Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 5th May 2009 22:04 UTC
Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu Many Linux users have experience with Wine, the application compatibility layer which allows some Windows programs to run on UNIX-like machines. During Ubuntu's Open Week event, Mark Shuttleworth was asked about Wine, and how important he believes it is for the success of Ubuntu.
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lemur2
Member since:
2007-02-17

While it is lovely to say that you can start from a clean slate and totally ignore all the applications, and more importantly components, that people are using and running today - especially when you have precious few applications to start off with - I'm afraid you simply can't. It's a fact of life when you're not the main player.

It's like saying that Microsoft Office could have got to where it is having totally ignored WordPerfect and Lotus 1-2-3 files that people were saving twenty years ago and being unable to handle them. Errrrrr, you're going nowhere with that.

In fact, I'm being harsh on Mark here. No one gets this it seems.


There are 25,000+ packages in Ubuntu's repositories, representing perhaps 10,000 applications.

Hardly qualifies as "a few".

There is a lot of noise on the web, it seems to be an Internet meme, that Linux somehow lacks applications, and that there are things that you cannot do with Linux.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_meme

In some rare cases, this might actually be true. However, for the vast majority of use cases ... what most people actually use their computers for ... it isn't true at all.

Tellingly, the people who like to try to spread this meme are almost universally unable, when challenged, to come up with a general, common use application of computing that cannot be done, and done well, natively with Linux.

As already shown on this thread, such people will often resort to egregious insults against anyone who challenges their meme.

Edited 2009-05-06 10:23 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

Temcat Member since:
2005-10-18

It's because if Linux has, say, a wordprocessor, it doesn't mean that one will be able to complete a certain real-world wordprocessing task in it (or reliably complete a set of such tasks that one can possibly encounter within one's activity realm). "Real-world task" being a task that involves a specific common data format, feature, way or speed of doing things. When said format, feature, way, or speed constitute a de-facto standard, then people tend to say about lack of applications - they mean quality, not quantity.

Reply Parent Score: 2

lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

It's because if Linux has, say, a wordprocessor, it doesn't mean that one will be able to complete a certain real-world wordprocessing task in it (or reliably complete a set of such tasks that one can possibly encounter within one's activity realm). "Real-world task" being a task that involves a specific common data format, feature, way or speed of doing things. When said format, feature, way, or speed constitute a de-facto standard, then people tend to say about lack of applications - they mean quality, not quantity.


Having said that, and made those claims ... they are still very often stuck for a valid example of a real-world task they are unable to complete.

Furthermore, the proprietary alternative they are trying to tout very often does not, itself, support proper de jure standards, and hence in reality is even more lacking that the FOSS alternative.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/De_jure
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/De_facto_standard

A Free Market, BTW, somewhat paradoxically requires de jure standards, not de facto ones.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_market

This is because Supply and Demand only works when there are multiple alternative equally viable sources of supply.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supply_and_demand

If you have too much caving in to and acceptance of de facto standards, you get this happening:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monopoly

Which is a very bad thing. The Free Market is the one that benefits people.

FOSS applications actually do mean quality, not support for ephemeral functions, and not lock-in.

Edited 2009-05-06 11:12 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

segedunum Member since:
2005-07-06

There are 25,000+ packages in Ubuntu's repositories, representing perhaps 10,000 applications.

Sigh...................

How many of them are relevant to people running Windows today? There is no way at all that you're going to be able to list an alternative to every software application out there that people on Windows are using. That's so stupid it isn't even funny. How are software developers going to install their software, because they aren't going to wait months to get it into a repository? They probably don't want to make it publicly available in a repository either. How do you handle that? You don't.

More developers == More software
More software == More users
Wider availability of software (i.e. installation) == Even more users

Without that, nothing. That's what Linux and Ubuntu needs.

There is a lot of noise on the web, it seems to be an Internet meme, that Linux somehow lacks applications, and that there are things that you cannot do with Linux.

There are things you can't do with Linux. Trying to believe otherwise is delusional. For starters, just look at the software available for Windows that people use in a wide variety of fields. You only end up looking like a sad loser when you start trying to rifle through Ubuntu's repository looking for alternatives to every bit of software people can install on Windows and saying "Oh, if you just do this and don't care about that functionality........." What about all the internal VB applications and COM components in companies that they're not even rewriting for .Net, nevermind Linux desktops? That counts for a hell of a lot and it's a huge opportunity to gain users in one fell swoop.

For some limited functions like e-mail, web browsing and at a push office functionality it certainly can be used, and strategically it is important that you push people towards those alternatives. However, beyond that you're running on empty.

The important bit:

The mantra seems to be "Oh, over 80% of people use this and only less than 20% of people use all that complicated stuff. We don't need that bloatware on our systems!" The old 80/20 rule. As Joel Spolsky wisely says though, it's always a different 20% using different features each time. It's why Gnome itself, and Ubuntu as a result, regardless of anything else will never get anywhere with that bone headed, delusional view of the world. It's why 'Lite' word processors never get anywhere and why companies who sell software on that basis don't stay in business for long. As soon as one person realises you haven't got the one feature they use you've lost them.

As already shown on this thread, such people will often resort to egregious insults against anyone who challenges their meme.

Yep, and I'm afraid some people will continue in their own little world.

Edited 2009-05-06 11:09 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 6

lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

That's so stupid it isn't even funny. How are software developers going to install their software, because they aren't going to wait months to get it into a repository? They probably don't want to make it publicly available in a repository either. How do you handle that? You don't.


Another wrong-headed idea about Linux.

What you do is you make your own repository. Then people who use a Linux distribution and a package manager to safely install software on their Linux systems, and who want your software, will simply add the URL to your new repository to the list of repositories they are using.

Like this one, as an example:

https://launchpad.net/~kubuntu-experimental/+archive/ppa

As for "publicly available" ... you do realise that repositories such as the one above have TWO lines because there are TWO repositories, one for binary packages (the deb one) and the other for source code (the deb-src one). If as a developer you don't want to give away the source code, then don't ... this doesn't stop you from making your own binary repository and getting your packages installed on people's Linux systems via package managers.

Now did that misunderstanding on your part boil away most of the rest of your argument? Well yes, pretty much.

What else did you claim?

There are things you can't do with Linux.


Name some, and we can discuss.

For starters, just look at the software available for Windows that people use in a wide variety of fields.


Specialist software (ie doesn't fit my "most users" criteria) ... only not available for Linux because vendors perceive a lack of a market.

There was a meme put about just recently that Linux has broken 1% market share ... less "self-interested" estimates would put this at anything from three to ten times as high. There is a market.

http://itmanagement.earthweb.com/osrc/article.php/3818696/Linux-Des...
http://blog.internetnews.com/skerner/2009/05/linux-at-1-percent-ha-...
http://www.linux-mag.com/cache/7321/1.html

As soon as the generalist use market gets properly on to Linux, and the penetration expands, then the specialist software will follow.

After all, even for specialist software, it is not as if it CANNOT be done on Linux, only that it sometimes isn't done on Linux. A simple port would fix that.

Edited 2009-05-06 11:36 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1