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Linux vs. Windows

michael posted more than 10 years ago | from the preaching-to-the-choir dept.

Linux Business 667

An anonymous reader writes "Technology Review has a great article discussing how pretty, user-friendly Linux desktops, cheap machines sold at stores such as Wal-Mart, and the growth of useful free software like Open Office have made Linux a 'key business risk' for our friends in Redmond. The story notes that Linux's market share for desktop computers has already surpassed Apple's. Says the Open Source Initiative's Eric Raymond, 'The sinister plan for world domination is right on schedule.' All right!"

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Really (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9948347)

neat!

first post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9948352)

first post

too bad I forgot my password.

ESR. please shut up. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9948353)

Seriously, why do people even care what this douchebag has to say anymore? He wrote one important paper, one shitty software program for "street cred", and has done jack shit of value since.

Re:ESR. please shut up. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9948379)

"He wrote one important paper"

Important? Don't think so...

Re:ESR. please shut up. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9948399)

You're right, I gave him too much credit.

One paper that everyone mentions even though hardly anyone has actually read it, because if they had they would realize it doesn't make a damn bit of sense in a business context.

That better?

Re:ESR. please shut up. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9948426)

One paper that everyone mentions even though hardly anyone has actually read it

Sounds like the definition of "important" to me :H

"Linux vs. Windows" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9948354)

wow, what an original topic :o

Join the Revolution (4, Insightful)

a3217055 (768293) | more than 10 years ago | (#9948356)

Funny how Linux from Walmart which itself is a large corporation may help fight the software giant Microsoft is. How ironic where the revolution comes from.

Re:Join the Revolution (5, Insightful)

darien (180561) | more than 10 years ago | (#9948462)

I'm afraid Wal*Mart doesn't give a fuck about the revolution - it's pursuing its own agenda, and it doesn't much care if MS prospers or dies except insofar as that might affect its own bottom line.

But there is, I have to admit, something of the invisible hand about it.

Re:Join the Revolution (4, Insightful)

TopShelf (92521) | more than 10 years ago | (#9948609)

Ironic? One giant, low-cost corporation seeks a market opportunity left open by a giant, high-cost corporation. Sounds like everyday business to me...

Re:Join the Revolution (0, Offtopic)

venomkid (624425) | more than 10 years ago | (#9948632)

The revolution comes when the right people will profit from it. And not before.

Of course it'll srupass apple (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9948357)

Think about it: open systems will out grow closed systems. It might take a while, but that's what always happened. It happened with PC vs Mac hardware and it'll happen with software.

(w00t! first post!)

Re:Of course it'll srupass apple (5, Insightful)

danamania (540950) | more than 10 years ago | (#9948461)

I think we'll have a big slaughter of Windows market share as they continue to not-get-Linux, and then things will REALLY get interesting. I don't believe for a second that MS is going to go down, down, down and just drop off the face of the planet.

A few years after longhorn is released, when the market is closer to 50/50 for linux/windows machines, and MS will be forced to actually do things better just to survive.

There's a lot in the way of human resources at microsoft, and that could create some dang good stuff - given the need to, when there's a giant penguin huffing down your neck.

Re:Of course it'll srupass apple (2, Insightful)

jarich (733129) | more than 10 years ago | (#9948566)

I don't believe for a second that MS is going to go down, down, down and just drop off the face of the planet.

And IBM will always dominate the PC market...

And Sun will always dominate the server market...

And also, Microsoft will always dominate the desktop.

When it's all over, it'll probably be obvious in hindsight... this is why Bill is so paranoid.

Re:Of course it'll srupass apple (2, Insightful)

Mateito (746185) | more than 10 years ago | (#9948615)

> This is why Bill is so paranoid.

No, Bill is paranoid because he is a zit-pocked git who was picked on at school. When you are always on the end of the pointy stick, you get jumpy and jittery as a survival trait.

The headline (5, Funny)

iamdrscience (541136) | more than 10 years ago | (#9948358)

"Linux vs. Windows"? Now the editors are just getting lazy. That could be the title for ~50% of the articles ever posted on Slashdot. Geez.

Re:The headline (3, Funny)

superpulpsicle (533373) | more than 10 years ago | (#9948473)

Well they could have titled the headline "computers". Now that's really wide open.

Re:The headline (1)

general_re (8883) | more than 10 years ago | (#9948597)

Actually, I think we got a sneak preview of that new look about an hour ago - half the articles on the front page were titled "Index:"...

Re:The headline (0, Redundant)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 10 years ago | (#9948598)

How about just, say, "News for Nerds"?

Wal-Mart (3, Interesting)

spungo (729241) | more than 10 years ago | (#9948360)

Yeah, well, this wonderful service they provide (cheap GNU/Linux boxes) may be great for all you Americans - but it ain't gonna take off in the same way throughout the rest of the World without a similar rock-bottom outlet doing the same. ( /me mourns living in rip-off UK)

Re:Wal-Mart (3, Interesting)

a3217055 (768293) | more than 10 years ago | (#9948420)

Walmart is more evil tham Microsoft. Be grateful that you are not living in the land of shoppers of Satan. :) But yes there has to be a good distribution model for releasing these Linux boxes to the masses. I think there will be a day when people will not have real computers at home but some dumb client or ... piece of hardware like a sun ray box at home where they log on and watch movies go on the interent, read email. All this through very fast networks, and so you don't have to buy a computer every 3 years. .... And the server you log into run Linux ... maybe that is the future..

Re:Wal-Mart (3, Interesting)

torpor (458) | more than 10 years ago | (#9948468)

hey, its happening here in germany ... it'll happen in england soon enough...

Re:Wal-Mart (1)

cypherz (155664) | more than 10 years ago | (#9948543)

Not sure about this, but can't you order online from walmart and have them ship to UK? Most of these really low-priced and OS-less PC's are only available from Walmart's web site.

Linux vs. Windows (1, Funny)

mattjb0010 (724744) | more than 10 years ago | (#9948362)

Isn't that what /. is really all about? Begin flame war... NOW!

Re:Linux vs. Windows (5, Insightful)

Stevyn (691306) | more than 10 years ago | (#9948507)

I saw the headline and I slapped my forehead. I think we have a linux vs windows flamewar about 3 times a week here.

Just equate linux vs windows with car transmissions. Linux is like a manual, it's $300 cheaper, slightly longer learning curve, gives you more control, but the people who get it are unique because they like to drive.

Whatever you use your computer for, just be productive and the issue of operating system becomes irrelevant.

Re:Linux vs. Windows (1)

mattjb0010 (724744) | more than 10 years ago | (#9948540)

Whatever you use your computer for, just be productive and the issue of operating system becomes irrelevant.

Arguably the GUI&/CLI is part of an O/S (yes, this is less true for GUIs and shells on Linux) and that does affect productivity, however.

2004 I tells thee! (1)

JamieKitson (757690) | more than 10 years ago | (#9948363)

2004 is *definatly* the year of Linux on the desktop!

Re:2004 I tells thee! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9948430)

try "*definitely*"

-1 Article: Flamebait (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9948364)

This again?

It would be interesting to know if... (5, Interesting)

Osrin (599427) | more than 10 years ago | (#9948366)

... the projected 6% desktop share is Linux helping new users reach out to computing, or if it is biting into Microsoft's market share. It will obviously be a little of both, but I wonder what the breakdown is.

Re:It would be interesting to know if... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9948546)

Trial means nothing. It'd be more interesting to see if those buyers will stay with Linux as they upgrade.

Score (1)

hardcoremike (803446) | more than 10 years ago | (#9948369)

The story notes that Linux's market share for desktop computers has already surpassed Apple's.

Oblig Simpson's quote:

"You've just been marginalized."

Re:Score (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9948409)

Simpson's quotes are meant to be used by idiots.

Bad dimwit bad!

flame war (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9948370)

yeah!! I've got off the first round !!

thats just the start of it. (5, Insightful)

torpor (458) | more than 10 years ago | (#9948375)

that humble little vmlinuz can run on tons of things. sure, desktops got everyones eyeballs and twitchy middle finger all wrapped up, but linux computers don't need an interface. at all. in order to do Real Work.

no, i'm not just talking about beouwulfs and the like, i mean things like vending machines, HVAC control, ticketing systems, etc...

(embedded linux is where microsoft is going to have fight our lead...)

Re:thats just the start of it. (-1, Offtopic)

RealAlaskan (576404) | more than 10 years ago | (#9948552)

So, about your sig:
; -- no matter what the books say, there is no such thing as a christian soldier.
I thought the bible gave several examples of Christian soldiers? How about the Roman centurian that Peter was sent to visit, in Acts? Or is the bible not an authoritative source?

Wal star Mart (5, Insightful)

Swamii (594522) | more than 10 years ago | (#9948380)

Wal * Mart is the Devil's Own Store. That is until it sells Linux machines and it becomes a acceptable part of the Linux 'world domination'

Lindows? (4, Insightful)

Davak (526912) | more than 10 years ago | (#9948386)

Is lindows (aka linspire) the real salvation of linux? A pretty graphical interface? High processor requirements? A prioritary installation process?

How is this better than windows again?

What is we really just teach people how to do unix correctly? [tech-recipes.com]

Davak

Re:Lindows? (1)

Davak (526912) | more than 10 years ago | (#9948460)

Typo police:

What we really need to do is just teach people how to do unix correctly.

And oh, yes... you can apt-get with lindows/linspire. Thank god.

Davak

Re:Lindows? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9948515)

Verbosity alert:

"What we really need to do is just teach people how to do unix correctly."

Wouldn't changing "is" to "if" in the parent post be faster and less verbose?

Re:Lindows? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9948579)

Yes, it would. Thanks!

If you had a micropayment account, I would gladly give you $.002 for your help.

Thanks for making my slashdot experience better.

AC

Re:Lindows? (3, Insightful)

TheQwe (795209) | more than 10 years ago | (#9948491)

I agree; however, the primary opposition to the Linux movement is the fact that it's hard to learn. So, as much as I'd like to see people use unix correctly, as you say, I think there is also a need for a user-friendlier version for the casual user, without the weight that lindows throws around.

Re:Lindows? (4, Interesting)

alienw (585907) | more than 10 years ago | (#9948493)

You don't have a clue, do you? Linspire is a COMPETITOR to Windows. Therefore, they need to offer the same kind of features. Do you really think MS would have made WinXP half as good as it is if not for Linux? If Linux didn't exist, we would still be using WinME and complaining about BSODs.

Re:Lindows? (4, Insightful)

garcia (6573) | more than 10 years ago | (#9948567)

Is lindows (aka linspire) the real salvation of linux? A pretty graphical interface? High processor requirements? A prioritary installation process?

It depends on your definition of "salvation". Personally I don't think Linux needs to be saved from anything. It's doing what it does well already.

People seriously believe that Linux is ready for the desktop and should compete side by side with Windows. By bundling a proprietary installer, rip-off applications and accessories we aren't "saving" Linux we are feeding it straight to the devil.

How about we teach people to use what is right for their particular needs? Unix does what Unix does best. Windows does what Windows does best. Yes, you can make either one do what you want after tweaking, fooling, etc, but on the face they both do their intended purposes best out of the box. That's my HO and I am sticking to it.

Re:Lindows? (4, Insightful)

drewmca (611245) | more than 10 years ago | (#9948618)

I think that kind of asinine tech elitism is exactly what has held linux back. 90% of the people in the world don't care about using unix "correctly". They want a computer to work the way they want it to work, which means it shouldn't get in the way. You don't need to be a plumber to use a toilet, why should you need to be a unix guru to use a computer? While happily churning away at vi or emacs or whatever your poison is may make you feel very proud of what you've learned and superior to the masses, you're actually stuck in interfaces and computing paradigms that are dictated more by technical limitations than the "proper" way to do things.

So... (4, Insightful)

TWX (665546) | more than 10 years ago | (#9948389)

...finally an article asserting what many, many people have been saying for quite some time.

Now all that "we" need to do is to go through and find things that need to be improved upon. Don't get me wrong, I still configure most of my stuff at the command line, and I believe that everything should be configurable from the command line, but it might not be a good idea to get GUI configuration to work for all user-level functions (including hotplug USB and firewire) so that Joe Schmoe or Grandma doesn't have to try to use a command line to plug in and get pictures off of a digital camera, or access a USB memory device, or hook up the new printer.

Brain to Keyboard problem (1)

TWX (665546) | more than 10 years ago | (#9948429)

"...but it might not be a good idea to get GUI configuration..."

My bad, thinking two expressions, "...might not be a bad idea..." and, "...might be a good idea..." which got turned into that. Oh well.

The tagline says it all (5, Insightful)

lukewarmfusion (726141) | more than 10 years ago | (#9948395)

"Preaching to the choir"

This article is basically just - pardon the expression - a circle jerk. Or, at best, inviting flamebait. What is there to discuss - that Linux is improving in the marketplace? Or that it's becoming more of a threat to Microsoft?

Mod the article -1, Redundant.

Re:The tagline says it all (5, Funny)

aardvarkjoe (156801) | more than 10 years ago | (#9948488)

Ah, come on. If they didn't post these articles every day or two, nobody would ever get their karma up to "Excellent."

buurrp (2, Funny)

jmrobinson (660094) | more than 10 years ago | (#9948398)

Uh, I've had my fill on Linux vs. Microsoft articles... can't someone the compile the millions of them into one lengthy book? I'll use it as a reference or kindling or something...

i knew it! (3, Funny)

bwthomas (796211) | more than 10 years ago | (#9948400)

The sinister plan for world domination is right on schedule. --ESR

i knew it; ESR's support of open source was just a bid to allow the NRA to control the government.

Personally, I never trusted that gun-toting bastard.

AAAarRRggg! (1, Funny)

Suriel (784721) | more than 10 years ago | (#9948408)

When will this ever end! What's better? Apples or Oranges?

Yorkle! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9948410)

YORKLE! YORKLE! YORKLE!

Re:Yorkle! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9948532)

Blonkyak! Blonkyak! Blonkyak blonkyak blonkyak!

True inroads to the desktop market.... (5, Insightful)

MarkEst1973 (769601) | more than 10 years ago | (#9948413)

Once someone learns to use a computer with {Win/Mac/Linux OS}, they will likely never change.

Selling ridiculously cheap machines that automagically do everything (connect to the internet, read pics from your digital camera, etc.) will capture a large share of newbies that do not yet own a computer. If these people never change their OS too, then we will see an increase in Linux desktops.

Easy is the key. Price is secondary but extremely important.

MS has no where to go but down. That's one of the disadvantages of having a monoply.

It all comes down to OOBE... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9948478)

Out of Box Experience. It took me a while to realize that what happens when a user turns something on for the first time is crucial in their acceptance of the product.

-- ac at work

"OOBE" is a great term (1)

MarkEst1973 (769601) | more than 10 years ago | (#9948535)

and it should be picked up by Linux desktop developers.

Truly and indeed, the very first experience a user has when booting up for the first time is the lasting impression that the user will have of the computer.

More emphasis should be placed on ease-of-use and the Out-of-Box Experience.

Well to everyone on Slashdot this is old news. (2, Interesting)

Trigun (685027) | more than 10 years ago | (#9948428)

I've been using Linux desktops for six years, and I still impress my boss with the applications available for it, the ease of use, and the compatibility.

Aside from our accounting package, there is nothing really holding us to Windows. E-mail, Web, DNS, and our main business programs run on some flavour of *nix, including the evil version, and with Mono/C#/.NET, we are starting to develop platform agnostic versions of most of our other apps.

All we need is a good platform-independant financials package, and we would be able to use any platform we wanted to.

Here comes the joe sixpack comments (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9948432)

Here comes every geek spouting off what the joe sixpack wants and needs. even though they have zero clue who joe even is let alone how he ineracts with a computer.

That's not a software giant, THIS is a ... (4, Interesting)

192939495969798999 (58312) | more than 10 years ago | (#9948435)

Software giant! (a la Crocodile Dundee). As I have pointed out 21.6 times, Wal-Mart will kill any and all competitors because of their immense size, discount ability, and general acceptance by the population. Microsoft may be a big software company, but Wal-Mart is #1 on the Fortune 500 for a reason!

Re:That's not a software giant, THIS is a ... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9948510)

WalMart didnt kill Lidl and Aldi when they tried to take on the German discounters on their home soil. Quite the opposite.

Apple's market share? Yay (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9948437)

So now that Linux has gone into the double digits in number of desktop systems installed, the world is our oyster.

Already surpassed Apple's (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9948439)

Stop beating up on the special kid.

Linux is real (4, Interesting)

IGnatius T Foobar (4328) | more than 10 years ago | (#9948448)

As much as the 'softies love to downplay the significance of the Linux desktop, and dismiss it publicly as insignificant, irrelevant, and unfeasible ... inside the walls of Redmond, they absolutely take it seriously. They know it is a serious long-term threat to their core sources of revenue, and being the financially wealthy but morally bankrupt bunch of criminals that they are, will stop at nothing to kill it.

And here's why. In 1998, anyone running a Linux desktop was a true geek. But every year brings changes, improvements, leaps in usability and application availability. Ask a marketing weasel what this means and they'll tell you that the value proposition of desktop Linux is slowly but continuously improving. Add in the economics and they'll tell you that eventually that value proposition will become too high to ignore.

Remember: there was a time when the PC itself was considered unfeasible. There was just too much momentum behind IBM's mainframes to ever unseat the venerable 3270 terminal from the business desktops of the world. How many of you are viewing Slashdot from a 3270 right now?

Why not help out AOL? Or similar? (2, Interesting)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 10 years ago | (#9948449)

AOL is marketing a $299 computer to those who don't currently have PCs. This market is mainly seniors, blacks, and hispanics.

Yes AOL is a royal pain, but it is in a unique position to market low cost internet access machines.

Properly configured Linux boxes would reduce the risk that many of their users already present the web and rest of us. It would also fill the needs of the majority of their users. Most never leave the AOL installed programs (my grandmother is a great example of that).

If not AOL then attempting bundling with an internet provider would still provide benefits. It could also be used as the basis to market to schools.

Re:Why not help out AOL? Or similar? (2, Funny)

BarryNorton (778694) | more than 10 years ago | (#9948528)

those who don't currently have PCs [...] mainly seniors, blacks, and hispanics
While the Aryan youth busy themselves writing viruses, worms and spyware and distributing child pornography...

compatibility (4, Insightful)

giampy (592646) | more than 10 years ago | (#9948454)

To put it very shortly, i think interoperability with the windows world (e.g samba & wine) is still the key to gain more users especially in offices.

If i buy one of these PCs, and i put it in my win2k based office, i should be able to print and share files without any RTFM ...

Inevitable? (1)

upsidedown_duck (788782) | more than 10 years ago | (#9948465)


Is there any software industry, where the lower-cost options did not eventually become most popular leaving more expensive options in niches? For example, UNIX vs. Mainframe, Windows vs. UNIX, Linux vs. Windows, Linux vs. UNIX, UNIX vs. UNIX, etc.

Also, with Windows at near saturation, where can they go but down?

Who would of thought (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9948466)

That Rednecks and Trailer Park Trash would be the end of the Microsoft monopoly.

Re:Who would of thought (1)

udowish (804631) | more than 10 years ago | (#9948560)

I think the fight is just beginning..what I really want to see is how M$ attempts to control/continue their emperialistic empire. They are already offering software that is basically free in markets where compatition is feirce. I read that memo that was leaked which basically said "get them at any cost" (I am paraphrasing). next move...Microsoft

Futile attempts (0, Redundant)

TaintedPastry (790856) | more than 10 years ago | (#9948480)

I wish I could mod the editors. -1 redundant YES, we know Linux is the solution to world hunger. YES, Mircosoft is evil and expensive. YES, rednecks now have access to linux like the rest of the educated tech society. Move on and post the XBOX2 schematics. :)

Not ready for desktop (1, Flamebait)

bludstone (103539) | more than 10 years ago | (#9948482)

Its not going to be ready for the home desktop until you can get usability, including installs, without having to type any command line stuff.

Thats what I am waiting for.

Re:Not ready for desktop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9948574)

you dont have to use the command line at all now.

did you install windows? most people didnt.
why would they have to install linux then

I am a Walmart shopper (4, Informative)

grunt107 (739510) | more than 10 years ago | (#9948483)

Will it always be a Microsoft Windows world?
The answer is: No - and Yes MS is like the 80s IBM - big kid on the block.
IBM gave up on DOS and had a pissing contest w/OS2 (and lost). But did not go away.
MS will eventually lose market share but will not go away

Testimonial: I have purchased a Walmart Microtel/JDS system (the cheapo). Only real problem was the winmodem which was not sensed from the factory or repeated re-installs. The RJ45 connection works fine.

new low for slashdot (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9948485)

Now they don't even try to set up the flamefest with an article or anything they just say:

Democratcs vs. Repuplicans

Ok, argue amongst yourself and be sure to hit refresh frequently, VA Software Corporation needs the ad revenue.

A penguin with toes (2, Funny)

rimugu (701444) | more than 10 years ago | (#9948486)

Why the penguin in the picture has toes and nails?

Linux cuts off Windows air? (2, Interesting)

jlbprof (760036) | more than 10 years ago | (#9948499)

I think MS should become really scared, because Linux is doing to MS what MS did to Netscape. As Paul Maritz of MS said "cut off Netscape's air supply", now Linux cuts off MS's air supply. It is a good day :) Julian

Apple is still ahead (4, Interesting)

Dixie_Flatline (5077) | more than 10 years ago | (#9948506)

Once again, rumours of Apple's demise are greatly exaggerated.

This story [wired.com] from Wired basically claims that the PCs that are sold with Linux that are driving up the percentage are immediately being wiped and reinstalled with a pirated version of Windows. According to Google's stats, only about 1% of searches are done from Linux machines, compared with about 3% for Macs.

Re:Apple is still ahead (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9948558)

What I'd like to see is Linux vs Apple stats for Slashdot.

After all, on such a linux zealots website, Linux *should* be a lot higher than Apple... right?

My guess is that even on Slashdot, Linux is lower than Apple in %.

Re:Apple is still ahead (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9948619)

If you don't like it, ignore it. All negative mods are meta-moderated 'unfair'. ALL OF THEM.

Except, of course, "Overrated". ;-)

Re:Apple is still ahead (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9948620)

wow, two groups that are excessively pro MS are using google to refute actual sales volume.

second, businesses try to avoid software piracy.

apple is a niche.

Irreversible hold? (2, Insightful)

ScytheBlade1 (772156) | more than 10 years ago | (#9948514)

Linux has gained an irreversible hold in behind-the-scenes corporate computing centers, where some 67 percent of corporate Web servers are Linux machines running open-source software.

Nothing is irreversible. If linux can, in the coming years, get a good grip on the desktop, what's to say that microsoft won't be able to get a good grip on the servers?

I'm not trying to troll here, but you could apply that to anything (well, most anything, pervert). Who really knows? Maybe Apple will be the desktop leader in a few years.

Serviceable Hard Drives? IT inventory and Doom 3. (1)

qualico (731143) | more than 10 years ago | (#9948518)

That wording tripped me up.
Are not all hard drives serviceable upto fdisk?
Maybe meaning, you can add onto for expansion unlike some of the older Compaq/HP and Dell models.

Anyway, WalMart will be competeing with all those retired computers sitting in the back benches of IT inventory.

But no doubt there will be a market of novelty buyers.
Maybe bundle Doom 3 on those puppies and watch them fly off the shelves.

I have ducked for cover. (1)

mdnkc (804688) | more than 10 years ago | (#9948520)

Ok let the attacks begin. But about once a year for the last 6 or 7 yrs I give Linux a shot. I love the concept. But when it comes down to it I can get more work done on a Windows box. I don't know, maybe I just using the wrong distribution (usually Redhat).

ooh, bigger than Apple's marketshare eh? (2, Funny)

l33t-gu3lph1t3 (567059) | more than 10 years ago | (#9948521)

So they're at 1.5% of installed desktops now?

World domination - not a joke, really (3, Interesting)

otisg (92803) | more than 10 years ago | (#9948526)

Rearding this:

Says the Open Source Initiative's Eric Raymond, 'The sinister plan for world domination is right on schedule.' All right!" ... there is a bit of truth in every joke. He is not fully joking here.

Linux and Charity (2, Insightful)

meganthom (259885) | more than 10 years ago | (#9948534)

This article touched on the merits of Linux for governments and some organizations, but sadly, it still fails to mention what I think could be the biggest niche for Linux today: charity. In most towns, there are learning centers such as the Boys' and Girls' Clubs, etc, that provide visitors with basic computer service and training. In my experience, these centers are either forking out big bucks to MS, relying on the computer-refurbishing programs of NASA, MS, and others, or simply using computers that are virtually obsolete. But with Linux, they could make their old computers run for less and buy new ones a friendly college-student/volunteer would build for them for considerably less than a store-bought computer. Even Walmart is apparently offering cheap computers. Unfortunately, if my experience in college was typical, charity managers are still afraid to venture into the unknown (or maybe just to trust the college-student volunteers who would be setting this up and administering it for them). It's sad, really, because of all the people who could learn Linux effectively and without concerns about "how I did X in Word," the poor (and children), who have never really had any experience with computer, would be the easiest to train and would stand to benefit most.

Linux is ready. Yes it is. (5, Interesting)

aussersterne (212916) | more than 10 years ago | (#9948537)

People keep saying that Linux isn't ready for the desktop, and they use examples of various ages of housebound women as examples of why.

Well, since Red Hat 8, the first distro where I called and encouraged all of the people (including women) in my life to try Linux, the following people have installed and begun to use Linux instead of Windows, and they all did it without my handholding, in all but one case surprising me with a "guess what I just installed!" phone call:

- My three sisters
- My mother
- My father
- My best friend
- His girlfriend
- My cousin

None of them are computer professionals. Most of them weren't even computer "geeks" at all and had just complained enough to me about Windows 95/98/ME/2000 (none of them had XP, it's true, AFAIK) that I thought they might like a change. The first time I had seen Red Hat 8, I pretty much decided it was time for Linux+desktop. A couple of them are still running Red Hat 8, but my mom and sisters have actually run the "upgrades" (i.e. downloading and burning the next version, then running the "upgrade" install on it).

Red Hat 8-9 and Fedora Core 1-2 have very nice, clean, graphical, "click Next a lot" installers/updaters and autodetect pretty much every piece of hardware. Nearly all of the system services can be configured using their desktop tools in the GNOME menu, including things like print queues, wireless cards, modems, and other things that desktop users might want. These aren't IBM or Compaq PCs for the most part either, they're just white box PCs (there is one thinkpad in the group). One of my sisters even uses her Olympus digital camera with gphoto or some such application (I'm not even familiar with gphoto, I just mount a CF card in a card reader, but she found something in the menu that said "Digital Camera" or something like that and away she went...) to sell stuff on eBay.

With the state of the Linux desktop right now, they can listen to and burn CDs without needing to read anything or even launch an application, they can browse the Web, use OpenOffice to write stuff (they all set up their own printers, with one exception). The couple that have installed software from RPMs haven't had any trouble, they just downloaded the software to their home directories and double-clicked on it.

Linux isn't ready for the desktop? Maybe for some values of desktop. But for peope who just want:

- Web/Email
- Word Processing/Spreadsheet/Presentations
- Printing
- Music
- Burning CDs
- Solitaire

it's there and it's been there for a long time already.

Oh, there has been one question, and it is a place where Red Hat's GNOME desktop falls over: every one of these people did end up calling me at some point and asking how to access their floppy. I don't know why Red Hat ships a KDE desktop that has a floppy drive icon, but doesn't do the same with their GNOME desktop?!

This is going to be a busy topic... (3, Insightful)

esac17 (201752) | more than 10 years ago | (#9948550)

Linux, despite all of its wonderful benefits still has a long way to go to be used by grandma and grandpa who have never touched a computer. Sure, I always hear how some linux guru has set one such setup up, but they are always forced to maintain it.

What i'd like to see is a comparison of sitting 1000 people down in front of a windows box and a linux box and see how easy it is to do simple common tasks:

Write a short 1 page summmary on your life and print it (no printer setup yet)
Listen to an mp3
Check the news on CNN
Rip a CDROM
Burn a CDROM
Change your wallpaper
Download and install a list of programs that people might commonly install (ie; gaim/aim, a game written for both windows and linux)

And then some more advanced tasks
Setup a website (IIS or apache preinstalled)
Change your screen resolution
Find a file somewhere on your computer

Then compare the success/failure ratio and the average time it takes to do each task between windows and linux.

I'd bet that at this point in time and probably for quite a while windows will be far ahead in this competition. Im not saying it will always but I think there is still a long way to go.

After Reading TFA... (2, Insightful)

stromthurman (588355) | more than 10 years ago | (#9948551)

I don't see how this article offers anything new to the discussion. Linux is projected to have a 6% desktop market share by 2006. Is that really impressive?
Microsoft considers Linux and other Open/Free software a key business risk. We already knew that, hence the onslaught of FUD generated about Linux by Redmond (Linux is like cancer, the TCO of Linux/Free solutions is higher than MS solutions, etc. etc.)
As an OSS advocate, I enjoy hearing about people's success stories with Linux, but I hardly consider them news worthy. At best, this is preaching to the choir, at worst the article grants license to flame.

still, not yet... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#9948561)

The story notes that Linux's market share for desktop computers has already surpassed Apple's.

that's only because there are a magnitude more geeks than artists. what you'll find is that there are still magnitudes more end-users than geeks, and - as we all know - linux isn't ready for them, err, they aren't ready for linux. whatever.

Pry it away through the Second PC (3, Interesting)

Ridgelift (228977) | more than 10 years ago | (#9948562)

Over the last three years, the fraction of home and office PCs powered by Linux has roughly doubled, to almost 3 percent, and it's set to double again before the end of 2005, according to market research firm IDC.

I don't think Linux can compete directly with Microsoft. Their mindshare and marketing is too powerful. Where I see the opportunity to win is through the second PC.

Many households are starting to buy more than one computer. If Linux came pre-installed and configured with Samba (to share and store files for the entire house) and streaming software to stream audio and video, then Joe Consumer could start relying on Linux to hold what's most important - their data.

Maybe consumers won't see Linux as a front-line PC for awhile, but the super-reliable machine in the background storing all their save game data, their music collections and their work files will sneak its way into homes just like Linux snuck in to the datacenter. When Jane Doe is pulling her hair out because Windows needs 14 hours of download time to get it OS updates, anti-virus and anti-Spam signatures after being rendered unusable from the latest virus, the realization that reliability is ultimately more important than compatibility will finally dawn. "Hey, this Linux computer is still working. I'll get my report done on that machine"

Of course once that happens, then more people will buy Linux machines. Then there will be a growing demand for native software. Linux compatibility will finally be addressed, because there will now be a market to sell games, applications and other stuff for Linux.

Hopefully Billy Gates and his cohorts have a good supply of Diphenhydramine Hydrochloride. They're going to be losing a lot of sleep in the next few years.

$278 for a working PC (4, Insightful)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 10 years ago | (#9948565)

Hmmm, if I get this straight then these machines are like the iMac. Well apart from the looks and price of course. Do they come with a monitor?

So what sold the iMac? Was it the looks and people didn't care about the price? Or was it that you turned the iMac on and you had a working pc that you never touched the insides of and rarely installed new software on?

These walmart PC's are cheap and all and perhaps Linspire is good at providing a Mac like, no hazzles, experience. Linux can be hard when you are installing it on unknown hardware but that is not the case here, Walmart does the install and they decide the hardware.

Anyone wanting to do something "extra" like gaming with these PC's is going to be in for a rude suprise. Even the few commercial linux games that exist won't run to well on this. Then gain XP won't run on this. 128mb? HAHA. Linux can do that, windows? 3.1 maybe.

So is there a market for this kinda cheap PC? You can use it to download music and movies and watch them. Mplayer is far superior to anything MS ever developed (install mplayer and you will never even need to know about divx xvid or any codec) and properly installed users could have a very easy time. IF all they want is a working desktop for "light" work/entertainment.

This may be real inroad for linux. Don't sell linux. Sell a working internet PC.

Now all that remains is to find out sales figures AND more importantly update figures. How many machines remain linux and how many get a windows install on them?

Sure! (2, Interesting)

Xargle (165143) | more than 10 years ago | (#9948576)

All those systems sold as linux machines are still running linux. I bet. No really. Honest.

I'd suspect a fair percentage of 'savvy' users are buying linux system to avoid paying for windows and then using dodgy knock off XP licences.

Of course, that'd be wrong.

"World Domination?????" (0, Redundant)

mahulth (654977) | more than 10 years ago | (#9948585)

That is exactly why linux will get scoffed at by any John Q Public who has at least been to Best Buy. Linux will always have a marred reputation if you guys (the Slashdot geeks) are to be it's harbingers.

I personally could care less what kind of lame comments you come up with, but if you keep at it like this... hate to break it to you - but the elitist-nerd way of thought has never and never will break the cusp of mainstream.

good luck with your plans...

How can you compete... (1)

johnhennessy (94737) | more than 10 years ago | (#9948591)


How can any product compete with a social movement that uses a Penguin as a mascot !!

"No, I'd like to try that other thing, oh, darn, I can't remember the name, .... you know - the one with the Penguin"

Story was debunked (4, Informative)

fname (199759) | more than 10 years ago | (#9948607)

Well, not debunked so much as it far overstated Linux's market share vs the Mac. They were counting sales, so many PCs are sold with Linux but a pirated version of Windows quickly replaces it, etc. Looking at Google Zeitgeist shows that the Mac is still well into the lead for desktop usage(for now). Yes, I'm wearing my flame-resistant suit. Yes, I know there are other important measures. Yes, many people have dual installations of Windows/Linux. But the best, most unbiased measure of desktop usage I can think of is Google Zeitgeist. Anyone have other suggestions?

I suggest you read the one true site for Mac news, As The Apple Turns [appleturns.com] for a more well-reasoned analysis of the article. Scroll to the 3rd story.

GNU/Linux is not ready for "vs. Windows" (2, Insightful)

News for nerds (448130) | more than 10 years ago | (#9948610)

When Joe Average buys a Linux PC at Wal-Mart, he may be conned into it by a clerk who is happy to kill dead stock PCs, then back at home he notices it doesn't run MSN Messenger without hack and can't send message to his friends, so only goes back for refund. It won't propagate good impression of Linux, IMHO. Linux should aim at Mac status instead, by securing small but valuable market niche.

cheap hard drives?!? (1)

cyburdine (240288) | more than 10 years ago | (#9948624)

Does this mean we will see relabled Maxtor drives sporting the Sam's Choice lable on them?

Well, if you listen to Microsoft (1)

FooAtWFU (699187) | more than 10 years ago | (#9948640)

If you listen to Microsoft (blah blah FUD blah blah stupidity blah FUD blah) they apparently envision a future where hardware is free, and people pay for their software. And then there's Free Software, free in more ways than one. I don't really consider this business model sane, but if they base any plans on this sort of stuff happening, then Linux+etc will really rain on their parade.
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