Linked by Eugenia Loli on Wed 23rd Jan 2008 22:07 UTC
Linux With Linux on the desktop going from a slow crawl to verging on an explosion, many have toiled with the question: How do we make this happen faster? A well-known Austin-based Linux Advocate thinks he has the answer.
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Simple answer
by Xaero_Vincent on Wed 23rd Jan 2008 22:52 UTC
Xaero_Vincent
Member since:
2006-08-18

> Stop the fragmentation and unify.

Consolidate all the hundreds of distributions into a dozen specially tailored versions and concentrate the development on them. The focus of developer power would greatly improve the release quality and stability of the distributions.

> Stop porting software to Windows.

This alone is probably the single most prominent deterrent for *nix adoption. A platform can hardly gain relevance by sharing everything it has to offer to the dominate players. The dilemma here is... porting to Windows has many benefits to the project--attracting more users and potential developers.

If these two issues cannot be solved in an agreeable fashion then it will all remain a pipe dream for Linux; all secondary issues, such as poorer hardware support and lack of commercial software, will persist.

Edited 2008-01-23 22:59 UTC

Reply Score: 5

RE: Simple answer
by RandomGuy on Wed 23rd Jan 2008 23:10 UTC in reply to "Simple answer"
RandomGuy Member since:
2006-07-30

>Stop porting software to Windows.

This alone is probably the single most prominent deterrent for *nix adoption.

I don't think the FOSS community should start to use lock-in tactics just because everyone else does. We should do what we believe is right, instead of trying to achieve Pyrrhic victories.

Reply Score: 26

RE[2]: Simple answer
by Xaero_Vincent on Wed 23rd Jan 2008 23:23 UTC in reply to "RE: Simple answer"
Xaero_Vincent Member since:
2006-08-18

I don't think the FOSS community should start to use lock-in tactics just because everyone else does. We should do what we believe is right, instead of trying to achieve Pyrrhic victories.


I understand your point and thats mostly how FOSS project development operates today. It works well but not for the success of alternative platforms.

Perhaps Linux could only move forward in the respect to adoption if a new software development ideology were formed; an idea that focuses exclusively on innovation for FOSS platforms like Linux.

Edited 2008-01-23 23:25 UTC

Reply Score: 4

jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

The idea has struck me a few times and is the primary reason I use "Linux based OS" or a specific distribution name. Here's why:

Linux is only a single commodity part of a bigger thing. Linux is the kernel, the core OS itself and nothing more. We all agree that one requires the rest of the distribution on top of the kernel or it's of no use. The smallest distributions specifically designed for a phone or R/C radio even include the kernel plus something. That something may be only the slim program between the user's four buttons and the kernel wrapped hardware but it's more than Linux. It's like referring to all firearms as fireingpins; but different distributions of fireingpins. Or, referring too all cars as Hemmy's but different distributions of the core engine.

It may be something as simple as referring to specific distributions; the kernel plus user space programs. Linux seems to cause an overwhelming fear of choice. If it's "Linux" it must be that complicated thing of which there are hundreds of programs for each function. But, they are all different. They are all seporate distributions onto themselves even though they are assembled from the same parts. Why not refer to Ubuntu or Ubuntu Linux rather than Linux. I don't run Linux, I run Mandriva which happens to be a Linux based OS.

The answer is surely not to reduce the number of choices but maybe start to recognize that these distribution things are not all the same even though they happen to have a Linux kernel at there core.

Reply Score: 1

hobgoblin Member since:
2005-07-06

"linux based", i can live with that.
better then gnu/linux at least...
(sorry, i guess this can become inflamatory)

Reply Score: 2

jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

It's a fair opinion. Most of the time I'm using "Linuxed based OS" to at least identify that it's based on Linux and that there may be more to an OS other than a penguin iconed project. Perhaps there is a better way to provide clarity without deminishing choice too.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Simple answer
by dagw on Thu 24th Jan 2008 11:58 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Simple answer"
dagw Member since:
2005-07-06

an idea that focuses exclusively on innovation for FOSS platforms like Linux.

In that case, you can count me out. One of the big selling points of FOSS for me is its ubiquity. The fact that it doesn't matter if the underlying OS is Linux, Irix, Solaris, Windows, FreeBSD or OS X. The tools I need to use will be there waiting for me, because those tools are Open Source. Lose that and it's back to vendor lock in, of a slightly different type.

Reply Score: 4

RE[4]: Simple answer
by Moochman on Thu 24th Jan 2008 17:29 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Simple answer"
Moochman Member since:
2005-07-06

Exactly. Plus, the "halo effect" of OSS should not be underestimated--the fact that users come to be familiar with and dependent on FOSS software means that they will be that more likely to be willing to switch to Linux in the future, because all of that same software they're used to runs there.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Simple answer
by moleskine on Wed 23rd Jan 2008 23:15 UTC in reply to "Simple answer"
moleskine Member since:
2005-11-05

With Linux on the desktop going from a slow crawl to verging on an explosion ...

While it would be nice if this were true, and perhaps it is, what is the evidence, such as a few facts?

As for the rest, I found it very hard to work out what this guy's big idea is. Let's stop arguing and all pull together? Most folks think that. Boil everything down to a few uber-distros? Less of an idea, more of a fantasty. Fitting the right distro to the right customer? Perhaps, but it's all hidden in a thicket of verbiage and tales about what sounds like a rather complicated past. I'm sure it's not the guy's fault, just not very cogent journalism perhaps.

In the end, this interview left me with the feeling that there's one in every town, but if you're lucky you'll never have to meet them. I think I'd rather put my bets on Mark Shuttleworth.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Simple answer
by backdoc on Wed 23rd Jan 2008 23:45 UTC in reply to "Simple answer"
backdoc Member since:
2006-01-14


This alone is probably the single most prominent deterrent for *nix adoption. A platform can hardly gain relevance by sharing everything it has to offer to the dominate players. The dilemma here is... porting to Windows has many benefits to the project--attracting more users and potential developers.


I vehemently disagree with that statement. Allowing users to get comfortable with open source applications like FireFox, for example would make switching to an another OS seamless.

I think we need to agree on why people would move from Windows in the first place. My opinion is that it will be because they are fed up with Windows. There are some like me who just feel more comfortable having all of my tools at my fingertips (like bash, grep, find, ls, sed, awk and more). But, there aren't really that many people like me in that respect. Windows users don't know about these tools and consequently don't know what they are missing. And, they aren't going to move to switch for end user applications they can't get on Windows either.

The reason they will move is because the want the freedom that comes with Open Source OS's. They will get tired of the never ending BS from Microsoft. They will move *AWAY* from Windows in search of something else. They won't move *TOWARD* Linux for the applications.

The best thing that can happen for open source operating systems is to be "open". And, that means encouraging cross platform applications that remove some of the barriers that prevent people from moving for the above stated reasons.

Your POV is myopic.

See my previous OSNews post regarding this very topic.
http://www.osnews.com/permalink?295348

Reply Score: 13

RE[2]: Simple answer
by Xaero_Vincent on Thu 24th Jan 2008 00:09 UTC in reply to "RE: Simple answer"
Xaero_Vincent Member since:
2006-08-18

I vehemently disagree with that statement. Allowing users to get comfortable with open source applications like FireFox, for example would make switching to an another OS seamless.


In theory, yes. But what actually happened is Firefox became popular as a Windows app. I would say between 80 to 95% of Firefox's browser marketshare is shared between Windows and Mac OS X users. In fact, there has been some speculation that Mozilla might be treating the *nix version as a second-class citizen.

I think we need to agree on why people would move from Windows in the first place. My opinion is that it will be because they are fed up with Windows. There are some like me who just feel more comfortable having all of my tools at my fingertips (like bash, grep, find, ls, sed, awk and more). But, there aren't really that many people like me in that respect. Windows users don't know about these tools and consequently don't know what they are missing. And, they aren't going to move to switch for end user applications they can't get on Windows either.

The reason they will move is because the want the freedom that comes with Open Source OS's. They will get tired of the never ending BS from Microsoft. They will move *AWAY* from Windows in search of something else. They won't move *TOWARD* Linux for the applications.


If that were true then Linux might have a credible market score on the desktop by now, right? Instead, most people just complain and continue using Windows for the sake of their applications, while a minuscule few might leap over to Macintosh.

I therefore came to believe great exclusive applications are the only way the little guys can prove themselves worthy on well established/owned territory. After all, Windows is so successful for that reason.

*nix is popular today with businesses because of it's lower TCO and great scalability, not so much because of the "freedom" it provides--though I'm sure they take advantage of the freedom.

Edited 2008-01-24 00:25 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Simple answer
by backdoc on Thu 24th Jan 2008 00:27 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Simple answer"
backdoc Member since:
2006-01-14

"I vehemently disagree with that statement. Allowing users to get comfortable with open source applications like FireFox, for example would make switching to an another OS seamless.


In theory, yes. But what actually happened is Firefox became popular as a Windows app. I would say between least 80 to 95% of Firefox's browser marketshare is shared between Windows and Mac OS X users. In fact, there has been some speculation that Mozilla might be treating the *nix version as a second-class citizen.
"
I see Firefox's popularity on Windows as a good thing. "There has been some speculation" .... what does that mean? Are you saying that you bet someone out there feels that way?



"I think we need to agree on why people would move from Windows in the first place. My opinion is that it will be because they are fed up with Windows. There are some like me who just feel more comfortable having all of my tools at my fingertips (like bash, grep, find, ls, sed, awk and more). But, there aren't really that many people like me in that respect. Windows users don't know about these tools and consequently don't know what they are missing. And, they aren't going to move to switch for end user applications they can't get on Windows either.

The reason they will move is because the want the freedom that comes with Open Source OS's. They will get tired of the never ending BS from Microsoft. They will move *AWAY* from Windows in search of something else. They won't move *TOWARD* Linux for the applications.


If that were true then Linux might have a credible market score on the desktop by now, right? Instead, most people just complain and continue using Windows for the sake of their applications, while a minuscule few might leap over to Macintosh.
"
I think you just validated my point. Making the applications cross platform prevents that.


I therefore believe only great exclusive applications is the only way the little guys can prove themselves worthy on well established/owned territory.

We'll just have to disagree on that one.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Simple answer
by Xaero_Vincent on Thu 24th Jan 2008 00:44 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Simple answer"
Xaero_Vincent Member since:
2006-08-18

I see Firefox's popularity on Windows as a good thing. "There has been some speculation" .... what does that mean? Are you saying that you bet someone out there feels that way?


Yes, it is a good thing but it proves my point that people just embrace the software on their existing platform rather than try it on the other platforms it runs on.

The speculation/rumor occurred on Mozilla mailing-lists and Slashdot, Digg, and other news sites. Mozilla denied the accusations, of course. If this were true, it certainly isn't a trend I wish to see happen as a *nix user.

I think you just validated my point. Making the applications cross platform prevents that.


Cross-platform and FOSS have been largely ubiquitous for a long time now; at least in my opinion.

If anything, FOSS is becoming more Windows-specific because how some new FOSS projects target proprietary development tools and libraries on Windows, rather than the cross-platform options.

We'll just have to disagree on that one.


Regardless who agrees upon what... its evident that whatever is happening now is clearly not helping to bring Linux and other FOSS platforms to the masses.

Edited 2008-01-24 00:49 UTC

Reply Score: 4

RE[5]: Simple answer
by WereCatf on Thu 24th Jan 2008 00:50 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Simple answer"
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

Regardless who agrees upon what... its evident that whatever is happening now is clearly not helping to bring Linux and other FOSS platforms to the masses.

Even if that was true (which I disagree on) it atleast helps to bring FOSS applications to the masses. And that's what counts, especially if you are already locked in to a platform and can't switch. In that case it's even more crucial to be able to replace atleast partially the proprietary solutions, isn't it?

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Simple answer
by WereCatf on Thu 24th Jan 2008 00:47 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Simple answer"
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

I therefore came to believe great exclusive applications are the only way the little guys can prove themselves worthy on well established/owned territory.

I thought the basic idea behind FOSS software was to give people more freedom to choose and do things their way, not to force them to a single platform?

Reply Score: 7

RE[4]: Simple answer
by Xaero_Vincent on Thu 24th Jan 2008 01:06 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Simple answer"
Xaero_Vincent Member since:
2006-08-18

I thought the basic idea behind FOSS software was to give people more freedom to choose and do things their way, not to force them to a single platform?


Sure...

But this discussion is about why Linux is a failure (in terms of adoption).

That is why I was pondering a new development ideology; one which focuses more on *nix and making it shine in the face of competition than freedom for all users.

Reply Score: 3

RE[5]: Simple answer
by WereCatf on Thu 24th Jan 2008 01:22 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Simple answer"
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

But this discussion is about why Linux is a failure (in terms of adoption).

It can't really be a failure unless there is a determined goal to reach. In that regard the community hasn't decided a single goal, there are basically two camps: those who wants 100% adoption and those who don't care as long as they can use Linux themselves. I belong to the latter camp cos I see no specific reason why people should start using Linux. No one has yet been able to give any good reason why it is more important to run FOSS software on Linux kernel rather than run the same FOSS software on something else.

Besides, the more users and devs there are for the FOSS projects in question the more bugs can be found and squashed. If you restrict the software to only one platform it will not only hinder the possibility of people finding the software and becoming acquainted with it but it will also lessen the number of developers polishing it and the number of users contributing bug reports. So, in that essence, is it more important that people specifically run their software on Linux or that the software overall is better quality? I still would go for the latter...but that too is just my opinion.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Simple answer
by umccullough on Thu 24th Jan 2008 03:27 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Simple answer"
umccullough Member since:
2006-01-26

In theory, yes. But what actually happened is Firefox became popular as a Windows app. I would say between 80 to 95% of Firefox's browser marketshare is shared between Windows and Mac OS X users. In fact, there has been some speculation that Mozilla might be treating the *nix version as a second-class citizen.


WELL DUH!

I mean jeez - are you saying Firefox was originally developed for Linux and ported to Windows? Why would you simply assume that Open Source software is primarily developed for an Open Source OS and then ported to Windows?

The fact is - Windows has the market share. If you're going to write an application, whether it be open or closed source, commercial or free - you're probably going to build it on the platform that is going to have the most market-share for your target audience. Firefox was developed primarily for Windows, secondarily for Linux and other OSes, period - stop pretending that it wasn't.

edit: fixed quote tags...

Edited 2008-01-24 03:29 UTC

Reply Score: 3

v RE[4]: Simple answer
by ecruz on Thu 24th Jan 2008 04:06 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Simple answer"
RE[5]: Simple answer
by anda_skoa on Thu 24th Jan 2008 12:44 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Simple answer"
anda_skoa Member since:
2005-07-07

They probably do not even know the origin of Firefox. It came from Mozilla, which came from Netscape, and both were written with Windows in mind.


While talking about Firefox origins one shouldn't forget that the Unix people were basically the ones saving Mozilla from extinction, both by providing the development resources for building upon the code dump and by constantly recommending it to Windows using friends and relatives.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Simple answer
by archiesteel on Thu 24th Jan 2008 04:49 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Simple answer"
archiesteel Member since:
2005-07-02

You're getting it wrong. Making applications cross-platform isn't a means to bring more people to Linux, but rather to lessen the impact of applications on OS choice, i.e. it makes it less of a hassle for people to use the same application across platforms. In other words, it's not going to convince people to switch, but it won't impede their decision either.

You're basing your argument on the premise that making exclusive applications would bring people over to another OS, but there's no indication that this would happen. In fact, most Linux applications are *not* available on Windows, and yet this doesn't seem to have convinced people to switch - despite the fact that there are *excellent* Linux apps.

Your suggestion would only make life harder for people who use the same apps over many platforms (a trend which ultimately makes the platform irrelevant) without giving *any* guarantees that it would make more people switch. Personally, I'll side with convenience (and more open-source software on *all* OSes) rather than some dubious strategy based on exclusivity.

Reply Score: 6

RE[4]: Simple answer
by hobgoblin on Thu 24th Jan 2008 11:21 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Simple answer"
hobgoblin Member since:
2005-07-06

indeed, linux, bsd, osx, windows.

all this is really secondary to being able to move data across os borders.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Simple answer
by Brendan on Thu 24th Jan 2008 13:06 UTC in reply to "RE: Simple answer"
Brendan Member since:
2005-11-16

Hi,

" This alone is probably the single most prominent deterrent for *nix
adoption. A platform can hardly gain relevance by sharing everything it
has to offer to the dominate players. The dilemma here is... porting to
Windows has many benefits to the project--attracting more users and
potential developers.

I vehemently disagree with that statement. Allowing users to get
comfortable with open source applications like FireFox, for example
would make switching to an another OS seamless.
"

Seamless or pointless? If you're a Windows user running KDE, openOffice, GCC, etc then what reason do you have to become a Linux user running running KDE, openOffice, GCC, etc?


I think we need to
agree on why people would move from Windows in the first place. My
opinion is that it will be because they are fed up with Windows.


Despite wishful thinking, Windows is "adequate"...

There
are some like me who just feel more comfortable having all of my tools
at my fingertips (like bash, grep, find, ls, sed, awk and more).


Can't you just port all of these tools to Windows instead of using Linux (or download the Windows binaries and/or Cygwin)?

The reason they will move is because the want the freedom that comes
with Open Source OS's.


No. Most people (except for everyone who is already using open source OSs) really don't care at all, and it doesn't matter how much wishful thinking open source advocates do, people still won't care.

When you buy a car do you ask if the engine management computer is open source? I doubt it - most people don't even think about it.

The same applies (for most people) when they're buying mobile phones, games machines and other devices. Normal people think the same way with computers - they buy the computer, it comes with Windows, they plug it in, it's "adequate", then they use it and continue to use it (without ever thinking about it).

They will get tired of the never ending BS from
Microsoft. They will move *AWAY* from Windows in search of something
else. They won't move *TOWARD* Linux for the applications.


Unfortunately not, people are silly and don't know the difference between price and worth. They'll think "Linux is free so it must be worthless" and "Apple is expensive so it must be better" then they'll buy an Apple/Mac... :-)

Imagine if I had 2 identical fire extinguishers. One cost me $2000, came with a nice pretty box and has a 20 year guarantee. The other one cost me $80, came in a clear plastic bag and has no guarantee. Even though these fire extinguishers are identical, which would you choose in a life or death situation?

The funny part is that (for these people) if you tell them there's an excellent piece of software they can get for free called Linux they won't be interested; but if you tell them you bought a copy of Linux for $800 they'll probably beg you to "pirate" a copy for them before they know what it is... :-)

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Simple answer
by lemur2 on Thu 24th Jan 2008 13:29 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Simple answer"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

If you're a Windows user running KDE, openOffice, GCC, etc then what reason do you have to become a Linux user running running KDE, openOffice, GCC, etc?


More secure. No need to run Windows ... so no Windows Update backdoor. No spyware. Phishing sites and malicious websites and spam in general no longer hold any danger to your system. No forced upgrades. 23000 searchable packages available to you to install from one easy-to-use point, guaranteed malware free and all zero cost. There are other reasons, but those will do for starters.

Despite wishful thinking, Windows is "adequate"...


Matter of opinion. It is not good enough in my view, it is fundamentally flawed, and one of its main design objectives seems to be to try to lock you in and limit your choice. Ugh.

Can't you just port all of these tools to Windows instead of using Linux (or download the Windows binaries and/or Cygwin)?


There are bits that are in the core of the OS that you can't really port, such as (as examples) SVG support, multiple filesystems, execute permissions, true multi-user (as in, more than one user on the one machine at the same time), lack of the single-point-of-failure registry, and so on.

When you buy a car do you ask if the engine management computer is open source? I doubt it - most people don't even think about it.


When you buy a mobile phone, would you buy one that only works with only one network (lock-in), or would you want to have one that can work with any network you choose (open)? A television that works with only one broadcaster? A CD player that plays only Sony CDs?

Most people will avoid lock-in where they can see they have a chance to do so.

Imagine if I had 2 identical fire extinguishers. One cost me $2000, came with a nice pretty box and has a 20 year guarantee. The other one cost me $80, came in a clear plastic bag and has no guarantee. Even though these fire extinguishers are identical, which would you choose in a life or death situation?

The funny part is that (for these people) if you tell them there's an excellent piece of software they can get for free called Linux they won't be interested; but if you tell them you bought a copy of Linux for $800 they'll probably beg you to "pirate" a copy for them before they know what it is... :-)


You have something of a point here.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friedrich_von_Schiller#Quotations
"Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain."

Edited 2008-01-24 13:30 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Simple answer
by WorknMan on Thu 24th Jan 2008 17:07 UTC in reply to "RE: Simple answer"
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13


The reason they will move is because the want the freedom that comes with Open Source OS's. They will get tired of the never ending BS from Microsoft. They will move *AWAY* from Windows in search of something else. They won't move *TOWARD* Linux for the applications.


Actually, the exact opposite of what you said is true. As a friend of mine says:

I don't like Windows - I like what I can run on Windows.

You concentrate on building better apps and you will get a HELL of a lot more converts than spewing a bunch of political crap to people who could care less about politics. Take it from me, a Windows user. Drop the preaching and the 'Bill Gates is a seal-clubbing bastard' drivel. I've heard it before and I'm not impressed. Is MS the spawn of Satan? Maybe. Do I care? Not really. Perhaps I would've cared about 10-15 years ago when I was still in my teens, but I'm too old for that sh*t. Understand? You give me some real-world examples of how I'm going to be more productive and get real work done faster on Linux and I will listen. And remember, I'm a power user. I don't get viruses, my computer does not have spyware, and I don't have any major problems to speak of on Windows.

So why should you care about users like me? If you manage to convert power users like me, you'll also convert a lot of other people by default whom I provide tech support for. They will switch if I tell them to. And I will tell them to switch if I switch myself, because I'd want them all to be on the same platform as what I'm using.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Simple answer
by Moochman on Thu 24th Jan 2008 17:39 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Simple answer"
Moochman Member since:
2005-07-06

If what you say is true then you should already have been converted by now. Linux already has tons of great apps. The fact that you don't know this just reinforces the point that making more OSS apps Linux-only probably won't raise the visibility of Linux, or the apps, whereas making them cross-platform will at least raise the visibility of the apps, and will make a switch to Linux at least able to be considered by the users of said apps.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Simple answer
by Laurence on Thu 24th Jan 2008 19:25 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Simple answer"
Laurence Member since:
2007-03-26

You give me some real-world examples of how I'm going to be more productive and get real work done faster on Linux and I will listen. And remember, I'm a power user. I don't get viruses, my computer does not have spyware, and I don't have any major problems to speak of on Windows. So why should you care about users like me? If you manage to convert power users like me, you'll also convert a lot of other people by default whom I provide tech support for. They will switch if I tell them to. And I will tell them to switch if I switch myself, because I'd want them all to be on the same platform as what I'm using.


It really depends on what you're used to and what you are using your computer for.

I too regularly use Windows (XP) as a platform to produce and DJ electonica. I've tried using Linux as a studio PC and it didn't even come close to the power and ease I already had with Windows, a select few sequencers and VSTi's.

However for surfing the net, reading e-mails, watching videos, etc I find Linux a much quicker and easier platform.

And for my home server I run FreeBSD. It's quicker and easier to set up that windows and runs smoother on a box.

So basically there is no "one size fits all" OS. It's just picking the best platform for the best job.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Simple answer
by butters on Thu 24th Jan 2008 01:05 UTC in reply to "Simple answer"
butters Member since:
2005-07-08

Stop porting software to Windows.


I also have to jump in here in opposition. My logic is simple: more users == good.

We want to engage lead users and developers on the Windows platform in our quest to produce better software through transparency and inclusiveness. We want more testers, more bug reports, more patch submissions, and more feedback. There's a massive untapped population of skilled users on the Windows and Mac platforms that can be a huge asset if we can get them involved in the free software community.

KDE4, for example, could be a "gateway drug" that leads people to explore the various free software platform options. But even if this is not the case, it's important to consider the strengths and weaknesses of free software systems in terms of quality. As Dave Jones prominently argued, it's mostly userspace that sucks, particularly at the application level. The Linux kernel, glibc, and other systems-level components receive a lot of testing and tuning from deep-pocketed corporate contributors. It's the top of the stack, projects like KDE, that could use some more exposure.

The promotion of cross-platform development environments should be amongst the top priorities of the free software community. We're not going to close the "application deficit" with Windows by pushing *nix-only development frameworks. Software vendors want to "go cross-platform" just as automakers want to "go green". They really don't care about the relatively small increase in target audience. It's a branding and corporate image thing. Whatever, let's indulge them anyway.

Protectionism is never the answer. A free exchange of goods, services, and ideas between communities is essential for progress. Communities ought to have a framework in place for ensuring that this exchange is conducted such that all members have an equal opportunity to benefit. In the Linux community, this social contract, is the GPL, which ensures that we can export our work freely to other communities without compromising our values, our identity, or our destiny. It's our "fair trade" agreement.

Reply Score: 13

RE: Simple answer
by 6c1452 on Thu 24th Jan 2008 01:48 UTC in reply to "Simple answer"
6c1452 Member since:
2007-08-29

OSS is OSS. It will be fragmented every time somebody makes a distro in their garage, and ported every time somebody takes the time to port it. This can't be stopped. Everybody can use it, including people you don't like, and there's no way to change this. This is the whole point of open source.

Which is at least part of the reason it pisses me off every time somebody suggests that everybody should use one graagh-borg-ASSIMILATE distro, window manager or toolkit and take over the world. Forks and competing standards happen because existing tools don't do what developers want the way they want, and the ability to make them (and use whichever one perfers) is what makes open source fun.

Not porting software to windows is a new one to me; I think maybe it hasn't been suggested before because it's impossible. There are actually windows users who can port software to windows, and good luck trying to stop them.

So everybody who does the open source versus windows thing, take a deep breath and repeat after me: Open source is not designed to take over the world. Open source is designed to be free. Open source does not hate windows. Windows is not the enemy.

See? Our blood pressure is lower already.

Edited 2008-01-24 01:49 UTC

Reply Score: 16

v RE: Simple answer
by Babi Asu on Thu 24th Jan 2008 06:11 UTC in reply to "Simple answer"
RE: Simple answer
by robertojdohnert on Thu 24th Jan 2008 10:49 UTC in reply to "Simple answer"
robertojdohnert Member since:
2005-07-12

The problem is that Open Source is just that open source, porting to Windows is not only accepted but permitted. The problem with no porting to Windows is that there are no killer apps that are Linux only and not only that, if you dont want your software on the Windows platform dont open source it.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Simple answer
by sorpigal on Thu 24th Jan 2008 15:27 UTC in reply to "Simple answer"
sorpigal Member since:
2005-11-02

> Stop the fragmentation and unify.


This might be helpful (arguable), but it's definitely impossible. Free people do what they like. As many people converge there will be many more people springing up and doing their own thing.

Getting major distributions to converge on best practices is about all you can do. Freedesktop.org is good in that area, but it's slow work.

> Stop porting software to Windows.


While this would indeed help Linux and other Free platforms, it's impossible. Just accept it! If you give me the source code, as you must to be a Free software advocate, then I can port it to Windows myself. Once I do I will release the code and binaries. Now what have you done? You've pissed off your fickle freedom-loving users and the software STILL runs on Windows.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Simple answer
by christianhgross on Thu 24th Jan 2008 16:45 UTC in reply to "Simple answer"
christianhgross Member since:
2005-11-15

Wow stop porting to Windows...

I dare you go ahead... Oh wait it will not work...

Let me give an example. Apache. In the early days the Apache team for years ignored Windows. They said that they were a Unix server only. That raised quite a bit of flack and the result is that Windows is now a completely supported platform.

The reality and I think people are missing it. If people don't want Linux on the desktop it is because Linux on the desktop is not working. Or the people doing Linux on the desktop are not doing something that people want.

Think hard about this. Windows = cost, Linux = free. Yet here we are Windows = market leader, OSX = catching up quickly... Linux? toil toil toil...

On the server different situation completely...

Reply Score: 2

Linux for the masses
by WereCatf on Wed 23rd Jan 2008 23:43 UTC
WereCatf
Member since:
2006-02-15

We hold the key of Freedom for tens of millions of people and that freedom is Linux

I find this one somehow arrogant. Linux is not the only OS out there.. OpenSolaris, *BSD et al, they are free too! And well, the word "Freedom" is capitalized so does it mean complete freedom from proprietary solutions or freedom to choose and do things your way? Anyways, Linux is not the Holy Grail of OS development. It may be good but heck, so are *BSDs.

Stop porting software to Windows.

He talks about freedom and then wants to force people to choose either proprietary software or Linux? First of all, having OSS projects ported to commercial OSes allow individuals to utilize those solutions under a familiar OS, it may allow them to replace a portion of their proprietary software portfolio, and it also allows them to migrate _slowly_. Besides, some people just like to run Windows and run some OSS applications there. So he wants to rid them of that possibility? IMHO he sounds rather arrogant and I don't like such suggestion AT ALL. OSS is about freedom, whether or not it is used under proprietary OS! If you restrict the conditions under which it can be used you're restricting the freedom of both the software and users, yet he preaches about freedom.. Talk about hypocritical.

Reply Score: 12

v RE: Linux for the masses
by sorpigal on Thu 24th Jan 2008 15:39 UTC in reply to "Linux for the masses"
RE[2]: Linux for the masses
by tim_mcc on Thu 24th Jan 2008 16:29 UTC in reply to "RE: Linux for the masses"
tim_mcc Member since:
2007-03-22

The reality is, as much as BSD fans might like to deny it, Linux is a *guarantee* of lasting freedom, BSD is not. GPL'd code cannot be closed off, BSD code can. Companies can contribute to GPL projects secure in the knowledge that their competitors are not being handed an advantage that they themselves will not also have. Average Joes can contribute to a GPL project secure in the knowledge that the code will not be hijacked and made unavailable to him in the future.


To suggest that BSD code can be 'closed off' so that people can no longer access the source code is disingenious in the extreme.

BSD code can never be closed. You can fork it and close that, but what's to stop you using the existing code base?

As for freedom, I fail to see how a license which *restricts* usage can somehow be considered 'free'.

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Linux for the masses
by sorpigal on Thu 24th Jan 2008 22:12 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Linux for the masses"
sorpigal Member since:
2005-11-02

"The reality is, as much as BSD fans might like to deny it, Linux is a *guarantee* of lasting freedom, BSD is not. GPL'd code cannot be closed off, BSD code can. Companies can contribute to GPL projects secure in the knowledge that their competitors are not being handed an advantage that they themselves will not also have. Average Joes can contribute to a GPL project secure in the knowledge that the code will not be hijacked and made unavailable to him in the future.


To suggest that BSD code can be 'closed off' so that people can no longer access the source code is disingenious in the extreme.
"

BSD code can be used as the basis of closed software, hiding changes, improvements, regressions and problems of all kinds. The closed software can then be pushed by its backers and succeed over the open software, for a variety of reasons including (possibly) that it might be better. This cannot (legally) happen with GPL'd software.

GPL'd software is good for mandating a future in which code-visible-and-editable is the norm. BSD code is nice, but it does not mandate this. Because it does not *force* code visibility it implicitly supports code hiding, even though it is itself open.

Suppose a company takes some BSD'd code and incorporates it into their product, makes sales, makes a profit, but does not contribute money or patches back to the original application. Society is harmed by a closed application existing, society is harmed by the company's customers choosing the closed application instead of the open application from which it was in whole or in part derived, and society is harmed by improvements not flowing to all users.

It is not sufficient that existing and future users of the BSD'd version continue to use it and be free. The code has been closed off to the detriment of society.

If said application had been GPL'd instead then the company would be faced with reimplementing the functionality in a probable inferior way, or they would be required to publish their changes. Even if they chose to roll their own society would still be served by its probable inferiority driving customers to options which *were* based on the GPL'd code.

BSD code can never be closed. You can fork it and close that, but what's to stop you using the existing code base?


This argument is always raised whenever the BSD license's drawbacks are discussed. Nothing can stop you from using the last free version the day after the fork, and nothing is likely to stop you at any time. That's not the point I was making and I think it is as disingenuous for you to suggest that it was as it is for me to suggest that BSD code can be closed off.

As for freedom, I fail to see how a license which *restricts* usage can somehow be considered 'free'.


I know you do. I have this conversation often with my BSD-fan friends; we continue to fail to understand each other on this point. It's an ongoing problem. I run in to the same problem debating socialism vs. libertarianism for many of the same reasons, regardless of which side I choose.

We can argue all day about whether the greatest freedom for the greatest number will be achieved by limiting some freedoms today; I expect we wont agree. We can debate the fine semantic points concerning just who it is whose freedom is being abridged; I suspect we wont agree on that, either. I'd just as soon not start... people seem to like voting me down for saying things which offend their ideals.

Reply Score: 1

Say no to drugs...
by tomcat on Thu 24th Jan 2008 00:03 UTC
tomcat
Member since:
2006-01-06

"With Linux on the desktop going from a slow crawl to verging on an explosion..."

(Rolls eyes) Verging on an explosion? C'mon, who do they think they're kidding here? I wish that I had a dime for every prediction of The Year of the Linux Desktop. Linux is a great OS but, whether or not you agree about its greatness or suitability for the masses, it's a niche OS and will remain so for quite some time. This is an objective fact. The market share numbers bear it out so, if you're going to argue that it isn't a niche OS, you're living in a different reality than the majority of us.

...stop porting *nix software to Windows...

This isn't stopping Linux adoption. Rather, it's because they can't use Photoshop and Office and countless other productivity apps (that are available on OS X and Windows) on *nix. And, again, anybody who thinks that GIMP or OpenOffice or fill-in-the-blank is better than its commercial alternative needs to do a reality check.

Reply Score: 7

RE: Say no to drugs...
by wakeupneo on Thu 24th Jan 2008 02:41 UTC in reply to "Say no to drugs..."
wakeupneo Member since:
2005-07-06

I'll happily 'fill in the blank'...K3B. Simply the best burning program out there in my opinion.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Say no to drugs...
by tomcat on Thu 24th Jan 2008 04:21 UTC in reply to "RE: Say no to drugs..."
tomcat Member since:
2006-01-06

I use Nero. Can't complain. It burns everything.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Say no to drugs...
by wakeupneo on Thu 24th Jan 2008 06:58 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Say no to drugs..."
wakeupneo Member since:
2005-07-06

I have no idea why you were modded down for that...but it happens..*sigh*...I've modded you back up one point anyway.

No question that Nero is a fine piece of software, but with K3B as an option I just don't see the need for a commercial alternative. It would be like buying a copy of Wordpad to replace KWrite. A giant step sideways.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Say no to drugs...
by raver31 on Thu 24th Jan 2008 17:37 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Say no to drugs..."
raver31 Member since:
2005-07-06

I will tell you why people mod him down. Every discussion about free software, someone comes up with a completely valid working free solution, and Tomcat has to reply with the version he has to pay money for.

As if paying for things automatically makes them better.

I use Nero and I also use K3b... K3b outshines Nero on every option. So much so, that Nero seems amateurish in comparison.

Reply Score: 3

RE[5]: Say no to drugs...
by tomcat on Thu 24th Jan 2008 21:49 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Say no to drugs..."
tomcat Member since:
2006-01-06

I will tell you why people mod him down. Every discussion about free software, someone comes up with a completely valid working free solution, and Tomcat has to reply with the version he has to pay money for.

So what. You have your preferences, I have mine.

As if paying for things automatically makes them better.

Reread my comments. I never said that Nero was "better". It meets my needs. Which means that moving to another platform just to use an alternative is simply too costly.

I use Nero and I also use K3b... K3b outshines Nero on every option. So much so, that Nero seems amateurish in comparison.

I could really give a rat's ass which one is "better". You guys don't seem to grasp this reality: People aren't going to move to Linux simply because you think something else is superior. There are too many tangible (and intangible) costs associated with moving from one platform to another (software investments, training, existing data, software availability, yadda, yadda, yadda) -- but you seem to think that it's just a matter of throwing all that out the window and moving. No wonder you're spinning your wheels and can't figure out why.

Reply Score: 1

RE[6]: Say no to drugs...
by WereCatf on Thu 24th Jan 2008 21:59 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Say no to drugs..."
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

People aren't going to move to Linux simply because you think something else is superior. There are too many tangible (and intangible) costs associated with moving from one platform to another (software investments, training, existing data, software availability, yadda, yadda, yadda) -- but you seem to think that it's just a matter of throwing all that out the window and moving. No wonder you're spinning your wheels and can't figure out why.

This here I actually do agree on. Most average users already have a computer with Windows there so they will also have all their files there, mail, bookmarks, pictures and all that. It is actually quite a hurdle to move all that to a Linux partition in a format used by Linux apps (if it is even possible to convert everything). If there is a risk of losing any data I would rather suggest _against_ migrating rather than risk someone losing any of their personal files or data. Besides, replacing Windows with Linux is not something an average rather computer-illiterate person could do on his or her own, they'd need someone to guide them through that. If a new computer came with Linux preinstalled they would most likely use that without any more complaints than they have under Windows. The fact just is that most computers still come with Windows preinstalled and average computer-illiterate people won't even ask if it comes with Linux, either because they've never heard of it or because they rather use Windows cos they're familiar with it. That's just the way it is and IMHO it's pointless to complain about it. Rather just continue developing Linux forward and polishing the apps, the geeks and somewhat more experienced computer users will eventually pull more people to Linux anyway if they like it themselves.

Reply Score: 2

RE[7]: Say no to drugs...
by tomcat on Thu 24th Jan 2008 22:39 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Say no to drugs..."
tomcat Member since:
2006-01-06

The fact just is that most computers still come with Windows preinstalled and average computer-illiterate people won't even ask if it comes with Linux, either because they've never heard of it or because they rather use Windows cos they're familiar with it. That's just the way it is and IMHO it's pointless to complain about it. Rather just continue developing Linux forward and polishing the apps, the geeks and somewhat more experienced computer users will eventually pull more people to Linux anyway if they like it themselves.

You're a reasonable and level-headed guy. Look, I think that people who like and use Linux should continue to focus on making it the best platform that they can. They shouldn't worry much about why the n00bs aren't migrating faster. Maybe it will happen over time, maybe not, but in either case, you have an improving platform that benefits the people who care the most about it. Just my two cents.

Reply Score: 0

RE[6]: Say no to drugs...
by ichi on Fri 25th Jan 2008 00:06 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Say no to drugs..."
ichi Member since:
2007-03-06

I could really give a rat's ass which one is "better". You guys don't seem to grasp this reality: People aren't going to move to Linux simply because you think something else is superior. There are too many tangible (and intangible) costs associated with moving from one platform to another (software investments, training, existing data, software availability, yadda, yadda, yadda)


Well, with kde4 being released for windows you could use apps like k3b without switching platforms. If k3b on windows was better than nero I don't see why you wouldn't consider using it.

Anyway while it's true that moving to a different platform implies certain costs, those are for the most part short-term costs that might (or not) be outweighted by the mid and long-term savings.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Say no to drugs...
by raver31 on Thu 24th Jan 2008 17:34 UTC in reply to "RE: Say no to drugs..."
raver31 Member since:
2005-07-06

Another killer Linux app is Amarok.

Every Ubuntu install I am asked to do, (and they are increasing every day)....

It runs Gnome, but I type this...

sudo aptitude install k3b amarok gps gkrellm mc joe


then set /usr/bin/kdeinit and /usr/bin/gkrellm
as start up programs in session manager... lovely...

Anyway, Amarok, simply the best music application on any platform. Can't be beat.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Say no to drugs...
by Laurence on Thu 24th Jan 2008 19:29 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Say no to drugs..."
Laurence Member since:
2007-03-26

Anyway, Amarok, simply the best music application on any platform. Can't be beat.


That's only your opinion. I've tried it and personally found it overkill for when all I wanted was to listen to a few MP3s.

Personally I favour VLC for every day use (the bonus being it runs on all of my platforms) but then that's only my personal preference too.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Say no to drugs...
by WereCatf on Thu 24th Jan 2008 21:30 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Say no to drugs..."
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

Another killer Linux app is Amarok.
[..]
Anyway, Amarok, simply the best music application on any platform. Can't be beat.


I don't really think it's such a "killer app". There are a whole range of good audio players for Linux. I personally like Rhythmbox the best. On Mac I would use iTunes. On my XP installation I also use iTunes but only because Rhythmbox isn't available and I don't know of any good similar Windows apps (and whoever is reading this, please, don't suggest anything resembling Winamp cos I just don't like those at all). Anyways, my case is just a good example here for why I consider porting apps to Windows A Good Thing (TM): I can then use familiar and high-quality apps under Windows too whenever the need arises for me to boot into Windows. That's why I find the suggestion of stopping porting apps to Windows inherently annoying: I am forced to boot to Windows from time to time anyway but then I would also be forced to turn to Windows-only apps cos the apps I would like to use are no longer available.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Say no to drugs...
by archiesteel on Thu 24th Jan 2008 04:54 UTC in reply to "Say no to drugs..."
archiesteel Member since:
2005-07-02

Hey, tomcat, did you hear about the EeePC? Apparently it's doing quite well...

As for the usual rant against Gimp and OpenOffice, it conveniently ignores the fact that, for 95% of users, these software are perfectly adequate.

Anyway, if you're not going to participate in this debate in a meaningful way (i.e. not restate your well-known anti-Linux agenda), perhaps you should simply abstain. Just a thought...

Reply Score: 6

RE[2]: Say no to drugs...
by csixty4 on Thu 24th Jan 2008 13:37 UTC in reply to "RE: Say no to drugs..."
csixty4 Member since:
2007-10-08

As for the usual rant against Gimp and OpenOffice, it conveniently ignores the fact that, for 95% of users, these software are perfectly adequate.


How many of those users actually bought Office or Photoshop, though?

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Say no to drugs...
by zittergie on Thu 24th Jan 2008 20:20 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Say no to drugs..."
zittergie Member since:
2008-01-24

That's the point.

Why should one use pirated software or buy MsOffice, while for home use OpenOffice works just as fine.

Why use pirated Photoshop (Elements) while Gimp, Krita & digiKam (or Commercial Pixel32) does all a home user need.

Same applies to K3b, Amarok, mplayer, lazarus, and so on ...

I'm using kUbuntu around 90% for desktop use (BeOS: 5% for mail savings, Windows: 5% to see a game demo, and compile and test lazarus projects)

BTW: I'm in search for a mail program (or solution) in linux that treat mails as files and not as one big database file, and same for people (email addresses) files. (BeOS like) Any thoughts?

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Say no to drugs...
by anda_skoa on Fri 25th Jan 2008 01:03 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Say no to drugs..."
anda_skoa Member since:
2005-07-07


BTW: I'm in search for a mail program (or solution) in linux that treat mails as files and not as one big database file, and same for people (email addresses) files. (BeOS like) Any thoughts?


Don't all of them do exactly that?

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Say no to drugs...
by zittergie on Sun 27th Jan 2008 11:19 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Say no to drugs..."
zittergie Member since:
2008-01-24

No, they don't:

Evolution store it's mail in ~/.evolution/mail/local/inbox (as a database file)

If i'm not mistake so does thunderbird

kmail store's it in seperate files (like I want) using cryptyc filenames so I have to open the mail to see from who and what the subject is.

Would be nice to see like this:

sender | subject | date | to whom | filename

Anyone using BeOS (or derivates) knows what i'm talking about.

The others thing that would be nice is having people files.

Reply Score: 1

v RE[2]: Say no to drugs...
by tomcat on Thu 24th Jan 2008 21:55 UTC in reply to "RE: Say no to drugs..."
RE: Say no to drugs...
by oomingmak on Thu 24th Jan 2008 18:16 UTC in reply to "Say no to drugs..."
oomingmak Member since:
2006-09-22

"With Linux on the desktop going from a slow crawl to verging on an explosion..."

(Rolls eyes) Verging on an explosion? C'mon, who do they think they're kidding here?

Well, it does beg the question why they need to find ways to accelerate take-up if there is already an "explosion".

Reply Score: 2

Self-agreement
by Almafeta on Thu 24th Jan 2008 00:22 UTC
Almafeta
Member since:
2007-02-22

Ken has come to the correct conclusion that the majority of people who use a computer haven't a clue that they have a choice in how it's operated.


Emphasis mine.

A little bit of circular logic there: "This is the right conclusion because it is the right conclusion." And unfortunately, the rest of their argument is built on that false conclusion.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Self-agreement
by stestagg on Thu 24th Jan 2008 00:50 UTC in reply to "Self-agreement"
stestagg Member since:
2006-06-03

How is this circular logic?

Ken has come to a conclusion. One that the interviewer agrees with, along with most rational people in the world. Because the conclusion is largely subjective in nature, and it agrees with popular conception (and experience), it can legitimately be called correct.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Self-agreement
by WereCatf on Thu 24th Jan 2008 00:58 UTC in reply to "RE: Self-agreement"
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

Ken has come to the correct conclusion that the majority of people who use a computer haven't a clue that they have a choice in how it's operated.

Because the conclusion is largely subjective in nature [..] it can legitimately be called correct.

If a conclusion is largely subjective by nature then it actually means it's not possible to tell if it is right or wrong. OTOH if it was objective... Besides, there is nothing to back that claim up. As you said, it is very subjective and there are lots of opinions in both directions.

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Self-agreement
by stestagg on Thu 24th Jan 2008 13:41 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Self-agreement"
stestagg Member since:
2006-06-03

Actually, I was being quite precise there. I didn't use the words 'right' or 'wrong' but 'correct', and I even qualified that by adding the 'can legitimately be called' phrase before it.

Take subjective scoring in the Olympics for example. If someone performs well in an ice skating competition and are given a good score, then you can't claim the score was 'right' in a mathematical sense, but to say that the judges gave a correct score, is perfectly satisfactory.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Self-agreement
by Moochman on Thu 24th Jan 2008 17:48 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Self-agreement"
Moochman Member since:
2005-07-06

I'd say the word "accurate" is more accurate.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Self-agreement
by BluenoseJake on Thu 24th Jan 2008 12:59 UTC in reply to "RE: Self-agreement"
BluenoseJake Member since:
2005-08-11

"Ken has come to a conclusion. One that the interviewer agrees with, along with most rational people in the world."

I consider myself rational (haven't killed and eaten any of my friends today, or went on an unexplained crying jag) But i disagree, and I think you would find that the community opinion is probably split right down the middle with regards to OSS software on Prop OSs

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Self-agreement
by stestagg on Thu 24th Jan 2008 13:33 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Self-agreement"
stestagg Member since:
2006-06-03

The conclusion that is being discussed is [paraphrased]:

Most people aren't aware that they don't have to use the OS that their computer was shipped with.

Now I don't see how community optinion can be split over this. For a start, most people are only vaguely aware of the concept of an OS. Most[?] people have heard of Linux nowadays, but the fact that it can freely replace Windows and [usually] provide a decent graphical interface and replace all their [non-technical] applications is not something that the majority of people are aware of, in any realistic definition of 'aware'.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Self-agreement
by BluenoseJake on Thu 24th Jan 2008 13:34 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Self-agreement"
BluenoseJake Member since:
2005-08-11

ahhh, I got the threads crossed, there was also the thread about FOSS on Windows, and I thought the parent was referring to that, my bad

Reply Score: 2

Simpler Answer
by sb56637 on Thu 24th Jan 2008 01:49 UTC
sb56637
Member since:
2006-05-11

Instead of spending money on Linux advertising, why not just invest in more development time and hardware to create a desktop OS that's truly better than Windows? Windows is terrible, it shouldn't be too hard to beat.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Simpler Answer
by WereCatf on Thu 24th Jan 2008 01:57 UTC in reply to "Simpler Answer"
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

Windows is terrible, it shouldn't be too hard to beat.

Care to refrain yourself from bashing Windows if you can't give any examples as to why it so terrible? Atleast I don't find it terrible. All of my PCs run Gentoo but on my gaming machine I also have WinXP installed and it works just fine for everything I use it for.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Simpler Answer
by archiesteel on Thu 24th Jan 2008 04:56 UTC in reply to "Simpler Answer"
archiesteel Member since:
2005-07-02

The OS is *already* better than Windows. Quality is not the issue here. The main reason why Linux adoption inches up at such a slow pace is because of user inertia.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Simpler Answer
by Moochman on Thu 24th Jan 2008 18:05 UTC in reply to "RE: Simpler Answer"
Moochman Member since:
2005-07-06

I don't know if I'd go quite that far. It really depends on what aspect you're focusing on.

For instance: Security winner: Linux. Better-documented API's for programmers: Quite possible Windows. General-purpose usability: About the same. (This is very debateable of course but I think in the end the pros and cons of the systems cancel each other out. For instance, editing the Start menu on Windows is much nicer than on most Linux distros.) Hardware support: not necessarily a measure of "quality", and I won't go into it to avoid a flamewar, but let's just say there's no *clear* winner there, either.

In the end, I don't think there's a *clear* quality winner. Suffice it to say, Linux is at least as good, which combined with its freeness makes the total better.

Reply Score: 3

PCLinuxOS
by LightRider on Thu 24th Jan 2008 01:53 UTC
LightRider
Member since:
2007-08-05

I am glad to see that he admits that if you want to install a distro for
a newbie coming over from Windows, PCLinuxOS is the distro most
likely to make that transition a success.

Reply Score: 3

TechGeek
Member since:
2006-01-14

Regardless who agrees upon what... its evident that whatever is happening now is clearly not helping to bring Linux and other FOSS platforms to the masses.


Actually, Linux has started to come to the masses. Classmate PC, OLPC, Asus Eee, and several other sub notebooks are now shipping with Linux. THen there is Dell shipping Linux and hitting expected numbers. But everyone could offer Linux and that isnt the answer. The real answer is in convenience. We have to make Linux look more convenient than Windows. 90% of the people with a computer couldnt tell you the difference between the computer and the monitor. THey cant install software or anything else. What they can do is get infected by spyware and make their system unusable. What a company needs to offer is a machine with Linux already set up to do all the things that the average person does on Windows. Email, surfing, music, videos. Give them a rock solid box set up as an appliance and you will get mass adoption. People are tired of paying techs to rebuild their computer every 6-12 months when the latest malware renders it a bot.

Reply Score: 5

polaris20 Member since:
2005-07-06

The answer is not simple. Tell a home user that they can't install a certain game on Linux, or a particular Windows-only app.

Tell a business that they can't install their particular industry-specific package on it.

End of the road.

What's needed is to get these software companies to port to Linux on a much larger scale. If people can have their apps on Linux, I really don't think they'd care what OS they were on.

People use applications.....their applications. That's what has to be remembered when discussing the "Year of the Linux Desktop".

Unfortunately there's little to nothing the FOSS community can do to change whether or not an app is ported to Linux. That's up to the companies in question. And no, WINE is not the solution.

Reply Score: 1

Moochman Member since:
2005-07-06

Well, then you tell the user there's no need to install X Windows app, much less buy it in the first place for that matter, since an equivalent OSS app is available *totally free of charge*. I doubt they'll be too upset by that news. (Unless of course they already bought the app, but hey, you've got to get off the treadmill sometime, hard as it might be).

Of course, this might not be able to apply to parents of children who really want *that Windows game that everyone has* (unless you can maybe get it working under Cedega or something) but for the rest of the population, it should be just fine.

Reply Score: 2

This is not the guy
by jadeshade on Thu 24th Jan 2008 03:58 UTC
jadeshade
Member since:
2007-07-10

...I would want representing linux. His own graphics designer couldn't trust him, and he brags about turning old ladies into music pirates - this is the exact sort of shifty image that microsoft had tried to smear linux users (and the broader foss community) with for so many years.

Reply Score: 4

RE: This is not the guy
by Moochman on Thu 24th Jan 2008 18:15 UTC in reply to "This is not the guy"
Moochman Member since:
2005-07-06

He does seem to have a *unique* sense of humor, and I was a bit taken off-guard that his graphics designer apparently *hadn't been notified* about what happened to the Wacom tablet until the writing of this article. But on the whole he seems to me to just maybe be crazy enough to make a difference.

Reply Score: 2

I stopped reading
by Soulbender on Thu 24th Jan 2008 06:25 UTC
Soulbender
Member since:
2005-08-18

...when I saw it was on lxer.com. Well, I should have stopped but since I'm sucker for pain and punishment I read it anyway. Against my better judgment.
And boy, was it ever a bad judgment call.
One sentence in and I'm already lost:

I caught up with Ken Starks aka helios on the phone when I first heard of this effort.


Huh? What effort? Seriously, this is NOT a good way to start your article. Not that it gets better later or anything.

And after reading the entire boring interview I still dont know what he gets so right.

A typical substandard lxer article.

Reply Score: 4

RE: I stopped reading
by sbergman27 on Thu 24th Jan 2008 13:18 UTC in reply to "I stopped reading"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

...when I saw it was on lxer.com.


As someone who used to hang out at LXer quite a lot, I know what you mean. LXer is a small, rather insular, community of Linux true believers and choir members who meet everyday to preach to each other. To be clear, I'm a member of the Linux Advocacy Choir myself. But after a time, even I came to find the atmosphere there stifling and more than a bit boring. And one day I realized that whenever a story was posted to the site, I already knew exactly what each of the other members was going to say in the comments. I had gotten to know them all pretty well and, to a great degree, could have done a fair job writing their comments for them. I should say that there are two or three notable exceptions; Two or three members had exceptional wit and insight, lots of (sobering) practical experience in the industry, and always looked very carefully at all sides of every argument before speaking. (And if you are reading this, you know who you are.) I finally decided to make a break for it and moved here.

I have never regretted it. I'm not much of an arguer, myself. But I enjoy watching the debate here. And it keeps me honest, too. I can't just trumpet the virtues of my chosen OS without someone setting me straight on a few facts. And I enjoy finding the common ground I hold with people with whom I otherwise disagree on many things. I have fun disagreeing with my friends, here. And it keeps me from getting too OBSESSED and SERIOUS about my Linux and FOSS advocacy.

And I, too, tend to avoid LXer articles, Soulbender. I have fond memories of my days at LXer. But I really don't care to go back.

Edited 2008-01-24 13:22 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: I stopped reading
by Moochman on Thu 24th Jan 2008 18:17 UTC in reply to "RE: I stopped reading"
Moochman Member since:
2005-07-06

Hehe if you're not much of an arguer, maybe here isn't the best place to be after all ;) . Just saying this as quite the arguer myself. But I warmly welcome you here anyway. And I'll try not to argue with you too much ;) .

Reply Score: 2

RE: I stopped reading
by iron_chef on Fri 25th Jan 2008 16:33 UTC in reply to "I stopped reading"
iron_chef Member since:
2007-10-12

Soulbender - thank you. I was beginning to think that I was the only one here who thought that this read more like a high school book report than anything else. I mean, come on, do they even have an editor there? How many times can you use the word "effort" in one paragraph? It's almost painful to read.

Reply Score: 1

Quag7
Member since:
2005-07-28

His point that most users don't really understand that they have a choice in operating systems is the first thing. I've heard arguments that most users don't care, but if that's true, why, every time someone finds out I'm a computer enthusiast, start asking me why their (Windows) computer is running so slowly, why things on old Windows installations are so crashy, and so on? I'm not saying that other operating systems aren't susceptible to various forms of "OS rot" but really, the reason why "Windows works fine" for so many users is they enlist people to fix their systems and support them for free. I do this all the time.

This is not (for me) a religious crusade and I think it's better to help friends and family out than be some kind of weirdo cult member by refusing to touch a Windows machine, but imagine if all of the people who supported Windows "for free" stopped doing that.

Imagine if all of the crapified registries, spyware, and file system fragmentation just carried on, unaddressed, for years, as it does on so many Windows machines. As machines became less usable, you can bet that people would start asking why, and is there some alternative to this? The price for my help in getting a machine back into a usable state is a short dissertation that indeed there are other operating systems, and, frankly, I list all of the big ones, not just Linux (my personal choice). I don't approach this angrily or take a commanding tone of voice. I simply casually explain that I don't have to deal with any of this crap because I don't use Windows, yet for the most part I do the same things on the computer the Windows user is doing. I also explain that I used to be a Windows user.

Secondly, I don't care one bit about racing, but the idea he had about putting Linux out there as a "brand" was not a bad one. Linux (I won't even go into the BSDs) is something people have heard about from a friend or friend of a friend, and they have no clear conception of what it is, in my experience. They don't get that for all practical purposes, it (can) look like any other consumer OS, with a "Start Menu" of sorts, icons, and file managers where you can drag files around. If you mention UNIX, people who know what that is remember, faintly, plain text amber or green terminals churning out data. It does not generally result in warm fuzzies. Instead, it inspires fear and loathing, bad memories of unkempt beards and lots of number crunching. That's just been my experience; maybe others here have a different one when bringing up UNIX in trying to explain what Linux is.

When I mention Macs to Windows users, they either tell me that Macs are too expensive, or they are, once again, not clear on what the experience will be like if they've never used one. The problem with the Mac commercials, cute as they are, is they don't show the interface. They don't show customers that "this is pretty much what you're used to," in terms of the desktop environment, and since most people seem to feel that Mac's OS is pretty, I don't get why they don't do that. People fear change with computers, and they need to be shown that it's really not as much of a change as they might think.

I'd like to see some kind of consortium get commercials on television. I'd like to see Tux the penguin as a recognizable logo, and it is, if nothing else, a friendly logo for consumers, however unbusinesslike people have accused it of being. I'm sure kids would dig it, and there's no better audience to get started on Linux, or any computer technology, than kids who haven't gotten used to dominant paradigms and don't fear change the way their parents sometimes do.

Lastly, I'd like to see the ten billion distributions whiddled down to maybe five or ten, and then I'd like to see the differences between them that serve no useful purpose in terms of functionality, go away (obviously I'm all for difference if it serves a specific purpose or differentiates the distribution for a good reason). People always say that Linux is all about choice, like it's a religious dictum. Maybe it's valid, but that's not what I'm talking about. I look at Distrowatch and all I see is "Linux is all about dilution." Dilution of resources, developers, and so on. There's a good reason to have choices, but does having 150 distributions or whatever there is serve any practical purpose? This is a contentious point but I have not been impressed with arguments to the contrary.

From what I can tell, 5 or 10 distributions should cover peoples differing needs quite well, maybe a few more for odd architectures or embedded systems, which I know little about. (This is all like, if I was omnipotent or something). Then, I'd like to see each distribution have some kind of payroll, whether through donations, bounties, or selling swag. There are a bunch of irritating, uninteresting, boring issues which need some developer love, and I can completely understand why volunteers might not want to tackle them, but money could close that gap.

Developers, especially ones who tackle especially complicated or tedious issues, deserve some kind of compensation for the time they could have spent with their family or working on something fun and personally satisfying to them. I've ponied up in the past and I'll do it again. It would be nice to have a "Year of Linux Donations" where everyone digs deep and pledges, say, $100 to a project of their choice.

Finally, none of the hardware support websites provide a specific service I need every few years. What I want is a list of hardware known to work out of the box, 100% perfectly, in Linux, equivalent in feature support to Windows. This would help people building new systems or selecting new systems to preemptively seek out hardware which "just works" rather than "works with a bunch of screwing around."

Many of the hardware sites also only mention or test a subset of functionality - "I have no use for the microphone on my webcam so I haven't tested it, but the picture is great" is kind of useless to me. A blacklist of companies or products that refuse to work with Linux, are notoriously difficult to get working, or have crap drivers, would also be helpful to know so they can be avoided. Carrots and sticks for hardware companies, useful information for Linux users, all in one facility.

As for the BSDs, I don't know how to sell them to consumers. From everything I have seen with my limited experience with FreeBSD, it seems equivalent to the experience I have with Gentoo Linux. It adds nothing but lacks nothing, for my own personal use. There are different ways of getting from A to B, but it is roughly the same to me, so I'm not sure how that fits in here, but I'm sure BSD users have some ideas. I'd be happy with it if Gentoo went up in flames tomorrow and I had to select some other OS. It'd probably be my first choice.

I know BSD users sometimes get annoyed with the amount of attention Linux gets. I'd recommend for all Linux users who haven't experimented with the BSDs, to install some virtualization software (I use KVM/QEMU) and install one of the BSDs. Might get some interesting ideas from it, or even decide it meets your needs better than Linux. Gentoo seems to borrow some ideas from FreeBSD and even with the bad press Gentoo's been getting lately, I still love it, and largely for the ways it is similar to FreeBSD.

But yeah, I, for one, think a diversity is a positive thing. In the 8 bit days, companies developed for multiple "operating systems," and there's no reason they couldn't do it again, if it made financial sense to do so. Only consumers - us - can make this happen.

Reply Score: 4

Why should someone *switch* to Linux?
by wkornewald on Thu 24th Jan 2008 10:07 UTC
wkornewald
Member since:
2006-08-23

I'm serious. Tell me one compelling reason to switch. Is it much faster? Is it much easier to use? Does it help everyone work much better? Does it have visual appeal? No. It's just cheaper than Windows and OSX.

But it also has a cost: you must learn how to use it and you risk wasting time on it in case you don't like it (let's just ignore missing software and hardware support). Before you can even decide whether Linux is worth the discount when buying a computer you have to use it, which costs time that not everyone is willing to invest.

Seriously, from a user-experience point of view, Linux doesn't add any value to my life and work (maybe you like exploring geeky stuff, but many people don't). What's the goal of Linux? Bringing *computer* open-source and *computer* freedom and *computer* choice to the masses? Who cares about that apart from a few geeks? You don't become a free person with political and personal freedom of choice. Stop fooling us with those bold statements. Many people get frightened when they have to choose something they don't know anything about (and actually don't want to learn anything about). You want to make Linux successful? Then create a paralyzing and real alternative. Really improve the way we use computers. Get rid of the applications concept and unlock our data from functionality [1]. Get rid of the folders and files concept and use semantic technologies [2] or whatever works better. Make software significantly faster and more responsive. Do something that really makes a difference! Stop copying others. Firefox innovates on its own and it makes a difference. People love it. Do the same for Linux.

[1] http://rchi.raskincenter.org/index.php?title=Home
[2] http://nepomuk.semanticdesktop.org/xwiki/bin/view/Main1/

Reply Score: 5

ichi Member since:
2007-03-06

Getting your work done faster and with less headaches? That's why I switched anyway.
I wouldn't be using it if it was just free.

Reply Score: 2

Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

Does it help everyone work much better?


Nothing helps *everyone* work better. I helps some, others not.

Does it have visual appeal?


To some it does, to some it don't. Personally I find both Windows and OSX visually unappealing.

No. It's just cheaper than Windows and OSX.


That's a pretty compelling reason to most

But it also has a cost: you must learn how to use it and you risk wasting time on it in case you don't like it (let's just ignore missing software and hardware support)


So, in other words, it's exactly the same as any other change in your life?

Seriously, from a user-experience point of view, Linux doesn't add any value to my life and work (maybe you like exploring geeky stuff, but many people don't).


You != everyone. It's quite possible Linux does nothing for you but that doesn't mean it does nothing for everyone.

Bringing *computer* open-source and *computer* freedom and *computer* choice to the masses? Who cares about that apart from a few geeks?


While most probably don't care about the first two they do care about choice.

Do something that really makes a difference!


Agreed. OSS and Linux is already making a difference though, perhaps not on the radar of the masses but that's not the same as not making a difference.

Then create a paralyzing and real alternative.


It's probably not a good idea to paralyze your users.

Get rid of the folders and files concept and use semantic technologies [2]


That's exactly what some OSS and Linux projects are doing. You might have noticed the "Mandriva" logo on the Nepomuk site.

Reply Score: 5

wkornewald Member since:
2006-08-23

"Does it have visual appeal?


To some it does, to some it don't. Personally I find both Windows and OSX visually unappealing.
"

Well, I think it's pretty clear that Apple creates products with a great visual and emotional appeal. Why fool ourselves? Maybe it's nothing for you, but overall they're doing quite well.

"But it also has a cost: you must learn how to use it and you risk wasting time on it in case you don't like it (let's just ignore missing software and hardware support)


So, in other words, it's exactly the same as any other change in your life?
"

And what's your point? Do you change everything in life just because you can? It must be worth the effort, of course. That's where I see the problem.

"Seriously, from a user-experience point of view, Linux doesn't add any value to my life and work (maybe you like exploring geeky stuff, but many people don't).


You != everyone. It's quite possible Linux does nothing for you but that doesn't mean it does nothing for everyone.
"

If you're a network admin or programmer it might be better for you. But seriously, what does Linux do better than Windows for the general public (who doesn't have "computers" on their list of hobbies or as their main profession) if you take into account that the most important Linux apps are available for Windows? Put up two computers with exactly the same applications, but one with Windows and one with Linux. Now tell me which one is better as a desktop machine. If we pretend that all hardware is fully supported (and hibernation works, ...) then Linux is probably no worse. But it's not better, either, and that's exactly the problem. It's too similar to Windows to have any appeal (except for geek appeal ;) apart from cost saving.

"Bringing *computer* open-source and *computer* freedom and *computer* choice to the masses? Who cares about that apart from a few geeks?


While most probably don't care about the first two they do care about choice.
"

If you have the choice between "easy to use application X" and "difficult to use application Y" then people will be happy about choice, indeed. But how often is the decision so easy? Nobody wants difficult choice. Ever tried to find "the best" USB HDD? Or "the best" laptop for $1500? Somebody once commented here that he wouldn't even wish his worst enemy to have that burden. Choice can be annoying when there is no clear winner for you.

"Do something that really makes a difference!


Agreed. OSS and Linux is already making a difference though, perhaps not on the radar of the masses but that's not the same as not making a difference.
"

Great, but I was specifically talking about all this "the year of Linux" and "is Linux ready for the desktop?" whining (i.e. being on-topic). If you don't care whether Linux becomes successful on the desktop then please save our time and just say so directly.

"Get rid of the folders and files concept and use semantic technologies [2]


That's exactly what some OSS and Linux projects are doing. You might have noticed the "Mandriva" logo on the Nepomuk site.
"

I linked to Nepomuk exactly because I want more attention for its sub-projects (Nepomuk-KDE, etc.), so more OSS developers start thinking about new interaction concepts and making them real, so the choice between "Windows" and "Linux" becomes an easier and clearer one.

Reply Score: 3

lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

I'm serious. Tell me one compelling reason to switch. Is it much faster? Is it much easier to use? Does it help everyone work much better? Does it have visual appeal? No. It's just cheaper than Windows and OSX.


Linux has the following advantages over Windows:
(1) Many eyes make bugs shallow
(2) You cannot hide malware in open source
(3) No DRM or WGA
(4) No single vendor lock-in, and so no monopoly prices
(5) No forced upgrades (after all, you do have the source for whatever version you are using)
(6) 1.5 million developers worldwide (equivalent full-time)
(7) guaranteed no call-home spyware
(8) you can remove anything you don't like, such as DRM
(9) developed in a meritocracy ... so it does what the people want, not what big business wants
(10) You have control over your own hardware

Some of those advantages you get with OSX, others not.

But it also has a cost: you must learn how to use it and you risk wasting time on it in case you don't like it (let's just ignore missing software and hardware support). Before you can even decide whether Linux is worth the discount when buying a computer you have to use it, which costs time that not everyone is willing to invest.


Myths. Linux is no harder to use and learn than Windows.

Seriously, from a user-experience point of view, Linux doesn't add any value to my life and work (maybe you like exploring geeky stuff, but many people don't).


So don't explore it, just use it. Enjoy.

What's the goal of Linux? Bringing *computer* open-source and *computer* freedom and *computer* choice to the masses? Who cares about that apart from a few geeks? You don't become a free person with political and personal freedom of choice. Stop fooling us with those bold statements. Many people get frightened when they have to choose something they don't know anything about (and actually don't want to learn anything about). You want to make Linux successful? Then create a paralyzing and real alternative. Really improve the way we use computers. Get rid of the applications concept and unlock our data from functionality [1]. Get rid of the folders and files concept and use semantic technologies [2] or whatever works better. Make software significantly faster and more responsive. Do something that really makes a difference! Stop copying others. Firefox innovates on its own and it makes a difference. People love it. Do the same for Linux.


What brought all that on?

Do yourself a favour ... pretend you had never seen Windows before. You are an utter newbie. Sit yourself down with two ASUS EEEPCs ... one with the default Linux install, and the other with Windows XP.

I guarantee you that you would get miles and miles further in a shorter time with the Linux variant than you would with the Windows XP one. You aren't going to be able to do all that much with Notepad, Calc and Paint, are you? And you are left a bit vulnerable without your extra security programs for Windows, aren't you?

To get anywhere near what you can do with the Linux EEEPC, you would have to spend on software two or three times the cost of the bare hardware for the Windows XP version of the EEEPC ... or you could run Firefox, GIMP and OpenOffice etc for a more reasonable outlay ... oh, wait. Those are in the Linux variant anyway.

Reply Score: 9

wkornewald Member since:
2006-08-23

"I'm serious. Tell me one compelling reason to switch. Is it much faster? Is it much easier to use? Does it help everyone work much better? Does it have visual appeal? No. It's just cheaper than Windows and OSX.


Linux has the following advantages over Windows:
(1) Many eyes make bugs shallow
(2) You cannot hide malware in open source
(4) No single vendor lock-in, and so no monopoly prices
(5) No forced upgrades (after all, you do have the source for whatever version you are using)
(6) 1.5 million developers worldwide (equivalent full-time)
(7) guaranteed no call-home spyware
(8) you can remove anything you don't like, such as DRM
(9) developed in a meritocracy ... so it does what the people want, not what big business wants
(10) You have control over your own hardware
"

Most of your arguments are only interesting for geeks. It's also not true that businesses don't do what users want. If that were the case then people wouldn't be buying the products and new businesses would quickly replace the old ones. Also, Windows doesn't enforce upgrades, either. So that's not an argument.

(3) No DRM or WGA


While I think music should have no DRM lock the video-on-demand market depends on it. Lack of DRM is actually a disadvantage. It's a technology that creates new opportunities. The problem is that music-DRM left a bad impression in all of us, but DRM can and will be used positively and if Linux won't support DRM then it's just another reason to not use it.

"But it also has a cost: you must learn how to use it and you risk wasting time on it in case you don't like it (let's just ignore missing software and hardware support). Before you can even decide whether Linux is worth the discount when buying a computer you have to use it, which costs time that not everyone is willing to invest.


Myths. Linux is no harder to use and learn than Windows.
"

Where did I claim the opposite? I only said that if you already know Windows then you have to invest time to play with Linux before you can judge whether you want to use it. That's something not everybody wants to do.

"Seriously, from a user-experience point of view, Linux doesn't add any value to my life and work (maybe you like exploring geeky stuff, but many people don't).


So don't explore it, just use it. Enjoy.
"

I'd love to use it, but currently hardware support sucks. Hibernation and standby don't work. Sane crashes after scanning and I had to install my scanner driver on the command line. My color printer doesn't work correctly with Linux and my laser printer doesn't print images except if I hack some printer settings with GIMP (all other apps don't work). My WiFi connection doesn't always work. I hate the fsck that pops up much too often on boot-up and takes *ages* (>15min) to finish (some people reported >40min on their bigger HDDs). The list goes on, but I've forgotten the other problems. So, you want to tell me to enjoy Linux? Hah! ;)

OK, those problems can be fixed, but even then, compared to Windows I still don't see a real advantage apart from cost savings. Which is my whole point: go beyond cost savings.

" What's the goal of Linux? Bringing *computer* open-source and *computer* freedom and *computer* choice to the masses? Who cares about that apart from a few geeks? You don't become a free person with political and personal freedom of choice. Stop fooling us with those bold statements. Many people get frightened when they have to choose something they don't know anything about (and actually don't want to learn anything about). You want to make Linux successful? Then create a paralyzing and real alternative. Really improve the way we use computers. Get rid of the applications concept and unlock our data from functionality [1]. Get rid of the folders and files concept and use semantic technologies [2] or whatever works better. Make software significantly faster and more responsive. Do something that really makes a difference! Stop copying others. Firefox innovates on its own and it makes a difference. People love it. Do the same for Linux.


What brought all that on?

Do yourself a favour ... pretend you had never seen Windows before. You are an utter newbie. Sit yourself down with two ASUS EEEPCs ... one with the default Linux install, and the other with Windows XP.

I guarantee you that you would get miles and miles further in a shorter time with the Linux variant than you would with the Windows XP one. You aren't going to be able to do all that much with Notepad, Calc and Paint, are you? And you are left a bit vulnerable without your extra security programs for Windows, aren't you?
"

Someone else could as well argue that Linux is overloaded with software and he'd rather choose what he needs manually. You have to put the same software on both systems to make a real comparison.

Also, Linux would have the same security problems as Windows if it were equally popular. It does absolutely nothing that prevents people from being stupid. Linux's advantage is just that it's not (yet?) a popular spyware platform.

To get anywhere near what you can do with the Linux EEEPC, you would have to spend on software two or three times the cost of the bare hardware for the Windows XP version of the EEEPC ... or you could run Firefox, GIMP and OpenOffice etc for a more reasonable outlay ... oh, wait. Those are in the Linux variant anyway.


I could also run Firefox and GIMP and OpenOffice on Windows. That's not a reason to switch to Linux.

Reply Score: 3

lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

I could also run Firefox and GIMP and OpenOffice on Windows. That's not a reason to switch to Linux.


It isn't a reason to switch to Windows, either.

All of your "reasons" for sticking with Windows actually depend on the point that you have already locked yourself in to Windows, to your own cost.

My point is that if you are considering a new purchase, where you don't necessarily already have a huge investment in and dependency on Windows (poor you), then Linux is actually compelling.

http://www.mbtmag.com/articleXml/LN731846314.html

You might even consider it if you do have a Microsoft dependency.

If you are looking to avoid lock-in, stay away from Microsoft is the clear message:
http://www.vnunet.com/crn/news/2207045/becta-rubs-salt-microsoft
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/01/11/becta_vista/

Reply Score: 3

wkornewald Member since:
2006-08-23

All of your "reasons" for sticking with Windows actually depend on the point that you have already locked yourself in to Windows, to your own cost.


Yes, and I think these reasons are valid because they naturally map to reality. ;)

My point is that if you are considering a new purchase, where you don't necessarily already have a huge investment in and dependency on Windows (poor you), then Linux is actually compelling.


I think this mostly works if you don't yet have computer experience because otherwise you do a "switch" which costs time and effort. Even if many computers come pre-installed with Linux it might not become very successful because it doesn't really improve the user experience compared to Windows. It's just cheaper and I'm not sure if being less than $100 cheaper is enough compensation for having to get used to a new environment and possibly risking interoperability problems. Most people keep their computer for many years, so over the years it might not even be seen as a lot of money (price isn't everything; many people buy expensive iPods instead of cheaper and more feature-loaded alternatives). OTOH, if there were really compelling advantages in switching (e.g., much easier to use; a joy to work with) then the cheaper price is a real bonus and marketing hype would be so much easier.

Reply Score: 2

Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

Hibernation and standby don't work.


In all fairness, these two doesn't always work that well in Windows either.

Reply Score: 2

Moochman Member since:
2005-07-06

While I think music should have no DRM lock the video-on-demand market depends on it. Lack of DRM is actually a disadvantage. It's a technology that creates new opportunities. The problem is that music-DRM left a bad impression in all of us, but DRM can and will be used positively and if Linux won't support DRM then it's just another reason to not use it.

Do you care to elaborate? Just what "new opportunities" does video-on-demand DRM bring that don't have an equivalent in the already-played-out music-rental-DRM scenario? What makes you think that people will want to own (and by that I mean *fully* own, able to play on all devices) movies any less than they own music? Just because movies take up a lot of disk space? Because they take a long time to download? I doubt either of those arguments will last very long.

Btw, does this perchance have anything to do with you drinking Steve Jobs' kool-aid that "people love to listen to their music over and over again, but they only want to watch movies once"? Because I know plenty of people who watch movies over and over again.

A year or two ago Steve also claimed that people wouldn't want to download movies online because the file size would be too big; he also said that rental models would never work because people want to own their media. Now he's telling us that we really want to *rent our movies in HD* on the iTunes store. It's amazing how he always knows exactly what we want! (Oh wait, could it be that he just tells us what we are supposed to want to market whatever scheme the iTunes store is endorsing this time around.... Nah....)

Edited 2008-01-24 18:35 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

Linux has the following advantages over Windows:
(1) Many eyes make bugs shallow

That's only true if the eyes looking at the code is actually any good. Not saying they arent but having many eyes doesn't automagicaly make things better.

(2) You cannot hide malware in open source

No, but you can run closed-source apps on OSS operating systems.

(3) No DRM or WGA

RHN.

(4) No single vendor lock-in, and so no monopoly prices

Closed source does not necessarily mean vendor lock-in. Closed and proprietary protocols and API's do.

(5) No forced upgrades (after all, you do have the source for whatever version you are using)

"You have the source" is not a good argument for the majority of computer users.

(6) 1.5 million developers worldwide (equivalent full-time)

I bet there are even more closed source programmers.

(7) guaranteed no call-home spyware

Really? Where do I sign up for this guarantee? And what do I get when it is violated, which it will be.

(8) you can remove anything you don't like, such as DRM

Just now you said there is no DRM so why would i need to remove something that isn't there?

(9) developed in a meritocracy ... so it does what the people want, not what big business wants

No, it means it does what the developers want and that is not necessarily the same as what the majority of the users want.

10) You have control over your own hardware

How do I not have control over my own hardware in closed source OS's and how does OSS magically give me control over it?

Reply Score: 5

lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

No, it means it does what the developers want and that is not necessarily the same as what the majority of the users want.


Not at all. Typically, as soon as a given application deviates from what users want, a group of users gets upset and starts their own fork. Ask XFree86 and then Xorg about this.

How do I not have control over my own hardware in closed source OS's and how does OSS magically give me control over it?


(1) Windows has a Microsoft-accessible backdoor.
(2) You do not own your copy of Windows. Microsoft reserves the right to alter the software running on your machine, or stop it working altogether.
(3) Microsoft reserves the right to walk in to your property/facility, examine your installed software, demand proof of purchase (acceptable to Microsoft), and (even though Microsoft and its agents are not the law) charge you a fortune if your records aren't 100% pristine.

See here for more details:
http://www.linuxworld.com/news/2008/012208-eben-moglen-on-open-sour...
"The primary desire that businesses have is for control over their own destinies, for avoidance of autonomy bottlenecks which put the fate of their business into the hands of someone else. The difficulty that they experience -- that they call vendor lock-in, or noninteroperability -- is a difficulty which is really a businessman's equivalent of [Free Software Foundation President Richard] Stallman's frustration at unfreedom. They are essentially the same recognition: In a world of complex, interdependent technology, if I don't control my technology, it will control me. Stallman's understanding of that proposition and Goldman Sachs' understanding [for example] needn't be as far apart as one might think. The desire to maintain autonomy -- the desire to avoid control of destiny by outside parties -- is as fierce in both cases as it can get. "


The whole article is worth a read, if you want some insight into the issue.

Edited 2008-01-25 00:32 UTC

Reply Score: 3

ichi Member since:
2007-03-06

Not at all. Typically, as soon as a given application deviates from what users want, a group of users gets upset and starts their own fork. Ask XFree86 and then Xorg about this.


Then those users become the developers and the cycle starts again.

But yeah, projects that don't cater to a large enough group of users are likely to eventually get forked or abandoned.

Reply Score: 1

Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

a group of users gets upset and starts their own fork.


Users who arent developers can't fork.

(1) Windows has a Microsoft-accessible backdoor.


Does it now. Even if i did it has nothing to do with my control of the hardware. I can still wipe Windows out if I want to.

You do not own your copy of Windows. Microsoft reserves the right to alter the software running on your machine, or stop it working altogether.


Again, nothing to do with the hardware. I can always install something that isn't Windows on my hardware.

Microsoft reserves the right to walk in to your property/facility, examine your installed software,


Wow, again something that has NOTHING to do with my control over the hardware.

Reply Score: 2

lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

Users who arent developers can't fork.


And users of closed-source applications absolutely can't fork.

Does it now.


Yes, it does. There exists a mechanism whereby Microsoft can install software without notification and without the machine owner's permission on any Internet-connected Windows computer, even one that has updates turned off.

Even if i did it has nothing to do with my control of the hardware.


Of course it does ... the OS is in control of your hardware. If the OS won't run ... you won't get anywhere other than ...

I can still wipe Windows out if I want to.


Of course you can ... you would probably stand to lose all your locked-in to proprietary formats data though. Why don't you wipe Windows now (while you still might have a chance to keep your own data intact) & save yourself the pain later?

Wow, again something that has NOTHING to do with my control over the hardware.


Someone (not the law) is allowed to walk in, uninvited, inspect your machines and accuse you of dishonesty (without you necessarily having been at all dishonest), drag your name through the mud, and fine you a fortune (many times your machine's worth) just to allow you to continue running your own computing resources ... and yet you still insist you are in control?

ROFLMAO. You really are a very funny person.

Reply Score: 3

james_parker Member since:
2005-06-29

Linux has the following advantages over Windows:
[...]
(2) You cannot hide malware in open source


This is not true. Back in 1984, Ken Thompson how to do so, and this specific "malware" was in fact present in Unix for many years before being discovered:

http://cm.bell-labs.com/who/ken/trust.html/

Reply Score: 3

WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

This is not true. Back in 1984, Ken Thompson how to do so, and this specific "malware" was in fact present in Unix for many years before being discovered

That was an interesting read but I think you misunderstood the point there: in this case it's not the source which has malware, it's the compiler which compiles that in at compilation time. It's an interesting idea to inject such code into the compiler itself but not very likely, atleast if we're talking about the most popular compilers in use. It is VERY difficult to get such a patch accepted on any of the official repositories of f.ex. GCC, and if you ran an app on your own PC which tried to do that then it would need the full sources to GCC, recompile it, and then install it over the previous version meaning it would need root access.

OTOH if the actual sources to the software had such a malware in them you might not notice it. But the more devs and users the software has the bigger the likelyhood it will be discovered. Sure, the more code there is the smaller percentage of that such malware would occupy, but with lots of users and devs someone is also bound to notice any weird behaviour. And as I said above, patches submitted for an app are usually checked before they are accepted into the repos.

So, anyway, as a conclusion, in _theory_ it might be possible but in practice it isn't.

Reply Score: 2

james_parker Member since:
2005-06-29

I didn't misunderstand the point, but rather wanted to highlight the fact that the statement "You cannot hide malware in open source" isn't really true. This statement is quite prevalent, and if it's not challenged with some frequency, will eventually will be accepted without question, and that would be dangerous (the Titanic wasn't sinkable either).

While it is true that "it is extremely difficult to hide malware in open source," there are several organizations (national governments) with the resources and motivation to do so, and it is worth keeping in mind, even if it has little impact on day-to-day software development or usage.

Reply Score: 1

tomcat Member since:
2006-01-06

(1) Many eyes make bugs shallow

If the eyes are even looking, which is unlikely. The reality is that highly-valued components (ie. Linux kernel) get a lot of attention, but the majority of open source projects are poorly maintained.

(2) You cannot hide malware in open source

Nor can you hide it in closed source. No point.

(3) No DRM or WGA

This is actually a disadvantage: It means that media studios will not allow you to play their content. You have to resort to all kinds of hacks to get DVDs and other content playing, if you can even get it to play at all.

(4) No single vendor lock-in, and so no monopoly prices

As long as there are alternatives, there is no such thing as vendor lock-in. No point.

(5) No forced upgrades (after all, you do have the source for whatever version you are using)

I have a box running Windows NT that's over 10 years old. Strangely enough, nobody has forced me to upgrade it. It just sits there in the corner, running quietly and never complaining. No point.

(6) 1.5 million developers worldwide (equivalent full-time)

Are they working on code that you care about? Probably not. No point.

(7) guaranteed no call-home spyware

LOL. Here's where we get into hair-splitting contests on your side. I don't consider self-registration of software to be "call home spyware" like you probably do but, then again, I'm sane.

(8) you can remove anything you don't like, such as DRM

You're also free to completely hose yourself. No point.

(9) developed in a meritocracy ... so it does what the people want, not what big business wants

No, it does what the oligarchy of maintainers want, not what the people want. No point.

(10) You have control over your own hardware

This one is plain silly and meaningless. No point.

Reply Score: 2

rakamaka Member since:
2005-08-12

I agree with every word you have written. There is absolutely no reason to invest time and money in linux. If I spend total of 50 hrs to tweak my favourite linux distro and still it is half baked (no printer or digicam working) then I am spending as well 50hr*10$=500$ of worth my time just to learn linux. TOO expensive for free software. I have never seen a ordinary user setting his linux box in less than 50 hrs.(install, tweak ugly fonts, monitor messed up, wifi not working, printer digicam not recognized, firewall? cut-paste across platform...and so on)
I have simpler solution. buy whatever XP or Vista pre installed laptop. Then use 100s of free softwares available eg zonealarm, AVG, Avast, comodo, ad-aware, spywareblaster, firefox, openoffice, You will NEVER get any virus or malware problems as linux zealots try to scare with.
and finally try these free Open Source softwares for WINDOWS.
http://osswin.sourceforge.net/
http://www.opensourcewindows.org/

Reply Score: 0

lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

I agree with every word you have written. There is absolutely no reason to invest time and money in linux. If I spend total of 50 hrs to tweak my favourite linux distro and still it is half baked (no printer or digicam working) then I am spending as well 50hr*10$=500$ of worth my time just to learn linux. TOO expensive for free software. I have never seen a ordinary user setting his linux box in less than 50 hrs.(install, tweak ugly fonts, monitor messed up, wifi not working, printer digicam not recognized, firewall? cut-paste across platform...and so on)
I have simpler solution.


I haven't had any such trouble setting up Linux.

But if you do ... I have an even simpler solution. Buy a nice system that is certified and pre-installed for Linux ... just as you if you wanted Vista (for whatever unimaginable reason).

http://www.zareason.com/shop/home.php
http://www.system76.com/
http://www.mobilemag.com/content/100/334/C14405/

... then you will get a Linux system that you have to spend zero time on. It will cost about the same as the equivalent Vista system, but it will come pre-loaded with all the OSS applications you mention. That will save you the 50 hours or so you would have to spend on your Vista system getting a useful set of applications installed.

So even if you decided to get all OSS applications on your Vista machine, you still have saved 80 hour*$10 = $800 getting the exact same applications running on your Linux machine. (The reason why I put 80 hours instead of 50 is that on the Vista machine in addition to all your applications you also need firewall, anti-virus, anti-spyware, registry cleaner and so on that you don't need with Linux).

Any way that you slice it or dice it, if you compare apples with apples (ie compare a pre-installed Vista with a pre-installed Linux) the Linux option is way cheaper, both for the original cost of software and for your time.

Reply Score: 2

"Explosion" ? Don't be ridiculus!
by autumnlover on Thu 24th Jan 2008 12:31 UTC
autumnlover
Member since:
2007-04-12

Few days ago I watched the documentary "Revolution OS" and when I listened to all those enthusiastic people, at first I had impression that it was filmed quite recently, not in 2000 or 2001.

Claim that most of the people suddenly switch their desktop computers to Linux and that day is "at hand" is very similar to religious believes about "end of the world" and "Armageddon" - it simply will never materialise.

People still buy Macs and Vista. Vista is ugly, unfriendly and restrict people like any previous version of Windows. And if Vista did not manage to get masses to the Linux - nothing will get them there. Accept it. People prefer to buy Windows, than to get Linux for free and loose their hair trying using it.

And do not tell me about that grannies of yours, who "cannot see the difference at all".

Reply Score: 4

lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

People still buy Macs and Vista. Vista is ugly, unfriendly and restrict people like any previous version of Windows. And if Vista did not manage to get masses to the Linux - nothing will get them there. Accept it. People prefer to buy Windows, than to get Linux for free and loose their hair trying using it.


People get Vista because that is all that there is to buy in the store. The salesman will offer them nothing else.

Fortunately, that is beginning to change slowly:
http://www.desktoplinux.com/news/NS5605271273.html

And do not tell me about that grannies of yours, who "cannot see the difference at all".


Why not mention it? I recently installed PCLinuxOS & DSL on two different laptops for "grannies" neither of whom had used Windows before. Neither is having much trouble ... certainly no more than if I had installed Windows instead. One is writing a novel (her life story) and the other has ventured on to the Internet and is doing Internet banking and e-mail. Neither one had the budget for full-blown MS Office and Windows, and one can pick up second-hand laptop hardware (which will run Linux just fine) for a few hundred bucks total outlay.

Reply Score: 6

autumnlover Member since:
2007-04-12

Why not mention it? I recently installed PCLinuxOS & DSL on two different laptops for "grannies" neither of whom had used Windows before.


...and you just forgot to mention those three folks who recently asked you to re-install Windows back after two months.

Maybe you should contact the producers of "RevolutionOS" and give them an offer to write scenario for the sequel called "Revolution continues - and after 7 years we still stuck at 0,7 percent worldwide" ?

;-)

Reply Score: 1

lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

"Why not mention it? I recently installed PCLinuxOS & DSL on two different laptops for "grannies" neither of whom had used Windows before.
...and you just forgot to mention those three folks who recently asked you to re-install Windows back after two months. "

I didn't say anything about that because such people don't exist. Every machine I have ever installed Linux on is still running Linux.

Reply Score: 3

Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

it simply will never materialise


"Never" is a long time.

People prefer to buy Windows, than to get Linux for free and loose their hair trying using it.


Not really. People want to buy computers, most of the time those computers comes with Windows already installed and it works well enough for their needs. If something else came preinstalled that also fulfilled their needs well enough they'd use that.

Reply Score: 3

touching bits
by Downix on Thu 24th Jan 2008 14:04 UTC
Downix
Member since:
2007-08-21

The bit about the Wacom tablet really struck a nerve with me, as I have had a similar experience in shipping a CPU card to someone in the UK. I still feel horrid for what happened, but I can't even find the guy to apologize, yet again, 10 years later. I know exactly what helios feels.

Reply Score: 1

liveCD
by netpython on Thu 24th Jan 2008 18:13 UTC
netpython
Member since:
2005-07-06

I agree with the author that linux could use a lot of attention. At least it should deserve it. So do the people who use other OS's deserve to know the alternatives.

I imagine Ubuntu,OpenSUSE liveCD's being brought to the attention at large festivals. So let the end user decide.

Reply Score: 2