Linked by David Adams on Fri 18th Apr 2008 16:26 UTC, submitted by sjvn
Linux "Recently, both Novell and Red Hat went on record as dismissing the idea that the consumer Linux desktop is going to be taking off anytime soon. It's not? Has anyone told Asus and Xandros? Everex and gOS? How about Dell and Ubuntu? They're all doing great with consumer Linux desktops." The enterprise Linux leaders are not the ones making strides on the desktop. Does that mean that the Linux desktop has no future, or just that they've let their business focus let them drop the ball on that segment of the market?
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Comment by byrc
by byrc on Fri 18th Apr 2008 16:48 UTC
byrc
Member since:
2006-02-18

Just because Dell, Asus and Everex has made deals with various Linux distros does not mean Linux is making any stride on the desktop.

Once again 2008 will not be the year of desktop Linux, because there is really no call for a desktop linux from the average consumer. To understand the real issue, you have to remove yourself from you techie mindset and put yourself in the shoes of an average consumer looking for a computer at some big box store. The fact is, they don't care what the philosophy of the OS is, they don't care that it has been more stable. They care about familiarity and what their friend down the street has.

As much as I hate to admit it, Microsoft still has the desktop market cornered. This is proven by the fact that even though there have been tons of negative reviews of Vista, sells for the OS are still sky high.

In this case, the market is the judge, jury and executioner, and they have clearly been ruling against Linux this far, and I do not see how some small time deals with a few vendors is going to change that any time soon.

How does this ever change? By getting people familiar. Start putting Linux in schools and universities, start putting it in government offices. Once people see it, use it and are familiar with it, they are much more apt to look into it for themselves.

Reply Score: 22

RE: Comment by byrc
by Clinton on Fri 18th Apr 2008 17:18 UTC in reply to "Comment by byrc"
Clinton Member since:
2005-07-05

I think your post is insightful and wanted to add that the average user will use what they are familiar with and they generally gain familiarity by using something at work.

If they use Windows at work, it will be what they want to use at home. If they use OS X at work, they'll generally have that at home. So, logically, if the Linux powers that be want to expand Linux on the desktop, the place they need to focus on is not the end user, but rather schools, universities, and businesses.

Reply Score: 8

RE: Comment by byrc
by jaylaa on Fri 18th Apr 2008 19:51 UTC in reply to "Comment by byrc"
jaylaa Member since:
2006-01-17

Just because Dell, Asus and Everex has made deals with various Linux distros does not mean Linux is making any stride on the desktop.

Actually, that's exactly what it means. Maybe not huge, overwhelming strides, but non-negligible strides nonetheless. If Linux weren't making any strides on the desktop these deals wouldn't be happening. These aren't non-profit companies; there's a money driven reason why more vendors have been shipping desktop Linux in the last couple of years. They're not doing it because they want more people to use Linux, they're doing it because more people are using Linux.

...
In this case, the market is the judge, jury and executioner, and they have clearly been ruling against Linux this far, and I do not see how some small time deals with a few vendors is going to change that any time soon.

How does this ever change? By getting people familiar. Start putting Linux in schools and universities, start putting it in government offices. Once people see it, use it and are familiar with it, they are much more apt to look into it for themselves.

These 'small time deals' aren't meant to change anything. They are not the cause, they are the effect. The cause is the market being more open to Linux than in the past. Getting Linux into schools, universities and governments is happening now. Which is driving these 'small time deals'.

Edited 2008-04-18 19:54 UTC

Reply Score: 11

RE: Comment by byrc
by Luis on Sat 19th Apr 2008 15:49 UTC in reply to "Comment by byrc"
Luis Member since:
2006-04-28

Just as an anecdote, I found by chance this[1] article the other day. It's from 2003 and its title says:

"Global IT firm predicts Linux will have 20% desktop market share by 2008"

Bottom line? The future is unpredictable :-)

[1]http://www.linux.com/articles/30873?tid=3

Reply Score: 3

RE: Comment by byrc
by hraq on Sat 19th Apr 2008 23:43 UTC in reply to "Comment by byrc"
hraq Member since:
2005-07-06

"They care about familiarity and what their friend down the street has."

If they dont have special needs they will care about one thing only. Price and what it can give them in return.

Thats it.

Price and what features it gets / $. This is the mentality of most people.

Now back to special needs; this could include the followings:

1. a student who is asked to bring office 2003/2004/2007/2008 suite to produce office applications' files that are compatible with his teacher's and other students computers. (will end up buying windows or a Mac)

2. an employee who works in an office and uses special programs lets say ACT! and Quickbooks and Outlook 2007 for his work and would like to take his work to his home; this guy would need only one kind of an OS (ie the same one used at work)

3. IT worker on a repected Servers going back to home and would like to manage remotely everything. (Sun/Linux/other Unixes will help him)

4. a programmer: would buy his platform that he develops for

5. a Scientist: would buy a Unix/Mac workstation

6. a car diagnostic/ health diagnostic workstation; will also have special needs
7. others and others and others


Now average people would buy their computers based on their capabilities to run the following applications with acceptable stability/performance:

1. Browse the internet including bad web sites
2. Manage Music/ Videos and be able to create them or edit them then produce them to CD/DVDs
3. Chat like crazy with others or talk via internet calls
4. if they get nastier they will start experimenting with P2P networking and file sharing making their computers a kingdom of infestation.
5. Start gaming like crazy for 16hours on LAN parties
6. other crazy or exotic stuff

once people get the point that their systems new hardware fails to please them, they would start looking for alternative which is closest to what they do.

they will find the following:

1. Gaming cannot be corrected unless you switch back to xp or become consoly
2. others are available with least efforts if you buy a mac (but you need to steal to pay for a mac)
3. go extreme and dirty by installing Linux to find at the end the distro that suites his needs and after spending hundreds of hours to find solutions of linux problems and probably he will end up wearing a corrective lenses.

this is the computing that most people do (again if they don't have special needs)

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by byrc
by melkor on Sun 20th Apr 2008 03:45 UTC in reply to "Comment by byrc"
melkor Member since:
2006-12-16

Whilst I agree with you on nearly everything, putting Linux in schools, universities etc isn't going to help that much, simply because their is *too* much choice. Choice is Linux' double edged sword.

Dave

Reply Score: 2

bornagainenguin
Member since:
2005-08-07

The enterprise Linux leaders are not the ones making strides on the desktop. Does that mean that the Linux desktop has no future, or just that they've let their business focus let them drop the ball on that segment of the market?


I think David Adams is exactly right in this instance. The various Enterprise Linux "leaders" have dropped the ball. They started playing follow the leader, which in many cases turned out to be someone from corporations with an interest in big iron. So what happened? They started focus-shifting away from the home user, the hobbyist, the IT professional that liked their distro enough to think it could be scaled up for enterprise and willing to risk their jobs proving it....

Eventually someone saw there was a void and began to fill it.

That someone (right now) seems to be Canonical, and they've done wonders for the community by polishing the Linux desktop for the home users.

They've provided forums so they could foster an environment of power users who not only helped other users (defraying Canonical's support costs) but also allowing them the freedom to be hobbyists.

And now that Canonical is starting to be happy with how well their release

Reply Score: 8

superman Member since:
2006-08-01

> That someone (right now) seems to be Canonical, and they've done wonders for the community by polishing the Linux desktop for the home users.

Thanks Ubuntu for :
- AIGLX
- NetworkManager
- Xrandr
- pulseaudio
- etc

Ooops. Ubuntu only do upstart.

Reply Score: 8

SlackerJack Member since:
2005-11-12

Doing alot of the development dont make your distro a better one, it's how you implement it that counts.

Fedora/SUSE does alot of development in Linux tech but their distro is nowhere near as popular as Ubuntu, it's their job to wonder why that is.

Reply Score: 6

superman Member since:
2006-08-01

Drop from Ubuntu all the good work done by Red Hat and Novell. Have a nice day with this really Ubuntu-only distro.

Reply Score: 3

SlackerJack Member since:
2005-11-12

So now all the other distros that are popular than SUSE and Fedora have to somehow bow down to the fact that they have done all the work?

Thats getting rather boring now, it's called sharing and it's the spirit of opensource and Linux. They've been around longer, just wait until Ubuntu their own projects and having them put into upsteam, upstart is a start and there's alot more to come.

Reply Score: 7

MamiyaOtaru Member since:
2005-11-11

Drop from Ubuntu all the good work done by Red Hat and Novell.

Or drop from Ubuntu all the good work done by Debian and see where it is ;)

But that's the nature of open source isn't it? Others may have been responsible for nearly everything in Ubuntu but if Ubuntu are the ones who polish it up (and accompany it with good marketing) good for them. As long as the donors (fedora, suse, debian) survive with less attention on the desktop, great. Everyone benefits. If anyone wants to try to duplicate Ubuntu's polish and marketing savvy, they are welcome to try and then the shoe would be on the other foot.

Reply Score: 6

Bitterman Member since:
2005-07-06

Doing alot of the development dont make your distro a better one, it's how you implement it that counts.

Fedora/SUSE does alot of development in Linux tech but their distro is nowhere near as popular as Ubuntu, it's their job to wonder why that is.


The point he's making is Fedora and Novell are writing all this software and Ubuntu folks are saying we are responsible for the great linux desktop, at the same time telling us Fedora and Novell abandoned us.

What are the reasons the desktop is good these days? pulse audio? evolution? dbus, hal.. fedora and suse are the major reason why gnome is a good desktop today. But i guess things like a free java and flash implementations aren't for the desktop, neither is all the X cleanup code done the last few months by fedora. Or the system-config-tools that ubuntu uses. you think those popped outta the sky? All the software ubuntu uses to tout its "so easy" mantra is written by these people yet have the audacity to point the finger at fedora and suse like they're not pulling their weight? What a joke.

Reply Score: 8

bornagainenguin Member since:
2005-08-07

The point he's making is Fedora and Novell are writing all this software and Ubuntu folks are saying we are responsible for the great linux desktop, at the same time telling us Fedora and Novell abandoned us.


Okay first of all, try to remember that Red Hat and Fedora a re two different things. Red Hat spun off Fedora as its own entity, so despite them sharing much of their code with each other (the same code that gets shared elsewhere...hmmm...) I don't consider them to be two halves of the same thing. They're not and Red Hat spent a lot of money to make that separation take place, so I'm pretty sure they're fully behind the distinction.

Secondly, can you show me anywhere where Red Hat (or their authorized spokespersons) have said anything differently since their initial statements recommending Microsoft Windows to home users, because Linux is "not ready" for the desktop? Because otherwise I have to take them at their words, and their words are abandonment of the home user market. They can't have it both ways...

What are the reasons the desktop is good these days? pulse audio? evolution? dbus, hal.. fedora and suse are the major reason why gnome is a good desktop today. But i guess things like a free java and flash implementations aren't for the desktop, neither is all the X cleanup code done the last few months by fedora. Or the system-config-tools that ubuntu uses. you think those popped outta the sky? All the software ubuntu uses to tout its "so easy" mantra is written by these people yet have the audacity to point the finger at fedora and suse like they're not pulling their weight? What a joke.


Ummm... okay, so then why aren't I seeing all these hordes of people declaiming from the rooftops how easy it is to use all these features in their parent distros? If Fedora and OpenSUSE are bringing all these wonderful things to the table, wouldn't you expect them to be integrated best in their distros? If Ubuntu's only claim to fame is repackaging these things so that they'll work then I'd say they've done pretty well for themselves myself...

Why isn't it "so easy" to use Fedora and OpenSuse?

--bornagainpenguin

Edited 2008-04-18 20:07 UTC

Reply Score: 2

Lunitik Member since:
2005-08-07

They both derive from Rawhide, so they are basically the same thing. Educated yourself before you spew nonsense.

Ubuntu includes many illegal softwares, this makes it easier for home users to not have to care about things, but it is BAD for Linux. It gives hardware vendors less reason to open their drivers, and sets the rest of the community back.

They also seem to think it is a good idea to distribute illegal software... Microsoft got sued $1.5 billion for licensing MP3 through the wrong company, Shuttleworth is rich, but that is still 3 times his worth.

Only reason Ubuntu is getting away with what they are doing right now is because they are irrelevant. Linux as a whole takes up about 0.1% of the desktop market. Better hope for Marks sake Ubuntu never really takes off!

When all you care about is getting Linux of a users desktop, bad decisions are made because - as red hat said - Linux isn't ready for the consumer desktop.

When Ubuntu doesn't need restricted or multiverse to be relevant THEN and ONLY THEN will they be doing a good thing.

Edited 2008-04-19 09:51 UTC

Reply Score: 1

uaxactun Member since:
2008-04-17

Care to list one example of illegal software that is present in a default Ubuntu install (e.g. that does not require a download from a non ubuntu repo).

Ubuntu can be used to install non-free (or even technically illegal) software but the same can be said for any Gnu/Linux operating system. Even GNewSense can install non-free software. In fact, it would be really amusing to convert GNewSense into a pimped-up non-free RS nightmare.

Reply Score: 1

Lunitik Member since:
2005-08-07

Everything in gstreamer0.10-plugins-bad/ugly and gstreamer0.10-ffmpeg...

Unless you'd like to cite something stating that they are legally distributing that? No, the fact that Linspire can legally distribute them doesn't mean Ubuntu can legally...

They are on the Ubuntu mirrors.

Reply Score: 1

h3rman Member since:
2006-08-09

If Fedora and OpenSUSE are bringing all these wonderful things to the table, wouldn't you expect them to be integrated best in their distros? If Ubuntu's only claim to fame is repackaging these things so that they'll work then I'd say they've done pretty well for themselves myself...

Why isn't it "so easy" to use Fedora and OpenSuse?

--bornagainpenguin


I thought it was very easy to use Fedora and OpenSuse?
Who told you it was not?

This distro infighting is so childish, it's hard to describe. Who cares what people use on their home desktops, THEY are stupid enough to use it. Be glad there's an alternative for the people that know where to look. Of course the Windows+OEM[exception:Apple]=near_monopoly thing is a bad thing, but that all takes time.

Wait for Windows 7 to break backwards compatibility, or wait for Dell to start making some real pro-Buntu propaganda, or wait for an earthquake to wipe Redmond off the face of the earth. Or wait for MS to GPL their entire product line. ;)

But stop this Lnx desktop fetish. There's a lot more injustice out there. I think people are stupid, they eat at McDonalds, they voted for Dubya (or.. wait, bad example), they drink Diet Coke, they play bad computer games, they buy Ford automobiles (uh.. bad example again), they don't care what's the OS on their pc/laptop. By God, I've heard there are still people out there going to the cinema to watch what Mel Gibson's been making.

All that is so sad and unjust. But let's face it, to the grand majority of users, 'we' the Lnx crowd are just a crazy sect. That sect is very vocal, so it doesn't need any corporate measures, it doesn't even need SJVN to conquer the desktop (can you just imagine?). ;)

Just keep silently and covertly converting people to Lnx and build OS-less machines for them, and install whatever distro keeps it going for you, that's a great service to society. And keep calling Dell or Lenovo or Toshiba asking them they ain't offering some nice Linux laptop, or keep returning your MSW licenses until they get big headaches down at the OEMs' crime labs.

But plzz ppl, just stop blaming Novell and Red Hat for it, it won't do noone any good.

Reply Score: 3

sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

Frankly, I find this whole finger-pointing episode discouraging and rather nauseating. The Unix wars have returned. We have found the enemy... and he is us.

Everyone stop freaking obsessing on your own "side" and have a look at the big picture.

We all play our parts, large or small, for good or for ill. Whether we win or lose, let's try to conduct ourselves in such a way that we can feel good about the parts we did play... rather than wonder whether we helped or hurt.

Edited 2008-04-18 20:38 UTC

Reply Score: 4

SlackerJack Member since:
2005-11-12

So, thats the point of Linux, why can't you people stop being so elitist about your distro just because your devs do some of the major work.

You need to stop being so defensive and support ubuntu instead of trying to knock it down with your elitist views, it's not Microsoft your fighting you know. If anything Linux is going to fail because it's own users are fighting for their own version to be the dominate one. On the other hand maybe Ubuntu has stealed Fedora/SUSE's thunder for desktop Linux, I'm betting that has alot to do with it and some ego's need to chill abit.

Edited 2008-04-18 22:00 UTC

Reply Score: 4

byrc Member since:
2006-02-18

*Ahem* I think you should thank Fedora for PulseAudio being where/what it is.

On that note, thanks Fedora, for making PulseAudio what it is.

Edited for clarification.

Edited 2008-04-18 19:17 UTC

Reply Score: 1

bornagainenguin Member since:
2005-08-07

Thanks Ubuntu for :
- AIGLX
- NetworkManager
- Xrandr
- pulseaudio
- etc

Ooops. Ubuntu only do upstart.


Drop from Ubuntu all the good work done by Red Hat and Novell. Have a nice day with this really Ubuntu-only distro.


*Ahem* I think you should thank Fedora for PulseAudio being where/what it is.

On that note, thanks Fedora, for making PulseAudio what it is.


Okay...sure. I'm certainly grateful for all of those things, but please let me ask a question...

What are those companies doing with all those?

Oh, right I forgot...they told all their home users to move over to Windows.

At least Canonical is pulling all those great things together and packaging them in such a way the average person can actually use them.

Ubuntu may or may not claim the home user desktop, but they're certainly further along now than many of the alternatives, and as I said before--the beauty and freedom of Open Source is that when (if?) Ubuntu ends up failing, there will be someone else along to take their place.

--bornagainpenguin

Reply Score: 4

byrc Member since:
2006-02-18

Maybe I missed the Red Hat news letter that told me to switch to Windows. But I am very happy with Fedora right now.

See I think you are missing something. Novell and Red Hat did not say they are no longer going to do anything with home desktop linux, they are just not going to have a corporate version for sale. But, they will support OpenSuSE and Fedora respectively. Now how is that any different from Canonical and their support for Ubuntu? The only thing that Canonical will offer that the others won't is support contracts, but, honestly, who uses those anyhow?

I am sorry if I am missing something but at this point people seem to be trying to make all of this something that it is not.

Reply Score: 4

intangible Member since:
2005-07-06

I didn't miss it:
http://software.silicon.com/os/0,39024651,39116741,00.htm

Matthew Szulik, chief executive of Linux vendor Red Hat, said on Monday that although Linux is capable of exceeding expectations for corporate users, home users should stick with Windows: "I would say that for the consumer market place, Windows probably continues to be the right product line,"

Reply Score: 2

byrc Member since:
2006-02-18

I feel like it is about time for Thom to bring it his classic "beating a dead horse" GIF, but that story you quoted in reference to Red Hat telling everyone to stick with Windows was published in 2003. Does anybody remember Linux 5 years ago? At that time, it was probably wise for most home users to stick with Windows, because if they hadn't, they would have entered a strange land of bad GUI's and horrible dependency hell and been scared away from Linux forever.

The world of computing changes, and so do opinions surrounding computing. Linking a story from five years ago to back up an argument today is crazy, because the landscape is completely different and sure are the opinions of everyone as well.

Reply Score: 6

psychicist Member since:
2007-01-27

Novell and Red Hat did not say they are no longer going to do anything with home desktop linux, they are just not going to have a corporate version for sale. But, they will support OpenSuSE and Fedora respectively.


You know what's the difference? I'll tell you. Even though Red Hat and Novell have enterprise-worthy distributions such as RHEL and SLES/SLED respectively, those are not normally available for home use or small companies. The versions that are available for home use are OpenSUSE and Fedora, but these are nothing more than cutting-edge test versions for the Enterprise distributions.

I have also found both of those to be of a really questionable quality (I'm being polite here). I'm giving Canonical kudos for releasing and supporting one and the same version for both home and enterprise use, which makes sure that it is also better tested let alone all the testing that the source packages are receiving in the Debian repositories.

I think I'm entitled to these opinions since I've been developing a multi-architecture distribution that is derived from Slackware for a few years and haven't experienced the easily avoidable bugs and other issues that I've seen with OpenSUSE and Fedora, both of which I'd only ever run on unimportant testing systems.

Reply Score: 2

bornagainenguin Member since:
2005-08-07

GRRRR....

The browser timed out on me and lost the other part of my comments...

Here's the rest of it--

And now that Canonical is starting to be happy with how well their releases are going, Canonical is starting to target the IT professional who likes their distro enough to try scaling it upwards in the Enterprise....

Of course the "industry leaders" are jealous! They let their eyes off the ball and now someone else is having a ball on their field and 'stealing' all of their users... Who could have seen this coming? Did they really think we'd all just give up and go back to Windows just because they no longer wanted us??

But then, that's the beauty and freedom that comes with using Open Source! Someone can always pick up whatever you leave behind and keep running the race without you. With Open Source there's always a way to continue going forward!

Too bad these 'leaders' forgot that...

--bornagainpenguin


Edited 2008-04-18 17:23 UTC

Reply Score: 5

apoclypse Member since:
2007-02-17

That is the thing, because canonical went for the consumer market and marketed heavily to those users, they can scale up into other areas. Users who may not know anything about Linux at least have heard about Ubuntu. New Linux users whoes entry point is Ubuntu will one day be professionals in the field and just like what happened with RedHat and Suse these same users will one day recommend they use Ubuntu on their servers. Its already happening, in our offices every linux user uses ubuntu eventhough RHEL is used on our servers, they are already testing Ubuntu on a virtualized server to see if they can replace an old debian box they use heavily.

Just like Apple is doing now with the iPhone and Macs, they start by getting the users first and foremost and the professional will build an industry out of it. These consumers using the software need support, they want to take what they are familiar with and use it at work, they need IT professionals who will make that possible. Thin about it, there will be a whole generation of users who grew up using Ubuntu as their primary distro of choice. just like a dud who was packaging this a kernel and some tools and now is the huge entity that is called Redhat. Both Suse and Redhat started out with meager goals and means, and now they are huge.

Reply Score: 5

ari-free Member since:
2007-01-22

but you know what? a few years people were saying the same thing about redhat and Suse and mandrake. The linux world is fickle. Today the focus is on ubuntu and tomorrow everyone will forget it and talk about pclinuxOS or some other distro.

And the rest of the world will have no idea what a linux based OS is supposed to be like.

Reply Score: 2

Making Money
by jpobst on Fri 18th Apr 2008 16:54 UTC
jpobst
Member since:
2006-09-26

I think Novell and RedHat define "taking off" as being a product one can profitably sell. As public companies, their job is to be profitable, which the consumer Linux desktop market currently is not.

The companies listed that are making money off of consumer desktop Linux are the hardware companies (Asus, Everex, Dell), which are making money on hardware, not on Linux.

Even the most "successful" consumer desktop Linux company, Canonical, is not profitable (per wikipedia). It has the luxury of being a privately owned hobby business of a billionaire, and really has no need to be profitable. Granted, they do great work, but they are not successful by the business sense of the word.

Given that the only money available from consumer desktop OS's is OEM contracts, which are generally under $50 for Windows, the money has to be made at high volumes, which is something that is a long ways off for Linux. (And to get hardware manufacturers interested, you will have to probably charge significantly less for a copy of Linux, somewhere on the order of $0.)

Reply Score: 8

They are...
by Arakon on Fri 18th Apr 2008 17:01 UTC
Arakon
Member since:
2005-07-06

entitled to their own opinion. As I recall every year for the last 10 years has been called the year of the Linux desktop and each year it's... not. Jealousy is not an issue, making money is. Making Linux a better serer now, has gains now. On the other hand trying to make Linux a desktop might be profitable a some point in the future. maybe.

Linux has come a long way but it suffers from one major flaw. Not enough usability experts (ie stupid people). The kind of people it takes to write a kernel and awesome desktop graphic engines tend to become very disconnected from the end user. Combine that with an ego (like a lot of developers have) and you have a recipe for mediocrity no matter how great the code is.

Examples

Has KDE 4 gotten rid/given us the option of getting rid of the tool box in the upper right corner? What exactly is the justification for DEMANDING that has to be on the desktop?

How far can a user get in any Linux distribution without having to do something in the cmd-line? Yeah that black box that most people think is some kind of voodoo magic. Eyes get glossy and they go back to windows where they point and click and if it doesn't work they buy a new computer.

I love playing around with Linux seeing all the neat stuff they are doing, and I agree that some of the distros are getting close to that "Desktop for Stupid People" status (you think I can TM that?) but most users already have windows with a new PC, and just about any dumbass can turn it on and get on the internet with minimal knowledge.

So until "UbuXanPC-OS: The Linux Desktop for Stupid People" comes out. Linux will most likely stay a great server OS with a hobbyist following on the desktop. Remember stupid people probably outnumber you at least 10 to 1 in most places.

Reply Score: 4

RE: They are...
by 6c1452 on Sat 19th Apr 2008 03:28 UTC in reply to "They are..."
6c1452 Member since:
2007-08-29

Can somebody explain to me what this "Year of the Linux desktop" is? When can we say it has happened? Do we need to have a DTE that is usable for newbies first, or are we holding out for 50% market share?

Start up your favorite default install and take a look at it. Do you see a web browser, office program and IM? Congratulations, you have a newbie-capable linux desktop. Now name one thing which can only be done from the command line and is not a power user function.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: They are...
by trenchsol on Sat 19th Apr 2008 12:20 UTC in reply to "RE: They are..."
trenchsol Member since:
2006-12-07

I thin it is a matter of perception. For non-technical users Windows PC is safe bet. Millions of other people are using it, and they get along, somehow. They might run into problems with it, but millions of other people will run in the same problems.

Formatting hard drive and installing something else is not an option, because they have no idea how to do that. For them OS is as much part of the computer as much as motherboard is.

What does it mean ? It means only one thing, UNIX-like desktop operating systems (Linux, PC-BSD) are not backed up with appropriate MARKETING. Windows aren't perfect, most people can do their jobs on other systems. They just need to be convinced. Nobody will ever launch a successful consumer product without huge marketing effort, no matter how good it might be.

Marketing campaign would cost a lot, and it can't be done properly by volunteers. Not so small group of Linux people who resent capitalism and corporations would have to back off for good. Some hard-core traditionalists would have to go, too.

Reply Score: 1

uh oh not again
by xaoxx on Fri 18th Apr 2008 17:03 UTC
xaoxx
Member since:
2008-04-18

Please add this to the group title "This is the year of the Linux desktop". That archive goes back hmm?? what 8 years now? I think Red Hat / Novell are speaking to the business side of things. Yes, you will be able to buy Linux on desktops and this is a great thing! But the issue is how you are going to get it into the minds of the mainstream consumer that have been conditioned to buy/use windows?? It is just going to take time.

Reply Score: 1

Clueless
by zztaz on Fri 18th Apr 2008 17:08 UTC
zztaz
Member since:
2006-09-16

The author has created his rant out of mistatements of what Red Hat and Novell have said. Neither said that Linux on desktops are not and will not be successful; they've said that there isn't much money to made selling support for Linux desktops. They're right. Unlike Microsoft, they don't sell the software, they sell support.

Companies are willing to pay for good support, hardware and software, for critical systems. Desktops are chosen for reasons other than support costs. Until that changes, the Red Hat business model won't work for desktops.

Microsoft has shifted the burden of support onto the OEMs, which has tended to hide the true cost from the end users. The Eee PC shows the breakdown of Microsoft's business model, in that the hardware cost is so low that the cost of Windows can't be hidden. So it's Asus that sees the benefit from using Linux on the desktop, not Red Hat or Novell. And there's nothing wrong with that.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Clueless
by David on Fri 18th Apr 2008 18:03 UTC in reply to "Clueless"
David Member since:
1997-10-01

This is an important point. Linux's greatest strength is also the reason that for-profit companies are reluctant to make large investments in the development that Linux needs to be a credible competitor to Microsoft and Apple's desktop OSes: it's freely redistributable. They are unable to make money by selling a license to each home user, and unlikely to make much money from support.

Every milestone that Linux has hit taking it closer to desktop viability has been the result of either organic user-driven development (Which is slow and uneven) or a spurt of development made speculatively by a startup (like Ximian) or a more established company (Red Hat, IBM, Novell), which until now has always failed to make a profit for the company in question and has eventually been abandoned. Luckily, the strength of open source development comes to the rescue, as all those "spurts" are kept rather than lost, and Linux improves.

Reply Score: 1

Ubuntu is not "doing great" financially
by JoeBuck on Fri 18th Apr 2008 17:55 UTC
JoeBuck
Member since:
2006-01-11

Red Hat is sponsoring all kinds of desktop work, and Fedora typically has any new desktop technology before Ubuntu does. What they are saying is that they don't currently see a way to make a profit on a pure desktop product, though they are making a profit in the server space.

Well, guess what? Ubuntu/Canonical are also not making a profit. They are doing a good job technically, but they have a very wealthy individual (Mark Shuttleworth) paying the bills. Canonical is bringing in some money, which should allow Shuttleworth's cash to last longer.

Also, Novell and Red Hat are devoting far more resources to improving the desktop than Canonical/Ubuntu. Just count up the number of paid developers, and look at the checkins for Gnome and KDE, as well as in the underlying freedesktop.org and X projects. Ubuntu is doing a good job adding polish to others' work, but they are standing on Red Hat and Novell's shoulders.

Reply Score: 10

unoengborg Member since:
2005-07-06

It's a long term investment. What Canonical want is that people to know and refer to "Linux" as Ubuntu and so far they have been much more successful than RMS Gnu/Linux.

I upgraded the memory in my old thinkpad, and showed the PC to the salsesperson in the computer store to get the right kind of memory. The first thing the salesperson asked when I opened my Fedora/Gnome desktop was:
- Is it Ubuntu?

If Canonical manages to get more people to think that Ubuntu and Linux is the same, they are the ones that will get the support contracts the day when the year of the Linux desktop finally is here some time in the future.

Reply Score: 4

Consumer Linux Desktop.
by miguel on Fri 18th Apr 2008 21:06 UTC
miguel
Member since:
2005-07-27

Hey!

I can not speak for Novell, but many of us *inside* Novell are working on the Linux desktop with our eyes on the consumer Linux desktop. That is what drives us, and that is what makes us passionate, and that is why we hack every day on free software

Am not on the SUSE team, or the desktop team, so I do not speak for them (or Novell in general) but it seems that those statements are merely from the standpoint of what can be used to pay for development today: enterprise deployments are an easier sell than consumer sales at this point.

Consumer Linux will happen, and I will continue trying ;-)

Miguel.

Reply Score: 8

Factions and fanatics won't help Linux
by bousozoku on Fri 18th Apr 2008 22:28 UTC
bousozoku
Member since:
2006-01-23

Desktop Linux is far off unless you want to do basic things like word processing, web browsing, handling e-mail, and setting your own schedules.

You can yell at each other about who created what but it's not helping anyone. It's part of the reason there wasn't a united UNIX in the 1980s and why proprietary systems thrived. A distribution has to be more than a kernel and a shell prompt. Most of you have missed this and what was in the very first comment.

Consumers might be willing to go for something new, but unfamiliar is not good territory. Otherwise, McDonald's and Pizza Hut wouldn't have customers, would they?

If someone can provide one package that does what a consumer needs, provides occasional support, helpful updates, and readily available and easy to understand software, people will likely buy it.

People like free, of course, but how good is free if the software doesn't do what you want or you have to build it or somehow customise it to do what you want?

Canonical has something good with Ubuntu, but when you step beyond what they've envisioned, you're in trouble.

It's not jealousy stopping desktop Linux, but it's a lack of a unified vision. Until that vision exists, it'll be technically-oriented people who will cling to the claim that desktop Linux has been there for years.

Reply Score: 3

sakeniwefu Member since:
2008-02-26

Desktop Linux is far off unless you want to do basic things like word processing, web browsing, handling e-mail, and setting your own schedules.


You mean unlike a real Desktop OS? Say, how is that different from Windows? Enlight us.

It's Debian unstable here, and I don't remember having had to use the command line for normal applications or sysadmining since I installed it, and even then it was "aptitude". If some techie installed it for you in supported hardware as happens with windows I very much doubt you would ever have to worry about anything OSy at all.

.doc support, WinAPI emulation(enough for software you download legally), and web browsing are on. That covers the needs of about 90% of home users, including me.

But this is Debian, by nerds for nerds. Now, with Ubuntu even George W Bush would be able to get his system installed and fully configured two clicks and a pretzel later. With retail Windows CDs you need to hunt down drivers, with Ubuntu, they are there already.

Windows power users and people with specific application needs are the only ones who can even tell the difference if you play a bit with themes.

Before you write me down as a fanboy, you should know there are a lot of things I abhor about the Linux OS, starting with the use of X as the main(only) GUI.

Reply Score: 1

crazycanuck Member since:
2008-04-20

"Desktop Linux is far off unless you want to do basic things like word processing, web browsing, handling e-mail, and setting your own schedules."

I guess if by basic you also mean;
audio, video and sound editing, genealogy, project planning, CAD, desktop publishing, instant messaging, internet phone, web design and pretty much anything I can do on Windows ... then you're right.

Just exactly what is it you CAN'T do on linux? I'd be interested to know, because there's nothing that I've been unable to do as well (if not better) on Linux than I did on windows, and at ZERO cost.

I haven't been able to get a virus to run yet though. Maybe that's what you had in mind.

Reply Score: 1

Nalle Member since:
2005-07-06

There are some games that are windows specific still, and then there's Adobe photoshop, that has managed to become THE icon of what doesn't work under Linus OS-es.

Then there is watching some types of windows specific filmstreams on the net. Example: http://atvs.vg.no/player/?id=15898

Sorry that the example is Norwegian - there are not many sites left that one cannot see.

That's it, I think.

I use Ubuntu at home, and look forward to using eeeXubuntu when the eee gets released in Norway in July (I am waiting for a Norwegian release since I want the Norwegian special character to be on the keyboard).
I do not feel that I'm lacking much.

For my use, Gimp doe as good work as Adobe - I am not a gamer and VG is a newspaper, for crying out loud. I can use a dozen others, so that Linux users cannot read the pages is VG's loss and the other papers gain?!

Nalle Berg
./nalle.

Reply Score: 2

It doesn't make sense to try to sell Linux
by mekoka on Sat 19th Apr 2008 06:07 UTC
mekoka
Member since:
2008-04-18

Joel Spolsky explained it best in his article "Strategy Letter V". To dominate on the OS market, Microsoft worked at commoditizing the PC market. Linux is a product that does the reverse. It commoditize the OS market, which should normally profit hardware vendors. It doesn't make sense for an OS vendor to push Linux, which is why Microsoft has used so much of its resources to try and crush it.

RedHat and others are not OS vendors, they sell support, but currently don't believe there's money for them to be made by offering it on the desktop. Are they right? only time will tell. But just because it's not an interesting market for them, doesn't mean the market doesn't exist.

Many governments in Europe, South America, Africa and Asia will need support for their then legacy, but still perfectly capable PCs in 2010 and I hardly see them porting to Macs or upgrading their hardware for Windows 7.

For governments and business institutions contemplating changes, Linux is becoming an increasingly appealing solution. In 2 years, the data on many incubating transition projects will be available and it will probably then be much easier to convince these establishments to switch. I can very well see the task of handling support being subcontracted to many smaller companies. Canonical may very well shine by being the central point for this.

Right now, promoting a free OS is rather in the best interest of companies who profit by providing complements to that OS. In this instance:
- hardware vendors : a cheaper OS directly translates in more hardware sales.
- Web services providers and web centric companies (google, etc): the rise of the low end pc market and cheap wi-fi enabled devices means more connected users.
- desktop support : like explained earlier.

It seems to me that at the moment, the primary agents for Linux adoption should be the hardware vendors. But what exactly are they doing?

- Go to any of the major hardware vendors: Dell, HP, Asus, Lenovo, Gateway, etc.
- Look in their desktop / notebook section.
- Somewhere in the page there will be something that says "<Insert Vendor's name here> recommends Windows Vista® Home Premium [for personal computing]."

Do you truly believe that all these guys just woke up one morning and unanimously decided that Vista was such a terrific OS that they would recommend it? Do you think that they really want to recommend Vista, when they're begging Microsoft to extend XP support? Dell's Linux business is thriving (they've just started offering Ubuntu in Canada a few weeks ago), without being advertised, I'd even say while being hidden. You do the math: On one hand they have a failing product that they're "recommending" and on the other, they have an increased demand on a product that they don't even want to mention.

This should give you an idea of the heavy politics involved when pushing Linux with the big boys. Linux's adoption doesn't lie (anymore) in ease of use, or software availability, or any of the old mantras.

I don't care what RedHat or SUSE say about their business model for it, to me desktop Linux is pretty much ready for the mass.

Edited 2008-04-19 06:15 UTC

Reply Score: 2

News at 11
by segedunum on Sat 19th Apr 2008 06:10 UTC
segedunum
Member since:
2005-07-06

The enterprise Linux desktop vendors are not making any headway whatsoever. Never saw that one coming.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by truckweb
by truckweb on Sat 19th Apr 2008 11:37 UTC
truckweb
Member since:
2005-07-06

"Recently, both Novell and Red Hat went on record as dismissing the idea that the consumer Linux desktop is going to be taking off anytime soon. It's not? Has anyone told Asus and Xandros? Everex and gOS?

How many Eee users remove Xandros to install WinXP? I know I did and so did many others judging by the forum eeeuser.com

Don't be fooled, Linux is not going to win the desktop soon.

Reply Score: 2

Ubuntu does not make Canonical money
by lindkvis on Sat 19th Apr 2008 11:41 UTC
lindkvis
Member since:
2006-11-21

Ubuntu Linux is a loss-leader for Canonical. It is a free product that catches people's attention and may build revenue for them on other things such as support and their proprietary products 'Landscape' and 'Launchpad'.

Without Ubuntu nobody would have heard of Canonical so it is clearly crucial to their strategy as marketing for their revenue generating services.

That does not mean that the 'consumer desktop' is economically viable for Canonical and it probably never will.

Red Hat and Novell contributes to very similar free products called Fedora and OpenSuSE. Since both of these companies have found their niches actually selling Linux distributions, they can't really give proper support for the free versions. Still, Fedora and OpenSuSE aren't bad 'consumer desktops', there is just no money for Red Hat or Novell in it.

The future of Linux as a strong and viable product for Linux distributors is in enterprise products and associated services.

The future of Linux as a consumer desktop is either as a loss leader for a distributor or as a way of shaving off money for the hardware manufacturers. Both these strategies are fine and may carry Linux as a consumer desktop forwards.

Reply Score: 2

autumnlover
Member since:
2007-04-12

As far as I know many people consider you a "troll" when you say that Linux is still not ready for mass desktop adoption?

Now it seems that one of those "trolls" is the Red Hat itself.

Reply Score: 2

drivers and configurations
by buff on Sat 19th Apr 2008 20:00 UTC
buff
Member since:
2005-11-12

I saw people comment on the fact that GNU/Linux is free and companies don't use it since they can't sell it. A valid point. In some ways people don't give credit to Microsoft for supporting desktop boxes. Compare XP to say Fedora or Ubuntu. XP runs on my Fedora box, laptop and eeepc ultramobile. Fedora works on all three boxes too but I can't get sound to record right and my scanner doesn't work. The real reason many Linux companies stay away from selling a separate desktop version is the driver support it would require. Keeping it to servers makes it much easier. Look what happened to MS when they tried to move people from XP to Vista. People got angry since they found out not all their older devices were supported. It felt more like a downgrade. The amount of desktop configurations and devices XP supports is actually quite amazing. It probably doesn't hurt to have the backing from most third part vendors either.

Edited 2008-04-19 20:02 UTC

Reply Score: 2

What is the measure of success?
by tomcat on Sun 20th Apr 2008 04:13 UTC
tomcat
Member since:
2006-01-06

By all objective standards, the Linux desktop is already a success, since it meets the needs of most Linux users. It isn't necessary for Linux to "beat Microsoft" or "beat Apple" to do that. For some reason, a lot of people have created an unrealistic (and unnecessary) standard in order to declare The Year of the Linux Desktop. Folks, it's already happened. Do you really need the validation of a bunch of former Apple and Microsoft users to convince you what you already knew? If so, why? It's not as if continued innovation on the Linux desktop is dependent on those factors (although, certainly, it would happen faster with hardware manufacturers if there were more economic incentive). I'm not suggesting that anyone "give up"; rather, I'm just suggesting that you look at things a little differently.

Edited 2008-04-20 04:14 UTC

Reply Score: 4

So What Do You Guys Want?
by h3rman on Sun 20th Apr 2008 11:40 UTC
h3rman
Member since:
2006-08-09

I guess, now Red Hat are losers to have "given up" on the home desktop user? Someone here tried to be funny and called Red Hat a troll; sure. Meanwhile, the irony, Xandros, the Lnx vendor that was hired professionally by Asus for the Eee pc, is one of the least respected out there, and actually one of the culprits having made a deal with MS. Lots of (most?) people kick Xandros off the Eee as soon as they can, replacing it with Ubuntu or WinXP. However, few people realise that Xandros pays MS for every copy sold in the light of their nice little deal. 'I'm buying an Eee, I'm screwing MS'.
Sure, that's why they conveniently include XP drivers on the DVD. Right.

There's only one thing one can blame RH, Novell, etc., it's that they were too late, less clever, had too poor marketing, etc. and lost the mindshare battle to the Buntus. In the case of Novell, that's just a part of the problem since they seem to have trouble knowing what way they are going anyway. In the case of Red Hat/Fedora, does anyone realise the potentials of the XO/OLPC laptop project for Linux/FLOSS?

A dream, I guess, but not more of a dream than the wishful thinking that in 2003 predicted 20% desktop market share for 2008.

It can be done, but it's very difficult, and Novell/Red Hat acknowledging that gets them flamed.

Meanwhile, exactly the same thing that was said by RH was said by Mark Shuttleworth.

The main thing is to recognize that Linux remains somewhat of a specialist's option. ... Even if you talk to some of the smaller OEMs they will all figure out how to work with you and to work with Linux. Where it has always been blocked is in the large-scale consumer market. I think Dell has been very clever in the way they've done it. They've figured out how to make Linux available to those consumers who are specifically looking for it without accidentally having folks who don't know what Linux is (and who don't really want Linux) accidentally buying those machines. That's critical to the economic viability of the offering.


[emphasis mine].

http://lifehacker.com/software/exclusive-lifehacker-interview/ubunt...

So RH, Shuttleworth, said the same thing.

Shuttleworth is not expecting people to buy any Dellbuntu who were not already looking for it.

Reply Score: 4

RE: So What Do You Guys Want?
by bornagainenguin on Sun 20th Apr 2008 23:07 UTC in reply to "So What Do You Guys Want?"
bornagainenguin Member since:
2005-08-07

Meanwhile, exactly the same thing that was said by RH was said by Mark Shuttleworth.

"The main thing is to recognize that Linux remains somewhat of a specialist's option. ... Even if you talk to some of the smaller OEMs they will all figure out how to work with you and to work with Linux. Where it has always been blocked is in the large-scale consumer market. I think Dell has been very clever in the way they've done it. They've figured out how to make Linux available to those consumers who are specifically looking for it without accidentally having folks who don't know what Linux is (and who don't really want Linux) accidentally buying those machines. That's critical to the economic viability of the offering.


[emphasis mine].

http://lifehacker.com/software/exclusive-lifehacker-interview/ubunt...

So RH, Shuttleworth, said the same thing.

Shuttleworth is not expecting people to buy any Dellbuntu who were not already looking for it.
"

The difference between what Mark Shuttleworth and Matthew Szulik said lies in the implementation of Linux by each company, and how those distros are perceived in each one.

Red Hat killed their workstation release and only brought out Fedora as a testbed for their Enterprise Distro. Fedora has no other real purpose on its own and is not given nearly the same level of attention to detail as their business offerings.

Canonical builds and uses the same Linux for their business releases as the one they release for their home users. The features are the same. The stability is the same. They offer their very best right out the door...

Do you see the difference?

--bornagainpenguin

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: So What Do You Guys Want?
by sbergman27 on Sun 20th Apr 2008 23:34 UTC in reply to "RE: So What Do You Guys Want?"
sbergman27 Member since:
2005-07-24

Red Hat killed their workstation release and only brought out Fedora as a testbed for their Enterprise Distro. Fedora has no other real purpose on its own and is not given nearly the same level of attention to detail as their business offerings.

Canonical builds and uses the same Linux for their business releases as the one they release for their home users. The features are the same. The stability is the same. They offer their very best right out the door...

Well, Red Hat did not kill their workstation release. RHED is still very much there ( http://www.redhat.com/rhel/desktop/ ) as a fully supported companion to RHEL. They are even getting a bit aggressive about keeping the desktop apps in it up to date during the release cycle. The next minor release will get OO.o 2.4 and FF3.0, if you can believe it. Agreed that Fedora could use some more attention to detail.

Thanks to Mark's generosity, Canonical has no pending financial catastrophe. Unfortunately, if that money were to run out today (which it wouldn't), Ubuntu would be a devastating crash and burn story for desktop Linux. Ubuntu is, however, very well done. And there is every hope that Canonical might become profitable before the money *does* run out.

I know that I say this often. But a rising tide *does* lift all boats. Good fortune for Red hat is good fortune for Unbuntu. And good fortune for Ubuntu is good fortune for Red Hat.

I believe that both companies' leaders recognize that fact. And I believe that both companies are playing their respective parts well.

Edited 2008-04-20 23:49 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: So What Do You Guys Want?
by h3rman on Mon 21st Apr 2008 07:30 UTC in reply to "RE: So What Do You Guys Want?"
h3rman Member since:
2006-08-09

The difference between what Mark Shuttleworth and Matthew Szulik said lies in the implementation of Linux by each company, and how those distros are perceived in each one.

Red Hat killed their workstation release and only brought out Fedora as a testbed for their Enterprise Distro. Fedora has no other real purpose on its own and is not given nearly the same level of attention to detail as their business offerings.


Because they don't support it. They don't have to support it, because their customers are happy with the present release and support cycle. In the mean time Red Hat employed people work on Fedora to make it a good release every 6 months. If they stop that, their foundation is gone, so as long as sane people are at the helm at Red Hat, nobody is going to allow Fedora to turn into a buggy piece of crap.

Because it's an essential part of their business model.

You say that Fedora "has no other real purpose on its own", well neither does a non-LTS Ubuntu release. If "to be a great, usable desktop/server Linux-based FLOSS operating system" isn't as good a purpose as any, by the way.

There really isn't much of a quality difference between Fedora and Ubuntu, although during the lifetime of a Fedora release updated packages are continuously being offered - if one only installs security updates, Fedora is as usable as any of the 6-month cycle distros or perhaps more so.

Canonical builds and uses the same Linux for their business releases as the one they release for their home users. The features are the same. The stability is the same. They offer their very best right out the door...

Do you see the difference?


I do - and I don't. There's a little detail that you didn't mention, it's Ubuntu's "LTS" release.
Although you're right when you say, "They offer their very best right out the door", even Canonical cannot escape the fact that people want long term support. Organisations don't upgrade every six months.
So if you compare the "Fedoras" to the non-LTS Ubuntu's, and RHEL to the Ubuntu LTS releases, the picture looks a lot more similar. There simply is no revolutionarily different way in Linux to do things much other than that. There's no way that Canonical is going to be able to support all of their releases for the time they support the LTS release.

Only time will tell what's the most clever strategy - frankly, I won't be surprised if Ubuntu would someday have wiped the Red Hats and Novells off the face of the earth. Underestimating a guy like Mark Shuttleworth would be the stupidest thing anyone at RH or Novell could do.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: So What Do You Guys Want?
by h3rman on Mon 21st Apr 2008 07:41 UTC in reply to "RE: So What Do You Guys Want?"
h3rman Member since:
2006-08-09

... Fedora has no other real purpose on its own and is not given nearly the same level of attention to detail as their business offerings.

Canonical builds and uses the same Linux for their business releases as the one they release for their home users. The features are the same. The stability is the same. They offer their very best right out the door...


What I forgot to mention: Red Hat actually does offer the very best right out the door; except that it's the backdoor. ;)
It's called CentOS, it's RHEL recompiled, it has a lot of mindshare, and lots of people love it, especially on the server.


...
I do think Red Hat's going to have to pay me for all this propaganda I'm making for'em. ;)

Okay, absent a cheque, I'll stop doing that for at least a month. ;)

Reply Score: 2

Why should we care anymore?
by theTSF on Sun 20th Apr 2008 14:37 UTC
theTSF
Member since:
2005-09-27

Really why should we care anymore about the Desktop. The dynamics have changed greatly within the last decade.

Think Back in 1998 we needed applications installed on our PC to be useful. More then just Office, But online encyclopedias, Games, if you used it for work, you needed every Application Installed on your system in order for you to get your work done. If you had a Mac, or Linux, installed you couldn't get the work done. Today most of what you need is on the internet over standard protocols and web designers are less and less likely to make IE only pages, they tend to make them to work in different browsers and different OS's. So Today I can Mac OS or Linux and get the same amount of work done as with Windows. Even Google docs is allowing us to replace office for some extent. Online Flash Games let us have a little bit of fun and play a quick fun game.

It is not like 10 years ago. We can function with Linux as our Desktop or with Macs or with windows. The desktop war is a moot point now. They are still fighting it but for what end. Stop all this petty OS Religion and focus on useful things, Cross Platform Applications, Open Standards (nessarly ot open source)

Reply Score: 1