XPmageddon

Armageddon Ar`ma*ged”don ([aum]r*m[.a]”j[e^]”d’n), n.
the final, decisive battle between the forces of good and evil, as foretold in the Apocolypse of Saint John.

Amen. I have often pointed out that there is a huge inventory of PCs running XP on still-useful PCs that are not going to migrate to M$’s next-big-thing. Nowadays many businesses have something like one PC per employee and there are just too many to replace all the hardware and buy new licences just because M$ wants to feed its cash-cows.

Jane Silber of Canonical expects the same thing:“What we are seeing there, particularly with enterprise customers with large desktop deployments in the tens of thousands, [is that they are] taking the opportunity to move to Ubuntu at that point, and they are, in some cases, not even evaluating future Windows desktop operating systems.”

Of course, she expects Ubuntu will get the nod but I am not so sure. While Ubuntu has some good features for business, it has a rapid release cycle that may not impress conservative businesses. Debian GNU/Linux, for instance, releases when ready, not on schedule. No one trusts unfinished products. Businesses have been known to wait a year or more before buying the next-big-thing from M$…

What fraction of XP machines will go to GNU/Linux? Probably very few of Mom & Pop businesses unless a son or daughter is into GNU/Linux. Probably quite a few medium to large businesses. I used GNU/Linux in schools and found it fit really well with flexibility, features and performance that worked for everyone. Most estimates are that in any large organization there are about 80% of seats that are very easy to migrate because a lot of applications people use are standard utilities available on just about any OS. That leaves hundreds of millions of seats eligible for GNU/Linux.

When will the onslaught happen? I think it has been happening every since Vista broke the picture of M$ working for business. Businesses started checking out GNU/Linux and now many large businesses are expanding their staffing with expertise in GNU/Linux. Businesses are increasingly virtualizing clients and servers, making the migration easier. Once the servers are virtual, there’s little holding back the clients. GNU/Linux can make really good thin clients at half the cost of that other OS. Web applications are cross-platform, too. Having seen the cost of migrating from one OS after another from M$, businesses and their accountants do see the value in FLOSS without a lot of unproductive licences. Businesses do see the advantage of increasing in-house expertise instead of sending money to M$.

We are about two years from end-of-life for XP so migrations will happen in earnest now, first small tests then large roll-outs. The world will be a very different place in two years. M$ knows that. It’s diversifying as rapidly as they can. Even M$ is getting off the Wintel treadmill before it breaks.

This may be the final crack in the desktop letting GNU/Linux through in business and soon thereafter in retail shelves. The monopoly will be just about gone in two or three years. The businesses that adopt GNU/Linux will have a tough, flexible and inexpensive set of software while those who do not adopt it will have to pay the rising prices that M$ will demand to keep its coffers filled.

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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