OEMs Aren’t Going To Replace XP With GNU/Linux. Real People Have To Do That

The death of XP is an opportunity for GNU/Linux but only on the huge installed base. Folks who have XP gasping its last breath on a PC or organizations with a whole department“Unfortunately, while Linux does represent a lifeline for Windows XP users, I suspect it will be one that is not taken. The simple reality is that many of those users who are still with Windows XP simply just don’t know enough to care. Yes, I know there are lots of XP machines running cash machines that banks do care about, but there are also many machines sitting in libraries, schools and homes around the world where people simply don’t know any better.
The challenge for Linux is the same as it always has been. Linux desktop vendors need to more aggressively push the message of Linux as widely as is necessary. Linux can provide a freely available, safe option for Windows XP users, but only if the choice is clearly explained and promoted.”
running XP on desktops have to make the choice to install GNU/Linux or to convert those old PCs to GNU/Linux thin clients.
The severely locked in and the ignorant will keep XP until it can no longer work for them and replace their machines with what OEMs/retailers offer. The opportunity lies with those millions of still-good machines that can browse the web, play some multi-media or check the e-mail. There, millions will have cheap desktop PCs or people will recycle the machines using GNU/Linux to make them purr. The OEMs can’t help GNU/Linux do that. There’s no money in shipping a PC back to China just to change the OS… There is lots of money to be made “fixing” PCs by installing a proper current and supported OS like Debian GNU/Linux. Go for it.

See Death of Window XP Is a Golden Opportunity for Linux.

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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25 Responses to OEMs Aren’t Going To Replace XP With GNU/Linux. Real People Have To Do That

  1. kurkosdr says:

    In plain english, don’t make the mistake Linux did.
    Instead, avoid the GNU bootloader and stick to your own GPL bootloader, so the FSF cannot claim your OS is unusable/can’t boot without GNU tools, so the FSF cannot call your OS GNU/foo.

  2. kurkosdr says:

    “FSF can’t sue anyone successfully for a violation of licence or copyright if they give you a licence and you use it to copy the code.”

    They can’t sure, but they will have their parrots call your OS GNU/foo and talk trash like “foo is just a kernel, made usable by GNU tools” which is exactly the case for Linux (which wasn’t meant to be part of GNU, and had the ability to boot byitself without GNU).

    Before you know it, blogs and sites are calling your OS GNU/foo despite the fact you have told them it’s actually foo. And then you have a major branding problem, because your OS goes by two names, foo and GNU/foo, the latter creating confusion with another OS.

    I am not saying you can’t legally use the GNU bootloader, I am saying you shouldn’t, in order to save yourself from a potential branding problem.

  3. kurkosdr waving something, wrote, “If you have a GPLed OS, and has it’s own GPL bootloader, for the love of Zeus, don’t replace it with the GNU bootloader, or Stallman will demand you to call your OS GNU/foo later”

    Your logic escapes me. Grub’s copyright file contains, “This program is free software; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation, version 2.”

    That licence permits to you run, examine, modify and distribute the code as you wish. The leverage of the licence is copyright, nothing more. You can install and run GRUB without modification to boot any OS. Where’s the violation of licence if you name it “bootloader” or whatever? Where’s the violation if your OS is named “door” or “floor” or …? FSF can’t sue anyone successfully for a violation of licence or copyright if they give you a licence and you use it to copy the code.

  4. kurkosdr says:

    demand you = demand from you

  5. kurkosdr says:

    “FSF request to use GNU is if you are using parts under gnu.org maintainer-ship or care.”

    This is what I said. If you have a GPLed OS, and has it’s own GPL bootloader, for the love of Zeus, don’t replace it with the GNU bootloader, or Stallman will demand you to call your OS GNU/foo later (especially if you are bundling GNU userland software in your GPLed OS too).

    This is a major problem if you have invested in the “foo” brandname, because you could have blogs refering to your OS as GNU/foo, creating confusing with another OS. You could sue the FSF for trademark infringement, but in reality you can’t because community. So you are screwed.

    So to recap, use GPL bootloaders, but stay away from the GNU bootloader.

    PS: Normally the FSF shouldn’t even think of making such absurd demand for any OS (including Linux), but they present themselves as the authority for everything involving free software, so there are lots of people having blind faith in the FSF, parroting their positions uncritically.

  6. oiaohm says:

    kurkosdr there are existing OS’s that are GPL that are not asked to put GNU before it. Example being Reactos. Reactos does use a GPL bootloader as well. There are

    FSF request to use GNU is if you are using parts under gnu.org maintainer-ship or care.

    kurkosdr if your OS can truly boot by itself FSF does not ask for the GNU flag. Example freedos even that it has GNU items it not GNU/freedos.

    Reality here is the Linux kernel alone is not a bootable OS. A key piece the init system is missing. With systemd. freedesktop/Linux might be a more suitable define.

  7. kurkosdr says:

    This is a major caveat for OS developers. If you have a GPLed OS, and you happen to bundle the GNU userland and also happen to replace the bootloader with the GNU bootloader, the FSF will “ask” from you to rename it to GNU/foo.

    It doesn’t matter if you never intended your OS to be part of GNU and if your OS had been capable of booting on itself. Stay away from GNU bootloaders, lest your OS get renamed to GNU/foo if you replace your bootloader with the GNU bootloader and bundle GNU userland software.

  8. oiaohm says:

    kurkosdr by the way the Linux kernel source does not include a init program. Without a init program no boot. Historically sysvinit has been hosted at GNU. The GNU/Linux with change to systemd does have to be questioned.

  9. oiaohm says:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toybox + Linux kernel No GNU userspace. Ok Android/Linux again no GNU userspace.

    So yes there are Linux instances without GNU. There are Linux solutions without xorg. So yes those examples of long list of items split by slashes do happen when you are comparing.

  10. kurkosdr wrote, “There is no ‘give credit’ obligation in the GPL.”

    Nope, and software can be forked and renamed but, because the source code is visible, folks can figure out what’s what and GNU/Linux is GNU/Linux.

  11. kurkosdr wrote, “Linux (what you call the “kernel”) is bootable without GNU tools.”

    Who does that? Android/Linux? You don’t want to even call that “Linux”. Make up your mind.
    Linux README:“Booting a kernel directly from a floppy without the assistance of a bootloader such as LILO, is no longer supported.
    If you boot Linux from the hard drive, chances are you use LILO, which uses the kernel image as specified in the file /etc/lilo.conf. The kernel image file is usually /vmlinuz, /boot/vmlinuz, /bzImage or /boot/bzImage. To use the new kernel, save a copy of the old image and copy the new image over the old one. Then, you MUST RERUN LILO to update the loading map!! If you don’t, you won’t be able to boot the new kernel image.”

  12. kurkosdr says:

    To put things into perspective:

    If you try to limit the concept of “OS” enough so Linux-without-GNU doesn’t classify as such, you ‘ll end up throwing *a lot* of other OSes out too. It’s impossible to classify Linux-without-GNU as not-an-OS without some serious fact-bending.

    I ‘ve watched the FSF’s efforts to redefine the word “OS” so that Linux-without-GNU doesn’t meet it. Everything from providing a C-library to providing unix-like commands have been proposed.

    Truth is, Linux-without-GNU is an OS. GNU is just another userland software, not unlike X.org, PulseAudio, Gnome etc. GNU is userland software that just adds features to the Linux OS, just like X.org, PulseAudio and Gnome do.

    With that in mind, all FSF has left is: You must call it GNU/Linux because we “ask” you to give us credit and teaches people about freedom. None of the above two have any factual or technical merit.

  13. kurkosdr, you may be using that other OS that crashes at the drop of a hat forcing you to “save” frequently, but please stop spamming the comments.

    “2 hours ago – Blacklisted because the comment matched ‘XXXX'”

  14. kurkosdr says:

    This doesn’t change the fact that if you have a GPL’ed OS called foo, and you decide to base some of your userland on GNU tools (or replace some of your existing userland with GNU tools), there is no reason or obligation to rename the OS to GNU/foo. The FSF makes such absurd demand only for the case of Linux. Even Stallman admits that you don’t have to give credit to GNU, they just *ask* you to
    But, despite the fact they “ask” you, they will pound on you for calling not referring to Linux as GNU Linux.

    Just like if you make an MinGW frontend, there is no reason or obligation to rename your software to MinGW/foo. There is no ‘give credit’ obligation in the GPL.

    My point is:

    -Linux (what you call the “kernel”) is bootable without GNU tools.
    So, Linux is an OS, not a kernel. The fact there is lots of GNU software on top adding features is *completely* irrelevant. Linux is an OS.

    And don’t say we have to call systems with GNU as GNU/Linux to seperate from those other Linux systems without GNU, because then we ‘d have to call Linux with a GUI as Xorg/GNU/Linux, or even PulseAudio/Gnome/Xorg/GNU/Linux.

    See? The software on top is *irrelevant* Linux is an OS without the need for GNU and that’s what matters.

  15. kurkosdr wrote, “Linux was bootable before it got ANY gnu software”

    Linux was bootstrapped on Minix but after GNU was used it was bootable from a floppy but not usable. No user-interface at all, just a binary API. No one uses it that way any longer. They want to run multiple users and applications. Even ancient archives of Slackware refer to floppy images but the kernel was tiny, fitting on a floppy. Now it would take several floppies and for years now Linux has not booted from floppies.

    RedHat 1 still used Minix underneath:
    “file boot0000.img
    boot0000.img: DOS/MBR boot sector
    pogson@beast:~/Downloads/linux/RHT1$ ls -l
    total 1408
    -rw-r—– 1 pogson pogson 1437696 Oct 3 1996 boot0000.img
    pogson@beast:~/Downloads/linux/RHT1$ su
    beast:/home/pogson/Downloads/linux/RHT1# mkdir t
    beast:/home/pogson/Downloads/linux/RHT1# mount boot0000.img t -o loop,ro
    mount: unknown filesystem type ‘minix'”

    They shipped another floppy with the root file-system…

  16. kurkosdr wrote, “It’s not Android/Linux, but Android/linux-kernel-part”.

    Hmmm… and the distinction is what? There is no non-kernel-part of Linux. Linux is a kernel. I build it from kernel.org regularly.

    kurkosdr may be misled by the misinformation in the Linux README: “WHAT IS LINUX?
    Linux is a clone of the operating system Unix, written from scratch by Linus Torvalds with assistance from a loosely-knit team of hackers across the Net. It aims towards POSIX and Single UNIX Specification compliance.”

    If Linux were an operating system, why does the installation of it only involve building the kernel from source and running a Makefile script to copy it into place and update boot-loaders?
    “INSTALLING the kernel source:
    – If you install the full sources, put the kernel tarball in a directory where you have permissions (eg. your home directory) and unpack it:
    BUILD directory for the kernel:
    CONFIGURING the kernel:”

    See, when it comes to the software that Linux consists of it’s just the kernel, no startup scripts, no utilities, nothing but kernel. My Linux 3.10 kernel directory is 593 MB, a tiny fraction of the software on my computer. On my system, I don’t have GNOME installed but
    “dpkg -s gcc-4.8 coreutils libc6:amd64 libc-bin bash gimp|grep Installed-Size
    Installed-Size: 14984
    Installed-Size: 13531
    Installed-Size: 10267
    Installed-Size: 3325
    Installed-Size: 5349
    Installed-Size: 15476”
    There’s lots of GNU there. GNOME comes in at hundreds of MB.

  17. kurkosdr says:

    And before someone mentions Android, it contains only the kernel part of Linux. It’s not Android/Linux, but Android/linux-kernel-part

  18. kurkosdr says:

    “Nope. That’s the kernel of the OS”

    Nope, Linux was bootable before it got ANY gnu software, and some non-kernel parts like init are non-gnu (like the init). So much for JustAKernel. Kernels don’t boot by themselves, OSes do, so Linux was an OS in it’s own right before it got any gnu bits at all.

    Linux was never meant to be a piece for GNU anyway, it as meant to be an OS in it’s own right (that’s why the gnu bits that linux uses had to be modified a lot). In plain english, Linux absorbed GNU, not the other way around, as the FSF wrongly claims.

    The whole GNU/Linux territorial dispute should be a warning to anyone developing a GPL’ed OS, to not touch any GNU software with a 100-foot pole. If you use one too many GNU userland software, Stallman will demand you change the name of your OS from foo to GNU/foo, as to give GNU credit. See, the GPL does not demand you to give credit, but the FSF can demand from you to give credit if you use one to many GNU userland software.

    Essentially, Stallman got a taste of his own medicine and doesn’t want to admit it’s bitter. Someone (Linus) took all his work, without giving any credit to the FSF and the “freedoms” mission GNU was meant to represent.

  19. kurkosdr says:

    (replying to TheExploitGuy from the LibreOffice thread, because the ghetto-coded comment system won’t let me reply there)

    To be fair to the hamster, ooxml has evolved into a giant clusterXXXX, because it’s extended by MS without always keeping backwards compatibility.

  20. kurkosdr says:

    (replying to TheExploitGuy from the LibreOffice thread, because the ghetto-coded comment system won’t let me reply there)

    To be fair to the hamster, OOXML has evolved into a giant clusterXXXX, because it’s extended by MS without always keeping backwards compatibility.

    The experience users actually get is that a document created by the latest version of MS Office is guaranteed to render 100% correctly only on the latest version of MS Office. However, not being forced to have the latest version of MS Office to view a document from a colleague was the primary reason we switched away from doc/ppt/xls anyway.

    In plain english, instead of having a proper standard, where files created by new software are guaranteed to work on older software, you have a constantly-breaking-back-compat standard (aka a non-standard) that rivals the worst non-standards of loonland. MS has proved they can produce a proper standard if they want to, so we have to conclude OOXML was a ploy to force people collaborating to all use the latest version of Office, it was never meant to b a proper standard (aka with back compat), sorry.

  21. Someone wrote, “It’s just called Linux.”

    Nope. That’s the kernel of the OS. The kernel basically allocates resources at a primitive level. All major operating systems have a lot of other stuff that’s part of the OS but not part of the kernel. e.g. windowing, GUI, start-up scripts, manuals/documentation, and some minimal set of applications. GNU/Linux for instance, has a bunch of GNU tools as part of the OS: software-development tools like gcc, utilities like gnupg, nano, wget …

  22. Actually, nobody is going to replace it because there is no such thing as GNU/Linux. It’s just called Linux.

  23. dougman says:

    Everytime I see a Windows users, I point and laugh.

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