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 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 Parent Score: 26

RE[2]: Simple answer
by Xaero_Vincent on Wed 23rd Jan 2008 23:23 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 Parent Score: 4

RE: Simple answer
by moleskine on Wed 23rd Jan 2008 23:15 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 Parent Score: 5

RE: Simple answer
by backdoc on Wed 23rd Jan 2008 23:45 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 Parent Score: 13

RE[2]: Simple answer
by Xaero_Vincent on Thu 24th Jan 2008 00:09 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 Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Simple answer
by Brendan on Thu 24th Jan 2008 13:06 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 Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: Simple answer
by WorknMan on Thu 24th Jan 2008 17:07 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 Parent Score: 3

RE: Simple answer
by butters on Thu 24th Jan 2008 01:05 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 Parent Score: 13

RE: Simple answer
by 6c1452 on Thu 24th Jan 2008 01:48 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 Parent Score: 16

RE: Simple answer
by Babi Asu on Thu 24th Jan 2008 06:11 in reply to "Simple answer"
Babi Asu Member since:
2006-02-11


> Stop porting software to Windows.



Windows, with more than 80% market share, compared to Linux that only have 0.4% market share, will make a software get public recognition in short time. Take FireFox as a case. It's a well known browser recently, but still 80% of users are using Windows. Imagine if it's developed solely for Linux.

Reply Parent Score: -1

RE: Simple answer
by robertojdohnert on Thu 24th Jan 2008 10:49 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 Parent Score: 1

RE: Simple answer
by sorpigal on Thu 24th Jan 2008 15:27 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 Parent Score: 2

RE: Simple answer
by christianhgross on Thu 24th Jan 2008 16:45 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 Parent Score: 2