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The Agony and Ecstasy Of Becoming a Linux OEM

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the penguins-in-houses-always-staring dept.

Linux Business 164

jammag writes "An article at the site Datamation, entitled Becoming a Linux OEM: A Roadmap, talks about the challenges (and rewards) of selling hardware with Linux pre-installed — most likely a growth market in the years ahead. The interesting part is the description of how some smaller Linux OEMs have made it. The bottom line: surviving as a Linux OEM requires far more than making it as a Windows OEM. In particular, you have to make the systems idiot-proof for users who don't care a whit about what OS they're using."

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Don't forget... (1)

SCO$699FeeTroll (695565) | more than 7 years ago | (#20375053)

...to pay your $699 licensing fee you cock-smoking teabaggers.

Re:Don't forget... (2)

Moderatbastard (808662) | more than 7 years ago | (#20376701)

For those who get their modpoints bundled with their new facebook subscription, parent is a troll - and an old one at that.

The Agony and Ecstasy of Becoming an Ubuntu User (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20377819)

The Agony and Ecstasy of Becoming an Ubuntu [gaybuntu.com] User:

It's four thirty a.m. and the house is asleep.

I. . . am not asleep.

I am crouched in the bathtub in a frog-like stance, small puddles of urine and liquid shit at my feet. I'm leaning forward, gripping the side of the tub and biting my knee, overwhelmed by a mixture of pain and pleasure as I piston a dildo in and out of my ass.

You see, I really love anal masturbation.

Ever try it? No? You should.

Doesn't matter who you are. God gave all of us, male and female, an abundance of nerve endings in our rectum - and one life to live. So why don't you go ahead and test out the equipment? Have some fun. No point in having a gun sitting on your shelf your entire life and never killing anyone, right?

But I realize there's a fairly persistent misconception among guys that I'm gonna have to dispel before we go any further:

Stimulating your own ass is not "gay."

That notion doesn't make a whole lot of sense. I mean, how could anything you do to your own body be gay? Nobody ever freaks out in the middle of jerking off like "Holy fuck, I've got a fistful of cock! I've gotta cut this gay shit out!" Well, what's the philosophical difference between playing with your dick and playing with your ass?

There is none.

Look fellas, here's the scoop:

If you have a girl wearing a foot long strap-on, smacking your face and screaming "WHO'S MY BITCH?!?" while she pounds your asshole until it bleeds, that would be a *heterosexual* act. Girl on guy. Simple.

Now if it's a guy that's fucking you, that would be homosexual. And if you're doing it to yourself, well, that's plain old masturbation.

But listen - if you're still sitting there being stubborn, all macho and uptight going "My ass. . . is EXIT ONLY!!!" then lemme just ask you a question.

You know that feeling you get when you take a really big shit?

You know what I'm talking about. You're sitting on the couch, eating Cheez-Its and watching Larry King, when all of the sudden you feel that familiar burning. . . so you get up and bound off to the bathroom all bow legged, clenching your sphincter real tight, and then you furiously rip off your boxer briefs and plop down on the seat just in time to let a huuuuuuge thick turd come sliding out of your ass?

Ahhhhhhhhh!!!!

That feeling.

That tingling, chills up your spine, this-is-absolutely-the-pinnacle-of-human-existence feeling.

Well guess what. That's the feeling of a massive rod moving through your rectum, tickling those wonderfully abundant nerve endings. You love it. It's okay. We all do. It doesn't make you a fag. Or at the very least, we're ALL fags. So indulge yourself.

(Yes, I understand that said feeling is partially due to the sensory experience of toxins leaving the body, which is unique to defecation - but the operative word here is "partially." You like the log movement, too. Don't try to argue.)

So anyway, now that you've decided to be bold, and not a homophobic pussy, and poke around the cornhole a little bit - good for you. But there's something you should remember. Anal masturbation is just like playing the accordion, or shooting a jumper, or really anything else that's worth doing. That is, it requires practice.

You see, back when I was a kid I would get curious and stick a finger or a toothbrush up there, but I wasn't fucking around with anywhere near the kind of pleasure I'm achieving now. It was uncomfortable even. So I worked on it.

And conversely, I know I'm still far from expertise in this particular discipline. I don't claim to be an ass master. There's a whole world of lengths, girths, textures, and vibrations that my eager browneye has yet to inhale.

But since I have honed my skills to a pretty decent level, I'll share with you my current technique. Without further ado:

SpunkyBrewster's Anal Masturbation Technique

What You Need:

1. Lubricant of your choice
2. Fake cock (eight inches, approx.)
3. Ridged anal wand (seven inches, approx.)

Procedure:

1. Apply a generous amount of lube to your index finger, and swirl the lubricated finger lightly around your butthole. Add another drop or two of lube, and then simultaneously push your finger into your butthole while pushing back with your anus muscles.

2. Slide your finger into your ass up to the knuckle and feel around for turds. Unless you're an anorexic, you probably will come across one.

3. Circle your finger around your anal walls pressing outward, as if you were an umpire signaling a home run. You should be near the toilet, because this is intended to stimulate a bowel movement. Once you've shit, and your rectum is empty, then you're ready for some heavy duty fun.

4. Lube up a second finger and slip them both into your poopchute. Let your asshole get comfortable with the new mass, and then begin to pump a little. Repeat with a third finger if you so desire.

5. Slather lube all over the ridged anal wand. Squat over your tool and press the tip to your now greasy anus. Just as you've done with your fingers, ease the dildo into your cornhole as you push back onto it with your ass muscles. Go slowly, stopping at each ridge and letting your ass adjust to the increase in width, until you have it in as far as it will go.

6. Now it's time to start pounding. I'm not gonna get more specific than that. Do it your own way. Experiment with different positions and rhythms until you find what you like.

7. Once your ass has been thoroughly fucked by the anal wand, it's time to move up to the larger dildo. Again, you're going to repeat the process that you've done twice already, with your fingers and the wand. Entering slowly, pushing back on it, letting yourself adjust, and then starting to pump.

8. At this point your asshole is really loose, gaping even, and it's time to move on to my favorite part. Crouch down, or get into whatever position you feel comfortable with, and hold the fake cock in one hand and the wand in the other. Work the fake cock in and out, building the pace until you are doing a high intensity rectal plundering. Slide it in really deep, pause, then pull it out all the way - quickly jamming in the anal wand to fill its place. The rapid transition from smooth to ridged textures will send waves out of pleasure rippling through your entire body. Then give yourself a nice hard fuck with the anal wand, and repeat as many times as you'd like.

*In carrying out these steps - even if you take the dump at the beginning - you still might at some point fuck the shit out of yourself. This is why I recommend doing it in a bathtub, or on some other surface that is easy to clean. Now at first you might be squeamish about the poo, but I think that as you get hardcore into the pleasure of all this, you'll just naturally get desensitized. Kind of like a heroin addict quickly gets over his fear of needles.

In fact, I've found that the right kind of poo can easily be incorporated into the festivities. Sometimes while I'm pounding away I will feel a sudden rush of heat travel through my ass, and I'll know that I'm coating the dildo with a somewhat viscous liquid shit. At this point in the ass ramming, my pain tolerance is rather high, so I'll simply jam the shitty dildo back up my ass, and let the sudden decrease in lubrication create an effect similar to the aforementioned smooth-to-ridged transition. As a matter of fact, this is probably the most intense sensation that I've come across in my entire anal masturbatory experience.*

So that's how it's done. Quite the activity, I must say. Maybe next time you're feeling bored and restless, you can give it a shot. Unless you're a fucking prude, in which case I'd recommend suicide. Or do a goddamn crossword puzzle, I don't really care.

One more thing I want to say on the subject: I really think anal penetration should be an Olympic sport. Wouldn't that be neat? I mean for Christ sakes, we've all seen how much those little Japanese bastards can eat - can you imagine how much they could stuff up the other end? It could even be a team sport where one of them has to take their partner's entire head up their ass.

Well. . . I don't really know how much support I'm gonna get for my petition to add competitive rectal insertion to the Olympic Games, we'll have to see - but seriously, speed walking? FUCKING CURLING?!? It would be far from the dumbest event on the schedule.

Source:
http://www.kuro5hin.org/story/2007/7/23/204244/127 [kuro5hin.org]

Zonk? Still Around, Why? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20375081)

We got rid of Jon Katz and other worthless dead weight, but Zonk is still here like a party guest who won't take the increasingly unsubtle hints that everyone wants him to go the fuck home.

Re:Zonk? Still Around, Why? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20375231)

I think KDawson should be added to this list as well.

Re:Zonk? Still Around, Why? (1)

Edie O'Teditor (805662) | more than 7 years ago | (#20376733)

I second that. Plus whoever posts all the Roland Piquepaille shite. Unless that is KDawson, in which case, I dunno, nuke him from orbit perhaps. Twice.

Re:Zonk? Still Around, Why? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20375423)

I say shut down the entire site and hand the domain over to its rightful owners at SCO.

Re:Zonk? Still Around, Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20377807)

Aw come on. If it weren't for Zonk, who would Bill Gates keep under his desk?

i for one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20375101)

welcome our Linux-selling overlords.

It's still a niche (3, Insightful)

ircmaxell (1117387) | more than 7 years ago | (#20375105)

It's still very much a niche market. Most users that know of Linux (and would buy a PC with it) prob either have enough experience with it to install, or want to try installing. The rest of users PROB don't care and are just buying one because it's (cheaper|a friend said to). But now as more and more companies (ok, from one or two to a half a dozen or so) are switching to completely Linux (Peugeot did), the market moves from being a niche to mainstream, but it's not quite there yet... Give it time, and these companies that are struggling will be on for a ride...

Re:It's still a niche (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20375251)

shut the fuck up and suck my cock bitch!

Re:It's still a niche (4, Insightful)

Red_Foreman (877991) | more than 7 years ago | (#20375303)

The other aspect is technical support costs: Companies spend a lot of money making "Factory Re-install" discs for users who get a virus, get hacked, or install a trojan.

Since viruses are not as big of a concern on Linux (about the worst one could do is screw up a user account) companies will spend less money on technical support if they are a Linux OEM.

Lowering the cost of doing business goes directly to a company's bottom line and increases profits. Imagine that - making money on Free Software!

Re:It's still a niche (4, Insightful)

liquidpele (663430) | more than 7 years ago | (#20376491)

Lower costs for Linux support?? You must be joking.
Your calls with consist of the following:
15% Actual Support issues
60% Stupid Questions like "How do I install winzip" that just take up time and call volume.
25% Non-Supported questions from geeks like "I compiled the newest dev kernel and now it crashes when I press the Q key, what's up with that?"

And you better believe you need GOOD answers for all three types of questions if you want to keep customers happy (especially if they're new to linux and don't understand WHY their retarded when it comes to computers).

Re:It's still a niche (1)

mhall119 (1035984) | more than 7 years ago | (#20377859)

Why would anybody ask how to install winzip on a Linux box? Nobody I know of installed winzip on an XP box. Why? Because when they clicked on a .zip file, it opened, so they never got to the point where they thought "Oh, I should install winzip". The same goes for Linux, if the need never appears, the desire won't either.

Re:It's still a niche (1)

sortius_nod (1080919) | more than 7 years ago | (#20377869)

Where there's money to be spent there's idiots to spend it...

Re:It's still a niche (1)

iwein (561027) | more than 7 years ago | (#20375327)

Uninstalling your OS is the biggest barrier imho. If something is already working the average joe (including me) will think twice about screwing with it.

I wouldn't say I'm a noob, but I'm not a Linux god either.

Your perception of linux usability is outdated by Ubuntu. It is much easier to install and use than for example WXP. In the end by far the most users want something that just works. Between working and working they will go for the cheap. Linux is for free. I rest my case.

Of course this ode ignores users who have time for playing games or people who still print stuff (yes I've tried to install a linux unfriendly printer and I'm burning down Lexmarks office next tuesday). Other than these minor downsides I'm very happy with my linux box, and even my girlfriend (I told you I was not a geek) can use it without help.

THAT is the real last hurdle. (5, Interesting)

khasim (1285) | more than 7 years ago | (#20375605)

Of course this ode ignores users who have time for playing games or people who still print stuff (yes I've tried to install a linux unfriendly printer and I'm burning down Lexmarks office next tuesday).

And from TFA:

Both of the above mentioned Linux companies have really poor hardware compatibility lists (HCLs).

I remember submitting reviews of NIC's years and years and years ago to one of the public hardware sites. That was then bought out and killed by a media company.

Ubuntu is collecting the information, but it hasn't put it out in a friendly format yet.

I'd like to see a bootable CD from a Linux distributor that will identify everything it can on a box and output that to something that I can upload to a website.

Then that website would identify the components that auto-magically work with their distribution (version A or B or C ...)

And try a "best guess" at the components that it did not recognize AND the components that it did recognize that do NOT work auto-magically.

And allow the user to enter descriptions of the components that were not recognized.

The final goal being that I can take a CD into Fry's and ask to boot it to see if I want that system or not. Down to the component level. Yes, I like that system, but I want it with a soundcard that is supported.

Do that and you'll see more HARDWARE sales tied to Linux. And happier Linux users.

And I want a pony and a plastic rocketship.

Re:THAT is the real last hurdle. (3, Informative)

Burz (138833) | more than 7 years ago | (#20376619)

I agree that the community needs a good HCL. [slashdot.org]

But there's much more to it than that (see link above): You need a number of disciplines and structures in order to behave like a stable platform on PCs. If users don't see that consistency, and app developers aren't given a nurturing starting point (like Apple's XCode and ADC), and there is no clearcut way to distribute apps independently, then there will be a lack of top-notch applications to draw users to the OS.

Because we are not having this and many other discussions around LSB, because LSB isn't targeted by app devs, the software genre we fuzzily call 'Linux' just isn't a real computing platform. At least not one that is meaningful non-systems geeks, which is why the Linux genre tends to be only popular with sysadmins and system hackers. Users and the app devs that cater to them are still repelled.

Re:It's still a niche (1)

MMC Monster (602931) | more than 7 years ago | (#20376451)

It's still a nitch, but a growing one. The other group of people are, like me, people that already have Linux installed on a computer, and now need a new computer but don't have the time to build one from scratch.

I am certainly planning on buying my next computer with Linux pre-installed. Not because I am not going to wipe the drive as soon as I get it (because I will), but because I don't have to worry about the hardware not working with Linux.

Re:It's still a niche (1)

FST777 (913657) | more than 7 years ago | (#20377947)

A talk from the front line here:
My boss is moderately interested in Linux, mostly because it can save him money by going the OSS road. Basically, we've laid out plans to replace all our software with OSS ones and build those we can't replace ourselves.

He recently installed openSUSE on his brand new laptop, dual booting with Vista. He found it moderately easy and entertaining, but I'm pretty sure he would've bought an OEM Linux laptop when he had a decent chance.

As long as managers take decisions like that, more and more companies will go that road. As that happens, more and more employees will be working with Linux a few hours a day. When they are in need for a new PC, they will seriously consider Linux loaded PC's when it saves them money.

As a side note: we sysadmins who love to turn our workplace into a Linux fortress should be prepared to answer and help our coworkers in the future. They will hunt us down with questions regarding installation of software, configuration of hardware and whatnot. The most profound issue I have met with my boss is the nature of the packaging systems. As a Windows user, he was used to find his software on the net, download it and follow the install routine. On most decent Linux distros, that is either the hard way or the wrong way to go.

Dell and the embedded world (4, Insightful)

jshriverWVU (810740) | more than 7 years ago | (#20375107)

There are really two worlds. You have Dell which is selling Desktops, and I respect their guts for doing it. Then you have the embedded market. I think it would be orders of magnitude easier to be a linux OEM in the embedded world. Do you think people care if your Tivo runs linux or windows? Not if it works. Do people care if they can't get online and check their email? Yup. Two completely different domains. More power to Dell hope their Ubuntu system and investment works out for them.

As for the embedded world, they've had it made since the early days of SBC's running Linux in rom, Linksys WRT54G, and now Tivo's.

Embedded works because there is no user (3, Insightful)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 7 years ago | (#20375365)

Both embedded systems and servers have been very successful for Linux mainly because there are no user-OS interations. Users can only interact through very controlled and locked-down mechanisms.

Getting Linux onto the desktop requires a great deal more user interaction. I think though that Linux is getting there. Windows is not much easier to use than Linux, but it does need a lot more support from hardware vendors to get to the "just works" level.

Unless you're talking about Vista.... (3, Interesting)

ebbomega (410207) | more than 7 years ago | (#20375551)

Most hardware vendors are now making linux-compatible drivers. All the graphics heavyweights are (granted, ATI's aren't exactly that fantastic, but at least they're providing them). NDISwrapper works now with just about all major wireless cards. Bluetooth, sound drivers, USB block devices - check check and check. Apple's iPods don't have anything built by the vendors yet but the open-source alternatives seem to have ironed out most of the kinks.

Vista on the other hand is still playing catchup. And by the time Gutsy Gibson comes out, you think they'll have those problems licked? Christ, they're talking Service Pack now... remember what happened last time Microsoft tried to do one of those? Anybody with SP2 was being advised by just about every support department (I know because I was working with MSN support at the time) to downgrade back to SP1. For over a year after SP2 was released. A YEAR! I'll put money that Gutsy will have more hardware natively supported quicker than Vista. And its final release is still two months away!

I dunno. I think now that Dell and other major OEMs are starting to jump on the linux bandwagon, the commercial driver support is sure to follow, if it hasn't already (Big Blue, Novell, SGI, just to name a few).

And user interaction increasing between Linux and Windows? I dunno about you, but I've found the Ubuntu install process [dantup.me.uk] to be more intuitive and easier to deal with than Vista's billion-screen install [windowsreinstall.com] . Not to mention you can browse the internet, chat on messenger, listen to music, etc. WHILE THE OS IS INSTALLING. The default settings are made so the transition from Windows is fairly easy.

Yeah, there's still a few kinks. But whereas Linux was for tinkerers and hobbyists in the late 90s, and around when RH8 came out it became simple for the experienced computer user, now I'd be willing to throw linux in for any intermediate computer user. That is to say, not ready for Grandma yet but a hell of a lot closer than it ever has been.

I've been Ubuntu-cheerleading a lot here, but it's nice to see that over the last 5 years of linux (the time I've been a user of it) it's improved tremendously in the user-interface department. And it's only going up from here. And a lot of that has to do with some of the more recent distros, namely Knoppix and Ubuntu.

Re:Unless you're talking about Vista.... (0)

Henry V .009 (518000) | more than 7 years ago | (#20377595)

Anybody with SP2 was being advised by just about every support department (I know because I was working with MSN support at the time) to downgrade back to SP1.
Please let us know the name of this support department so that we can avoid it.

Re:Unless you're talking about Vista.... (2, Insightful)

turing_m (1030530) | more than 7 years ago | (#20377685)

"Yeah, there's still a few kinks. But whereas Linux was for tinkerers and hobbyists in the late 90s, and around when RH8 came out it became simple for the experienced computer user, now I'd be willing to throw linux in for any intermediate computer user. That is to say, not ready for Grandma yet but a hell of a lot closer than it ever has been."

I certainly agree with your sentiment that Linux has become WAY simpler over the last few years. I'm not sure whether I'd go so far as to say Linux became simple for the experienced computer user in late 2002. It all depends on what you do. The hard part is not really using it, that's easy. Even Grandma can use it, once she's taught which buttons to click.

The hard part is getting your hardware configured, chasing drivers, and figuring out how to do everything you used to do in Windows, but in Linux. The more varied the stuff you do, the harder it is. That's something Grandma will never do, but it's something that a certain class of power user has always done.

Linux is at the point where a good portion of these users will be able to make it through an install and never look back. It's only going to get easier now.

Embedded works because there is the use (1)

DingerX (847589) | more than 7 years ago | (#20375765)

The irony is, this is exactly the experience Windows is trying to provide: No/limited user interactions with the PC at anything but a high-level. But an increasing number of tasks are being taken over by embedded devices. Windows' "Swiss-army-knife" approach has produced an unmanageable mass of code that is ever less competitive against cheap devices running linux.

The embedded space is different (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20375799)

Having done embedded Linux nearly exclusively these past 7 years, I would concur. I love it when my competition is using Windows, as I know from experience that they will run into a LOT of problems that are going to delay them. It's usually the subtle stuff which nickels-and-dimes a Windows project to death. With Linux, whenever I hit a subtle problem I can usually find a solution or workaround via the Web.

That's because everyone's got Linux. The same isn't true for Windows.

The worst case scenario means I have to modify the source code myself. At least I'm able to do this with Linux. I can't with Windows, unless I pay extra for it. And that's an added cost to the Windows-based project. I have the option of avoiding this if I have a team which understands the code. Yes, you can buy commercial support from Windriver, MonteVista, RedHat, etc. which brings the price closer to Windows. But I've never found it that useful other than to give higher management warm fuzzies. Most small scale embedded projects don't bother.

But the point is that I can choose.

linuxdevices.com has run a number of surveys over the years. Linux has gone from a very tiny market share in 2000, to where it is the dominant player, outdoing all versions of Windows combined today.

most people just want what works (1)

lukesky321 (1092369) | more than 7 years ago | (#20375113)

The average user just wants something that is familiar and just works.

Re:most people just want what works (5, Funny)

Selfbain (624722) | more than 7 years ago | (#20375163)

And yet they get windows... funny how that works.

Re:most people just want what works (1, Insightful)

everphilski (877346) | more than 7 years ago | (#20375201)

"familiar" ... check

"just works" ... believe it or not, for most people windows does just work. A lot of power users complain about the inflexibility of windows. Fair enough. Others complain about viruses, trojans, etc. because they are the idiots who open up junkmail offering them free shit. Fair enough. In between, though, there are millions of people who work fine in Windows. Like it or not. There is room for both Linux and Windows.

Re:most people just want what works (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20375301)

FANBOI FANBOI liar liar you are a M$ fanboi!!!!

Re:most people just want what works (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20375323)

shut the fuck up and suck my dick bitch

i for one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20375387)

welcome our dick-sucking overlords

Re:i for one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20375409)

now i know where the ecstasy in the title of this article comes from.

Re:i for one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20375465)

your mom?
OH HO HOOO BURN!!1

Re:i for one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20375507)

fuk u ho
my mom is ded go2hel

Re:i for one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20375947)

that didn't keep her from taking my dick last night.

Re:i for one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20375981)

lol even dead she gets more action then you

..ouch

Re:i for one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20376003)

fuk u fuk u fuk u
u r going2hel i hope u kno u son of abitch
go fuk urself asshol

Re:most people just want what works (5, Insightful)

dstiggy (1145347) | more than 7 years ago | (#20375311)

The main reason that Windows "just works" for the average user is because all of the hardware manufacturers design their hardware and drivers specifically to work for Windows. This article is basically saying that OEM's who install Linux on their systems have to work around the frustrations of getting their distribution to work with their hardware and to prepare it for other hardware which the user might install/use with their system. IMO this is an added frustration that Windows OEMs don't have to deal with because of Windows widespread adoption. However, as Linux continues to gain users and hardware manufacturers begin to recognize Linux as a dominant OS alternative the frustrations the Linux OEMs now have will disappear as compatibility for Linux is integrated into hardware and drivers.

Re:most people just want what works (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 7 years ago | (#20376037)

Windows, however, does not "just work".

Every once in a while, you'll come up with some esoteric hardware combination where two drivers clash with each other. (People who regularly build PCs know what I mean). And if you're an OEM, you're encouraged to provide either no reinstallation mechanism (easy), an automated building CD (rather than a standard Windows install CD) or a second-partition based installer. Neither of these are a case of "click... click... job done" - particularly not if you're working with lots of different configurations. However, any OEM worth their salt has been doing it so long that they've got it down to a fairly fine art by now.

All the hardware incompatability nonsense is a smokescreen. It shields you from the real issue: that OEMs who refuse to ship Linux are likely doing so either because they think not enough people want it or because they're scared that they'll lose what little discount Microsoft offers them. Not because they're scared of a little hard work. Were that situation to change dramatically, I think hardware support for Linux would become dramatically better very quickly.

Re:most people just want what works (1)

DogDude (805747) | more than 7 years ago | (#20376045)

OEMs such as System76, Emperor Linux and Linux Certified are not interested in going this route, as they left the choice of using restricted codecs up to the end user.

These guys sell machines that don't play MP3's out of the box? Maybe that's why I've never heard of them. Welcome to 1992!

Re:most people just want what works (1)

quanticle (843097) | more than 7 years ago | (#20376311)

The main reason that Windows "just works" for the average user is because all of the hardware manufacturers design their hardware and drivers specifically to work for Windows.

This is actually starting to affect Windows users as well. With Vista, Microsoft introduced a new driver model, but did not allow enough time for manufacturers to make stable drivers. Now, you're getting lots of incompatibilities with older hardware, especially laptops where power management drivers that were just becoming stable have been shaken up once again.

Re:most people just want what works (1, Insightful)

jimstapleton (999106) | more than 7 years ago | (#20375673)

Funny how the truth can get a troll rating.

I've seen this a lot, plenty of people for whom Windows "Just works", and for the reasons mentioned - mostly they don't go around downloading everything they see, and runing it, and trusting every email blindly. Add to that a good firewall router, and they are just as happy as clams.

Evil is right, there is room for both Windows and Linux out there, as well as several other OSes.

If Linux were more popular in the user community, how long do you think it would be before someone decided to email around a shell script that had some local privlege escalation code in it, and managed to work out a botnet from Linux boxes? Do you think the average user would be any more knowledgable that they've been hacked, than if they were using windows? Heck, even if the hack were on their account specifically, and only ran when they were logged on (many users only log off when they shut their computers off, at least for home machines).

Sure the hole would get fixed relatively quickly, but the hacked computers probably wouldn't. We'd have the same problem that we have in Windows.

Hell I can do that right now. (2, Informative)

khasim (1285) | more than 7 years ago | (#20376287)

If Linux were more popular in the user community, how long do you think it would be before someone decided to email around a shell script that had some local privlege escalation code in it, and managed to work out a botnet from Linux boxes?

What's your email address? I'll send you one today.

The problem is NOT sending the email.

The problem is getting enough new people to run the script so that the infection rate exceed the disinfection rate. Otherwise the "virus" will "die" when it is "in the wild".

The more steps required to get a box infected, the lower the infection rate will be. Five steps at 90% success each ... still gives you only 59% of a successful infection. And that's not even counting the people who realize part way through that they shouldn't be doing that.

Sure the hole would get fixed relatively quickly, but the hacked computers probably wouldn't. We'd have the same problem that we have in Windows.

Nope. Microsoft's security model is badly broken in MANY places. Think back to their last anti-trust trial where they claimed that "integrating" IE's code with the OS was a "good thing".

All that means is that IE is a very easy avenue for OS cracks on Windows.

Try that with a Linux-based browser.

By default, Ubuntu ships with NO open ports. On Windows, they're all open, but they have a software firewall sitting on top of them. Again, Microsoft's security model is flawed. Which is why you STILL see cracked WinXPsp2 boxes.

Re:Hell I can do that right now. (1)

everphilski (877346) | more than 7 years ago | (#20376425)

The problem is getting enough new people to run the script so that the infection rate exceed the disinfection rate. Otherwise the "virus" will "die" when it is "in the wild".

Paid any attention to this greeting card thing that is running amok as we speak? there are plenty of noobs out there that will click something for no apparent good reason.

Nope. Microsoft's security model is badly broken in MANY places. Think back to their last anti-trust trial where they claimed that "integrating" IE's code with the OS was a "good thing".

Konqueror and KDE, last I checked. You can argue that KDE isn't an integral part of the OS, sure, to a dev, but to an end user it is indistinguishable.

By default, Ubuntu ships with NO open ports. On Windows, they're all open, but they have a software firewall sitting on top of them.

By default, Windows doesn't have half the services running/a command away from running that your average Linux distro does (I can't speak for Ubuntu ... my personal flavor is Slack). XP doesn't come with a web server installed, or sendmail, or ping/ssh/ftp/sftp/scp/etc. services. Then again, Linux doesn't have the messenger service.

I'm not a windows apologist but things aren't always apples and oranges. I run both Slack and XP behind a router and neither has had a virus. The one that gets the most hack attempts (despite both being online and open to the world on the common http/scp/ftp ports?) the linux box. Daily. No one gets through thanks to only having 2 accounts (1 root, 1 user) and some hardcore passwords and everything I don't need locked down. But the Windows box is never touched. Is it because Linux is a more desirable host? More tools to attack? Or do hackers just rely on trojans for windows (my hypothesis) because it nets enough boxes and is the easiest method ...

Re:most people just want what works (1, Insightful)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 7 years ago | (#20375289)

The average user just wants something that is familiar and just works.

Many of the problems that keep Linux from gaining a bigger slice of desktop market are known and could be solved. But the people who have the skills to solve these problems aren't interested in them. The standard response to "user" issues is: Well, why don't YOU write the patch / app / whatever.

But you see, most "average" users are not programmers, and don't want to be programmers. As long as the people with the programming skills required to address Linux usability issues show no interest in usability for the "average" user, Linux will stay where it is and Microsoft will own the consumer market regardless of how crappy their OS is, because Microsoft *does* make an attempt to address usability for the "average" user.

Re:most people just want what works (0, Flamebait)

Dancindan84 (1056246) | more than 7 years ago | (#20375519)

The average user wants spyware and trojans.
Cancel or Allow?

Microsoft: "Allow"

Re:most people just want what works (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20375527)

"But you see, most "average" users are not programmers..."

Thank you Captain Obvious. Would it be accurate to say the "most average" users is not a
  • Police Officer
  • Doctor
  • Accountant
  • Dishwasher
  • [Insert Occupation]
What would be the "average" occupation?

Re:most people just want what works (1)

Edie O'Teditor (805662) | more than 7 years ago | (#20376791)

Based on the above sample, an agressive social worker who pole dances at night a week and has wrinkly hands. Your momma, in short.

Examples please (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20375597)

Many of the problems that keep Linux from gaining a bigger slice of desktop market are known and could be solved. But the people who have the skills to solve these problems aren't interested in them.

Care to cite them?

No OS is perfect. But as far as I am concerned Linux does everything I need.

Re:most people just want what works (1)

sgholt (973993) | more than 7 years ago | (#20375643)

"The standard response to "user" issues is: Well, why don't YOU write the patch / app / whatever." That is not the standard response! The standard response is to join a support forum (there are forums for most linux distros) Other responses: *google it with linux google (google.com/linux) *look up the application webpage and read documentation *look at man pages *report the problem to bugzilla *join your distro's mailing list *buy a book Hey we are used to FUD...but if you don't know don't comment.

Re:most people just want what works (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 7 years ago | (#20376111)

That is not the standard response!

Well, it's not as bad today as it was 5 years ago.

But even now, there are a few mailing lists and groups which are notoriously hostile towards anyone who asks what they consider to be a newbie question. Fortunately, such lists are mostly those dedicated to fairly technical pieces of software which most desktop users won't ever go near (will they, OpenLDAP?) but if you think they've died out altogether, I regret you are much mistaken.

Re:most people just want what works (4, Insightful)

bobintetley (643462) | more than 7 years ago | (#20375693)

But you see, most "average" users are not programmers, and don't want to be programmers. As long as the people with the programming skills required to address Linux usability issues show no interest in usability for the "average" user, Linux will stay where it is and Microsoft will own the consumer market regardless of how crappy their OS is, because Microsoft *does* make an attempt to address usability for the "average" user.

But those people with the skills that you're talking about don't give a flying fuck about Linux ruling the desktop market. They have what works for them, and do it for the love of doing it.

Besides, in my opinion that kind of polish is the job of the distro makers to pull it all together. If some distro wants to take on Microsoft on the desktop, then they'll fund developers doing that work (as Canonical is doing with Ubuntu), so I don't really see a problem or a need to villify developers who've already given you a whole boatload of free software as lazy.

Re:most people just want what works (1)

mattpalmer1086 (707360) | more than 7 years ago | (#20376857)

The GP didn't say the developers were lazy; just that they were scratching their own itches.

Re:most people just want what works (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 7 years ago | (#20376957)

With all due respect to what Ubuntu and likes of them are doing, what's keeping the user from an experience that "just works" is far more than a coat of paint. Hardware support is improved by many and long hours of reverse engineering. Things like X11 auto-config and such are due to deep changes. I honestly don't think there's a shortage of people willing to do that last polish job, after all that's where the money is.

The path is IMO quite clear - Linux is in the server room. The closest to that is office workstations. Then the desktops of "serious" users, people that use it mostly for letters, spreadsheets, e-mail, digicam etc. Gamers are the very last. What's standing in the way of Linux is Outlook/Exchange and Office/Sharepoint. And no, a can of paint on Thunderbird and OpenOffice isn't it. Most of the other pieces would fall into place when big companies say "support Linux or we're phasing you out". There are other ways, but they're not any easier, mostly because you need someone with size and symbolism to make an effective threat. Take ten thousand individuals threatening to move to linux and you know most will wuss out or get a pirated version instead. Take a company of ten thousand, they might damn well be crazy enough to do it with those budget savings.

Re:most people just want what works (3, Insightful)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 7 years ago | (#20375617)

Most people buy Windows because that is really the only choice.
Go to Best Buy and count how many programs you can buy for Windows. Now count how many for the Mac and then how many for Linux.
Go and look for a printer that says that it will work with Linux, WiFi card, Webcam, ....
This is from the end users stand point mind you.

One of the big problems for Linux is the lack of a stable binary driver interface. Even if you are going to make your drivers FOSS you can not just stick a cd in the box or post the driver on your website. The faithful will say that there is no need for the hardware manufacture to make a driver since they can just give out the specs. Well yes but then you have to wait for your driver to be included in the the kernel and then for them to be included in the distros.....
The hardware people all control of when the support will get to the end user that way. So even if a company creates a driver for a piece of hardware and makes it FOSS they may have to wait months before it becomes available as part of the kernel.

This isn't an issue for the embedded space or servers but it really is a pain for the average end user.
Yes there is a lot of really good free software that you can run on a Linux desktop but sometimes you just want to play Age of Empires, WOW, or buy that $10 set of card games at Best Buy.

Re:most people just want what works (0)

Kjella (173770) | more than 7 years ago | (#20377133)

One of the big problems for Linux is the lack of a stable binary driver interface. Even if you are going to make your drivers FOSS you can not just stick a cd in the box or post the driver on your website. The faithful will say that there is no need for the hardware manufacture to make a driver since they can just give out the specs. Well yes but then you have to wait for your driver to be included in the the kernel and then for them to be included in the distros.....
The hardware people all control of when the support will get to the end user that way. So even if a company creates a driver for a piece of hardware and makes it FOSS they may have to wait months before it becomes available as part of the kernel.


Since you make the claim... can you point me to a piece of company supported FOSS driver, licensed under BSD or GPL (not some funny EULA-license) that has trouble getting into the kernel main tree? This has to my knowledge only been a problem for closed source drivers, and that's why they all want it. Closed source drivers are a bit like peeing in your pants. Sure it makes you feel warm right here and now, but eventually you end up with a kernel with ten different proprietary blobs and no chance in hell to fix any problems. Remember, the whole GPL thing started with a broken printer driver. Closed source drivers are tolerated because you have the choice between closed source and none at all, really. The fewer, the better in the long run.

Re:most people just want what works (1)

onkelonkel (560274) | more than 7 years ago | (#20376067)

Thats why I use Win XP Pro (FCKGW-RHQQ2-etc).

Familiar? - check. I've used it for 6 years now.

"Just Works(tm)" - check. With _all_ my hardware, including wireless networks, every video card I've tried (both nVidia and ATI), winmodems (not my idea), and cheap-ass all-in-one printer/scanner/copiers. All my software too, most important being AutoCAD, and of course all my games from the original Civ and MOO to Oblivion.

Best of all, it's free (as in beer).

then the average user is a stump (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20377663)

Funny, I have NEVER in my life heard "it should just work" until the subject of Linux on a PC came up.

Commodores didn't "just work" - you had to write your own programs in BASIC. Nintendo didn't "just work" - you had to blow on the cartridge sometimes. Windows never "just worked" - it "just doesn't work" more often.
MacIntosh didn't "just work" - wait til something breaks and you can't find anybody local to fix it.

Come to think of it, I want a car that "just works" so I don't have to drive it, a stove that "just works" so I don't have to learn to cook, a gun that "just works" so it never fires at the wrong target and always hits the target without needing any skill. I want kids that "just work" so I don't have to raise them. I want a tax form that "just works" so I never have to figure my own taxes, a bank account that "just works" so I always have money, and a house that "just works" so the utilities never have to be hooked up, it never has to be cleaned, and it never catches fire no matter how careless I am with a cigarette.

Well, I've been using GNU and Linux software for ten years, now, and it has ALWAYS "just worked". Because I knew from the beginning that a computer is no substitute for a sensible human brain.

LRB (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20375139)

What Linux really need is a "Linux Review Board" to standardize and make things more user-friendly.

If there's ecstasy in becoming a Linux OEM... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20375143)

...then you've already failed at life.

Re:If there's ecstasy in becoming a Linux OEM... (0)

greenguy (162630) | more than 7 years ago | (#20377769)

Agonyyy and ecstacyyy live together in perfect harmonyyyy...

Is this FUD? (3, Insightful)

JeremyGNJ (1102465) | more than 7 years ago | (#20375165)

I dont want to sound like a FUD parrot, however as a businessman I would think that legality is a significant concern.

There are looming possibilities of "patent claims" and "copyright infringement" against linux and the components that various distributions include. As a Linux OEM, I would think that fact poses significant risk to your business. It only takes one weird case/judge/lobby such as the old JPG copyright scares, etc to potentially put you at legal risk.

Again I'm not saying such a thing would be justified, but the possibility of it...when it's your money on the line is scary.

Re:Is this FUD? (1)

ircmaxell (1117387) | more than 7 years ago | (#20375213)

Well, TECHNICALLY, no, according to the GPL. Distributers cannot be held liable for any infringments of a GPLd work. Only developers and end users can. (From my interpratation from the GPL, and from what I have read elsewhere)...

Re:Is this FUD? (1)

JeremyGNJ (1102465) | more than 7 years ago | (#20375315)

For distributing the software itself? No you couldn't be held responsible.

But let's say that you sold a distribution that included software for playing DVD's. If the DVD powers-that-be come along and claim that wasn't allowed, you now have a responsibility to your customers to provide the functionality that the system was supposed to have....which could mean that you have to cough up the money for DVD decoder.

Re:Is this FUD? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20375285)

You uh...heard about SCO getting demolished, no?

Re:Is this FUD? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20375421)

I uh...heard about companies buying "licenses" from SCO because they were afraid of being sued. That is part of the point the parent post was making.

Re:Is this FUD? (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#20375319)

No, I don't think the article is FUD, nor do I think your post is FUD.

There are serious legal concerns regarding patent claims and copyright infringement regarding components needed for desktop systems. Desktop customers don't want to see even a dialog box saying "The MP3 codec is not installed, download and install it?" they just want the box to play MP3s.

Of course, whether or not you or your customers will get sued as the OEM is an open question. No one ever really got sued by Unisys over the LZW77 compression in GIFs, for instance.

Re:Is this FUD? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20375405)

Yes, your post is FUD.

Just Look at SCO's recent legal failure; The GPL/OSS/Linux community is here to stay, even if people like *you* dont like that idea.

Re:Is this FUD? (1)

ianare (1132971) | more than 7 years ago | (#20375417)

Either don't include codecs which require a license (eg, DVD playback, mp3 support) and have the end user get it themselves, or pay to have them properly licensed and passing the extra cost to the buyer. Simple enough.

Re:Is this FUD? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20375509)

It is hardly that simple. Just look at the issues Microsoft had with mp3 licensing. Microsoft licensed the technology from Fraunhofer, whom most agreed held the licensing rights of mp3s; however, Alcatel-Lucent claimed they held relevant patents. The result was a $1.52 billion judgment against MS. Eventually, that was overturned, but if a company as large as Microsoft has problems with licensing, do you think a small oem startup is going to find it as simple as you say?

Re:Is this FUD? (1)

Archangel Michael (180766) | more than 7 years ago | (#20375443)

As opposed to what?

Microsoft just released the latest "Be all, End all" OS called Vista, which if reviews are to be believed, has some SERIOUS issues which aren't going to go away anytime soon (e.g. Audio/Networking fiasco). The wholesale changes made to Windows, and none of the originally promised goodies and all the garbage that was left is scarier than any IP FUD being dug up by Microsoft and SCO.

No longer are the problems "Potential", but have crossed over to "Reality".

"You are coming to a sad realization, Cancel or Allow?"

When is Microsoft going to pay for its reality? When you can answer that, then I'll answer for the "possibility" you speak of.

Re:Is this FUD? (1)

krgallagher (743575) | more than 7 years ago | (#20375455)

"There are looming possibilities of "patent claims" and "copyright infringement" against linux and the components that various distributions include. As a Linux OEM, I would think that fact poses significant risk to your business."

If you are that concerned about the patent issues, you can always sell one of the distributions that have signed a deal the Microsoft. I installed Suse 10.02 last night and I have to admit I would be comfortable installing it on my 78 year old mother's machine. It has come that far in usability.

I agree with Dave Gutteridge [www.tlug.jp] when he says the real problem is that Windows is free [articles.tlug.jp] . Think about it. How many people do you know who have walked into a store and paid $200 for a copy of Windows?

Legality isn't a problem (1)

Colin Smith (2679) | more than 7 years ago | (#20375537)

The problem is everything is windows, including the stuff the accountants and government do. It makes selling Linux a very very hard sell. Speaking from experience most businesses don't even think about OS/system, they just have a bookeeping package, they often don't even know what it's called.

A small Linux OEM can really only handle small, medium businesses, but they're already locked into Microsoft before you get anywhere near them. Hell, even the enterprise councils people give away Windows based business software to help them with their IT needs.

The people who really use Linux are big businesses with thousands of employees. Because of the economics, they are also the ones who benefit most. However, a small Linux OEM has bugger all chance of getting their business as anything other than a contractor.

 

Re:Is this FUD? (1)

RedHat Rocky (94208) | more than 7 years ago | (#20375771)

*sigh*

One would think folks would be more concerned with the legal challenges Microsoft is facing on multiple fronts (European Union and patent issues to name just two). But, no, that Linux thing, that's REALLY got some problems.

Re:Is this FUD? (4, Informative)

James Wells (831750) | more than 7 years ago | (#20376415)

Greetings,

There are looming possibilities of "patent claims" and "copyright infringement" against linux and the components that various distributions include. As a Linux OEM, I would think that fact poses significant risk to your business. It only takes one weird case/judge/lobby such as the old JPG copyright scares, etc to potentially put you at legal risk.

First thing to understand is that so far, there has not been a single proven case of patent infringement against Linux. Many people have claimed patent infringement against various packages on Linux and of those, there has been only two; MP3/4, which was IMO an unethical and barely legal patent, and DeCSS, though DeCSS wasn't really a patent claim when you get down to it.

Instead, what you have is someone like Micro$oft claiming that Linux violates their patents, but refuse to produce or defend the patents. You have people like $COX claiming that Linux violates their copyright, but refuse to demonstrate the violations, and when forced to by a judge, the judge effectively laughed them out of court. Please note that I am not saying that Linux doesn't violate any patents or copyrights, however, the simple fact is that, no one has been successful at proving that it does.

It should also be pointed out that there are quite a few companies who have come out and offered Linux both patent protection and patent amnesty, should it be determined that Linux is somehow violating their patents. This is the critical piece as most, if not all of these companies, are now donating code directly to Linux and the Open Source movement. Such notables as Novell, IBM, and SUN.

Finally, as a distributor, you have an ethical obligation to defend your clients from these patent / copyright claims, however, you also have the right to choose what packages you will distribute and support, but even more importantly you have the right to choose what not to distribute and support. One of the tricks with Ubuntu is that they tell you upfront that they do not distribute MP3/4 or DeCSS packages, nor will they defend their customers from claims in reference to these packages.

Re:Is this FUD? (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 7 years ago | (#20377569)

First thing to understand is that so far, there has not been a single proven case of patent infringement against Linux.

That's the first thing from the stereotype /geek-living-in-his-parent's-basement POV. The point of view of a businessman living in the real world, with real money on the line necessarily is very different.

Re:Is this FUD? (1)

James Wells (831750) | more than 7 years ago | (#20377891)

I should point out that the bulk of my investment income is made from Linux and other Open Source products, and I haven't lost yet (I've been investing in Linux as a whole for almost 15 years). I am looking at this from a business POV, and ROI POV. For comparison, let's look at Microsoft over the last 15 years.

Micro$oft has twice been convicted of monopolistic tactics and is currently involved in three other cases of a similar nature, two of them are statewide class action suits as well. They have been found in violation of many different patents and copyrights, with untold numbers of settlements where they ended up paying the plaintiff. They have over promised and under delivered 6 OS's, one of which was found to have violated the BSD network stack, which cost them a pretty penny. They have purchased a license to Unix technology, which may or may not be valid any longer, to the tune of somewhere around $30 million. They have installed software onto their customer's systems without permission, or gained permission under false pretenses which is going to lead to yet another series of law suites.

So looking at it as an investor, I would say that Linux is a much safer investment than Microsoft. Yes, Microsoft has the potential for a larger ROI, but Linux appears to me to be much safer.

First Communist Part (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20375169)

Impeach Bush With A Waterboarding FP . hurrah!

Re:First Communist Part (0, Redundant)

CogDissident (951207) | more than 7 years ago | (#20375335)

Wow, a 9 minute late first post... New levels of incompetent trolls here on /.

The 2 sides of the coin (5, Interesting)

FFFFHALTFFFF (996601) | more than 7 years ago | (#20375355)

Here in Brazil some hardware sellers are betting in this wave. Corporation like Positivo PC and others are selling Desktops and Notebooks with Linux pre-installed. There are a lot of small Linux distribution in this game, growing and getting mature. But the poor side of this is story is clear like water. Some folks buy this machines and install pirate OS's like Windows. The idea is good and is a big bussiness. A lot of people like me buy this kind of machine and know how to use it, and don't want pirate software.

OEM=Original Equipment Manufacturer (3, Informative)

wehe (135130) | more than 7 years ago | (#20375369)

The article titles one section "Linux OEM companies can survive, even flourish". In this section three US based companies are considered as Linux OEMs. At least for laptops and notebooks this statement seems wrong, because as far as I can see non of these companies manufacturers these devices themselves, though they pre-install Linux on them. Unfortunately there doesn't seem to be a really "free" laptop or notebook available yet. But at least you can get Linux pre-installed on laptops and notebooks from different vendors around the world [tuxmobil.org] .

idiot-proof? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20375429)

you have to make the systems idiot-proof for users who don't care a whit about what OS they're using

Indifference is not idiocy; it's not even ignorance. User's who don't care what operating system they use are probably just as intelligent as anyone else. They're just not zealots.

Re:idiot-proof? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20376883)

Unlike you. A Micro$oft zealot.

Where do you want to go today?

Hmm....really... (4, Insightful)

Brad_sk (919670) | more than 7 years ago | (#20375759)

>...you have to make the systems idiot-proof for users who don't care a whit about what OS they're using...

More so, they should avoid being Linux snobs and stop using phrases such as "idiot proof" if they are really interested in growing.

Re:Hmm....really... (1)

jdunn14 (455930) | more than 7 years ago | (#20376363)

You've clearly never done tech support. In windows you're lucky if the person can click on a button when you ask, and avoid it when you don't. Ask them to open up a command line? You're. Screwed.

mod parent up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20377897)

By stating that it's a lot of work to create a working, well tested, user friendly linux laptop (aka "idiot proof") the submitter suggests that Linux isn't ready for OEM adoption at all.

Was there a point to this article? (3, Insightful)

Gybrwe666 (1007849) | more than 7 years ago | (#20375803)

You know, I read the thing twice. I didn't see any agony. I didn't see any ecstasy.

What I saw were a few fairly vague suggestions and one piece of advice (know your market) repeated over and over. There wasn't any real research. There weren't any statistics. I'm sure my second reading was a waste of time and electrons, and the more I think about it, the first one was too.

As someone else mentioned, there are still end-user problems regarding linux in the mass market. A user wants something that works. Especially John Q. Public, who doesn't give a darn what its running underneath. What he wants is the stuff he clicks on (in the OS or in the Web Browser or Application) to work. That means when you go to YouTube, the movie plays and the sound works. When he wastes time on a web games site, the games play. When he needs some software for some idiotic reason, its easily available, easy to install, and after he installs it he clicks on the icon and it works.

I've run Linux as an only OS in the past. 10 years ago, when I started doing that, there were many challenges to running it day to day, from corporate compatibility to application bugs. The reality for me is that many of those issues simply haven't been resolved yet.

When I think of the masses and Linux, I think about my family. I have a range of people there who span from retirees to teenagers. I don't think a single one is capable, or, perhaps more importantly, has any desire to switch. I don't think I could even convince my 20 something step daughter, who grew up with computers, to switch, even though she needs a cheap computer and Linux would let her get a fairly decent machine for very little.

In some ways, Linux strikes me as being 95% of the way there. The problem is, that last 5% may well be the most difficult part. The remaining issues are ones that will prevent mass adoption. For instance, I see the issue of video. The end user couldn't care less about Codecs. What they care about is the fact that when someone sends them a video file (most likely created in Windows), can they click on it and it plays with sound? As long as there are Window's proprietary video adn audio formats, that may be enough to keep a good portion of the userbase on Windows.

Not only that, but I can't imagine what support issues must be like. Even with good customer support, if you try to sell to anyone other than a geek or semi-geek, the phone support has to be pretty deep. Like my video playing example above, what happens when someone emails some inane audio clip and it won't play? What if Uncle Leonard needs to install drivers for a USB device?

Even for me, the thought of it to the masses is overwhelming. That final 5% is just a bear of a mountain to climb, and there isn't any easy way to get over it.

I also think the author of the article misses something in his targeting of customers. Remember, you've locked out so many segments of the customer base, who is left? Gamers are out, especially casual ones. Gramma and Grandpa are out, they won't switch to save their lives. Anyone who has some favorite Windows application is probably out, even if Wine supports it. Do you really think the average user is going to want to know how to get Wine running (even with top notch support?), let alone figure out how to upgrade it each time a new version comes out?

I'm sorry, I just don't see how this article addressed anything that anyone who has even thought about setting up a business shouldn't have thought about 2 minutes after they get the idea.

Bill

Re:Was there a point to this article? (5, Insightful)

howlingmadhowie (943150) | more than 7 years ago | (#20376465)

the point being that gnu/linux isn't just taking on microsoft. the linux kernel and the gnu toolchain are technically years ahead of vista. if it were a simple question of gnu/linux vs. windows, the war would have ended sometime in 1997.

it is however a case of gnu/linux vs. the entire world of proprietary software. a world with so much money that compatibility can only be bought on their terms. gnu/linux would have to become proprietary software to implement proprietary data formats or allow non-documented devices to work. instead of that, technically superior possibilities are being offered to us. ogg is technically superior to mp3, odf is technically superior to ooxml, lilypond is technically superior to finale files.

but how much does that help free software advocates to free others? if others insist on slavery, what can we do? one this is sure, we shouldn't implement these last 5% in gnu/linux: that would mean the end of everything gnu/linux stands for. it would mean the end of stallman's dream which has already produced the most remarkable software free of charge and open for the entire world running on the most remarkable hardware. throwing that away for out-of-the-box support for wmv files would be an act of utter idiocy.

Re:Was there a point to this article? (1)

msgtomatt (1147195) | more than 7 years ago | (#20376507)

I cannot believe this post has a mod score of 1. The moderator must be a die-hard linux fanboy that is un-aware of the world around them.

" I don't think a single one is capable, or, perhaps more importantly, has any desire to switch."
"In some ways, Linux strikes me as being 95% of the way there. The problem is, that last 5% may well be the most difficult part."
"That means when you go to YouTube, the movie plays and the sound works."

I think the points you make are right on. I have used linux off and on for the last 7 years, and still have not found a distro that I would recommend to my family. Every distro that I have used, has required me to spend weeks browsing forums and scouring the web until I find "the" magic driver/codec/script that gets everything working. And once everything is working, the system has never been as stable as windows XP. My machine with XP currently has an uptime of 403 days 12 hours and 34 minutes. With linux on the same machine, I can't use it for more than a week with out something crashing, and forcing me to browse/scour the web to find yet another driver/codec/script that gets everything working again. Granted I have not used linux in a year and a half, and so the reliability may have improved since then, but the point is that I am still required to understand the OS inorder to get it working and keep it working. I personally have the skill to write code and to keep linux running, but I have better things to do with my weekends (like making out with the girlfriend).

I still think the biggest advantage to linux is also its biggest nemesis. Because linux is OpenSource and freely available, there are no checks and balances to ensure the opinions of the end user/customer are considered. There is no cash incentive (from a pay check) for the developers to think about John Q Public's needs. They develop it for themselves and you are welcome to use it. If it does not work then you are also welcome to fix it. There is no marketing department to perform studies to figure out what works and what does not work for the customer. Until linux gains a customer focus, it will be an OS for hobbyist only.

Re:Was there a point to this article? (1)

howlingmadhowie (943150) | more than 7 years ago | (#20376869)

proprietary software doesn't work by having a marketing department performing studies and then offering the customer what he wants, it works by being the only possibility. it's called vendor lock-in. as we have seen with vista, microsoft can force us to use a dog of a product.

the same goes for hardware.

Asus Eee (linux laptop) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20376293)

I read they anticipate selling millions of their compact laptop Asus Eee with linux pre-installed. I'm sure many ppl are keeping their eye on it as it develops. Looks like specs are falling and prices are rising. I also just read that it only has one mouse button, wtf?! Anyways:

Asus Eee user/info site [eeeuser.com]

Besides this and OLPC, any other low cost wifi enabled cheap compact linux laptops for sale or announced to be released soon? I'd like a portable unit on occasion for web/internet stuff, but I don't want or need a full blown high-powered system, just simple and basic, and I want linux just cause. If I wanted a full blown portable system I don't think anything would beat a MacBook or MBPro...

Every year... (1, Interesting)

TofuMatt (1105351) | more than 7 years ago | (#20376429)

... is the year of the Linux desktop. The article says things like "Remember, it's the job of the Linux OEM to simply make everything work - out of the box, no excuses," but I don't know how true that is, unless we are talking about niche markets. Most average Jill users don't get an OEM computer that just works (unless they bought a Mac :D) -- they get what would be a decent PC were it not for it being bogged down by bloatware (and, very likely, a bunch of useless system restore crap that was put on the hard drive to save a DVD :P). Yes, power users expect things to work (I don't want to buy a Linux box from a company who expressly provide a "Linux PC", and find out that it has a freaking Broadcom Wireless Chipset), but power computer users, especially power Linux users, are not a sizable chunk of the consumer PC market. These companies sell a "working PC" and not a "weekend project", until the end-user wants to A. play a game that isn't Frozen Bubble B. get help from their pseudo tech-savvy friend (who may well say "Linicks?!") C. enjoy true compatibility with Office D. use iTunes (I think that matters a tonne, given the number of (non tech-savvy) iPod users out there), especially the iTMS E. etc.

Much as I loathe Windows, and love *nix, I'm still weary to recommend it to any of my friends who need a computer. I think Mac OS X is an excellent alternative (hey, it's what I use primarily too!), and it seems like the Ubuntu folks aren't too far from making a distro that average Jill can use, but there's still the matter of user-friendly (GUI) apps, which I think *nix is still lacking in.

The article also mentions frustration with Windows boxes and them having Linux-incompatible hardware. But again, these sound like niche frustrations. When's the last time your aunt said "Goddamn! I wish SuSe worked on my lappy so I'd stop BSODing all of the time!"? More like "Which one is the internet?"

A lot of end-users still find Macs exotic and are grossly misinformed about them. Linux for someone who hasn't heard of Linux, to me, is, at best, just as good for them as an XP box.

Word (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20376537)

The next computer I buy will be dual boot because I need Word. OpenOffice and Abiword just aren't cutting it.

I do NOT approve (1)

MichailS (923773) | more than 7 years ago | (#20376731)

of the phrase

"idiot-proof for users who don't care a whit about what OS they're using."

used in conjunction with "Linux user" or "OEM Linux customer".

It's nice to see... (1)

CaptainTux (658655) | more than 7 years ago | (#20376965)

It's nice to see the use of Linux move from the server and to the desktop. And, while I agree with many of the post here that say "Linux is not quite there", I think it depends on how seriously and aggressively the OEM goes after the consumer market.

Someone who is just buying PC's, installing a stock Linux on them, and reselling them probably won't see a lot of success. For the home market, stock Linux installs tend to suck. But, companies like the ones discussed in both the article and the comments here who are taking an aggressive, active, approach by creating custom kernels, device drivers, and the like, will probably see their sales double or triple over the next few years. Users want an alternative to Windows. The problem is that most Linux OEM's simply don't provide a good alternative. That is starting to change and it's good to see.

We still have a ways to go but Linux is now squarely on the desktop and competing.

People are retarded (1)

wilymage (934907) | more than 7 years ago | (#20377839)

My girlfriend's flatmate says to me, looking at a Linux mag I am reading:

"Ah, I don't use an operating system, I'm a Mac boy. But I heard Linux is good."
I seriously fucking wish I was joking.
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