“Judging from the holy war being waged by proponents of Linux PCs, it’s clear that Linux is becoming the OS/2 of its time.” Read the article at Forbes. The article weighs the (mostly negative) reasons why a LinuxPC might not be what some people won’t need.
Why You Won’t Be Getting A Linux PC
2003-06-17 Linux 41 Comments
I agree that linux has an uphill battle on the desktop. The server market is a very different environment.
Just as desktop users have 20 years of entrentchment with microsoft; servers have 30 years of entrentchment with UNIX. And it’s a lot easier to switch to Linux than window. Cheaper too.
seems like Robertson is just trying to generate hype to me. he tends to send out emails asking people to call Compaq or Tiger to ask for systems with Lindows installed. that doesn’t really help the Linux on the desktop cause. it just seems to help further his company’s goals.
either he’s hyping this supposed battle with MS to further this deranged David and Goliath epic he’s created in his own mind, or he’s laying the tracks for the eventual anti-trust lawsuit against MS if Lindows fails.
too bad Xandros didn’t make it to market first and get the attention, because they at least add something to the OS and the community.
why we keep hearing these stories like “why you wont be getting a linux pc is beginning to get alittle ridiculous”.
I truly enjoy using linux, but personally I dont care if its ready for the everyday user. Thats NOT why I use linux, and I bet same goes for alot of other people out there.
(but if my wife who came from using windows and aol, with not much care at all for computers, can use digicams and printers in linux, and say its easy. you should be ashamed of yourself if you cannot use it)
Linux also IS not an OS/2 of its time. Linux development will proceed far into the future. It seems alot of people dont realize that Linux is not just a kernel, It IS a technology that will be more useful to us then some proprietary product.
What linux did for me is unique, it has allowed me to learn.
No, it pushed me to learn, something not many people want to do these days. Articles like these put people off from linux..this is something i tend not to like very much because you are taking away from people what I got from linux.
I admit, the first time I heard the name linux, around redhat 2.3 i believe it was, i really had no interest other then playing games on my windows box for a few minutes a day. It was my friend pushing me to try it, telling me the good things about it instead of focusing on the not so good at this point. Finally from those words of persuasion I gave it a try. If it wasn’t for my friend, and the interest of linux keeping me to learn more, i would not be where i am today. My family has those things to thank also.
(please excuse the spelling)
From what she wrote, one would think that there was no software or hardware that worked on Linux PCs…the situation is not the same as it was 3 years ago – the number of supported hardware has grown by leaps and bounds!
And, contrary to what the article would let you believe, you can run Quicken, MS Office and Photoshop on Linux (witht he help of Photoshop) – and the OSS alternatives are getting better everyday.
The one that made me laugh is when she complains that you can’t run Norton AntiVirus on Linux…well, there’s a good reason for that – you don’t need to! Viruses are not a problem on Linux – yet. When they do become one, I’m sure that there’ll be the equivalent to NAV available…
I though Forbes was a serious (if very pro-corporate) paper. Why do they even hire these clueless reporters?
That’s like the fucking worst acticle I’ve read in a long time.
I think that forbes is on a microsoft fud campain these days.
OS/2 was developed by IBM. It’s development is subject to how much money it brought in and if it was worth continuing. Such as it is when things are developed by private entities.
Linux is developed by whoever wants to develop for it. A lot in the free time of the developers. It will never end unless there is another free contender that comes up through the ranks that developers of Linux believe that it’s the next best thing. As I see it there isn’t one as yet so Linux will continue to improve and contenders will have an increasingly harder time to topple it’s current dominance in the free realm.
Linux is currently very good and it’ll only get better.
Let’s try something funny… In that story, replace “OS/2” with “Amiga”, and “Linux” with “OS/2″… Then… replace “Amiga” with “OS/2”, and “OS/2” with “BeOS”… Hey, DejaVu all over again! Does this “original” journalism ever end?
That article was really bad and empty.
What an earth has Linux to do with OS/2?
“OS/2 was developed by IBM”
Well, yes and no. OS/2 was originally developed inside Microsoft by a team led by Gordon Letwin (Quite possibly one of the most brilliant people at Microsoft at the time.) and was named “Protected Mode DOS”. It didn’t acquire the OS/2 name until after IBM joined the project some 3 or so years later (About a year before OS/2 1.0’s release.) Both Companies continued to develop OS/2 up to the 1.3 release, when MS stopped development of OS/2 NT, and relabled it Windows NT. Gordon left Microsoft sometime before the 1.3 release, and Dave Cutler was called in to revamp OS/2 NT into Windows NT with his merry bunch of VMS err…monkeys.
When will these idiots understand the difference between a commercial endeavour and a free open software initiative? Who cares when Linux take over the market? Because I don’t. It will eventually, but it’s not as if open software developers are under any pressure to do so anytime soon, least of all impress a Forbe’s reporter who think viruses are an issue in the Linux sphere. *hisses*
I like the clueless comment about HP Printer drivers…
Yes, they are not included with the printer, they are included with the OS…. I configured both a HP 7150 printer and a HP 3820, they both were configured without downloading any software… And they both worked perfectly… Click click…
And then they quote that Consumers Reports article… They claimed on how it would be impossible to hook up a scanner, without even trying it…
Can’t you guys get a *&^%%$% clue? Linux software needs to be easier. I use linux, not to tinker around with my sys, because I am tired of all of the freeze ups, fatal errors & the unstability of windows. I don’t want to compile, I want to download the app., install & use it. I have to admit if windows was alot more stable, I would maybe just use it. I do hope linux majes it, but get a hint from the people. Linux has dependecy hell, just like windows has .dll hell.
Windows certainly has its quirks, but there are millions of off-the-shelf, readily available hardware and software add-ons for Windows PCs–assuming they’re not already built in. That’s not true of Linux.
I do see Staroffice in stores, that is about it. Take a hint we need more commercail software.
The article weighs the (mostly negative) reasons why a LinuxPC might not be what some people won’t need.
“Hewlett-Packard (nyse: HPQ – news – people ), the largest printer company, has drivers available for many of its inkjet and LaserJet printers on its Web site, which must be downloaded and installed.”
This is somewhat misleading, as it does not also say that almost every mainstream Linux distro *comes with* over 200 drivers for HP printers.
“HP does not include Linux drivers with the printer, but it does include Windows drivers.”
Exactly. Why bother going through the hassle of downloading and installing drivers if they are already installed?
From the HP worldwide site….
“Our Linux growth strategy is 3 fold.
First, we will continue to drive our platform leadership including printing, PDA’s, notebooks, desktops, as well as, our IA-32 ProLiant and IPF servers.”
The rest of the article is mainly about MSWindows and OS2 (why?).
I’m willing to wager that a good 90% of apps installed by linux users is precompiled, with an install that is about as easy as it can possibly get. Take Mandrake for example. Load up rpmdrake, search for app, click install. All requiring zero command line work and zero compiling. If you can muster the technical expertise that it requires to use a search engine, you can install an app. Have fun finding an install that quick and easy in Windows. Unless you are using a source-based distro there is almost never a reason to compile an app yourself.
>> there’s an effort underfoot to make a dent in Windows with Linux PCs
The other way around is also true..
>> That’s not to say that there will never be alternatives, but the alternatives must offer something more compelling than “we’re not Microsoft.”
There’s more freedom of choice, viruses, flexibility, security, no pop-ups (you have to use other than IE, a pop-up killer and even so you’re not imune to them)…
>> Because most PCs are not built from scratch to accommodate Linux, as they are for Windows, almost everything requires extra work.
It’s a (Desktop) Windows world, honey. But not a good reason.
>>Windows certainly has its quirks, but there are millions of off-the-shelf, readily available hardware and software add-ons for Windows PCs–assuming they’re not already built in.
There are also millions of off-the-shelf, readily available hardware and software for linux. But you don’t even bother to search for it.
Most good quality hardware works with Linux.
There are plenty of software for linux too.
Opinion: And because Linux it’s “too ugly” maybe some people work better in that environment without distractions…
>> HP does not include Linux drivers with the printer, but it does include Windows drivers.
Another shot in the dark. Obviously, the author is biased against Linux or have no clue about she is talking about. What the hell is CUPS?
>> There is also a lack of mainstream applications for Linux PCs, and that’s not going to change anytime soon. Sure, there are open-source software suites like StarOffice and OpenOffice, but beyond that it’s slim pickings.
I kinda agree here. But office packages are evolving.
Opinion: For me LaTeX, Mathematica are far superior than any Word app.
>> It’s clunky or impossible to run Linux versions of the most popular applications…
C’mon!! Of course! They’re targeted for Windows.
There are alternatives too…
>> They will write software for systems that have the greatest potential to yield high sales, and that’s Windows.
Can’t agree with you. If that where real, there wouldn’t be OSS.
>> and that attaching PDAs, digital cameras, etc., will be “difficult or impossible.”
Can’t talk about PDA’s because I don’t owe one, but for cameras: plug an play.
>>After all, freeze-ups, shutdowns and fatal errors are still an all-too-frequent part of the everyday computing experience.
To be honest, I can’t say that for latest Windows versions (XP).
Opinion: Don’t like the interface, the spyware, the “sit back, relax and i’ll do your work for you philosophy”.
>> most users pay for features they will never use or don’t even know exist
I agree completely. That’s one reason I ditch Windows (not completely though).
>>Mainstream computer users (those uncomfortable opening, programming or reconfiguring a computer) would not be satisfied with Linux PCs.
Opening??!! I hope you’re refering to opening the box.
I’ve seen Windows users that don’t know how to open a document inside the program.
Anyway… I agree more or less with this except from the fact that you have to know how to program…
Woow, what’s the matter with Forbes thesedays? So you can use the Lindows pcs to browse, write email and do basic word processing?? What else do majority of computer users do with their pcs anyway?
Maybe linux will never succeed on the desktop, but to already dismiss it at this time is completely premature. It only reminds me of the days, barely 3 years ago, when all these journalists were so sure that Linux was never going to be ready for the enterprise market. Back them, every isolated story you heared about linux deployment in the enterprise – the Bell South Linux story for example – was something to celebrate. But just look how much that has changed! People don’t even ask that question anymore!!
Do you know why Microsoft hired these monkeys?
Only a monkey would make an OS file system case sensitive even for back compatibility.
Fortunately there’s no SET DEF command instead of CD.
I don’t want to compile, I want to download the app., install & use it.
Then don’t compile! Download and install the app with one of the numerous programs designed just for that, such as Red-Carpet or rpmdrake/urpmi
Linux has dependecy hell, just like windows has .dll hell.
Thanks to the aforementioned apps, I haven’t experienced “dependency hell” in months!
Windows certainly has its quirks, but there are millions of off-the-shelf, readily available hardware and software add-ons for Windows PCs–assuming they’re not already built in. That’s not true of Linux.
Actually, modern Linux distros do have more software “add-ons” already built-in than Windows. Hardware is a bit behind, maybe (though I think you’re exaggerating a bit with your “millions” there), but the gap is narrowing daily.
Enough with the FUD, already!
May I ask what old-school linux distro your using? Modern Linux distro, I’m talking about 21st century ones, take care of dependencies for you. Do your distro research properly. I’ll give you a hint. *Gentoo*
>I do see Staroffice in stores, that is about it. Take a hint we need more commercail software.
Ahem…you surely have heard of KOffice, OpenOffice and Abiword, right? Why on earth use a commercial software when the above do exactly the same work with no fuss? The point is OSS maturing is improving and providing me my basic computer needs. For example, I can do a lot more with KDE than I can do with windows and for free too. I can watch a lot more formats with mplayer than I can with window media player. The only cog in the Linux arena is not software, there multitude of them, it official hardware support for Linux drivers by vendors and manufacturers. And also an adoption of more standard hardware/software intercommunication protocols and opposed proprietary ones.
Well, if the vendors to support Linux, then the community will keep hacking, albeit at a slow pace, but at least it works.
Here’s just part of the letter I sent to the editor. The whole letter is at http://mattschwartz.net:9000/msversus/node.php?id=114
Lisa DiCarlo is very misinformed and is misleading readers… First a little about market share. Generally market share refers to software sales, which is not the same as the size of the installed base… Second, any comparison between OS/2 and Linux is misguided. OS/2 was a closed source OS… The general public could not contribute… Third, this is incorrect: “the alternatives must offer something more compelling than ‘we’re not Microsoft.'” European and Asian governments and corporations are dropping Windows use by the hundreds of thousands or millions… Most PCs are built from the same fundamental technologies irrelevant of software: Intel and AMD chips, ISA, PCI, IDE, SCSI, Ethernet. None of these are accomodating any software. It’s obvious Ms. DiCarlo has never tried installing Mandrake linux. It finds virtually all hardware, asks fewer questions, and installs quicker than Windows… Most often no drivers ever need to be downloaded or separately installed when using linux. “There is also a lack of mainstream applications for Linux PCs.”… Most linux distros… come with all of the common “mainstream” software packages one would require: internet browsers (better than IE), mail programs that don’t launch viruses and worms, office suites… Large and medium-sized corporations are switching to linux even with Microsoft’s stronger marketing. For the 10 years linux had no marketing at all it make dramatic inroads… I realize this is a corporate magazine but it appears all of the facts came from a few corporate sources. Little or no research went into this article. The biggest complaint about the OS “holy war” is usually the one-sided and inflamatory arguments. This article simply adds fuel to the one side already spreading the most incorrect information.
The appaling article published by DiCarlo can be explained by partisanship or disdain for the free software movement.
However, for me, the real reason must be found somewhere else. The author summarized all the gossip she heard, didn’t bother to check the facts and wrote her paper. With all the information available on the internet and in magazines, this way of doing things is called laziness. What is even worse is the unwillingness of Forbes to revise the article before publishing it.
Thanks to Matt Schwartz (aka veridicus I presume) for his email to Forbes. Now, we won’t have to flood that magazine with letters starting with sentences such as ” Dear editor, I think you f*cked up “.
As others have mentioned, the noncommercial nature of the Linux kernel and many (most) of the software present in the typical distribution make it almost invulnerable to the kind of profit-driven marketing forces that impact commercial operating system development.
OS/2 is almost completely dependent on IBM for some aspects of its development. Linux has no such dependency.
It should also be noted that IBM did not cease all OS/2 development in the mid-1990’s, but that some OS/2-related development at IBM continues to this day. IBM is the entity which is still behind the Mozilla ports to OS/2, and IBM is still releasing new device drivers and such for the OS even now.
OS/2 is also not defunct, although it might well be in its twilight, at least in terms of market relevance. The folks at Serenity Systems are redistributing it as eComStation, as many folks here well know, and if the price point ever comes down to reasonable levels it might actually be interesting to non-OS/2 users. Time will tell…
The comment about Norton Antivirus being difficult to run. When will these people get a clue? Most if not all Windows targeted virusses don’t affect linux.
One thing the two platforms have in common: OS/2 was the primary OS alternative for x86 hardware in the early and mid-1990’s, and Linux is the primary OS alternative today.
Between 1992 and late 1995 or so, many hard-core hobbyists and advocates of non-Windows platforms were OS/2 users, since Linux was still too young for serious desktop use and other platforms like PC/GEOS were too limited in other ways.
Look around. Many of the old fogies in the Linux community today were in the OS/2 community 8-10 years ago. Some of us are still using both platforms. While one is proprietary in nature and the other is nonproprietary, the advocates of each stress such values as technical appropriateness and freedom of choice, something largely eschewed by the Microsoft camp (which seems to advocate one cookie-cutter solution for all).
That’s a shame! Not including Norton Antivirus makes Linux unviable as a desktop.
The only reason (that i have noticed) to use an antivirus in Linux/Unix is to protect Windows users from loading infected mail content from an Linux/Unix Mail Server
The bigger bank here in Brazil, Banco do Brasil, made this week a big licitation because they want to change almost 50000 desktops from OS/2 to Linux or Windows. The operating system was not determined because they want the better solution, but there are some conditions that M$ don’t like…
link for the news (in portuguese):
It just shows that the people that wrote that artical don’t have a fricking clue.
That said, they do have _some_ points about it’s desktop usage. Being a Gentoo user, and a rather advanced user, Gentoo does the stuff I need it to fine, but other less savvy users might have trouble.
Linux will get there on the desktop eventually. But for now, Linux should concentrate on the server market. That’s where it truely rocks.
well i submitted my comment honestly that article was so bad it was unbelievable.
this is what i said:
“ok obviously the writer hasnt got a clue.. whyl would we need ant virus programs for linux ? theres about 7 known viruses for linux thats it.. and only way u can infect your machine is by being really really dumb.. of course as needs for virus protection increases virus chekcers will be made more readily available.. but honestly.. please do some research before posting such blurb.. you provide nothing of use the arguements. so no norton doesnt work with linux and no the windows version should never work, period ! its just not needed.
please please get your facts right..
” HP does not include Linux drivers with the printer, but it does include Windows drivers. ”
of course theres no printer drivers on their site because linux has it inbuilt into the kernel from hp.. who release open source drivers..
this article just leaps out as FUD. Do some research before posting. all you would need to do is go to :
http://www.linuxprinting.org/ look up your printer and more than likely you would see it supported
will show u all the printers currently supported / not supported..
is hp’s contribution their open source drivers which are every bit as good as their windows counterpart.. also while your at it check out cups
available since a few years now and now its incredibly stable and robust and has all of the printers listed..
and for your information all of the software u mention works with crossover office check :
and you will see what i mean.. honestly this reporter has done absolutely no research.”
had to be done.
This guy cribs because Norton antivirus cannot be run or is ‘clunky’ on Linux! Clearly all he knows about Linux is that it is not Windows.
As for digital camera support, my camera cannot be mounted as a drive in Linux because it is an ‘unusual device’ for the USB storage kernel module, but gphoto2 works like a charm!
…LinuxPC might not be what some people won’t need
Linux is definitely not what I don’t need.
It looks to me like the author is blurring her logic a bit to make a point that she had arrived at beforehand. I think it’s a perfectly normal reaction to be irritated when someone in a position to shape opinions 1) draws a conclusion you may not agree with and 2) uses flawed logic to do so. Did anyone else notice the sloppiness? Summarizing:
You won’t /ever/ get a Linux PC in the future because it’s not perfect for everyone right now. Just look at what happened in the past to a completely different OS. You know they will both suffer the same fate because they both dislike Microsoft.
I, for one, decided to switch careers after this weekend. I got a blister on my finger from golfing and that makes it really hard to type. Just look at what happened to Tiger Woods. He played golf this past weekend and had a really bad day. I just know that Tiger and I will continue to perform poorly because we both like ice cream.
Seriously columnists, love Linux, hate Linux — I really don’t care. Just do everyone a favor and make an effort to hold your line of logic.
The target market for Forbes is senior executives most of whom have probably never sent an email.
“Technically savvy users and Windows haters”
Well, there’s Linux’s 3 percent of the desktop market. And you can bet it will not get any bigger until something major changes, usability wise.
Enjoy being a member of the elite, guys. There will be a money-making, world dominating, EASY TO USE alternative to Windows, someday. But it won’t be Linux.
Because it ain’t easy to use.
Hate to break your party, but usability has exactly nothing with market share.
Look at mac – it’s usability is years ahead of Windows, but has less market share than linux.
It is about having right sales partners, pushing money into right pockets and the right marketing. That’s it. Technical capabilities or user-friendlyness is irrelevant. Your marketing departement will fix it.
As you will start seeking more Linux machines in your local chainstore, things will change. In U.S., only Wallmart currently sells Linux, and only through web. But on this side of big lake, chainstores like Tesco or Carrefour are selling Linux machines _right in the store_.
Exactly where are these seven viruses you speak of? Not being able to infect a computer makes it not a virus btw.
Unlike commercial ventures that are no longer worth developing if their popularity isn’t sufficient, open source projects are going to stay worth developing further as long as there is any kind of community surrounding them.
Linux doesn’t need the level of popularity that it currently has. Consider that the *BSDs have less popularity combined and can still afford to be divided into several groups (and there is certainly less collaboration between those groups than you might expect).
Not to mention that independent of the base system, the vast number of separate open source projects providing the infrastructure for all open source Unix variants have their own communities. Part of them losing mindshare isn’t going to hurt the rest.
The simple fact is, open source is not going away. Individual projects might, but that doesn’t matter. Just consider how old many of the projects are and how tiny they were for years before becoming popular.
The only thing that might make open source become marginalized in the future is if patent and/or licensing-encumbered standards are adopted for features that become necessary for any system to be taken seriously.
I agree w/ all of that except I would like to add one sentence to the end. Even if FLOSS software becomes piratically illegal in the US, there is still the rest of the world, including China which dispite its recent claims, does not give a damn about so called intellectual property.
The only people who say linux is way too hard are those who began using computers relatively recently.Ever tried using a teletype terminal on a HP 3000 mainframe, booting a DEC PDP-11, or writing DOS printfiles?
Linux is harder to use than a Mac or Windows XP but far easier to use than Windows 3.1 for example. Linux will get easier to use – no question. Linux is 10 years old – how advanced a desktop was NT 3.5 at 10 years of age?
Because it ain’t easy to use.
If it’s well-configured, it’s as easy to use – if not easier – than Windows. And that’s the truth!
last time i checked there were 7 and that was a couple of years back
now its a whopping 15..
of which only one ive ever really heard of being in any way threatful was bliss.
this is the full list.. most of them are useless. and pointless.