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Linux In 2009 — Recession vs. GNU

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the free-as-in-bailout dept.

GNU is Not Unix 355

RealityThreek sends this excerpt from an article at IT Management:"Pundits and business executives alike are predicting gloomy economic times for 2009. But when the talk turns to free and open source software (FOSS), suddenly the mood brightens. Whether their concern is the business opportunities in open source or the promotion of free software idealism, experts see FOSS as starting from a strong base and actually benefiting from the hard times expected next year. ... [Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation] sees Linux and the FOSS ecosystem surrounding it as having insurmountable advantages in any market over its main competitor Windows — advantages that an economic downturn only intensifies. At a time when a search for the lowest possible price point is happening in such areas as notebooks, FOSS is available at no cost. It is easy to rebrand and customize in a way that Windows Isn't, and is also technically more efficient."

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355 comments

FOSS Will Gain Market Share (5, Insightful)

alain94040 (785132) | more than 5 years ago | (#26306905)

In a recent study of the top 140 corporations in America, 12 were using OpenOffice. That's not exactly much. With the coming recession, I can see quite a few companies deciding to cut their costs and switch to OpenOffice. It beats upgrading to Office 2007, that's for sure.

We only need another 4 companies in that sample to get a 50% market share increase!

Linux also will strenghten its dominant position in servers. Sun is going out of business, just like SGI a few years back. Sun is the only one that doesn't know it yet.

Wait, but if Sun is going out business, who will pay all these engineers who contribute to Open Source projects today? "Houston, we have a problem."

So this pending recession has some good for FOSS, and some not so good. By the way, don't listen to the pundits that tell you the recession will last years. Those same pundits four months ago were saying life is great. They don't have a clue, they just echo the popular opinion of the time.

--
Software Bill Of Rights [softwarebillofrights.org] : transparency, open management, equal rights and revenue sharing

Re:FOSS Will Gain Market Share (2, Insightful)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 5 years ago | (#26306993)

The savings from switching to OpenOffice are no better than the savings from keeping Office 2003.

PS: 4/12 is not 50%.

Re:FOSS Will Gain Market Share (3, Interesting)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 5 years ago | (#26307143)

My company is doing a mix between keeping Office 2k3 and very slowly attempting to get people using Lotus Symphony which isn't OOo but it uses the Open Document format. That is all we really need.. Imo, this isn't necessarily about OOo beating Office but getting people using something that allows you to use anything so there is no risk of losing access to your data.

Re:FOSS Will Gain Market Share (2, Funny)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#26307599)

My company is ... using Lotus Symphony...

no risk of losing access to your data.

Does not compute

(I kid, I kid)

Re:FOSS Will Gain Market Share (1)

upuv (1201447) | more than 5 years ago | (#26308349)

People use Symphony?

Re:FOSS Will Gain Market Share (5, Funny)

RichardJenkins (1362463) | more than 5 years ago | (#26307017)

Amazing. It's like they're saying 2009 some special YEAR OF SOMETHING, oh, I dunno, how best to put it?

Re:FOSS Will Gain Market Share (4, Funny)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#26307751)

They are saying Open Source will gain marketshare, so it must be the YEAR OF BSD ON THE DESKTOP.

Re:FOSS Will Gain Market Share (1)

andreyvul (1176115) | more than 5 years ago | (#26308259)

Year of OpenBSD on the desktop?
LMFAO.

Re:FOSS Will Gain Market Share (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 5 years ago | (#26308091)

Personally, I'm hoping it's going to be the YEAR OF THE XTERM. If we can only get a few of the hardware companies to supply better drivers, the Tektronix 4014 emulation will finally rock!

Re:FOSS Will Gain Market Share (2, Funny)

faragon (789704) | more than 5 years ago | (#26307139)

Sun can support also Linux, much in the same way as IBM supports Linux and mainframes. There is no excuse, and there are reasons that make Sun as a viable company in the near future: services and engine for the 21th century Open Source!

In my opinion we are in the transition to a change in the business model, similar to the musicians that make money with concerts (services) but not with CDs, in the software arena I expect something somewhat similar: software will be free and open source, and the bucks will be in parallel services (adaptation, support, etc.).

Economy is getting terrible where I live, Spain (Europe), in case of losing my job during 2009 (crossed fingers), in the worse case, I would have plenty time for open source projects (I have savings for 2-3 years, if after deflation don't come hiperinflation, I expect to survive without major problems).

Re:FOSS Will Gain Market Share (0, Offtopic)

Minozake (1227554) | more than 5 years ago | (#26307415)

You must have a good money and living plan to live on savings alone for 2-3 years.

Re:FOSS Will Gain Market Share (3, Interesting)

faragon (789704) | more than 5 years ago | (#26307655)

I was aware of the economic downturn since 2004, not because of the global crisis, but because of the local housing bubble. That's because I've been cautious, saving a bit, when possible (I have not automobile, and I live in a small apartment).

I forgot to mention that where I live (Spain), there is a unemployment insurance, that would allow me to get almost 1000 euro/month during two years in case of being fired (after 8 or more continuous worked years -we pay huge taxes here-, the 1000 €/month is the maximum you can get, it depends on your previous salary and paid taxes). In extremis, I think that with savings it could be possible to survive for 4 years with no other additional income (unemployment insurance + savings). Life is very expensive here, despite of the currency exchange, I'm sure you can get more for 1000 USD in the US than in Spain with 1000 euro.

Re:FOSS Will Gain Market Share (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#26307775)

It's called retirement. Unfortunately, when he starts working again he'll have to continue working for the rest of his life.

Re:FOSS Will Gain Market Share (1)

GryMor (88799) | more than 5 years ago | (#26307817)

Really? I managed 2 years from a single years entry level (SDE) employment. As things stand after another ~5 years of employment, I could probably stretch things out to 10-15 years (barring hyper inflation) without dipping into unemployment insurance or the 401k.

Requirements:
Single (with no dependents)
Debt phobic
Ruthless culling of expenses

This was/is in Seattle, so it should be possible in most places. We aren't exactly known for cheap housing.

Re:FOSS Will Gain Market Share (1)

mortonda (5175) | more than 5 years ago | (#26308121)

(I have savings for 2-3 years, if after deflation don't come hiperinflation, I expect to survive without major problems).

I just have to say, congrats on making wise choices and saving that money up. if more people and companies would have that foresight, we all might weather hard times a lot better.

Re:FOSS Will Gain Market Share (2, Insightful)

AlphaZeta (1356887) | more than 5 years ago | (#26307185)

The main reason people sticked to proprietary software during economic boom time is that that is something that they have gotten used to and there was no reason to look anywhere else. Now it is a totally different story. May be people will start looking at open source software. Sure, while certain functions people got used to in MS office are not present in OpenOffice, but all this is just superficial and when dollars matter, I think the decision is clear and people will get used to working with open source applications. It might be a slow process, but once people start to realize that open source software can do what proprietary software offered them they will not look back...

Re:FOSS Will Gain Market Share (4, Insightful)

Shados (741919) | more than 5 years ago | (#26307537)

but all this is just superficial

Far from it. In many companies, MS Office is used as a client, data consumer, for the company's server side processes and databases. MS Word or Excel as part of workflows, Excel as a client for datawarehouses, Outlook integrated with customer's systems, ----SHAREPOINT---- development (thats a big one), etc.

When you're at home using Office to type out a quick document, you may as well be using anything else, doesn't matter much. When Office is an integral part of your processes, you tend to use features that are more..."unique" to it. Its then harder to replace (usually companies that go that route, do so with the idea that the license price of Office is minimal compared to the time saving of using it as a RAD client...). Added to the fact that Office's volume licensing makes it much cheaper than what you'll see if you poke Amazon.com, and in time of recession, its the LAST suite of apps that will be switched over...

Re:FOSS Will Gain Market Share (1)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#26307641)

When Office is an integral part of your processes, you tend to use features that are more..."unique" to it. Its then harder to replace (usually companies that go that route, do so with the idea that the license price of Office is minimal compared to the time saving of using it as a RAD client...)

Yes, but you assume also that during 2009 both Office along with OOo (and other open source office suites) will remain stagnant. Try convincing a person who already is afraid of their computer that Office 2007 is better when they have to relearn half the program. And who knows what Windows 7 will bring, it may be that in the final release they remove all compatibility with Office below 2007 in which case showing people that they might not have to be retrained with the (IMO) horrid "ribbon" interface of Office 2007 but a more familiar one of OOo might be enough to convince your boss to go with the free app even if it might take more admin work to make it work.

Re:FOSS Will Gain Market Share (2, Insightful)

drsmithy (35869) | more than 5 years ago | (#26307835)

And who knows what Windows 7 will bring, it may be that in the final release they remove all compatibility with Office below 2007 in which case showing people that they might not have to be retrained with the (IMO) horrid "ribbon" interface of Office 2007 but a more familiar one of OOo might be enough to convince your boss to go with the free app even if it might take more admin work to make it work.

It's always hilarious to hear the various paranoid rants about how Microsoft is going to deliberately break $OLDPROGRAM so everyone has to upgrade, despite them having one of the best records for legacy support in the industry.

A better example of FUD, it is difficult to think of.

Re:FOSS Will Gain Market Share (5, Interesting)

rmcd (53236) | more than 5 years ago | (#26308177)

Here are two honest questions:

1. Why did Microsoft make the equation editor in Word 2007 incompatible with that in Word 2003? (And yes, I know that they shipped the old equation as part of powerpoint 2007 and you could discover this with enough effort. But in my setting a few people upgraded and everyone else had to upgrade to be able to edit the new documents. No, the docx update for 2003 did not permit editing of the new equation format.)

2. Why did Microsoft ship Excel 2007 in such a form that it couldn't read old macros (circa Excel 95) [microsoft.com] . In fact they have a simple fix for this, but it's not available unless you contact MS tech support.

I can see two reasons for these omission: 1) stunning incompetence or 2) a deliberate attempt to drive upgrades. I have a hard time believing it's not #2, but I have no evidence.

Just because it's FUD doesn't mean the F, U, and D are not justified.

Re:FOSS Will Gain Market Share (1)

Shados (741919) | more than 5 years ago | (#26308009)

You really missed it. Its not more "admin work". Office has integration features that are either not found in other suites, or are vastly different... By integration features, read: "Using Office as a development platform". Programming.

Sure, maybe the UI of OOo will be slightly closer to Office 2003...but the app that you'd have to build around OOo will be a heck of a lot more different, and the totally different skillset required to develop for it (Office's API sucks, OOo's API is Lord of Sith level of evil...), you won't just have to retrain some people, you'll have to reorganise the IT and development department, switch third party products, change the enterprise portal... No fun.

For companies that just use Office to read documents and write a few, then yes, you're totally right.

Not during recession (3, Interesting)

hwyhobo (1420503) | more than 5 years ago | (#26307403)

With the coming recession, I can see quite a few companies deciding to cut their costs and switch to OpenOffice.

Switching corporate standards causes temporary increase in costs due to retraining and document conversion. Such a move may be fine in good times, but it is counter intuitive during recession.

Re:Not during recession (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26308007)

If I wasn't anonymous and wasn't a coward, I would mod you up. In this recession, companies will just push back spending to the next fiscal quarter or year. Besides, with all the layoffs, the PHBs won't have anyone to train the staff on how to use those shiny new FOSS thingies.

Re:FOSS Will Gain Market Share (1, Insightful)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 5 years ago | (#26307449)

OpenOffice will not take much more corporate share until two things happen:

1: A workable replacement for Outlook, Exchange, and its calendar service is released. Too many office personnel use it, and it's not a bad calendar service.

2: Word document compatibility improves quite a lot. Swapping back and forth between OpenOffice and Word still causes nasty layout and compatibility problems, especially for graphics intensive documents and templates made by Microsoft Office users.

Re:FOSS Will Gain Market Share (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#26307989)

Does Sun's ODF plugin have the same layout issues?

Re:FOSS Will Gain Market Share (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 5 years ago | (#26307995)

A workable replacement for Outlook, Exchange, and its calendar service is released.

What do you consider "unworkable" about the alternatives? Off the top of my head, there's Gmail + Google Calendar. There's also at least two open source alternatives that I can think of -- either a full stack, or with Outlook as a client.

Swapping back and forth between OpenOffice and Word still causes nasty layout and compatibility problems

From what I've seen, these are exaggerated. Yes, there are problems, but they don't affect most cases. For each worker, there's the question of whether they would actually gain anything from Office, and if so, whether it is worth spending hundreds of dollars on a personal copy for them.

Re:FOSS Will Gain Market Share (2, Interesting)

rabbit994 (686936) | more than 5 years ago | (#26308079)

Gmail and Google Calendar are not replacements for several reasons.

First being despite how responsive and AJAX, it's still a web client and still slower to work then Outlook.
Second, many companies are not willing to turn over their email to outside party that they cannot control what they do with it.

Zimbra is a nightmare and there is no reason to use Outlook as client but not use Exchange as backend. It might be cheaper but I've never seen anything that plugins to Outlook work as well as native Exchange.

Enough free time to always make first post? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26307745)

It's pretty amazing how frequently you've been managing to make First Posts lately... and not a one of them any less than three paragraphs. With all that free time to suck on the Firehose, perhaps you should be developing FOSS?

Re:FOSS Will Gain Market Share (5, Interesting)

theguyfromsaturn (802938) | more than 5 years ago | (#26307839)

This recession will not last years because pundits say so. Unlike other recessions, this one was predicted decades ago. (have a look at the book "Limits to growth" and the neat time line for peak global industrial output peak. The timing match is quite scary actually). It is not a coincidence that the banking system collapsed on the heels of 140$ a barrel for oil. There is no other currency than energy. Without energy (including food to keep people going), there is no economic "activity". Food production has peaked too, on a global scale. What will happen now, is that as soon as the economy starts moving again, demand of fuel will increase until we reach a level somewhat lower than the peak 85 million barrels a day or so, at which point, due the limited oil production, prices will skyrocket again, and a fragile economy will go right back into recession. The only way out, is reducing quickly energy consumption. And increasing alternatitve energy sources.. However, there is 150 years of infrastructure in oil, and even more in coal.... you can't replace that in a couple of years. It takes decades during which global population will continue to grow, and food production decrease (at an accelerated rate with the decreased availability of natural gas and gasoline). It's not the pundits that predict a long recession. It's mother nature.

Re:FOSS Will Gain Market Share (5, Insightful)

Darinbob (1142669) | more than 5 years ago | (#26307889)

In a recent study of the top 140 corporations in America, 12 were using OpenOffice. That's not exactly much.

No, that's a lot. You're seeing the cup as half empty, but it wasn't long ago that the cup was completely empty. 12 companies out of the "top" 140 corporations is a big deal. Every single one of those 12 corporations is a big respected company envied by the lesser N-140 corporations. They're the trendsetters, the ones that others watch closely.

If they're successful with OpenOffice (or other non-Microsoft software) then this will encourage other companies to do the same. Since these are large corporations, that means a large number of users are being exposed to Microsoft alternatives

Re:FOSS Will Gain Market Share (1)

drolli (522659) | more than 5 years ago | (#26307977)

Sun going out of business? I have heard that before, regularly. One difference to SGI however is that SGI had a single market which borke away. Sun quite diverse products, which fit together. And lets face it: If i want a trouble-free file server, i probably would buy Solaris. So i would guess that they will find some investor in case they run out of cash.

Re:FOSS Will Gain Market Share (1)

CAIMLAS (41445) | more than 5 years ago | (#26308081)

And yet, there are those of us who have been saying for as much as a decade that we're headed for some rough times brought on foolish policy after foolish economic policy. We are about to reap the whirlwind of 50 years of low inflation and interest and wanton consumer debt/lending. We can not pay the piper.

time wasted in pointless tasks.... (0, Troll)

N!NJA (1437175) | more than 5 years ago | (#26308161)

Linux might get an extra 1% market share in the business environment in 2009. but not at home. at least not until Auntie Mary can figure out how to use the OS.

if the zealots spent as much time simplifying the GUI and unifying the distros as they spend touting the OS, 2004 would have been the year of the Linux Desktop!

FOSS is not free... (2, Insightful)

Computershack (1143409) | more than 5 years ago | (#26307005)

The one thing these articles miss out is the massive costs involved in switching over and training staff. The old adage of "Linux is free only if your time is worthless" is especially relevent to the corporate world.

And as they've already got fully working and paid for Windows setups, why would they incur costs they don't need to to switch?

Re:FOSS is not free... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26307045)

Yeah! And air is not free because you still have to expend energy to breathe it!!! So anyone who says you don't have to pay for air is lying to you.

Re:FOSS is not free... (1)

CaptCovert (868609) | more than 5 years ago | (#26307131)

Yes, but there is no alternative that has a lower ongoing cost to air.

Re:FOSS is not free... (1)

stonedcat (80201) | more than 5 years ago | (#26307797)

That's what they want you to think.

Re:FOSS is not free... (1)

RichardJenkins (1362463) | more than 5 years ago | (#26307199)

Well, if energy was a currency then what you say would be perfectly true! It would also be true that with every breath you get a little richer despite the cost.

When people say "Linux is free only if your time is worthless" it's really just a pithy way of saying it is naive to assume licensing costs are the sum total of all costs around software. It is certainly not true that people who value their time pay more for linux.

I'm not a fan of pithy ways of saying things, I'd prefer it be unambiguous, bland, and easy to understand. But that's just my peculiarities. Most people like sexy phrases which invite the type of misunderstanding that I (and perhaps you? - maybe time to get tested for Aspergers) find difficult to avoid.

Re:FOSS is not free... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26307147)

Correct. Just as vendor one-upmanship causes many "open standards" (CSS is a great example) to be "open, but not open", enterprise FOSS is "free, but not free".

If FOSS were really free as in beer, then Red Hat wouldn't be able to keep thousands of people on its payroll, would they?

And Sun Micro wouldn't be able to keep tens of thousands of people on its payroll... OK, bad example.

Most CIOs don't like the idea of having their engineers digging through mountains of C/C++ source code, plus Perl, Bourne, GNU make, autoconf, and m4 scripts, to find the source of a bug that they might have to build and maintain independently of the vendor's patch releases. And deploy on potentially dozens of production systems.

FOSS should compete on 1) transparency; 2) lack of vendor lock-in; 3) customization; 4) significantly lower cost. *Not* on being "free", which practically all non-Slashdot readers interpret as being "free as in beer".

Re:FOSS is not free... (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 5 years ago | (#26307271)

FOSS just need marketing fullstop which is hard to get when your business model involves giving things away for free.

Most people just care about getting things done rather than how they get it done. If they knew they could get it done for less with Linux they'd love that but most people are afraid of computers and wouldn't dare try something that looks remotely different from Windows. I think part of Vista's problem is more that they changed the look rather than it's a POS.

Re:FOSS is not free... (3, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#26307577)

Most CIOs don't like the idea of having their engineers digging through mountains of C/C++ source code, plus Perl, Bourne, GNU make, autoconf, and m4 scripts, to find the source of a bug that they might have to build and maintain independently of the vendor's patch releases. And deploy on potentially dozens of production systems.

That is much, much, much, better than the Windows way. With FOSS you can at least fix a bug, with Windows you basically can report a bug, the MS engineers deny that it is a bug, you insist that it should not be default behavior, 2 weeks + you get a patch that may or may not work.

Re:FOSS is not free... (1)

CaptCovert (868609) | more than 5 years ago | (#26307763)

When I'm the CEO of a small-medium company that doesn't actually employ any programmers and only has a small IT staff (*gasp!* but they do exist, people), how is the ability to program in my own fixes any sort of real benefit?

Of course, I could report the bug to whoever built the FOSS solution.... and wait 3 months for them to come up with a patch to fix it (lucky me, it doesn't happen that often)?

This is better somehow?

Re:FOSS is not free... (1)

binarylarry (1338699) | more than 5 years ago | (#26308335)

You'll clearly never be the CEO of a company of any size.

You could go with Microsoft Office and when you need a bug fixed or whatever, you could report it to them. They would then send you an automated response that politely tells you to "Fuck Off," because they don't care.

They already have your money.

At least with OSS stuff, you have a fighting chance, you aren't screwed from the beginning.

And that's the point.

Re:FOSS is not free... (2, Insightful)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 5 years ago | (#26307197)

To be fair a lot of companies train people on upgraded software whether or not it's FOSS.

We had Lotus Notes 8 training recently and that's an hour out of my life where I struggled to stay away and could have used to code something useful but no, we have to pretend people are stupid and train them on anything where the UI changes a little.

So really you can't count training costs because companies will likely pay that whether or not they move from Office 2k3 to Office 2k7 or OOo.

In regards to going from Windows to Linux. I think the time to get people up to speed is relatively low because

A) In a corporate environment they shouldn't be allowed to install whatever they want so the finer details of Linux aren't needed.

B) Menu layouts are fairly standard thanks to Linux copying Windows who copies Apple.

Re:FOSS is not free... (4, Interesting)

vux984 (928602) | more than 5 years ago | (#26307211)

The one thing these articles miss out is the massive costs involved in switching over and training staff. The old adage of "Linux is free only if your time is worthless" is especially relevent to the corporate world.

Office 2007 is both expensive and different.
OpenOffice is free and different (some would even argue less different).

That makes it potentially a good value proposition, unless of course you can stay on Office 2003 which is already bought and paid for. But I know companies still on Office 2000 and Office XP and those aren't fully compatible with Vista (and Windows 7) and while they can hang onto WinXP for a bit yet, they can see the end is near.

For them, OOo is genuinely a good value proposition.

Re:FOSS is not free... (1)

LurkerXXX (667952) | more than 5 years ago | (#26308039)

Install compatibility mode on Vista, and they ARE fully compatible.

Re:FOSS is not free... Yes, compatible. (3, Funny)

miknix (1047580) | more than 5 years ago | (#26308139)

Install compatibility mode on Vista, and they ARE fully compatible.

Yes, you are right. The Vista CD fits perfectly on my toaster. Too bad it won't last long.

Re:FOSS is not free... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26307301)

More retraining is needed for office 03 -> 07 than Openoffice 1 -> 3, not to mention office 03 -> Openoffice.

On the other hand look how long it took to reverse engineer wine, samba and ntfs so that one can access old documents with a powerpc or a linux netbook.

  IMHO you scored one for free software.

Re:FOSS is not free... (5, Insightful)

Narcocide (102829) | more than 5 years ago | (#26307595)

Those "training costs" arguments are at least 99% bullshit though. You ever had an office job? How many of those people really know their way around MS Office? I've got news for you - when forced to actually perform anything more than basic tasks most of those trained employees would find themselves hard pressed to even recognize the difference between OpenOffice and MS Office much less find a bit of advanced functionality from the latter that they are familiar with that isn't in the former.

The same goes for most of the rest of the so-called productivity software - "training costs" really consist of the company now being accountable for addressing incompetence where previously the existing incompetence was just ignored because everyone lies and says they know how to use Office and nobody really knows it well enough to call anyone else out on it.

So in short my point is this: everyone just fakes it anyway. They should sack up and fake it with cheaper software they'll find its not functionally different for basic features and they can't even make use of advanced features so they don't have the right to be whining in the first place.

Here's why it is free (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 5 years ago | (#26307605)

The one thing these articles miss out is the massive costs involved in switching over and training staff.

The "Massive Cost" of buying a new system vs. squeezing more out of an existing one by installing Linux?

What about the training costs - I have news for you when revenue is headed down separate training is a LUXURY and one of the first things against the wall. You can't figure out how to work Open Office vs. Word within a day or two? Then how valuable are you really? Same with server operating systems, if you are an SA now you had best be flexible and able to train yourself in short order.

The ability to save money on recurring costs like licenses or powering too many servers is a powerful force that will ratchet Linux/BSD into many systems this year.

MOD PARENT UP! (1)

russlar (1122455) | more than 5 years ago | (#26307859)

Nobody wants to admit the truth.

haha (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26307117)

The only people who think this is going to happen are those within the FOSS cult.

Re:haha (1)

Vectronic (1221470) | more than 5 years ago | (#26307463)

Ok, so I know you were going for sarcasm + troll, but its actually pretty true, because those within the "cult" know more about how its doing than those who are ignorant to it.

Those outside of the "cult", in Sept '09 or something will go "wait, Linux has 10% market share now? whats Linux?"

Granted, im sitting here typing this from XP (with Slackware as part of a tri-boot), and I really have no idea what market share it currently has, but I could easily see a 300% increase (on the Desktop) of whatever it is currently by year end.

I don't think it will really be the "Year of Linux On The Desktop" etc, but I bet it becomes pretty commonplace. (outside of geekdom)

Re:haha (1)

xaxa (988988) | more than 5 years ago | (#26307709)

I don't think it will really be the "Year of Linux On The Desktop" etc, but I bet it becomes pretty commonplace. (outside of geekdom)

A friend who needs help burning a CD just told me she's ordered a netbook with Linux because she's read that it's better than netbooks with Windows. I doubt she'd heard of Linux a month ago, but by the end of the year a lot more people will have heard of Linux, even if they don't yet use it.

Re:haha - Impossible to know Linux marketshare. (1)

miknix (1047580) | more than 5 years ago | (#26308285)

I think nobody really knows what's the real market share of Linux.

On the desktop:
The number of downloaded cd images of each distro it's no viable.
The number of registered users is not a good sample.
Browser referrals can be cheated (good thing that's not needed anymore) and people doesn't navigate all in the same place (Hum.. maybe google was able to do this).
There is people with Linux cooked at home (small distros, LFS..).
There is a lot of people dual booting with Windows and a lot of people running it on a VM.

There is also Linux on embedded devices. Our wifi router, divx/dvd player, might have Linux and most of us don't even know.

Linux on servers.. Even on rockets going to moon.

How are we going to count all of that?

Companies will turn MORE to proprietary stuff (3, Interesting)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 5 years ago | (#26307133)

Fear. Nobody got fired for buying IBM. If you complain enough, they'll cut you a deal. If you bet the farm on some hippy software from Finland, at the first sign of trouble, the blame arrow points to you and you get the axe.

Re:Companies will turn MORE to proprietary stuff (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#26307151)

Nobody got fired for buying IBM.

Very true. I recently got "reassigned" for opposing a purchase from IBM.

Re:Companies will turn MORE to proprietary stuff (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26307273)

"Any color, so long as it's black."

Non black cars caused recessions, and are causing them again.

Buy black cars today!

Re:Companies will turn MORE to proprietary stuff (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 5 years ago | (#26307483)

If you bet the farm on some hippy software from Finland, at the first sign of trouble, the blame arrow points to you and you get the axe.

If you get the axe for the very first mistake you ever make, that's probably not a job or a company you want to keep anyway, even in a recession.

Re:Companies will turn MORE to proprietary stuff (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26307593)

hahahaha, it is a recession/depression, dumbass. The golden years ARE GONE! You can't choose between companies anymore. Now your choice is either the slavery office-space style, or go to the free soup line at salvation army...

Re:Companies will turn MORE to proprietary stuff (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 5 years ago | (#26307779)

Now your choice is either the slavery office-space style, or go to the free soup line at salvation army...

Or unemployment benefits, and then a choice of companies.

Re:Companies will turn MORE to proprietary stuff (1)

FilterMapReduce (1296509) | more than 5 years ago | (#26307955)

Now your choice is either the slavery office-space style, or go to the free soup line at salvation army...

It doesn't sound so bad when you phrase it that way, actually -- choosing between slavery and free soup. Does that work anything like "cake or death" [youtube.com] ?

Re:Companies will turn MORE to proprietary stuff (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26307823)

You totally missed the point.

The thing is, it doesn't matter whether it is a good or bad decision. When bad things happen people search for someone to blame. And if you buy from some no-name company instead of IBM you paint "blame me" in huge letters on your back.

The phrase "nobody gets fired for buying IBM" does not exist because IBM delivers the superior solutions.

Re:Companies will turn MORE to proprietary stuff (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 5 years ago | (#26308095)

When bad things happen people search for someone to blame.

I say again: The problem is not that you failed to cover your ass. The problem is that you're in a job where you feel the need to.

I was in a startup that recently imploded. It would have been easy to start pointing fingers, but no one did.

Re:Companies will turn MORE to proprietary stuff (1)

thethibs (882667) | more than 5 years ago | (#26307843)

What part of "bet the farm" did you not understand?

Re:Companies will turn MORE to proprietary stuff (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26307993)

You pay your bills with the job you have, not the job you want to have. Right Rummy?

No. (1)

XPeter (1429763) | more than 5 years ago | (#26307205)

This won't really help Linux win the desktop for one simple reason.

People who have the money to buy a new computer, have the money to buy a regular OS such as OS X or Windows. Ubuntu really isn't appealing to the common consumer.

This will help open-source programs greatly on the other hand. Instead of paying money to buy Microsoft Word, people will start to use programs such as Open Office. I'm sorry Linux Fanboi's. 2009 will not be the year that you win the desktop. It's pretty sad in my opinion though, I mean look at Ballmer. lol.

Alternatives to Outlook? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26307251)

The main thing that has kept the last couple of companies I've worked at from switching from Windows to FOSS is the lack of an integrated mail/contacts/calendar/tasks app that runs on our own servers. For us, this was a show-stopper.

I haven't been keeping tabs on the latest FOSS offerings, so nowadays are there any replacements for Outlook and Exchange?

Re:Alternatives to Outlook? (4, Interesting)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 5 years ago | (#26307409)

The main thing that has kept the last couple of companies I've worked at from switching from Windows to FOSS is the lack of an integrated mail/contacts/calendar/tasks app that runs on our own servers. For us, this was a show-stopper.

I haven't been keeping tabs on the latest FOSS offerings, so nowadays are there any replacements for Outlook and Exchange?

My site moved to Exchange so I replaced my suse desktop with ubuntu and used Evolution to talk to Exchange. It was working well until just before christmas when my windows password expired. I set a new password then evolution refused to work. I will have another look when I go back on monday.

In short: its a bit brittle.

false economy (2, Interesting)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 5 years ago | (#26307297)

OSS always represents a false economy with the "but it's free" angle. it's NOT free, linux professionals are harder to come by and cost more, they also represent a large risk of taking secret knowledge with them.

to be fair to MS, the reason business chooses them is they are cost effective, not because they are the cheapest. compared to vendors like IBM and redhat, MS products represent good value for money.

does anyone seriously believe windows 2003 with sql server 2005 is a bad platform? i'd suggest if you do you've never used it.

Re:false economy - sometimes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26307425)

One *nix admin can look after many more computers than one Windows admin. Also, given that the *nix boxes don't break as often, *nix can be a lot cheaper to administer.

We have several insurance company head offices within a few tens of miles of where I am right now. They tend to use big iron. The employees have very locked down boxes with almost no possibility of data tampering/theft. If those companies aren't on a mainframe, they are on Unix. The last time I looked, they weren't using Linux but that may be just a matter of time. In any event, *nix admins have less chance to steal secrets than their Windows counterparts.

Re:false economy - sometimes (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#26307851)

In any event, *nix admins have less chance to steal secrets than their Windows counterparts.

Do you mean in general, or just at the workplaces you describe?

Re:false economy (2, Interesting)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#26307447)

to be fair to MS, the reason business chooses them is they are cost effective, not because they are the cheapest. compared to vendors like IBM and redhat, MS products represent good value for money.

...Because having tons of downtime is "cheap"? Because having to buy $5K worth of software licenses is cheap compared to paying some contractor $2.5K to set up a comparable Linux system? Look, whenever a business currently running XP wants to upgrade their machines, they can either pay Vista licensing costs of around $50 per box, $50 for anti-virus and about $25 for other software. Compare that to $0 per box in software with Linux. Sure, someone who knows Linux is going to be harder to find, but really, having one Linux guy getting paid slightly more than a Windows guy is worth it with the software savings.

Re:false economy (4, Interesting)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 5 years ago | (#26307497)

I cost a lot more than the average Windows guy, as a case in point. On the other hand, I replace about 4 Windows guys in personal productivity, and tend to provide a lot more services on the same amount of hardware, so it's a good investment.

Note also, that $0/box is misleading. Updates cost bandwidth, commercial support costs license money, and some Linux compatible software is licensed in ways requiring payment for commercial use. (The MySQL licenses and their interesting clauses come to mind.) Nevertheless, the ability to do very low-cost or free prototype and testing systems is invaluable in industrial work.

Re:false economy (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#26307895)

Hint: Cache your updates into a local mini-repo, point nearly all machines to that repo.
That should alleviate your bandwidth issues, unless you mean LAN bandwidth.

Re:false economy (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 5 years ago | (#26308147)

Updates cost bandwidth

They also cost bandwidth on Windows. And if you point to WSUS, I'll point to apt-proxy and friends.

commercial support costs license money

There you go. But is any commercial support included in the $50/box cost of Windows?

some Linux compatible software is licensed in ways requiring payment for commercial use. (The MySQL licenses and their interesting clauses come to mind.)

WTF? MySQL can be had under the GPL. By the time you'd need to use the commercial license, I think you're far beyond what other proprietary offerings will get you.

Re:false economy (1)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 5 years ago | (#26308329)

Yes, bandwidth does cost money for Windows. That's partly why the retail price can be so misleading.

Some commercial support is included with a bare Windows license, including the nominal $50 OEM prices with new machines. Mind you, those OEM prices are a bit misleading, but they do include someone to call and rant to when you can't figure out what happened and you need help getting your machine to boot. That these calls are likely to be more frequent and more devastatingly unhelpful with Windows is a separate matter, often not factored in properly.

And whether or not you've 'gotten beyond what other proprietary offerings can get you', you've still entered the world where MySQL itself is not $0 cost. So please, let's remember to count the cost of these other components of open source, to make the comparisons to closed source products more fair and complete, and not get tricked by someone who misunderstands things like the support requirements of Windows.

Re:false economy (5, Insightful)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 5 years ago | (#26307679)

windows 2003 is a perfectly stable OS and easily holds it's own against linux, look at the top uptimes on netcraft for crying out loud.

and the fact that you think $5k is a lot of money to even a medium sized business shows lack of perspective. whats more important is the ability to get trained staff and software that's compatible with your platform. the typical backyard linux guy you discribe comes in with promises of free software, and leaves with fat consulting fee's and a string of boxes running software that's on the knife edge.

Re:false economy (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26308171)

windows 2003 is a perfectly stable OS and easily holds it's own against linux, look at the top uptimes on netcraft for crying out loud.

And how many years did it take to get there? We've had very stable OSes in the Unix world for over a decade.

What was the point of putting up with a (perceived?) flakey Windows release when you could have used Solaris or FreeBSD or whatever, and simply run things 24/7 without worry of collapse or worms for years?

and the fact that you think $5k is a lot of money to even a medium sized business shows lack of perspective.

It's not the $5K for one server, it's the fact that you need two prod servers ($10K) for failover, at least one stage/QA server ($5K), and one or more dev boxes (n*$5K). With a zero cost OS you can have as many machines as you want (each dev can have their own sand box), and you only have to pay the license / support fee on your prod box.

And that's just for one possible business app. Multiply that for each business app (10+), and you're talking the salary of a someone (or someoneS) who have mortgages and families to support that can be kept on the payroll.

Re:false economy (2, Interesting)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 5 years ago | (#26308347)

"And how many years did it take to get there?"

why would anyone considering a server right now care? you need to consider what you need right now not gloat over what ever problems you believe windows had in the past

And when you start running multiple servers and spend $100,000+ like we do you get a volume license, which are much cheaper. i'll use our last migration as an example. we were running oracle, it was hellish expensive and we had to employ an even more expensive DB to keep it running (it was on linux). now even though linux was free, the DB and oracle licenses were about 3x the price of sql server + win2k3. not only that our existing dba's could now admin it. the other option was go to postgresql but that would mean hiring another person (no one besides me has experience with it and i don't have time to do DBA stuff anymore) which canceled out most of the cost saving and resulted in yet another sacred cow within the department.

in case you were wondering the DBA in question was given the option of towing the line and admining sql server, but i'm pretty sure he refused and quit. silly if you ask me.

Re:false economy (2, Interesting)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 5 years ago | (#26307711)

linux professionals are harder to come by and cost more

You get what you pay for. Good Windows admins are harder to come by, and cost more. And a good Linux admin can do more -- manage more machines, spend less time doing it.

they also represent a large risk of taking secret knowledge with them.

And this is different than Windows admins, how?

to be fair to MS, the reason business chooses them is they are cost effective, not because they are the cheapest.

Almost. Business choose them because they believe them to be cost-effective. It's difficult to have an unbiased study back up either as more cost-effective.

does anyone seriously believe windows 2003 with sql server 2005 is a bad platform? i'd suggest if you do you've never used it.

I don't have to use it to think that requiring a video card on a server is fucking moronic. And there are plenty of other reasons to dislike it -- the most recent of which is the 10% premium on services like Amazon EC2.

Re:false economy (1)

drsmithy (35869) | more than 5 years ago | (#26307943)

I don't have to use it to think that requiring a video card on a server is fucking moronic.

Why is it any different to "requiring" a serial port or a Lights-out-management card ?

Incidentally, I doubt the vast majority of hardware engineers are "moronic", yet for some reason they think including a video card is a reasonably good idea.

Re:false economy (1)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 5 years ago | (#26308111)

"You get what you pay for. Good Windows admins are harder to come by, and cost more. And a good Linux admin can do more -- manage more machines, spend less time doing it."

and why exactly would a linux admin of equal skill get more done? greater l33tness factor or something?

"And this is different than Windows admins, how?"

windows typically utilises standard gui management tools. linux admin's typically utilise cryptic scripts that take even experienced admin's an hours to decypher.

"Almost. Business choose them because they believe them to be cost-effective. It's difficult to have an unbiased study back up either as more cost-effective."

well, i can pick up the phone and have MS tell me exactly what my volume license costs me and what i get with it. can you do the same with linux? management need to know how much things are going to cost in order to budget, some linux guru telling us "it'll cost roughly this an hour and it takes as long as it takes" isn't the same.

"I don't have to use it to think that requiring a video card on a server is fucking moronic. "

why is it moronic? if you lose network connectivity what do you intend on doing? serial terminal? you may as well have a video card since you can't buy a mobo without one these days.

Re:false economy (1)

Timothy Brownawell (627747) | more than 5 years ago | (#26308001)

OSS always represents a false economy with the "but it's free" angle. it's NOT free,

So consider the other angles, such as supporting The Unix Way and helping you stay free of BSA entanglements.

does anyone seriously believe windows 2003 with sql server 2005 is a bad platform?

It's perfectly possible for that to be a good platform, but just less good than something like Linux + Postgres (not that I know anything about running databases, I just use them).

Never been happier (0, Offtopic)

blue l0g1c (1007517) | more than 5 years ago | (#26307529)

This is the best recession, ever!

Consumer confidence (1)

zymano (581466) | more than 5 years ago | (#26307647)

We need to lower taxes on goods for a year instead of a big stimulus package.

Having a tax holiday for new cars would help the economy. Also luxury goods taxes must be reduced and rich must be encouraged to buy since they are a big % of consumer confidence numbers.

Just a thought.

Lets do something instead of relying on government to dig us out of this hole.

Go buy something!

Re:Consumer confidence (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26307961)

Go buy something!

... that was made in China

hmmm (1)

thatskinnyguy (1129515) | more than 5 years ago | (#26307657)

Didn't the founder of VA Linux give this same argument in the documentary "Revolution OS" all those many years ago?

We're seeing an uptick (3, Interesting)

ducomputergeek (595742) | more than 5 years ago | (#26307683)

We have a pair of products that are customized tweaks of an opensource ERP/POS combo customized for a particular industry. We've snared two customers away from using Netsuite for their ERP needs and being opensource was a huge hurdle to initially overcome. It takes time for people to understand the concept that they are paying us to come in, install the system, tweak/customize the system for their needs, provide training, and after sale support. The way it works with the POS software is an initial one time fee to do the customization then we provide them with a .iso that is tweaked version of OpenSuSE that is designed to boot and load only the POS software. After that we don't care if they install on one terminal or a million. (Granted we do charge a yearly fee per terminal for backup and support services). Very few other POS systems can offer that.

One of the biggest aces in the hole was PostgreSQL. The cost for us to come in, set up and install everything was cheaper than some other well known DB vendor's cost of database software alone.

Frankly the hardest thing for them to understand was the lack of vender lock-in. If they want, they can hire their own internal IT people to maintain or improve the system or another firm later on. So no matter what happens to us, they will be able to grow and expand the software with or without us.

We deploy on OpenSuSE & SLES by default. No specific reason other than a few months ago during development, SuSE happened to be the first distro where everything worked out of the box.

Re:We're seeing an uptick (1)

tcopeland (32225) | more than 5 years ago | (#26307757)

> One of the biggest aces in the hole was PostgreSQL.
> The cost for us to come in, set up and install everything
> was cheaper than some other well known DB vendor's cost of database software alone.

Right on. Same goes for Sphinx [sphinxsearch.com] vs any proprietary text indexing setup I've used. And it's fast, and there's good Rails/Ruby support via UltraSphinx [blogs.com] and Riddle [freelancing-gods.com] .

Don't bet on it. (4, Interesting)

jd (1658) | more than 5 years ago | (#26307721)

In a recession, managers will be even more eager to have nothing to be blameable over. Remember, underlings get sacked first. If they go with Microsoft, the managers will feel reasonably safe, even if it drives the companies under. They will be paid the longest and will be the most likely to be re-hired quickly. Going with Open Source will be seen as taking a risk, something that in risk-averse times will not be looked on favourably even if it DID save the company's bacon.

I see the recession as a time when views will become far more entrenched in existing companies. Start-ups may be willing to go with OSS, as they need to cut costs to a minimum and they don't have shareholders to placate, but expect extreme conservatism to reign supreme. At least for the first half of the recession. After that, some of the brain-dead companies will also be financially dead, and more dynamic companies may well be profiting from their early risks. But that's a year away at best. 2009 will not be a good year for OSS in business, though 2010 might well be.

Re:Don't bet on it. (2, Interesting)

thethibs (882667) | more than 5 years ago | (#26307911)

Bang on!

Not only will they not be making adventurous switches to FOSS, they'll be milking their existing systems for as long as they can with a minimum of adds, moves or changes.

On the other hand, who are we to get in the way of a really good self-delusion? It's New Years--the time for resolutions we don't keep, and predictions that we hope no one will remember we made.

Re:Don't bet on it. (1)

Shados (741919) | more than 5 years ago | (#26308101)

Straight on the money. Its not just open source vs closed source or whatever that follows this logic. Java shops will push away their plans to make a prototype in Ruby on Rail, dev firms using CMMI cancels their scheduled Scrum implementation... In a recession, companies don't always go for whats cheapest, they go for whatever is conservative and makes them feel secure.

FOSS has no cost? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26307825)

Sure, there's no cost to download the software. What about the cost to train people how to use it (both in training sessions and in hours of productivity lost by learning it), the cost to hire someone who knows how to administer it, the cost to hire someone who knows how to fix it if it breaks, etc? Yeah, surely the solution to all problems is to switch to a brand new OS / office suite / etc that most people in the company don't know how to use. Let me tell you what is more likely to happen: Some businesses will try FOSS, most that already have Windows/Office will realize there is no pressing need to upgrade their OS / office suite / whatever and stick with their current version.

If you're not convinced, think of the following. A Windows or Office license is maybe 100-200 dollars. Now if you think about the salaries of people who work on a computer for their day job, at many companies they could easily be costing $50-$100 per hour, especially if you include benefits. Do you think that an average person will spend less than 1-4 hours in total learning how to use something like Linux? (Including looking up how to do things once in a while, etc.) I've surely spent more than that looking up how to do random things in Microsoft Office, and I spend way more than that troubleshooting things every time I upgrade Ubuntu. For most companies it's just well worth the $200 to install an OS and productivity suite that everyone already knows how to use.

More "free" software use maybe (1)

carlzum (832868) | more than 5 years ago | (#26307877)

Sure, more companies may be looking for ways to avoid licensing fees, but does that translate into more contributions to FOSS projects? Don't get me wrong, a larger user base is a good thing, but more companies riding the coattails of the open source community won't lead to a golden age of open source. When organizations use their development resources to contribute to projects rather than develop internal applications or hire a commercial vendor's professional services "free software idealism" is realized.

Re:More "free" software use maybe (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#26308069)

but does that translate into more contributions to FOSS projects?

Probably not directly, but like you said: An increased userbase is a good thing.
If Linux were to gain a non-negligible market share, software will be ported to it, drivers will be written for it, and MS's formats will no longer be de facto standards.

Open source != GNU (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26308017)

So, if software isn't under a GNU license, it's not open source? huh... If anything I'd think companies would avoid the whole copyleft thing.

I read an article about 2 weeks ago... (1)

scienceprogrammer (654311) | more than 5 years ago | (#26308023)

that stated the opposite. I forget if /. picked it up but said the obvious who will pay developers for a project they cannot sell. Likely the first people to go or be reassigned if the budget gets thin. I saw it on yahoo news so could have been CNET or Infoworld? Too lazy to search for it.
Soooo Laaazy DOH!

That is my dream job though, get paid to just work on any number of open source projects. Probably everyone on /. feels the same (minus the owners of software companies and sales people) are we communists? HA

frost pi?st (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26308209)

start a holy war are attending a endless conflict I'm discussing good to write you to get involved 1n sales and so on, BSD style.' In the

and what about paying the programmers? (2, Interesting)

wkearney99 (75906) | more than 5 years ago | (#26308289)

This entirely ignores the question of how the FOSS people are paying their expenses. Many are no doubt coding on the company's dime, often with only tacit (not official) approval. Wanna bet how many of them get canned in the coming year? Or how many suddenly don't have as much 'free' time to devote to such endeavors?

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