Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 31st Jan 2006 19:27 UTC, submitted by anonymous
Google Google's Dan Kegel will be keynoting at the 2006 Southern California Linux Expo on Feb 12th. He will be giving a presentation titled "Why doesn't Johnny run Linux? Or, Overcoming Desktop Obstacles". Dan will go over some of the main issues identified by the recent Desktop Linux Survey and Desktop Linux Architects' meeting at OSDL, as well as his own list of issues, and what's being done to solve them. This is interesting with regard to El Reg's story on 'Goobuntu'. Elsewhere, Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols doesn't believe the rumours.
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Funny
by Smartpatrol on Tue 31st Jan 2006 19:44 UTC
Smartpatrol
Member since:
2005-07-06

Google is preparing its own distribution of Linux for the desktop, in a possible bid to take on Microsoft in its core business - desktop software.

I just love it how people try and make Google into the Microsoft killer. It is trully entertaining and kind of insulting to the companies that have actually started to compete with Windows using linux, Like RedHat and Suse.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Funny
by regeya on Tue 31st Jan 2006 20:22 UTC in reply to "Funny"
regeya Member since:
2006-01-31

"I just love it how people try and make Google into the Microsoft killer. It is trully entertaining and kind of insulting to the companies that have actually started to compete with Windows using linux, Like RedHat and Suse."

Except that RedHat and Suse can't stick to a strategy. The on-again, off-again fair-weather friends that desktop Linux has in those two companies...don't even try to claim that either company is devoted to the Linux desktop.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Funny
by Smartpatrol on Tue 31st Jan 2006 20:28 UTC in reply to "RE: Funny"
Smartpatrol Member since:
2005-07-06

Except that RedHat and Suse can't stick to a strategy. The on-again, off-again fair-weather friends that desktop Linux has in those two companies...don't even try to claim that either company is devoted to the Linux desktop.

True but i would sooner expect desktop Linux competetion from RedHat or Suse then i would Google.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Funny
by JustThinkIt on Wed 1st Feb 2006 13:53 UTC in reply to "Funny"
JustThinkIt Member since:
2005-09-04

I just love it how people try and make Google into the Microsoft killer. It is trully entertaining and kind of insulting to the companies that have actually started to compete with Windows using linux, Like RedHat and Suse.

Lots of things are insulting. Stealing other people's IP is insulting. MS stealing DOS from Seattle Computer is insulting.

What most of us care about is, will the latest insult matter to us, i.e. will it be successful in stealing marketshare?

As to the particular marketshare, I think Google doesn't care about "web services" but advertising dollars. If Microsoft shrinks in importance, Google and their family of products increasing in advertising dollar value. Since the most profitable MS products are the OS and Office suite, giving these away is a very effective MS-killing move, and one that every Linix variant has been trying for years. The difference is that Google might just succeed ten times more than *buntu already has.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Funny
by Bit_Rapist on Wed 1st Feb 2006 14:46 UTC in reply to "RE: Funny"
Bit_Rapist Member since:
2005-11-13

Lots of things are insulting. Stealing other people's IP is insulting. MS stealing DOS from Seattle Computer is insulting.

Not to split hairs here but MS bought the 'quick and dirty' operating system from Tim Patterson.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Funny
by JustThinkIt on Wed 1st Feb 2006 14:54 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Funny"
JustThinkIt Member since:
2005-09-04

Not to split hairs here but MS bought the 'quick and dirty' operating system from Tim Patterson.

Under false pretenses, hence the reason Seattle Computer sued Microsoft in 1980:
http://www.jmusheneaux.com/index10.htm

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Funny
by Bit_Rapist on Wed 1st Feb 2006 16:40 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Funny"
Bit_Rapist Member since:
2005-11-13

Under false pretenses, hence the reason Seattle Computer sued Microsoft in 1980:
http://www.jmusheneaux.com/index10.htm


Thats not exactly stolen IP. Granted Seattle Computer may have been able to bargain for a better price had they known MS was going to sell to IBM.

Reply Score: 1

A Google OS.
by cipher on Tue 31st Jan 2006 20:36 UTC
cipher
Member since:
2005-12-17

Unless they've been hiring engineers, designers, etc with a proven track record in consumer OS development, then I would highly doubt they'll attempt to enter the desktop market with yet another Linux based desktop OS.

I personally think it would make more sense for them to focus on creating technologies to make the desktop OS less important. An Application development and delivery platform that's secure, flexible, powerful, that can be plugged into existing browsers (FireFox extensions, IE BHO, etc). Kinda an AJAX on steriods, but more along the lines of what Flash does. Additionally they could be the store front for small ISVs that would develop apps for this platform who need a distribution stream.

Reply Score: 2

RE: A Google OS.
by ma_d on Tue 31st Jan 2006 22:11 UTC in reply to "A Google OS."
ma_d Member since:
2005-06-29

Replacing some Microsoft market share with FOSS market share will do exactly what you said they should do though: Make the platform (desktop OS) less important.

Now, when you get standard technologies in place (which FOSS tends to do, but doesn't necessarily always do) you end up making the platform unimportant. You don't develop activeX plugins for Windows, instead you develop AJAX code for web browsers (because you don't know which one people will use, so you stick to what is cross platform).
Now that sounds like you could do less. But it isn't. Because this means developers complaining to all vendors about standards support; which does get them motivated (even Microsoft). So the standards expand. And people develop for THE platform, instead of A platform.

So, pushing Linux (the underdog of sorts) is exactly what they need to do to disestablish the importance of the platform.
When you have to write a program to work on Mac, Linux, and Windows; what's the easiest way (often)? The web.

All in all though, the register is about as reliable as a wikipedia article on a US congressman.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: A Google OS.
by cipher on Tue 31st Jan 2006 23:44 UTC in reply to "RE: A Google OS."
cipher Member since:
2005-12-17

> When you have to write a program to work on Mac,
> Linux, and Windows; what's the easiest way (often)?
> The web.

You're missing my point. Web technologies (HTTP/DHTML/XML/JavaScript) work perfectly fine for some apps, but suck bad for others (e.g. highly-interactive applications, office productivity apps). AJAX does a decent job trying to minimize the biggest problem with web apps (Network I/O latency), but it still doesn't solve the problem. Developing a web application that is comparable to a desktop application is usually more difficult, time-consuming, and expensive. Trying to support all browsers also dramatically increases development and QA time.

Windows is the de-facto standard for PC operating systems. Like it or not, that will not change anytime soon. The idea that I proposed was to accept this fact and build an application development and delivery platform that utilizes some web technologies and minimizes the Windows platform for most users. A runtime environment that allows developers to build cool apps that donít require network I/O to perform its functions (Writely.com - spellchecking!), and that could be updated online in minutes. Kind of like the Java Web start idea. I personally thought that Google and SUN were going to announce a project like this when they talked about a partnership a number of months ago, but that wasnít the case. Google would become the online store front for many small ISVs trying to sell their apps for the Google Platform. Incidentally, the platform doesnít need to be an ActiveX control or browser extension. The browser (specifically HTTP) would just be the application delivery mechanism.

Good luck on trying to replace Microsoft's market share. Really! FOSS may make a dent, but it will be minor. You will not replace Windows as the most common desktop with FOSS technology even within 5-10 years.

Google certainly has the engineering talent, so if they spent the time and money they could possibly realize Netscapeís dream.

Reply Score: 4

Google Linux
by TaterSalad on Tue 31st Jan 2006 20:49 UTC
TaterSalad
Member since:
2005-07-06

I'm going to have to agree with Steven J. There is always a lot of hype around Google releases but the last few haven't been anything spectacular. Everything is being kept internally, I'd guess just so the engineers have something to play with for their 20% of free time.

Reply Score: 1

Alas poor Johnny
by moleskine on Tue 31st Jan 2006 21:18 UTC
moleskine
Member since:
2005-11-05

If Google's Dan Kegel is to be believed, the list of "Desktop Obstacles" to using Linux will keep Johnny off it for years (you need to click through a few links to get to them).

More to the point, no one has yet produced a convincing business plan as to why Google would want to launch their own desktop operating system. Hundreds of millions or more likely billions later, and their energies taken off all their other projects, what do Google stand to gain from one? At the moment it sounds like a kind of nuclear landmine kept in the office safe. So long as Microsoft know it's there, with all the mayhem that would ensue if it was used, Microsoft will think twice before trying to strangle Google's access to the Windows desktop.

Reply Score: 2

What motive for GoogleOS
by JeffS on Wed 1st Feb 2006 00:03 UTC
JeffS
Member since:
2005-07-12

The only way a GoogleOS/Goobuntu product would make sense for Google would be twofold:

1) As another poster said, marginalized the platform, and increase the importance of web based technology.

2) More of a captive audience for Google's forthcoming (and already existing to some extent) targeted advertising, where ads are presented that are very specific to the users needs/habits - this is very, very valuable to advertisers, and potentially very very very profitable for Google. If Google distributes it's own Desktop platform, it could easily embed it's targeted advertising technology, along with Google Video, etc.

Now, those things being said, going to market with a Google OS makes no sense for Google in terms of being a direct revenue generator. Really, it would only be a cost center. But it would likely expand Google's revenue stream - advertising.

I'm sure a Google OS is only speculative nonsense (and wishful thinking). But it is fun to speculate.

Reply Score: 1

bornagainenguin
Member since:
2005-08-07

...that these 'news leaks' are attempts to tarnish Google's image? I mean ist one thing to keep your name floating around but its an entirely different thing to be known as the boy who cried wolf! I'm surprised Google hasn't made some kind of statement regarding these 'news leaks' to the effect of: "Look when we do something we'll announce it, any other rumors you may hear are just that--rumors!"

--bornagainpenguin

Reply Score: 1

LOL
by Googlesaurus on Wed 1st Feb 2006 02:38 UTC
Googlesaurus
Member since:
2005-10-19

Google ignores Linux with their own toolbars, earth, and other odds and ends, and we should now believe they are going to release a Linux disto? Too funny....

Reply Score: 2

RE: LOL
by backdoc on Wed 1st Feb 2006 03:08 UTC in reply to "LOL"
backdoc Member since:
2006-01-14

I tend to think the same thing. But, OTOH, I'm hoping the whole idea is to integrate those products into this distro.

Reply Score: 1

RE: LOL
by aent on Wed 1st Feb 2006 03:27 UTC in reply to "LOL"
aent Member since:
2006-01-25

While many official google products tend to ignore Linux, Google does make sure the end users have other options to use the technology. With some of them, they just don't apply to Linux (Google Desktop for example, Beagle is a much lower level, better integrated search tool for Linux, or Picasa, where F-Spot is already just as good as it and better in many ways as well). For the software that Linux doesn't fully support on its own already, like Google Talk, they hire a developer to work on getting the functionality into the open source software included on the Linux desktop. And Google Local is just as good as Google Earth for most uses...

By the way, Google Toolbar and there other browser extensions are fully supported in Linux.

Reply Score: 1

Why doesn't Johnny run Linux?
by nii_ on Wed 1st Feb 2006 03:14 UTC
nii_
Member since:
2005-07-11

"Why doesn't Johnny run Linux?"

I would say 99% of Johnnies probably don't run linux because when they bought the PC, a MS Windows OS was already installed on it.

If PCs were preinstalled with linux then those Johnnies would be running linux...

(PS. Linux pre-installed on a Mac-mini lookalike: <a href="http://www.tgdaily.com/2005/10/02/aopen_pandora/">box (thats the $399 version - save yourself a $100!))

Reply Score: 2

Bending Unit Member since:
2005-07-06

If people had the option of getting Linux or Windows XP preinstalled these Johnnies wouldn't be running Linux...

Reply Score: 2

nii_ Member since:
2005-07-11

"If people had the option of getting Linux or Windows XP preinstalled these Johnnies wouldn't be running Linux..."

If they had the option, with an example hundred dollar price increase for the MS Windows OS (such as with the Lin/Win Mac-mini lookalike), then I think more and more would begin considering their options and choices about not only the hardware but about the OS too...

Reply Score: 1

Two Cents
by Sphinx on Wed 1st Feb 2006 16:19 UTC
Sphinx
Member since:
2005-07-09

Johnnie just doesn't have any interest in taking control of his OS destiny. Learning new stuff takes effort.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Two Cents
by sean batten on Wed 1st Feb 2006 16:55 UTC in reply to "Two Cents"
sean batten Member since:
2005-07-06

That's a bit harsh. If the user is happy with the experience why should he want to "take control of his OS destiny"?

Sure, learning new stuff takes effort, but it also takes time. Most people have enough going on in their lives without having to worry about installing a new OS and getting it up and running with their existing hardware, especially when it's already running happily under Windows.

Why do we have to knock anyone who isn't prepared to move over to Linux..?

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Two Cents
by archiesteel on Wed 1st Feb 2006 17:37 UTC in reply to "RE: Two Cents"
archiesteel Member since:
2005-07-02

I think you and Sphinx are agreeing, so your response seems a bit strange.

That said, learning new things DOES take time an effort, however that can be said of Windows as well for people who are not used to it, or when a "revolutionary" new version comes out (like the next version of MS Office).

Not only that, but there are rewards for learning new things. With some of the comments here, it seems that having to learn anything is a chore that should be avoided at all costs. If that's the prevalent view in the U.S., then I fear for the 21st century as it will undoubtedly get overtaken by nations where people aren't afraid of learning new things.

Only MS apologists have the gall to turn laziness into a virtue...

Oh, and another thing:

If the user is happy with the experience why should he want to "take control of his OS destiny"?

I know very few Windows users who are "happy with the experience." Whenever I hear anything from them, it's usually complaints, so I think you may be confusing inertia with satisfaction here...

Edited 2006-02-01 17:39

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Two Cents
by Bit_Rapist on Wed 1st Feb 2006 19:48 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Two Cents"
Bit_Rapist Member since:
2005-11-13

That said, learning new things DOES take time an effort, however that can be said of Windows as well for people who are not used to it, or when a "revolutionary" new version comes out (like the next version of MS Office).

Only MS apologists have the gall to turn laziness into a virtue...


True anything new takes the effort to learn.

However when something is already working for someone and/or they are comfortable with it, the question becomes "does this *new* or *other* technology offer enough of an incentive to take the time to learn?"

Obviously for the vast majority of windows users the answer thus far is no. Otherwise we'd see a mass exodus of everyday users moving to linux.

only GNU/Linux apologists have the gall to think that windows is unsuable for everyone and they all need to be 'saved' from their operating system.

I know very few Windows users who are "happy with the experience." Whenever I hear anything from them, it's usually complaints, so I think you may be confusing inertia with satisfaction here...

Yeah people tend to complain about anything. I have a good friend who is an avid Linux user. The last time we talked he was complaining about a wireless USB adapter not working for him in debian after hours of trying.

Considering this is my only friend who uses linux as his sole OS its safe for me to say that the vast majority of linux users I know complain about their OS also!

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Two Cents
by archiesteel on Wed 1st Feb 2006 23:55 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Two Cents"
archiesteel Member since:
2005-07-02

However when something is already working for someone and/or they are comfortable with it, the question becomes "does this *new* or *other* technology offer enough of an incentive to take the time to learn?"

In order to correctly answer this question, however, he must know of the advantages of this new technology - in this case, one could mention peace of mind (no viruses, no spyware, no adware) and lots of free applications that can easily be installed without having to hunt them through the Internet.

There are other reasons to use Linux, however many users a) don't know about it, or b) will use what's installed on their PC.

only GNU/Linux apologists have the gall to think that windows is unsuable for everyone and they all need to be 'saved' from their operating system.

Who said anything about saving anyone, or about Windows being unusable? Not I, certainly.

I'm sorry, but that's a typical straw man argument...

Considering this is my only friend who uses linux as his sole OS its safe for me to say that the vast majority of linux users I know complain about their OS also!

My sample is much larger (both for Windows users and Linux users), therefore it's more accurate. :-)

Seriously, the people who complain the most about Windows are Windows users, and the people who complain the most about Linux are MS advocates...doesn't that tell you anything?

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Two Cents
by Sphinx on Thu 2nd Feb 2006 23:41 UTC in reply to "RE: Two Cents"
Sphinx Member since:
2005-07-09

I was not mocking or knocking anyone and I agree totally with your reasoning as to why he is not motivated.

Reply Score: 1