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Why Linux is About to Lose

CmdrTaco posted about 13 years ago | from the dammit-now-i-gotta-reformat dept.

Linux 654

mpawlo writes "Wired ran an interesting piece by Russ Mitchell in the latest issue of the magazine. Mitchell focus on the so called war between Microsoft and Linux and why Linux will have a hard time winning such a war, and especially in respect of the desktops. The article was only available in the paper issue, but is now also available online."

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a patent love (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2451278)

Question: `A friend of mine who is homosexual is considering adopting a child. This particular child has been in a physically abusive home, and my friend feels that he can at least give this child a loving home. He wants my advice, and I'm not sure what to say. I've been trying to lead my friend to Christ and just want to be cautious with my answer. What would you suggest?

Pat Robertson: You know, USA had a movie recently with Valerie Bertinelli about lesbian couples and adoption, and so forth. And I know about what happened when a young man was taken away from his Christian mother by a court and given to his homosexual father. And the next thing you know, that guy was a flaming homosexual, and if I'm not mistaken, he contracted AIDS. I don't think that homosexuals, especially single homosexual men, should be adopting children. I think it's just wrong. I think for any single man to think of adopting a child is in itself a dangerous practice because you don't have time, you don't have the mothering instinct. If you have to go to work, how are you going to take care of a child? It's very difficult to do for anybody that's single. To take on somebody else's child is difficult enough, but to do so in a homosexual environment where the contacts that the man is going to be having--his various male lovers coming in, and this youngster's going to be exposed to all that? The answer is: this would be a terrible environment. So if there's any way you can do it subtlety say, `Look, Jesus loves you, but I think right now we ought to get you straightened out before you start taking on some other responsibility.' A life of a child is very significant, and that won't be a help for him.

first pat robertson bashing post!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2451305)

pat roberson = sux0r!!!

Yesterday's News (-1, Offtopic)

Shiblon (25972) | about 13 years ago | (#2451280)

I read this yesterday on How is this news?

On a side note, the article was poorly written and betrayed some serious misunderstandings about the purpose of Linux and its "need" to be a desktop.

Today's News... (-1)

cyborg_monkey (150790) | about 13 years ago | (#2451431)

I boffed your mom in the nose.

The SECRET! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2451436)

Ok, if you want to laugh your ass off, read Slashdot posts and imagine that the words are being spoken by the geeky comic book store owner on the Simpsons.

That should net at least 15 minutes of laughter per workday. God bless Slashdot.

maybe it's time (-1, Flamebait)

apathy21 (468771) | about 13 years ago | (#2451284)

Maybe it's time we help all of the lamers using Windows in on the secret that befuddles them about know....intelligence.


cobol4me (444373) | about 13 years ago | (#2451294)

Face it: M$ takes a beating from you chest-thumping /. ers but then you go home to your Wintel boxes and play CloseCombat5 or FlightSim (the one where you can still crash into the WTC, lol!).

Fucking hypocrites!

"So...Bin Laden was made of chimps..."[scratches chin thoughtfully] - Dick Chaney

How can they lose the war (4, Insightful)

night_flyer (453866) | about 13 years ago | (#2451295)

when Linus Torvalds says they arent even fighting them?

Re:How can they lose the war, Easy! (5, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | about 13 years ago | (#2451377)

Linus doesn't even have to be at war with Microsoft, since Microsoft by dint has declared a secret war (or sometimes not so secret in the case .. aha .. AOL) on anyone making any product which isn't in cahoots with them, and on occasion sqaushing their own business partners when it suits them. This would appear, IMHO, to be the foundation of everyone's bitch against Microsoft.

I heartily advise anyone, who hasn't already, to listen to Bill Gates give a speech. He is a megalomaniac and a charismatic one, besides, buy you really have to pay attention to what he says between the lines. It is very intimidating to hear his version of the future, one in which there really is no competition, but a utopia run by your best and well meaning friends, microsoft.

Re:How can they lose the war (1)

wltack (103314) | about 13 years ago | (#2451440)

Dare I suggest an analogy? If we were to think of this "win or lose" stuff in a game context, rather than a war context, then it seems to me that Herr Gates is using a chess metaphor, which may not be appropriate. There is no checkmate here; as some have said, you can't put Linux out of business, because it's not in business (per se).
The game of Go might be a more appropriate metaphor, in which it's possible to win by simply surviving in larger numbers than the opponent.Sketching out too-huge amounts of territory (viz. Herr Gates megalomaniacal plans) is an easy way to lose the long-term game in Go.

What can we win here ? (3, Interesting)

Quazion (237706) | about 13 years ago | (#2451297)

No more MS Os's on the Desktop ?
Or Linux Everywhere ?

Both sound bad, what we want i guess is
a competitive playing ground for OS designers.

We dont want the best the greatest the fastest,
we want something usefull and workable or atleast i do.

Linux is usable for me at the moment,
i dont care who wins or who is in war.


War is over? (1, Troll)

sllort (442574) | about 13 years ago | (#2451300)

Desktop computing? Don't they know? The war is over. Microsoft has won.

Well, yes, but it's far more sudden than the author makes out. I think a lot of us believed that the Linux desktop could compete after Microsoft was broken up or destroyed for the monopoly that it is.

Now that the government has surrendered, he has a good point.

Let me be the first to say... (0, Flamebait)

Purple_Walrus (457070) | about 13 years ago | (#2451308)

Linux is dying...

Someone had to say it!:)

Imminent Death of Linux predicted (2, Funny)

EnderWiggnz (39214) | about 13 years ago | (#2451331)

News at 11.

let me sum up the article - (1, Interesting)

EnderWiggnz (39214) | about 13 years ago | (#2451311)

1) Users are used to ms-windows. they are all old dogs and refuse to learn new tricks.

2) Linux based companies cant make money. nope. never.

i thought we've heard this before?

Re:let me sum up the article - (2, Interesting)

x0n (120596) | about 13 years ago | (#2451385)

"Users are used to ms-windows. they are all old dogs and refuse to learn new tricks."

From a pure desktop / application interoperability point of view, what "new tricks" can "old dogs" Gnome/KDE seriously teach Windows?

Can I have a common clipboard, please? pretty please?

Re:let me sum up the article - (2)

cloudmaster (10662) | about 13 years ago | (#2451461)

The article was somewhat deceptive in titling, and the author did give the nod on the server side. But you're right, it essentially re-hashed the same thing we keep eharing (and doing nothing about), like the way developers will come up with a whole bunch of programs doing the same thing (KDE, gnome, etc, etc) instead of working together. I know, different goals, slightly different niche. I tend to write my own code when I need to do something, even if a program already exists to do pretty much what I want. Anyway, I'm not sure those points needed hashing out over the 6 or 7 pages that they gave to it. Then again, I don't think that the whole lord of the rings thing they did in that issue needed to be as long as it was either. Heck, I don't think the *magazine* needs to be so damned long.

That reminds me, is anyone else who got 1 trial issue of "maximum linux" now apperently getting Wired for free? I've gotten the last 3 or 4 issues now, and have never even suggested that I'd like to subscribe...

podesta (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2451312)

the article mentions that Applix offered "podesta" as the correct spelling for "web site." The article says look it up: indicates that webster says the following:

podesta \Po*des"ta\, n. [It. podest[`a], fr. L. potestas power, magistracy. See Potent.] 1. One of the chief magistrates of the Italian republics in the Middle Ages. --Brande & C.

2. A mayor, alderman, or other magistrate, in some towns of Italy.

I guess he has good points. (4, Insightful)

JeremyYoung (226040) | about 13 years ago | (#2451313)

But he fails to acknowledge the reality that sometimes a linux desktop makes real business sense. Yes, that market is small, and yes if you're looking at it as a war, Microsoft has won. However, in the words of Phil Jackson, "You are only a success for the moment you achieve something."

Users do want simplicity and ease of use. And it is also true that Linux can't give them this right now. But it's even more true that this can change.

Re:I guess he has good points. (4, Insightful)

Yohahn (8680) | about 13 years ago | (#2451395)

I think that the press frequently misses on the point that Free software is glacial in how it is developed. It is huge and slow moving. To dismiss its effect because of how slow it moves is to miss the size.

You can't bankrupt free software...

The idea "information wants to be free" is more of a metaphor. Fact is, information tends to spread with little to no effort. This is what makes free software huge. It can slow down, it can stop for a bit, but.. if necessary, it can pick up again. So while it moves slowly, it never loses ground.

This guy is impatient. Think more monk like. It may take a long time, but if we keep trying, we will eventually get there. Nothing can prevent that.

Re:I guess he has good points. (1)

ackthpt (218170) | about 13 years ago | (#2451425)

With the discouraging forecast for WindowsXP market penetration (i.e. it will take a long time, since there's little for business or home users to gain, so it will chiefly be through sale of new computers) Microsoft's own inertia on the desktop is more an enemy to themselves than Linux, or even Macs. This is why the new forays into other market segments. Microsoft is a large, hungry company and needs growth, lest it collapse. Expect more audacity on their part.

Re:I guess he has good points. (1)

djsable (257312) | about 13 years ago | (#2451433)

I think its called the Xbox.

News?? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2451315)

I recall reading this article earlier this year; I believe on Wired, as, well

Maybe in the short term... (4, Redundant)

egerlach (193811) | about 13 years ago | (#2451319)

... but I think the 10- or 50-year outlook isn't so clear. Yes, for now Dell has dropped Linux from their computer line, but that may not stay that way. I personally think that the 'Ghandi-esqe' approach that open-source has (i.e. the passive resistance thing - not pushing to sell), not to mention the fact that there is no single company behind it, makes it an invincible force in the long run. Maybe Windows will stay ahead of Linux forever... but that will take a lot of running from a horse that will surely get tired.

Re:Maybe in the short term... (4, Informative)

acroyear (5882) | about 13 years ago | (#2451394)

Dell has not dropped Linux totally. Dell has dropped linux for their cheap, low-end systems, your standard home desktop (so, yes, GNU/Gnome|KDE/Linux isn't "ready" to be a home desktop system...but in my opinion it wasn't meant to be and shouldn't be force-fed into that environment).

Dell DOES still support and distribute RH7.1 on their workstation and server lines, and states they will continue to do so in the foreseeable future.

People don't just casually go "I wanna use linux" -- people pick Unix or Linux systems because they want to get something done and have decided that Microsoft products will cost too much and get in the way of actually getting things done. And if you have stuff you "have to get done", generally, you need a high-end workstation or server to do it.

Here's why: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2451321)

Years of groundless egotism and wishful thinking.

You see, the consumer doesn't really care if the harder-to-use OS is more stable. They don't even know what stable really means.

Desktop shipments? Article disqualified. (5, Informative)

geschild (43455) | about 13 years ago | (#2451324)

To use the paltry 1.5% of shipments of Linux for desktop environments to disqualify Linux as a contender for the desktop shows how little the writer knows about Linux. And the writer worked for Red Hat? Please, somebody hit her with a clue-bat. The amount of shipments tells nothing about the installed base and for desktops you can rest assured that the number of shipments should be multiplied by a _much_ larger amount than with server-shipments exactly _because_ of the reduced licensing cost it can bring for workstations! Don't bother to read the piece, it's useless and shouldn't even have been posted here especially since it's a day old.

Karma? What's that again?

Re:Desktop shipments? Article disqualified. (2)

shanek (153868) | about 13 years ago | (#2451410)

Where does it say the writer worked for Red Hat?

Russ Mitchell ( , a former managing editor at Wired,most recently was editor in chief of Business 2.0.

And I've never met a female named "Russ."

Re:Desktop shipments? Article disqualified. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2451444)

"Speedie needed to use Microsoft Word because the Linux word processors at her disposal were saddled with spellcheckers so abysmal they caused more problems than they solved, skipping over misspelled words and offering bizarre alternatives for words spelled correctly."

The article doesn't explain why the writer felt it was necessary to use an unrecommended operating system rather than learn to use her spellchecker, or refer to a dictionary.

Linux has not lost (4, Redundant)

GreenCrackBaby (203293) | about 13 years ago | (#2451325)

Here's a comment from my tech-illiterate wife: "Get that damn Linux installed -- I'm sick of this s**t from Microsoft!"

If my wife, of all people, is asking for an alternative to M$'s stuff, then there really is some hope. Linux may never get beyond a 10% desktop share, but just giving up because there's no good spell checker for Linux is silly.

What about Word Perfect? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2451372)

I know it costs money but my recollection of WP is that it is pretty good. Why not use that on a linux box? I think it costs less than word anyway.

Re:Linux has not lost (0, Offtopic)

mauryisland (130029) | about 13 years ago | (#2451403)

Hey, my wife said the same thing, and being an obedient husband... She thinks those wobbly, drunken Mandrake penguins are cute, too.

Re:Linux has not lost (5, Insightful)

quartz (64169) | about 13 years ago | (#2451438)

Heh. I like chicks who dig Linux. That's why I married a physicist. :)

About the "hope" that you speak about, well, yes and no. Yes, Linux on the desktop will never "lose" as such 'cause there's nothing to lose. We write desktop software for Linux because *we* need it. If I want a native KDE Gnutella client and there isn't one available, I code myself one. That's how Linux software gets built. And that's why stupid "what ifs" like the one in the article (What if the Linux community put an end to all the desktop nonsense right now and built on its strengths in global enterprise computing) are pure nonsense. If I want a gnutella client, I will damn well code a gnutella client, not frickin' enterprise software for which I have no use. And no, Linux will never outdo Microsoft on the desktop market, pretty much for the same reason. When I design a program, I design it to fit MY needs. If others find it useful, that's OK with me. But frankly, I couldn't care less about Joe AOL and what he expects from a software package, therefore my software will never work for him.

So I guess if for some strange reason you want all the world to run Linux, you'd better write commercial software for it. Not necessarily proprietary, but commercial. When the world finds a way to really make open source commercially successful, that's when Microsoft should start worrying.

Check back with us in a year (2, Insightful)

HMV (44906) | about 13 years ago | (#2451442)

I'd love to see if your "tech-illiterate wife" is happy with her choice.

So she's fed up with Microsoft, but why does she want Linux? Would she know Linux from *BSD from OS X?

Re:Linux has not lost (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2451450)

"Get that damn Linux installed -- I'm sick of this s**t from Microsoft!"

Judging by the quote above, your wife isn't just tech-illiterate but completely illiterate.

Fire the technician!!! (2, Interesting)

MatrixManiac (448609) | about 13 years ago | (#2451326)

The technician who didn't bother to backup her
data files should have been fired on the spot!
This is totally unacceptable behavior.________

Re:Fire the technician!!! (1)

The Real Andrew (321273) | about 13 years ago | (#2451460)

How can this possibly be a troll. If the data was important to the user it should have been backed up, firing might be a bit harsh but a reprimand at least.

Why Linux is About to Win (1, Redundant)

krogoth (134320) | about 13 years ago | (#2451328)

Lots of people who can program need Linux desktop apps. They will write them, and they will eventually be far better than Office. End of story.

Re:Why Linux is About to Win (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2451363)

Bull. The programming environment is much easier to use than under Windows than under Linux.

Re:Why Linux is About to Win (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2451475)

What proportion of computer users are programmers? A very small one I guess.

IMO programmers make great programming tools, but lousy business apps when left to their own devices.

Should We Be Concerned? (2, Insightful)

grubby (121481) | about 13 years ago | (#2451330)

I don't see any reason to be concerned about what this individual is saying. We all know some people care about linux and some give it a bad name. Myself it is a great idea, a revolution if you will and I intend to use it regardless of the desktop numbers.

Is not dying! (1)

crumbz (41803) | about 13 years ago | (#2451334)

Linus is just undergoing a transition phase. It will become the most popular OS in 3rd world countries and some notable 1st world (Germany) in five years. Watch and see!

Easy. (3, Insightful)

dave-fu (86011) | about 13 years ago | (#2451335)

Linux is written by geeks, for geeks.
MS/Windows is written by geeks and business types, for business types... and geeks. Who controls the pursestrings in the enterprise?
Which OS spends millions on UI design? As long as Linux continues to move ahead with fragmented windowing systems, it'll continue to fail to compete with Windows on the desktop.
If you've learned nothing else from models, it's that sometimes it's better to be pretty than smart.

Re:Easy. (3, Informative)

spacefem (443435) | about 13 years ago | (#2451452)

I disagree.

Yes, it was written "for geeks by geeks", but the number of geeks who care about the rest of the world is growing every day. I use Linux as on my desktop, I'm an electrical engineering student, not a computer geek. I'm also urging girls who live with me to do the same, and for one or two of them it's working quite well. Yes, we have our problems, but overall we're really happy with what's going on and feel a lot more invited into the "geek world" by just running linux than we ever did with Windows. The future includes the general population, hackers know that, and we're really appreciative.

Interesting??? (1)

Azghoul (25786) | about 13 years ago | (#2451464)

Someone modded this up to 5 as interesting? Sheesh.

It occurs to me, that given the nature of people going with what they've been trained on, that it's no surprise that Windows is the "common desktop".

But to suggest that Linux fails to compete is just dull-witted, at least.

My surprise is that everyone is expecting Linux to be some sort of polished UI system in well under 10 years (consider the desktop 'development' really only took off in the last couple years--sorry FVWM doesn't count), when it took $billions, and a lot longer, for MS to even approach polished.

Imagine a world where Linux desktop development had even 1/100th of the budget that MS spends...

Re:Easy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2451476)

I'm sorry, but pretty and smart and not exclusive.

They spend millions on UI design, because - for the most part, it works, and creates a better user experience.

Sure the UI of windows has its problems, but compare it to the UI of KDE. Which is honestly easier to use for someone coming to a computer for the first time???

Both are hard - really hard - but honestly - windows is easier for that user.

Why Linux isn't on the desktop or never will be? (5, Insightful)

SmileyBen (56580) | about 13 years ago | (#2451340)

This was posted yesterday or the day before on Linuxtoday, and the thing I really didn't understand is not why people keep posting articles like this that claim to explain why Linux will never succeed, but why editors don't correct the headlines.

Very, very little of this article is about why the author thinks linux won't succeed on the desktop - what it is about is why Linux isn't *currently* on the desktop.

Sure, for example, we don't have an Office killer *currently*, but where exactly does he explain why we can never have one? Nobody can seriously be so conned by Microsoft as to believe that we'll always be playing catch-up. Obviously there will come a point (very soon, IMHO) when Linux word processors have every function most users could possibly want - just because Word adds new extraneous features every release doesn't mean those are necessary, and certainly doesn't mean people use them (or would miss them in a Linux equivalent).

I'm just constantly bemused how people seem to make the inference from 'linux isn't currently on the desktop' to 'linux will never be on the desktop'. There may be some good reasons why this might be, but this article certainly doesn't offer any conclusive ones as far as I can see.

Seems to me that there will come a point where a free operating system can do everything current OSes do, so the intuitive step is to ask 'Why when that happens will people pay for an OS instead?' - surely the burden is on people claiming linux will never win the desktop to answer that, even if that time is a year off or whatever.

Why? No clue, that's why. (4, Insightful)

Azghoul (25786) | about 13 years ago | (#2451435)

The guy has no clue. On page 1 or 2, he says that you can't get drivers for linux. It's sooooo hard. (never mind the fact that any real distribution these days detects just about everything right on install).

Then later (page 4) he says "Linux is effectively a commodity and can be made to work on any hardware system."

Reconcile those two, if you can. I can't.

Re:Why Linux isn't on the desktop or never will be (5, Insightful)

Gaijin42 (317411) | about 13 years ago | (#2451458)

Actually, what I got out of the article on Wired (print version) is that he works extensively with Linux (he worked at RedHat), and thinks it is technically superior. But he thinks that OS wars and flames, and (he specifically mentions) /. Rage are counter productive to the movement.

He says that if Linux slowly eroded the MS base, it would win. But instead you have guerilla IT departments go through and trash peoples computers, and make linux-ites look like a bunch of freaks.

He specifically mentions an incident at RedHat where a biz. person had some Excel documents. The documents had some heavy duty macros and whatnot which would not work under any of the linux competitors. She installed Excel. She had an issue with her drivers or whatnot, and when she got the computer back from IT, excel was gone, along with her documents. The IT guy said it was her fault for being a traitor to linux.

Summary of article : Linux is great, but the long haired freaks are gonna make it lose.

Re:Why Linux isn't on the desktop or never will be (1)

madprof (4723) | about 13 years ago | (#2451469)

There are a lot of assumptions to be made before agreeing with the article. First of all you have to assume that Microsoft will continue to produce what people are prepared to accept. Then you must assume that they will continue to make changes that Linux software must track accordingly, if it wishes to offer the same features that desktop users are familiar with.
But what if the second assumption is thrown out the window and Linux produces something different, and better? It's a huge 'if', sadly, because ground-breaking technology is not always so apparent in the Open Source/Free Software world.
It is not too unreasonable to assume that developers will continue to play catch-up.
Given how tricky many people find Word etc. to use it is not too unreasonable to expect Microsoft to find room for improvement either, giving Linux apps something new to chase.

The desire to see people move away from developing the desktop to enterprise software is really hoping for too much.
It forgets that developers will generally tend to scratch personal itches. If they want something to be written they'll help in doing so.
Many developers want neat tools on their desktop and supplying the needs of business is not foremost in their minds. You can't expect them to move across readily.

I agree with the article, but regret doing so. Like most people I'd love to have it proved wrong eventually.

Re:Why Linux isn't on the desktop or never will be (1)

OMrsirhal (529037) | about 13 years ago | (#2451477)

Here here!! As some else has pointed out "You are only a success for the moment you achieve something." Phil Jackson

Too bad... (3, Insightful)

wrinkledshirt (228541) | about 13 years ago | (#2451341)

It seems that the article is motivated by an anger towards the fringe lunatics. This is too bad -- wiping a hard drive and installing linux on it isn't a linux problem, it's a stupid fucking employee problem.

As for whether or not Linux is going to lose on the desktop, time will tell. It's staying on mine, but I don't do any word processing that other people need to see. I do find it funny that the writer considers the competition for the desktop a bad thing, and writes it off as duplication of effort. I suppose there's an argument for that, but you might as well say that Darwinism is a duplication of effort when it comes to evolution -- the only other recourse is to accept being stagnant or having your evolution determined for you. No thanks.

Sounds like office squabbling, but... (1)

SgtChaireBourne (457691) | about 13 years ago | (#2451348)

It sounds like Russ Mitchell is airing intraoffice politics to the world. Perhaps there is more than one agenda here. However, the high profile of Wired make his gripe a point worth addressing.

Michael Lucas did this quite well in his recent article on Selling BSD [] (as an idea) to managment. The short of it is to behave well and act mature even if you're not.

Perhaps this is a call to raise the bar on the various "Certified [RH/SuSe/etc] Engineer" exams. I know more than one MSCE that nearly earned a free trip down the stairs. I'd hate to see that start happening to the corresponding Linux techs.

Death of Linux Imminent (5, Funny)

karb (66692) | about 13 years ago | (#2451350)

So, basically

  1. Tech zealot linux-head deletes windows (tech zealot windows-head would do same thing to linux) and makes the author mad.
  2. Since the linux desktop is behind, it will always be behind.
  3. Since linux on the server is behind, more work should be exerted to catch up.

Unfortunately, I think the desktop is the passenger train of the golden age of railroads. You don't do it because it brings in the cash money. It's a mindshare thing. How else can you explain microsoft's now-dominance in the server market? They didn't do it by ignoring user-friendliness, that's for sure.

Not a troll (1)

ajuda (124386) | about 13 years ago | (#2451355)

C'mon, this article is crap. Evidence that Linux is not suited for the dekstop: a guy in a black t-shirt formatted someone's laptop, and Applixware didn't know the word website. I have used Linux as my primary OS for years, and have never had either problem shake my resolve for Linux. In fact, a guy in a black t-shirt never even came near to my computer.

There are several word processors available for linux, such as Word Perfect and Star Office. Just because one word processor didn't know one word doesn't mean linux is done for.

There is no conflict (2, Insightful)

GunnarR (161157) | about 13 years ago | (#2451357)

between the desktop and the server.

The way open source development works you scratch
you own itch. If you need better server support
you do that, if you need better desktop clients
you do that.

This is no crusade against Microsoft. It is a better way of developing software.

So this means.... (3, Insightful)

scorp1us (235526) | about 13 years ago | (#2451358)

That since linux isn't there now, it can never be?

If anything is to be learned from the last 5 years of OpenSource, is that it is very dynamic and can play catch-up very quickly, usually measured in weeks.

We need an idiot version of linux. When you can fully run and configure a linux system without VI, Emacs, Pico, cat, grep - and do it all through a consistant well-thoughtout GUI will be the day that linux is ready for the corporate & home desktop.

idiot version of linux (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2451491)

I bought a copy of Redmond linux... they need more nic drivers, but otherwise ....not bad.
WINE and SAMBA, preconfigured. KDE set up to look like the famous desktop.

Making an idiot version of linux is not a job for idiots. with SAMBA ready to recognise the rest of the network, it just might work.

Good reliability, below average usability (3, Insightful)

jshep (194929) | about 13 years ago | (#2451360)

Windows suffers in two areas: reliability and usability. Obviously, Linux is quite good w.r.t. the former, but not so good w.r.t. the latter. Windows seems to crash everytime I'm really doing something important. Linux has only crashed on me once in my entire life (remarkable, I'll admit).

However, usability is king with users. Most users who have seen Windows for the first time simply can't figure it out because it doesn't map to their mental model of how the system should work. Double-clicking? Minimize a window? Right-click to bring up "hidden" actions? Click "Start" to find the "Shutdown" command? These things are counter-intuitive to any beginner, and even seasoned veterans are confused when a new version of Windows comes out due to MS's inability to adhear to their own standards. This is an area that Linux could have capitalized on, but unfortunately developers were too interested in developing GUI's for developers... not the average Joe.

This is why Linux will "lose the battle." You can point to monopolies and such as long as you want, but in the end the user makes the decision what he or she wants, and the user will say that the switch to Linux doesn't offer enough benefits to justify a shift.

Re:Good reliability, below average usability (2)

night_flyer (453866) | about 13 years ago | (#2451439)

But its not to late for a develpoer to make a GUI for the Average Joe... Linux has recieved much press, its name is becoming more and more recognized... now is the time to develop such a GUI *if* that is the direction they want to take, if *not* then there isn't a war to begin with

Missing the point entirely (1)

Limburgher (523006) | about 13 years ago | (#2451364)

I have to wonder why this article was written. Linux desktop distribution numbers are difficult if no impossible to tabulate accurately, as recent events at The Linux Counter have shown. So, the fact that the majority of PC's aren't shipping with Linux is not really relevant. I buy a laptop from Gateway, I get Windows XP, if throw it in a drawer and install RedHat, and approximately 2 people are aware of this, if you count my wife. Linux currently provides all the functionality I need, and is only getting better. I still use NT and 98 on 2 machines, but these are not my primary machines. The point is, due to the nature of the beast, a statement the Linux is about to lose or has lost is not one that can be backed up without a massive statistical display of dubious authenticity. Simply FUD?

I didn't know that the "War" has started (2)

Christianfreak (100697) | about 13 years ago | (#2451366)

Everyone talks about this supposed 'war' on the desktop. I don't really believe that a 'war' has started ... much less been won or lost.

Sounds like this guy is just upset because some holier-than-thou tech deleted his data and rightfully so. The guy has a bitter taste in his mouth, thus the article

Development Rate. (3, Insightful)

kkirk007 (304967) | about 13 years ago | (#2451370)

But what that article fails to take into account is the very rapid rate of development happening in the Linux desktop community. Very soon Gnome 2.0 and KDE 3.0 will be released, which are both major steps in their respective projects. What has Microsoft put out lately? Windows XP with the Luna interface, which after having played with, I can definitely say I'm not impressed (Mac OSX is still the best eye-candy).
The point is, Linux is usable, but still in development. At the rate that support for linux is snowballing and more and more people get onboard, Linux will be as good or better than M$ in, I'd guess, about two years.

Focus on the code! And the apps! (2, Insightful)

Green Aardvark House (523269) | about 13 years ago | (#2451375)

I do not understand this "war" for supremacy in the OS world. If Linux users are concentrated on winning, they should direct their energy on writing good, bug-free code, not only on the OS, but the apps as well!

Address the complaint. Speedie's complaint was about the apps. The Linux kernel is relatively stable. Let's create some stuff to go with it.

The way to win a thorugh a superior product, not saber-rattling.

Info for everyone (1)

xZAQx (472674) | about 13 years ago | (#2451380)

This article is a highly-edit version of the one in wired magazine. I read the whole thing the last time I was in B&N. Let me tell you, the guy that wrote this article is an idiot. Most of the inane points he made in the full article are moot points at best. His main beef is that linux can NEVER be a desktop competitor. He cites much of his experience on lack of experience. I wish I could remember the article better, but I recommend you all read the whole thing. This guy praises the kernel and says we should stop wasting our time developing GUI's and GUI tools. Now, it's true that the kernel is perhaps the best thing we've done (or is Apache the best thing?) but Linus himself said that kde was one of the greatest accomplishments of the year. If we quit now, and we give in to bickering amongst ourselves, we will lose. I guarantee that. So stop inner-fighting and keep cranking out those GUIs, those streaming audio and video players, all those things that make windows more convenient for the average user, because face it, we all know someone who is very computer-literate, and is aware the linux is superior, but doesn't want to run it because he/she can't play game X/watch video format Q/use telephony Y to call mom and dad over the internet/can't quite get those excel sheets to embed in those imported MSword docs quite right...and the list goes ON and ON and ON. My girlfriend is one of those people. These people like linux, they enjoy linux, but without the right tools, they will continue to simply NOT use it. Let's continue to WIN the fight.

Well, of course he has a point... (2)

emil (695) | about 13 years ago | (#2451384)

...and we should immediately conclude with the question are we lacking in any way from a server operating system perspective?

Linux as a server remains very strong; Samba can emulate a PDC, free Sybase is an MS-SQL Server 6.5 lookalike, complete replacements for an Exchange server are available, and Linux supports the whole family of UNIX server protocols. There is simply no excuse for Windows in the datacenter from a basic OS-functionality perspective.

True, there have been significant weaknesses. ext2 has been a problem for some time, but this is (close to) getting fixed (it would really help if the distributions would coordinate some of their work). I wish ipfwadm/ipchains/iptables would stop changing. We still suffer from significant fragmentation, which is most dangerous, for it is fragmentation that severely damaged commercial UNIX.

So is fragmentation the biggest danger in the server space? Are there even greater risks?

As far as the desktop market goes, no one in Linux is serious about desktop market share unless and until a major distribution releases a "Win32" edition with layered WINE optimized for running Windows binaries.

I do wish that we could get serious.

From the article (2)

shanek (153868) | about 13 years ago | (#2451387)

Speedie needed to use Microsoft Word because the Linux word processors at her disposal were saddled with spellcheckers so abysmal they caused more problems than they solved, skipping over misspelled words and offering bizarre alternatives for words spelled correctly.

Strange...that's my experience with the Microsoft spell checker. Or with any other spell checker. None of them are perfect; nor are they intended to be a crutch. They're just tools to help find typos.

A decade later, Linux is lauded as a technical success. But as a business, it's a flop.

Why do we insist on measuring everything by the dollar value?

What if all the mental energy, the rage on Slashdot message boards had been concentrated on building solid business models in enterprise computing?

That's strange; the impression I got from the whole article was that of some junkie posting a rant on a bulletin board. I don't see him out developing the next greatest platform, and yet he pans others for doing exactly what he does.

First Dildo Post!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2451390)

Mad propz to Beowulf, son of Scyld.


M$ Shite (4, Insightful)

tonywestonuk (261622) | about 13 years ago | (#2451393)

Microsoft will beat Linux on the desktop because they control the way PC's are installed at the manufacturer. Linux will Never surpass Microsoft, unless their grip over the Major manufactures, with the secret OEM licence, is broken.

Eg, hypothetically, Microsoft could just about to release a new OS, called M$ Shite - This will be worse than MSDOS, Take ages to boot, be non-gui, bugger up the HD's boot patition table so that only a Low Level format will put things right, and only run MS branded crippleware, and not allow any other software installs. Unfortunetely, they are also strongarming the Manufactures to preinstall this next generation software, so that every PC sold from BESTBUY, or PCWORLD, without exception, will come with it pre-installed.

I wonder how many people will still stick with the OS their PC came with, in this situation regardless, 30%? 40%, maybe even 50%. Many people do not know the difference between the OS and the Computer, and don't even realise that they can change, and wouldn't even know if they would want to.

Well crafted argument (1, Interesting)

Paul the Bold (264588) | about 13 years ago | (#2451396)

I like how he leads off with an example of ONE asshole who removes Windows at every opportunity. Clearly, this is representative of the entire Linux community. (That was sarcasm.)

He then goes on to discuss the battle between Linux and Windows on the desktop. This is interesting, because regular readers of Slashdot know that it's the server market that is the battleground. Maybe we just don't know as much as good old Russ.

He points to projects like Gnome and KDE to support his claim that Linux developers hunger for the desktop. Well, this is arguable. However, he lambasts them by saying that these developers should spend their time "developing kick-ass development platforms". You know, Russ, more sophisticated window managers make it easier to use computers, even for hard-core developers. Isn't it nice to stop worrying about your window manager and the application base start worrying about doing something productive on your computer?

Somebody else take over here. I am sure I made some broad generalizations and I apologize, but Russ has his head so much farther up his ass than I.

I feel all warm and tingly. You should try some Russ bashing.

war? this is retarded. (2)

Atilla (64444) | about 13 years ago | (#2451398)

It is simply idiotic to call this a "war" between linux and windows. Like Linus said in his recent interview, he doesn't really care about the competing OS's.... Linux is not about taking over the competition. Linux is in essence, a hobby, although it's proving itself to be quite strong in certain areas...

Linux will most likely never die, because it is an excellent platform for development, and it makes a killer server box :)

The desktop 'scene' will be mixed and quite possibly dominated by Windows products for a while, but as people become more aware of Linux and its advantages, and more developers choose to
write code for Linux and other *nix clones, this situation might change.

Yes, it's true that M$ officials bash Linux and free software in general every chance they get, but that just means that _they_ see it as a threat, esp. as more and more folks lose interest in MS software due to MS's inability to provide well-tested and secure software for mission-critical apps, such as web servers, etc..


who cares? (1)

L-Wave (515413) | about 13 years ago | (#2451400)

who cares if microsoft has won the desktop? I know ill keep running linux, and I wont see any bsods, as long as linux keeps evolving ill be as happy as a hindu cow. =)

test (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2451402)

ignore. And just for the lameness filter, I'll say: ignore.

It works well enough for me! (1)

Androgynous Howard (526897) | about 13 years ago | (#2451404)

Ok. Let's see.

I have an OS (SuSE Linux 7.3) that does absolutely everything I want. It is easy to install, and it does not come with any legal crap. I can use it to develop applications, and even my girlfriend and my mother can use it to browse the net, write E-Mail and write simple letters. That is all they want from a computer.

And now I am supposed to install WinXP and put up with all that crap from microsoft just because Linux lost the "war for the desktop"? We are not even fighting a stupid war.

And I don't care what this guy says. Linux with KDE and StarOffice is good enough for maybe 90% of all enterprise computer users.


Androgynous Howard

new article? (1)

mickeyreznor (320351) | about 13 years ago | (#2451411)

does this guy even say anything we haven't heard before? He just makes the same gripes about linux that eveyone else has already been making. Granted, he's right about those gripes, but really, does this guy say anything new.

Microsofts edge,.. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2451412)

Yeah,...untill Linux can offer that kewl paper clip help icon corporate morons *oops* managers won't see the real potentia of linux.

Why (1)

Saac (21743) | about 13 years ago | (#2451414)

What they all don't realise is that we do not code for the desktop in an effort to destroy Microsoft (well, some do). We code for the desktop because we do not want to use Microsoft on OUR desktops. That is the reason why people code for what they want to code for. Most open source coding is not funded. We do it to write software that WE WANT TO USE!

Isaac Connor

Think long-term (5, Insightful)

Stiletto (12066) | about 13 years ago | (#2451418)

Ten, twenty years?

In the future when we think ``computer'' we won't picture a big beige box under the desk with wires running all over the place, and another big box with a beam scanning back and forth across a piece of glass.

If Linux lost the desktop PC, that's fine, 'cause the days of the desktop PC dinosaurs are numbered.

The computers of the future are smaller, faster, and cheaper--Three words NOT in Microsoft's vocabulary.

Why Linux is About to Win (1)

scorp1us (235526) | about 13 years ago | (#2451424)

  1. No digital rights management. Some rights are good and valid, some are abuses of copyright. Things will revert. it'll be "I can ___ in Linux, but I can;t in Windows."
  2. No body trusts microsoft (I don't anyway) (This will become more important because .NET, Passport, and software subscriptions are going to be forced down people's throats while Linux remains free)
  3. KDE3.0 will be ready when peoplr do descide to switch.
  4. The new preemption patch rules!
  5. The Linux software (and open source apps) will continue to be improved at a much faster rate than commericial apps.
  6. Darwin will allow easy porting of Mac apps to Linux.

Re:Why Linux is About to Win (1)

Nicolas MONNET (4727) | about 13 years ago | (#2451447)

7. There are now good, free web browsers: Konqueror [] and Mozilla [] .

It was'nt the case two years ago.

Re:Why Linux is About to Win - Dont't forget Opera (1)

scorp1us (235526) | about 13 years ago | (#2451462)

My favorite browser! (Yeah, I know it's not OpenSource, but it does rule.)

Duplication is Losing? (1)

sstaton (51605) | about 13 years ago | (#2451426)

The author states that duplication of a product that a dominate player controls is a losing venture (he quotes Peter Drucker). That may hold in business, but Linux and its desktop are not primarily being developed for a business. In many cases they are being developed to provide replacement versions of existing products; before Linux there were many commercial UNIX OS products -- didn't Linux violate that rule when it "took on" those? And has it now "succeeded" in dominating the UNIX business space despite not being a commercial product?

The fact is, Linux doesn't exist in the same space as Windows. It's not created solely to make a profit for a corporation. It's also not being improved for the general benefit of "customers". It's being modified by very clever yet self-serving individuals and small groups to suit their particular needs. Some want to clone Windows and Office, and others just want generic office tools. This flies in the face of almost all for-profit software companies, but again, Linux isn't playing that game so it doesn't matter to Linux's long term success.

How Refreshing! (1, Funny)

Commykilla (107585) | about 13 years ago | (#2451429)

It's refreshing to see that somebody has finally written an insightful article on the Linux/M$ battle that wasn't complete flamebait. Geez!

Think about this: (1)

matt20 (263551) | about 13 years ago | (#2451430)

Linux is to Microsoft what Osama is to US. A fantical religious mindset against a tyranical materialistic culture.

Who will win this contest? If history is correct in prediciting the future, imperial Rome was overcome by the barbarians and the Christians. It is only a matter of time for US and Microsoft.

war? what, thought this was... (2)

Ender Ryan (79406) | about 13 years ago | (#2451432)

War? What, I thought this was a relatively free market? Aren't we allowed to continue competing even if Microsoft has over 90% marketshare?

This is utterly stupid, of course Microsoft has "won" any supposed war, they have a friggin monopoly. By this logic of there being a "war", Microsoft had already won before Linux was even written.

The point of Linux, however, isn't to break Microsoft's monopoly, it is to simply be a good operating system. IMO, it is that.

Unlike a war, there is no beginning and there is no end. We can all keep trying as long as we want... barring some serious draconian legislation that makes open source software illegal.

Re:war? what, thought this was... (1)

kin_korn_karn (466864) | about 13 years ago | (#2451485)

The point of Linux, however, isn't to break Microsoft's monopoly, it is to simply be a good operating system. IMO, it is that.

Yes, but until someone without this wimpy "live and let live" mentality comes along and goes for MS' jugular, Linux will live in the obscurity of the geek community and backoffice server types. Having something that's good means nothing if nobody else knows it's good, just ask any independent filmmaker or musician.

- Josh

The fight for the desktop is essential (5, Insightful)

jonabbey (2498) | about 13 years ago | (#2451449)

If we Linux folks give up on the desktop, we will eventually have to give up on the server, unless the states and the DOJ get really wise about remedies.

As it stands now, the biggest single factor, by far, driving Microsoft server technology into the enterprise is the fact that Microsoft desktops want to talk to Microsoft servers. Jeremy Allison made this point on the LinuxToday talkbacks for this article, that the reason Exchange gets pulled into companies is because Outlook (part of office, and so bundled everywhere) has to talk to Exchange to do calendaring and scheduling. Exchange 2000, at least, needs to talk to ActiveDirectory. ActiveDirectory and Windows 2000 really, really want to absorb the DNS function (or else you're stuck with either a lot of manual overhead to manage the SRV records, or else you have to enable Dynamic DNS updates with a total lack of security because Microsoft doesn't support any open DDNS standards, they simply use the ActiveDirectory ACL's for security..)

See how that works? It's like dominoes, and Microsoft is supremely willing to set them up and knock them down.

Even though we spent 5+ years developing Ganymede, we're getting massive pressure on us to adopt ActiveDirectory because that's what Microsoft says Windows 2000 really needs, and because the protocols that Windows 2000 uses to talk to its directory services are proprietary and non-documented.

Microsoft is like a cuckoo bird, that lays its eggs in the nests of other birds. The eggs hatch, and out pop the baby cuckoos, who then proceed to shove all the other eggs out of the nest.

has this guy tried running peripherals on linux? (1)

walkah (147207) | about 13 years ago | (#2451451)

clearly, as someone you runs linux on my desktop almost exclusively, i'm a bit biased however:

"The Linux desktop offers very little that could be considered plug-and-play. Linux drivers, the software that connects a computer with peripherals like printers and CD burners"

i own a samsung ml-4600 laser printer and a plexwriter... and have never had any trouble installing or using either... no additional hacking was required.

"Want to use a digital camera? Don't bother with Kodak if you're running Linux."

again... jphoto [] supports my kodak dc4800 flawlessly.

"Creative's Soundblaster?"

my boxen have sblive! 5.1 and sblive! respectively and insmod emu10k1 is all it takes (in fact redhat 7.1, when i tried it, even knew to do that automagically)

the article's main point, about lack of desktop applications for linux is a valid one. people, particularly in an office environment, want to just go with what they know... and that is of course M$ Office. however, i think the strides being made are certainly positive for linux. i've been playing with the latest openoffice builds and they are incredibly impressive. and really, in most offices, if a user can run a word processor, spreadsheet application, send email, and perhaps create a presentation that is all most office workers ever use. and if they can do it with star/open office on linux for a *fraction* of the cost (even if they license staroffice and buy redhat support) of windows + office... i certainly think they'll go for it... and staroffice 6 is only so far away.

microsoft shows no sign of focusing just on desktops, why should linux focus just on servers? programmers good at UI / desktop applications are not always good with server level apps and vice versa. if people want to spend time writing desktop drivers and gui apps... more power to them! and i love them for it =)

Old News? (1)

Myuu (529245) | about 13 years ago | (#2451453)

Hasn't that issue been out for more than a month, I read it an didn't really like it. The main driving point is a lack of word programs with good spell checking.

Anyway, is this 'war' going to be like the US-China 'Hacker' war of May?

That dumb tech. (2)

Bazman (4849) | about 13 years ago | (#2451455)

If only he'd deleted her Microsoft applications, Windows, given her the $$$ cost of the apps and OS back, and most importantly NOT DELETED HER WORK FILES!!!

Did she have a backup?


Different Strokes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2451465)

I subscribed to Maximum Linux last year. After a year of not sending me an issue, they started sending me Wired (with this article in the front) instead, saying that ML was cancelled. huh

Sometimes I like to create software. Linux ensures that the libraries I use are not going to be yanked. I use linux for programming.

Sometimes I like to play games. Not to tinker with X86 config files, modelines, mouse wheel settings or what have you. I just want to load up and play a game. Windows 98.

I have 3 domains. So I like to have web,mail,dns,mailing list sw,ldap services running for all of my domains with a side dish of quake or battlenet servers so I can play & host games (above). Linux has all of this software plus the OS on a single cd. It won't tell me I need new hardware, it won't tell me I have to upgrade, I won't get charged.

Most of the time I just like to have my time on the net, irc, browsing, writing documents, looking for a job, remotely ssh'ing to help others' setups, downloading mp3s, etc... I am usually doing this all at the same time. I'd prefer my machine didn't spill up or blue screen when I am working. Linux does this all with one CD, a single for this all. And I'm not charged. All I have to do is to contribute with others' efforts in this arena. The more I use it, the easier it becomes to help.

Everyone at work uses NT, most all documents that come my way are doc, xls or pps. I courteously review them and if I must correspond, the I return the document in html or xml format.

A difference in the multitude of systems out there and compatibility issues really suck. But it is really for the best. I don't want to give up my games. I am glad that lots of people use computers these days. These people that use MS or AOL just wouldn't be able to do it otherwise. There must be a package(distro) out there that installs everything that this type of user wants. No questions asked, just installs and configures multimedia, web, mail and office in one fell swoop.

We are very close to arriving in this area. But hey, linux is a multi-group effort. If it has to be better in one area than another, then I am glad that linux is the king of network services.

this is not war (3, Insightful)

evenprime (324363) | about 13 years ago | (#2451471)

open source is an alternative that gives users more power to control their computing environment than closed source software does, but it is *NOT* a war!

We need to stop describing stuff in such combative terms. That's part of what turns businesses off and prevents them from trying open source software. Businesses view people who talk about software choices as war as a bunch of loons. If you want to get linux on the desktop, point out that it is a high quality, low cost alternative to the software they are currently using. Give specific examples that match their current products.

Remember, this is not war, noone will die over this.

Open Source doesn't work like this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2451472)

Russ Mitchell seems to believe there is a strategy comittee somewhere making decisions about how to fight Microsoft. In fact everyone who writes OSS does it for the fun of it or to "scratch an itch".

Considering the success of KDE/Gnome in the community the whole article is pointless. Why taking away 1.5% of computer users favourite environment? 1.5% doesn't sound much. But 5 Million users definitelly justify the effort.


No Corporate Backing? umm, IBM, Sun... (1)

atomray (202327) | about 13 years ago | (#2451473)

...don't they count? Wasn't IBM just fined for it's Linux add campaign, and arent' they pumping millions of dollars into development. Just because there aren't ads on TV or in Teeny Pop magazines touting the 'new look' of the desktop, doesn't mean that there aren't serious corporate backers of Linux, on bother server and desktop.

Why a war? (2, Interesting)

Snjit (18259) | about 13 years ago | (#2451474)

Why is the desktop and what's running on it always referred to as a "war"? And what does "Microsoft has won." mean? Does it mean that right at this point in time they dominate? Yes. Does it mean they will dominate next year? Maybe. 5 years? 10 years? It certainly doesn't mean that we've quit and gone home because there are still desktop environments that are being developed and improved continuously that Microsoft doesn't own or contribute to.

To make broad statements like this seems a little silly to me when its applied to things like technology and open source. Technology (and the desktop) is always evolving and evolution implies a change both in what is dominating and how.

Wars and battles are discrete things that refer to a point in time and imply that once its over its over. Technology wars can only be fought between corporations and are only won when one corporation gives up or goes under. When applied to open source that comparison just doesn't work. Stop equating the changes in desktop technology to a battle and lets discuss it in terms of where it should be going and how we're going to meet the needs of people using them tommorrow. Evolution will take over.

make the consume SEE the cost (0, Redundant)

bokmann (323771) | about 13 years ago | (#2451479)

Imagine a day when you buy a computer, plug it in, and it can dual boot windows-linux out of the box...

Boot into linux, and you have a usable system.

Boot into Windows, and it asks you for your credit card number so it can charge you $99 for a license to use it.

You can keep the system dual-booting, or tell one OS that it can delete and take over the other partition.

If users *really* have a CHOICE, and could SEE the cost associated with windows (instead of paying a 'tax' on every computer), linux will gain desktop space.

Lets write to the justice department... THIS should be the 'settlement' imposed on Microsoft.

Attacking the wrong people (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 13 years ago | (#2451482)

The illustrious author confuses the entire movement with the actions of a few. To proclaim the entire movement wrong because of a misguided tech is paramount to blaming all of Islam for the actions of a few members.

On the other side of this, he cites our strengths as our weaknesses. He looks at our variety and sees nothing but undirected thought and confusion. Where Microsoft has a directed mission when it comes to the desktop, Linux has many ways of attacking the same problem. Are we wrong? I beg to differ. We allow different desktops for different people and different personalities.

I honestly believe that projects like LTSP in combination with Microsoft shooting themselves in the foot with XP are going to bring a new revolution on the workplace desktop. IT managers who are in the know are going to realize that a better solution is available and are going to take advantage of it.

Linux on the desktop is far from dead, and projects like Gnome and KDE are only making the experience better. IMHO the author is dead wrong.

Here is the Reason Why (1)

jdun (310373) | about 13 years ago | (#2451486)

Linux people are so goddamn elitist. When a person asks for help these elitist replies, "read the goddamn manual". This has turn a lot off people of Linux.

Many desktop computers are dedicated to one task. (2)

Futurepower(tm) (228467) | about 13 years ago | (#2451488)

Some friends here run a server farm for a school district. They switched to Linux on ALL their servers. They say that the maintenance required with Linux is far less. And, of course, there is no software upgrade cost. A Microsoft sales person called and asked why they had not done any business recently.

It seems to me that the reason for Microsoft's increased abusiveness is that every top Microsoft executive has plenty of experience seeing 5 years ahead. They know they don't have long. So, they want to gouge everyone as much as possible now.

The referenced article says that Linux can compete in the server market. You can be sure that, if there are people on staff that know Linux, there will be constant attempts to put Linux on desks.

The article said, Linux boosters insist that if free downloads and pass-arounds were counted, that figure would be even higher; and they're probably right.

Probably??? Certainly.

Conversely, Linux managed only 1.5 percent of shipments in the desktop market in 2000. And that sliver is unlikely to grow in 2001.

Except, of course, the Chinese and Thai and maybe Indian governments are switching to open source software, partly because they are afraid of possible back doors in U.S. software. Only the governments of 2 billion people. And some state and city governments in the United States. And... And...

Desktop computer users care about what they can do on their machines. They want reliability, simplicity, access to popular software, and the ability to communicate easily with other users.

More nonsense. Many work users have computers dedicated to one task. If they don't want that one task to crash, if they don't want Bill Gates coming around and deciding on new ways of abusing them, they can do what?

As for its programs, Windows and Word sometimes drive me nuts.

Is that because they are buggy and quirky, and have numerous security risks due to low-quality source code?

Secret U.S. hostile action tries to enhance oil profits. See the new section, "Avoid the common mistakes" in What should be the Response to Violence? []

No Choice (2, Interesting)

_johnnyc (111627) | about 13 years ago | (#2451496)

I read the print version of this article, and while I enjoyed it, it has serious problems.

First, he suggests that everyone would be better off if Linux (or any other open-source alternative) just gave up on trying to create a competitive desktop to Windows. The situation with BE makes it clear that there can be no commerical alternative to Windows that can succeed because of the MS monopoly, so open source solutions are IMHO the only choice. He suggests that Microsoft's Windows is and will always be the only choice on the desktop for consumers, and that trying to work on alternatives is a waste of time. In other words, let's just accept that MS are a monopolist and not try anymore. Having seen where KDE has come from in the last 3 years, I beg to differ.

He also states that "The Linux desktop offers very little that could be considered plug-and-play.". He goes on to talk about the lack of drivers for scanners and digital cameras, not exactly the kind of peripherals everyone has with their PC. At any rate, I've installed hundreds of Windows and Linux PCs, and I can say with confidence that Linux is in fact more plug and play on hardware it supports than Windows is. With the 2.4 kernel, this situation is improved.

With Windows, I install the hardware, boot the machine, install the driver, reboot the machine. Hopefully it'll work, and to be fair usually does. With Linux, I install the hardware, boot the machine. No fiddling with obnoxious drivers, no reboots.

I've been very impressed with a distro like RH 7.1 in this regard. In my experience, a standard networked office PC is far easier to install with RH 7.1 than any Windows PC. Less time less hassle. As for digital cameras, I know a few who would beg to differ on their ease of installation in an OS like Win 98.

Anyway, the article hasn't convinced me it's time to cede to Windows. Since I've used and supported both, I'd say that Microsoft's success will continue depend on the bundling of software like Windows Media and IE, not on its superior hardware support.

To all you desktop developers out there - keep up the great work!
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