Linked by Kroc Camen on Thu 31st Dec 2009 14:13 UTC
Microsoft BetaNews writes: "Microsoft executives and product managers -- Chairman Bill Gates, above all of them -- showed great technology vision for the new millennium. The company was right about so many trends to come but, sadly, executed poorly in bringing too many of them to market. Microsoft's stiffness, perhaps a sign of its aging leadership, consistently proved its foible. Then there is arcane organizational structure, which has swelled with needless middle managers, and the system of group competition".
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RE: not failures, but ...
by thecwin on Thu 31st Dec 2009 20:44 UTC in reply to "not failures, but ..."
Member since:

I think the ideal would be where OSes only had small market share each. It'd certainly be safer. Unfortunately, computers aren't the same as soft drinks, at least not when Windows is involved.

Me and you could be having coke and pepsi respectively, but be drinking them in the same kind of glasses, using the same kind of ice cubes and storing the cans in the same fridge. They are directly compatible.

On the other hand, people using Windows means I, using Linux, am unable to read documents they can produce and they are unable to read documents that I can produce. It also means I can't run video games because they're not compatible with my OS. It's in my interest to try and push up the Linux market share because it might force producers to pay some attention to it. Of course we could just ensure we all use the cross platform subset of available software, but since most people wouldn't even know what 'cross-platform' means, that's pretty much out.

It'd be better if OSes were API-compatible and people could use the environment they prefer and still run the applications they like. .NET and Java potentially allow this but it never seems to take off. POSIX compatibility between various *NIX OSes and OS X is often pretty good though, even if POSIX is rather old fashioned. Web apps are also good in this respect if people stopped using IE ;)

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[2]: not failures, but ...
by nt_jerkface on Fri 1st Jan 2010 01:20 in reply to "RE: not failures, but ..."
nt_jerkface Member since:

Linux has problems beyond market share.

For one it isn't a single platform that developers can target. It's a bunch of similar yet independent operating systems that can't even agree on a standard sound api.

The other problem is that all the distros have software distribution systems designed around open source. Expecting game companies to open their million dollar game engines is unrealistic, especially when most of those companies are leasing proprietary engines from other companies.

Linux is a clusterf--k for proprietary companies. Every popular distro is built with the assumption that all software is open source. When you step outside this expectation you run into trouble.

For a lot of game companies OSX isn't worth the effort even though it is a single system so you should probably forget about gaming in Linux and buy a console.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[3]: not failures, but ...
by thecwin on Sun 3rd Jan 2010 20:02 in reply to "RE[2]: not failures, but ..."
thecwin Member since:

Sound APIs are pretty much available as standard, and if you want to target some obscure API that isn't supported in a distribution, you just mark it as a dependency or bundle it with the program you're distributing, as you would in Windows. Generally speaking though, if you're targeting Linux, you target ALSA or a higher level API like GStreamer (which is also compatible with Win/Mac). I find that in Linux development, picking an API is very easy and certainly not the most difficult part of any kind of development.

If you just pick one distribution (Ubuntu, Debian and variations) it's just as easy to bundle a proprietary app into a deb as it is to bundle an open source app. Of course, unless you want to release your source, you can't get it built for many architectures to the latest dependencies, and distributed for free in all the package repository mirrors.... but you don't get that service in any other OS either. The fact is that debs aren't too different to an msi or pkg. I find myself missing apt-get and dpkg when developing proprietary stuff on Windows. The challenging bit is that there are distributions that contain different software or use different packaging formats. Generally speaking, if you roll a deb and an rpm targeting a standard LSB system, you *know* you'll be safe. If your user is on a system that doesn't use rpms, debs or isn't LSB compatible, they'll probably know how to get it running without your help.

It is not ideal, and there are things being done to make this easier. The problem with just opening package installation up to people who don't understand it is that users will install stupid things to their system to get free screen savers. Until there is a good way of distributing signed proprietary packages, I think most distribution maintainers want to avoid the problem entirely. Linux distributions are, after all, not a democracy. If people don't like the gods of Ubuntu making it difficult to install things not built by Canonical, they can freely use another distribution or operating system until Ubuntu does it right. Everything open source is by definition possible to interoperate with ;)

Reply Parent Score: 2