Positive Feedback Goes Both Ways, Nathan

Nathan Myhrvold wrote, while comparing software to video tapes (US DOJ v M$, exhibit 994), “The computer industry as we know it today is full of examples of positive feedback. The value of a computer to its user depends on the quality and variety of the application software available for it. The incentive to create such software for a particular computer depends on the number of users. since they are the potential customers for the application developer. This creates a similar situation to the video store – the best software is attracted to the most popular platform. making it more popular still.

This is not the only source of positive feedback however. If I want to exchange data with you, or get advice from you. then it helps a lot if we are using the same computer and the same software. When a user upgrades to a new version there is a large benefit if existing data files can be used directly, thus favoring whatever software the user had in the past. A user who invests time learning the interface and commands of a piece of software will be loathe to re learn for a new package unless absolutely necessary.

A more familiar way to say this is compatability – the laws of positive feedback govern any system where compatibility with other users is either directly or indirectly a key factor in the utility of a product or service. This value is usually instantiated and made tangible by a separate product whose availability or quality depends on the installed base, such as the rental tapes in the ease of VHS or software in the case of computers.”

He conveniently skipped that instead of superior product M$ used a bunch of exclusive deals to get the snowball rolling. Well, now, things are going the opposite way. New products found their way onto the market despite all M$’s best efforts and now consumers are choosing */Linux and ISVs are writing tons of software for */Linux and retailers and OEMs are having a hard time shipping product that doesn’t work for consumers…

The interesting thing about positive feedback is that it accelerates change. All the lock-in and dependency M$ has built into the whole IT industry is now causing a stampede away from M$’s products and the shift is accelerating rapidly. One factor has changed everything since the rise of Wintel, the size of the installed base of Wintel machines. There is virtually an infinite supply of them so that anyone who needs one can just buy a used one cast off by the previous owner. Meanwhile the new PC, small, cheap, smart computers are selling like hot cakes because they are able to be produced in greater numbers, lower prices and more formats than that other stuff… There are many factors piled up to accelerate this shift.

It could be two or three years before everyone wakes up to realize it was all a dream and they never needed M$ for anything but youth, women, mobile people are liking what they see in Android/Linux. By the time it comes to replace existing desktop/notebook PCs with something else consumers and businesses will have lots of choices besides M$’s stuff: Android/Linux, GNU/Linux, web applications, thin clients, … M$’s share of the shipments could drop to ~25% and they had damned well better be prepared to play well with everyone else with open standards or they will be shunned and disappear from the face of Earth. OEMs have to ship competing products and retailers have to offer them to consumers if they want to survive. Times have changed quickly.

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 technology and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

40 Responses to Positive Feedback Goes Both Ways, Nathan

  1. bw wrote, “Linux is less than 1% of PC usage on the net, statistics “

    No, that’s user-agent pageviews or something, but it’s not PCs. How can a server log how many different PCs are behind the same IP address with the same User-Agent behind a firewall, which most businesses of any size will have?

    I see Dell increasing over time the number of models it offers and they discourage consumers in North America, so businesses are buying. Dell doesn’t maintain a line that doesn’t sell.

  2. oiaohm says:

    bw web stats don’t measure business computers very well at all.

    –It is not the money itself, but what it represents. Money is the way that we keep score in business and, generally speaking, more money, more effective business acumen.–

    A person like Linus makes more money than he wants.

    I remember seeing Linus Giving a start up speech. Linus has not cared about the financial side. Yet is not poor.

    bw the effort put into open standards was far more important than attempt to get Linux on desktop.

    OOXML (ok we curse that it was done badly) ODF…. This in time will see general business documents usable from all platforms. Death of a vendor lock in.

  3. ram says:

    Whose statistics? Web servers my company administers see over 80 percent Linux (which includes Android devices). Site traffic from Asia has even higher Linux percentages.

    We administer servers across two continents that offer a wide variety of products. Mostly industrial products, used in many industry sectors. I think we have good statistics. Other webmasters we communicate with indicate similar traffic results.

  4. bw says:

    “It is no wonder enterprises are moving to Linux in a big way. Open standards, open formats, and easy systems integration”

    On Mars, just maybe, but on this planet you don’t see any of that. Linux is less than 1% of PC usage on the net, statistics say, and much less than that in terms of commercial revenues for desktop and laptop computer sales, analysts and market data companies say.

  5. ram says:

    Waay back when, Microsoft and Apple systems were at least ‘semi-compatible’ with other other computers and operating systems. Now they are nearly impossible to work with. Off the shelf, Microsoft systems only play Microsoft proprietary media formats and only work with Microsoft proprietary formats for office applications. Apple is even worse. If it doesn’t come from an Apple media ‘store’ or the Apple app ‘store’ it doesn’t work.

    It is no wonder enterprises are moving to Linux in a big way. Open standards, open formats, and easy systems integration.

  6. bw says:

    “Since when is wealth the single measure of a man that matters.”

    It is not the money itself, but what it represents. Money is the way that we keep score in business and, generally speaking, more money, more effective business acumen. With Microsoft, it is the measure of how effectively they brought their products into the world and a measure of how widely they were received. Jobs is an icon of how to do things with more style, grace, and beauty than anyone else, Gates is an icon of how to hold onto a raging bull and ride it to the top and far beyond. Linus is an icon of studious persistence. Stallman is merely audacious with his hippie affectations and St. IGNUtious shtick.

    He holds the modern day IT record for bizarre, but his tech achievements are rather passé today. Sort of like Edison’s light bulb. The invention itself was not as important as the business Edison built around electricity. Stallman is like Edison without the successful company attached. High school kids can make their own light bulbs now and out code Stallman, too.

    In regard to Al Capone, all I can say is that he managed to become a sort of standard of comparison that you are now using and expecting everyone to recognize as significant. Gates and Jobs have made similar marks in terms of widespread recognition. Not so Stallman or Torvalds who are only known to a narrow collection of people.

  7. George Wilson says:

    In modern $ that’s more than 115 times as much, $11.5 billion per annum. Was Al Capone a great man? How many lives did he destroy? How much did he cost society? How much damage has Gates and Co. done over the decades in lost data, malware, re-re-reboots, slowing down, built-in obsolescence, destroyed competition etc.?

    Chuckle!

    Again you make yourself a fool.

    Let me ask you this, Pogson: how much money have arms manufacturers (including your beloved gun manufacturers) made by providing tools to kill people? Yes, kill. They have blood on their hands. Microsoft does not.

    You personally support arms manufacturers by buying their guns. You support bloodshed. You support murder. Even if only indirectly.

    You are not qualified to make comparisons between Al Capone and Microsoft.

  8. bw wrote, “He is a contemporary of Gates and Jobs, but nowhere near as rich. There is a lesson to be learned there, although many here are not going to find any favor in it.”

    Chuckle. bw compares apples and oranges. Since when is wealth the single measure of a man that matters. I am not rich by most standards but I am well off in most parts of the world. That matters not a whit. Neither does the wealth of Gates and buddies. Al Capone was rich too.

    1925: “During the Prohibition Era, Capone controlled large portions of the Chicago underworld, which provided The Outfit with an estimated US $100 million per year in revenue. This wealth was generated through numerous illegal vice enterprises, such as gambling and prostitution; the highest revenue was generated by the sale of liquor.”

    In modern $ that’s more than 115 times as much, $11.5 billion per annum. Was Al Capone a great man? How many lives did he destroy? How much did he cost society? How much damage has Gates and Co. done over the decades in lost data, malware, re-re-reboots, slowing down, built-in obsolescence, destroyed competition etc.?

  9. oiaohm says:

    Ted getopt is more a key function.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Getopt

    The longer a person is not a lead developer the less impressive there list of credits normally become.

    Ted lead developers don’t only produce code. They sign off on code as well.

    glibc getopt function extends past what is written in posix. That is Richard Stallman direct work the extensions to make getopt sane.

    Like the Linux kernel today contains very little of Linus direct coding work even that he was a past lead developer.

    Ted time has pasted. I said he was. The evidence that he was is still there. But it does evolve going back throw change logs and history.

    Yes what is common referred to as the enhanced version of getopt is his work.

    Ted getopt provides stability to the command line processing after Richard Stallman.

    –name and -name would detect as identical or error under posix standard you would not know what you were getting.

    Yes there is a reason why glibc came highly popular to be placed on Unix systems.

    That one little function that you say has kinda zero importance.

    Yes the function to you might not seam that important Ted. Its a key historic change in fact.

    Richard Stallman also did various fixes to libc and other smaller less important works.

    Each lead developer can focus in an area of a big project like a libc. Richard Stallman focused on getting command-line applications to work sanely.

    Ted minor functions without any importance would have been in the Contributor list as various fixes.

  10. oiaohm wrote, “Some of that code is still in current day Linux systems. The group of programmers Stallman formed around the GNU project is impressive.”

    Here is ChangeLog bits from gcc-4.8 source code in Debian GNU/Linux:
    “pogson@beast:~/Downloads/gcc-4.8-4.8.0.orig/gcc-4.8.0$
    2003-08-03 Richard Stallman
    Eben Moglen

    * README.SCO: New file.
    1996-09-12 Richard Stallman
    * config.guess: Use pc instead of unknown, for pc clone systems.
    Change linux to linux-gnu.

    Thu Aug 25 20:28:51 1994 Richard Stallman

    * config.guess (Pyramid*:OSx*:*:*): New case.
    (PATH): Add /.attbin at end for finding uname.
    (dummy.c): Handle i860-alliant-bsd. Follow whitespace conventions.

    less ChangeLog|grep allman
    2003-08-03 Richard Stallman
    1996-09-12 Richard Stallman

    Thu Aug 25 20:28:51 1994 Richard Stallman

    Sun Jul 24 16:20:53 1994 Richard Stallman

    Sun May 1 10:23:10 1994 Richard Stallman (rms@mole.gnu.ai.mit.edu)
    …”

    The earliest reference to RMS that I can find in the source code is 1987:
    “libcpp$ grep Stallman *
    directives.c: Adapted to ANSI C, Richard Stallman, Jan 1987
    errors.c: Adapted to ANSI C, Richard Stallman, Jan 1987
    files.c: Adapted to ANSI C, Richard Stallman, Jan 1987
    identifiers.c: Adapted to ANSI C, Richard Stallman, Jan 1987
    grep: include: Is a directory
    init.c: Adapted to ANSI C, Richard Stallman, Jan 1987
    lex.c: Adapted to ANSI C, Richard Stallman, Jan 1987
    macro.c: Adapted to ANSI C, Richard Stallman, Jan 1987
    grep: po: Is a directory”

    That’s quite a legacy.

  11. oiaohm says:

    George Wilson GNU/Linux title still is useful. With embedded.

    It will keep on cropping up. Sorting between busybox and other solutions using very light weight libc and compliers. And those using GNU stuff.

    I do see BSD/Linux from time to time. http://www.landley.net/toybox/about.html particularly things containing toybox.

    Its a useful short hand for full systems making what form of licensing auditing is required and what kind of packages you are allowed to pull in George Wilson.

  12. Ted says:

    “You cannot read Ted. –Stallman isn’t even on the “contributors” page of glibc.– this is bogus.”

    My mistake. I ran the search for “stallman” with “match case” enabled…

    Right, let’s go back for his list of contributions, which should be impressive, as you describe him as a “lead developer”…

    Oh. It seems I missed his contribution towards ONE WHOLE FUNCTION! And probably not even all of it either! You described him as a “Lead developer”. One function is not “Lead”, it’s not even “Intern”!

    “glibc was committee managed so you had more than 1 lead developer. Richard Stallman was one of those on the committee.”

    So what? This is irrelevant. This does not make him a “Lead developer” of glibc.

    “Also you cannot read this page either.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GNU_C_Library
    –According to Richard Stallman, the changes that had been made in Linux libc could not be merged back into glibc because the authorship status of that code was unclear and the GNU project is quite strict about recording copyright and authors.–”

    This manages to be even less relevant to the fact being disputed. This _still_ does not make him a lead developer. Here’s a hint to where you’re going wrong; developers produce *code*. Not the minutes, or legal opinion.

    You said of glibc, “Guess who was one of the lead developers on that. Richard Stallman.” I have shown that you have made this up, carrying on your habit of fabricating “facts” to suit your arguments. Nothing you have since written refutes me.

  13. George Wilson says:

    GNU/Linux … WTF!? That this still crops up time and time again is a testament to the warped minds of certain Linux — oh, I’m sorry, that’s GNU/Linux — evangelists. Stallman is simply a stubborn child, unable to realize that GNU is but a very small part of Linux. Reality has overruled him and nobody’s interested if he’d like to refer to Linux as GNU/Linux.

    Also, the nostalgia around GNU is hard to bear. Most GNU projects, not least among them GCC, are seriously out of touch with the requirements of reality and happily simmer in their nostalgia, towards their slow death.

  14. “Waah waah whine. Whine whine waah waah whine. GNU GNU GNU GNU waah waah whine.”
    — the direct transcript of all RMS rants

    Seriously, the guy was a brilliant hacker who brought us a compiler suite and toolchain still in widespread use today. And for that he deserves all credit.

    But to suggest that his contribution to THE LINUX OPERATING SYSTEM is so significant that he deserves to hold its naming rights is pure stupidity.

    It’s a shame that about 15 years ago he switched from hacking to whining. He used to be awesome. Now he’s just an annoying twit.

  15. oiaohm says:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GNU_Compiler_Collection
    bw GNU complier we call GCC is project Richard Stallman started directly.

    Its also why Richard Stallman was linked to glibc so much. Complier and libc matching have to work with each other. That is the problem Richard Stallman is not a figure head he did do real documented coding work.

    Some of that code is still in current day Linux systems. The group of programmers Stallman formed around the GNU project is impressive.

    Stallman did not ask for it to be named Stallman Linux. He asked for it to be name GNU/Linux. With both names representing both teams. Yes Stallman was a member of the GNU team. Very high member.

  16. oiaohm says:

    You cannot read Ted. –Stallman isn’t even on the “contributors” page of glibc.– this is bogus.

    http://www.gnu.org/software/libc/manual/html_node/Contributors.html#Contributors
    This page.
    –Richard Stallman for his contribution to the getopt function.–

    getopt

    Also you cannot read this page either.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GNU_C_Library
    –According to Richard Stallman, the changes that had been made in Linux libc could not be merged back into glibc because the authorship status of that code was unclear and the GNU project is quite strict about recording copyright and authors.–

    Lead Developer is not maintainer. glibc was committee managed so you had more than 1 lead developer. Richard Stallman was one of those on the committee.

    Ulrich Drepper and Roland McGrath are both Lead Maintainers. With direct powers to control what is and what was not included.

    Rank Maintainer is higher than just a Developer.

    –http://sourceware.org/glibc/wiki/MAINTAINERS–
    This page only list current. Not past. Of course Richard Stallman name is not there now.

    Ted
    –Do you need slides and handouts to get sarcasm?–
    Simple reality there is no room for sarcasm like that.

    When you learn to read what you are quoting try again.

  17. bw says:

    Stallman is one of the icons of open source and inspires a lot of meeker hearts. He got going in the early years of computers when individual activity was easier to perform. There is a lot of info at:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_stallman

    He is a contemporary of Gates and Jobs, but nowhere near as rich. There is a lesson to be learned there, although many here are not going to find any favor in it.

    He seems to derive most of his credibility from an association with MIT where he was a grad student but never got a degree. He worked in the artificial intelligence lab there until he got into some dispute as documented in the wiki. It is not very clear just what he did although it seems to mostly involve some of the GNU utilities for an OS kernel that never emerged from development. That is where Linus comes in.

    Stallman is audacious whereas Linus has more of a meek, cerebral penguin image, although it seems he must have been in the Navy for a bit, given the sorts of expressions that occasionally leak out from his interviews and email. Linus is much more cast in the mold of the modern day developer and is a more fitting champion for Linux in the commercial arena.

  18. Ted says:

    “Richard Stallman requests no GNU status on Windows or Android.”

    Do you need slides and handouts to get sarcasm?

    On glibc;

    “Guess who was one of the lead developers on that. Richard Stallman.”

    Complete fiction. Why do you persist in making stuff up?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GNU_C_Library

    I suppose Roland McGrath and Ulrich Drepper do not feature in your world?

    http://sourceware.org/glibc/wiki/MAINTAINERS

    Stallman isn’t even on the “contributors” page of glibc.

    http://www.gnu.org/software/libc/manual/html_node/Contributors.html#Contributors

    And that’s GNU’s own site!

  19. IGnatius T Foobar wrote, “the silly nomenclature turf wars conducted by GNU freetards are part of the reason we don’t have more mainstream adoption.”

    That’s silly. OEMs, retailers and consumers could probably care nothing about GNU and still run with it. ASUS did very well that way. We don’t have more units on retail shelves simply because M$ does not want that and spent $billions messing with competition to get that. They did not stop Android/Linux so we have what we have and now Wintel is crashing and burning leaving hundreds of millions of PCs open to GNU/Linux.

  20. oiaohm says:

    IGnatius T Foobar you did not build any of the code in Apple Ipod either so you are not due any credit. There is credit where credit is due.

    “And he built a few pieces of it.” The fact he did build a few pieces along with others that worked with him asking for some credit is fair. The problem comes how much credit. Some credit is due. But is the credit due enough for GNU/Linux title big dispute there.

    Mainstream adoption issues mostly are not linked to the turf wars.

    FOSS lost key debate in the early 90. The closed source driver idea.

    Starting before Linux in the 1980s there were even attempts back then to kill of X11. No video card drivers no means to kill it off.

    Alsa at long last has got a daemon mode to allow hotpluging of audio devices.

    So the biggest Linux issues are dieing.

    –Linux the operating system contains Linux the kernel. Android also contains a Linux kernel.–

    You have a problem.

    Linux the operating system is the Linux Kernel.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linux

    So Android contains Linux the operating system.

    IGnatius T Foobar Linus releases Linux as an operating system back in version 0.1.

    The Linux kernel source code includes more than just kernel code.

    Of course you would not be aware that most program talk to gnu libc of some form. But start up core programs of linux talk to a (klibc) kernel libc.

    Shock horror there is a OS inside an OS.

    Bionic libc in Android is based off klibc.

  21. Richard Stallman was among the first to *envision* a totally open source operating system. And he built a few pieces of it. So what? I envisioned the MP3 player in 1987 but I didn’t whine about Apple not naming the iPod after me.

    So it’s just Linux. Linux the operating system contains Linux the kernel. Android also contains a Linux kernel. And the silly nomenclature turf wars conducted by GNU freetards are part of the reason we don’t have more mainstream adoption.

  22. oiaohm says:

    IGnatius T Foobar in fact you a idiot on that one.

    Most applications running on Desktop/Server Linux don’t talk to the Linux kernel. They talk to gnu libc or relation embedded gnu libc in most cases.

    Guess who was one of the lead developers on that. Richard Stallman.

    Richard Stallman requests no GNU status on Windows or Android.

    As normal MS trolls are idiots.

  23. Windows should be called GNU/Windows because Richard Stallman demands credit for operating systems he didn’t write.

  24. oiaohm says:

    bw in fact Australia Government into price gouging tells you why.

    –Where the US, interestingly enough, pays a higher percentage of revenues than they consume in unit volume. Maybe that is due to more Macs in the mix.–

    Australia pays higher than the USA. Not to do with number of Macs in the Mix. Its Microsoft world wide pricing system. Each country has the price of the OS worked out on how much they are willing to pay.

    Yes its very possible that with another 12 months with current rate of drop we go from a 80 billion a year business in the usa on desktop to a 40 billion or less per year business.

    bw we are looking at going back more than 10 years very quickly. Microsoft will hope the decline will stop.

    Also notice from 2000 to 2012 in your figures USA did not grow in income. Even that the number of units doubled.

    bw tolerable price per unit has been dropping. So returning to 2000 sales volumes is crushing for Microsoft.

    Once reason it might stop dropping is if the 19 drop percent turns out to be x86 servers sales replaced by arm sales. Linux servers if that is the case.

  25. bw says:

    “Forget the webstats which are seriously wrong”

    Of course they are. Keep telling yourself that! OOOOHM! It worked for Romney, at least for a while.

    As the global share for the US declining, you have to go way back to get to half, I think. I never found when, but I am sure you did. I found:

    http://www.statisticbrain.com/computer-sales-statistics/

    Where the US, interestingly enough, pays a higher percentage of revenues than they consume in unit volume. Maybe that is due to more Macs in the mix.

  26. bw wrote, “If you really think that the general population in India, Brazil, China, Russia, et al, are doing better than we are in terms of day to day living, I would put you in a small minority of malcontents.”

    USA used to buy half the world’s production of PCs. Now they are down to 18%. Even USA doesn’t want to buy M$’s stuff. Forget the webstats which are seriously wrong. USA is heavily into GNU/Linux.

  27. bw says:

    “We’ve looked at the code.”

    Is that the royal “we”?

  28. bw says:

    “USA is being left behind with its fixation on Wintel and Apple.”

    We have far better nuclear weapons and carrier based forces and stealthy aircraft and submarines than any other nation. We have far better air conditioning and city to city air service. Lower fuel prices and great beaches. Much higher local water pressure for running surround all shower rooms, too.

    As to IT, Linus is in the good old USA, too, along with the GNU guy Stallman. If you really think that the general population in India, Brazil, China, Russia, et al, are doing better than we are in terms of day to day living, I would put you in a small minority of malcontents.

    Want to fight?

  29. IGnatius T Foobar wrote, “Referring to Android as “Android/Linux” is just as obtuse and annoying as referring to Linux as “GNU/Linux.””

    Obtuse? Certainly not. Direct and to the point. As for annoying, that’s in the eye of the beholder. I can type. I am the only one who should be annoyed by a few extra characters. They just flow from the fingertips. This is an old topic. We’ve looked at the code. There’s Linux in there and GNU, too. I might even shorten it to “GNU” someday but I love Linux. We give multiple names to children for good reasons. Same should apply to a FLOSS product developed by many thousands of people and used by millions around the world.

  30. Referring to Android as “Android/Linux” is just as obtuse and annoying as referring to Linux as “GNU/Linux.”

  31. bw wrote, “Maybe they are fine with Linux, but it doesn’t affect me at all.”

    Haven’t you heard of the global economy? It matters. Jobs and resources cross borders and timezones. Technology is evolving everywhere except in USA. USA is being left behind with its fixation on Wintel and Apple.

  32. bw says:

    “See Walmart in Brazil or Dell in China or…”

    How about Mongo’s Elex in Timbuktu? I don’t buy there and neither do you. People in India rent space in concrete block rooms to conduct do it yourself cremations on the Ganges River, too. Maybe they are fine with Linux, but it doesn’t affect me at all.

  33. bw says:

    “Nope. The fundamental decision these days is whether or not to replace an old but working machine with a new working machine at great expense and pain”

    I had already allowed for that when I said perhaps there was a prior decision as to whether to get a new computer at all. From a sales point of view, there is no concern for people who are not buying anything. It is a waste of time to fret over them.

    The most useful thing to do is to figure out a sales strategy to capture the business that is actually available to book. Waxing about what might be is wasting time.

    So who will get the business that remains after the weak sisters fall off the hay wagon here? Microsoft and the OEMs are huddled up planning their next moves. How about the Linux side? I think they are just standing around as always, hoping for the other side to mess up and for something good to happen their way by chance. I think the result is predictable.

  34. kozmcrae says:

    There is a kind of “jet lag” to common knowledge. First, a few educated people discover a new thing or way of thinking. It’s different so it gestates within a small group of people before it spreads to the general public. It usually takes a generation before this happens.

    This is what is happening with */Linux and open source. It’s already out there in the hands of the general public in wide use. That’s the first part of the knowledge transfer. Soon, they will become more aware of what exactly it is that they are holding in their hands. First will be the knowledge that it is not Microsoft. The rest will follow until they have a basic knowledge that they are using a Linux derivative. Not unlike knowing that their phone is a Samsung, a Korean company, but was made in China. And they would have a basic understanding of the conditions under which their phone was made.

    It’s already happening. People are not automatically, knee jerking, buying Microsoft’s products anymore. They are consciously avoiding them. That takes forethought and knowledge. The lock on the publics brain has been broken. I don’t think Microsoft will ever get it back. And that’s a good thing.

  35. George Wilson wrote, “His “mission” also surely is the result of having accomplished nothing in life other than a 3rd rate thesis.”

    I have accomplished a lot: building my own modern and efficient home, a very productive garden, a couple of well-landscaped yards, teaching the new generation some of my skills, hunting, maths, science, computing…, welding, nuclear physics which was actually used to treat cancer and measure the protein content of grains in seconds, control systems, photography and electronics.

    I am a technological sponge. Absorbing a bit about FLOSS and GNU/Linux has been one of the many highlights of my life. Family is gathering soon to celebrate it.

  36. bw wrote, “What I see is that the fundamental decision that people make when they decide to acquire a new PC is whether to stay with Windows or to get a Mac.”

    Nope. The fundamental decision these days is whether or not to replace an old but working machine with a new working machine at great expense and pain. That pain could be getting jerked around by M$ or Apple to do what they want done or learning to use */Linux which takes an hour or so once instead of every few years forever. It’s no contest.

    bw wrote, “A lot of people never did need a PC and many of them today are now satisfied with only an iPad or a phone or both.”

    Absolutely correct. It was $billions in advertising and exclusive dealing that persuaded the masses to buy a ~$1K device that would idle and make the room hot and noisy. Those who actually use their PC to produce stuff are many in business and few in homes, yet it is the consumer who had the least choice. That’s changed now. They have the choice, know that and choose freedom from Wintel. GNU/Linux feeds that choice. The OEMs know that. The retailers are getting it. See Walmart in Brazil or Dell in China or…

  37. bw says:

    “a stampede away from M$’s products”

    A lot of what you can say is relative to the definitions used and your personal point of view, too.

    I can only speak from my personal perspective and that is influenced by my personal experiences. What I see is that the fundamental decision that people make when they decide to acquire a new PC is whether to stay with Windows or to get a Mac. Perhaps there is a prior decision about whether to get a new PC at all, but people who are not in the market are not of much interest to people doing the selling, so we have to start with actual purchasers.

    PCs got their start almost 30 years ago and that is a long time in tech years. I think TVs still had a color and tint adjust on the front panel back then.

    I think that what we are seeing is not a flight from Microsoft but rather a basic reorientation in PCs themselves. A lot of people never did need a PC and many of them today are now satisfied with only an iPad or a phone or both. When they were buying PCs, they were a tenuous segment of the business and possibly even on the negative side of a cost vs benefits graph.

    I don’t think that any of this will have any positive effect on Linux usage on PCs. We are not looking at any affordability issue. We are looking at user interests issues.

    Microsoft has arguably made Windows better over the years and has also made Windows different without any obvious benefit to that difference other than cosmetic changes. People are used to that, however, and very few, Linux advocates around here to the contrary, dislike it enough to change their buying habits. Microsoft has, if not a monopoly, a critical mass of user interest and experience that makes, after 20 years of proliferation, Windows the expected thing to see on a PC. If buyers see something different, such as Ubuntu, their whole PC vs Mac decision is negated and the psychological effect is to reject the cheap substitute.

    In any case, the trade press, as cited above, naturally focuses on what Microsoft and the OEMs and even Intel are going to do to counter the decline. They are silent on Linux, which is something I noted in another thread.

  38. AdmFubar says:

    Well George, that is spoken like a true loser of the war. if you have to stoop to personal attacks then you have no ground to stand on. collect your m$ shilling pay while you can, the party is over. 😛

  39. George Wilson says:

    Pogson once again singing the only tune he can:

    Microsoft destroyed my childhood! Curse you!

    In his case, of course, it is his childhood of old age, where he reverts back to being infantile. His “mission” also surely is the result of having accomplished nothing in life other than a 3rd rate thesis.

    Well, such tragic life stories are not at all uncommon among Linux evangelists. When old people talk about the war, they have at least experienced it. But Pogson’s “war” against the “enemy” of all things free, the incarnation of the devil, is only playing out in his head.

    Good advice: if you see this man, you better run like hell!

  40. Mats Hagglund says:

    Microsoft ecosystem thinking was created in early 1990’s and since then most people have been brainwashed thinking that computer OS = Windows and word processing = MS Word. Sad to say but looks like many teachers of schools are one of the worst. In certain kind of business leaders and workers sometimes even have to found better solutions out of MS ecosystem. Developers are mostly the first adopting FLOSS and leading the whole organisation later to that direction.

    No wonder why Gates and Ballmer have been so eager to focus education. If any school let’s say in Finland or Sweden or anywhere is planning to move to Linux and FLOSS salesmen of M$ woke up immediately pushing M$ ecosystem “with special price for you”.

    Anyone who have done group work with LibreOffice/OpenOffice and MS Office have found how hard it sometimes really is. Compatibility is issue there and irony of story is that most of these teachers start to blame FLOSS with no idea that they should blame instead Microsoft and their anti openness policy.

    Some questions are worth of thinking. Why Windows doesn’t see Linux on dual-boot computer? Why MS Word doesn’t want to understand LibreOffice? Answer is of course the battle against openness. They could easily solve compatibility issue with, lets’ say LO/Word doc. They don’t want it because then people at home and at schools could easily move to FLOSS and say adios to M$ ecosystem.

    Just one example how common good and corporate interests so many times have conflict. That’s why they in Redmond need good propaganda of “there ain’t free lunch” or “free markets works”. As we have seen – it hasn’t worked very well. Instead they have stolen hundreds of billions of € with this march of folly.

Leave a Reply