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Linux: First determined move against Microsoft?

From what can be gathered, Novell has  aquired SUSE. HP has decided to bundle LINUX citing customer demand. IBM has invested 50 million in Novell. Sun has come out with a desktop version of Looking Glass. Open Office is getting better by the day.

Seems a very determined move against Microsoft. What do people think here?. It will be only a matter of time before Linux catches up. Yeh, i know Microsoft has 90% market share. But it is only a matter of time. Microsoft's operating system are nothing that cannot be improved upon....

Th only thing Linux lacks is a good RAD tool, a usable interface etc. But this may soon change.

Sunday, March 28, 2004

>>"Microsoft's operating system are nothing that cannot be improved upon...."

Well, let's see...........

TV out of video card .... work on Windows .... doesn't work on Linux (no driver)

Scanner ..... works on Windows. ...... doesn't work on Linux (no driver)

Transferring pictures form digitial camera to computer .... works on Windows....doesn't work on Linux (no driver)

Photoshop ... works on Windows .... no Linux version .... nothing equivalent in Linux

Soundforge (audio editing) .... works on Windows ... no Linux version .... nothing equivalent in Linux

and on ... and on ... and on.......

I dislike Microsoft as much as the next guy, but you've good it exactly backwards.  It's Linux, not Windows, that needs lots of improvement.

My Cousin Vinniwashtharam
Sunday, March 28, 2004

While I can't necessarily agree or disagree with you, the use of the word only in "Th only thing Linux lacks is a good RAD tool, a usable interface etc." is hmm .... amusing :)
Sunday, March 28, 2004

Yes, Linux lacks a lot. But microsoft did not have all this 10 years back. Infact, there were no digitla cameras 10 years back!

Look forward 10 years and ask yourself.

Sunday, March 28, 2004

Yeah, I think it would be really terrific if free software dominated the market and software development was accorded its proper place in the scheme of things - at the bottom, like sweeping the floor.

Why should developers charge for software? It's wrong and immoral.

Sunday, March 28, 2004

"Yes, Linux lacks a lot. But microsoft did not have all this 10 years back. Infact, there were no digitla cameras 10 years back!

Look forward 10 years and ask yourself."

What? Linux will be where Windows is today? Windows will be ten years ahead?

John Topley (
Sunday, March 28, 2004

Actually it's not the use of the word "only" that's amusing to me, it's the "etc."

It's a really big "etc." that's missing.  Linux was originally intended as a free replacement for Unix, not Windows.  It's a different market orientation from the start.  I don't see many of the things listed as missing from Linux as being available for Unix either, or is that just me?

I don't think there's going to be a real threat to Windows' dominance in the market until something like Wine is at least as stable as Windows and is part of the default install on nearly all major Linux distributions.  It has to be compatible at both the binary and source level with Windows, and it has to just work.  No special configurations, no decisions to make, it has to just work right out of the box.  Until then, forget it.

Aaron F Stanton
Sunday, March 28, 2004

Are we talking buissness desktop or home user desktop? Big difference.
I think Novell and IBM will be ready to compete big time on the buissness desktop very soon. Novell has RAD-tools and stuff like that in the works aparently, along with migration and integration tools. I think it will show on the markeshare figures ere the end of this year.

Home desktop though.. not in a while.

Eric Debois
Sunday, March 28, 2004

No Photoshop for Linux? Are you mad? The GIMP is at least equivalent to Photoshop and is widely recognized as such.

Bob Abooey
Sunday, March 28, 2004

the drivers have always been lacking for windows because of the lack of demand...with the large corporates now pushing Linux, thats gonna change.

Its irrelevant that Linux was aimed at the Unix market was BSD but osx is built on top of that.

The desktop is going to improve hugely with the corporate support for it that is now available.

Most of these companies have only seriously started pushing Linux in the last few months AFAIK..but with their support and resources its going to make a huge difference.

Meanwhile Microsoft is coming out with ideas for 'trusted computing' that vendors want, but consumers..not so much, I will be watching with interest to see the takeup on that.
Their next version wont be released for another year or so at _least_..thats another year for Linux to improve its offering with the resources increasingly available to it.

Across the world countries are increasingly taking up on the Linux/Open source offerings, for reasons of national protection of their local programming jobs, cost and a reluctance for their government to be reliant on the software of a company based in an entirely different country...there are questions of national security there.

This will _also_ push for improvements to the desktop and drivers.

The huge microsoft dominance is going to disappear.

The really interesting question to my mind is whether the computing industry has to behave as its always done, with one operating system having 90% advantage or whether it will settle down to a fairly clean split between Linux and Microsoft, with niche offerings like MacOS, Lindows, etc etc sharing out the dregs between themselves.

If one operating system must be in the huge majority, then Microsoft is going to have a hard time of it.

My own suspicion is that the network effect means that in general one operating system is going to have a huge dominance, so Im expecting to see Linux become the dominant player, with Microsoft battling things out with the other more niche like operating systems.

The upside is that the size of the cake is increasingly growing as well...more and more countries are becoming computerised so there is a good chance that although MS will lose market share based on % of total, its number of actual users will continue to increase over time.

Be interesting to see. 

Either way Im a x=plat developer anyway, so for me not much change except I will continue to reconsider whether to begin developing my (closed source) products (and those of my clients) for Linux over the next few years.  My own suspicion is that by this time next year it will be just barely worthwhile for me to do so, by the year after it will be nicely justifiable.

Sunday, March 28, 2004

"Its irrelevant that Linux was aimed at the Unix market was BSD but osx is built on top of that."

OSX is a success because you had a leader that decided it would be smart to give users something decent.  That leader is Apple.  Linux does not have this.  It does not exist among open source programmers.  We've already seen how their UIs suck.    OSS needs someone to bitch slap it and say, "no, we don't need another text editor, or another way to view server logs."  "We need a way to make a brainless end user productive."  Microsoft has ALWAYS understood that and built their sales model on that.

With Linux you need to know a little about computers to be productive.  With Windows if you can go several minutes without drooling you can use it.  Which market is larger?  Sell to the masses!

Sunday, March 28, 2004

That's a bit of a condescending attitude towards end users. They're not all brainless, they just choose to use their brains for other things and can't be bothered or don't have time to get involved with the arcane world of computers.

John Topley (
Monday, March 29, 2004

Even Linux development tools are getting better. Check out for a port of Sharpdevelop to GTK+. It is pretty early but totally functional.

Andrew Murray
Monday, March 29, 2004

One of the main problems of Linux is the fact that it's free.

The users of Linux get used to having a lot of software for free "as in beer".

This makes it a lot more tougher for a programmer to earn his living.

Yes, there are "stars" like Linus, RMS, Miguel, etc, who earn a lot by working on Linus.

The problem is that they are very few.

So Linux, in the long term, creates an environment in which software development will be a very low paid job.

Of course, big businesses everywhere are happy about this. Network admins are happy about this.

Linux is going to hurt programmers a lot.

So - why not at least try to resist it, or at least refrain from promoting it?

Michael B
Monday, March 29, 2004

"OSX is a success because you had a leader that decided it would be smart to give users something decent."

It could be argued that only after more than a decade of failiures trying to come up with a new OS core from the inside, Apple decided that it would have to settle for something cheap from the outside.

Just me (Sir to you)
Monday, March 29, 2004

>(no driver)
>(no driver)
>(no driver)

None of which are part of Microsoft Windows. Talk to your hardware vendor/software company.

Monday, March 29, 2004

Michael, most programmers don't work on shrinkwrapped software, and have nothing to lose from people not buying it.

Monday, March 29, 2004

> So Linux, in the long term, creates an environment in which software development will be a very low paid job.

People pay for value added. If you can add enough value to Open Source software, then someone will be there to pay for it.

Think about all the money that is freed, when universities, production companies etc. do not have to throw a lot of money after licenses - that money can be used for tweaking, innovation, customization and so on.

I would hate the fact that programmers only earned their living through a kind of mutual unwritten contract putting them on some kind of user paid welfare.

If free (as in beer) can do the job, then let it be so.

Would you like to pay overprice for eg. a cable TV appliance, just because some programmer had to be kept busy? I wouldn't. Chances are, not many customers would.
And if you would, why not use free (as in beer) software instead, and then pay the poor programmer directly for staying out of the labour market?

Martin A. Bøgelund
Monday, March 29, 2004

"I would hate the fact that programmers only earned their living through a kind of mutual unwritten contract putting them on some kind of user paid welfare."

Hey, that is almost exactly the vision I used to have regarding a FOSS world: millions of .edu and .gov people tolling away at copying the past just so it can be provided for "free", all living on tax raised governement grants or salaries. Taxrates spiraling up towards 100% before the monetary system is completely abolished, but don't worry, Uncle Sam will provide everything for "free".

Weird how we all think alike :-).

Just me (Sir to you)
Monday, March 29, 2004

Linux has a definite place on the business desktop market.

That can be for vertical applications, such as health care or traffic fines or anywhere where the computer is basically being used as a dumb terminal.

They also have a use for offices that basically require no more than word processing and spreadsheets and email.

Also it is useful for your granny who only ever sends email and browses the web.

The problem with drivers is that a company will only produce drivers if it thinks it will sell more hardware. Also many companies are unwilling even to release enough source code for drivers to be builf free. Nevertheless. as far as one can tell most modems and printers are no longer problematic, and many USB scanners are accepted.

Whether business desktop take up will change the driver problem is doubtful, as most business desktops use the network.

I think we are likely to see MS keeping a near monopoly on the consumer desktop market, with Linux making inroads into the business desktop particularly in large government organizations. Also Linux will be taking over much of the consumer embedded market, so that Windows will find itself squeezed, albeit lightly, from both ends.

Stephen Jones
Monday, March 29, 2004

"They're not all brainless,"  -- John.  True.  I meant when it comes to computers.  Computer ignorant or illiterate would have been better.  Not that the user is stupid.  They could be a brain surgeon.

My main point is that the smartest companies/people are the one that recognize this and design accordingly.  So far Apple and MS seem to realize this.  Linux/OSS is slowly catching on.  Probably the one of the main reasons Linux/OSS lags is that the commercial software companies do usability testing with real end (common) users.  Most OSS projects can't do this because of the cost.  Free downloads and beta's and RC's are used almost exclusively by technically gifted people, not by common users.  This means a lot of trouble spots for common users are ignored.

I have a co-worker that preaches mozilla to anyone that will listen.  Mozilla is a good browser.  The co-worker thinks it is going to take back the market from IE because MS will not have a new browser for some time.  My counter argument is right now, the only people that have Mozilla are techies or relatives and friends of techies that allow the techie to install it.  It will not reach the level of marketshare IE has until it is preinstalled by pc vendors.  Most common users would rather have a root canal than install software on their machines that requires a user to answer the dreaded default location, program group, next questions.  "How the heck should I know the default location." 

OSS needs to realize that preloaded pc's next to the Windows ones in Best Buy are the only way they are going to grab a significant market share in the destop market.

Monday, March 29, 2004

Hardware support for Linux will never take off until Linux has a proper driver model.

The Linux kernel has no well-defined API.  It changes with every other point revision.  To make your driver compile with all the patchlevels of the 2.4 kernel, you need a pile of ifdefs.  And then there's the modified kernels from RedHat, SUSE, etc.  All of those need to be supported too.  Don't forget the 2.6 kernel!

You can't expect a customer to understand why the module compile failed, and say "oh, that's right, they changed the SpinLock functions last week for the tenth time, all I have to do is do a search and replace in the source!".

A well-defined API would make the cost of Linux drivers much cheaper.  It takes more manpower to maintain a Linux driver than a Windows driver.

A well-defined API would also allow companies to release binary-only drivers.  I know at least a few companies that have refused to make Linux drivers because of hardware IP issues.

Myron A. Semack
Monday, March 29, 2004

"So Linux, in the long term, creates an environment in which software development will be a very low paid job."

That day is already here pal, although I have trouble blaming that on Linux.  I could be making more money loading beer trucks or painting houses, if I were willing to move.  I'm working for this crappy wage ($15/hr) because I've got a mortgage to pay, and this joke of a wage was the best offer in a year.

clay Dowling
Monday, March 29, 2004

People will install software if there is no choice, which is how everybody installed Netscape back in the mid-nineties.

IE is probably good enough to stop Joe user thinking of changing, but Mozilla is gaining momentum. I would put IE's market share among  techies as low as 30% (stats from here don't work because most of you access the site skiving off from work)  If nothing happens in the next couple of years Mozilla's reputation as the browser of choice for the digerati might give it enough momentum to really take off.

Stephen Jones
Monday, March 29, 2004

I'm a pragmatist.  I don't believe that all software should be open source

However, I think that Linux makes sense because:
1) Nobody has been able to produce an OS that isn't ugly.  Linux and Windows are both ugly, just in different ways
2) There hasn't been too many groundbreaking in a truly groundbreaking sense operating systems developments in the past 10 years.  L4 fixed the traditional microkernel process-change latency problems, so that you could create a multi-server microkernel OS that would perform well.  On the other hand, both NT and Linux do a good enough job that nobody seems willing to change the status quo.
3) An OS with no real applications is useless.  Linux is only useless because of its Unix heritage.
4) Apache and Linux and other such projects succeed not because people are making money, but because they feel like they are more likely to make money in a world without Microsoft.

I think 4 is the big one.  Were history to have happened differently and {Amiga Workbench,BeOS,TOS,Talligent,...} to have a sizable market share and Apple to have a larger market share, I don't think Linux would have been quite as popular because it wouldn't have attracted the sort of commerical support, nor would it have attracted the numbers of recreational hackers that have helped for free.

In a sence, Linux is not the beginning of a revolution, it is a symptom and possible solution to the problems of the current computing market.

Flamebait Sr.
Monday, March 29, 2004

"Hey, that is almost exactly the vision I used to have regarding a FOSS world: ..."


Pass me the pipe with that stuff you're smoking in order to get your "visions", because this I gotta see!

Paying for value added still is possible in a FLOSS world, and so will money making be.

And if it becomes impossible to make a living on programming, then it's because nobody sees the need for any more value adding in their software - not because some finnish guy shared his code on the Internet.

The software market is maturing rapidly - which means it will soon become mature(!), forcing prices down, and making it harder to come up with revolutionary products. Blaming downwards drive of prices on Open Source is just a failure to see that this market is like any other.

Martin A. Bøgelund
Tuesday, March 30, 2004

But WHY do we want Linux to catch up?  What's the point?  Both Linux and Windows are horribly, horribly complex.  Both of them are fairly at odds with what people want to use computers for.  Both are way over-engineered.

If something is going to replace Windows, then it should be simple and solid and clearly, obviously better.  Linux is none of these things.

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

Who said anything about a downward drive on prices? If anything I do not believe FOSS will create a solution price decrease for many scenarios, quite the opposite. The money just goes elsewhere.

Just me (Sir to you)
Wednesday, March 31, 2004

"Money going elsewhere" means, they stop going where they go now, and start going somewhere else, right?
So you do agree that licensing costs go down when moving to FLOSS, right?

So tell me about the scenarios where you see the money going somewhere else. And tell me about the scenarios where the money just go somewhere else, *without* generating an improved overall solution.

Martin A. Bøgelund
Wednesday, March 31, 2004

> If something is going to replace Windows, then it should be simple and solid and clearly, obviously better.  Linux is none of these things.

Since you can edit the source code of Linux and compile your own version, Linux is exactly what you want it to be.

Want a damn small Linux? Go to !
Want totally nerdy Linux that is hard to install so that you can whine? Go to !
Want the freedom of choice? Go to !

Saying that Linux is complex is like saying that cars are red.

Martin A. Bøgelund
Wednesday, March 31, 2004

Sorry, but I just couldn't let the "doesn't work on Linux/no Linux version" list go unanswered.

Scanner: Sane ( ) -- Huge list of supported scanner backends/drivers and a good number of frontends supported on various platforms.

Pictures from Digital Camera: Direct via gPhoto ( ) w/ support for ~400 cameras, or via major flash media w/ USB reader ( ).

Photoshop: The Gimp ( ).  This has already been mentioned.  I don't know enough to say it's "at least as good", but it's generally recognized that a Large Majority of what can be accomplished in Photoshop can be accomplished in The Gimp.  For free.

Soundforge: Not what I think of as a common consumer application, exactly.  In any case, I understand Audacity ( ) is fairly impressive and getting better.

TV out from Video Card: This is the one item on your list that I know remains sorely lacking, but not from lack of effort.  The fact is, this shortcoming goes back to the same issue that most hardware-specific shortcomings come down to: lack of vendor support.  You can claim the problem stems from the open source philosophy not meshing w/ vendors' interests, and that may be, but you can't say, "those Linux folks need to get their act together."  It's the vendors who are (fully within their rights, of course) choosing not to play nice.

Joel Fouse
Wednesday, March 31, 2004

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