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Why Linux Vendors Need To Sell More Than Linux

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the penguin-shaped-cookies dept.

Businesses 290

jfruh writes "Mandriva, a venerable Linux distro, is on the verge of shutting down. One of its main problems is that it never grew into more than just an OS vendor. The big players in the commercial Linux space — Red Hat, SuSE, Canonical — all built Linux into their larger computing visions. Is there any room in the marketplace for just a straight-up Linux distro anymore?"

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Because it's free? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38883469)

Maybe?

Re:Because it's free? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38884021)

Oooo yo! I be da darkie knee grow and I be feelin' fine! Is you wonderin why I say that? I be tellin' you why then.

See, back when there was standardz and shit I might feel uneducated since I be failin' at real easy shit dawg, like basic grammar. You is seein' I can't handle simple shit like "is" and "be" and all that shiznit. Might even feel bad enough to read some books and be fixin that shit, yo! But no mo', thanks to all dem liberals! They just says mah failures an' shortcomings is really just mah own special language. They be callin' dat shit ebonics, yo. So really I just be speakin' another language, ya dig that homey?

It be jus like I was a foreigner wit native language that's not English except of course I is born here in da USA and so was all mah ancestors for da last 200 years so really I got no reason fo' not handlin easy things like my ONLY language, dawg. Shit. Maybe I is really a fuck-up. I needz ta feel bettah about mahself and I sure as hell ain't gonna do that by hard work. Pass da welfare check, yo! It be like reparations an shit so u owe me even if u never had da slavez and I never been slaves.. 'Sides how can I has 10 bastard kidz if I had to worry about payin fo them?!

Now I gots mah welfare check I be spendin' it on crack cuz that be gangsta, yo. Bein a street thug is mah highest dream in life. I be sooooo cool cuz I menace mah neighbahs fo' no good reason, G. If you don't like dat it be only cuz yous a racist cuz I be perfect an' only racism makes you think I be not perfect. Jus' like when I abandon mah bastard kids, dat be because them white crackas be racist yo, they got like minds controls makin me be irresponsible and shit. G.

the one and only (5, Insightful)

h2k1 (661151) | about 2 years ago | (#38883483)

slackware!

Re:the one and only (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38883563)

I prefer TinyCore Linux myself. Am I the only one that thinks main line Linux distress are bloated messes? Of course I don't use Linux as a desktop OS, I just want something small, light and fast for the projects I use Linux for.

Re:the one and only (3, Insightful)

Noryungi (70322) | about 2 years ago | (#38883649)

Yup, Slackware. Still the best after all these years.

Re:the one and only (5, Insightful)

WhiteK (2564633) | more than 2 years ago | (#38884353)

No please. I fully understand that it may please some "I'm so good" geek, but it's not nice for people. This is the problem with Linux in general. It is fully done by people who cannot market themselves or their products. As much as geeks hate marketing, it is needed. Not only for products, but also to other people. You want to know why geeks lack with women? Because they cannot market themselves. And no, that doesn't mean only pushing yourself. Bad marketers do that. It is about making yourself more likeable and subtly noting what user gains (be that either from using Linux, or being your girlfriend). Yes, you may think it sucks. But people in general are just for thinking for themselves. Sooner you realize this the sooner you enjoy living. People are self centerous. That does not mean it's bad - it just means they're human.

So what the hell does "Slackware, still the best after all these years" tells me? Nothing at all. Why is it best? What do I gain by using Slackware? How would it be better for me than using OSX? Steve Jobs understood this. He cared about user experience and clearly told people why it is good. Even Ubuntu fails to do this. And no, people aren't going to spend time trying to research such things unless there is absolutely need. I enjoyed tinkering with these things as teen. Now I have better stuff to do. Either tell me what I gain from using Linux, or I'm not even going to try it.

Re:the one and only (1)

quixote9 (999874) | more than 2 years ago | (#38884471)

Not that your main point is wrong... but you talk as if no geeks are women. That's obnoxious. People are self-centered, y'know?

Re:the one and only (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38884793)

Not that your main point is wrong...but you talk as if no geek women are lesbians. That's obnoxious. People are self-centered, y'know?

Mod Parent Up (2, Interesting)

dead_cthulhu (1928542) | more than 2 years ago | (#38884513)

I'd have done it myself if my mod points didn't vanish yesterday. I've certainly been the sort of geek who hasn't done well in communicating with others when it comes to technical matters. Despite years of bugging friends and family members to "just get a Mac" every time I had to give out free tech support, no one ever did because I didn't/couldn't articulate the reasons why this would be a good idea. I think I've learnt my lesson, and have been able to get people to at least start playing with *nix by actually *showing* how it's not so scary to use and how easy it is to run plenty of Windows software through WINE.

Re:the one and only (1)

RDW (41497) | more than 2 years ago | (#38884781)

So what the hell does "Slackware, still the best after all these years" tells me? Nothing at all. Why is it best? What do I gain by using Slackware?

You get Slack. Sounds like you could use some.

Re:the one and only (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38884505)

Gentoo.

Not a distribution. A meta-distribution.

'nuff said.

If you want the short answer (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38883541)

No.

The long answer:

No. There is no viable desktop market for Linux currently, and probably never will be, and that is pretty much the ONLY market where a just OS approach may have even had a tiny amount of a possibility of succeeding.

Re:If you want the short answer (2)

X10 (186866) | more than 2 years ago | (#38884399)

No. There is no viable desktop market for Linux currently

I disagree. There is a market for a linux distro like Ubuntu 10.04. Just a bare bones linux distro with some gadgets and some UI fringes, but basically a linux that you can use for work. Ubuntu has moved away from that. I have to find another linux that gives me just a shell and apt-get and some more. I am a programmer. I don't want my linux to become windows because I want to be in control.

Re:If you want the short answer (2)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 2 years ago | (#38884457)

Kubuntu 11.10 is perfectly usable for development.
Unity and Gnome 3, of course, are pure horror now.

Re:If you want the short answer (5, Informative)

stevenfuzz (2510476) | more than 2 years ago | (#38884599)

I am sitting at work using Ubuntu with Unity as we speak. Honestly, I like that I can do everything in 1 or 2 clicks or with the keyboard. I think it's ironic that there is this rally cry to evolve Linux into some more usable and advertise-able OS, yet when someone like Canonical decides to go for full-out evolution, those same people immediately reject it. So it goes...

Re:If you want the short answer (2)

Shikaku (1129753) | more than 2 years ago | (#38884727)

I have to find another linux that gives me just a shell and apt-get and some more.

http://www.archlinux.org/ [archlinux.org]

Beside Debian...? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38883557)

No, probably not. Just kidding. Of course there's room for "just the OS" distributions. It depends on what you expect to get in return.

No (3, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | about 2 years ago | (#38883561)

Someone will clone the distro and everyone has the bandwidth to download it.

It's not the code, it's the talent (4, Insightful)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | about 2 years ago | (#38883767)

It is not about "cloning the distro". Anyone can download the tree in its current state. The value added is in the talent that maintains the codebase, makes improvements, applies the latest security updates, implements bugfixes, and helps the product evolve. In the case of Mandriva, there is Mageia [mageia.org] , which is made up of many of the maintainers from Mandriva who have anticipated trouble and decided to break away from Mandriva. In other words, Mandriva the company can die, and Mandriva the product essentially lives on as Mageia.

Re:It's not the code, it's the talent (1)

RDW (41497) | about 2 years ago | (#38883989)

Mageia is the real story here, and it was covered over a year ago:

http://linux.slashdot.org/story/10/09/18/1437248/developers-fork-mandriva-linux-creating-mageia [slashdot.org]

Mandriva is now in much the same position as Xfree86, OpenOffice, or Detroit. And Mageia has a cooler name.

Re:It's not the code, it's the talent (4, Insightful)

Dahamma (304068) | about 2 years ago | (#38884255)

Your reply really reinforced the GP, not contradicted it.

He's right, there isn't a market for a *commercial vendor* selling a desktop Linux distro only (which was the question), because people can just copy it for free.

Your example just explains how you can not only copy the resulting distro, but the source as a new project. It's yet another reason a commercial desktop Linux vendor is doomed - any derivatives get the aggregate efforts of the original without paying for those efforts, meaning they can distribute it for less with only as much additional effort as they want to put in (down to zero in both cases if they choose). The original vendor makes no money for their "value added", and doesn't survive.

That may sound like a knock against open source projects, but it's not. It's a knock against people who naively think they can make money selling the open source software itself, rather than support, training, enterprise integration, etc that a company like Red Hat does to earn their income...

Re:It's not the code, it's the talent (1)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | more than 2 years ago | (#38884551)

"Your reply really reinforced the GP, not contradicted it."

You missed the part where the people who "copied the resulting distro and the source as a new project" were the same people. You cannot copy people. You cannot copy experience. You cannot copy intimacy with the build system and intricacies. I cannot just copy the codebase and be Mandriva. There is a huge amount of effort in forking a substantial project.

Just because someone forks it, doesn't mean that they will come. I, for example, have been a Mandriva user for more than a decade, and I am still a Mandriva user. I know and appreciate that Mageia is there, and may make the switch someday, but as of yet have not done so. So, again, no, it is not nearly as simple as you and the OP would like to portray it.

Re:It's not the code, it's the talent (4, Interesting)

Dahamma (304068) | more than 2 years ago | (#38884811)

I think you are totally misunderstanding the OP and me... breaking it down, it is that simple:

1. Mandriva wants to sell a desktop version of Linux with various minor support features no one cares about.
2. People (probably you included) decide that's really not worthwhile to pay 50 euros for it, and instead download it for free.
3. Mandriva now has no revenvue to pay the developers, etc. and goes out of business.
4. As you said, developers leave to a derivative distro they work on as *volunteers* (and probably go find another, possibly unrelated job to pay the bills).

In the end, without significant value add that can't easily be copied, it's not going to work out. Net result: commercial Linux desktop venture ist kaput...

Depends on your definition of "marketplace" (5, Insightful)

zooblethorpe (686757) | about 2 years ago | (#38883587)

Is there any room in the marketplace for just a straight-up Linux distro anymore?

That depends on what you mean by "marketplace". If this includes free, then sure -- we've still got Slackware, Debian, Mint, and I don't know what all else.

But then, the question is loaded, and presumes that Mandriva's fall is solely due to the marketability of a Linux distro. But looking at the history, Mandriva was never that well run as an organization, with fits and starts and general policy confusion. For all its warts, Canonical's stewardship of Ubuntu at least has a direction. I suffered through many months with broken repo settings and no clear fixes as Mandrake/Mandriva went through a couple of its identity crises and infrastructure paroxysms, and these ultimately prompted me to leave them behind.

Re:Depends on your definition of "marketplace" (2)

Jurily (900488) | about 2 years ago | (#38883673)

But then, the question is loaded, and presumes that Mandriva's fall is solely due to the marketability of a Linux distro.

They are trying to sell something that's free, and adding nothing of value in the process. Of course they're going to fail.

Linux is marketable. I can wholeheartedly recommend Debian for data centers or Ubuntu as a non-gaming desktop. However, I have no idea what Mandriva is trying to be, much less why I should pay them for.

Re:Depends on your definition of "marketplace" (1)

NXIL (860839) | about 2 years ago | (#38884015)

Concur with Jurily; using Ubuntu with light desktop manager (Openbox) as a non-gaming desktop.

It fast, stable, no hassles, installation was easy, everything worked--easier than a Windows installation with hunting down drivers and installing them in the right order, actually.

Hmmm, Mandriva is #13 at Distrowatch: not so lucky, apparently. Was surprised to see it is on there, actually.

2012, Year of the Linux desktop? For some!

Re:Depends on your definition of "marketplace" (3, Interesting)

torgis (840592) | about 2 years ago | (#38883711)

Not to mention market saturation. In all seriousness, how many linux distributions is "too many"?

Selling Support and Services (4, Insightful)

xzvf (924443) | about 2 years ago | (#38884093)

RedHat, Suse and Canonical all sell support, not Linux and other Open Source software. You pay for RedHat (the most successful FOSS vendor) to have access to RHN for package updates, someone to call for support, training and certification, and a conduit back into the FOSS community. Suse is similar. Canonical still has a way to go in the enterprise space but has a solid financial backer, and is making money using FOSS to provide services. In fact you can include Amazon, Google and a host of others as successful companies that leverage FOSS to provide services.

Re:Depends on your definition of "marketplace" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38884407)

Is there any room in the marketplace for just a straight-up Linux distro anymore?

That depends on what you mean by "marketplace". If this includes free, then sure -- we've still got Slackware, Debian, Mint, and I don't know what all else.

Note that slackware is for-profit, and sales of DVDs and merch is Pat's sole source of income -- and AFAIK he's doing fine.

Re:Depends on your definition of "marketplace" (5, Interesting)

Richard_J_N (631241) | more than 2 years ago | (#38884533)

Indeed - Mandrake made stupid decision after stupid decision. For example, when they were doing really well at the dotcom boom, they wasted all their money on a failed diversification into e-learning.

Then they asked the community for support, which many of us gave, by selling club membership and DVDs. The stupid thing was this though: I had to pay $60 for a DVD I didn't want (after downloading the release ISOs weeks earlier), and I suspect Mandrake only got about $10 of that. I would have been happy to give them $20 for every release, if I knew that the money would go to more than just production and shipping of DVDs, and the included "commercial apps" which I also didn't want.

Another problem was lack of support of the released distro. For example, if you wanted to run the latest stable release (not cooker), but happened to purchase a printer with support in upstream CUPS, you couldn't always get it to work in the stable release. Bug fixes rarely got backported either, so the stable release that everyone was supposed to run always had bugs in it that were fixed (but only in the cooker release, which was frequently broken).

It's a shame: Mandrake did some really good stuff, including excellent documentation, a good set of KDE and Gnome defaults (including a unified theme), they supported i586 while most Linuxes still optimised for i386, had a really outstanding graphical installer (back in 2001 and before), and were deservedly at the top of the list for newbies, with tools that provided help, rather than dumbing down.

Mandrake also improved several defaults, for example in Debian/Ubuntu, the Webroot is "/var/www". In Mandrake, it's "/var/www/html". When serving a simple file, this means /var/www/myfile.html (Debian) vs. /var/www/html/myfile.html (Mdk) - but it puts the webapps in a sensible place: Mdv use /var/www/mediawiki, /var/www/bugzilla etc, whereas Debian have to put it into /var/lib/ iirc. (On the other hand, Mandrake's Postgres configuration is weirdly in /var/lib/pgsql/data/postgresql.conf, whereas Debian put it in /etc/postgresql, where one would expect it. )

Hopefully Mageia can do something exciting; personally I've been running Mageia 1 for 8 months, and it's good, but not yet revolutionary.

If its not RedHat... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38883621)

then its not worthwhile in the commercial space. SuSE marketshare is dropping and when did canonical every really have marketshare? Either you're big enough to do your own, have enough skills to maintain your own, or you buy RHEL.

Peter.

Re:If its not RedHat... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38883999)

Why?

Forced at current job to use RH for one of our boxes (we are a Debian shop). RH is inferior in EVERY way. Few packages (a few percent of what Debian packages), upgrade hell (RH recommends a clean install + migrate config + data; WTF?!!! Debian, apt-get dist-upgrade... done.)

Really, can't see any reason to use RH other than when some commercial entity forces you to in order to have support on that 3rd party product.

RH really is shite. Hell even AIX, the bastard child of commercial UNIX can at least handle an in-place upgrade.

Re:If its not RedHat... (4, Insightful)

Junta (36770) | more than 2 years ago | (#38884501)

RedHat can (mostly) handle an in-place upgrade. Sufficient numbers of RH users *cannot* when something 'weird' happens, therefore it is simpler for them to tell everyone to clean install since RH actually has to answer the phone and handhold all the users and can't tell them to go away when they lack the resources to sort it out on their own.

Debian can (mostly) handle an in-place upgrade. When a debian user can't figure out how to make it work again after dist-upgrade breaks it, well tough. Google and forum around, and no one *has* to deal with it, even though usually someone does. If debian were forced to hold the hands of some of the users I've seen, they'd stop talking about dist-upgrade too.

AIX is extermely conservative, moreso than *any* linux distro will ever get away with. Given the scope, conservative development, the expected customer skill level, and the resources behind it, of course they can achieve *both* commercial support *and* robustness of in-place upgrades.

Canonical is a bit different... (1)

Junta (36770) | about 2 years ago | (#38884149)

Their business plan doesn't seem to involve extracting money from the actual users of the product by and large, but rather selling the users as a product. For example, Ubunutu ships (last I checked) with the ability to buy from Amazon MP3 trivially, conveniently with Canonical's referal id. I'm not sure the details, but I believe Google pays them some to be the default search engine. Their ambitious future plans seem to revolve around having an "Ubuntu media store", as well as convincing someone to buy into their platform for set-top/embedded tv usage. My gut reaction is to be skeptical, but then I realize the TV embedded platforms are highly fragmented and seemingly immature and I don't see them as particularly disadvantaged compared to Boxee or Roku in terms of a platform to build upon, though the latter have worked more logistics with commercial content providers.

Whatever the case, they do have a lot of mindshare in the linux server market. Mostly its among those who don't want to pay (or have a mix of support/no-support scnarios to balance) and find the RHEL/CentOS/SL/Fedora landscape to be a bit suboptimal. RedHat might need to stop pretending they are selling an OS and let people easily acquire it for no cost. As it stands if you never call support you actually have a nicer experience with CentOS than RHEL aside from lagging in release cycle.

SuSE's share in Europe still seems pretty strong, so they aren't out of the game just yet.

OS's are... (4, Insightful)

blahplusplus (757119) | about 2 years ago | (#38883625)

... the most boring part of the computer for 90% of the population. You have to have something your end customers actually care about. I look at things like steam and I don't know why Linux devs didn't think of creating a platform around linux to begin with. While power user computing is great for the power users, the great unwashed really just want something ridiculously simple and easy. There is really no real reason to use linux. If I were trying to sell linux, I'd create a plaform like steam and sell non-drm'd software. Open source really has to start 'charging' for it's software if it hopes to be sustainable in creating apps/things people want in the future. Money is not a dirty word. You can still make money with open computing. With all the copyright bullshit linux could have a good opening if they'd just get on the ball and create a business out of it.

Linux suffers from being suffocated by geeks who really don't grasp that the user doesn't want to have to think, the user wants a magic box that adds value to their lives. This is why things like Steam took off and 'app stores'.

Re:OS's are... (2, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | about 2 years ago | (#38883735)

> There is really no real reason to use linux.

apt-get install xbmc
apt-get install mythtv

No dickering around with packages with names like "shark007".

Re:OS's are... (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38883953)

You see that? That thing that just passed? It was the point - and you missed it. What is an apt-get? Why is it called that? Why is there a "get" and then an "install?" Where do I type that? Oh, in the console? It's not working. Why is it not working? Why does it tell me it can't "resolve the hostname" of the repository? Oh, the whitespace matters?

Ubuntu Software Center et al mitigate these issues to a degree. Too little, too late though.

Re:OS's are... (4, Interesting)

0123456 (636235) | about 2 years ago | (#38884097)

Wow. Sounds like you're still running a Linux distro from 1993.

I liked the Windows update thingumy recently when I booted into Windows for the first time in ages. Even though I waited over ten minutes, Windows wouldn't connect to my Wireless LAN that Linux connects to in a few seconds, but it was bugging me to install upgrades, so I said yes because I assumed it must have previously downloaded them and I might as well do something useful while I was waiting... but once I told it to install them it tried to download them and then told me it couldn't download them, which should have been obvious because there was no network connection.

What a horrible excuse for an operating system Windows is...

Re:OS's are... (-1)

rapidreload (2476516) | more than 2 years ago | (#38884309)

So you pointed out a problem in Windows, big deal, everyone can do that. I can also point out a long list of deficiencies I've had in Linux (Ubuntu particularly) to make you weep, though I've done it in the past and can't be arsed doing so again. Needless to say, all operating systems suck, and Linux unfortunately is not significantly better than Windows anymore for the regular non-geek user.

Heck, I installed Ubuntu 11.10 (clean install) on my machine a while back. The audio wasn't working despite working in Ubuntu 11.04, though this is not unusual since regressions are commonplace in Linux software for some reason. Anyway, I opened a terminal, and trying to run alsamixer typed alsa and hit tab for tab completion, or at least to show the available commands so I could confirm it was installed. The whole desktop became unresponsive except for the mouse for about 30 seconds. Nothing could be clicked on at all.

The glorious stability of Linux showed itself right then and there, and I went back to Windows 7. It still disappoints me to this day that the fucking thing (Linux, or Ubuntu at least) hasn't matched the fanboy's descriptions, and that I wasted so much time and effort to move away from something that I've learnt to tame to something that simply isn't amazing anymore.

Re:OS's are... (2)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | more than 2 years ago | (#38884323)

I was especially thrilled when I installed Windows 7 for the first time recently and it spent around twenty minutes rebooting no fewer than 6 times before I could actually use it.

I find it equally pleasing when it downloads updates in the background and then spontaneously reboots 5 minutes later, particularly when it does it behind a game and I lose my online match.

Really, the only mitigating factor is that I no longer attempt to do any useful work with Windows.

Re:OS's are... (2)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 2 years ago | (#38884565)

For a computer genius I'd think you would have figured out that you can set up the OS to update how you like, and not have it intrude on what you're doing.

Re:OS's are... (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 2 years ago | (#38884835)

Seems a bit stupid. If you are going to that much trouble then you can just use the Debian commandline tools.

That kind of snark goes both ways.

Re:OS's are... (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 2 years ago | (#38884799)

The GUI tools are a little harder to explain in this format. While the command line equivalents may seem "scary", they get the point across.

Stuff like that is what Apple's current success is built on. They just dress it up a little more.

Re:OS's are... (1)

nashv (1479253) | about 2 years ago | (#38884105)

*facepalm*

Thank you GP, I see you your point now.

Re:OS's are... (5, Insightful)

Korin43 (881732) | about 2 years ago | (#38883981)

This is why things like Steam took off and 'app stores'.

This is why Linux has has "app stores" for over ten years. Users didn't like package managers until they had to pay money to use them.

Re:OS's are... (5, Insightful)

Telvin_3d (855514) | more than 2 years ago | (#38885119)

Users didn't like package managers until a couple companies had the bright idea to make versions that were more than a glorified command line.

Steam and the Apple App Store are to dpkg (and similar tools) what an office suite is to notepad. Things like visual previews, robust searches and categories, and comprehensive descriptions are more than cosmetic improvements. They are the difference between a good idea and a mature implementation.

Re:OS's are... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38884041)

There is really no real reason to use linux.

GNU/Linux is (IMO) easier to use than Windows. You may not agree, but for me a tiling window manager and the many command-line tools make life much easier than doing everything by hand in Windows. That is not to say Windows loses at everything, for gaming Windows is better but for mostly anything else there's GNU/Linux (I'm sure someone will say "oh but for this Mac OS X is better", ok, fine, I'm not arguing that this or that OS is better at everything, but that for different tasks a different OS and ecosystem is better suited than others, so saying "there is no reason to use linux" is ignorant at best and a lie at worst).

If I were trying to sell linux, I'd create a plaform like steam and sell non-drm'd software

Like the hundred or so different package managers? Sure the price is zero, but that's something most people should not complain. What you are proposing would hardly work as there is no central authority (like Apple) or big vendor (like Valve) to take the risk.

Open source really has to start 'charging' for it's software if it hopes to be sustainable in creating apps/things people want in the future. Money is not a dirty word. You can still make money with open computing.

I'll assume you meant free software (if you didn't, disregard this paragraph), which is not the same as open source. Free software is sustainable, it has worked for years and will continue working despite efforts to the contrary. People are free to charge for free software, most don't and others prefer the software as a service approach.

Linux suffers from being suffocated by geeks who really don't grasp that the user doesn't want to have to think, the user wants a magic box that adds value to their lives.

You're free to do it better if you think it's that easy (spoiler: it is not). I don't care that much if end users can use it or not, GNU/Linux, not being a company, doesn't need to worry about marketshare.

This is why things like Steam took off and 'app stores'.

No. Steam took off because of Valve. Apple's App Store took off because of Apple.

Re:OS's are... (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | about 2 years ago | (#38884245)

Apple's App Store took off because of Apple.

And BSD. Without BSD, Apple would not have made it out of MacOS9 land or into app stores.

Re:OS's are... (2)

Fri13 (963421) | about 2 years ago | (#38884111)

Tell me, how Linux operating system can be boring only for 90% of people? I would say it is 99.95% of people.

As you should know, Linux kernel is a monolithic operating system. 99.95% people does not even understand or know that.
Operating Systems has from the begin being boring... What is exiting (or boring) is the graphical or textual user interfaces and programs and application programs what users can use to get their wanted things done.

Only a true geek can get exited what new features operating systems (like Linux aka 'Linux kernel') offers when they get new versions. Like how many user would be exited btrfs or better process scheduler? A improved network stack or new I/O scheduler? I haven't even ever head someone would had parties with hot girls dancing around when Linus released a new version of Linux operating system. Have you?

Re:OS's are... (2)

loufoque (1400831) | about 2 years ago | (#38884189)

You do realize all Linux distributions already come with an equivalent of an "App Store" which contains tens of thousands of up-to-date high-quality software packages?
It's usually called a "software repository" or "software center"

It even has user ratings and lists of "what's hot", "what's new", "top rated" etc.

Re:OS's are... (1)

blahplusplus (757119) | about 2 years ago | (#38884275)

Oh I know this but the problem is you need killer apps that draw people away from other platforms. There is no compelling reason to use linux (i.e. greater performance, etc).

Re:OS's are... (1)

loufoque (1400831) | more than 2 years ago | (#38884477)

It does have better performance along with many applications that are not available (or available but not in such a practical way) on other operating systems.
The problem, however, is that it has this one misfeature: choice.

Re:OS's are... (1)

rapidreload (2476516) | more than 2 years ago | (#38884391)

It even has user ratings and lists of "what's hot", "what's new", "top rated" etc.

The only distro I know which actually has an app store that has these features you mention is in Ubuntu. The rest have package managers for their repositories, but nothing like the Ubuntu Software Center. And even then, the USC was only created well after Steam and the Apple App Store were created. Once again we have a situation where the Linux community acted in a reactionary way to what the commercial vendors were doing, instead of having these styled app stores well beforehand.

Re:OS's are... (1)

loufoque (1400831) | more than 2 years ago | (#38884503)

That is correct.
And I personally never use this thing, I find synaptic or command-line tools much more efficient.

But then I don't find app stores (be it os x or android ones) any good either.

Re:OS's are... (1)

rapidreload (2476516) | more than 2 years ago | (#38884773)

Agreed. I prefer synaptic and particularly apt-get (once I know the exact name of the package I want) as well, but I imagine the USC has its benefits for providing a nice frontend that non-geeks or just people who don't want the information-overload of something like synpatic.

Re:OS's are... (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 2 years ago | (#38884959)

They still suffer from the basic problem of search and selection. For that you still need external sources. You have to find meaningful information regarding what to install somewhere else.

This goes for "app stores" in general.

Google and the web at large still does it better.

Re:OS's are... (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 2 years ago | (#38884931)

There is nothing "reactionary" about dressing up your package repository. It's simply a matter of hiding things and organizing things a little different. Although it's rather dubious if it all matters really.

Apple app stores still suck at the sort of things that Linux package managers excel at. This is primarily due to the exclusionary approach of Apple and the fact that the system is a "product" rather than a set of tools.

The Apple approach is still inferior to both Linux variants as well as 3rd parties on Apple's own platform.

GIVE IT AWAY AND YOU GO BUST !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38883635)

Business 101 !!

Of course, there are the lucky few, but even then Laura Branigan died !!

ummm... who cares about commercial linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38883637)

Debian is superior to all commercial distributions anyway.

Redhat for instance only has a few percent of the packaged apps of Debian. The package manager for Redhat is inferior. Upgrades are a non-event with Debian, Redhat recommends a clean install and migrate data for every upgrade.

C'mon really. Commercial linux pretty much sucks ass anyway.

I have some love for slackware too, just because it was my first :)

Re:ummm... who cares about commercial linux (2)

Junta (36770) | more than 2 years ago | (#38884355)

Redhat for instance only has a few percent of the packaged apps of Debian.

To be fair, the 'core' RHEL packages are a bit more thoroughly tested than Debian's universe. There are also add-on repositories, though RHEL doesn't make it quite as trivial to add. An example of it not being so rosy on the debian side, the roundcube webmail package was (still is?) completely unusable as it calls out a php configuration that will not be implemented by the current php packages. An upstream update to roundcube was available to work with the newer php situation, but debian had packaged the newer php and older roundcube, making things *not* 'just work' and indeed forcing you to leave the .dpkg versions behind if you wanted it to work.

The package manager for Redhat is inferior.

I have no qualms about rpm compared to dpkg. With yum, I also have no qualms compared to apt. I will say rpm more elegantly coped with the i386/x86_64 mix than I saw .dpkg based distros achieve.

Upgrades are a non-event with Debian, Redhat recommends a clean install and migrate data for every upgrade.

You *can* upgrade RHEL in pretty much the same way. Just like debian, however, there are some awkward scenarios when you do it that way on occasion. For example, my php install was hosed on my last dist-upgrade. Some stale config files for a formerly external module (IIRC, sqlite) brought all php scripts to a halt. It wasn't difficult for most skilled admins to identify the issue and resolve, but it represents an unknown/unexpected delay and there are many Enterprise IT shops that would actually be stopped in their tracks until someone came and bailed them out.

Fragmentation again (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38883651)

We all heard the GNU/Linux argument, and the same holds true for the whole eco system. Nobody knows what a Linux is anymore. Theres a reason that after 20+ years Windows has won. You only have to worry about XP/Vista/7/8 right now, as opposed to RedArchDrivaUSEtoo clusterfork.

Re:Fragmentation again (3, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | about 2 years ago | (#38883787)

> Theres a reason that after 20+ years Windows has won.

Yes. The market was already dominated by MS-DOS.

All of these "helpful suggestions" are just total nonsense that tend to ignore the actual facts.

The differences between the various flavors of Linux are mostly overblown. They all use the same basic core components. Although some are better at "packaging" than others, libfoo is still libfoo whether it's Ubuntu or Mandrake.

Diversification (5, Interesting)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 2 years ago | (#38883683)

Oh, you mean like how Microsoft bundles Office with it's distro? You know, the one they call Windows.

I can see an argument being made that people don't want an "operating system", they want a computer. And when most people say computer, they don't mean the box. That's what geeks say. When an average person says computer, they mean all the applications, peripherals, internet access, etc., that all gets packed into the magic box.

Linux and its supporters have never quite managed to grasp the Magic Box school of thought. Until they do, they'll never be a competitor. This is a cultural problem, not a technological one. Look at Apple. First we ignored them, then we laughed at them, then somehow, overnight, OS X became a contender and Apple became a massive corporation. How did that happen?

Hint: Apple doesn't sell 'operating systems' or 'ipads' or whatever. They are selling an experience. And if you ask the average person what the Linux experience is... they'll look at you, facepalm, and say flatly "I couldn't get the damn thing to work."

Linux vendors need to sell an experience, not a product. It needs to be well-supported, preconfigured with everything the average person wants on a computer (or whoever their target demographic is... IT managers, server lackies, whatever...), so all they do is push the button and there it is. It. Just. F*cking. Works.

Re:Diversification (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about 2 years ago | (#38883849)

Apple was the original home computer vendor.

They introduced the first consumer computer with a GUI.

It was about 10 years before Microsoft and PCs offered something comparable.

The current success of Apple is mainly as a consumer electronics vendor, rather than a computer vendor.

Your "underdog story" is missing a few important elements.

Ironically enough: as far as the "mindless consumer" contingent goes, the biggest stumbling block for Linux at this point is open hostility from hardware vendors like Apple.

Re:Diversification (1)

stevenfuzz (2510476) | about 2 years ago | (#38884003)

Explain this to IBM

Re:Diversification (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 2 years ago | (#38884985)

What's to explain? IBM was a big iron vendor.

Re:Diversification (4, Insightful)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 2 years ago | (#38883859)

Apple don't sell computers, operating systems, ipads, iphones or experiences, they sell social status.

Re:Diversification (1)

msheekhah (903443) | about 2 years ago | (#38884211)

They used to sell ease of use. Now they're the GAP or Ambercrombie Finch of computers.

Re:Diversification (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38884993)

And yet, as a network admin using linux daily, I still like my iphone better than any other phone I've owned, including the Droid 2 global. It just works. I have to admit, I HATE apple computers. But this phone just -Works-

Re:Diversification (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38883925)

I have never seen Office bundled with Windows, not a full version anyway. If it comes with a prebuilt computer, it's usually a trial version that the user will have to pay for, or a copy that the user ordered with the computer. If it didn't come with it, it'll typically get installed after the fact.

Contrast that with Ubuntu, Mint, or any number of distros. Most of them come with some form of OpenOffice, LibreOffice, etc. installed by default. In fact, they do come with nearly everything someone would want: office suite, web browser, email client, chat client, music player, video player, ad nauseum.

Add to that, most people I've shown Ubuntu or Mint have marvelled at how everything "just works," moreso than Windows. The biggest hurdle I've seen is that nearly everyone I've talked to hasn't even heard of Linux, or they only have a vague idea of what it is.

I agree with you on the "selling" part. People are bombarded with Apple and Windows ads everywhere they go. I can't recall the last time I saw a Linux distro ad.

Re:Diversification (1)

loufoque (1400831) | more than 2 years ago | (#38884303)

The only reason Apple is successful is because they've managed to establish some kind of luxury brand.
It's 99% marketing, 1% technology.

Linux vendors need to sell an experience, not a product. It needs to be well-supported, preconfigured with everything the average person wants on a computer

That's exactly what it is. I can't say the same for OS X at all though. While with Linux you can do everything you possibly wanted in a couple of commands, on OS X you need to install third-party software to do the most basics of things, and certain things can't even be done (i.e. ethernet bridging or other low-level network things).

No, but... (1)

Lord Duran (834815) | about 2 years ago | (#38883705)

It seems to me this isn't a Linux issue. Was Microsoft ever just an OS vendor? Was Apple? Sun?

Maybe this is the key. The OS vendor has a unique advantage in positioning its own software; this, coupled with potentially the best understanding of the inner workings of its OS, hints to me that an OS will only really take off (in terms of market share) if a strong vendor invests in developing basic package - the kind of software you use every day, which shapes your opinion of the entire OS's user experience, and in a way your expectations from any piece of software running on the OS.

Capitalism and FOSS butting heads? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38883741)

Say it ain't so.

Look, if there is a large enough user and support base, and dev commitment to a particular dist is properly maintained, said dist. will survive.

You could argue the dist. leadership is failing to adapt Mandriva to the rapidly evolving tech. marketplace, but if the only thing they're selling is contract support for Mandriva in the Enterprise, standard capitalism and business practices apply. In that context, it's adapt or become extinct.

Do 'Linux Vendors' need to sell more than linux? Wasn't it obvious? Linux dist's are free FFS! Of course they have to sell more than that! With regard to any particular one dist, if your intent on running a business around it, I find this addage apropos: 'If you build it, they will come'.

Maybe it wasn't that good an OS (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38883745)

Maybe it wasn't that good an OS

Lack of a business model (4, Insightful)

vakuona (788200) | about 2 years ago | (#38883749)

Most Linux distros lack a sustainable business model. They expect people to pay for something they can get for free.

Re:Lack of a business model (1)

PeanutButterBreath (1224570) | about 2 years ago | (#38884045)

They expect people to pay for something they can get for free.

But they will make it up on lack of volume!

Not in the business place (5, Insightful)

s.petry (762400) | about 2 years ago | (#38883759)

RedHat and Suse are both a success because it's not just a distro. It's also a support structure for the OS, which is what businesses need.

Many times, a technical person looks at it and does not care. "Let me use my favorite distro this week.". But what happens when that person leaves the company and a new guy comes in with experience in a different distro? Sure, we can catch on as techies.. it's what we do. But it's a gap to get there in time, which can cost a whole lot of money.

I'm sure Redmond does not mind as many fragments as possible. Honestly it's hurt Linux much more than it's helped as far as business adaptation.

Lets face facts: Execs want numbers, not quirks. Show them how much money they can save by going with RedHat, response time on support issues, security information for SOX and E&Y auditors, etc.. and that's your ticket in. "My Gnome tool bar roxxors in Favlinux 6.0zers" is not something businesses want, need, or look at.

Frags are fine for the geeks that want to play. I'm sure there are some good things that come out of those and get added back in to the stream for Business Linux. I can't count any, but I'm sure someone has some. Just keep it out of the VP's office, and get them a supported version of Linux.

Maybe (1)

mcavic (2007672) | about 2 years ago | (#38883829)

RedHat's paid support model is a decent idea, but most people don't want to pay, because if you have an IT person who can support the thing a little bit, then s/he can support it completely. Even so, I think certain features might be worth paying for:
1) Phone support for all aspects of operation, including Sendmail and Apache config, SSL certs, etc.
2) Priority updates and custom fixes
3) Ability to perform reliable in-place upgrades forever, even across major revisions.
4) Hardware sales and support maybe?

well not exactly (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about 2 years ago | (#38883847)

I know when I stopped using mandrivia, it was the moment that they switched names from mandrake and would only offer the new version (11?) if you bought the disc direct from them.

Which might have been worth while if it was not just a generic as hell redhat with a graphical installer (ohhh)

Re:well not exactly (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about 2 years ago | (#38883875)

I switched from Mandrake when I wanted a package manager like apt-get and my attempt to retrofit it on to Mandrake failed miserably. At that point I just made the jump to Debian.

Re:well not exactly (2)

sconeu (64226) | more than 2 years ago | (#38884335)

Did you try urpmi? That's the equivalent to apt-get for Mandriva and Mageia.

Waitwhat... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38883883)

Let's see Microsoft OEM bundles with everyone except Apple for Windows
Apple OEM's only with themselves with MacOS X
Linux OEM's with... not too sure, but I can't get any damned VPS that runs something other than Windows or CentOS.
FreeBSD OEM's with nobody and is doing just fine as a server OS.

On the desktop, Linux is where it's been for the last 17 years, a toy for nerds. Until the day you can buy "Linux" in a store, have it work on your generic PC out of the box, and use all the documents you use on Windows or MacOS (Photoshop, Microsoft Office, and maybe a handful of others) it will NEVER be a desktop OS.

As a server OS, most of the people who build a server from scratch have no problems picking hardware that they can make work under Linux, or Hackintosh environments, let alone Windows. Most of the Dell and SuperMicro systems out there work. No problem.

But oh god, all these damned VPS's being sold that are running on Celerons, Atom, i3's and other "you have got to be ****ing kidding me", that's a disaster waiting to happen, no matter what OS is installed. What do they expect people to run on these?

I also can't understand why everyone who sells servers only supports CentOS for Linux. It seems like the consensus is "Nope, if I can't install it at Amazon, we won't use it either."

I'll withhold my complaints about how 600$/Unmetered 100Mbit seems to the best price I can find in the US, but 90% of the Colo's I research still only offer 10Mbit Unmetered and systems you buy from them are all 2GB ram POS.

I can't move my hosting from where it is primarily because
- VPS only supports Windows or CentOS
- Dedicated Servers are all terrible configurations of either consumer grade hardware, or have so little RAM that they're unusable (I can't use anything less than 8GB)
- The only Unmetered options are for 10Mbit, I need 100, but the only colo's that offer this want upwards of 600$/mo, plus having to buy an entire 42U+ rack space enclosure

It pisses me off because my 8GB ram system can deal with 50Mbits, by itself, and it's twin can make up the rest, both are 1U systems. The RAM is entirely utilized but the CPU is not.

Re:Waitwhat... (1)

Bucky24 (1943328) | more than 2 years ago | (#38885031)

Are you talking about a Virtual Private Server, or hosting your own server in a colocation facility?

The company I work for has Debian VPS slices, so there's that... But if you're looking for an OS X slice... I think you'd have to use some sort of hackintosh for that.

Linux is fine. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38883899)

The problem with most people is that they have the mistaken belief that for something to be any good, it has to make money or somehow be monetized. Take Debian, for example. Debian is the upstream for Ubuntu and a whole host of other distros. Ditto Fedora as the upstream for Red Hat. Debian gets little love outside of the geek/nerd camp because it's not "commercial" -- it doesn't have that "feel good", do-it-all-for-you sugar-coated easyiness of, say, Ubuntu.
We need both types. Debian is more important than any downstream distro, commerical or not. Debian is the sole Linux distro with the might it has that is not corporate. Debian makes decisions and progress based on the *users* and *developers* needs, not some corporate asshat. This has to stay this way with at least a few distros. Once there are shareholders involved, you lose control.

I used to be a huge Ubuntu fan, having migrated from then Fedora Core and before that Red Hat. I now, after almost 15 years of using Linux, truly understand the Linux/FOSS/Libre ecosystem. I now use nothing but Debian, for server and desktop. Why? Because I want a distro that is not tainted with the idea that its all about money. I want a distro with packages not tainted with ugly-ass artwork. Gnome should look like Gnome, KDE like KDE. I can do any tweaking I want done to suit my own tastes. So, while making money is important, the bits that matter should remain upstream from the asshat corporate clowns who would do nothing but monetize everything, take a short term "money" approach and frak it over the way everything else that has shareholders gets frakked. There has to be a "pure" Linux/FOSS/Libre ecosystem. I also disagree with not taking the kernel to GPL3. Anything I ever release will be GPL3. It's not just about money, it *is* about freedom. Once you sell out to the corporate overlords, you're done. You have lost control and sold your soul to the profit-hungry, soul-killing machine.

Rock on, FOSS/Libre software.

This kills Scalix (1)

kimvette (919543) | about 2 years ago | (#38883917)

With Mandriva dying, they will probably take Scalix down with them.

Stealing markets (2)

Fri13 (963421) | about 2 years ago | (#38883973)

One big (should I say HUGE) reason what cause someone drop out from markets is that someone else enters to same market and is not depending sale income like the others already on market.

Example. Canonical would not exist if Mark Shuttleworth would not be spending his personal money to artificially maintain Canonical up.

The situation is exactly the same as someone is selling handmade product A on corner of street and every penny what is gained, is needed so the production can be maintained. Then one rich guy choose to drive that person away from the market. So he use money what his daddy has and as his daddy is millionaire, the new kid on the block can lower the street price and steal customers. No one can not compete against that one.

Same problem is with stock markets... Not all people can get enough loans to start a new company. Especially when there are bigger corporations with dominant market position or other way a constant incomes what they can spend.

Microsoft can do what ever it wants with money what it gets from Windows and Office sale... And it does not need to compete to maintain that money... WIth that money, Microsoft has maintained PC dominant market position and bought the gaming console markets for itself and even is now buying the smart phone markets for itself unless customers steps against it. Sony made same thing with PS3 on the HD DVD and Blu-ray war. They bought the market with PS3 Blu-ray drive.

Canonical has done same thing for Mandriva and other commercial Linux distributors what has been dependable of income of selling their distribution, their support, their service and maintenance tools etc.

Starting a company first by gathering funds for it, is needed when everyone are small on market and there is space for everyone. But when you are competing against big corporation, they can just wipe their asses and light their cicarettes with bills and laugh doing it while driving competitors away.

If Mark Shuttleworth would really want to support Open Source, he would have spended money directly to different Open Source projects, instead starting a own company in tax paradise (Man Island) to avoid taxes and starting a own distribution while same time stealing name of Linux operating system and promote their own Ubuntu distribution as "new Operating System". And while doing that, Mark has blessed the actions to steal income from other upstream projects like Banshee.

And the goal of the Mark was to gain enough fanatic Ubuntu followers who would support and price Canonical like it would be Apple 2.0 and that way to drive everyone out of the markets by giving the false information how Canonical is making a own OS, how they are the developing party of Open Source Projects and how they have managed to get everything up what they include in Ubuntu, leaving the upstream, original developers and communities without mentioning.

All that is legal, but it is not ethical or anyway related to Open Source honorable ethics. It is like stealing others fame and doings by presenting them as own...

Community Profit margin (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#38884053)

This is why I am and will be a Debian GNU/Linux supporter. Cannonical's Ubuntu is only as powerful as its Debian GNU/Linux underpinings.

I've been using linux for years (4, Insightful)

stevenfuzz (2510476) | about 2 years ago | (#38884159)

And every major version update still fucks up all my video card configurations (not to mention a bunch of other stuff). Try explaining to your wife over the phone: "Sorry baby, you shouldn't have hit update while I was at work. It's simple, just open up the terminal on the desktop, SSH to the laptop and replace xorg.conf with xorg.conf-backup". Her responding being, "This computer is stupid. Why can't we use windows like normal people?".

Re:I've been using linux for years (0)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 2 years ago | (#38885039)

Why would that ever even come up?

Don't fix what isn't broken.

You are thinking like a Lemming and trying to treat Linux like it's WinDOS. it's not. It doesn't need to be constantly updated to protect it from the worm of the week.

You're an idiot.

Re:I've been using linux for years (1)

stevenfuzz (2510476) | more than 2 years ago | (#38885099)

Only idiots update their kernels / other stuff on their PERSONAL Linux boxes at home right? You're an idiot if you think that "don't upgrade" is the answer to the issue's of distributions having upgrade problem--not to mention a child for sounding like such an ass.

Education (2)

jbolden (176878) | about 2 years ago | (#38884223)

The whole premise of this article is wrong. During the time when Mandriva was Mandrake, the Linux OS part of Mandrake was profitable. However, they diversified into Educational Products, that were going to be sold to European schools. That business lost a ton of money. They went bankrupt and reformed as Mandriva.

Ubuntu sort of took the power user desktop niche away and I don't know if Mandriva could have been successful with Ubuntu there. But Mandrake did exactly what the article suggests.

Because just the kernel is not much usable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38884287)

Because just the kernel is not much usable

The obvious answer is... (2, Funny)

stevenfuzz (2510476) | more than 2 years ago | (#38884299)

No. People universally distrust penguins. They are too cocky and pretentious in their little tux's. If only penguins were sweet and juicy like an apple and translucent like a window. Instead we get these little bone and blood filled over-dressed pests that you can't see through at all.

Gaming (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38884315)

The day you get a distro that can play all the PC games and major products ( say CAD, etc) on the market without having to go tinkering with WINE, you will have a new era for Linux...meanwhile I am happy with Kanotix.

ET4! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38884349)

to be about doing Resound as fiiting

Mandriva? No Billionaire, no armies of engineers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38884427)

Cannonical has Shuttleworth's money for marketing + Debian's technical excellence, so they never had to have good programmers.

SUSE and Red Hat have always had armies of excellent programmers and engineers. What they lack in marketing genius, they make up for in technical excellence.

Mandriva has had neither a billionaire nor the armies of high quality programmers and engineers.

A better comparison than Mandriva to Slackware would be comparing Mandriva to Arch.

Linux vendor's can't even sell Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38884611)

Warning, rant of a linux user below:

"Sell more than Linux". Right. They are not even selling linux. At least not something useful and comparable to modern OSes, like OSX and Windows.

Let's face it. Linux is currently in one of the lowest points ever in it's history. It hasn't made any progress for years. And all "progress" is in reality just the opposite.
There used to be a time when saying Linux was better than Windows actually ment something. You know, like, they had blue screen and freezing and stuff. We had stability.

Then Windows XP happened. And yes, we still say, wait at least until SP1 before installing new Windows release (it actually took XP up to SP3 to be really good). Well, XP was ridiculed at the time, but as history proves, it's one of the mos successful desktop OS ever. Stable, slick, fast, with gaming support.

Then Windows Vista and 7 happened and suddenly some guys at KDE thought they could do better. I think that's the point where things really start to go down for linux. KDE 4.0 was a bad joke. The problem is, kde 4.8 is not much better. It simply does not work. Well maybe it does, but it doesn't even have an "official distro". So yes, you can always blame the packager, like kubuntu or open suse for the final result, but the fact is, what a user can get is just... crap. Like, external monitor does not remember it's position. Network manager dies after suspend. Workspaces or how they call them simply don't work (and are still released and even praised like the next best thing since baked bread).

So yeah, Ubuntu was a really good initiative. And 8.04 was pretty good and amazing. The problem is, 10.04 made no real progress - and users wanted something more modern, probably. But hell no, users did not want Unity. Sure, gnome 3 plain sucks and is going down the KDE road. But introducing something completely different - for what there really is 0 demand, is just idiotic.

You see, the real trouble with linux vendors (apart from RedHat, IBM and Oracle) is that they don't really have a market. Since they don't have a market, they don't try to fulfill its needs. And therefor they are just throwing random ideas in the product.

Because "developers know": They know shit. GIMP is the showcase for everything that's wrong with opens source concept, for example. Two most requested gimp features? 16bit processing and a non brain-dead UI. Both have been requested for years. Not implemented yet.

FOSS, including Linux, does have a killer "app" (4, Insightful)

quixote9 (999874) | more than 2 years ago | (#38884679)

It's called user control and privacy. 99.95% of people don't care about that too much, but every Megaupload that happens inches people a bit closer to realizing that no control is maybe not all that free.

It's interesting that the Department of Defense in the US is using more and more open source software, even while lots of people are saying "My data? Who cares?" Once control is worth something to you, there's no real alternative, ultimately, to FOSS. Or writing your own custom software.

Linux adds billions in value. It doesn't get paid (1, Interesting)

quixote9 (999874) | more than 2 years ago | (#38884865)

Google, Amazon, the majority of servers, the list could go on forever, all wouldn't exist without linux. Apple strapped on the rocket engine known as BSD, but I'd be surprised if BSD is being paid by them. That doesn't seem like Apple's style.

Linux is adding unmeasurable value. All it needs is a different model of how creativity is rewarded.

We should be censusing usage and paying creators. The more your product was used or enjoyed, the more you'd get paid. In that world, linux wouldn't have a thing to worry about. (And, yeah, I know the nitty gritty of censusing and paying out is really complicated and it could never work perfectly. But it could work well enough to funnel a lot more of the rewards to the actual coders, writers, artists, musicians, than the few measly percent the current system does.)
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