[Novalug] Is Microsoft dying???
plarsen at famlarsen.homelinux.com
Thu Oct 28 21:26:27 EDT 2010
On Wed, 2010-10-27 at 22:42 -0400, William Sutton wrote:
> Back in the late 90's ('97-'99), I was an undergraduate student at Auburn
> University. One of the other undergraduate students in my department was
> Mark Spencer. Mark has been the master, and many of us (myself included),
> the apprentice. I learned how to install and use Linux from him, back in
> the days of Red Hat 4.x and 5.x. He was (and I believe still is) a big
> Red Hat enthusiast.
10-15 years ago, the Linux world was quite a different entity than what
you see today. It was a time where we basically were getting signin from
hardware vendors. Remember, it wasn't until 2000 that IBM formally
announced support for Linux on the big boxes like AS/400.
Most of the '90s were in the name of the techies. Linux was making HUGE
improvements technically and was a system for and by techies as you
describe it. The philosophy of Open Source had been seeded back in the
80s but it wasn't until Linux came around we had it executed in large a
scale environment. This drive, the change in how software engineers and
hardware vendors bought into how things should be done. The target was
hardware and servers in general. We have to wait till the late 90s
before KDE and later GNOME began their venture, despite resistance from
the techies, to open and make a more user oriented interface.
That was then. This is now. There now is a very viable desktop market;
lots of support options and most people can operate a Linux box;
browsing, doing mail, spreadsheets etc. You have not needed the "geek
gene" for many many years to run a standard workstation with Linux.
> The support business fizzled. In retrospect, it was fairly easy to see
> why: those who knew what they were doing would support themselves, those
> who had businesses to run using Linux would hire competent support people,
> and those who were just starting out figured that since Linux was free
> (beer or speech, whichever you prefer), help should be free too (beer).
And yet, Asterisk is the most used PBX out there today. Things were very
different in the late 90s. We still had to deal with a lot of stigma and
FUD from corporations like Microsoft. Does anyone here remember the
performance battle between MS and Linux on Samba and Apache?
The Open Source business model has always been based on services. The
motivation to adopt the technology was based on "it works" and "is
better"; all technical attributes. The reason you see Linux involved on
so many backed systems and embedded devices is because it's success is
due to it's technical achievements and much faster adoptation of new
technologies, broader platform support and a higher QA than most if not
all commercial products. Once the solution was available, it's been a
matter of how to get things commercialized and that's where services
Once "we" had the buy-in from the technical folks, adaptation and later
support services came natural. HOWEVER - personally I've never bought
into the MS vision that everyone should be able to manage a personal
workstation. And it's unfair to evaluate Linux based on the notion that
"mom" should be able to install a printer, setup networking or do system
partitioning. I don't know a lot of other technologies or consumer
systems where we're told to know how things work under the hood: Your
DVR, TV, Law-mower - imagine if you were supposed to put the different
parts of these items together yourself and understand the implications
of codex supports in your DVR, processor and decoding power of your TV
or even know the size of engine needed to run your mower optimal. We buy
a box where techies have made those choices for us. We buy support from
these companies making it THEIR problem if the thing does not work.
Only with computers do I see the notion that the end user is to figure
out what HE did wrong when the appliance he bought doesn't work.
As a discussion on this list showed a few weeks ago - Linux may now have
a desktop solution that is more than capable of providing the
flexibility and ease of use to consumers; things have moved beyond a
desktop and the future lies elsewhere. The good news about that is we're
going to drop the crazy notion that ordinary consumers are going to have
to know how to provision their desktop, install applications and setup
> Maybe things have changed significantly in the 10-12 years since that was
> true, but I seriously doubt it.
You'll be wrong there.
> It might get somewhere if Dell started
> providing support with their Ubuntu installs, but I don't think even that
> would help.
They do. It's just as lousy as their Windows support though.
> The fact of the matter that much of the Linux community
> consistently turns a blind eye to, even denies, is that at base open
> source systems, particularly operating systems and windowing environments,
> are written by techies for techies. By the very nature of the type of
> people that contribute to open source, things will remain that way.
Linux is NOT a consumer product. It's a kernel. GNU is software - and
isn't a consumer product either. Linux is successful because it looks
for the solution regardless of the commercial interest. You see where
that puts products like Windows Vista/Windows7. It's a short term
solution to compromise on the implementation.
That said; GNOME and KDE has come a long way. We have other very
interesting windowing environments like Sugar, XFCE, LXDE etc.; they're
all very robust and very "end user" targeted. And they're all Open
Source driven by these "techies for techies". Instead of cutting all
solutions into ONE windowing framework, we have choices. The techs then
select, based on what the end-user needs to do, the right windowing
framework to run. Unfortunately, we hear much too often, that the
problem is it doesn't work like it does in Windows. THAT'S ON PURPOSE -
because Windows' windowing environment isn't always the right choice.
Case in point - the lack of Windows on mobile devices - the windowing
environment isn't turned/targeted to devices without a mouse and
keyboard. And since MS only offers the same, we find other solutions
from other vendors.
> If you want a system that Just Works out of the box, get an Apple or a
> Windows PC.
Rubbish. Have you tried to install Fedora or Ubuntu lately - just to
mention a few? You don't even have to load a sea of 3rd party drivers
AFTER the install as you do with Windows. It all works out of the box!
It detects networked printers; your graphics card is enabled and if
supported 3D is enabled too; and you have office products, internet
products and email all working out of the box. Lately, my installation
problems have been on Windows getting support for printers and RAID
drivers to mention a few.
Your statement would be very true 10-12 years ago. Not today.
> If you are willing to support yourself, share what you know,
> research what other people know, and generally troubleshoot your problems,
> Linux or *BSD will suit you fine.
Again rubbish. You're not alone even with Linux. However, if you go into
this expecting support services for FREE, you'll find yourself alone
very fast. Linux is OPEN source - it's not FREE as in free-beer. There's
a cost like with everything else you do as a consumer.
> It's a tradeoff--ease of use generally
> equals less freedom and flexibility, while freedom and flexibility
> generally equal more burden on the user.
That is what MS wants you believe. I don't buy into that. The user is
NOT the one who should be making the technical choices here. He/She
should get an appliance to solve a specific purpose and just like when
you guy a lawnmower you should as a consumer just plug the device in the
wall, turn it on and go off. We have LOTS of linux based devices that do
just that. Ruko (Netflix streaming to your TV) is a great example. I
don't think any consumer cares what makes the box work. As long as it
makes you select your movie and hit "play" - it's only the techie who
cares how the interface is made; how flexible the platform is and which
encoders to include.
> William Sutton (Perl programmer, Windows/Linux user at work, Linux/Mac OSX
> user at home, and techie at heart)
Wise words of the day:
I used to work in a fire hydrant factory. You couldn't park anywhere near
-- Steven Wright
> On Wed, 27 Oct 2010, dwdurham at verizon.net wrote:
> > MS is unlikely to die any more than IBM did. Bill Gates out manuvered IBM
> > because he had the "vision thing" and they did not. Now he has left, Jobs
> > is back, and Apple has the "vision thing" and MS does not. The vision I
> > wish that someone in Linux land would get is that there are people like
> > my Mom who would be happy with any OS as long they could get a little
> > hand holding. MS was more user friendly for a while, but Apple now offers
> > more customer education and support. I can go to an Apple store and hire
> > time with a Mac expert. What can a newcomer to Linux do but hang around
> > an installfest and hope someone takes pity? Can you imagine your parents
> > doing that? If someone like Red Hat were to market home support for
> > users, the customer base for Linux would grow. For my own case, I have
> > yet to get my Brother printer to talk to my Ubuntu box so I still print
> > off my Mac. I would rather hire someone to figure it out than go after my
> > own engineering degree to be able to do it. I had a Linux guru but he
> > blew me off when I would not take to the command window. If our goal is
> > to keep Linux solely in the hands of enthusiasts than we are doing a good
> > job, but some of the threads I read sound like some of you wish Linux
> > would gain market share. Ask yourselves, how many still change the oil in
> > their cars anymore? We need a Jiffy lube type franchise for Linux.
> > Dennis
> > Oct 27, 2010 04:09:21 PM, sheridan3003 at yahoo.com rote:
> > It is all a matter of perspective.
> > Microsoft will continue to be a large presence in the
> > corporate market, unfortunately for us Linux folks.
> > However, I think the key to the article is these two words:
> > "consumer brand"
> > Consumers are less interested in buying Microsoft things.
> > They want cool gadgets. The "consumer" is fickle and always
> > looking for the next new thing.
> > Microsoft is now pretty much embedded in big businesses. They
> > have some consumer things, but overall are pretty lacking in
> > this area.
> > Overall I think Linux has always been in a similar boat.
> > Linux (RH, Suse, CentOS, UBUNTU, what have you) by itself is
> > not a "consumer" product. They don't care about the nuts and
> > bolts.
> > We are the platform on which cool things run, and these cool
> > things run better on Open Source than Windows any day.
> > ________________________________________________________________________________
> > From: John Warren
> > To: Jay Hart
> > Cc: novalug at calypso.tux.org
> > Sent: Wed, October 27, 2010 10:42:00 AM
> > Subject: Re: [Novalug] Is Microsoft dying???
> > It's just a flesh wound.
> > On Wed, Oct 27, 2010 at 10:29 AM, Jay Hart <jhart at kevla.org> wrote:
> > >http://money.cnn.com/2010/10/27/technology/microsoft_pdc/index.htm?cnn=yes&hpt=T
> > 2
> > >
> > > Open for dicussion...
> > >
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