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Is Linux Dead? 968

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the dead-as-a-fox-baby dept.
TunkeyMicket writes "It appears MSNBC is reporting that Linux has failed as an operating system. By citing the large Linux hype as reason for Linux to be dominating the market, they draw the conclusion that the "open source" alternative has flopped as an operating system. They briefly mention the success of Linux in the server community, but really the article gives Linux as little credit as possible."
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Is Linux Dead?

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  • by Noryungi (70322) on Wednesday June 26, 2002 @10:06AM (#3768788) Homepage Journal

    Please don't even bother to respond to MSNBC. They are probably trolling for hits... =)
    • by WEFUNK (471506) on Wednesday June 26, 2002 @10:44AM (#3769225) Homepage
      Please don't even bother to respond to MSNBC. They are probably trolling for hits... =)

      I found this post pretty funny but I found most of the other, more serious MS+NBC=Conspiracy posts to be pretty sad (about 75% of the posts to this article).

      As recently noted in a couple of Slashdot discussions, MSNBC is probably one of the most referenced sources on Slashdot and often carries the most Microsoft critical articles of any "mainstream" source. Granted, these are often reprints from NY Times or AP, but MSNBC articles generally seem to be surprisingly unbiased (including this one, as those of you who have actually read it have noted).

      Of course, they have their share of no-questions-asked regurgitated press release stories too (like the last third of this article), but no more (and maybe less) than everybody else.

      I wonder if this Slashdot story was just a (flame)bait and switch to see how many people would actually read the article (no, Linux isn't dead), and test how many people would just write a knee-jerk MSNBC flame.
      • by colmore (56499) on Wednesday June 26, 2002 @11:42AM (#3769737) Journal
        Thank you!

        Nowhere in the article does it claim "Linux is Dead"

        the article claims "Despite the hype of a couple of years ago, Linux has failed to make inroads into the desktop market. But hey, they don't have many virii, and web servers are running the plucky little OS, and here's an interview with an OS developer who will list the merrits of the product. Too bad Redhat isn't making as much money as it used to."

        If anything the article is pro-Linux. It gives it some recognition, it paints a fair picture, and definitely says that Linux has a future.

        I think maybe 3 other posters have actually read the thing. All in all, I've found MSNBC to be the best mainstream source of news, it doesn't have the conservative/nielson ratings bias of FOX (and now to comment on this subject, three loudmouths who don't know a goddamned thing!) nor the naked liberalism of CNN and the NY Times. It's as close as you can get to centrist reporting without being as dull as a textbook.
        • There's something seriously flawed with Linux. Consider this quote:
          But today, Windows is still running on the vast majority of PCs. So what happened?

          What happened is this: Windows has become so entrenched that any alternative will face a massively uphill battle. In other words, the article seems to be stating the issue in a manner that faults Linux, but it's really an issue of economics. A long as it costs marginally less to endure M$' upgrade B$, arcane licensing, market dominance, arrogance, and buggy software, people will continue to do so. This has nothing to do with Linux per se, but more with consumer behavior. THAT's the problem.

          I also think the author is comparing Apples to Oranges. When a traditional company fails, operations stop, people lose their jobs, customers lose support, and eventually, the software becomes unusable due to incompatibility. This is the classic example of something that has failed. Linux, fortunately, doesn't fit this model. It can't fail, because the software is open. No 'customer' of Linux is stranded with documents in a proprietary format that can't be ported to another application. Further, as long as there are people who enjoy coding, Linux will live on.

          This is not to say that the Linux platform doesn't have problems, but I think that over time, many of these will be resolved.

    • I know that slavish adherence to facts and common sense would kill discussion in this forum, but there is an old and useful saying from somwhere:

      Never ascribe to malice that which can be explained by stupidity.

      Look at the column again. They guy doesn't know what he is talking about. He is a producer, not a journalist. If this is part of Microsoft's anti Linux Jihad, it reminds me of the Spanish Inquisition's comfy chair. So lighten up.
  • Oh great! (Score:4, Funny)

    by CaffeineAddict2001 (518485) on Wednesday June 26, 2002 @10:07AM (#3768800)
    Where am I gonna find a penguin shaped coffin?
    • Re:Oh great! (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 26, 2002 @10:13AM (#3768865)
      Actually, read the article.
      It clearly retorts its own headline, and explains that in fact linux is NOT dead.

      "A recent survey of 800 companies in North America and Western Europe found that some 40 percent said they were either using or testing Linux, according to the research firm IDC. With some 27 percent of the market, Linux is now the second most popular operating system for servers, supplanting the decades-old operating system UNIX; Microsoft holds the top spot."
      • by emil (695) on Wednesday June 26, 2002 @11:44AM (#3769752) Homepage

        ...will point to this time and say "2002 was the year Microsoft lost the war."

        Why will they say this?

        • A free office suite has become available.
        • Microsoft is raising prices for Office and the OS while the market slumps.
        • Mozilla turns 1.0.
        • Lindows goes mainstream.
        • The sentencing phase of the trial is complete.
        • The avalanche of private civil suits begins.

        But then again, I still don't understand why SQL Server is selling so well when the same codebase can be obtained for free from linux.sybase.com.

        Still, free software is a flood that is rising around Microsoft, and Microsoft is busy trying to build something that floats. It is unlikely that they will succeed, given the importance of their legacy support.

    • Re:Oh great! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Ioldanach (88584)
      "The rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated." - Mark Twain
      Created by Finish college student Linus Torvalds,

      Finish? Isn't he Finnish?

      A recent survey of 800 companies in North America and Western Europe found that some 40 percent said they were either using or testing Linux, according to the research firm IDC. With some 27 percent of the market, Linux is now the second most popular operating system for servers, supplanting the decades-old operating system UNIX; Microsoft holds the top spot. (MSNBC is a Microsoft-NBC joint venture.)

      And this somehow indicates a failure?

      But Linux has hardly made a dent in the desktop and home user markets. At PC conventions like this one, Microsoft's Windows operating system still rules -- with some 94 percent of the operating system market for desktops and laptop PCs, according to IDC. Despite its growing popularity among computer professionals, it's still not completely "user friendly."

      How many years did it take for MS-Windows to completely eliminate MS-DOS? And that was with many years of massive marketing. I'd say the desktop penetration linux enjoys with so little desktop marketing and such an immature set of desktop tools is amazing in its own right.

      Until recently, interacting with Linux was almost entirely text-driven -- much like Windows' precursor, DOS. So converting meant learning an arcane vocabulary of computerese to give the PC even the simplest commands.

      X11 has been on linux almost from the beginning. I recall installing from a stack of floppies onto my old 386 when my 386 had just been superceded by a 486, and X was an option. I tried installing and using X, but found that my hard disk was inadequate. At the time, hard disk space was expensive. Now, that's not to say that the gui was friendly, but its been there for a good long while.

      Linux is still coming of age. It seems to be spending its childhood in servers, but in the coming years it will probably enjoy a somewhat larger share of the desktop market as the desktop evolves. It may never eclipse Microsoft, but then again, not being the biggest doesn't equate to being a failure.

  • Ooooohh (Score:4, Funny)

    by yatest5 (455123) on Wednesday June 26, 2002 @10:07AM (#3768801) Homepage
    MSNBC says 'Linux is dead'
    /. says 'Linux r00l5'.

    An exciting discussion to follow, I'm sure... ;-)
    • Re:Ooooohh (Score:5, Insightful)

      by kigrwik (462930) on Wednesday June 26, 2002 @10:38AM (#3769164)
      If you read the article, you'll see that it does NOT conclude that "Linux is dead".

      Actually, it describes a rather accurate picture of the present situation: rapid growth in the server market, improvements of the desktop software, the beginning of Linux preloaded PCs, MS brewing more weird stuff.

      Nothing we already don't know, though. It must be a slow news day.

  • by Asikaa (207070) on Wednesday June 26, 2002 @10:08AM (#3768807) Homepage
    ...MSNBC also stated that Microsoft is actually a charity set up by Mother Teresa just before her death, Windows is more robust than UNIX and Bill Gates is the Messiah.

    Sheesh.
  • MSnbc (Score:2, Funny)

    by ChrisMG999 (308536)
    And in other news, MSNBC reports that apple smells like poop.
  • Aside from the IBM infrastructure commercials, Linux has received no advertising whatsoever. Word-of-mouth is good, but to reach millions, more work is needed in getting the word out in print, radio and TV.

    Appealing to to pricing aspect would be a good first advertising angle.
    • In order to advertise in print, radio and TV, you need big bucks. Hell, a billboard costs $10,000/mo. in rural America. For now it looks like you'll have to wait for another large company (like IBM) to decide it's good for business.

      The best thing going for Linux is the fact that University programs teach it and promote it. Kids graduate every semester praising it. Give it time. Word of mouth goes a long way when a product is free (and stable).

    • Napster never advertised on Television, yet it got to be pretty popular. I guess its that "Killer App" thing.
  • by UncleAlias (157955) on Wednesday June 26, 2002 @10:08AM (#3768817) Homepage
    Modeled after Apple's "Proudly going out of business for twenty-five years now.", I give you: "Almost dead for ten years now."
  • Not quite (Score:5, Informative)

    by splume (560873) <splumes@hotmail.com> on Wednesday June 26, 2002 @10:09AM (#3768825) Journal
    I don't think that is what the article was saying. It praised how well Linux was doing in the server market, taking on the older more established *NIX big boys. The only failure the article mentioned was how it has not make a significant impact on the desktop at home. Well Duh! When a company such as Microsoft has a monopoly, I think it is going to take more than just a few years to crack a hole in that shell.
    • Re:Not quite (Score:5, Informative)

      by AVee (557523) <slashdot@avee.oMENCKENrg minus author> on Wednesday June 26, 2002 @10:29AM (#3769060) Homepage
      Indeed, actually the /. submission is more wrong than the MSNBC article. Try to find the word dead somewhere. The article asks what happend to linux after a lot of the hype died down and concludes it's still growing and doing well on the server part but is hardly seen on the desktop.
      That's all, hardly any news, and by no means an intersting article IMHO.

      Now should i post a story to MSNBC stating that "It appears that Slashdot is reporting that MSNBC is spreading M$ fud"?
    • Re:Not quite (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Wakko Warner (324) on Wednesday June 26, 2002 @11:04AM (#3769408) Homepage Journal
      I don't think that is what the article was saying.

      Neither do I, but without a writeup and title like the ones that were given for this story, do you think there'd be 800 comments here?

      It's all about provoking the herd mentality to generate banner ad revenue. Stories like this make all three LNUX shareholders happy!

      - A.P.
    • Re:Not quite (Score:3, Insightful)

      by 4of12 (97621)

      II think it is going to take more than just a few years to crack a hole in that shell.

      Sheesh, even MS itself has a hard time with that .

      Despite all the arm twisting with pricing, backwards incompatibility (genuine or not) and big advertising campaigns, you still have loads of consumers running moss-covered versions of Windows that are not up to "XP".(3.1, 95, 98, 98Se, ME)

      If MS has a hard time convincing consumers to upgrade their hardware given all the resources at their disposal (like getting OEMs to preload the new OS), you can bet Linux will have an even harder time.

      The slow pace of Linux desktop penetration is no mystery.

      Likewise, there is no mystery as to why the uptake of Linux in the server arena has been so rapid. It's growth has been strong, even if its growth has not been equal to the media hype of two years ago.

    • Re:Not quite (Score:3, Insightful)

      by tshak (173364)
      I think it is going to take more than just a few years to crack a hole in that shell.


      Apple has, since the introduction of the iMac and especially since OS X, definitely cracked a hole in their shell. Linux doesn't need legislation, it needs a decent end-user product.
  • by billmaly (212308) <bill.maly@mEULER ... t minus math_god> on Wednesday June 26, 2002 @10:10AM (#3768836)
    It gives props to Server based Linux installs, and states, like many others have, that desktop Linux still faces an uphill battle. Not really the flamebait of an article like /.'s headline would indicate.
    • by EastCoastSurfer (310758) on Wednesday June 26, 2002 @10:16AM (#3768908)
      Some more thoughts along the same lines as the parent post. I have to wonder if the only way to get anything posted to slashdot is to submit flaimbait. The article is a well balanced assesment of where linux is today after all of the yesteryear hype. They don't say linux is dead, and the article actually hints around that more and more companies are moving to it for financial reasons. For all those slashdotters claiming that msbnc is biased, well isn't that the pot calling the kettle black?
      • by rsidd (6328) on Wednesday June 26, 2002 @10:25AM (#3769016)
        Absolutely.

        Sometimes (often!) I wish Slashdot let you moderate the articles and not just the posts; this one would have been (-1, Troll) very quickly.

      • by Silverhammer (13644) on Wednesday June 26, 2002 @10:38AM (#3769167)
        I have to wonder if the only way to get anything posted to slashdot is to submit flaimbait.

        Yes, it is. There have been many occasions when several different versions of a story are submitted, out of which only the most sensational is posted. Sensationalism draws readers. Readers provide click-thrus. Click-thrus equal money.

        Mind you, Taco and his gang have never made any secret of the fact Slashdot is really just a glorified 'blog, with all of the ranting and advocacy that 'blogging entails.

        However, the editorial control here is getting so bad as to sometimes border on slander. Methinks the success has gone to their heads.

        (And if you think I don't know what I'm talking about, look at my user ID. I've been reading Slashdot for years.)

    • by 47PHA60 (444748) on Wednesday June 26, 2002 @10:27AM (#3769029) Journal
      I thought the article was actually very well written, and it presented logical reasons for Linux's failure to make significant gains in the desktop market.

      There was even a quote about the MS monopoly being partly responsible for this: closed office file formats, and PCs that 'automatically' ship with Windows and no other choices.

      So, I disagree with the posted story. This article is another in a long series of "Linux has not won the desktop" articles, and is the first one I've seen that comes close to laying the blame partly on MS.
    • by Nygard (3896) on Wednesday June 26, 2002 @10:35AM (#3769132) Homepage
      It gives the appearance of balance, but still contains a tremendous amount of spin. Consider:
      • Open source is always written in quotes: "open source", giving a subtle message that this label isn't completely honest.
      • It describes Linux developers as a loose confederation of programmers who aren't paid for their work. (My emphasis.) Notice the reversal of power implied here, as if some external entity is withholding pay, rather than the programmer's themselves giving freely.


      It is these type of subtle messages that constitute "spin control" of the part of the article's author.

  • if it includes a quote from HP: "Linux is becoming more and more mainstream everyday?"
  • read the article (Score:4, Insightful)

    by gargle (97883) on Wednesday June 26, 2002 @10:11AM (#3768848) Homepage
    Go read the article. It's actually pretty reasonable and well-balanced; the same can't be said of the /. summary.
    • Re:read the article (Score:4, Informative)

      by tempest303 (259600) <[jensknutson] [at] [yahoo.com]> on Wednesday June 26, 2002 @10:44AM (#3769232) Homepage
      Too bad the author of the article can't get his facts straight.

      According to him, Evolution is a desktop environment and he implies that Lindows is in the office suite business. I'm not implying any malice here, but the guy really needs to do a bit more research before opening his yap.

      But yeah, it's definitely not the intentional troll that the /. summary makes it out to be.

      Interestingly enough, though, he does allude to (albeit unintentionally) Linux's REAL "innovation" for desktop computers: price. Where else but WalMart can you now find a computer for a mere $299??!? This is a clear demonstration of why Linux desktops, should they continue to improve usability-wise, and gain more end-user software (and they will) will soon become a major market. Quite simply, they're just cheaper, making them more available. I'd argue that 99% of users DON'T CARE about "Tablet PC's" and all that crap. They want a regular PC for the web, email, and a little light "office" work, maybe play a few games, and balance their checkbook, and they want it all for *cheap*. Linux desktops aren't quite there on the feature front, but it'll always cost less than any version of Windows.
      • by Reality Master 101 (179095) <RealityMaster101@noSPAM.gmail.com> on Wednesday June 26, 2002 @11:55AM (#3769840) Homepage Journal

        ...he implies that Lindows is in the office suite business. I'm not implying any malice here, but the guy really needs to do a bit more research before opening his yap.

        Before flaming the guy, maybe YOU should read a little more closely and do some research. The article says, "High on the list of headaches is incompatibilities with files created with Microsoft products like Word. Small software makers like Lindows are trying to help desktop users bridge that divide."

        Which is essentially true. If you examine Lindows' web site, you'll notice that the first FAQ says "Our goal is to eventually run some of the more popular Windows® software. That's an ambitious objective that will take time to achieve. At this time, Microsoft® Office 2000 has undergone the most testing and is the most compatible."

        Lindows makes no secret that their biggest objective is being able to run Office.

    • Yes but No (Score:3, Interesting)

      Truly the SlashDot summary is worse than the MSNBC article.

      But the MSNBC article is riddled with factual inacuracies, slanted language, and selective omissions.

      "Small software makers like Lindows are trying to help desktop users bridge that divide."
      Small? Relative to what? MS? GM and CocaCola are small compared to MS!

      "A Linux-based open-source program called Evolution looks pretty much like a standard Windows desktop."

      What on earth does Evolution have to do with the desktop? Other than being made by the folks at GNOME?

      "WalMart recently began selling a house brand PC at rock bottom prices -- available with Linux for the thriftiest PC buyers."

      Read Cheap. It's an old FUD, that linux users are cheap, and wont spend money. If that's true go talk to the folks at Ximian who get monthly subscriptions, just for better connection speeds (and of corse StarOffice!). Or about SlashDot subscribers. Truth is that Linux users (curently) arent' cheap, they are just very educated, and know what not to waste their money on. Give them a product worth paying for and they WILL pay for it.

      (of course that meens producing quality product and such, most of the corporate world seems to be of the notion that if you advertise something enough the sheeple will buy it)

      "Home users are cheap," he said. "At $49.95, you're going to have to sell a whole lot of (copies) to make it in the market."

      Totaly out of context. This has as much to do with Windows as it does with Linux. Home users don't have 3 grand to blow on an acounting package, but last I checked Intuit was doing OK.

      "The Linux operating system, and other "open source" alternatives written by devoted bands of volunteer programmers, would be available to anyone for the cost of a download. But today, Windows is still running on the vast majority of PCs. So what happened?"

      So what is OS X?

      Nah, no one uses Mac...

  • Failed? (Score:5, Funny)

    by sporty (27564) on Wednesday June 26, 2002 @10:13AM (#3768866) Homepage
    If linux has failed, you should prolly reboot and send any information on what processes were running, what your compile options and all to linus@linux.org
  • by soybean (1120) on Wednesday June 26, 2002 @10:13AM (#3768867)
    Did you hear the news? We've been defeated. Dang, I thought we were doing just fine. Well, I'm glad that I found out now and not years from now. I guess I can go back to my day job.
  • Can corporate horn-blowing get any more blatant. Microsoft made this deal with NBC because it was cheaper than printing up their own press releases. Of all the people to write this piece of tripe, a freaking Sr. Producer! His job is specifically to keep NBC and Microsoft happy. This means: A) Make money. B) Say whatever MS and NBC want. This is just intolerable.
  • It's Official - MSNBC Confirms - Linux Is Dying

    One more crippling bombshell hit the already beleaguered Linux community when MSNBC confirmed that Linux market share has not risen significantly in comparison to others, less than 5 percent of all servers. Coming on the heels of a recent MSNBC survey which plainly states that Linux has lost more market share to Windows, this news serves to reinforce what we've known all along. Linux is collapsing in complete disarray, as fittingly exemplified by failing dead last in the recent MCSE comprehensive networking test.

    You don't need to be a Kreskin to predict Linux's future. The hand writing is on the wall: Linux faces a bleak future. In fact there won't be any future at all for Linux because Linux is dying. Things are looking very bad for Linux. Red ink flows like a river of blood.

    Let's keep to the facts and look at the numbers.

    All major surveys show that Linux has steadily declined in market share. Linux is very sick and its long term survival prospects are very dim. If Linux is to survive at all it will be among OS dilettante dabblers. Linux continues to decay. Nothing short of a miracle could save it at this point in time. For all practical purposes, Linux is dead.

    Fact: Linux is dying
  • So, we're switching most of the servers to Linux at my Day Job because it's a failure.

    We're shifting our development to Java because there's no need for interopability.

    Reading this guy's note, the reason why Linux has failed? Because it hasn't taken over the entire Desktop market.

    Um...duh. Isn't there a whole trial about why you can't get Linux/BeOS/OS//2 in the marketplace today?

    So Linux hasn't won the Desktop market. Maybe it will, maybe it never will. But last I checked, it's moving very well into the server marketplace. It's doing well in colleges. More companies are supporting it every day (and not just little nobodies - folks like Sun, IBM, HP, etc).

    I'm patient. I personally use OS X for most of my desktop stuff (IMHO, the best Unix operating system I've worked with), and still rely on Linux on the server side.

    Perhaps the whole Pallendrom-thing from MS will shift more companies over to Linux-based OS's for the desktop (hm...we can either spend money to register our custom made applications so they'll run with these new computers and Windows XP Stranglehold version, or switch our computers to Linux and spend the money in development. Hm....)
  • Everything I live for is gone

    • Punk is dead
    • Amiga is dead
    • Now Linux is dead

    I don't know if IBM is an advertiser on MSNBC, but if so isn't Linux mention obligatorily in every ad? How can the statement be made that Linux is dead when it is growing in market acceptance, being used for critical military projects, used in hospitals and research facilities and incorporating itself into most universities?

  • I think it would be obvious to anyone who read the article (instead of gasping at the MS in MSNBC) that its content was fair. Linux has been making inroads into the server market, but it continues to struggle in the desktop market.

    I have not seen any evidence to indicate that Linux is making significant inroads into the home, and all the wishful thinking in the world isn't going to change that. The article does say that Linux is getting better (in terms of usability, compatability, etc), and I don't think anyone can dispute that either. It just ain't there yet.
  • by Cutriss (262920) on Wednesday June 26, 2002 @10:15AM (#3768890) Homepage
    I've been reading Slashdot for a while...this whole time, I thought it was *BSD that was dying...

    Or so many people at -1 keep saying, anyhow... :)
  • From his article, I soaked in two points basic points.

    Linux is dead because the huge Wall Street hype machine has died down, and Red Hat isn't making any money.

    First, Red Hat != Linux. There is constant innovation and development in Linux, and while Red Hat is a significant force, they are not the whole.

    Linux survived for 9 years before Wall Street dildoheads ever knew that it was the next big IPO craze.

    Finally, Microsoft is terrified of Linux (which makes the article kind of interesting given the source), even more so today than ever. You can probably find an article on Slashdot on any given day on how Microsoft is trying to do something to kill open source: linking it to terrorism, embrace and extend, incompatible hardware standards, lobbying, etc.

    In my direct work experience, the number of systems I deal with running Linux is increasing, not decreasing.

  • The article didn't say it was dead. They said it hasn't made a dent in the home market yet. For it to have failed it would have needed to be adopted and then abandoned and I didn't see where the article claimed that tons of people were dumping Linux.

    They also plug MS products so it's definitely biased and more advertising for MS shrouded in a Linux article in an attempt to get geeks to read it.

    I think the poster deserves to me marked as flamebait more than the MSNBC article. After all, who reads MSNBC tech news anyways?
  • by GeekWithGuns (466361) on Wednesday June 26, 2002 @10:17AM (#3768914) Homepage
    In other unbiased news ORCL-CBS has declared MSSQL untrustworthy, NOVEL-ABC has declared Windows 2000 server unstable, and LNX-FOX declared that Windows has no future on the desktop.
  • by rizzo (21697)
    Created by Finish college student Linus Torvalds, and continually updated and improved by a loose confederation of programmers who aren't paid for their work, Linux is available without the steep licensing fees that come with commercially produced software.

    Hmmmm ... it seems IBM pays people to work on the Linux kernel, as we all know already [slashdot.org].

    High on the list of headaches is incompatibilities with files created with Microsoft products like Word.

    Eh? [openoffice.org] OpenOffice.org reads/writes Word/Excel docs perfectly. Aside from some bullet-point font issues, Powerpoint handles perfectly as well.

    I know people have said MSNBC was good at cracking back at Microsoft, but the author doesn't seem to be going anything other than spraying the same ol' FUD we've all grown obvlivious to.
  • Microsoft is hoping to reboot Windows sales

    First Windows, now Windows sales... When will they reboot the world?

  • ...who helps small businesses upgrade to Linux.

    Notice he said "upgrade"...
  • I suppose some people will enjoy arguing whether MSNBC is spreading BillFUD, or is just completely clueless. Seems rather a waste of human potential though.
  • ...an article in today's Jersualem Post details the failure of the Palestinian Authority.
  • A Linux-based open-source program called Evolution looks pretty much like a standard Windows desktop.

    Or, maybe, it resembles an e-mail/groupware application a bit.

    Little slip-ups like this show that the author just might not have even looked at Linux at all.

  • There's a "Rate this story" thing at the bottom, be sure to rate this one accordingly.
  • It's taken off a lot slower than people were saying. In the end a lot of people overhyped Linux on the desktop and it was doomed to fall short of that.

    Personally I think Linux will suceed on the server way before it ever suceeds on the desktop. I think in the future we'll see a 20% market share of Linux on the desktop - but it'll be many years before that realistically happens.

    In short, it was over-hyped. Now is the time to be realistic and not fall into the same trap again. But writing it off, is a tad premature.

  • Enough said.
  • I read the summary then promptly read the MSNBC article. The summary and the article do not have anything in common. The article was fairly well balanced, while the /. summary was biased and drew faulty conclusions from the article. In the future it would help if the person submitting the article would read it first. That goes for the /. editors as well.
  • This guy apparently doesn't get it. As Linus has said time and time again, he's not interested in "dominating the market" or "replacing Windows". He is interested in creating a viable operating system that does what he needs it to. As long as there are people who need (or want) a free alternative to Unix, Linux will thrive.

    I have been running Linux almost exclusively for over five years. Sure it's not quite as streamlined on the desktop as MS, but it'll get there when Linux users decide that's what they want. I don't even run X, so I could not care less.

    In another 30 years, when people are still saying "Linux is Dead", people still won't get it. But it'll be there and it'll be thriving. And you can tell your kids about what it was like when you were a kid and there was an OS monopoly.

  • by EchoMirage (29419) on Wednesday June 26, 2002 @10:20AM (#3768959)
    The temptation everywhere here will be to write this article off as it comes from MSNBC (the article notes this itself). This is known as the genetic fallacy, so let's get over that angle right away. The article has some valid points.

    First, it is true that as a commercial venture, Linux has largely been a failure - the problems of VA, RedHat, and many others simply cannot be ignored. But as many have pointed out, this doesn't mean Linux itself is dead at all.

    Second, Linux still has not gained any major inroads in the personal computer world. Yes, I know WalMart sells Linux-able PCs, that many embedded devices run Linux, and many people use Linux on their PCs, but there still aren't many/any desktop PCs shipping with Linux.

    The article mainly focuses on the commercial aspect of Linux, which as I have already mentioned, is a valid point. However, most people here know that Linux can be a useful desktop OS, does have a large following, and is excellent for embedded applications and servers.

    The point? Take this article in stride, and take its criticisms to heart - Linux has failed in 10 years to make any strong inraods into the personal computer market, commercially speaking. If Linux hopes to ever make it past the server/embedded market, this should be a huge focus (and judging from projects like KDE and Gnome, that effort is well underway).
  • by Clay Mitchell (43630) on Wednesday June 26, 2002 @10:21AM (#3768967) Homepage
    I know this is a fantastically novel idea, but did anybody read the article instead of knee-jerking "OMG MSNBC IS GOING TO SUPPORT MS ALWAYS" ?

    The first half the article praises Linux for being a low cost server solution that a LOT of companies are using. There is even a quote from a HP exec who says "Now Linux is becoming more mainstream every day."

    The second half does go into the desktop area of Linux, which they say is lacking, and then it goes on to say it IS getting better with things such as Star Office and OpenOffice, but it still needs to overcome the problem of Windows being installed on pretty much every pre-built computer sold.

    Nowhere in this article does it say anything about Linux being dead. It's more of a "What's Linux up to?"
  • ...should tell you all you need to know.

    No one who cannot rejoice in the discovery of his own mistakes deserves to be called a scholar. -- Prof. Donald Foster
  • I don't know if somebody switched links or something, but I must've read a different article than whoever submitted this. The article was actually right on track IMO.

    It's hardly mentioning it as a failed operating system, rather saying "A recent survey of 800 companies in North America and Western Europe found that some 40 percent said they were either using or testing Linux, according to the research firm IDC. With some 27 percent of the market, Linux is now the second most popular operating system for servers, supplanting the decades-old operating system UNIX..."

    It continues with more info, but mostly what we've all heard before...Linux faces an uphill battle in the desktop arena, does well in the server arena, etc.

    Oh, wait. I'm sorry, I'm completely mistaken in this post. The article came from MSNBC, a "Microsoft-NBC joint venture". Therefore it must slam Linux at every possible turn. It's not possible that it actually might report information we'd agree with.

    Get a grip people, jesus.
  • I know anything that isn't explicity anti-MS is heresy, but here we go. . .

    I don't see anywhere where he has said Linux is failed in the article. He's merely pointing out a fact that most of us know: Linux is fantastic for servers, but "not ready for prime time" when it comes to the broad-based desktop market. Like it or not, Linux is still harder to use than Windows for a huge percentage of the population. While I don't agree with his characterization of the command-line stuff as an "archane vocabulary," there is some merit to the point that a lot of people can't handle the command line. Overall, I find it a well-balanced article about facts: Redhat was pushing Linux as a replacement for Windows on everyone's home and office desk. It just hasn't reached that point. His point seems to be that it doesn't even NEED to reach that point because it's gaining so much ground in the server market.
  • Sure, this guy who is a reporter hasn't heard much about Linux lately. I'm not surprised. He's a reporter. I haven't heard much about the latest in print media, so it must be dead. That's my totally uninformed and ignorant conclusion of the state of the print media business.

    Point is, this guy didn't do his research, his article is based off of the fact that he hasn't heard much about Linux lately. I've heard a lot about it, perhaps it is because I work in this industry? Perhaps it is because I stay on top of the latest news in my industry? Apparently he doesn't, that's fine, but what makes him think he should write an article about it?
  • by IXI (586504) on Wednesday June 26, 2002 @10:24AM (#3769009)
    ... their OS is outperformed even by a DEAD Linux ;)
  • It's fairly obvious that this article is a Microsoft-funded troll. But there's something much more sinister going on here.

    Microsoft's best defense against Linux these days is that it is un-American (or worse, an illegal violation of intellectual property rights) to use free software. This article seems to me to take for granted the idea that all software must cost money, no matter what. Hence, they focus on RedHat (who is currently losing money) as a representative of all Linux users. They also assume that Linux has failed simply because it hasn't taken over the desktop market completely.

    Articles like this aren't dangerous because they declare Linux dead. Even my computer-illiterate friends can explain to me why no article on MSNBC will ever say good things about Linux (or Solaris, or OS X, or FreeBSD, or BeOS, or OS/2, etc). This article is dangerous because of the ideas it gets into people's heads. For example, that all production-quality software is commerical. Or that open source is an affront to capitalism. Or that open-source is insecure, or that it violates intellectual property rights (not in this article, but in other places).

    The question is, how do you fight against such widespread assumptions?
  • by MattW (97290) <matt@ender.com> on Wednesday June 26, 2002 @10:27AM (#3769030) Homepage
    Part of the reason linux is moving slowly is that almost everyone has used windows. While those of us experienced with more reliable and open OS's may find this a reason to avoid windows in the future, it nonetheless makes managers comfortable. There are also umpteen trillion "certified" MCSE types out there, who are ostensibly capable of managing the microsoft systems. Linux certs are fairly rare -- which is unsurprising, because demand for them remains relatively low. It's a classic case of Microsoft having a 'Mindshare'.

    That said, things are improving. The support of IBM and others and their initiatives is coating linux with the candy coating of acceptability. If large groups begin to adopt linux on the desktop with open office, we are then on the verge of a true potential transition. Desktop use will translate into server comfort.

    Finally, it hasn't helped that the last milestone release, 2.4, was a colossal mess. My 2.0.x and 2.2.x boxes were totally, utterly rock solid as servers. I upgraded one to 2.4 -- and it is now an unreliable piece of crap. It fails with kernel panics at any time (albeit infrequently), and almost always dies ~45 days into uptime. Every box I ever tried to use ext3 on died a horrible death, and that didn't make me particularly happy. FreeBSD and I are now getting well acquainted.

    Despite all this, Linux has continued to make inroads. And of course it has hype -- it has become, and remains, the primary alternative in the minds of IT people everywhere to the monopolists from Redmond. Since they are a multi-hundred-billion-dollar company, and are tied into every aspect of the industry, saying something might challenge them is a bit like suggesting something might shift the Earth off its orbit -- it will cause ubiquitous change. And Linux is hardly down and out. The sad thing is that venture capital is so dead. NOW is the time of opportunity for fresh linux companies to step up and replace microsoft in places that really want to keep their budgets down. A return to the boom days just means that hundreds of dollars of windows upgrades and office software and such is no longer a big deal...again. Get in there while the gettin's good, I say.
  • by CrazyLegs (257161) <crazylegstoo@gmail.com> on Wednesday June 26, 2002 @10:28AM (#3769046) Homepage
    Linux on the server has been a success. No doubt. In fact, it will only get more successful when one considers the push coming from IBM (i.e. Linux on big iron). The parallels with Java here are pretty interesting.

    However, Linux on the desktop has not been successful. That's the reality. "Mom and Dad" PC users - who make up a large demographic of typical consumers - are not using Linux on the desktop. Big corporations are not using Linux on the desktop. There are lots of reasons for all this, but in the end they boil down to:

    • no concerted marketing push. MS excels here. Remember that superior technology does not make a product successful (look at OS/2 vs Windows).
    • perceived lack of professional applications and support. People need to see shrinkwrapped apps and a 1-800 support line. They don't see these today.

    Case in point: I am currently developing a strategy on replacing 23,000 OS/2 platforms in my company. I have 2 basic choices for these desktops - Linux and Windows. Both have pros and cons around cost, stability, app availability, support, etc. Even though could save us millions of $$$ in licensing costs alone, Linux will be an uphill climb given the perceived lack of maturity and support in the vendor market. Linux needs a big-ass corporation (like IBM or HP) to really drive the momentum into the desktop.

    Otherwise, it feels like the OS/2 saga all over again....*sigh*

  • by hymie3 (187934) on Wednesday June 26, 2002 @10:32AM (#3769089)
    Is Linux dead?
    Is OpenSource better?
    Natalie Portman: Hot or Not?
    Cowboy Neal?

  • by toupsie (88295) on Wednesday June 26, 2002 @10:34AM (#3769115) Homepage
    I love Linux, I use it 24/7 to run servers and have uptimes in the 200+ days range on all of them. The only reason they have such a short uptime was due to 9-11-01 and the effects it had on NYC where the servers are located. RedHat even sent me a note offering to help my boxen get back online on that fateful day, Microsoft was mute. Cheap, efficient and very easy to maintain. Nothing Microsoft produces (parent of MSNBC) can compare to my Linux servers.

    However, I can't use Linux on the Desktop. I just can't. XFree86 with GNOME and KDE just doesn't cut the GUI mustard. That's not a bad thing. Just means the Linux Desktop folks are going to have to do more work...someone will get it right. When you think about it, a bunch of unpaid people scattered around the world actually built a consumer OS...for free, for anyone! Amazing progress.

    Its not that people are afraid of a UNIX/UNIX-like OS for their desktop. Microsoft has been shoveling that FUD BS for the last six months. Mac OS X has done very well in its 1 1/2 year of existence in gaining market share. Linux on the Desktop folks ought to take a hard look at Aqua and Quartz and think if XFree86 and Window Managers are still the way to go for GUI on Linux. As the Marketing Department at Apple says, "Think Different". "Think Differently" for the grammatically anal.

  • MSNBC:
    Said Linux has made great strides in the server arena - TRUE

    Said Linux has not made a noticable impact on the desktop market - TRUE

    Said Linux user apps are improving - TRUE

    Slasdot:
    Said MSNBC reported Linux is dead - FALSE

    Said Article gave Linux as little credit as possible - FALSE

  • Lay off MSNBC (Score:5, Informative)

    by dfenstrate (202098) <dfenstrate@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday June 26, 2002 @10:43AM (#3769222)
    If you read the article, the slashdot headline is crap.

    If you read MSNBC alot, like I do, you'll find:
    1. It's a hell of a lot more responsible, journalism wise, then abcnews.
    2. They are not shy about printing articles that put MS in a bad light.

    Sections like letters to the editor (where they frequently publish letters from people who sharply disagree with them) and their Ombudsman (currently the position is unfilled, the last guy moved on after a year) used to publically evaluate their journalistic practices and comment or criticize them, by their own employee, has caused me to respect them a great deal.

    Say what you like about MS, but MSNBC is a great news site.
  • by gelfling (6534) on Wednesday June 26, 2002 @10:46AM (#3769248) Homepage Journal
    I'm not sure what 'Linux is dead' is representative of though. Compared to what? I thought home networking was the next big thing. If that's true then you'll see MORE linux in home use not less. Anyone running basic LAN services or their own mail server is more than likely going to do it with an old PC and Linux. You don't need a desktop for that (unless you like to config stuff that way..) I'm not sure that someone would build an entire W2K machine with a legitimate licence just for file serving? Maybe they would, maybe I'm just cheap.

    At any rate there a few things Linux is not good at:

    AOLIM
    Burning CD's
    Playing popular game/entertainment titles.
    Supporting the home Encyclopedia/Bartlett's
    Supporting MS office email attachments
    Any kind of demoware you get in the mail
    Getting broadbad ISP support - AOL. Earthlink (oh you have Lunix? click.)

    Of course it begs the question that if Linux COULD do all of that would it not become Windows anyway and lose the reliability, stability and low horsepower requirements that make you want to use it to begin with? It would become..... Apple?
  • Oh Come on (Score:5, Insightful)

    by I_redwolf (51890) on Wednesday June 26, 2002 @10:54AM (#3769315) Homepage Journal
    Listen I hate windows, I loathe Microsoft but I just can't stand these story headlines on Slashdot lately. It really makes this place look bad, when I saw the headline I thought well MSNBC is obviously trolling because of the crunch economy wise, a few higher ups must think it's time to rag on something to keep the money rolling or something; I dunno. Then I read the article; it's probably one of the more insightful articles I have read in a while and this headline does not do it justice. Points of pro's adn cons just as anyone would want with any other product, you can only expect the writer to know so much without becoming an expert; this is also a very unbiased piece. If this was a piece to bash Linux then it didn't say anything that wasn't true, infact it's more praise than not. Not only that but MSNBC does make a point to say that it's a Microsoft-NBC joint venture for what reason I don't know but then again some people have been living under rocks.

    This whole headline thing makes slashdot look bad, it makes the people that recommend slashdot look bad. Instead of trying to become professional and taking an industry lead I still can't view slashdot than anything more than a hobby site and the bad thing is that I guess the editors think this will last forever. It won't; it just won't.

    I understand journalism, sensationalism, I understand the readers of the site are the ones that submit the stories. I understand this; what I don't understand is how this blatant bashing of Microsoft helps anyone. It's as if we've started to play their game of blatant outright lying. I hate Microsoft and if it was up to me I'd probably throw each and every single employee into some type of chinese water torcher camp but this is just stupid. Please; stop it.

    Lets continue to play with facts and not play their game of cat and mouse. We won't gain anything the way they play and it will only make us look like hypocrites.
  • by SkyLeach (188871) on Wednesday June 26, 2002 @10:56AM (#3769344) Homepage
    I run two server farms and have been asked to provide High Availability for them. I was also asked to do public nameserver and virtal hosting for nearly twenty corporate domains, not to mention another hundred-or-so portals. I was asked to provide failover and redundancy, Content Management, Source Code Control, Document Management, Workflows, LDAP, scheduling and reporting.

    All on a budget less that the cost of a Sun 4500.

    There was only one solution on the market: linux. I used the IPVS [linuxvirtualserver.org] heartbeat + mon + fake + coda layout with Apache for virtual hosting and front-end, Weblogic for the java backend, Zope for my CMS / Document Management, daemontools for process monitoring, Checkpoint firewalls (not my choice mind you) and last but not least linux on every single machine in the farm(s). I have multiple NICs with bonded channels between the servers providing me with near-Gb Ethernet speeds between my data servers and hosts.

    Linux took our server from from 100% M$ and literally constant system crashes and reboots to 100% (so-far) uptime except for scheduled outages AT&T is our telco and they only give us 99.96% uptime.

    At least here, M$ is dead. We are evaluating linux on the desktop to see if we can use Wine with Lotus Notes and Office. If so then we might start switching desktops for some groups.
  • by bludstone (103539) on Wednesday June 26, 2002 @11:00AM (#3769370)

    [Linux] Im not dead yet! Im getting Better! I feel fine! I think Ill go for a walk! I feel happy! I feel Happy! I feel Hap~*thunk*

  • by Havokmon (89874) <rick.havokmon@com> on Wednesday June 26, 2002 @11:01AM (#3769383) Homepage Journal
    Umm I keep seeing references to some PC convention in NY, but I never saw what the hell convention he was even referring to..

    Like this:
    "At PC conventions like this one, Microsoft's Windows operating system still rules, with some 94 percent of the operating system market for desktops and laptop PCs, according to IDC. Despite its growing popularity among computer professionals, it's still not completely 'user friendly'."

    Where is this guy? That's like me walking to SOME BUILDING SOMEHERE, and saying "At business like this one, X rules". It's one thing if there's a TV camera recording the event, you might know what kinds of business use 'X'.

    It an opinion piece, with no real supporting facts, other than 'at conventions like this one'. It could be Rummage-O-Rama as far as we know..

  • by Phillip Birmingham (2066) on Wednesday June 26, 2002 @11:09AM (#3769451) Homepage
    ... past the first paragraph?

    This is just the same old "Linux is dominating the server market, progress on the desktop is slow, but it's getting better" story we've been seeing all year.

    It's definitely not a "Linux is dead" story.
  • by GMFTatsujin (239569) on Wednesday June 26, 2002 @11:20AM (#3769555) Homepage
    "It's for geeks," said Faber Fedor, a New Jersey-based consultant who helps small businesses upgrade to Linux.

    Way to shoot yourself in the foot, dumbass. I'll bet that gets you *lots* of consumer interest right there. Or maybe that's a subtle twist of the knife by MSNBC. Grr.

    Computers in general were just for geeks 20 years ago. Well, geeks, and businesses that wanted to manage information they didn't even know they had in ways they didn't even know were possible. Now, you can't get away from the things - much as you might want to.

    I don't know about any of you folks, but I'm getting sick of the dismissive connotations of "geek." Maybe I'm just a little sensative, but it seems to me that the geek mindset has made more lasting, permanent contributions to the state of the everyday world in general than any other clique - curiousity, tenacatity, a ravenous hunger to know how things work and to make them better for anyone who cares.

    Caveman geeks made the wheel.
    GMFTatsujin
    • I don't know about any of you folks, but I'm getting sick of the dismissive connotations of "geek."

      Ummm. He didn't say anything bad about geeks. He said that Linux appeals to them and not to typical desktop users yet. That's a given!

      I can't believe how hard people are scanning this article looking for the tiniest slant so that they can feel victimized by MSNBC. Some other guy was ranting about how they put the words "open source" in quotes. Sheesh, get a grip.

  • Right In One Way (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MBCook (132727) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Wednesday June 26, 2002 @12:15PM (#3770022) Homepage
    Let's face it, as a mainstream desktop, Linux has failed up to this point to be little more than a techie OS. It's still got some issues to work out and in that respect the idea that Linux has failed is somewhat true.

    But there is more to Linux than the desktop. Linux is a great server OS and has been growing in market share. Combined with Apache, it's a great web-server platform that you can get FREE. As an embeded OS, Linux is doing great too. How much more do you think a TiVo would cost if they had to pay MS to do stuff for them? Not only that, they'd (probably) need better hardware to do the exact same thing. By using Linux on a platform that was already supported, they were able to save tons of time and money.

    And let's not forget that Linux started as a hobbiest OS, and it has succeded greatly at this. I use, many other hobbiests do. It would cost a fortune to get some of the things Linux and the GNU project give me for free (development tools for every language, ludicrious ammounts of customizability) for Win 2k or XP.

    Last of all, Linux is definatly improving. I've only been using it for a year or two and it is getting much better. But I still use Win 2k on my Windows box. Why? That's how I can support dual processors. And for me, XP has nothing new in it except it's anti-copying stuff which is a step BACK. I don't think that Windows is getting much better for me, do you? XP is what, 4 or 5 years newer, an there is no new great thing that I should get it for? Many people still use 2k very happily. How many people still use a version of Linux from 4 to 5 years ago because they see nothing out now that's any good? If they use that old version, it's on old hardware or because the computer hasn't been rebooted since '98, not because nothing in Linux has improved. Sure there are exceptions to this but lets face it. Linux is a dramatic success in the three areas that (IMHO) it focuses on: server, embeded, and hobbiest.

  • by msouth (10321) on Wednesday June 26, 2002 @12:43PM (#3770222) Homepage Journal
    I thought I was BSD that was dead.

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