Linked by Kroc Camen on Sun 9th May 2010 12:34 UTC
Talk, Rumors, X Versus Y "Dear Ubuntu, for the last couple years life has been good. Every time I've shown you to a friend or family member, they've compared you to what they're familiar with--Windows XP or Vista, mostly--and by comparison you've looked brilliant. Yeah, your ugly brown color scheme was a bit off-putting at first, but once people saw how secure, simple, and reliable you were, the response was almost universally positive. But recently, things have changed ..."
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RE[5]: Worthless
by jgagnon on Mon 10th May 2010 12:47 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Worthless"
Member since:

ubunutu is free. It costs nada, zero, zilch. It is far from perfect, that is for sure. But I find it far more impressive that someone can put out a free alternative, which can suit the needs of a lot of people.

This may be a semantic point, but the cost of Ubuntu is decisively NOT free, the price, however, is.

(The rest of this is not necessarily directly about your comment, but to add to the discussion.)

Besides, comparing the cost (or price) of the two is hardly the point. Since the vast majority of people that have and use Windows (regardless of version) get it with a new computer, it might as well be free to them. They don't "see" the price of Windows in the cost of their machine, they see the whole package. The same goes for the "choice" of OS on a phone or set-top box or other electronic device. Consumers just don't care, for the most part, so long as it does what they need it to do with as little fuss as possible.

Fact is, the majority of us would choose familiarity over improved functionality unless we're forced to make a change. For proof of this, consider how popular Windows XP still is when there have been better alternatives since before it was even conceived. There comes a point when "good enough" is all people want and the holy war over fringe (and often petty) differences becomes irrelevant.

In order for any OS to win the fight against Windows, it has to win the contest of perceived value, which often has little to do with price. Ubuntu, and Linux in general, has a few things going against it on the value front. It does not come pre-installed on the vast majority of computers people have access to. So it must be downloaded, installed, and "tweaked" for a given system. Nearly every other non-technical person I know interprets this as a severe, show-stopping negative. They won't do it, at any price, because they do not find value in it. This same group of people would only ever consider an upgrade if software they have or really want requires it. Again, the "good enough for now" mentality.

And this is what I got from this article. Windows 7 has a much higher inherent value (fewer flaws and better features than XP/Vista) so Ubuntu and other distributions will have a much harder time replacing it than they every had replacing Windows XP or Vista.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[6]: Worthless
by chaslinux on Tue 11th May 2010 11:55 in reply to "RE[5]: Worthless"
chaslinux Member since:

Besides, comparing the cost (or price) of the two is hardly the point. Since the vast majority of people that have and use Windows (regardless of version) get it with a new computer, it might as well be free to them.

Two points to consider here. First, a lot of people are not buying new computers, if they were Microsoft would not be pumping a lot of money into programs like the Registered Refurbisher's Program. (See An existing program called Community Microsoft Authorized Refurbisher already delivers tens of thousands of PCs to low income families. (And there are lots of Linux-based refurbishers out there). So not everyone is buying new. This also means not everyone is getting a legitimate license/installation. A lot of the refurbished market sells PCs with non-genuine software (lots of places with storefronts). Microsoft states that COAs cannot be used to reinstall Windows without the recovery media from the OEM. This could be a restore partition, or if you can obtain the OEM Windows CD, the installation can be done. A lot of clearance houses sell off-lease systems promoting the fact that there's a COA on the side (leaving off that they don't install Windows for the reason I stated above -- those who do install often do it without the original media, illegally according to Microsoft). Technically these are non-legit licenses of Windows. Reality is a little different: it seems to depend on who you speak to at Microsoft. I called the Microsoft 1-800 # awhile back for someone who bought a notebook from a store, it had a non-legit installation, but a valid Windows XP Pro COA, and the Microsoft employee (or call centre Microsoft uses) repeated a few times "borrow a CD from a friend." Even when pressed with the question "is that legal?" he repeated "borrow a CD from a friend."

The second point is that a lot of people "inherit" a used PC with a non-genuine license. Grandma has a PC passed down to her from George, who illegally reuses his license on the new PC he parts together. Bart picks his system off the side of the street, someone else's cast off, finds the only problem is that the Windows installation is corrupted by viruses (it actually happens a lot).

Not everyone is buying new PCs, so the argument that Windows comes with every new PC isn't a good one when dealing with the "vast majority." People might be buying new hardware, a video card here, motherboard there, etc. True, there are a good number of people who do buy new PCs, but I wonder about "the vast majority."

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[7]: Worthless
by jgagnon on Tue 11th May 2010 15:15 in reply to "RE[6]: Worthless"
jgagnon Member since:

"Vast majority" is not the same as "everyone". Regardless, my point was that the overwhelming majority of people get their PC pre-installed with Windows, legitimate or not. "New" could just as easily mean "new to them".

Reply Parent Score: 1