Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 2nd Feb 2009 12:00 UTC
In the News Since it's nigh on impossible to produce accurate figures of operating system usage, we have to make do with figures that provide a rough estimate, at best. One such set of statistics are the figures from Net Applications, which tracks the 160 million monthly visitors to its hosted websites. The latest figures from January 2009 have been published, and they show that the rise of Mac OS X continues, as well as that of the iPhone and iPod Touch. Unsurprisingly, Windows 7 did quite well too.
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The linux plateau
by siraf72 on Mon 2nd Feb 2009 12:33 UTC
siraf72
Member since:
2006-02-22

I like linux and it was my main OS before Os X.0 was released but certain thing I feel still stand in its way.

1. Migrating from a "competing" OS should be easy. Window users jumping to Mac have a far more seamless migration path IMHO. e.g. MS office is available (or you can use iWork, or OO). The user experience is more consistent across the platform. Other propriety software is also available for both. Whether its adobe, MS, or more niche products. Apple, it seems to me have spent a good portion of effort in removing barriers to adoption by making sure Apple plays nice with the Windows world and the external device world. I can't remember the last time I had to install a driver for anything on OS x.

2. whiles linux is a great OS, it is not MARKETED. I said it before i'll say it again, people are willing to pay what they perceive a product to be worth. If an OS that is FREE is not being used, the problem is either that people don't know about it, or that switching to it is too painful (or both).

Needless to say this doesn't apply to people on this forum or indeed their immediate families who get tech support!

Reply Score: 4

RE: The linux plateau
by Liquidator on Mon 2nd Feb 2009 12:56 in reply to "The linux plateau"
Liquidator Member since:
2007-03-04

If an OS that is FREE is not being used, the problem is either that people don't know about it, or that switching to it is too painful (or both).


True. You could also add "lack of time". It is always possible to learn how to use Linux when you have enough time, but when you have a Windows computer at home, and you virtually have no time to google around, read documentation, discuss on forums, etc...You stick to what you have, even if you are not 100% satisfied. When you have a problem, you ask a friend, or take the computer to a local store, they fix it for you. Personally I have given up with Linux because I don't have enough time to learn and troubleshoot the computer (because of my work, family, sport, charity, etc...).

Edited 2009-02-02 12:59 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: The linux plateau
by Morin on Mon 2nd Feb 2009 13:01 in reply to "The linux plateau"
Morin Member since:
2005-12-31

> I can't remember the last time I had to install a
> driver for anything on OS x.

While this obviously stems from OS X being marketed with special (known) hardware, I am still puzzled why nobody tries that route with Linux. Choose known, working hardware; customize a working Linux distro like Ubuntu for exactly that hardware (and nothing else); slap a careful choice of applications on it; sell it.

Proprietary parts can be included since, unlike free-to-download distros, paying for licenses isn't a problem with a product that is sold for money.

Reply Parent Score: 7

RE[2]: The linux plateau
by javiercero1 on Mon 2nd Feb 2009 14:16 in reply to "RE: The linux plateau"
javiercero1 Member since:
2005-11-10

You just described the business plan of all those Linux HW startups a decade ago.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[2]: The linux plateau
by mojeaix on Mon 2nd Feb 2009 14:36 in reply to "RE: The linux plateau"
mojeaix Member since:
2006-11-29

That's basically what Apple did with BSD. Darwin is basically BSD with the Aqua GUI on top. Apple could have chosen to use Linux, but I think the licensing for BSD suited them better.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: The linux plateau
by siraf72 on Mon 2nd Feb 2009 14:54 in reply to "RE: The linux plateau"
siraf72 Member since:
2006-02-22

"I am still puzzled why nobody tries that route with Linux. Choose known, working hardware; customize a working Linux distro like Ubuntu for exactly that hardware (and nothing else); slap a careful choice of applications on it; sell it."

Exactly!

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: The linux plateau
by dagw on Mon 2nd Feb 2009 15:05 in reply to "RE: The linux plateau"
dagw Member since:
2005-07-06

I am still puzzled why nobody tries that route with Linux. Choose known, working hardware; customize a working Linux distro like Ubuntu for exactly that hardware (and nothing else); slap a careful choice of applications on it; sell it.

There have been dozens of companies that have tried that, few of them might even still be around. The basic flaw in the plan is that they are too small to compete on price and most people who want a dedicated Linux box have the necessary skills to install Linux on whatever hardware they happen to own. The vast majority of Linux users aren't willing to pay a $200-300 premium simply to get Linux pre-installed.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: The linux plateau
by kaiwai on Wed 4th Feb 2009 03:38 in reply to "RE: The linux plateau"
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

While this obviously stems from OS X being marketed with special (known) hardware, I am still puzzled why nobody tries that route with Linux. Choose known, working hardware; customize a working Linux distro like Ubuntu for exactly that hardware (and nothing else); slap a careful choice of applications on it; sell it.

Proprietary parts can be included since, unlike free-to-download distros, paying for licenses isn't a problem with a product that is sold for money.


Because the only people who have so far come up with this idea have been geeks and enthusiasts - neither one of them are willing to spend the time and money on the spit and polish required to get it to the same level (and exceed) that of Mac OS X.

What is required is an alternative operating system whose vendor maintains and integrates everything so strongly that one cannot view the separation between the different components; the whole operating system is viewed in its entirety rather than being viewed right now as a collection of things hobbled together and put in an iso image.

What it would require first and foremost are drop in replacements for applications; you will need to have an Office alternative, a Creative Suite alternative, a Photoshop Elements alternative (for basic photo touching up) plus many other alternatives (MYOB anyone?) All of these are epic failures in the open source world.

Now, I don't blame the open source world because the basic foundation of open source is to scratch and itch. If the itch of that individual (or group of) developer(s) isn't the same as an end user - can we really blame the open source developers for not meeting the needs of end users?

What is required is a for profit entity who has paid developers and are able to meet these requirements by paying developers to work on issues that might not necessarily be issues they find sratchable but because they are being paid - they'll address them anyway.

Btw, as a side issue, a couple of years ago I tried to setup something similar to this; the 'ministry of economic development' was setup to foster these sorts of ideas. I went to talk to someone there to find if I could get VC funding or some sort of grant. Lets put it this way, they have thousands working in the ministry and the best they could do is refer me to a rack of pamphlets. Unless one can find long term investors who look at the long term gain rather than short term profit, ideas such as what you have suggested are never going to get off the ground.

Edited 2009-02-04 03:40 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: The linux plateau
by areks on Mon 2nd Feb 2009 13:05 in reply to "The linux plateau"
areks Member since:
2008-11-10

I believe it is only marketing. Apple got it right, so people change even it is the most difficult to use OS.

Yes in my opinion it is difficult. Mac is very different from Win and Linux in Look&Feel starting with keyboard layout. Some trivial task like editing text ASCII files are available only from terminal and in general there is not a lot software included with OS by default compared to Win and specially Linux.

The fact what Linux is free is not true from user point of view (my Linux netbook was more expensive with Linux compared with WinXP), or not relevant (I never saw Linux source code even I'm programmer myself and I use it for years now).
So the close BSD distribution (yes MacOSX) is much more successful.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: The linux plateau
by telemachus81 on Mon 2nd Feb 2009 13:28 in reply to "RE: The linux plateau"
telemachus81 Member since:
2008-10-06

Some trivial task like editing text ASCII files are available only from terminal and in general there is not a lot software included with OS by default compared to Win and specially Linux.


Open TextEdit, select 'Make Plain Text' from the Format menu, or open an existing ASCII file itself and it will be in plain text mode. You can select the encoding when saving.

Is there really less software included with OS X than with Windows? Mac hardware comes bundled with whatever the latest version of iLife is at the time too (iPhoto, iMovie, Garage Band, iDVD, iWeb), but the OS by itself comes with a full IDE and associated development software, in addition to all the base applications you would want - eMail and contact manager, calendar, phone sync, browser, media player, media organiser, instant messenger, document reader that can handle PDFs, etc, as well as a bunch of the core Unix utilities.

Edited 2009-02-02 13:31 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 7

RE[2]: The linux plateau
by darknexus on Mon 2nd Feb 2009 13:42 in reply to "RE: The linux plateau"
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

Mac is very different from Win and Linux in Look&Feel starting with keyboard layout.

To some extent, yes. Keys to access areas of the screen such as the menu bar are different, but the majority of keystrokes used by average users are the same. The only habbit they really need to change is to use the command key rather than the ctrl key for a good number of tasks. Yes some are different (the return key in Finder comes to mind), but you get that across every os.
Some trivial task like editing text ASCII files are available only from terminal

Um, in what reality are you living? I can open just about any file I want, either with the built-in Textedit application or with any number of third-party text editors (Smultron being my personal favorite). There's no need to drop to the terminal for this if you don't wish to.
and in general there is not a lot software included with OS by default compared to Win and specially Linux.

It has an Email client, address book, Calendar, media player, Web browser, Rich text editor, and IM application, not to mention all the other little utilities. That's not much different from Windows, which doesn't come with all that many apps in its default configuration either. Most OEMs pre-install a lot of other apps ontop of Windows, but that doesn't mean Windows is bundled with those apps. Even Microsoft is going this route, removing Windows Live applications from Windows 7 and having the end users install them if they want them. This actually leaves OS X with the better selection of bundled apps. I can't argue with Linux distros coming bundled with the most software, however, that's definitely true. Whether that's a good or a bad thing, however, depends on your personal tastes.

Edited 2009-02-02 13:44 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: The linux plateau - consistant?
by jabbotts on Mon 2nd Feb 2009 13:34 in reply to "The linux plateau"
jabbotts Member since:
2007-09-06

Well, perhaps it's more consistant across osX that other platforms but MS Office is inconsistant across it's own program suite let along across the entire Windows platform.

Though not the best, it is the new user favorite so I'll offer Ubuntu as an example also; it's mostly consistent and as a preinstalled OS it "just works" like any other OS preinstalled by the vendor who's already smoothed out the edges.

This entire "my daddy OS can beat up your daddy OS" discussion is hot air being blown around yet again; but then, that's a weekly occurrence (not picking on osnews, it's a weekly thing everywhere).

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE: The linux plateau
by KAMiKAZOW on Mon 2nd Feb 2009 14:07 in reply to "The linux plateau"
KAMiKAZOW Member since:
2005-07-06

I like linux and it was my main OS before Os X.0 was released but certain thing I feel still stand in its way.

1. Migrating from a "competing" OS should be easy. Window users jumping to Mac have a far more seamless migration path IMHO. e.g. MS office is available (or you can use iWork, or OO). The user experience is more consistent across the platform. Other propriety software is also available for both. Whether its adobe, MS, or more niche products. Apple, it seems to me have spent a good portion of effort in removing barriers to adoption by making sure Apple plays nice with the Windows world

That's exactly what Novell is doing. Novell gets lots of bashing for its interoperability deal with MS but it's not that differnent from the deal(s) Apple has with MS. The major difference is that Apple sometimes gets original source code from MS to port (Apple's MS Office Documents Spotlight importers contain MS Office source code), while Novell mostly just gets documentation that allow Novell to release the self-written code under a FOSS license. In the end the whole FOSS world benefits, as seen with the adoption of Novell's OpenOffice in Debian, Ubuntu, etc. Heck, thanks to Novell I was able to open and save OfficeXML files on Mac OS X through NeoOffice (an OO derivate) before MS Office 2008 was released.

I'm not a fanboy of MS technologies (like Miguel de Icaza), but there are users -- especially in the enterprise segment -- who require as much MS compatibility as possible, so it's good that the guys and gals from Samba, OpenChange, Apache, Novell, WINE, etc. help to write the needed code.

Edited 2009-02-02 14:08 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: The linux plateau
by Ford Prefect on Mon 2nd Feb 2009 15:58 in reply to "The linux plateau"
Ford Prefect Member since:
2006-01-16

"I can't remember the last time I had to install a driver for anything on OS x."

Seriously, I can't remember that I installed any driver in Linux, too, since about 2004. Before that, I remember that in 2002 I even had to recompile the kernel to get specific drivers I need.

If you don't buy cheesy hardware, it will run out-of-the-box with the Linux kernel. It will even be auto-detected on boot.

So there has ben lots of progress made there. Still, you have to somewhat chose the hardware you buy (instead of Apple doing it for you..). But unlike some years ago, that's not a big challenge anymore. There are also many really good laptops out there which are fully supported by Linux. Take Thinkpad machines for example.

I think it is interesting that in several usability aspects, Linux distributions are already far ahead Windows, comparable or even better than OS X. Mainly hardware and software installation, system transparency. I don't want to say this makes a GNU/Linux based system the better choice for "the" regular user, but that there are a lot of things that would comfort these users, but they cannot see their value before fully getting into it. On OSX you still have to find&install application themselves and get updates for them as well.

Edited 2009-02-02 16:02 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: The linux plateau
by darknexus on Mon 2nd Feb 2009 16:31 in reply to "RE: The linux plateau"
darknexus Member since:
2008-07-15

Software installation on Linux is only ahead of Windows/Mac if what you want is in your distro's repository. Otherwise, it's about as far behind as you can get, requiring more manual operations (usually on the command-line) and with each piece of software being just a bit different. Don't even bother trying to uninstall software installed manually unless you kept track of exactly what files it placed in which directories, you'll probably not find them all otherwise. It makes the uninstallation on OS X look like a snap by comparison. And don't even get me started about driver installation if you need a driver that is not part of the mainline kernel tree, and your distro of choice has merged some patch into its kernel that renders the driver you need unable to compile. Yes, it happens, and while I'm bringing it up, why should we even need to compile drivers ourselves anymore if we're not the ones developing them? This is what Windows, OS X, and Solaris have correct, none of this "driver must exactly match the running kernel version" nonsense.
Yeah yeah yeah, it's the hardware vendors, blah blah blah. I fully support open standards, and I'm aware of the situation. But it doesn't matter to 99% of the computer users out there, face it. All they want is for their brand new, shiny peripheral to work, possibly after using the provided driver disk. If it doesn't, it's broken, and the philosophical and political issues behind the reasons are irrelevant to them.

Reply Parent Score: 5

Nothing to do with marketing!
by christianhgross on Mon 2nd Feb 2009 23:49 in reply to "The linux plateau"
christianhgross Member since:
2005-11-15

This has absolutely nothing to do with marketing. This has everything to do with creating a real product.

Linux on the server side is holding its own. Yes there are promoters like IBM, and Redhat, etc. But the fact is that Linux on the server side makes a whole lot of sense. Linux on the client side makes NO sense.

3 years ago I said Linux on the desktop was dead, and it did not get anywhere.

Though now I actually have some hope. Namely in the form of Nokia. Nokia is doing an LGPL with QT, which means that now people can develop closed source apps for KDE. That will make a huge dent.

KDE always was better than GNOME, but the stupid GPL licensing has always held it back. On top of that with Trolltech charging several thousand nobody was interested.

Reply Parent Score: 0