GNU/Linux Has Taken Off

Again, a big article was written to support a false thesis:
“why hasn’t Linux on the desktop taken off?”

In it Maria Korolov trots out a long list of “problems” with GNU/linux for large businesses. Here’s an example: “a typical organization will have one application for every 10 users, and, today, about half of those applications require the Windows operating system”

That makes no sense at all. It means businesses, money-making organizations, are foolishly paying for far too many applications. The largest organizations on the planet are governments and as we saw in Munich, it is worthwhile to shed unnecessary applications and rationalize the rest.

Then, there’s training. As if using a desktop paradigm that has been around for two decades requires a lot of training for users familiar with XP! I have often handed a GNU/Linux desktop over to a visitor with no hand-holding and some are not even aware that it is not that other OS. Munich found it did not reach its budget for training even though they were formal about it. Networking amongst staff costs little, is a part of normal business and gets the job done without phoning IT.

Even money. TFA suggests that the savings in licensing are eaten up by higher support costs. Nonsense! What about the malware and slowing down and re-re-reboots and Patch Tuesday? That costs a lot. There’s huge saving in using a package manager such as APT to manage a fleet of PCs. Large organizations like the French national police, IBM, Google, Munich, have no problem at all saving money with FLOSS.

Get over it, Maria. The world does not owe M$ a living.

For a good laugh, read Why Linux is a desktop flop

The bottom line? Even if everything in TFA article were true, none of it applies to non-business use of IT which is huge. The same people who quote NetApplications as stating GNU/Linux is 1% of something have nothing to say when NetApplications shows the region around San Francisco, USA, has 28% GNU/Linux clients. That would not happen if anything in TFA were true.

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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59 Responses to GNU/Linux Has Taken Off

  1. gewg_ says:

    Running 21 versions of M$’s closed-source OS throughout your ecosystem is simply insane.
    If for no other reason than ease of administration, picking a single Linux distro for everything is a no-brainer.
    The fact that the ones and zeros have an initial $0 cost and don’t have recurring licensing costs is just a bonus.

    …not to mention the subsequent required purchases of newer -hardware- to get compatible device drivers for M$’s latest glop.

    Running hundreds of different EULAware apps, each with its own license terms (ask Sterling Ball of Ernie Ball, Inc.) and its own proprietary data format and using e.g. VBA macros for scripting, well, that’s also nuts.

    FOSS apps (and open formats) are much easier to handle (and are more future-proof). Ask the government of Norway or Malaysia or Extremadura or …

    …and Munich’s primary reason for switching to FOSS was to gain control of the source code for all of their software; that’s impossible with EULAware.

    Take a hint from Munich and the rest of the most forward-looking governments, NGOs, and businesses:
    Get off the treadmill to Crazy Town; use GPL’d FOSS (aka Linux).

    …and I remember how “well” M$-compatible packaging systems worked–yielding multiple copies of the -same- DLL scattered all over my HDD.
    …plus leaving turds everywhere when something was “uninstalled”.
    Make life easy on yourself: Use APT (or a package manager with GUI front end); those come free with Linux.

  2. oiaohm says:

    ch
    “And even more with AD, GPOs and MSI – provided you know how to use it, of course.”
    Really I have ended up using wpkg along side AD at times due to the fact MSI wrapping of applications is not what you call exactly dependable.

    Great fun to find out many machines have not got updates because MSI has failed on the machine completely.

    Anyone who signs MSI as a solution normally has not worked with it long enough to know its evil glitches.

    AD and GPO’s yes. wpkg is a javascript solution that works 100 percent dependable.

    WPKG and apt also has the advantage of being able to vet what is installed. MSI does not that is where the problem comes in. If MSI records get stuffed up because someone powered off the wrong time it can be a pain to fix.

    MSI is very poor grade package management.

  3. Viktor wrote, “Munich wasn’t “locked in” because of Microsoft, they were “locked in” because of insane fragmentation at nearly every level of their IT structure. It was a grave they themselves shoveled.”

    Of course the administrative structure of their IT was a mess but so was the infrastructure of their IT: NT 4 going away, XP/2003 was a complete “fork-lift” upgrade (as oldman likes to say), two steps on the Wintel treadmill. They had been “managing” their machines without inActive Directory, for instance, each department doing their own thing. M$ promoted that chaos so they could eventually sell inActiveDirectory/2003 as “necessary” when it was only necessary for folks using their OS. Others could have used LDAP.

  4. ch says:

    > For a good laugh, read

    Laugh? No, after reading that article I felt more like crying … crying that someone had spellt it all out for you, and instead of learning something you choose to just close your eyes and shout “But it ain’t so! It cannot be! It must not be!”

    > It means businesses, money-making organizations, are foolishly paying for far too many applications.

    It is rarely a good idea to assume that everyone around you must be stupid – not even when you’re really intelligent, and much less so if you’re, well, Robert Pogson writing about business.

    You don’t know the least bit about what those people are doing for a job, you don’t know what these applications are doing, you don’t know anything about the situation – but somehow all these other people and businesses must be stupid.

    > What about the malware and slowing down and re-re-reboots and Patch Tuesday? That costs a lot.

    Yes – if you have a tinkerer doing the administration. With a competent IT staff, it doesn’t.

    > There’s huge saving in using a package manager such as APT to manage a fleet of PCs.

    And even more with AD, GPOs and MSI – provided you know how to use it, of course.

  5. Viktor says:

    Huh? Have you read what I wrote? Munich wasn’t “locked in” because of Microsoft, they were “locked in” because of insane fragmentation at nearly every level of their IT structure. It was a grave they themselves shoveled.

    “Adopting Linux” (A) and “consolidating/standardizing the IT landscape” (B) are not interdependent. The former isn’t a prerequisite for the latter. B doesn’t follow from A.

  6. Viktor wrote, “Munich’s IT landscape was hell on earth. Merely switching to Linux didn’t miraculously fix this. They had to consolidate all this shit anyways, regardless of the OS.

    That’s the big white lie that’s in there. Munich isn’t a Linux success story. Before that it’s a story of utter administrative failure. But every Linux apologist today likes to claim that Linux was Munich’s “silver bullet”.”

    Right on! Every system using that other OS is a nightmare but a lot of the nightmare results from depending on M$. M$ keeps changing things and making them more complex, adding “features”. Munich fell for that and dug a deep hole of lock-in. They are now out of the hole. A lot of the lock-in is unnecessary complexity and obscurity in IT. They would have had to do something about that with that other OS but with GNU/Linux they can actually fix the problems because it is allowed by the licence. That other OS forbids just about every reasonable measure.

    My deepest entanglement with that other OS was a nightmarare. There were only 100 PCs but there were a steady stream of “critical” updates, zero-day vulnerabilities, machines refusing to boot, “profiles” getting lost, passwords needing reset (only partially due to that other OS making access to PCs difficult for students because there were not nearly enough PCs), and mysterious “pauses” where servers would not respond randomly and PCs would not take their updates. They had 7 servers where only 1 or 2 for redundancy were needed. Believe, me, a lot of mistakes were made setting up that system and many of them were choosing that other OS to run IT.

  7. Viktor says:

    That’s the problem with Munich. We’ll never know how much money was saved — or not. Because the bulk of the work had nothing to do with the operating system.

    Some quotes from here:

    “The Munich City Council’s defining criteria was a very heterogeneous IT technology.”

    “[…] 340 ‘Fachverfahren’ (specialized procedures, basically a defined set of data, applications acting on said data and (standardized) interfaces), 170 of them Mainframe-based.”

    “Additionally about 300 off-the-shelf applications are used. For example, in all 12 departments combined almost every available HTML editor required by the internet editors was used.”

    “The file service is based on two different concepts. […] Munich’s server infrastructure is noteworthy for not using server software by Microsoft.”

    “[…] It’s easy to see that different concepts of operation, user management and support exist. There are nearly no mutual, standardized system management procedures (software distribution, user support, …).”

    Munich’s IT landscape was hell on earth. Merely switching to Linux didn’t miraculously fix this. They had to consolidate all this shit anyways, regardless of the OS.

    That’s the big white lie that’s in there. Munich isn’t a Linux success story. Before that it’s a story of utter administrative failure. But every Linux apologist today likes to claim that Linux was Munich’s “silver bullet”.

  8. gewg_ says:

    Yet another post into the bin.

  9. gewg_ says:

    When I think of Munich’s transition, I’m reminded of the wallhanging some engineers have:
    Good. Fast. Cheap: Pick 2.
    It seems Munich is doing a huge amount of user hand-holding and is obsessed with getting it right down to the finest details. Heh, Germans. Who’da thunk it.

    …then there’s Extremadura which hit the trifecta and migrated 80,000 boxes to Linux over a single weekend back in 2005.

  10. oiaohm says:

    Ivan
    “So why is it acceptable for a Google subsidiary to sue over patents?”
    Motorola patents were free for Microsoft and anyone else to use at no charge as long as they did not attempt to block Motorola from selling products with patents by pre case injunctions. What Microsoft did over fat patents to attempt to get Motorola to pay up over fat patents that Motorola went on to prove were bogus patents. Motorola is kinda pissed about the disruption to sales.

    Yes you still could take Motorola to court and fight for payment of patents. But you patent must be valid before you attempt a injunction against Motorola or you don’t have a license to use Motorola’s patents.

    Microsoft attempted to block Motorola products from sale now all hell breaks loss. Result if Motorola will accept payment is a 4 billion dollar charge per year on Microsoft due to Microsoft not having a free license to use Motorola patents any more

    Problem is Motorola is not legally required to accept payment in cash in a case like this. Lease buy all the rights to the NT based operating systems is an option they could go.

    This is why MS is screaming Motorola is using there monopoly powers over video codec’s and network protocols. If that don’t work Microsoft could be dead. All because Microsoft stupidly bit one of the hands that was feeding them. And the hand they bit has the power to kill them out right if someone does not step in and stop them.

    Ivan the Motorola case against Microsoft is a direct result of the Microsoft case against Motorola. People standing in glass houses should not throw the first stone because when someone throws stone back they will get badly hurt.

    Viktor the problem here is the German case is not the important one. The USA case on if Motorola is allowed to use Frand patents this way was dependant on the German case winning to this point. And if Motorola wins the USA case its a world wide ban.

    What happens in the German higher courts after that means nothing if the USA case is won because Microsoft would be force to not to provide the items to German in the first place.

    “The Seattle judge three weeks ago forbade Motorola to enforce a possible sales ban in Germany in order to not disturb its court hearing [in the US].”

    Its this case is the worry. Motorola has just proved they can win the case in German court. If they win in USA court as well. Game over Microsoft.

    Now of course even if Motorola don’t win another company in future might.

    Also Motorola due to not being a USA based firm yet. Motorola does not have to obey a USA court order forbidding anything in a overseas country. So technically Motorola can take the judge in USA for overstepping. Its Motorola good nature that they are even obeying the USA courts over the German ruling. They don’t have to. But not obeying the USA courts might lose their chance to a global ban. Motorola goal is not some small regional ban. Its pull Microsoft products from shelves globally.

  11. Ivan says:

    So you are ok with lawsuits as long as you are a fan of the company or they are suing Microsoft, got it.

  12. oldman says:

    “Where the Hell do all those web and HPC servers come from?”

    What do they have to do with personal desktops?

    1. “In August 2011, we entered into an Agreement and Plan of Merger with Motorola, a provider of innovative technologies, products and services that enable a range of mobile and wireline digital communication, information and entertainment experiences, under which we will acquire Motorola for $40 per share in cash, or a total of approximately $12.5 billion. The completion of this transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including the receipt of certain regulatory approvals. In the event the Merger Agreement is terminated due to a failure to obtain certain regulatory approvals, we would be required to pay Motorola a fee of $2.5 billion. The transaction is currently expected to close in the first half of 2012.” The deal has still not been finalized.
    2. Motorola is counter-suing M$. That’s Fair and Reasonable to me.
  13. Ivan says:

    So why is it acceptable for a Google subsidiary to sue over patents?

  14. Clarence Moon wrote, “Your claim that there are a lot of them is bogus.”

    Where the Hell do all those web and HPC servers come from?

    Clarence Moon wrote, “There is no category for “no OS servers” because there are next to none of them and consequently no one cares.”

    That’s because IDC is not counting units but $. It’s easier. They get reports from accountants at the various OEMs. IDC just doesn’t bother to subtract revenue for server type X from total revenue Y.

    HP: Q1 2012 Net Revenue from Servers, networking and storage $5billion.
    IDC: Q4 2011 Server revenue for HP: $3.7 billion.

    There could be as much as $1.3billion no-OS servery. HP does not break down their revenue to actual servers but in the last annual report wrote, “Industry standard servers accounted for more than 10% of our consolidated net revenue in fiscal 2011”. The consolidated net revenue was $127billion.

  15. Clarence Moon says:

    A lot of GNU/Linux units leave the factory with no OS and are installed with what GNU/Linux distro a business is using

    If they were Linux units they would be counted. If they were anything else, they would be counted. Your claim that there are a lot of them is bogus. There is no category for “no OS servers” because there are next to none of them and consequently no one cares.

    What some amateur does on his or her own is not very important to world commerce. If there were any significant numbers of these machines manufactured each year, they would be reported somewhere, but they are not. Ergo, they do not exist except in your dreams.

  16. Thank you for the translation. Google seems to garble German in translation.

  17. Viktor says:

    Ohio Ham, I will employ my translation skills for you:

    Der Richter in Seattle hatte Motorola vor drei Wochen untersagt, ein in Deutschland mögliches Vertriebsverbot durchzusetzen, um sein Verfahren nicht zu beeinträchtigen. Zumindest bis zum nächsten Termin des US-Verfahrens bleibt es Motorola damit verboten, das Mannheimer Urteil auch durchzusetzen. Zudem ist zu erwarten, dass Microsoft in Deutschland in Berufung gehen und das Oberlandesgericht bitten wird, die Verfügung bis zur endgültigen Klärung des Verfahrens auszusetzen. So ist nicht damit zu rechnen, dass Windows 7 oder die Xbox kurzfristig aus deutschen Läden verschwinden.

    The Seattle judge three weeks ago forbade Motorola to enforce a possible sales ban in Germany in order to not disturb its court hearing [in the US]. Thus Motorola is not allowed to enforce the Mannheim judgment, at least till to the next court appointment. Furthermore it’s to be expected that Microsoft will appeal in Germany and ask the higher regional court to suspend the court order until the whole issue is resolved definitely. Therefore it’s not very likely that Windows 7 or the Xbox will disappear from German stores at short notice.

    http://www.heise.de/newsticker/meldung/Motorola-erwirkt-Vertriebsverbot-gegen-Microsoft-1565249.html

  18. Clarence Moon wrote, “depending on how you want to count it.”

    I want to count it in units shipped and installed locally. A lot of GNU/Linux units leave the factory with no OS and are installed with what GNU/Linux distro a business is using. I have converted a lot of Lose 2003 to GNU/Linux because 2003 was useless to a fleet of GNU/Linux clients.

    HPC and web servers can be counted in units and that other OS is second-rate by a long shot. I presume the same is true for LANs except for the hand-holding OS running inActive Directory or serving files to “7”.

  19. Viktor wrote, “Tell me again how HP is forced to put Microsoft Windows on their computers.”

    OK, here goes:

    • In the beginning IBM created the IBM PC and all the businesses that were in IBM’s camp using mainframes and wanting lower costs by using PCs started using IBM and IBM-compatible PCs.
    • A huge ISV industry built up making software for IBM-compatible PCs running DOS.
    • When the GUI came along all those applications moved to the only GUI found on IBM-compatible PCs.
    • Any OEM selling PCs to businesses had to provide M$’s OS because that’s all that would run the huge installed base of applications.

    To have switched to GNU/Linux in the 1990s OEMs would have to forego the bulk of their sales. On narrow margins that was untenable. In the 21st century we now have plenty of GNU/Linux applications so that’s no longer as big a problem especially when many businesses are using web applications but M$ extended the monopoly to servers with M$-only libraries fed to ISVs so some are still locked in. As we have seen with */Linux on smart thingies, without that monopoly, M$ is not selling.

  20. Clarence Moon says:

    Microsoft’s share in the server market is far higher than that.

    It depends on what you use to define share. The IDC and Gartner figures posted here now and then show that close to 50% of the dollar volume of servers sold annually have a Windows Server OS installed. By unit volume, it is well over 50%. The server market for Microsoft is thus some 3 to 4 times the size of the Linux based business, depending on how you want to count it.

    In terms of money received for the server OS itself, Microsoft has essentially 100% share since the Red Hat and SUSE only get “support” money and no charge is made for the licenses involved. Ditto the proprietary UNIX versions from HP or IBM or Oracle. The common wisdom assigns support money to the same pot as license money and calls it the “OS Market”. Microsoft has a 78% share of that identified entity.

    Linux appeals to the non-critical segment such as web servers or network file storage situations where performance is controlled by applications, not the OS. It is indeed free cost and so why pay more if you know what you are about. That is a far different situation than what happens on the desktop.

  21. iLia wrote about Maykop…

    Google translation of the linked article:
    “In connection with the decision to reduce the costs of administration launched a project to move to the ACT. Windows and Microsoft Office on the computers of employees (about 300 machines) were replaced Linux and Open Office. At that time, the system of municipal order and mail are actively functioning. migration began with the transfer of orders for Lotus, which supports Linux. Transfer Lotus consisted of two parts: the first part of the Lotus server moved from Windows Server to Linux. Client-side and migrated easily enough, but there was a problem – for it does not include support for the Russian language. Attempts to appeal for support was not successful, and as a result of migration has been temporarily suspended. Go to Open Office went more smoothly, but users who are accustomed to working with Microsoft Office, had to learn the work in Open Office, and therefore the increase in the number of requests for through to IT professionals. Also, have trouble reading the documents, the information that was not displayed when viewed in Open Office. Because of the threat of data loss the staff had to re-view office documents with the Microsoft. introduction of a free program for handling faxes went without hitches, but the OCR needed to purchase a specialized paid app, which significantly reduced the effect of savings. Informatsizatsii management also failed to solve the problem of the introduction of systems “guarantor” and “consultant” on top of an open platform. Evaluation of the migration to open source software has led to mixed results. The main advantage of the savings on licenses presented. However, the need to alter the system of municipal procurement staff and increase the burden on IT staff, and lack of quality support played a role. “

    Since when does Linux not support Russian on servers? A server moves files and data and anyone in any language can interact with it.
    /etc/local.gen:
    “# ru_RU ISO-8859-5
    # ru_RU.CP1251 CP1251
    # ru_RU.KOI8-R KOI8-R
    # ru_RU.UTF-8 UTF-8
    # ru_UA KOI8-U
    # ru_UA.UTF-8 UTF-8

    Further, the installation process is abundantly supported in Russian and is pretty smooth as far as I have seen. Maybe they didn’t use Debian GNU/Linux. I am sure there are Russian distros such as those used by Moscow.

    Tesseract is $free and works very well on my documents.

    The chief problem seems to be they were locked in and could not find the key.

  22. oiaohm says:

    Really Microsoft fans what are you going todo if Motorola fully wins.
    http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-17924190

    So resulting in Windows 7 Windows 8 Windows 2008…. All banned from sale. Even possibility of being supported.

    Us people using Linux are not going to fell a thing. This include Munich. Munich had done a proper risk assessment.

  23. Viktor wrote, “Why do you think that Microsoft’s Server division saw their revenue go up by 14 percent for Q3 2012?”

    M$:“Unearned revenue by segment

    Server and Tools $5,743 million”

    They get to collect cash in advance and declare it whenever they want…

    “Server and Tools develops and markets technology and related services that enable information technology professionals and their systems to be more productive and efficient. Server and Tools product and service offerings include Windows Server, Microsoft SQL Server, Windows Azure, Visual Studio, System Center products, Windows Embedded device platforms, and Enterprise Services. Enterprise Services comprise Premier product support services and Microsoft Consulting Services. We also offer developer tools, training, and certification. Approximately 50% of Server and Tools revenue comes primarily from multi-year volume licensing agreements, approximately 30% is purchased through transactional volume licensing programs, retail packaged product and licenses sold to OEMs, and the remainder comes from Enterprise Services.
    Three months ended March 31, 2012 compared with three months ended March 31, 2011
    Server and Tools revenue increased in both product sales and Enterprise Services. Product revenue increased $396 million or 12%, driven primarily by growth in SQL Server, Windows Server, and System Center, reflecting continued adoption of Windows platform applications. Enterprise Services revenue grew in both Premier product support and consulting services.
    Server and Tools operating income increased primarily due to revenue growth, offset in part by higher costs of providing products and services.
    Nine months ended March 31, 2012 compared with nine months ended March 31, 2011
    Server and Tools revenue increased in both product sales and Enterprise Services. Product revenue increased $980 million or 10%, driven primarily by growth in SQL Server, Windows Server, and System Center, reflecting continued adoption of Windows platform applications. Enterprise Services revenue grew in both Premier product support and consulting services.
    Server and Tools operating income increased primarily due to revenue growth, offset in part by higher costs of providing products and services.”

    Unlike the desktop monopoly, M$ actually has to do some work for servers, so their margin is much lower, 1738/4572 = 38%.

    Nathan Myhrvold , M$, 1993:
    “A scalable operating system which covers both the mainstream desktop PC and the realm of high end desktops and servers will also extend high leverage software to those areas.”

    So, they lock businesses in to the desktop monopoly and extend that monopoly to the server. That’s what they planned and have achieved in business. That’s not about any sort of superiority of technology, just abuse of the market. When the desktop monopoly is truly dead, so will die the monopoly on server OS. Where the grand plan is breaking down is the assumption that M$’s OS is scalable. They cannot have a monopoly on smart thingies because the lies don’t work there in the face of the success of */Linux. There is no Big Brother IBM granting them monopoly on the smart thingies. What a difference a monopoly makes.

  24. Herr Blatt says:

    „Not the server OS market.“

    Actually MS has ~15% market share in this segment, and 15% is much better than 1.5%. And people pay money for it. Why?

    Microsoft’s share in the server market is far higher than that.

    15% is the _web server_ percentage. On corporate backend servers MS is far stronger than that. Think of all the Active Directory domain controllers, Exchange, Sharepoint and so on.

    Almost every office with more than five Windows computers runs these.

  25. Andrew says:

    “…Actually MS has ~15% market share in this segment, and 15% is much better than 1.5%. And people pay money for it. Why?..”

    “Clarify? Don’t you get it?”

    Thanks for the clarification. Having a 15% market share of oranges is better than having 1.5% market share of apples.

  26. Viktor says:

    Clarify? Don’t you get it? Pogson constantly claims that Windows on servers is not happening. It is happening. Why do you think that Microsoft’s Server division saw their revenue go up by 14 percent for Q3 2012? You can’t attract people any longer by chanting: “It’s free!”

    And the 1.5% are Linux’s Desktop market share, where Pogson also likes to claim that it’s far more than 1.5% and that all the available data is wrong.

    So, to reiterate, everything is contrary to Pogson’s claims: Windows Server is successful, Desktop Linux stagnates.

  27. Andrew says:

    “Not the server OS market.”

    “…Actually MS has ~15% market share in this segment, and 15% is much better than 1.5%. And people pay money for it. Why?..”

    Are you stating Linux has 1.5% of the server market? Would you clarify that?

  28. iLia says:

    Maykop, a Russian city has recently switched back to Windows.

    It means businesses, money-making organizations, are foolishly paying for far too many applications.

    At least this people are smart enough to be able to earn this money. And then they make decision to spend it on MS stuff. Why?

    It means businesses, money-making organizations, are foolishly paying for far too many applications.

    Or maybe there is no good alternatives on Linux?
    It means businesses, money-making organizations, are foolishly paying for far too many applications.

    YouDontNeedIt, there should be a trademark for it.

    None of the problems Munich encountered were about GNU/Linux but politics

    Of cause, Linux is perfect there is no malware, no vulnerabilities, and when people have problem with it is because they are not smart enough to use linux, actually almost no one is smart enough to use it!

    Not the server OS market.

    Actually MS has ~15% market share in this segment, and 15% is much better than 1.5%. And people pay money for it. Why?

    Not the high performance computing market.

    So what?

    The world does not evolve around the Microsoft desktop. For you it apparently does. Good luck with that.

    Thank you! MS desktop is really great, even XP is better than Ubuntu 11.10. No reboots with XP.

    bout half of those applications require the Windows operating system

    Ups! Surprise! And almost all open source software works on Windows, thus if you want to save some money using open source, you can keep you Windows, use open source and your old apps without porting them on Linux.

    No one needs Linux as desktop OS!

  29. Viktor says:

    Crap! M$ forced exclusive deals on the OEMs.

    Bullsh*t!

    Tell me again how HP is forced to put Microsoft Windows on their computers. Why don’t they support Linux more, meaning: why don’t they make sure that their stuff runs perfectly with Linux? OEM contracts where HP feels like they have gotten the short end of the stick have got nothing to do with any monopoly.

    I’ll write it again, for you to get it: Microsoft has a natural monopoly on Windows, but not on the operating system market.

    You’re always insinuating that Linux is ripe for the desktop. Then why should HP be afraid to lose Windows? They can just call it quits. They can sell computers with Linux, or computers without an operating system. They can of their free will get out of such an “unhealthy” relationship. They haven’t sworn a blood oath to Microsoft, if I recall correctly.

    Or are they in fact afraid of not selling computers if these don’t come pre-loaded with Windows?

    Microsoft has no absolute power over OEMs. If those don’t want Windows on their computers they just can have it their way.

  30. Viktor wrote, “They have a monopoly on Windows, which happened naturally, as every producer of a unique enough good becomes a monopolist.”

    Crap! M$ forced exclusive deals on the OEMs.

    HP to M$: “Our Customers hold HP accountable for their dissatisfaction with our products. We bear for the cost of returns of our products. We are responsible for the cost of technical support of our customers, including the 33% of calls we get related to the lack of quality or confusion generated by your product. And finally we are responsible for our success or failtue in the retail PC market.

    We must have more ability to decide how our system is presented to our end users.

    If we had a choice of another supplier, based on your actions in this area, I assure you would not be our supplier of choice.

    I strongly urge you to have your executives review these decisions and to change this unacceptable policy.
    Regards,
    John Romano
    HPD R&D Manager”
    see http://www.justice.gov/atr/cases/exhibits/309.pdf

  31. kozmcrae says:

    Viktor wrote:

    “Koz, your hissy fits are getting out of hand.”

    It’s even too much for me to get that far from the technical aspect of the discussion to parse your melt down Viktor. The world does not evolve around the Microsoft desktop. For you it apparently does. Good luck with that.

  32. Viktor says:

    The market is growing and M$’s monopoly is not. That’s it folks.

    That has to be the most lunatic cop-out ever written. Which “monopoly” has Microsoft again? I’d say they don’t have monopoly at all. They have a monopoly on Windows, which happened naturally, as every producer of a unique enough good becomes a monopolist. But since there is an alternative OS, namely Linux, they don’t have a monopoly on operating systems. Every computer manufacturer can choose freely to pre-install Linux on his computers. No manufacturer has to pay the Microsoft “tax”.

  33. Clarence Moon says:

    The installed-base as measured by others is dropping rapidly indicating share of shipped PCs carrying the burden of that other OS is way down.

    This is from the same guy that also said above:

    Show us the money

    It may be that we all get our way, Mr. Pogson. Microsoft gets some $20B per year for the Windows client OS and incidentals. They also get a billion or so from the Android OEMs for licenses to use Microsoft patents that are otherwise infringed by Android. No one else is really getting any money at all for client OS, whether on a PC, or a phone, or a tablet. So we can say that Microsoft is getting virtually all of the money in the game.

    That should be enough for them, eh? Now you say that Microsoft is losing somehow because they do not have all of the attention of everyone all the time. Well, that is certainly true and, as you have claimed on numerous occasions, it is likely that a large number of people do not even know they are using Windows, since they pay no attention to such things and merely use what comes with the machine.

    The PC product market is relatively mature as high-tech markets go and I am sure that Microsoft is happy as a clam seeing their cash cow remain productive year after year. They seem to work fairly diligently to remain sort of relevant with the Xbox/Kinect, Ford’s Sync, the Nokia partnership, and now the B&N joint venture for e-books. Do you give them an “E” for effort?

  34. Prong Reboots says:

    Robert, the definition is clear and unambiguous. In order to qualify as a monopoly, a single vendor must be the sole provider. You again contradict the definition by advancing a metric of 90%, which is merely a high market concentration. Furthermore, you have repeatedly, and, again, even in this topic, expressed grave doubts over the validity of NetApplications’ figures, so why advance them in an argument?

  35. It’s still debatable whether or not M$ “owns” the market for desktop OS. Their share appears to be shrinking fast. If we accept that smart thingies are PCs, then M$’s share is already less than 50% of units shipped.

    Globally, in Q1 2012, tablets were 19% of all PC shipments. In USA the number was 36%. If you count smart phones, it’s no contest because more were shipped than PCs.

    The market is growing and M$’s monopoly is not. That’s it folks. There’s no reason at all that folks who use Android/Linux on smart phones and tablets will not welcome it on desktop machines. All it takes is a couple of connectors and a tablet becomes a general purpose PC. Many tablets are not designed for that, but there’s no technical barrier, it’s just targeting the mobile market that causes limits to be there. Those limits are soft. We’ve seen a few desktop units and a few tablet-docks that get close. Expect a lot more by Christmas.

  36. Herr Blatt says:

    If you ever come to Munich, you will find that you use Windows when using public transportation, when buying tickets for public transportation, and so on and so forth.

    Fun fact: Here in Berlin, all the underground trains have monitors installed, where news are displayed etc.

    Here’s a picture:

    train monitor

    Anyway, the system isn’t exactly complicated, all it does is playing a video file in a loop (it seems so at least)

    I thought they ran Linux, because just about every OS could do this, and why licensing an OS for that.. well, fact is these thingies run on Windows 98.

    I know this, because I have seen a Windows 98 failure message displayed on them once (Now don’t flip out of joy Pogson, in ten years this was the only time I have seen that).

    That was around two years ago by the way.

    Berlin has lots of metro trains. And in every train are around 20 of these computers.

    Imagine that, they would rather pay for Win 98(!) for all these systems than using Linux.

  37. Prong Reboots wrote, “monopoly, which means they are the only supplier of a particular commodity”.

    In common parlance we hear:

    • a PC is a personal computer with that other OS installed in the factory – monopoly of mindshare
    • my local Walmart has only “PC”s running that other OS – monopoly of retail shelves, at least in some parts of the world
    • NetApplications reports webstats of ~90% – monopoly in the installed-base of PCs
    • M$ sets its prices without regard to competition – monopoly power in the market place for PC operating systems

    So, there is no doubt M$ has a monopoly. My point is that the monopoly is weakening everywhere. The installed-base as measured by others is dropping rapidly indicating share of shipped PCs carrying the burden of that other OS is way down. */Linux is appearing on retail shelves at my local Walmart but still not on x86/amd64 PCs. I expect that will soon change because people want small cheap computers and many millions now see that small cheap mobile computers not carrying the burden of that other OS do very well.

    So, the monopoly is dying at various rates in various situations. There is not a single market for IT. The only place I see the monopoly having any strength is on retail shelves. In many countries one can go into retail stores and buy GNU/Linux PCs, just not in Canada widely yet.

    In Canada, the Competition Bureau is set up to protect businesses from unfair competition and they have not recognized that the lack of complaints comes from M$’s partners. That is changing as many small businesses now have opportunities to bid on government contracts and such using FLOSS products. It’s just a matter of time before M$’s monopoly is recognized for what it is, illegal restraint of trade. I would bet the retail shelves will be opened up to competition before government gets its act together.

  38. Viktor says:

    Koz, your hissy fits are getting out of hand.

    Neither the high performance computing market, nor the mobile market, nor the server market has anything to do directly with me when I use Windows a my Desktop OS. You can’t comprehend that, or can you? I don’t own a supercomputer, I don’t own an Android phone, I don’t use Linux servers. It’s as simple as that. So how I am a FLOSS user again? Right! The Internet! I use it, so I use Linux. According to Koz McRae, Ph.D. in loonology.

    BTW, have you ever thought about the fact that millions, if not billions, of people use Windows every day when they use ATMs? I sincerely hope for you that you never have to withdraw money from an ATM. If you ever come to Munich, you will find that you use Windows when using public transportation, when buying tickets for public transportation, and so on and so forth.

    You’re simply beyond stupid.

  39. Clarence Moon says:

    M$ reports none of that…

    How would you know that, Mr. Pogson? The revenues are mingled in the relevant business unit revenues apparently and no one actually knows the whole story. But if you think your investigations are on a par with those of Forbes and The Street and other financial papers, then more power to you!

    For games and entertainment, royalties are relatively big enough to get some mention in that segment narrative, but that is not likely to be where they are hiding the phone and tablet money. Most likely in the client division figures.

  40. Prong Reboots says:

    Robert, you have, on multiple occasions, asserted Microsoft to control a monopoly share of the general operating system market. You have, on other occasions, including in the body text of this blog post, asserted Microsoft controls far less than is commonly reported, as low as 49%, which is not even a majority. These two thoughts are contradictory. Either Microsoft is a monopoly, which means they are the only supplier of a particular commodity, or there exists meaningful competition, which means Microsoft is not a monopoly. As you routinely argue that there does exist meaningful competition then you must concede that your classification and characterization of Microsoft is incorrect.

  41. kozmcrae says:

    Viktor blows a seem and wrote:

    “For example, I still have the same problem with one of my notebooks that was introduced with kernel 3.0.”

    And more. But most of what you write about GNU/Linux turns out to be lies Viktor. Why should I believe you now?

    The truth is there are problems and annoyances with GNU/Linux. Just as there are with Microsoft’s Windows. I am familiar with both systems Viktor and I choose GNU/Linux because it has far less annoyances and problems than Windows and they are not nearly as dramatic.

    Viktor wrote:

    “The reality is that Microsoft’s Windows still owns the operating system market.”

    Not the high performance computing market.

    Not the mobile phone OS market.

    Not the server OS market.

    What reality were you in when you wrote that Viktor?

    No matter how you try to belittle it, you are a user of FLOSS and you cannot avoid it. It’s your opinion that I’m a “gigantic moron” when I say that, but it’s just a fact Viktor. Just a fact.

  42. I used the SF data to show how wrong it is to depend on them for the ~1% share. They are heavily biased to business use. That’s why the see Google and not other users.

  43. Viktor says:

    Brazil, which uses GNU/Linux in every school and government office shows 1%. That’s a serious deficiency in NetApplications’ methods.

    Pathetic much? NetApplications is good enough for you to believe that Linux has 28% market share in San Francisco.

  44. Wikipedia: “As of the census[3] of 2000, there were 681 people, 275 households, and 187 families residing in the city.”

    In such a small sample, it could be that no one uses GNU/Linux from a business there. That seems to be all that matters for NetApplications.

    Brazil, which uses GNU/Linux in every school and government office shows 1%. That’s a serious deficiency in NetApplications’ methods.

  45. M$ reports none of that…

    “Entertainment and Devices Division (“EDD”) develops and markets products and services designed to entertain and connect people. EDD offerings include the Xbox 360 entertainment platform (which includes the Xbox 360 gaming and entertainment console, Kinect for Xbox 360, Xbox 360 video games, Xbox LIVE, and Xbox 360 accessories), Mediaroom (our Internet protocol television software), Skype, and Windows Phone, including related patent licensing revenue. In November 2010, we released Kinect for Xbox 360. We acquired Skype on October 13, 2011, and its results of operations from this date are reflected in our results discussed below.”

    Operating income was -$229 million.

    Corporate legal activity -$1378 million.

    Show us the money. Don’t forget those minus signs for the recent quarter… Rumours are about ~1% cuts in competitive businesses for M$. That’s insignificant for those businesses and certainly not even a blip for M$.

  46. Ivan says:

    By the Way, Bob. If desktop Linux is as popular as you want to believe, why does Hopkinton, Iowa show no Linux use whatsoever?

  47. Clarence Moon says:

    not even a blip

    Easy for you to say, Mr. Pogson, but much more difficult to believe. Deal after deal after deal has been reported in the trade press. Estimates from sophisticated sources suggest more than a billion bucks a year are flowing from the Android patent license tap.

  48. Viktor says:

    On which meds are you, Koz? You’re reaching Ohio Ham’s level of incomprehensibility. Or do you normally take meds to suppress this urge to write walls of meaningless text?

    On the other hand my statement was perfectly simple and clear: everyone who wants to make me believe that I am using Linux because I’m using the Internet is a gigantic moron. That would include you, Koz. I wouldn’t care if the Internet ran on OS/2.

    I also don’t get your obsession with alternate realities. The reality is that Microsoft’s Windows still owns the operating system market. That’s the reality we live in. Except for you, of course. And Mr. Pogson.

    And it’s way funny how you constantly suggest there’s a Microsoft cult, and I’d belong to it. If I belong to any cult, it’d be called pragmatism cult. Give me something better than Windows, and I’ll switch. Unfortunately, with Linux I have to constantly adjust my expectations very much downwards.

    For example, I still have the same problem with one of my notebooks that was introduced with kernel 3.0. Control of the backlight doesn’t work with many notebooks which have one of the ubiquitous Intel 4500 GPUs installed. Esoteric workarounds exist, but no workaround can address everything and something always breaks. You expect me to accept this? You expect me to write a patch? You expect me to buy new hardware? With Windows it just works, despite the fact that Intel’s own engineers supply the Linux drivers. There’s more: Jack sensing doesn’t work; many function keys don’t work; hibernation/suspend takes ages compared to Windows; the CPU fan control sucks under Linux, turning the notebook into a hairdryer.

    Sure, if I were to ignore all these problems, then I’d able to live with you happily ever after in loon land.

    Well, I won’t be joining you.

  49. Clarence Moon wrote, “where Microsoft is collecting a fair amount of money in royalties from patents that read on tablet usage.”

    • not even a blip on their SEC filings…
    • “The hearing in Microsoft’s ITC case against Motorola took place in August 2011 on seven of the nine patents originally asserted in the complaint. In December 2011, the administrative law judge (“ALJ”) issued an initial determination that Motorola infringed one Microsoft patent, and recommended that the ITC issue a limited exclusion order against Motorola prohibiting importation of infringing Motorola Android devices. The ITC is reviewing various aspects of the ALJ’s initial determination and a final ruling from the ITC is expected in May 2012.”

    The “amount” is just a tiny fraction of the value of Android/Linux to the Open Handset Alliance and Google is not going to roll over for M$.

    SCOTUS is soon to revisit software patents and M$’s balloon in mobile will pop.

    see also US Supreme Court asked to review software patents ruling

    Software is a writing, not a machine, and so is not patentable. M$’s $billions invested in software patents will soon be a liability. Everyone who has ever paid M$ for a licence to an invalid patent is likely to be much harder to deal with.

  50. Clarence Moon says:

    The PC is being redefined and M$ is not part of it.

    If you want to say that PCs are obsolete and tablets are the new PC, then you still have a problem. For one thing, there is a lot of buzz about Windows RT as a new tablet OS standard. Sneer all you want, but the initiative is out there and getting some favorable publicity.

    Then there is the issue where Microsoft is collecting a fair amount of money in royalties from patents that read on tablet usage. They have agreements in place with Samsung, ASUS, Acer, Amazon, and now Barnes and Noble that give them a taste of whatever business there may be in tablets and smart phones, too.

    So Microsoft is very much a part of the “new” scene and likely to stay around for quite a while there.

    On the other hand, I do not believe that tablets are a genuine replacement for PCs. Do you know of a single soul who has a tablet and does not have a PC somewhere that can be used when needed? PCs, in the classic sense of desktop or notebook, continue to sell in the hundreds of millions of units annually and Microsoft continues to sell $20B or so worth of Windows licenses for them.

    As I suggested elsewhere, if Microsoft has set the price of phone/tablet OS at about $10 for OEM sales, then the total value of the phone and tablet market is less than $10B per year. Of course Apple has a big slice of that and Microsoft is never going to get any money there, but they could collect a few billion from patent royalties and licenses for Windows Phone or RT.

    Either way, the future does not look so dismal for Microsoft.

  51. None of the problems Munich encountered were about GNU/Linux but politics, FUD, and past mistakes. Lime many other organizations, they found fixing fragmentation difficult. They would have had to do that sooner or later even if they stayed with that other OS. They would have had to replace hardware and software twice with that other OS and only once with GNU/Linux. The on-going costs are small.

  52. MK says:

    I’ve always thought Munich wasn’t a good example of successful migration. Haven’t they started in 2004 or thereabout, had to put the migration program on hold for a while because of problems, and, eight years later, are still not done? Anything else to brag about?

  53. kozmcrae says:

    Viktor wrote:

    “People read your blog for a good laugh.”

    They laugh at you Viktor. “Well, the Internet doesn’t really concern me.”

    What nonsense Viktor. Where do you come up with gems like that? Oh, that’s right, you’re a member of the Cult of Microsoft. You are forced to deny the existence of the Internet just to hang on to your silly notion that FLOSS is not an important part of nearly every business.

    So you are not concerned about the Internet. What does that mean, really? That you don’t think it will fall apart anytime soon? That you don’t use the Internet that much? If that were the case could we assume that your interaction on this blog represents the extent of your Internet “concern”?

    Viktor, your statement doesn’t really make any sense. Why would you have any concern for the Internet in the first place? Are you worried about it for some reason?

    I think you just found yourself in the dilemma all Cult of Microsoft members find themselves in from time to time. You have to deny the existence of certain realities in order to project the image of Microsoft as the one and only answer to the World’s IT needs. Your steadfast belief in Microsoft makes you look foolish. You should think about that.

  54. “North Americans have embraced tablet technology to their collective bosom, notes market watcher Canalys. In the US and Canada, tablets accounted for 36 per cent of PC shipments during the first three months of 2012.

    They took almost half of all the 20.3m tablets that shipped worldwide. Global tablet shipments rose more than 200 per cent year on year.”
    see The Register – America, China go ape for tablets

    The PC is being redefined and M$ is not part of it.

  55. Clarence Moon says:

    The rule…is clearly broken

    There never was such a “rule”, Mr. Pogson. Rather there is a universal expectation that a personal computer will have the Windows OS installed if it is not a Mac. That is what people consider when purchasing a new computer, namely “Am I a PC?” or “Am I a Mac?” They do not ask themselves “Am I ready for Linux?”

    If Linux were ever to succeed as a client OS on the PC, it would have to first create a unique identity that people might recognize and then create a product differentiation in people’s minds that would cause some of them to then choose Linux instead of Mac or Windows PC. Of course that would take a huge amount of money to promote and there would be no return for the investor and hence it is never going to happen.

    Look at the success of Android as an example. Google promoted it as their branded alternative to Apple’s products, partnering with Apple’s opponents such as Motorola, Samsung, HTC, and a few others. Now people have an expectation that Android can be selected in lieu of iPhone or Blackberry.

    Look at the fortune that Microsoft is throwing at the same problem where they currently have the short straw. Where is Linux going to get that kind of cash?

  56. Viktor wrote, “take the exception to the rule and cling to it”.

    The rule that one cannot do anything in IT without M$ being involved is clearly broken.

  57. Andrew says:

    “…People read your blog for a good laugh.”

    Maybe so, but who are they laughing at?

  58. Viktor says:

    You are mistaken. People read your blog for a good laugh.

    The bottom line? Even if everything in TFA article were true, none of it applies to non-business use of IT which is huge. The same people who quote NetApplications as stating GNU/Linux is 1% of something have nothing to say when NetApplications shows the region around San Francisco, USA, has 28% GNU/Linux clients. That would not happen if anything in TFA were true.

    Sure, take the exception to the rule and cling to it. Very predictable. You’ve been out of university for too long. How about going back to community college to take “Statistics 101”?

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