Desktop Centricity

On Linux Blog Safari, Barbara Hudson opined, “Who knows — maybe when Red Hat is making twice as much in a few years, people will start noticing that the trickle-down from Red Hat’s success has made the latest Fedora into a better desktop than some of the ‘desktop-centric’ distros”

Amen. I find it amusing that we still read elsewhere that GNU/Linux “has not”/”will not”/”will never” make it on the desktop for a lot of irrelevant reasons. The fact is GNU/Linux works on the desktop for exactly the same reasons it works on the server: tight modular design with attention to what works rather than for how it looks or what the salesmen wear.

Everyone in IT needs/wants/will have stuff that works and GNU/Linux works as well as or better than that other OS and MacOS. There is no technical barrier to adoption. There is ignorance and there is an attitude that one must pay above market value for software. If it costs a few $billion to make a release of an OS, why is the world paying M$ that much each quarter? That makes no sense.

The right way to do IT is to have as many as possible pool their resources and produce software that works in gadgets, in mobile devices, stationary devices and clusters.

GNU/Linux is big business now. There is no reason the world cannot share the wonderful experience I and others have had for longer than a decade. Those distros that are seen as desktop-centric may be helpful but not essential to bringing GNU/Linux to the masses of consumers. A few OEMs and retailers could do a lot within weeks if they saw the big picture instead of the cash-flow from locked-in consumers and businesses. The cash-flow with software that costs $0 to install on PCs is a lot more for those folks than they will get from providing free labour to M$.

I recommend Debian GNU/Linux. It’s been working on my desktops and on my servers for years.

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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27 Responses to Desktop Centricity

  1. oiaohm says:

    Viktor In Australia you can order food over the Internet hand have it sent to your house.

    Please learn to read Viktor.

    “E-tailers: The customer can shop and order through internet and the merchandise are dropped at the customer’s doorstep. Here the retailers use drop shipping technique. They accept the payment for the product but the customer receives the product directly from the manufacturer or a wholesaler. This format is ideal for customers who do not want to travel to retail stores and are interested in home shopping. However it is important for the customer to be wary about defective products and non secure credit card transaction. Example: Amazon, Pennyful and Ebay.”

    Direct quote from the wikipedia page I provided.

    “I din’t know that you can now consume food over the internet. How does that work? Wouldn’t you have to be in an actual, physical location to do so?”
    Really your mind is so limited.

    Yes here in Australia we have E-tailers that provide food. And may of those e-tailers are our Supermarkets and grocery stores.

    Want to visit an Australian Supermarket Victor. Its only a click away. You can try out exactly how it works.

    Of course we don’t just have woolworthsonline. Another e-tailer selling food except this time there is no physical shop-front at all just warehouses. We have many of these that are in those retail numbers Australian Bureau of Statistics.

    Really victor you are the complete Ham.

    Clarence Moon use of the term retail does not apply in Australia and many other Asian countries. Everything you can by from a physical shop in Australia you can also buy from an Australian e-tailer. Some have physical store fronts some have just on-line store fronts they are still counted in the normal Australian retail numbers.

    Basically Viktor what primitive country do you live in. That you don’t know about e-tailers for food. Its normal here use e-tailers for food here.

    You are in Australia. There is nothing in the “Australian Bureau of Statistics: Retail Trade, Australia, February 2012 – Analysis by Industry” that does not have some of it that is e-tailers only even in fast food.

    There is fast coffee when you place your order on-line truck that makes the coffee drives to your place of work and makes the coffee and brings it in. Note you paid for the coffee on-line all the person is there is to deliver the coffee.

    Yes Australia in some ways to a USA person is weird. Don’t walk to get a cup of coffee instead click a few keys and coffee will come to you. Reason office has no coffee machine. Its always fun USA person comes goes looking for the coffee machine there is simply not one. Workplace heath and safety here makes keeping them clean a major pain in but. So you outsource the coffee machine.

  2. Let’s see. We’ve reported millions of GNU/Linux PCs produced in Brazil and sold all over South America retail, hundreds of Dell stores in China selling Ubuntu retail, and various websites selling GNU/Linux retail all over the globe. What more do you want?

  3. Clarence Moon says:

    Wow, a lot of hair-splitting going on here, Mr. Pogson! You used the phrase “to retail stores” to indicate the growing popularity of Linux, did you not? To me the context of that statement conveyed the image of a traditional sort of face to face sales activity that occurs in stores between a clerk and a customer. Even if it were door to door sort of thing or even Middle Eastern merchants sitting by the side of the road, as you describe, I would suggest that Linux computers have NOT arrived at that state of familiarity, no matter how you want to slice and dice the language.

  4. retail – ” 1. To sell in small quantities, as by the single yard, pound, gallon, etc.; to sell directly to the consumer; as, to retail cloth or groceries.
    [1913 Webster]”

    Retail businesses are the end of the food-chain. They sell to individual buyers. The other end for purposes of IT are OEMs who may sell to distributors (they may also be their own distributors) who buy by the container-load (possibly thousands of gadgets in one sale). There is nothing in the meaning of the word to imply a brick and mortar establishment. e.g. When I was a child itinerant salesmen used to go door to door selling all kinds of things. Today we see people selling hot dogs and the like from carts. When I was in the Middle East, I would see pedlars just sit at the side of the road with a small pile of goods.

    The term arose from the normal practice of marking up prices as they moved from one organization to another in the distribution chain. The retailer was the last person doing that.

    No doubt the majority of retail businesses are bricks-and-mortar but certainly mail-order and web-based businesses exist whether or not they are part of an organization that has bricks-and-mortar outlets. It is quite likely the only bricks-and-mortar some businesses have is a single head office somewhere with OEMs shipping direct to consumers and so forth.

  5. Viktor says:

    This is localised slang that is not globally accepted. Its not even accepted across all USA states. So yes its really localised slang. No english dictionary on earth has that meaning.

    What the hell are you talking about, Ohio Ham? Slang? On which meds are you?

    Apple Retail Store. As opposed to Apple’s online store.

    Wikipedia. Read the definition.

    What do we have here? Could it be video surveillance for retail stores?

    Or perhaps: CNN Money: Stock Sectors – Retail Trade.

    Let’s not forget: retail. Look up the origin of the word.

    And … last but not least, why not have a look at some statistics? Australian Bureau of Statistics: Retail Trade, Australia, February 2012 – Analysis by Industry: for example, I din’t know that you can now consume food over the internet. How does that work? Wouldn’t you have to be in an actual, physical location to do so?

    Get your categories right. You don’t have a clue, Ohio Ham.

    “Slang”, that’s an excuse I’ve not heard before.

    Are you sure you’re from a country where English is the primary language?

  6. oiaohm says:

    oldman “no throat to choke” issue is normally that the person has not read their Microsoft contracts either. Microsoft always includes a get out of being choked clause what basically absolved MS from all liability instead says that you should have checked if MS products were fit for purpose before deploying.

    Redhat on the other hand will give you validation reports for the commercial version.

    Microsoft technically never ever gives you a throat to choke if something goes wrong. Most of the idea they have a throat to choke is bogus if you are using Microsoft. If you were using the Redhat or Oracle or IBM AIX these all include an option to choke someone with true assurance of response to address problem.

    Really if you want to say throat to choke and Microsoft it really shows you need to go read the contracts carefully with legal assistance and watch them point out all the loop holes that MS has included to make sure you can never choke them over their products.

    Yes at times with what I do I will pay for software but when I do I really do want proper contracts with someone’s neck nicely placed in my hands ready to be squeeze if something goes wrong.

    oldman this is the one thing you have missed about me. My biggest hate about Microsoft is no throat to choke. Redhat and AIX something goes wrong and its their fault I can at least get a refund of my licensing costs if nothing else.

    “I think a microsoft producing LGPL based FOSS frameworks in which to load their proprietary special sauce would be just the thing.”

    Microsoft is not the only one that do this Zarafa, SugerCRM and many others offer FOSS as free version. But particular features you have to pay for.

    The special sauce model is used a bit in the FOSS world. Normally on a reclaim development cost model.

    “technological equivalent of giving away the razor blades and selling the razor.”

    This is what FOSS has done for years. Give away the program sell the programmer time in a few different forms. FOSS protects end user from case of company no longer being interested in maintaining a product. Microsoft has a grave yard of products they have killed off over the years. You can bet many companies have been effected by every one of those products they killed.

    FOSS is part making sure that your upstream cannot choke you completely. So lets say MS decided just for the hell of it to release Windows 8 and discontinue support for Windows 7. Oldman what could you do about it. Legally nothing. Redhat pulls the same stunt. You were provided the source code if there are enough effected parties you can form a group and joint maintain. So Redhat cannot completely choke you. Microsoft can completely choke you. Sugercrm you loss some features but it still somewhat usable.

    How open to choking do you want to be oldman. Remember its not only about the means to choke them its also about their means to choke you. Either way you can end up dead if you have not taken it into account.

    Sorry oldman you are sitting in the perfect location to be choked when ever MS decides it suitable.

  7. oldman says:

    “This is why I laugh technological equivalent of z so much at groups who say we will not use GPLv2. They fail to see MS has even been forced to give up that idea.”

    Actually, it looks like Microsoft has discovered what many of the major closed source companies discovered, that one can do the the technological equivalent of giving away the razor blades and selling the razor. Some contributions to the PASH project so that PASH has the ability to interface with a real windows environment should pick them up quite a few business and educational types who are wary of the no throat to choke world of FOSS.

    Bottom line sir, be careful what you ask for, you may get it. And I think a microsoft producing LGPL based FOSS frameworks in which to load their proprietary special sauce would be just the thing.

  8. oiaohm says:

    Clarence Moon your lack of english is your problem.
    “In the vernacular, the term is clearly meant to describe sales of merchandise in brick and mortar store locations with physical “shelves” to present the merchandise.”
    This is localised slang that is not globally accepted. Its not even accepted across all USA states. So yes its really localised slang. No english dictionary on earth has that meaning.

    In fact the generic term retail covers all forms of retail. Include shop front, on-line, Catalog/mail order sales….
    Localised slang to particular countries use it the way you do Clarence Moon. You are now international get us to the fact that USA and localised slang usage of english does not cut it. It will cause problems with understanding. Where what you are saying will not having the meaning you are thinking.

    Reason you are missing words because slang means you are using says words have more meaning than they do.

    Basically you abused the english language. So said something wrong.

    Online store is still a store Clarence Moon. This is not splitting hairs it your repeated poor english. You have as much trouble as I have with grammar instead in the form using slang meanings of english words and not being aware of there global meaning. Apply USA slang meaning to a word overseas and you are in trouble. Person will not understand what you mean.

    The type of Retail slang you used is not even common across the complete USA it only applies to particular states.

    Lot of things would go smoother if you could drop some of your localised slang and USA only slang.

    I don’t use Australian only terms where I can avoid it because I understand this would only confuse you. You need to show equal respect on this.

  9. Clarence Moon says:

    Retailers selling retail does not qualify as “retail”?

    Are you now joining Mr. Oiaohm in splitting hairs with dictionary terms? In the vernacular, the term is clearly meant to describe sales of merchandise in brick and mortar store locations with physical “shelves” to present the merchandise. Catalog/mail order sales, not mostly performed on-line, are perhaps “retail” but do not represent the kind of inventory and direct sales clerk commitment that actual stores provide.

    Merely accepting orders that can be fulfilled with drop shipments to an end customer by on-line sources is not the same thing.

  10. oiaohm says:

    aardvark there are a lot of projects MS submits code to these days. Linux kernel being one. Some are GPLv2 some are not.

    “Microsoft lawyers, on the other hand, and you’ll swiftly discover that Microsoft relies on no such thing.”

    True for 5 years ago pre Windows 7. They are way more moderate today. A few GPL volition cases that they lost pushed the point home.

    Yes the windows 7 install image maker for USB keys is GPLv2. Yes that and other tools that ship on the Windows 7 install disk are GPLv2.

    Sometimes its not worth reinventing the wheel.

    Of course Microsoft still does not want a bar to deal with GPLv3 other than where its legally required to.(samba they have to deal with GPLv3 or face massive fines from the EU)

    So Microsoft tolerance to GPL is growing. GPLv3 I expect them to hold out on since that means giving up means to patent attack.

    aardvark your understanding of Microsoft legal department is out of date. If it could be proven as cost effective these days MS will use GPLv2.

    This is why I laugh so much at groups who say we will not use GPLv2. They fail to see MS has even been forced to give up that idea.

    Sticking point these days should be GPLv3. GPLv2 is very predictable.

  11. aardvark says:

    Mr Pogson:

    It’s a hypothetical, not a straw man. I never suggested for a moment that this would happen. And for it to be a “straw man,” I would have to have misrepresented you as suggesting something that can be knocked down: I did no such thing.

    However, for the purposes of judging how far Gnu/Linux is “part of every business, including Microsoft’s,” I think this is a useful hypothetical. I’m simply pointing out that mere presence does not imply any particular importance, and in fact may well be negligible in business terms.

    Of course, as a different hypothetical, you could consider the consequences if Reading’s entire sewage system failed permanently.

    I have spent several months in Reading, and you could well be right. It wouldn’t really make a blind bit of difference to the place.

  12. aardvark wrote, “if Gnu/Linux disappeared tomorrow, it would inconvenience Microsoft (the business) not one whit.”

    Straw man. That will never happen. GNU/Linux may eventually evolve into something else but there’s no disease or situation on the horizon that’s likely to knock out GNU/Linux. M$ and buddies certainly tried.

  13. Clarence Moon wrote of retailers selling GNU/Linux units online, “that hardly qualifies as “retail”.”

    Retailers selling retail does not qualify as “retail”? Hmmm.

  14. Clarence Moon says:

    …in some places

    Not around here, I am sure. You find on-line sources in Asia and South America, as I recall, but that hardly qualifies as “retail”.

  15. aardvark says:

    Mr Pogson:

    Contributing to Gnu/Linux is not at all the same thing as having a dependency on Gnu/Linux. But I’m misrepresenting you:

    “GNU/Linux is part of every business these days, even M$’s.”

    Yup, you’re correct. Microsoft spends time and effort to make sure that things like virtual machines running Windows (which will earn them license fees) will work properly. This is either evil of them, or not evil, depending upon your perspective.

    It’s a fairly modest claim to prominence, though, isn’t it? After all, the local print shop in Redmond is probably “part of Microsoft’s business.” So is the sewage system in Reading, UK.

    One key difference is that, if Gnu/Linux disappeared tomorrow, it would inconvenience Microsoft (the business) not one whit. Were the same to happen to the sewage system, or even the print shop, this would not be the case.

  16. “commit d1883e7052eeffca3f42922bb31fa44d0992c6a6
    Author: K. Y. Srinivasan
    Date: Tue Dec 27 13:49:37 2011 -0800

    Drivers:hv: Fix a bug in vmbus_driver_unregister()

    commit 8f257a142fc3868d69de3f996b95d7bdbc509560 upstream.

    The function vmbus_exists() was introduced recently to deal with cases where
    the vmbus driver failed to initialize and yet other Hyper-V drivers attempted
    to register with the vmbus bus driver. This patch introduced a bug where
    vmbus_driver_unregister() would fail to unregister the driver. This patch
    fixes the problem.

    Signed-off-by: K. Y. Srinivasan
    Signed-off-by: Fuzhou Chen
    Cc: Sasha Levin
    Signed-off-by: Greg Kroah-Hartman

    That’s from, one of many contributions from M$.

  17. aardvark says:

    Mr Pogson:

    Well, I suppose a little self-contradiction is a small price to pay for righteousness. Clarification is good for the soul, though, I hear.

    “GNU/Linux is part of every business these days, even M$’s.”

    Is it? Is it really? And spare me the guff about how routers run on Linux. At that point, you’re basically saying that all businesses run on de-oxygenated sand.

    Try to force software under the GPL through Microsoft lawyers, on the other hand, and you’ll swiftly discover that Microsoft relies on no such thing — even if it should.

  18. GNU/Linux is part of every business these days, even M$’s.

  19. aardvark says:

    Mr Pogson:

    “GNU/Linux is big business now.”

    Well, according to you, it was no such thing, just a few short days ago:

    “NEWS, FOLKS! Linux is not a business. GNU/Linux is not a business either. It requires no business plan to succeed in any space apart from desktops and requires none to succeed in the desktop space.”

    I suspect you should choose one or the other path.

  20. Dell, Lenovo, Acer and HP all ship GNU/Linux PCs to retailers in some places.

  21. Clarence Moon says:

    Suppose…How many OEMs would start shipping */Linux to retail stores?

    My guess is none, same as now.

  22. In 2007, when I started this blog, share of desktops for that other OS was very high, now Wikimedia reports 73%. In 2009 they reported 90%. It’s happening but more slowly than I like. For a monopoly, losing share is deadly. Once it starts there is no limit to how fast it can happen. Suppose businesses decide XP or “7” will be their last desktop OS from M$. How many OEMs would start shipping */Linux to retail stores?

  23. oiaohm says:

    Viktor Microsoft is failing to build a foothold in the new markets. Same thing happened to Sun Microsystems.

    Sun Microsystems hold the record still for the most number of years of negative revenue and still trading. 13 years.

    Large companies don’t die fast.

    The slide of Microsoft currently looks to be following the shape of Sun. Sun failed to get a foot hold in the New PC market. There Mainframe Market was slowly consumed by tech from the PC Market leading to there slow but gradual demise.

    Before you say porting to ARM will save MS. Problem here the SOC makers are currently not supporting MS on a lot of chips.

    Reality says there is going to be a collapse of Microsoft. Problem is death from the collapse could be 30 years off.

    A full arm system costs under 100 dollars. By Microsoft own tolerable sales metrics means the software price has to be under 10 dollars. Ever wonder why companies are starting to fight patents tooth and nail. Yes its a $10 amount to be split between all patent holders wanting to be paid and all software makers wanting to be paid.

    So in the future ARM market MS will be lucky to make 5 dollars per unit. This is a reduction in income of about 1/10. You say sell more units due to new market opening up. If ms had 90 percent on phones and arm tech they are still looking at revenues at-least cut in half.

    This is of course not allowing for the success of current government migrations to Linux. Again this blows more holes in MS markets.

    The question is how much market damage can MS take.

  24. Viktor says:

    I don’t ever see M$ dying.

    How come? You’ve been promising Microsoft’s collapse for years now. I will be there when you fail. Then you can go into the woods, live as an eremite, and repent.

  25. “Desktop” has multiple meanings, a graphical user interface on a screen with pointing device and keyboard and a box intended to be used as a computer near a desk. I associate both terms with thick and thin clients. Thin clients are more than 10% installed base and growing in double digits per annum by percentage in shipments. ATXish boxes are flat, declining in old markets and growing well in new markets, notebooks are growing in emerging markets. “The desktop is dying” simply means there is no longer a necessity to have a box on a desk. Mobile is taking a huge share of what formerly was Wintel’s playground. The computing share done on a box that never leaves a desk is certainly shrinking. My wife and I do more than 80% of our computing on servers. This is exactly M$’s “nightmare scenario” that the world does not require one hard drive and one or more licences from M$ on each computing device. Eventually the share that matches M$’s old business model will drop to ~20%, probably within a couple of years. Look at M$’s revenue: business (office suite, mostly) and desktop (that other OS, mostly) is not growing. With the decline of the desktop, M$’s business will have to innovate or shrink. I don’t ever see M$ dying. They could live off their interest indefinitely…

  26. oiaohm says:

    Phenom what is the tech requirement differences between running an Android phone and a Desktop at Kernel level.

    Answer absolutely nothing.

    So there is no reason to call the desktop dead not at least at Linux kernel level since everything desktop users want have to be implemented to support Android. So phones and desktop to the Linux world are very much the same.

    Only a narrow mind twit would say call the Linux desktop dead and give up on it.

    Death of the PC desktop as dominate. Does not mean that Linux cannot be dominate on what is left of the Desktop style interface market.

    The reason why MS Windows Desktop is so doomed is the tech requirements between phones and desktop are becoming exactly the same. Death of the PC desktop is not the end of the Linux Desktop.

    Linux desktops already exist in phones as an appear when docked item.

    The Linux battle for desktop is also a battle for when docked space on phones. Heck even in time a direct fight for control of phones is on the cards.

    The battle for desktop space from where Linux is working is broader than MS battle for desktop space.

    Windows 8 on phones might bring MS into the same game. But this is going to cut into MS revenue.

    The war for the desktop OS of the future is not being fort on the PC hardware its being fort mobile phone to mobile phone.

  27. Phenom says:

    Illustrous example of cognitive dissonance, Mr. Pogson. You preach both death of Desktop and the victory of Linux on Desktop at the same time.

    Is that because you are in the passing phase of knowing Linux is dead on desktop (as everyone does these days), but you don’t want to admit it, and trying to make desktop as goal irrelevant by declaring it dead?

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