Making a Difference

I have a lot of respect for Ken Starks but he wrote, again, “The fact is, we’ll never see “the year of desktop Linux.” Not the way we imagine it anyway. Many of us long for the time when Linux will become a well known alternative to Microsoft Windows. That just isn’t gonna happen.”

He makes some good points, that don’t actually support his thesis. I can give a single counterexample that shows the error of his ways. There are places on this planet where GNU/Linux is a well known alternative OS on the desktop. See, for example, Reunion, a French colony in the Indian Ocean.

There, “7” is only a few times more frequently used than GNU/Linux and Android/Linux is breathing down “7”‘s neck. “8” and “8.1” are far less frequently used. Are they widely known? Must be with all the advertising M$ puts out.

There are many countries where GNU/Linux is widely known: Brazil, Russia, India, China, Malaysia, Venezuela, Cuba, Uruguay,… Even USA, M$’s homeland knows GNU/Linux because it is on TV every night, and M$ and Apple have been complaining about Android/Linux and GNU/Linux eating their cake.

Not convinced? Large school systems run GNU/Linux. Do you think all those thousands of students might spread the word? How about all those employees at Google? Think they are all geeks with no friends? What does it take to be a well known desktop OS? Sold by major OEMs? GNU/Linux has that covered.

No. The problem, if there is a problem, is not about being well-known. The problem is getting on retail shelves everywhere. That’s the last barrier to wider adoption. Some countries don’t have that problem: Brazil, China, India, etc. If your country has that problem, tell the retailer why those over-priced bulky boxes are gathering dust on their shelves and that they could move product if it was ~$100/unit cheaper. Retailers are all about turnover. They need a high margin on a product rarely sold but a small margin is very profitable on a product sold more often. GNU/Linux PCs of all kinds will sell with lower prices. We saw that with the eeePC and others. ASUS had trouble keeping those shelves stocked.

See Making a Difference the Linux Way.

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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24 Responses to Making a Difference

  1. wolfgang says:

    …oiaohm still in tree…

    oiaohm still want to slice hairs and say that tiny print prove that better to buy system 76 with linux than name brand dell with windows when dell $200 cheaper. oaiohm crazy if think that buyer ever check such stuff. pogson says only take put linux on retail shelf at $100 less and linux take over, but wolfgang say aint gonna happen. only companies selling linux to retail public selling for more.

  2. oiaohm says:

    wolfgang to buy a dell at the same feature chassis design level system 76 it is a Dell XPS. So a system 76 is a cheap brand in that high end class. Amazon use to stock Dell XPS ubuntu they have sold out of those and since they are stocking System76 at moment there is no reason to restock with Dell XPS as its lower feature at the moment and higher price for the same spec.
    wolfgang modern day chromebooks and chromeboxs are entry level Linux machines for business. Most of the modern day chromebooks are coreboot with seabios included.
    Big note here is chromeos does not use seabios.

    Yes seabios is include by hardware makers for the exact reason the machine may be converted.

    Next big note.
    A business is going to format the machine anyhow to deploy their Enterprise OS.

    So anyone who is not a home or small end user the installed OS does not matter. Its what OS’s can be installed and the cost of doing it to business.

    So for home entry level and business entry level the item is chromebooks and chromebox. Issue is about 20 percent of home market is entry level yet 90 percent of business market is entry level.

    I will give that Linux is missing a mid market machine on amazon.

    HP Pavilion 14-c011nr 14″ Chromebook yes this has a seabios mode. Yes the entry level business Linux PC wolfgang that you would walk straight past and not even know it.

  3. wolfgang says:

    …compare apple to apple…

    oiaohm not much of a shopper, I think. buyer go into store and see numbers on card and ask clerk why pay more for linux computer from nobody system 76 instead of buy well known dell. clerk say dunno and customer walk out with new dell. no time to slice hairs about spin speed or anything else. brand most important. can’t find shiny new dell on amazon with linux

  4. oiaohm says:

    wolfgang most Linux people order directly from the hardware maker/assembler. You failed to compare a apple with an apple. You compared a duel hardrive + one solid state harddrive option with a single harddrive laptop. this is the one you are looking at right wolfgang. Go to the makers site on it and read the specs.

    Also 7200 harddrive 720GB harddrive is the same price as a 1TB 5400 harddrive. So what speed harddrive was in that dell. I guess a 5400. Slower spin speed lower performance. So why did you raise this as some advantage. Reality it was not.

    wolfgang the reality is amazon stocks the system76 because Linux users do buy it. yes it might only have a 720GB harddrive in when you get it. Adding parts to a system76 that maker approves of does not break warranty.

    The optical media drive in a system76 is replaceable with a hard-drive. Even better eject-able hard-drive.

    wolfgang ok how do you backup to harddrive in the dell you choose.

    The issue is the two laptops you were comparing are in completely different classes wolfgang . System76 laptops you have to put head to head with dell xps laptops.

    Yes a system76 is a metal chassis not a plastic one.

    wolfgang compare the right level windows laptop to a system 76 its very cheep and vastly higher spec. You had to be comparing a plastic chassis dell against it.

    Yes I can get cheaper Linux systems than a system 76. If you want plastic with Linux installed you are mostly looking chromebook in stores. Some chromebooks switch-able back to bios mode to install Linux. Note I said to install Linux. Attempt to install Windows it will completely fail. Windows require bios extensions are completely missing.

    Sorry is a cheaper Linux laptop on the shelf at Amazon you just have to know your chromebook models.

  5. wolfgang says:

    …wolfgang is idiot again…

    oiaohm miss the point. pogson claim that store owner will stock linux computer instead of windows pc because price lower, but price is higher. oiaohm suggest that buyer cannot configure system from amazon, but buyer cannot configure system at walmart or other store. has to take what is in box. so what does buyer see when looking at amazon computers? see higher price and bogus brand for linux. you think he ready to listen to hair slicing argument about framework. sound like loser to me.

  6. oiaohm says:

    wolfgang only nuts or a specialist person buys from system 76. I can buy close to the same same spec laptop from HP or Dell for cheaper with Linux on it.

    Note amazon does not allow you to customise what the laptop contains.

    There is something odd about the 15 inch System 76 system. Its the fact it supports duel hard-drive plus a solid state drive.

    wolfgang the dell you are looking at with amazon is packed full of crapware and also is only a single hard-drive version. Yes its extra framing cost to support the number of harddrives a system 76 does. You are looking dell XPS level in the system 76 laptop. So its not overpriced its just you are a idiot who cannot match apples with apples wolfgang.

  7. wolfgang says:

    …pogson say no way….

    wolfgang say way. amazon store offer laptops with same specs and charge $200 more for system 76 computer than windows dell. system 76 not big company for sales. maybe price too high.

  8. oiaohm says:

    The 200 dollar difference for business is based on the fact a business to use unified image has to buy volume license on top. Where a Linux install using a unified image is always legal.

    Issue is if you get audited and you have missing licenses you don’t pay the OEM price you pay the recommend retail price for a boxed set. Lot of schools with troublesum kids are look at chrome OS, Android and iOS why no stickers for the brats to destroy.

  9. wolfgang wrote, “linux computer with same stuff cost $200 more than windows pc. so why would store owner want linux”.

    No way. Just check M$’s SEC filings. They get ~$50 per PC that sells their junk. Further, a PC that runs that other OS probably needs an extra gB of RAM and more storage and a bigger CPU just to look decent. “Same stuff” just means more waste with GNU/Linux. OTH, identical systems can be found on retails shelves with and without that other OS and the price shows.

    See also, Dell Offers Identical Hardware With Ubuntu GNU/Linux or That Other OS

  10. luvr says:

    wolfgang says, “oiaohm go off on spree about volume license that he obviously know nothing about..”

    I’m not sure what it is that you believe oiaohm doesn’t understand, but he sure does get it that volume licenses can be used only on computers that came with a Windows license in the first place (i.e., a “Windows sticker”). A company that I used to work for once underwent a Microsoft audit, and got a rather nasty reply when they attempted to understand why they couldn’t use their images to get Windows onto some of their computers that didn’t have such a sticker.

  11. dougman says:

    Trolls argue over “retail space” all the time, but what they fail to realize is Linux does not require “retail space”.

    Linux grows regardless of “retail space” and will continue to grow.

  12. wolfgang says:

    …big business not matter…

    for here, where idea is that retailer would choose linux computer over windows pc to sell since cheaper, that is true. my thought was that linux computer with same stuff cost $200 more than windows pc. so why would store owner want linux?
    oiaohm go off on spree about volume license that he obviously know nothing about. oiaohm live in tree in woods and make up stories I think. anyway, with volume license my company buy dells extra cheap and put on windows, office, and other special programs for employee. don’t reimage at all, just first time. oiaohm not understand much.

  13. wolfgang wrote, “you not work for big company”.

    Big businesses have the right to be stupid and wasteful. That’s a good recipe for extinction. However, most of us do not work for big businesses and many of us are consumers only so what big businesses want is just about irrelevant when it comes to our IT. OEM/retail channels don’t involve sweet licensing deals between consumers and M$.

  14. oiaohm quoted an article that included this summary, “Reimaging is the copying of software onto multiple devices from one standard image. Reimaging rights are granted to all Microsoft Volume Licensing customers. Under these rights, customers can reimage original equipment manufacturer (OEM) or full-package product (FPP) licensed copies using media provided under their Volume Licensing agreement. However, certain conditions exist for using the Volume Licensing media for reimaging software that is previously installed either by the OEM or from FPP.”

    That is the issue I had at my last school. PCs had various stickers, OEM XP Home, and XP pro. I used three images depending on the kind of hardware, not the kind of sticker. At the time I could not figure out from M$’s site whether that was legal or not. They did allow backups but I had not the disk-space for 40 backups… I think migrating to Debian GNU/Linux was not only the best thing for that school but it was also a legal requirement. I neither had the money to buy licences nor the legal permission to re-image. Debian GNU/Linux is covered mostly by GPL so that problem disappeared in a few days of re-imaging with GNU/Linux.

  15. oiaohm says:

    Yes the Volume license of Windows desktop OS’s is paying a extra cost for the right to use a single image on all machines.

  16. oiaohm says:

    wolfgang the volume license install of Windows and the OEM license and FPP license are independent. Sorry I have and do work with big companies. Company images used internally use Windows OS desktop volume licenses to make images simpler. The legal side if the license is that it can only be applied to machines with OEM license.

    Windows enterprise is only a upgrade. The computer must have a min of Windows home something deployed for it to be legally added to a system.

    wolfgang one of the most common causes of large enterprises having huge bills for copyright infringement is in fact they have installed Windows Enterprise on computers without a OEM COA sticker. Yes its part of the Windows Enterprise EULA.

    Windows enterprise is not OEM or FPP. Windows enterprise is upgrade only.

    wolfgang you are what happens when a lowly pen pusher starts commenting based on what they see deployed. You over look the OEM or FPP sticker on the side of the machine.

    wolfgang basically no OEM or FPP(this is boxed set the expensive one) No Windows enterprise for you.

  17. wolfgang says:

    …wolfgang is idiot…

    said by people before, but not important here. company here buy many thousand dells each year and apply windows 7 enterprise and other software before giving to employee. you not work for big company so you just make up what they do based on being ignorant. climb down from tree you living in and learn facts.

  18. oiaohm says:

    wolfgang sorry you are a idiot. Please look up Windows Desktop volume licenses. They are only upgrades. They require the system to have a OEM license already applied.

    To order without Windows you must be running LInux.

    Stores in fact order by the enterprise interface to dell. So a store is in fact free to order custom versions of Linux for their shelves.

    Issue is lack of kickback crapware to bundle with Linux. Most people don’t notice that different stores stocking dell computers have different crapware mixes on the same dell models. Its all about what the store will tolerate to get a lower price.

    wolfgang so the question of the retail shelf is more when will enough crapware appear.

  19. wolfgang says:

    you crazy I think. pogson say linux computer $100 cheaper than pc, but at amazon same sort of specs show windows pc more than $200 cheaper than linux computer. maybe can get dell cheaper if big company and have own licenses for windows, so what? big companies not order from amazon or buy in store anyway. we talking about store shelve, so pay attention.

  20. oiaohm says:

    wolfgang other than the fact that most of those Dell Windows 8 laptops are order-able without Windows with company images applied. So you don’t have to by a system76.

    Interesting a crapware free Windows 8.x install from dell also costs more. $679 is with crapware and you cannot buy that dell model from a Microsoft store at that price.

    wolfgang push of Microsoft is not Microsoft. Its the crapware that can bundle with it.

  21. wolfgang says:


    wolfgang wonder about that. go to amazon and see system76 ubuntu laptop with i7 and 8gb and 750g and 15 inch for $902 and then see dell windows 8 laptop with i7 and 8gb and even 1000g and 15 inch for $679. maybe retailer see windows as less expensive than linux when push come to shove.

  22. wolfgang says:

    …problem is getting on retail shelves everywhere…

    remember story about mice plagued by cat. simple fix one said is to put bell on cat. sound like same sort of solution.

  23. dougman wrote, “Linux Mint is a worthwhile Windows XP replacement”.

    SJVN agrees.

  24. dougman says:

    With the fail that Windows 8 is and the end of XP arriving, the greatest migration to Linux will ensue.

    Linux Mint is a worthwhile Windows XP replacement, not just because I tend to use Linux desktops a lot and Mint in particular. I’m suggesting it for XP users for several specific reasons.

    First, Mint’s Cinnamon interface can be set to look and act a lot like XP. Yes, you’ll have a learning curve, but it’s nothing like the one you’ll face if you move to Windows 8 or Mac OS.

    Second, Mint is free and even the latest version, Mint 16 Petra, can work on almost any XP system you already have in house. All Linux Mint needs to run is an x86 processor; 512 MBs of RAM (albeit you’ll be happier with 1GB); 5 GBs of disk space; a graphics card that can handle 800×600 resolution; and a CD/DVD drive or USB port. That’s it.

    Next, you don’t have to commit to Mint. You can try it before installing it by using a live USB thumb-drive.

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