “DOJ basically found that discounts should be based on if a product is MS only.”
    should be
    “DOJ basically found that discounts should not be based on if a product is MS only.”

    This does not stop MS doing a volume of acquirement discount.

  7. oiaohm says:

    Clarence Moon the base of the anti-competive claim in the first place was MS licensing. You paid for every computer you produced if or if not it contained MS products.

    This is also what MS and other are doing with Patent claims. You will pay for every unit your produce not just the Units using the patents of issue.

    This is anti-competive because you are getting paid items you have done no work on.

    IBM was paying for DOS. MS wanted IBM to pay them for AIX that they had nothing todo with. Pay for every machine pissed IBM off.

    “Microsoft extended additional discounts on volume prices to OEMs who agreed to supply MS-DOS and/or Windows on all units for some particular product line” That is after DOJ case started.

    Before DOJ case started it was every product the company made had to pay to get discount if or if not contained a MS product. That was a latter attempt to get around it.

    DOJ basically found that discounts should be based on if a product is MS only.

    You need to go do your time line of MS licensing Clarence Moon as normal your homework is incomplete.

  8. Clarence Moon says:

    Well, you can’t seem to tell the players without a program, Mr. Pogson. In the initial DOJ action, the issue was not harsh treatment of the OEMs by Microsoft. Far from it. The anti-competitive claim arose out of claims of competitors that Microsoft had made things entirely too attractive to OEMs and that prevented the competition from gaining any traction in those markets. Microsoft agree to cease the practice and charge OEMs more for less in compliance with the government’s wishes.

    As to Myrhvold being an idiot, it seems to me that a paraphrase of that philosophy is simply that it is easy in this day and age for a thinking person to find out which product in a market is the best and to obtain it directly via an on-line distribution. That being the case, the provider of the best product will obtain a monopoly simply due to the buyers in the market refusing to buy any substandard product. That does seem to be far different than the conventional method of creating a monopoly by buying up all of the competition in some area and exercising direct control over sales and distribution of some product.

    I personally think that idea has a lot of merit and you can see it happening around you yourself.

    IBM was shortchanging Microsoft by not paying for licenses for computers that they had shipped with DOS. Maybe you think that Microsoft has no right to their fees for their products, but most courts would not agree and placing a credit hold on a cheater such as IBM seems like a reasonable action to me. You can explain why you don’t believe that if you wish.

    I don’t have any idea about what you are saying about HP. I don’t recall HP ever being in the limelight, but I haven’t studied the matter in detail. In any case, what would IBM’s actions vis-a-vis HP have to do with Microsoft anyway?

  9. Clarence Moon wrote, “the anti-MS crowd into being some sort of oppression by Microsoft visited on unwilling OEMs.”

    …and later it was identified as being anti-competitive?!? Of course OEMs are consumers of operating systems and were oppressed by lack of choice or competition on price/performance.

    Clarence Moon is a subscriber to idiocy propagated by Nathan Myrhvold of M$ who wrote,
    “These factors explain why high market shares created by positive feedback lack the negative symptoms of monopoly.”


    He totally denies that the “positive feedback” is greatly enhanced by anti-competitive actions and that monopoly is the natural situation in IT. Nonsense. If your competitor is denied the ability to sell his product because of your actions against him, that’s not positive feedback but muzzle-blast. M$ audited IBM. Ask IBM if they were oppressed. IBM forced HP to do what was not in HP’s best interests. Ask HP if they were oppressed.

  10. Clarence Moon says:

    Microsoft extended additional discounts on volume prices to OEMs who agreed to supply MS-DOS and/or Windows on all units for some particular product line, hence the “per CPU” label. It was never expected that these units would ship with anything else ever, since the very purpose of the deal was to guarantee exclusivity.

    Somehow that has been turned around by the anti-MS crowd into being some sort of oppression by Microsoft visited on unwilling OEMs. That is just a wrong spin, of course, but the anti-MSers need their straw men to slay and the myth persists.

    The US antitrust forces recognized the practice as being anti-competitive, however, and it was abandoned under a consent agreement in 1994. The OEMs lost their discount, but nothing else changed and Microsoft just kept the extra money, using it for other types of promotions.

    All this seems like a lot of crying over spilt milk anyway, Mr. Pogson. If you want to do anything beyond muttering in your beer, you should be mapping out a proactive program to win against Microsoft in the many battlegrounds that exist today. Quit wasting energy on things that cannot be changed and that have already been ajudicated.

  11. Clarence Moon wrote, “Sales and usage statistics for those regions show Windows dominating there anyway, in spite of someone offering alternatives on some web page somewhere.

    Regardless, that is no cause to postulate a conspiracy to stifle Linux in North America.”

    Deny. Deny. Deny. M$’s own statistics showed GNU/Linux was hot in Brazil. I was just reading an exhibit in US DOJ v M$ and found a witness stated that for several years M$ had charged a licence fee for every PC OEMs produced whether or not they had M$’s OS on the machine… That’s an enormous pressure to exclude other OS.


    Now, GNU/Linux was not much of a threat at that time, but that practice surely did not help competition.

  12. Clarence Moon says:

    I don’t know what you mean by IBM having exclusive deals with Microsoft. Certainly they didn’t have any deal that prevented them from selling computers at retail with OS/2 pre-installed. That is what they resisted agreeing to and never agreed to in the final analysis.

    What drove Microsoft’s ability to exercise monopoly power in the x86 PC arena was the belief jointly held by OEMs and retail store inventory buyers that end users would only buy Windows based computers in any significant numbers and the logistics for such sales demanded pre-installation in ready-to-go packages. That is why there were no other kinds of computers on the shelves and why that continues to be the case today.

    No doubt you could go to Brasil or China and find Linux based products on some store shelves. But I don’t live in South America nor do I live in China and I am not going to go there to purchase a computer. Sales and usage statistics for those regions show Windows dominating there anyway, in spite of someone offering alternatives on some web page somewhere.

    Regardless, that is no cause to postulate a conspiracy to stifle Linux in North America.

  13. IBM did have a deal with M$, several of them. Some were to the benefit of IBM and some were not. They were exclusive deals.

  14. Clarence Moon says:

    1994 which is 18 years ago. The way you do numbers, that is close enough, I would think.:-)

    In any case, you said that Microsoft had made deals with all OEMs to prevent any competing product from showing up on retail shelves and now you admit that IBM, the biggest OEM of all at that time did not have such a deal and was actively resisting making such a deal. Now you say that not having such a deal was the reason that only Windows was on the shelf.

    You can’t have it both ways.

  15. Clarence Moon wrote, “IBM itself, Sony, Panasonic, Hitachi, and HP were not favored with such arrangements.”

    Findings of Fact:
    “When IBM refused to abate the promotion of those of its own products that competed with Windows and Office, Microsoft punished the IBM PC Company with higher prices, a late license for Windows 95, and the withholding of technical and marketing support.

    130. The discriminatory treatment that the IBM PC Company received from Microsoft on account of the “software directions” of its parent company also manifested itself in the royalty price that IBM paid for Windows. In the latter half of the 1990s, IBM (along with Gateway) paid significantly more for Windows than other major OEMs (like Compaq, Dell, and Hewlett- Packard) that were more compliant with Microsoft’s wishes.”

    Thus M$ made exclusive deals with others and IBM was at a disadvantage. Any OEM seeing what M$ did to IBM would likely toe the line. M$ did make a deal with IBM at a higher price. That was for punishing IBM not to make increased revenue for M$ and may have contributed to IBM not pushing competition further. This behaviour happened in the middle 1990s, not 20 years ago.

  16. Clarence Moon says:

    Sorry, I meant Toshiba.

  17. Clarence Moon says:

    Sure, training…

    We must live on different planets, Mr. Pogson! That is one of the things that I do to earn my pay, namely provide as much collateral material and assistance as I can to help our salesmen and dealers convince prospective customers to buy our products. I cannot see where any company would not do exactly that if they were in some product market.

    It would perhaps be proof of a monopoly condition if a company did not do that and thought that they could sell their stuff regardless, since customers had no other choice.

    Of course that takes some money to pay for the materials and the salaries of marketing staff who do this promotional activity. It is part of what a company needs to compete for the customer’s business. As I have said before, I think that is what makes it unlikely for FLOSS to succeed in large markets where customers have to be made aware of what choices that they do have and offered some sort of sales pitch (we call it consumer education :-)) to tell them that our products are better for them than any other.

    Remember “Get the FUD”?

    I think that it had a different title than that, but yes, I do remember. As far as I know, it is an ongoing effort today. Again, I do it myself. A more neutral name for it is comparative marketing and the idea is to present a set of criteria that, if the customer agrees are valid for his situation, your product will win over others on a head to head comparison. The trick there is to pick criteria where you shine.

    What results is that you define a niche, namely all the customers whose needs fit your set of criteria, and you will win the business as well as have a guideline for your salesmen and dealers to evaluate prospects by. It is a waste of everyone’s time, certainly, to try to sell ice cubes to Eskimos or Windows OS to Mr. Pogson, so it helps to know where you should not bother to try.

    M$ also made exclusive deals with all the major OEMs so that any retailer buying from the usual suppliers would not have any competing products to sell.

    That, I think, is not true. Microsoft made exclusive deals in the late 1980s and early 1990s with several OEMs, notably Dell and Compaq, who were eager to get lower prices for DOS and Windows as well as co-marketing support from Microsoft. That practice was disallowed under the terms of the settlements reached with the SEC and antitrust division of the Justice Department and never reached the level of “all”. IBM itself, Sony, Panasonic, Hitachi, and HP were not favored with such arrangements.

    Regardless, OEMs have not been in that position for almost 20 years and that is no longer any reason for lack of success by others.

  18. Clarence Moon wrote, “Can you even offer a hypothetical method by which Microsoft could manage to compel a retailer such as WalMart to not offer competing products?”

    Sure, training. M$ provides low-cost training to sales staff and they surely don’t teach them how to sell competing products. M$ also offers FUD, which like the prattle of any good con-man has enough truth in it to make it believable while completely turning the mark in a direction he would not naturally go and in which the mark brings profit to the con-man. Remember “Get the FUD”? Anyone falling for that stuff would think anyone buying/selling competing products was off his rocker. M$ also made exclusive deals with all the major OEMs so that any retailer buying from the usual suppliers would not have any competing products to sell.

  19. Clarence Moon says:

    Presumably you have some sort of evidence to justify such a claim? Can you even offer a hypothetical method by which Microsoft could manage to compel a retailer such as WalMart to not offer competing products? Remember, this is the computer age and tons of documents are leaked right and left on the internet.

    Could you even offer a hypothetical reason why WalMart would, along with K-Mart and all of the other retail outlets, forego opportunities to sell something in demand by the public?

    For that matter, how many units are sold by Positivo with Linux and how many are sold with Windows? Does anyone even know? Linux models are being offered for on-line purchase as you demonstrate, but are they available in stores as well? Is anyone actually buying them? If you look at the web stats you showed for Brasil in another thread, there is an even lower percentage of Linux use than in the USA as I remember.

    As to ASUS, I believe the answer is that Linux cannot run Quicken or any of the other popular applications that exist for Windows. You do not care, but I would never buy a new computer that would not run my favorites. Presuming that ASUS or any other OEM is such a toady of Microsoft that they will harm their companies financially seems absurd to me. You need to find proof of that.

  20. Clarence Moon wrote, “Very few seem to want the Linux PCs as off the shelf products and so the retailers don’t ask for them, and the OEMs do not supply them. Simple as that.”

    Many millions of GNU/Linux PCs are selling around the world today, so it’s not that simple. I wrote a blog post today that shows Positivo selling 1.6 million PCs per annum and many of them have GNU/Linux. There is no shortage of retailers willing to offer them in South America. In North America, ASUS could not keep retail shelves stocked because demand exceeded supply by a large factor but now you cannot find any of them because M$ and its partners shut them out rather than to share retail shelves with them.

    Why did M$ get ASUS to exclude GNU/Linux instead of competing with GNU/Linux? They could not match the price/performance.

  21. Clarence Moon says:

    I could start with the idea that such activity is not anti-competitive based on any law in any country today, Mr. Pogson, but I think that I should really start with how illogical your whole proposition appears.

    There was a demand created for personal IBM PCs based mostly on IBM’s strong brand when they entered what was usually termed the “home computer” market in 1981. As demand grew and the PC was cloned and became a desirable product for distribution in retail stores, retailers began to demand products in a form that they could sell in their stores. That made the PC into an appliance that didn’t need much technician time for sales and initial setup.

    Retailers would only sell what their buyers felt were machines that fit this description. That became essentially the Wintel line of computers since Apple was generally reluctant to market through general distribution outlets.

    There was no conspiracy on the part of Microsoft, OEMs or retailers. They were simply servicing the demands of the consumers. Very few seem to want the Linux PCs as off the shelf products and so the retailers don’t ask for them, and the OEMs do not supply them. Simple as that.

    You come along and claim that is “anti-competitive”. What would you have the retailers do? Build their own products to sell? That is not the nature of retail. What would you have the OEMs do? Build products that no one provided any orders for? That is equally absurd.

    The only thing that you can do is go into the supply side business on your own and also aggressively sell the idea that Linux computers are better purchases than Windows computers. The problem there is that the traditional PC market is too mature for such a thing to happen.

    You might have a better chance at the idea of ARM based PCs that might have enough differentiation to cause consumers to view them as so different from Wintel PCs that their expectations can be done away with and a new image accepted. The only thing wrong with that vis-a-vis Linux is that Linux itself is very similar to Windows and works about the same way and is not likely to get consumers to think differently about Linux on ARM. Particularly when Microsoft seems to be doing the exact same thing. At least Microsoft is muddying up the water with the Metro look and feel so that people might think they are getting something more akin to a phone or tablet.

  22. Clarence Moon wrote, “OEMs wanting to sell Windows computers” as if it were an act of free will. From 1994 to 2007, if you wanted to sell millions of PCs they had to run that other OS because that’s all the retailers would/could sell.

    The monopoly of retail shelves in many parts of the world is clearly an anti-competitive act by M$ and its partners because we see many places where GNU/Linux is selling very well on retail shelves. Preventing the market from deciding what sells is anti-competitive when there are many options available which are ignored.

  23. Clarence Moon says:

    That is a condition created by monopolists for monopolists illegally by exclusive dealing since the early 1990s

    You are entitled to your opinion, Mr. Pogson, heaven knows, but that idea is pretty much unnoticed in legal circles. The exclusive dealing charges brought against Microsoft in the 1990s in the DoJ trial were in regard to requiring OEMs to supply the IE browser in lieu of any deal with Netscape. There was nothing illegal in regard to OEMs wanting to sell Windows computers. Rather, that desire on the part of the OEMs is what creates the monopoly power for Microsoft in the first place.

    OEMs are totally free to deal with any and all OS suppliers as they see fit. Somewhere else in this blog you note the names of a host of OEMs who choose to offer Debian Linux. They are certainly able to resist such monopolist practices, eh? And they are all very small companies, the very sort who should be hurt the most and who you would presume to be the most susceptible to the pressure from a monopoly.

    I think that you have to look deeper into the reality of the PC market to ascertain why the uptake of Linux based devices is so mediocre.

    In any case the OS is just a tiny part of FLOSS, is it not? The vast majority of FLOSS programs, particularly the largest and most important, such as MySQL, Apache web servers, PHP, Firefox browser, and Open Office, all work with Windows as well as Linux and so the OS choice is not a factor in their popularity or lack thereof.

  24. kozmcrae says:

    Clarence and his Ego said: “I think that this whole argument is not framed properly, Mr. Pogson.”

    That’s his feeble attempt at promoting uncertainty about FLOSS.

    Your opinions on FLOSS are worth next to nothing Clarence. You knee jerk into action 100% and nearly always on the first sentence against any positive news about FLOSS. Add to that, you never offer any positive news about your favorite proprietary pusher, Microsoft. You just fall back on large but shrinking profits and ancient victories.

    Do you realize no one listens to you? Your words fall on deaf ears, so to speak. You write for your own pleasure only. Enjoy.

  25. oiaohm wrote, “An individual computer user is always going to be completely willing to buy and use a software product that meets some need, whether it is free or a license fee or subscription needs to be paid. Each buyer will weigh the benefits vs the expense and decide on things, one by one.”

    Good comment!

    That is the normal course of events and what I would like to happen but most x86/amd64 PCs are bought by consumers who see nothing but Wintel on retail shelves. That is a condition created by monopolists for monopolists illegally by exclusive dealing since the early 1990s. The fact that governments through their police powers did not stop that in its tracks caused this exclusivity to become thought of as normal even by those not intending to be dealing with Wintel exclusively.

    Fortunately Wintel is rotting out of its own inefficiency and inflexibility as */Linux, particularly on ARM, is spreading miraculously through the lever of better mobility, battery life, cost, etc. In 2011, Android/Linux earned lots of space on retail shelves with little or no levers of Wintel able to stop it. In 2012, M$ intends to release “8” to stem the tide but it will be too little and too late because already more */Linux systems are being bought by consumers than Wintel. Soon the imaginary barrier between ARM as mobile and ARM on anything will wear thin and it will be all over for Wintel. The monopoly will be gone and M$ and Intel will have to compete on price and performance. The world does not owe them a living.

    We’ve already seen a few notebook/desktopish systems running */Linux on ARM. By the end of this year, they will be all over the market and taking lots of space on retail shelves. All reluctance by consumers and retailers will be gone when they see that Apple and M$ both bless ARMed systems. The majority of consumers will want small cheap systems and they will multiply like rabbits on retail shelves and a normal share of them will be */Linux on ARM. I may have to write about something else when the monopoly is only history.

  26. Clarence Moon says:

    I think that this whole argument is not framed properly, Mr. Pogson. It isn’t simply a broad issue of FLOSS vs proprietary solutions at all. It is many, many individual contests between one or more potential solutions to varying problems on multiple levels.

    An individual computer user is always going to be completely willing to buy and use a software product that meets some need, whether it is free or a license fee or subscription needs to be paid. Each buyer will weigh the benefits vs the expense and decide on things, one by one.

    It may be that the buyer’s decision is terribly uninformed as you often suggest, but buyers are going to make up their own minds about what is best for them. If you want them to buy and use your favorites, you have to have some way of convincing them to do so. So far, the FLOSS side of the issue has generally failed to muster the required efforts.

    Your experience shows that anyone can be bent in any direction. You can, by dint of your direct efforts, for example, convince a school full of teachers to use Linux computers in the classroom. How many teachers at that school, anyway? 20? 40? Well, if it were 20 and there were a million people like yourself working at the job, you could convince 20 million teachers to adopt Linux in lieu of Windows.

    Using your guesstimates for world computer user populations, that is about 1% of the total, a small number, but it is a start. Just a million of you can make this modest beginning. How many of you are there anyway?

    The same sort of thing could be done application by application to wean users away from various commercial products that they are familiar with to the coyly named work-alikes available in the FLOSS world.

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