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Michael Robertson Interview about Lindows 384

Posted by Hemos
from the making-it-work dept.
unclegus writes "I ran across this article talking about Michael Roberston and Lindows. Says a "Sneak Preview" will be available in a few weeks. Release 1.0 will be $100 for single user ..." Dan Gillmor, the author of it, has said that it appears to be the real thing - I'll be interested in getting my hands on it.
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Michael Robertson Interview about Lindows

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  • by medcalf (68293) on Wednesday January 09, 2002 @02:38PM (#2811459) Homepage
    "More choice is always better than less."
    • by TheRain (67313)
      "More choice is always better than less."

      That's true, and that makes sense. However, consider Microsoft making another version of Windows. Sure, now we have another Windows we can use.... but there are factors other than the availability of a new product or piece of software that affect the amount of "choice" we really have. Microsoft affects user's choice by brute force. It's not just Microsoft though... it's a common practice in the software industry. So who's to say whether this Lindows company will provide us more "choice"? In the end, they are. Also consider that Microsoft can easily break Lindows compatibility with later versions of Office and what not. They have the upper hand in that battle (bar the U.S. government's hand in the matter). I'm not saying this will not be a good thing.... just stating some thoughts, and I welcome your thoughts/counterthoughts.
    • As the poster above notes, it might not be for you, but you're not this apps target audience. If you think Tex and Metafont are preferable to StarOffice or MS Office that means you.

      Furthermore, there's no reason why this can't work very well. I have a nifty little program from Codeweavers called Crossover, the 1.01 version of which allows me to run Quicktime, Shockwave, Ipix, QTVR, and a bunch of other Win32 web browser plugins under Galeon (or KDE, or Skipstone, or Moz if you like web browsers to run slowly on your Athlon). The plugins work seamlessly, and running Quicktime on its own works reasonably well (one bug with minimisation seems to be the only real sticking point).

      So yeah, Codeweavers can allow me to run a selection of Windows web browser lugins under Linux.

      Also, Transgaming can allow me to run Alice, Tony Hawk, Return to Castle Wolfenstein (single or Multi), Sacrifice and a much of other selected Windows games under Linux

      If the above two are possible, I see no reason why Lindows won't be able to make MS Office and Quicken run under Wine either. They already work 98% functionality with Wine and a lot of patience. With a cute app to remove the need to patience, and some money into going the last mile of COM and the other missing pieces, I see no reason why Lindows won't be:

      a) Able to deliver what it promises
      b) Worth it. Maybe....

      * When that hundred buncks was *Australian* I thought it was reasonable, but they mean $US - ouch. $40-50 US would be more like it.

      * I already have a Linux distribution. I want Lindows if its good. I am not going to fucking well install another OS to run it. Make Lindows an app for God's sake.
  • Interdev under Linux (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I get paid to write ASP pages.. there is no changing that to PHP, JSP or any other non-M$ platform. With that said, if I could run Interdev under Linux, then I would never have need for Windows again. If Lindows can do that for me, then I'll give it a shot.
    • by tenman (247215)
      I understand your dependence on Interdev. Trust me I know what it is to not be able to remember all the function names. But There are up and coming IDE's that will be able to keep up with the features of Interdev. I understand that ximian is producing a .NET system for the linux systems, and ChilliSoft has had it possable to run ASP pages on linux for years now.
      Microsoft coddles you, and while i'm not saying that is a bad thing, it does make you that much more dependent on them.
      I used to get paid to write ASP pages. I use to use interdev, and the whole VStudio. Now I write my pages in Java, I use Eclipse, and I don't have to worry about nimda. Tomarrow, I'll be able to do the same on Lindows
      • Who carez that Microsoft is the company you're depending on when writing ASP pages. You're depending on Sun while writing Java. That's not a problem at all. I build n-tier webapplications for a living and some layers are ASP code, others are VB/C++ code, others are T-SQL code. All microsoft. Because my customers think the same I don't have to preach to them to tell them the stuff works. The same with linux developers who work for linux-minded customers.

        It's however sad to see still people think by writing ASP pages you seem to have an above average risk to catch all kinds of silly virusses: server/internet development isn't easy sometimes and you need knowledge to write and setup solid systems. That's true on all platforms.

        I only use interdev for the intellisense in asp code (no other editor has that, otherwise I'd have switched already).
      • His whole point was: I'll switch to Lindows if it can run (My Favorite App)

        Not: InterDev + ASP RULEZ!!!

        This is a great point, especially for Win32 developers. If you can't run your Win32 development tools on Lindows, what can you run?

        Lastly, I don't understand this IDE hate. What's wrong with using productive tools like integrated debuggers, color coding, code templates, etc. Are these extra features a major cause of sezuires? He finds them very useful, as do I. Why should he or anyone have to REVERT to notepad?

        I can understand another editor like CodeWarrior, Emacs, etc., etc. but NOTEPAD???

        Maybe we should all revert to assembler... no...no... HEX!!!
    • That's funny, most ASP developers don't use Interdev. In fact, I too develop ASP pages for Win2k servers. All that work is done from a linux platform, and the guys here who use Windows boxes are just using TextPad, Dreamweaver, Homesite or some other non-intrusive text editor. Give it a try sometime. It's not like Interdev's data environments are really that much of a benefit...
    • by Denito (196701)
      Huh?

      you can write ASP scripts in any old text editor. I use Homesite on the PC, but I'm sure there are very nice text editors on Linux.

      Just cuz your dev SERVER is microsoft, it doesn't mean you have to write your code from interdev!

      -Dennis
  • With all of the current "interoperability" software available (wine etc.), I'm not convinced someone can throw together something THIS good in the time frame they seem to have done it in, but I will keep an eye on it.
  • ... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by danielrose (460523)
    Mmmm. Seems to me it would be easier to write new versions of these "10 Major programs" for linux rather than reverse engineer every Windows API. It will probably end up flaky as hell.

    That's if this whole thing isn't vapor..
  • Is this legal? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by squiggleslash (241428) on Wednesday January 09, 2002 @02:40PM (#2811486) Homepage Journal
    Apparently some parts of the OS will be proprietry, but the OS will include the Linux kernel and be reliant on it presumably, unless they intend to provide FreeBSD running in Linux kernel emulation mode with it.

    Is this (serious question) a GPL violation? If Apple can't make BASH the MacOS X command line shell (apparently they asked, RMS said no, that would be a violation), how can Lindows make Linux the kernel?

    • Re:Is this legal? (Score:3, Informative)

      by danielrose (460523)
      No, it is not a violation of the GPL. They could provide it as a patch, or pre-compiled kernel modules.

      IIRC the GPL says nothing about if your software "depends" on a GPL'd piece. If your software is integrated (ie. same code type deal) you are in trouble.
    • Re:Is this legal? (Score:5, Informative)

      by bconway (63464) on Wednesday January 09, 2002 @02:45PM (#2811520) Homepage
      I'm not sure where you're getting your information, but only changes to GPL sofware need to be released. They can do whatever they want with Wine (not GPL), and if they made any kernel changes they will be released. I dunno who told you that about bash, but it's incorrect, RMS has no say in who uses or packages bash as long as no changes are made or those changes are released. Something being reliant or using GPL software means absolutely nothing in regards to the GPL.
    • vmware does it (Score:4, Informative)

      by yerricde (125198) on Wednesday January 09, 2002 @02:49PM (#2811551) Homepage Journal

      Is [creating a Linux kernel module] a GPL violation?

      No. Linus has allowed binary-only modules into the kernel provided they communicate with the kernel using well-defined APIs. For instance, the vmware package includes a binary-only kernel module.

      If Apple can't make BASH the MacOS X command line shell (apparently they asked, RMS said no, that would be a violation)

      I don't see how it would be a violation under the "mere aggregation" clause of the GPL. [everything2.com]

      • Re:vmware does it (Score:2, Interesting)

        by squiggleslash (241428)
        Is [creating a Linux kernel module] a GPL violation?
        No.
        Maybe, but that wasn't my question was it? Lindows is an entire operating system, not a LKM.
        I don't see how it would be a violation under the "mere aggregation" clause of the GPL.
        Because it's not a mere aggregation. A mere aggregation is where you bundle several unrelated things together. In this case, Lindows is reliant on a GPL'd unit, the Kernel (and presumably GNU tools, again assuming they haven't rewritten the rest of the system). That's not "mere aggregation".
      • Re:vmware does it (Score:3, Interesting)

        by kma (2898)
        No. Linus has allowed binary-only modules into the kernel provided they communicate with the kernel using well-defined APIs. For instance, the vmware package includes a binary-only kernel module.

        Hmm, funny. What is this /usr/lib/vmware/modules/source directory doing on my system then?

        Keith Adams
        (VMware engineer)
    • Re:Is this legal? (Score:3, Informative)

      by inerte (452992)
      That would depend [gnu.org] of what libraries they are using and what licenses these licenses are released.

      And later (if you clicked on the link) you can read:

      "I just found out that a company has a copy of a GPL'ed program, and it costs money to get it. Aren't they violating the GPL by not making it available on the Internet?

      No. The GPL does not require anyone to use the Internet for distribution. It also does not require anyone in particular to redistribute the program. And (outside of one special case), even if someone does decide to redistribute the program sometimes, the GPL doesn't say he has to distribute a copy to you in particular, or any other person in particular.

      What the GPL requires is that he must have the freedom to distribute a copy to you if he wishes to. Once the copyright holder does distribute a copy program to someone, that someone can then redistribute the program to you, or to anyone else, as he sees fit."


      So basically... there are several cases:

      1) They do not break the GPL and make a true software without using or modifying libraries (could happen, depending on the licenses);

      2) They break the GPL, and don't release the source code to anyone outside Lindows.com, so:

      a) Without the sources, might be more difficult to know what library they used/modified;

      3) The text that I copied and pasted from gnu.org applies. They can modify GPL and do NOT release the sources. "What the GPL requires is that he must have the freedom to distribute a copy to you if he wishes to". Just don't wish :-)

      Many more possible cases, but I just pointed a few more likely to happen. Anyway, the usual IANAL surrounds my comment :-)
    • With comments like this, I start to wonder if RMS really believes in Open Source. Where the shell is concerned, wouldn't it be better to have some OSS bundled into a commware product?? Wouldn't it be lovely if all of these Mac people suddenly said, "I can use Linux, it's got BASH!"

      What is the difference between Caldera selling their version of Linux+Proprietary and Apple?? Red Hat and SuSE still sell their OS, although it is obstensibly "the cost of the CD".

      Zealots are only good for burning others, or being burned.

      ~Hammy
    • Probably. While WINE would be an excellent candidate for being GPL covered, it is not. And they don't need to hack existing Linux kernel code.

      However, I suspect that they will feed improvements back into the WINE project. Otherwise, they end up having to track and integrate WINE code constantly, which would be a major hassle.

    • If Apple can't make BASH the MacOS X command line shell (apparently they asked, RMS said no, that would be a violation),

      I really doubt that; do you have any references? More likely, Apple picked tcsh because of the BSD heritage.

  • Why in gods name (Score:2, Flamebait)

    by CDWert (450988)
    Why in gods name would someone buy this at $100 a crack ????? It isnt gooing to be ANYWHERE (Windows isnt stable you say, Ok , whatever but for running Windows apps youre going to tell me a hacked emulator is)near as stable for windows apps as windows, and the Linux stuff is going to get dragged down by bloating everything to the moon for compatibilty ???

    Hell now that courts have ruled its legal to resell throw a copy of Win98 under VMWare, at least there I can run all kinds of fun stuff.

    At $100 a crack I cold buy a copy of whatever windows version I wanted, you mean to tell me I should buy this monstrosity because BillG isnt getting my money ?

    This seems to me (I am a 30% Windows user 70% Linux user) te be the single stupidest approach for either system.
    • Why in gods name would someone buy this at $100 a crack ?????

      That, as they say, is a very good question.

      It isnt gooing to be ANYWHERE (Windows isnt stable you say, Ok , whatever but for running Windows apps youre going to tell me a hacked emulator is) near as stable for windows apps as windows,

      A key stability issue with Windows is the kernel--if you run under a Linux or BSD/Mach/whatever kernel then a wobbly bit of software isn't going to cream it a la BSOD. And if the basic IP services and whatnot are on top of the thing like in UNIX then you don't have that "now reboot your computer" nonsense.

      and the Linux stuff is going to get dragged down by bloating everything to the moon for compatibilty ???

      You mean like with Gnome/KDE/Evolution Mozilla? Run mutt and lynx! :)

      • This is essentially the same concept as OS X - use a proven, stable kernel, then overlay our own OS achitecure over it. However, as several other people have said, I find it hard to believe that it was done properly within the time frame it was done, without MS aid.
    • Agree...

      But this product isn't about you. It's about Joe who just opened an insurance company in Idaho.

      It's not going to try to be linux. It's going to try to be 'Not Windows'. The buzz will carry around the bix world that there is a new linux that works 'just' like microsoft. And while they are wrong, companies start to venture away from thier unatable, yet reliable windows installs.

      Does that make sence? Lindow target market is not hackers, crackers, UNIX Sys Admins, or Kernel development. I hope that clears it up a little you seemed angry about it.
  • by Marx_Mrvelous (532372) on Wednesday January 09, 2002 @02:41PM (#2811491) Homepage
    From the info in the article, it seems that they are either erverse-engineering the Windows APIs, or mimicking the functionality with their own code. This is a time-consuming task.

    Also, they said they are focusing on only 10 or so applications. They list Work, Excel, etc. But what about future revisions of these programs? I wonder if Ms would purposefully change them to break under Lindows, which Lindows would have to change to accomodate.

    So will this become a perpetual 'chasing' game, trying to catch up to Microsoft?
    • Of course it's a perpetual chasing game... Wine has been playing the same game for years, Lindows is just new.

      honestly, $comment =~ s/Lindows/Wine/g; and you get a comment I've seen more or less verbatim on a dozen /. articles before.

      To summarize for the future: Yes, MS will try to screw with people that threaten their monopoly in any way.
      • by mwalker (66677) on Wednesday January 09, 2002 @03:33PM (#2811873) Homepage
        I have a reply to your comment, and a reply to your .sig.

        First, your comment:
        Yes, Microsoft will try to outrun you be rev'ing their software faster. It's called churn; they live and die by it. But they also do... much nastier things [ddj.com] to make your code stop working (like the Stealth Virus I just linked to). It all depends on how much of a threat they think you are.

        Second, your .sig:
        Slashdot does tell you when Editors are moderating your posts. In the Slashdot messaging system, you can turn on "notify me of moderation", and every time an Editor moderates one of your posts, you will get a message saying that "a User gave your comment a score of blah blah blah". This is because Editors are actually called "Users" at Slashdot. You can read more about this [sourceforge.net] if you like, but basically, this is a solved problem.

    • It specifically states in the article that Lindows is being developed to help combat the constant upgrade cycle that MS tends to push with it's products. They're targetting Lindows at corporations with a large inventory of slightly older computers. Take those, put Lindows on them, get the current version of Office, and be done with it. So, does it really matter if future versions of Word don't run on it? Maybe in time, but not immediately.
      • The problem is that it's not just the OS that MS is pushing the upgrade cycle with...it's Office too. By manipulating their file format, they make new versions of Office apps produce documents *supposedly* in the same format (.doc, .xls, etc...), but that will not appear correctly under "old" versions of the same programs.

        That's how they push the upgrade of Office. Once you start receiving Word or Excel docs that you can't open (but are expected to be able to open) from people who don't have a clue as to how to save in a format that WILL open correctly under other versions of the software, you're almost forced to go out and get the new version, whether you want to or not.

        I don't see where Lindows is going to change that.

        Now...if the gov't were to impose on MS to open up their file formats, and *keep them open* through new revisions of their products - then I can see there being viable (legal) alternatives to MS Office and the forced upgrade cycle.
        • Once you start receiving Word or Excel docs that you can't open (but are expected to be able to open) from people who don't have a clue as to how to save in a format that WILL open correctly under other versions of the software, you're almost forced to go out and get the new version, whether you want to or not.

          Except that under Lindows, when you can't read a newer version of an office file in your version of Word, Excel, etc., you can open it with StarOffice, OpenOffice, KOffice or whatever else you have that might (and my experience has been that it usually does) work. This breaks the forced upgrade cycle.

          As for me, I'm 3+ Microsoft free years in a Fortune 100 company.

  • by the_radix (454343) on Wednesday January 09, 2002 @02:42PM (#2811496) Homepage Journal

    He ran several Microsoft Office applications on his IBM ThinkPad, though some functions of those programs still aren't working properly under Lindows. They'll come in time, he says.

    So, instead of paying $100 for a Windows upgrade that crashes occasionally, but runs everything, we can pay $100 for an OS that crashes occasionally and can't run everything.

  • missing the point (Score:3, Interesting)

    by _UnderTow_ (86073) on Wednesday January 09, 2002 @02:43PM (#2811502)
    I know I can't speak for anyone else here, but for me the attraction of using Linux is not having to worry AT ALL about licenseing issues. If I have to worry about how many licenses is have I might as well use windows, then the windows apps I might be using will work (as well as they can).
  • by garcia (6573) on Wednesday January 09, 2002 @02:44PM (#2811511) Homepage
    Honestly this is a fine achievement if it does what it says. But for $100? To run on slow machines so that companies don't have to upgrade their hardware?

    Come on.

    Unless it supports things like USB for devices Linux doesn't already support, etc. I really don't see this being a viable competitor.

    My main beef w/Linux at this point is that I can't sync my Casiopeia via USB cradle (I have to use the serial keyboard "cradle") which is slow and painful.

    My god damn parallel printer (HP 960c) is not very well supported and making a /etc/printcap entry w/printtool is not helping (even w/the drivers from the HP sourceforge page).

    If Lindows will solve those problems for me I would be less weary... For $100 though? I will suffer w/my serial cradle and using WP8 (which works w/the printer just fine).

    Just my worthless .02
  • Screenshots (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jwilhelm (238084) on Wednesday January 09, 2002 @02:45PM (#2811518) Homepage Journal
    There are two screenshots of Lindows in use here:

    http://www.lindows.com/lindows_products_screensh ot s.php

    It looks impressive to me (so far).
  • by Havokmon (89874) <rick@@@havokmon...com> on Wednesday January 09, 2002 @02:45PM (#2811522) Homepage Journal
    If it weren't for the freaking regressions happening in Wine, I would be running 100% in Linux right now.

    The current WWN [winehq.com] is convering the progress for some new testing tools for Wine..
    But what if Lindows.com already HAD those tools? They could have fixed those regressions already, and boom, you have a 'more complete' Wine.

    I don't think LindowsOS running Win32 apps is all that impossible. All the parts are already there, they're just not all working at the same time.

    • If it weren't for the freaking regressions happening in Wine, I would be running 100% in Linux right now.

      Wine has regressions because it is currenty in a "developer only release" state. The Wine team is making the 1.0 push, and when they hit 1.0, you shouldn't see regressions in that branch.

      Poke around on www.winehq.com, and fine the roadmap, change log, etc. to see where they've been, where they're going, and where they are.
  • by grahamsz (150076) on Wednesday January 09, 2002 @02:46PM (#2811527) Homepage Journal
    Home users are unlikely to - most of them stick with the windows that came preinstalled & M$'s oem pricing is sufficiently good that i cant see system manufacturers changing. Not to mention all those clauses that stop them shipping non-ms OS's. After all lindows is unlikely to run games or edutainment software well.

    The business community are unlikely to - why would a sysadmin decide to put his neck on the line switching 5000 systems to lindows. When one critical application doesn't work as it's meant to, it all come crashing down around him. Most sysadmins will just stick to windows even if it does cost more.

    The geek community are unlikely to. For the past five years i've kept a linux machine and a windows machine and will soon be readding a mac to that collection. Bluntly windows rocks for games and multimedia - whilst i'd love to do these on linux the support just isn't there. I'll keep my linux pure and gpl'd thank you very much.

    The education community might. Although schools tend to avoid anything that they dont know since they dont tend to have a dedicated sys admin to set things up (and in the uk most schools pay sooo far over the odds for computers that the price difference wouldn't care).

    Universities and Colleges might jump, since art students will be able to stick with word and it of course gives tech students unix as well. However most uni's at least have some linux workstations, or windows machines with exceed and big linux servers.

    Quite honestly i dont see the market for it. Although if they go bust i really hope they open their code to wine.

    Ultimately microsofts approach to this problem will be obvious:

    Windows costs $W
    Lindows costs $L
    Office costs $O

    Simply create a new bundle which includes Windows and Office at a price less than $O+$L.
    • Management... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Tom7 (102298)
      > The business community are unlikely to - why would
      > a sysadmin decide to put his neck on the line
      > switching 5000 systems to lindows. When one
      > critical application doesn't work as it's meant
      > to, it all come crashing down around him. Most
      > sysadmins will just stick to windows even if it
      > does cost more.

      I doubt that a sysadmin would switch of his own volition (unless it was a small shop), but often these kinds of decisions are made by management. They do care about the cost of software, and if Lindows.com can market it well, they might go for it.

      I agree that it will be a tough sell, though. Let's hope that the Wine project can get a lot of good code out of it...
      • But admittedly most managers have factored in the cost of Windows as a constant - how many managers are looking to excise Windows to save money? I understand the motivation to do so, but I know of no prominent cases.
    • by Quarters (18322) on Wednesday January 09, 2002 @03:15PM (#2811734)
      ...since art students will be able to stick with word...

      Yeah. When I took computer graphics in college we only ever used Word. We did entire 30 minute CGI mpg movies in Word. It rocked. Photoshop, 3ds max, Maya, Lightwave, AutoCAD, DeBabelizer, Premiere, and After Effects are for pussies!
  • by 2Bits (167227) on Wednesday January 09, 2002 @02:46PM (#2811528)
    ... get off the Microsoft upgrade treadmill, ...


    I always love this metaphore. And how true that describes the situation of Microsoft's customers. You keep on putting in more efforts, keep on running, but you are going nowhere.

  • by futuresheep (531366) on Wednesday January 09, 2002 @02:46PM (#2811536) Journal
    I think this is a great idea, but the execution is flawed. I can pay less for VMWare or Win4Lin and get access to all the applications that Lindows allows, plus some that it won't. I also don't care for the fact that not only will the final product cost $100.00, but the 'preview' will as well, at least according to their website.
    • you still have to pay for Windows to run in VMWare.

      you are paying for Windows, aren't you?

      Oh, look, here comes the BSA. *duck*
      • Not if you already own windows. :)

        I dual boot windows/linux, and under linux I run vmware with windows. Linux is free, Vmware costs 1/2 the price of lindows. I just wonder if I can play games under Lindows, I have to boot back for some games. (Thou I hear RTCW has linux binaries, need to check that out)
        • Want to look at VMWare web site again? it costs $300 - 3 times the price of Lindows..

          But you're comparing apples and oranges - VMWare gives you an entire virtual machine top to bottom, while Lindows will let you run some windows apps - specially Office.

          Win4Lin could be a "competitor" but the biggest problem for me with it that it doesn't let you install anything other then Windows 95/98 and only english/german language (I need the Hebrew version)
  • WINE, anyone? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by dogas (312359)
    I still can't believe that these guys can race ahead of the WINE developers when it comes to running windows apps in linux. It seems to me (and this has been posted before) that they're probably using some sort of wine-related or vmware-related tool to get the job done. It also makes me think of these points:

    for $100, I could get MS windows and run it natively.

    for FREE, I could download mandrake linux and run windows apps through wine or VMware.

    What does lindows have to offer that the above don't? NOTHING.

  • by Eloquence (144160) on Wednesday January 09, 2002 @02:49PM (#2811552) Homepage
    Lindows seems to follow an approach similar to that of Transgaming [transgaming.com]: Get a few Win32 apps to work well and ignore the rest. (Contrary to Transgaming, however, Lindows appears to be proprietary with no intention to ever change that.) Whether this approach is really sufficient is doubtful: If private users can't run Fooster to trade MP3s and cannot play their favorite games, and commercial users can't run their in-house VB/Access stuff, they might quickly want to get rid of Lindows (which will probably change its name sooner or later). $100 also appears to be too expensive to just try it out to see if you can live without Windows. One of the advantages of Linux has always been that PC magazines could bundle it, and that you could download it from various websites.

    There may still be a Linux market for Lindows' extensions to WINE or whatever they're building on, though. There are certainly worse ways to burn VC.

  • by Geeyzus (99967)
    So what is the big benefit of using Lindows? (Assuming it is not vaporware.)

    - Not having to dual-boot?
    - Price?
    - Just to screw over Micro$oft?

    You can get Windows cheap [directdeals.com] at several places. At the previous link Windows 2000 and Windows XP (both full version, OEM) are under $150.

    As much as you may hate Windows, chances are good that Windows-based software is going to run better on Windows than Lindows. Why spend $100 on Lindows when you can get the real deal for a few bucks more?
  • The Chaos (Score:2, Funny)

    by jjares (141954)
    The thing that always worried me the most about widespread linux, is hackers. With windows (safe for XP) script kiddies can DoS a machine, but they cant r00t it. Linux has some security issues, and the common user wont be upgrading and patching every time a security issue is found. Running Office applications on Linux doesn't make a user a Linux user. Imagine a world where a script kiddie can ssh to thousands of home users boxes. DDoS has suddenly a new meaning.
    • Depending on how you look at it, this is either wrong or misleading. On any win95/98/ME, ANY compromise is a "r00t", because theres no concept of user level access control. If you get access, you've got root. Less on win2k and XP, but on both of these systems, critical and potentially compromised processess (like a web server) run as System by default. Also, many home users of 2k and XP (especially XP) login as admin because SO many normal tasks require it - for example, you have to be Admin to play diablo 2. In XP, when you create a new user, it defaults to an Admin user with no password!
  • linblows... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Adrian Voinea (216087)
    I know I'm going to be modded down to oblivion, but here goes nothin'...
    Everything I've heard up until now has convinced me that Lindows is for sure a modified version of Wine, with some eye candy added and all this backed up by a team of PR goons.Also, not releasing the source speaks for itself...
    Up until now, Lindows seemed like a good candidate for SatireWire's vaporware list, but they might have something to show after all.
    Also, the price is unbelievable! Who would pay to run buggy microsoft software on an (almost certainly)buggy emulator? I'd rather buy a windows license:)
    The bottom line is: instead of trying to emulate windows, try to help developing native linux applications. Like Staroffice and Gimp for starters.
  • Robertson is also back in court. This time Microsoft has launched the lawyers, claiming that the name ``Lindows'' might be confused with Windows and thereby violate Microsoft's trademark.

    Robertson has one word for the claim: ``absurd.''

    There are thousands of computer-related products with ``Windows'' in their names, he says. Yet Microsoft has left those products unmolested.


    Come on, Lindows, Windows. They are obviously trying to use the Windows name to generate intrest (and the lawsuit as well). While I don't think MS can make him change it, I do think there's not much point in denying that the name is purposly similar.

    And 1000s of applications with the name "windows"??? I can't think of any, help me out??

    TRoy
    • Well, part of it IS marketing, and everybody exagerates. 1000's of applications use the word "windows".. Maybe, but I'd say most of them are "Word for Windows" type names. But the case of the Lindows name itself, it depends on where you place the emphasis. I thought of it as Lin-dows, not L-indows. Where I'm sure Microsoft thinks 'L-indows'. In anycase, I think LindowsOS, the real name of the product is sufficiently different. The target audience (the technical / OS downloading crows) isn't going to be confused on the name.
  • If Microsoft wants to get the maker of "Lindows" for infringing on the WINDOWS® trademark [slashdot.org], the maker of "Lindows" can change the name to the Spanish word "Lindos" (meaning "pretty ones") which carries connotations of both Windows and DOS.
  • For those curious, you can sign up [lindows.com] to get the sneak preview. I'm curious enough to at least see the sneak preview before I bash away like the rest of you. I'd rather be an informed basher rather than a newbie/fanboy/hax0r kind of basher that we see so much on /. :)
  • by starseeker (141897) on Wednesday January 09, 2002 @03:01PM (#2811635) Homepage
    This OS, despite the near magical quality of Windows and Linux applications on one system, looks to be a nitch OS even if it succeeds. Here's why.

    In the article itself, the opinion is voiced that there are about 10 major applications that Windows users use. OK, granted. Unfortunately, what we are discussing here is an OS switch, and it's not that simple.

    Linux users are quite accustomed to the notion of things like using 8 different IRC clients as the situation warrants. Windows users, on the other hand, quickly grow accustom to even the tiniest quirk of their default system. AOL can't change anything, even on their website, without causing some of their users to be unhappy about the difference.

    The point is, if Lindows runs Office and a few other major apps well, that's enough for some businesses. But for home users, EVERYTHING must work as they expect from previous experience, or they won't even consider switching. If their bizarre little propritary note keeper doesn't work, no dice. They ain't movin.

    Linux users, who you might think logically would be more interested, will be put off by the commercial nature of the project and are far more likely to wait for/help the wine project. Also, VMware and WinforLin allow people to run Windows programs. There's already compeition out there.

    So the only conceivable mass market for this system is business. Great. Unfortunately, we all know how keen the vast majority of the business world is on switching to something different and untried. Especially if it involves retraining. Linux applications won't intice them much - there are other ways to get those, using cygwin, vnc, remote Xwindows connections, etc. Lindows does most of this, let's say. It does it a little better than the above solutions. But will it do ENOUGH better to justify businesses upgrading? Unlikely.

    Don't get me wrong - I hope it succeeds. It's just going to have a heck of a time doing so.
    • Right, it's going to be a niche market. But if it really works, it could be a very important niche. Plenty of businesses that buy Windows & MS Office licenses by the 100's are getting sick and tired of the continuous upgrade-and-wait-for-bug-fixes treadmill. Linux + KDE or Gnome + Star Office sounds good enough for most internal corporate operations now, although with a quite difficult changeover and retraining period. But we've also got to continue exchanging documents with our customers, some of whom are unaware that there are any non-MS OS's... Star Office is probably going to be perpetually _almost_ good enough at importing and exporting Office files, because it's in MS's own self-interest to keep breaking the file formats.

      So if we converted to Linux right now, about 20% of our people would have to either have dual boot Windows/Linux boxes, or dual boxes. That gets pretty expensive. Also, I've got this feeling that no matter how the antitrust settlement comes out, when we go to buy site licenses for that 20%, there will be some sort of problem when MS discovers that we aren't buying Windoze for _all_ the boxes. Suppose we could buy Lindows for that 20% instead? That's a significant direct cost savings over the same # of Windows licenses. The users won't have to reboot from Linux into Windows to get Word running, which is a considerable time savings.

      Or we could ease the transition a lot by starting with a 75% Windows, 25% Lindows shop and gradually moving more to Linux until Windows was gone and only those people with a real need to interchange data with outside Windows shops still used Lindows.

      One final note: engineering has quite a lot of archived projects in Windows-only CAD systems (Orcad, for instance). We will need to keep the capability of printing out and updating those designs practically forever. Buying the newest version of Windows every couple of years really doesn't cut it, because eventually one of their new "features" is going to render the old applications inoperable. Any chance we'll be able to run those apps in some version of Lindows or Wine?
    • I don't know if the home user is that concerned. I know that MS tries to keep backward compatiblity with everything, but they keep breaking it here and there. If the bizarre little propriatary note keeper doesn't work on the newest version of Windows, oh well. It happens.

      If people viewed this as an upgrade, then it might be easier for them to accept. If it comes preinstalled on their next computer, then they might not even notice.
    • I wish I knew why Lindows won't sell their "wine" (I assume it's wine - it looks like it) to the people alongside the Lindows distribution?

      I like my RedHat, and I'm sure other people love their Mandrake, SuSE or Debian - why not sell them this special wine for a good price? ($40-$50 should be fare enough to both sides)..

      Lindows people on slashdot readers to comment?
    • . But for home users, EVERYTHING must work as they expect from previous experience, or they won't even consider switching.

      That's why M$ never changes anything, right? Sorry, but that does not hold water. I'm sitting here at a new w2k machine. There are dozens of UI changes from NT and 98. Many of the changes are on heavily used items, like find which used to be under tools and is now under a right click. So why is it that people like you never apply the same criticisms to OS from M$?

      It's funny how shifing convienence is more difficult to use than a constant CLI tool. Let me tell you how frustrating it is to not be able to pull up a command prompt and get the same find tool I've been using for the last four years under Linux.

  • Sign up [lindows.com] to see the sneak preview before you bash. Personally, I'm quite curious to see what it can do.
  • by suwain_2 (260792)
    I've never been able to find Lindows very exciting, maybe it's because I came to Linux because I didn't like Windows. So I've seen it as merging what I fled from, into my newfound (well, four years ago...) love. But I digress...

    But here's my question... Is it going to be GPLed? I always thought that if you 'changed' Linux, you were obliged to GPL it. Here they come out, selling it for $100 for a single-user system? Granted, some people will probably buy this and love it. But, IMHO, a lot of Linux's success has been that you can get it free, in both terms of the word. Lindows might suck; it might rock. But I don't want to pay my $100 and hate it, so I'd spend a while talkign to other users, or maybe *cough* try someone else's copy *cough*. With Linux, you download it, or (legally) use someone else's disk, and if you don't like it, you delete it. If you end up liking Linux, you can put it on other computers too.

    I think a lot of Linux's success has been due to it's license. Yeah, IMHO, Linux is incredibly stable and secure, but if people are too apprehensive to use it, none of that's going to matter to them. So, to sum up my ramblings... I think that, while $100 alone isn't all that bad (RedHat Pro is right around there, isn't it? It's GPL, but to buy the disk set and manuals and stuff...), the fact that it's "single user" is a bad move for them, in terms of attracting users. (Granted, being mentioned on Slashdot frequently may not hurt...)

  • What this is really about is what MS basicly points out in taking Lindows to court over the name.

    Take the ten applications mentioned and given enough time the GNU/linux/GPL side of the spectrum will come up with compairable products.

    All Lindows really does is help the consumer who is stuck on windows to move over to linux. The the fear of moving from a product they paid for having such and such supposed support, to linux which is not the same "paid for and supported by the manufacture" type of system.....Lindows can only help.

    Anyone here who wants to argue against that (knowing full well that wine also exist to base a market test against - regarding whatever success lindows has) is exposing themselves as being a potential MS cronie

    (And the MS cronie tag game is on!! Only rule, when you find an MS cronie posting distortions here - point them out as being such! - Maybe slashdot could use a forth option on the pill [friend, neutral, foe] - a blue one for MS cronie tagging.)
  • <joke>$100 for single-user mode is kinda spendy, I
    wonder if init 6 costs extra? Hope not, if
    it's as ustable as windows. I'm assuming run-level
    3 is also available?</joke>
  • How can this be a bad thing?

    Yeah we all have our WINE pride, and $100 dollars might be too pricey...

    But if this works, and someone somewhere convinces a corporation to switch their forty thousand plus employees to Lindows then this is incredible!

    If you migrate all those users to Lindows, and eventually they want to upgrade... Chances are they will migrate to Red Hat, Debian, SuSE, REAL CHOICE instead of turning back to Microsoft solutions.
  • While $100 isn't much money, seriously, I still would like to try before I buy, hopefully there will be such an option. It should not take more than a week or so to get the feel of the system after all.

    But. Considering that I more or less feel I must purchase another system, because dual-booting is ridicolous when trying to get something done, and I don't feel I have an option of choosing either system, $100 is a bargain. I won't get under $3-400 in parts I lack to put up the minimum system I need to run two, and that is if I use my old 14" monitor or get some kind of switch.

    To be perfectly clear, I can't do without Windows, and I don't want to do without Linux (I don't actually need Linux, but it sure makes life easier to test certain stuff, and it is lots and lots more fun).

    If it is any good, I would definetely try and get a copy at work too, because it would make my life a lot easier there too. Being able to use the corporate-specific applications (yeah, you know the ones) and a few of my own specials alongside with running in a *nix environment would certainly brighten up my day. The applications I use in Windows are few, but extremely necessary, some according to me, and some according to guys that don't know shit, but does pay me cash. Heh.

    And yes, I do love open-source, it has saved the day for me countless times, but I also believe in making money, so I understand the guy. Just possibly, this could add to the flora of open-source programs out there, as more people would possibly be able to write stuff on a *nix environment. I don't feel that whether the OS costs money is that important. Consider it a part of your computer, much like memory chips or the motherboard. It is a natural part of the system, and some prefer Intel, while some prefer AMD or Motorola. What you run on it is more important in my opinion (and in this imperfect world I might add).

    Anyone know what the upgrades will cost if you buy this first version?

  • I know a guy in my neighborhood who's a really good Windows/MFC programmer. He used to own his own company, Axiom Technologies, maybe you've heard of it. He sold it to some big firm somewhere so he could move his family to San Diego. That's right, he's moving his family to go work on Lindows. Somehow I doubt that this guy would be spending all his spare time learning Linux as well as he knows Windows, and moving to San Diego, to partner with a guy who has no product.

    Now all I need to do is see if I can get a job with them ;p.
    • Sorry, but your logic is seriously flawed. How many people sold their souls a couple years ago to go work on the next big .com thingy? How many of them are now out of work and can't find a job?
  • .. the next version of Office won't run on it.
  • by NetJunkie (56134) <jason.nash@gmQUOTEail.com minus punct> on Wednesday January 09, 2002 @03:41PM (#2811954)
    I hate to say it. I think competition would be GREAT on the desktop, but this won't fly.

    Why? I'm a network admin and I wouldn't switch for ~$50/machine. What happens when one of our apps doesn't work? What happens when the VP of whatever gets a new widget and there is no driver? Now I'm supporting a couple of operating systems.

    Also, what happens when an app is flakey. You think the vendor will support me when I'm running Lindows? Good luck! It sounds good in theory, but I just don't see it. One thing people need to realize is that the cost of software is very small compared to support and other things. Saving ~$50/machine is not a big deal. Sure, you may save a lot if you buy 10K machines at a time, but if you do you can get some good deals from other vendors as well.

    I think the OpenSource community will have much better luck with a *GOOD* Office type application, not so much on the operating systems. That's where the real money is spent. Since the OS comes on the system the price of that is usually overlooked, and low enough not to matter when a $100 competitor comes out. Give me a good supported Office app for $100 and I'll switch from my $350/user app.
  • by Ryu2 (89645) on Wednesday January 09, 2002 @04:01PM (#2812084) Homepage Journal
    I heard Lindows is at least partially based on WINE.

    Is Lindows just a WINE repackinging, and if not, what new code does it add that WINE does not have?
  • Isn't Michael Robertson the same tool that founded MP3.com because he realized that MP3 was a popular search term on search engines? I guess he's picked up on the next buzzword and tried to build a business out of it.
  • Like, will it run the RDP Terminal Server that pisses over X, VNC and seemingly everything else available for remote access in terms of speed, without the bizarre and restrictive licensing scheme.

    I'd like to run Linux apps over RDP, but there doesn't seem to be an RDP server available for Linux.
  • The Box (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Ogerman (136333)
    These people seem to be thinking inside the box that says "the only way to REALLY make money in software is to sell licenses." WRONG. Software is a service! Until people get that straight, nobody's going to make much money on free software. You can't make a half-hearted attempt and expect it to fly. It's free software or die. GPL everything. Control nothing but your services. And the beauty of the model is that it fits perfectly with the OSS development community. Contributed code allows everyone to provide customers with better service.

    My question is who's gonna buy Lindows. OSS meets all of mine and my organization's needs. We don't need to run expensive MS Office apps or Lotus Notes. And for those who mistakenly think they need such pricey commercial software, why would they spend another $100 to use it in emulation?

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