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Robin's Report From LWCE 202

Posted by timothy
from the how-are-the-tshirts dept.
For everyone who can't make it to New York, roblimo has posted impressions of LWCE's first day, in which he takes note of Start buttons, prods Dell about laptops factory loaded with Linux, and watches the Golden Penguin Bowl. I suppose he was also asking vendors some of your questions.
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Robin's Report From LWCE

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  • Bastard sales people, using the OS they know to present cross platform software, that's not right.
  • This has changed (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Achmed Swaribabu (642441) on Thursday January 23, 2003 @03:14PM (#5144971) Homepage
    I used to fly over to meet with other peoples and make lots of new job contacts at the Linux World(TM) but the climate has changed so much for the past few years and it's now all big business.

    For the linux hobby person it may seem like a good things but for those in the know it is not. Big business come in and take over just like they do the Internet and the small hobby person lose all rights. Big business no care about the regular linux geek, they care only about the money.

    This another reason why I make the big move to FreeBSD. This where the next big success come from as Apple already understand.

    • by slugo3 (31204)
      Big business no care about the regular linux geek, they care only about the money. Business is pretty much based on a simple formula. Maximize profits with a minimum of expenditure. It always surprises me that this surprises people.
      • Yah. I heard someone say that "somecorp is only doing that for the money" like we should be surprised. Duh. Most of what I do between 8 am and 5 pm is for the money. Would my employer want it any other way?

        Joe
    • by aborchers (471342) on Thursday January 23, 2003 @03:57PM (#5145253) Homepage Journal
      This reminds me of people who suddenly decide their favorite band sucks because they achieve commercial success.

      Yes, big businesses care about money. It's what they do. We should be happy to see big businesses going into OSS/GNU/Linux because the technology has built-in safeguards against being co-opted by "business" in its license and development model. The businesses can buy into it and advance it, but they can't compromise and close it off. They have to play by the OSS rules just like everyone else.

      I for one am more interested in seeing OSS fulfill its potential to revolutionize the industry than having it remain a marginalized toy for the geekier-than-thou. I welcome IBM et al to the table because I recognize they are the ones who will make Linux vision viable in the mainsteam.

      Maybe I'm misunderstanding you. If so, please clarify what you really meant...

    • ROFL... That's hilarious, Tarzan.

      "Big business no care about the regular linux geek, they care only about the money. "

      You just figured that out?

      We want Linux to be a success - but we don't want businesses associated with it.

      FreeBSD the next big success.. Hahaha..

      Dude you need to bottle and sell that shit.
    • by MrResistor (120588) <<peterahoff> <at> <gmail.com>> on Thursday January 23, 2003 @04:30PM (#5145571) Homepage
      That has to be the stupidest "switch to BSD" arguement I've ever heard.

      Big business come in and take over just like they do the Internet and the small hobby person lose all rights.

      RTFLicense. It is impossible for Big Business to come in and take over, removing the rights from the little guy, under the GPL. That's why so many people hate it. Under the BSD License, however, that's it's not only possible but expected that Big Business will gobble up the code and lock it away from the little guy. That's the entire basis for all the "BSD is more Free than GPL" arguements.

      If that's your reason for switching to BSD, you're an idiot.

      • He didn't change because of the license. Read his post again. He changed because Linux has gotten too commercialized. It may still be a silly reason, but it's not about the GPL, BSD or any other license.
        • You're right, he didn't switch because of the licenses, because if he understood the licenses at all he would have stayed with Linux. He switched because he for some reason thinks that BSD can't become commercialized, which, as I have already pointed out, is completely backwards because of the licenses involved.

          • Then how is it that Linux is much more commercialized than FreeBSD?
            • This is a completely stupid conversation. Linux is more commercialized because it's more popular. I would guess that it might be because the Linux community is less exclusive and elitist. I might also guess that the GPL encourages participation in the Linux community, whereas the BSD license encourages commercial entities to steal the code without giving anything back. The BSD license provides no incentive for a commercial interest to actually participate in the developement of BSD, as both Apple and Microsoft have clearly shown.

              I've already shown why commercialism isn't a problem for Linux, so I don't understand why I'm still being asked about it.

              • The BSD license provides no incentive for a commercial interest to actually participate in the developement of BSD, as both Apple and Microsoft have clearly shown.\

                1) Microsoft wouldn't participate in a community if a federal judge ordered them to. The licensing has nothing to do with it, corporate culture does.

                2) Apple participates in the FreeBSD community without even being asked to. They've opened up the parts of Safari that the khtml LGPL license says they don't have to. They actively work with GNUStep developers even though they don't even use GNUStep.

                3) IBM, Sun, Apple, Covalent, etc., all participate actively in the Apache community, despite the fact that the Apache license is essentially the BSD license with the addition of a name-use clause.

                4) None of the four most successful Open Source Projects (in terms of number of users) are under a pure GPL: Perl, Apache, XFree86, Mozilla. Only the latter is copyleft, but a very weak copyleft because of its triple-licensing.

                I've already shown why commercialism isn't a problem for Linux

                I don't think it's a problem, personally. The more the merrier. The more people get paid to work on Apache, KDE, Gnome, XFree86, etc., the more FreeBSD benefits. The "commercialization" that benefits only Linux is extremely small.

                It was the *orginal* poster that was concerned about it, not be. I'm only arguing that his reason for switching had nothing to do with licensing.
    • by wideBlueSkies (618979) on Thursday January 23, 2003 @05:13PM (#5145982) Journal
      My company, a BIG Wall Street firm, is currently testing LINUX to replace Solaris as our server OS.

      This is a good thing. My company gets to save few bucks (they need to after paying all those fines last quarter), and we developers will get to keep a UNIX like environment.

      It might not be such a good thing for Sun, as we're thinking about contingency for when/if they go out of business. It's also not too good for MSFT. Without LINUX, the suits at my co would have migrated everyone over to NT sever.

      It's a good thing for the LINUX community... those of us who don't like the MS monopoly, and want to see 'mainstream' LINUX.

      Anyway, what you say about 'big business coming in and taking over', is really LINUX vendors and service providers trying to make a sale TO big business.

      This IS what we want to happen. Right? Microsoft losing market share has to start somewhere. This is that start.

  • by NaCh0 (6124)
    Do we get Batman's report too?

  • by ibennetch (521581) <bennetch@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Thursday January 23, 2003 @03:18PM (#5145005) Journal
    from the article: whichever distribution they [Dell] chose, it seemed most customers wanted another one...

    This is a genuine problem in buying a laptop (as I understand it) -- not only do they have to pick a distribution (Debian, RH, etc) but also the role the computer will be fulfilling. If I'm going to be putting in a firewall, I don't want all kinds of other junk (web, mail, ftp servers, for instance; or games; or word processing programs) installed. If I'm getting a desktop for my use home office use, i don't want any type of server but I need the word processing programs -- how can they configure a computer properly? This isn't as much of an issue in the Windows world because most software costs money. The only real exception to this is RealPlayer, AOL, etc that come with the computer, and then we complain about the junk that is on our computers...

    So, anyone have any thoughts on how companies like Dell can ship Linux computers, keeping in mind that in general only their more advanced users want Linux; and those people don't want any extra cruft on their systems?
    • perhaps (Score:3, Interesting)

      by greechneb (574646)
      They need to offer a choice of distro disks when you customize. To make this work, they would have to have a distro already installed, just a base one, perhaps stick redhat on there, with a typical install, just to make their lawyers happy. Then let the buyer do what they want. Selling PC's without an OS installed would be a good way to make them lose their priveleged status with microsoft.

      Probably not the best solution, but it was the best I could think of right now.
      • They need to offer a choice of distro disks when you customize

        They didn't give you the disks when you ordered a laptop with Linux? Or am I misinterpreting what you typed?

        Your idea is a good one, except for the fact that there would be some newbies wanting to get into linux and a base install (interpreted as minus XFree86) wouldn't get them very far. Newbs like GUIs. (Generally speaking). Most people I know don't run servers with X (I'm not saying it doesn't happen) Then again, who runs a server on a laptop?
        • by siskbc (598067) on Thursday January 23, 2003 @03:47PM (#5145200) Homepage
          To solve both problems, just put on the most bloated, user friendly, eye-candy-licious version of Redhat or whatever they have. This solves the M$ lawyer issues and the newbie issues. Anyone who's used linux for a while is just going to wipe the damned thing and reinstall anyway.

          Basically, linux users want two things when they buy a laptop: First, linux drivers for the hardware. Second, saving some cash by not paying for windows. The rest is irrelevant. Sure, throw in a CD of the latest linux version that the buyer wants to save them the download, whatever.

        • base: meaning typical install, sorry for the confusion there

          As for the disks, the system comes with redhat with a typical install. However, when you buy, you get to choose what install disks you want; redhat pro, redhat personal (subtract $40), debian(subtract $70), suse (same), mandrake pro(same)

          You get the disks you want, wipe out the preinstalled distro if you want, and start from scratch. This gives the user a choice, if they really care, they'll install it anyway, plus the distro you want gets part of the profit.
      • They need to offer a choice of distro disks when you customize. To make this work, they would have to have a distro already installed, just a base one, perhaps stick redhat on there, with a typical install, just to make their lawyers happy.

        I think this is a good solution. However, I think the problem with it is the users. The thing I can' get over is the people that are bothering to complain that it should be Debian instead of RedHat. What the Linux users need to do is buy the damn thing and install their own. They need to recognize that what they are really wanting is a laptop with Linux hardware support and no Microsoft tax.

        The whole "I want SuSE instead of RedHat" thing is pathetic. Take a good thing when it is offered.
    • by Milo Fungus (232863) on Thursday January 23, 2003 @03:37PM (#5145142)

      If you want a laptop that runs Linux, chances are you know how to install the OS yourself and have used it elsewhere. I can see two distribution possibilities:

      1. Include Linux drivers for all of the hardware and let the user install their own distro.
      2. Choose a distro (any distro) and preinstall the most commonly used options for what the average consumer uses that machine for. Include the full distro on a CD-ROM with all options so that everyone can install whatever they want. Those who want another distro can put the CD with their stash of AOL disks.
      I prefer the first option. It's cheaper and less wasteful. But some people want to buy a computer and just have it run at first bootup. Those people would prefer the second option. Perhaps Dell could let consumers choose between the two. Trying to cater to everyone in such a diverse crowd is just impossible. People who want Linux generally know how to install/uninstall options (especially if something like RH 8 is used). And it's not too hard to just do a clean install.
      • Include Linux drivers for all of the hardware and let the user install their own distro.

        I prefer to build my own systems, but if Dell offered your option 1 for desktops as well as laptops, I would maybe go for one. Why not just offer a "blank machine" and include a CD of drivers (Linux and Windows) for all the hardware.

        Even at work, our IT department installs what they want on a machine anyway before anyone gets it. I can't believe that it is easier for Dell to sell a machine with nothing installed instead of with nothing.

      • by JoeBuck (7947) on Thursday January 23, 2003 @04:15PM (#5145427) Homepage

        What I would want from Dell and their competitors is not necessarily pre-installation of Linux on a laptop, but rather, sufficient assurance of what is in the machine so that I can buy with confidence, knowing that all the components are supported (or, if not, providing some hint as to whether this situation is expected to change in the near future). I'd prefer if the hardware manufacturer just gives enough information to allow the community to support the machine.

        One way that this could work is for the company's websites to say "While we don't support Linux on the Gruntmaster 9000, here's a link to some pages run by our customers who are using it successfully". A company that does this might soon find itself with enough Linux customers that true support is economically feasible.

        What's unacceptable is the common practice of changing some important component of the system without changing the model number, presenting a nasty surprise to the customer when he finds out that it doesn't work, contrary to six-month-old reports he read on the web.

        Also, I'd like to see the Linux press do more evaluations of currently popular laptop brands for Linux compatibility. Yes, I know, if you aren't PC World the manufacturers don't send you their latest models for free. But we could be doing better.

    • Why not install the LSB sample implementation (not dist specific) and then allow the customer to customize it from there?

      Seems the most logical to me... But what do I know, I'm just a UN*X geek

    • The article mentioned a sysadmin who bought Dell hardware but immediately wiped off the installed Linux and put Debian on there. The important part of buying Linux hardware is not the preinstalled OS (after all, there is no licence to worry about) but the fact that, because it ships with Linux, you know that all the hardware is supported.

      Therefore if Dell sold Linux laptops with Red Hat on them, plenty of people would buy them and immediately install Mandrake. They wouldn't be as happy as if Mandrake were preinstalled, but it's a whole lot better than buying a laptop full of cheesy Winhardware. Also, don't forget you wouldn't have to pay for a copy of Windows you don't use (unless the vendor has restrictive agreements with Microsoft).
    • need to set it up in sucj=h a manner, when the person boots it asks them what they want, then auto-configs it.
      However, it would seem to me that if you wont to set up any type of server, you need to at least, have a clue. So set it up with just desktop options, leave the rest up to the user.
    • The problem is that supporting multiple distros is a support nightmare. How many Linux newbies do you know that say "such and such a piece of hardware doesn't work on Redhat 8.0 but works on Suse 7.whatever"? Most newbies don't understand that if the hardware is supported by the kernel it will work with any distro.

      So to support multiple distros Dell would have to test *each* distro which would cost a fortune to them.

      I'd like to see Dell laptops with hardware that is gauranteed to work with a certain linux kernel. Dell could (in huge bold blinking red letters) alert the customer that it will work but it is up to the customer to configure their own distro.

      Greg
    • This is a genuine problem in buying a laptop (as I understand it) -- not only do they have to pick a distribution (Debian, RH, etc) but also the role the computer will be fulfilling.

      What a stupid problem.

      The solution is pretty stupid as well. Build a basic install for each distro for your master disk, which then gets cloned and installed just like all the other customizations you can have done when you order a Dell (yeah, cloned, you don't really think they pay people to sit around and install software, do you?). Then you ship the distro CDs with the machine and the user can add or remove what they want (I don't know about other distros, but it's pretty damned easy to add or remove packages in SuSE, and I very much doubt they're that far ahead of the pack).

      Linux is Linux is Linux. The various distros have only minor differences, and those differences should only be a problem for the most brain-dead of Process Engineers. The only real problem they could expect is with drivers, in which case that's in Dell's court anyway.

      IBM seems to have a good approach, though. They ship Red Hat by default, and if you want something else you have to pay extra. That seems like a perfectly reasonable approach to me.

    • Sorry, but I see this as a run-around. Companies are there to make workable solutions, not excuses.

      Anway, perhaps time is better spent chasing IBM about thsi same issue as they seem to put advertising where their money is. So IBM, when will ThinkPad's be advertised with Linux pre-installed? And when will this be advertised?

      StarTux
    • Forget about linux laptops. They have apparently pulled their 20" LCD, the 2000FP. I could have sworn it was on their site yesterday (for the easy price of $950, low but not as low as the $800 it has sold at).

      I'm kinda bummed, as my wallet was out and at the ready.
    • If you are going to be installing a firewall you can handle a Linux installation for yourself, though for a pure firewall why not openbsd? As for the servers I think they are very useful for desktops; I ftp, sftp, sshd, telnet... to various desktop machines I use all the time.

      So anyway I think they go for a very full featured installation. They set the default to only allow logons from 192.168.0.*, they should be fully configured to be feature rich (i.e. for low security except for the above) and they should be configured for a small number of users. Anyway setting up a server would be advised to reinstall using the included .pdf docs outling the right kernal modules for the included hardware.

    • by Sloppy (14984)
      So, anyone have any thoughts on how companies like Dell can ship Linux computers, keeping in mind that in general only their more advanced users want Linux; and those people don't want any extra cruft on their systems?
      Ship a bare-bones just-barely-installed Gentoo [gentoo.org] system, and then maybe fill up /usr/portage/distfiles with just about everything they think their customers might want. Then the customer will have everything, but won't be all installed and cluttering up their system yet, and they can "emerge" whatever they want to use.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Why the heck did they get rid of the reset button? I don't need it for linux, but for all the windows machines, its a pain. Did they think they could save $.10 on each PC by not including a freakin reset button?

    • Why would your windows machine need a reset button?

      And before you respond with the typical 'it freezes and crashes wah wah', stop and think the cause of the crashes/freezes could very well be because you've been trashing the filesystem when you cycle power on it like that.
      • On my laptop, as with most laptops, the power button IS the reset button - press it once, and it's a reset, hold it down for [3,5] seconds and it's a hard power off. The simple reset uses whatever that power control standard is (ASCAPI? Whatever.) to send a message to the OS, which decides whether or not to shut down, hibernate, or reboot.
      • And before you respond with the typical 'it freezes and crashes wah wah', stop and think the cause of the crashes/freezes could very well be because you've been trashing the filesystem when you cycle power on it like that.

        And my other options are... I'm waiting...

        Any way you look at it, it's still a Windows problem:

        a) Windows freezes/locks up much more often than Linux. Windows is approaching Linux stability with XP, but they haven't reached it yet.

        b) On the rare occasions that Linux locks up, I can just ssh to it from another machine and either kill the process or reboot it correctly. Can you show me how to do that in Windows? If you can't, then I need a hard reset button.

        c) Linux has filesystems that don't fragment. Windows has marketing droids that say their filesystem doesn't fragment, even though it does, quite badly (and yes, I do mean NTFS).

        I have Linux machines that only get shut down when the power goes out. Guess what? The filesystems aren't trashed. But hey, it couldn't be a Windows problem, it must be something that happens to all computers when they hard-reset...

  • It seems to me that it's kind of lame to be presenting software that's supposed to be running on Linux at a Linuxworld conference on a windows machine. I guess people must trust those sales guys when they tell them that it runs fine on Linux.

    But, the fact that they are making cross-platform software in the first place bodes pretty well for the open source effort. Here's hoping to an eventful 2003.

    • Idiot salesdroids! (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Thud457 (234763)
      "I guess people must trust those sales guys when they tell them..."

      LOL LOL LOL!

      If these companies claim that they can do "multi platform" they need to be showing "multi platform". Demonstrating your wares on the dominant OS defeats the whole purpose.

      These sales idiots should be fired.
      And the guy that hired them.
      Then get some sales people who are bright enough to be trained up on *nix.

      Dirty heathens.

  • by peterpi (585134) on Thursday January 23, 2003 @03:20PM (#5145024)

    From the article

    "Not only that, an IBM employee I know personally gave me quite a rant about how I (and other journalists) ought to badger the people in Microsoft's booth unmercifully. "They're only here to tear down Linux," my IBM buddy said. "They hate Linux. They want to ruin us all. They don't belong here."

    Gosh, who'd have thought it; a software company isn't fond of the competition.

    I have a sneaky feeling that the Microsoft staff might have been told to expect a load of shit from fanatics.

    • How correct is it to refer to federal criminals as "competition"? Would you refer to a drug dealer down the street as "competition" to your children's educators?

      Let's not forget what Microsoft has done to a once-thriving and innovative industry...they destroyed it by violating federal law on repeated occasions. Stac, IBM, Novell, Sun...this was not "Competition"...this was hardcore felony behavior. Do a web search.

      Linux only runs on a small fraction of PCs. Until about 30% of computers sold have zero Microsoft products running on them, then as far as I'm concerned, the damage will not have been undone.

      This IBM dude certainly has a point. MS should not be at Linux shows, just like the local drug gansters shouldn't be at PTA meetings. The people at Linux shows are trying to correct a terrible wrong done to the market, not via the courts or the law, but via freedom. They deserve a chance.
      • You so just justified my last sentence.
      • by reallocate (142797) on Thursday January 23, 2003 @04:11PM (#5145376)
        Stuff and nonsense. Fanaticism like this keeps Linux from being socially acceptable. Who'd want to be identified with people like this? It's like getting emotional about toasters.

        By the way, three of the 4 companies you site as being destroyed by MS are still in business.

        Yeah, MS has a near-monopoly on the PC desktop, and like every other successful business it behaves in its own best interests. But, if you're old enough to recall the late '70's and early '80's, you'll remember that prior to the wedding of the IBM PC architecture with that of DOS (which, by the way, has always been available from vendors other than MS), the PC desktop world was flooded with different and incompatible hardware and software standards. What ran on a Commodore didn't run on an Apple. What ran on an Apple wouldn't run on a Kaypro. Etc., etc. This wasn't an issue for the hobbyist market, but it was for the business market. That market wants to be able to buy compatible hardware and software from multiple vendors. Hence, their desire for standards (they don't care about the ssame standards that exercise develpers).and their problem with the multiplicity of Linux vendors. Standards tend to foster the growth of only a few big vendors. Microsoft's dominance was inevitable, even if they'd behaved themselvs.
        • "Insightful". Yeah, right. Note carefully that I never, in any way, said that all four companies were destroyed by Microsoft, only that *the industry* and *innovation* has been destroyed by Microsoft. Call me a fanatic, but you, sir, are illiterate.

          Example: all four companies referenced are either a shadow of their former self or strugging to survive. Stac and Novell are dead. IBM and Sun are struggling. IBM has their teeth in a lot of different industries, so they are not in as bad of a position as Sun. Sun, on the other hand, has been a far greater innovator than Microsoft, and has also given their Java platform away *free* for eight years, but is not only in deep trouble now but also has to face what is essentially a "Java Clone" being unleashed by Microsoft. Microsoft is not a competitor, they are a thief.

          Standards are good? Yes, but to what extent and in what form do they take? In your fanatical world, everyone uses MS products because you have decided that's the best choice. Maybe everyone should drive a model T because Ford likes that choice? Who the hell are you to choose what everyone uses, then label the person who insists on choice "a fanatic?"

          I have a friend who refuses to buy GM vehicles...another corporation that has committed many crimes over the years...does that make him "a fanatic"? No, because there is a wide choice in cars, so no one really cares what you buy. At least carmakers have to produce vehicles that all drive on the same roads. I can't imagine what a "Microsoft Car" would be like....only runs on MS gas, MS oil, only MS certified shops can work on it, they charge you by the year, by the mile, etc...after all, they are "the choice".

          Back to fanaticism though. You think everything is great with a single choice, and that I'm a fanatic for beleiving a rational market will not be restored until 30% of PCs sold have zero Microsoft products used on them. 30% seems a good target. I think that's reasonable...after all, in the Soviet Union, Microsoft Chooses You! Which is the whole point...when a corporation breaks the law, repeatedly, and dominates you, can you speak out without being labeled a fanatic? I guess not, at least not around you. You appear to be entitled to your opinions, though.

          Finally, it is extremely doubtful that your last statement is true. It's always a bad idea to justify criminal behavior by saying "the same thing would have happened anyway". Maybe you live that way, but I hope most people do not.

          No one will ever know what would have happened if Microsoft diid not steal the Stacker code when they needed compression...or novell code when they needed networking...or made other products break when they wanted to stop their growth.

          Only a fanatic would suggest otherwise.
    • Gosh, who'd have thought it; a software company isn't fond of the competition. I have a sneaky feeling that the Microsoft staff might have been told to expect a load of shit from fanatics.

      Part of me wishes they would be chased out of there with torches and pitchforks, and the other part of me wishes that they would be completely ignored, with nobody even acknowledging they are there.

    • I have a sneaky feeling that the Microsoft staff might have been told to expect a load of shit from fanatics.

      exactly. i think it'd be better if everyone just avoided them -- it would be more boring for them and it would show a little class on the side of Linux users.

  • This excerpt from the article is rather interesting I though.

    "An awful lot of hardware vendors that push Linux on servers seem to feel it's just fine to have lots of Windows screens on the computers."

    Sure, in an ideal world your sales people would also be very comfortable with the product and target platform. But the platform is Linux.

    The answer this [booth sales person] gave: "Well, our software runs on all platforms -- Linux, Windows, AIX, Solaris... I'm a sales guy, not an engineer, so I don't know how to run Linux and I stick to Windows 'cause that's what I know."

    Indeed it is. But I bet if you gave him OS X, he'd be fine with it. Linux as an OS, well that's a different story now isn't it?

    OS X R00lZ D00D.
    • I'd bet dimes to dollars that the only Unix vendor who could claim that their Unix is easy to use than XP is Apple. No one buys Linux for ease of use.
      They buy Linux for:

      1) Free
      2) Far and away the best configured Unix systems around for desktop use (including something like OSX / Fink)
      3) Better desktop support than any other not exclusively desktop OS (including OSXServer) ....

      Apple makes a great product and a great desktop OS. It doesn't scale up or down the way Linux does. Not everything is going to be just as good for all purposes. Where can I get my version of OSX that runs a firewall off a floppy on a $50 computer? Where can I get my version of OSX that runs on something like SGI's 64 processor Itanium II supercomputer?
    • by IamTheRealMike (537420) <mike@plan99.net> on Thursday January 23, 2003 @07:14PM (#5146840) Homepage
      Indeed it is. But I bet if you gave him OS X, he'd be fine with it. Linux as an OS, well that's a different story now isn't it?

      Unlikely. OS X is more different to Windows than the default Redhat 8 setup is. Where's the start menu? Where's the Control panel? Where's WinAmp?

      The idea that people magically pick up OS X with no effort at all is a stupid one. A Mac takes ages to get used to, not only is it an entirely different OS but it has different hardware too. Mac-specific keyboards? One button mice? Even my mac-fanatic friend has bought a two-button with a scrollwheel mouse now (an MS one as well!). What's the button to get a right click menu again? What's that? I don't see any button labelled command! Oh, the one with the wierd squiggle.

      5 minutes later. It's not working! Oh, not the Apple key then. What do you mean I didn't close the app? I don't see its windows. Oh yeah, I forgot you have to quit them manually. So what's the difference between closing and minimizing a window? Oh. Which should I do then?. Um, right. Where's the start button again?

      Believe me, I've seen it with my own eyes. In contrast, the default Redhat 8 setup is pretty similar to Windows. Easy to change of course (first thing I did), but certainly easy for newbies.

      Believe me, Linux is going to wipe the floor usability-wise with MacOS in a year or two. It has the advantage of not having any real history, virtual desktops and the X clipboard are about the only baggage and being semi-hidden features they are entirely optional for newbies. That means it can be as similar or as different to Windows as you want, depending on how sophisticated you want it to be. The Mac on the other hand has the same interface it had a decade ago basically, which was good when it was battling it out with Windows, but now the Windows UI is entrenched and 99% of people are used to it. Nowadays it's just quirky.

      But Jobs won't change it! The, ah, unique GUI is basically what defines his product. Never mind that the rampant eyecandification of the MacOS UI has actually reduced its usability, not enhanced it, never mind the fact that changing parts of the Mac UI wouldn't actually make them less efficient to use. No, never mind all of that - it's set in stone and cannot be changed.

      The salesguy would be happiest with something close to what he's used to, especially when they're dropped in it with no training. Clearly their managers don't really think of Linux on the desktop yet, to them it's just another product, just another day. But they will. Next time there'll be more such desktops as managers realise it's not so hard after all.

  • by Kenja (541830) on Thursday January 23, 2003 @03:21PM (#5145034)
    Robin: Holly Beowulf Clusters Batman! There's a start menu on that guys computer.

    Batman: That's right my spandexed teen sidekick. It would seem evil is afoot. Start menus are found in windows, windows are something you look through, you also look through MySQL datasets, datasets like the list of blond jokes I downloaded this morning, jokes are like riddles. THE RIDDLER HAS INFILTRATED THE TRADE SHOW!

  • by Chocolate Teapot (639869) on Thursday January 23, 2003 @03:27PM (#5145082) Journal
    ...That's enough for tonight. It's after 11 p.m. here in New York, time to hit the sack...
    Wimp! You should be ashamed of yourself.
  • M$ new strategy? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by core plexus (599119) on Thursday January 23, 2003 @03:31PM (#5145113) Homepage
    From the article: "Not only that, an IBM employee I know personally gave me quite a rant about how I (and other journalists) ought to badger the people in Microsoft's booth unmercifully. "They're only here to tear down Linux," my IBM buddy said. "They hate Linux. They want to ruin us all. They don't belong here."

    I read an article at Cnet [zdnet.co.uk] that had an interview Peter Houston, one of the directors charged with leading the new strategy, shortly before he got on a plane to attend the opening of LinuxWorld.

    Speaking of which, over at CNET.com, there's an article about Linux revenues [com.com]: " "Three and a half billion dollars in revenue--not bad for a free operating system," said James Governor, an analyst at research firm Redmonk. "It is clear that there are real, high-dollar Linux transformations going on" as companies switch from more expensive technology to Linux systems."

    Man Gets 70mpg in Homemade Car-Made from a Mainframe Computer [xnewswire.com]

    • by ethereal (13958)

      "Linux-related revenue" could just as easily be hardware running Linux or Linux support services, though. The reason that these revenues are occurring is that customers are seeing a short term switching expense that can reduce their long-term costs. In the long run I'm still not convinced that there's any significant money to be made in selling Linux the OS itself; the GPL and the Linux culture itself (among other things) has essentially commoditized everything that makes up the OS platform.

      Not that this is a bad thing! This isn't your typical "no money in Linux" troll, and I'm in fact a huge Linux fan.

      IMHO, it's good if you can't charge a lot for Linux; it means that the users of computer systems are spending less for them in general, leading to either improved profits or lower costs to their customers. Linux is good for those businesses, and it's good for those in Linux-related hardware and/or services businesses like IBM and Dell. Linux is good for programmers developing the 90% of software that's used in-house only; those developers now get a better platform to work on for cheap. But Linux may not be good for Linux-only (open source only?) businesses.

      I think the historical record over the past three or four years bears me out on this. Wall Street is going to learn, or maybe has learned, to invest in companies that use Linux, and in companies that integrate something+Linux in order to make that something better, but not in companies that sell just Linux.

  • by c.derby (574103) on Thursday January 23, 2003 @03:39PM (#5145159)
    His second answer was that Dell's big problem with selling Linux laptops -- and desktops -- was that whichever distribution they chose, it seemed most customers wanted another one; that if they settled on Red Hat, they'd get calls for SuSE, you might say, and if they chose SuSE, they'd get screams about not offering Debian, and so on. All this more or less boiled down to Linux users not being able to make up their minds and all demand one distribution and set of software packages. When that happens, sure, Dell will talk about Linux, okay? If, that is, they see enough demand to make it worth their while.

    Ok, how about selling hardware without an OS on it and letting the end users choose what they want to put on it? I think that the desire is more to obtain hardware without providing Microsoft money for an operating system we'll never use. Give me DOS, give me a blank disk. I don't care. Just don't require me to pay for Windows.
    • Your solution is great for you and me, if we were going to get a machine for our own personal use.

      But it will never get linux out of the hands of geeks and onto the desktops of the grandmas and other nontechnical types of the world.

      They not only dont know how to install an OS, they dont WANT to know. They dont want to know the difference between Debian, Slackware, Redhat, Gentoo, etc.. Heck, most dont even care about the difference between Windows and Linux.

      They just want a machine they can plug in, turn on, and e-mail with. Right now that machine is either an Apple, or is running Windows. Linux (lindows in particular) is making inroads, but it's a long ways off until we see linux based eMachines sitting in bestbuy for 200$.

      There's also the IT guy who needs to order a few hundred workstations, and really doesnt feel like setting an OS up on each one.

      So there needs to be some real consolidation in the OS world. One 'OS' for the masses. Let the geeks and power users choose their own, but we need one base distrib for the Dells, eMachines, Gateways, IBMs to stick on for the home users.

      It's the average Joe shopping for a computer that pays the Dells, Gateways, and eMachines bills.
      • But it will never get linux out of the hands of geeks and onto the desktops of the grandmas and other nontechnical types of the world.

        So what? As long as there enough of us geeks to keep Linux viable (and there are), why do we need to take over the world?

        So there needs to be some real consolidation in the OS world.

        Oh, the irony! [microsoft.com] ;)
      • So there needs to be some real consolidation in the OS world. One 'OS' for the masses. Let the geeks and power users choose their own, but we need one base distrib for the Dells, eMachines, Gateways, IBMs to stick on for the home users.

        Three dists for the Dell Machines for selling on the 'net,
        Seven for Gateway if they can stay afloat,
        None for eMachines, they'll go broke I bet,
        One for Joe Sixpack which we will promote,
        In the land of WalMart to gather large banknotes.
        One dist to rule them all, One dist to guide them,
        One dist to just install and apps which none deny them
        In the land of WalMart to gather large banknotes.

    • Any Linux user that has a favorite distribution knows how to install Linux. A detailed .pdf file with hardware specs (including kernel modules)... would be all they would need to do the install.

      What Dell needs to provide bundled is an easy to use free distribution. They should probably pick a 0 cost one.
      Debian isn't a bad choice:
      hard to install (but that's not an issue for Dell)
      fairly easy to use once setup right
      completely free
      really anal about license issues so Debian won't need their own lawyers to spend time worrying
      Being a debian mirror Dell could configure "Dell apt" which creates a low cost but high added value feeling for Dell customers

      Ximian, Lycros I haven't used but they may also be a good choice though I don't know if they are 0 cost. Lindows I'd avoid because of click and run.

  • Because linux doesn't work as a desktop OS.

    Just ask michael [slashdot.org]

    Relax, it's just a joke. And it's funny 'cuz it's true.
  • Dell distro (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DaoudaW (533025) on Thursday January 23, 2003 @04:18PM (#5145452)
    His second answer was that Dell's big problem with selling Linux laptops -- and desktops -- was that whichever distribution they chose, it seemed most customers wanted another one; that if they settled on Red Hat, they'd get calls for SuSE, you might say, and if they chose SuSE, they'd get screams about not offering Debian, and so on. All this more or less boiled down to Linux users not being able to make up their minds and all demand one distribution and set of software packages. When that happens, sure, Dell will talk about Linux, okay?

    What a convenient excuse!! "We'd be glad to do Linux, just get all the nerds to agree on a single distro..."

    Laptop manufacturers have always customized the OS to fit on their machines. If they can do this for an M$ OS, surely they ought to be able to do it on an Open Source OS. Sure they'd probably still choose RH, Suse or Debian as a starting point, but if they go ahead and "brand" it, they and their customers would have the best of both worlds: assurance that all the hardware was supported and a coherent scheme for managing it. They could also shrink the size of the distro by limiting drivers and features to those appropriate on the laptop.

    It sure sounds doable to me!!
    • So... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by NetJunkie (56134) <jason.nash@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Thursday January 23, 2003 @04:49PM (#5145738)
      You answer to the "too many distros!" excuse is to add another Dell branded distro?

      I think Dell is right. They are in the business to sell a lot of PCs fast and cheap. They can't support 5 different distributions. The fact that they support one shows that the hardware is supported..so just use what you want.
      • They do it right now with Windows. My Windows 2000 will only install on a Dell and when it does it includes Dell specific apps.

        • But, people aren't calling Dell wanting 14 different kinds of Windows. Coming up with a Dell distribution doesn't solve the problem of people wanting Debian, Red Hat, SuSe, etc... I don't see why yet another distribution would suddenly please everyone.
          • Because it then Dell can say "well of course we use the Dell distribution...". People can accept that much more easily than choosing RedHat over Debian or vice versa. More importantly, they only have to support the Dell distribution.
            • But it costs Dell more to do their own distribution and then support it rather than using Red Hat's. Linux users need to realize that not everyone can support all the big distributions. Choice is a great thing, but it just doesn't always work. Be happy the hardware is supported with Linux and install whatever you want.
  • by wytcld (179112) on Thursday January 23, 2003 @04:29PM (#5145567) Homepage
    Is:

    1. No Windows tax

    2. A simple cheatsheet listing the kernel options needed to support the hardware.

    Then I'll boot it with a Knoppix CD, grab a Gentoo stage2 tar over the network, and do a chroot build of the rest of Gentoo (whose booth was consistently the most active in its sector of the floor yesterday).

    So all I really want is hardware completely supported by standard kernel options, and a list of which options it depends on. And that's all any Linux user should want. If you aren't going to customize the OS, maybe Losedose really is better for you....
    • Is:

      1. No Windows tax

      2. A simple cheatsheet listing the kernel options needed to support the hardware.

      Why do you even need that? Dell laptops come with really common hardware (stuff like ATI Rage Mobility). All you need is the manual they give you. In fact, it's not any harder to look at the manual, since they organize the basic specs together.

      Gentoo sure has taken off. Good for you guys. I'll stick with the only distro I can handle. [linuxfromscratch.org] LFS - your distro, your rules :)

    • 1. No Windows tax

      2. A simple cheatsheet listing the kernel options needed to support the hardware.


      You forgot:

      3. A form to sign saying that I will never, ever call Dell for software or OS support.

      That might work for you, but one of Dell's major selling points is their after-sales support. That's why people buy Dells rather than noname boxes: they've hit a sweet spot of price and support.
  • various answers (Score:4, Informative)

    by tech_rich (643868) on Thursday January 23, 2003 @04:52PM (#5145768)
    To answer various questions...

    1. the number of gray-bearded, beer-bellied geeks in attendance is down dramatically from previous years. the number of suits is way up.

    2. very poor swag. about all you're likely to get is a pen. hardly any t-shirts.

    3. i don't know where anyone gets the idea there are booth babes here. perhaps with a ratio of 99 men for every female, some people think these are booth babes. The women working the show are your average marketing department types. None of them are wearing spandex. None of them are models. Nothing like you see at CES, Comdex or 99 percent of the average trade show in the U.S. Apparently some guys don't get to see women wearing makeup in real life.

    4. The guys manning the Microsoft booth told me not a single person has hassled them. One guy said at the last LinuxWorld show, they had one guy giving them a hard time.

    Overall, considering the frigid temps in NY this is a good turnout. Maybe as many people here as were at the last few Linux shows. But the crowd is way different: suits, not t-shirts. Hardly a ponytail in site.

    • Re:various answers (Score:3, Informative)

      by signe (64498)
      2. very poor swag. about all you're likely to get is a pen. hardly any t-shirts.

      You obviously haven't been looking. As far as decent swag goes, I have:

      1) From HP's VIP day (free registration was required), I got a decent laptop backpack, several pens/pads of paper combo, a nice badgeholder with paper, pen, and compartments, lunch, and an offsite cocktail reception (with cast members from The Sopranos).

      2) From IBM's Customer Day (again, free reg, don't have to be a customer): A heavy canvas bag, poster, crystal penguin paperweight, poster, and lunch.

      3) SuSE is giving away stuffed lizards

      4) RedHat is giving away red baseball caps (have to catch them during the 3 times a day they do it, posted times). And if you wear it around, they've been picking 9 people a day to get a copy of AS 2.1, or a choice of books.

      5) SCO is giving away DVDs

      6) HP has t-shirts, DVDs, and small penguins.

      7) Mainline has foam penguin things

      There are a number of other people using tshirts as prizes (one per session type of thing). And you have your normal assortment of pins, pens, and CDs. This is just a quick survey of what I have so far.

      And if you work with a vendor a little, or even if you talk with them and engage them in a decent conversation, rather than just walking up and expecting them to hand you their best stuff so you can walk away and never speak to them again, you can get some decent stuff. I have a gyroscope, as well as a few other things.

      Anyone who's seriously concerned about the level of swag is going to the conference for the wrong reasons. Same type of people who want Flash and Java over real content on a website. There are a lot of good vendors here to talk with. The conferences are actually on topics that you want information about. LPI's giving free certification tests (half of what's required for the certs). There's a number of smaller ".org" booths, that were sponsored by the conference sponsors, with good stuff like JBoss, LTSP, and LUGs.

      If you want to pay to go get swag, save your money.

      -Todd
  • my take on yesterday (Score:4, Interesting)

    by asv108 (141455) <alex.phataudio@org> on Thursday January 23, 2003 @05:56PM (#5146334) Homepage Journal
    I was there yesterday as well, there were a lot of good looking booths, Ximian's was probably the best ascetically. I went to both keynotes that day and the Golden Penguin bowl. Hector Ruiz's keynote was interesting, the Cray supercomputer running AMD was neat, but most of the presentation was marketing/pr, instead of anything informative but the AMD "Dr. Grip" style pens were nice.

    The AMD booth was nice; they had some nifty opteron hardware up and running. A lot of the more interesting presentations were given on the show floor, Migel from Ximian had a session on Mono, but his mic wasn't working so we could hardly hear what he was saying. There was also a nifty lowdown on JXTA, Sun's open source P2P architecture. There were some others that looked promising as well, but you can only do so much in one day.

    The second keynote was from Redhat's CIO talking about Linux and the finance industry. A good speech, but nothing earth shattering. The TCO examples and the architecture speel were nice, but for people are sitting in the audience at Linuxworld, they probably know this already. The Morgan Stanley case study was interesting, but nothing to get excited about, the adoption of Linux in the finance industry is old news.

    The Golden Penguin bowl was boring, I don't know how they pick the guests, but quite a few of them didn't know some real easy questions. The question choice was lousy too. Most of the questions were either really obvious or really obscure to the point were not one person out of the six knew the answer. I left in the middle of the second round.

    Overall, it was a good time but nothing crazy. I didn't see any celebrity developers, there were no earth shattering announcements. The biggest excitement for me during the day was opening up kismet and seeing 40 802.11b access points. I would like to thank Ximian for leaving their AP open with DHCP to the public. I would also like to than Redhat, I used their free hat to wipe off the soda that I spilled on my notebook.

  • I just came back from touring the exhibit hall. I had heard that Linuxworld was bigger this year, so I had been looking forward to going, but I was disapointed. The majority of the exhibitors were pushing products and services aimed towards enterprise server computing. That was it. Where was the embedded stuff (Montevista or Lineo)? Where were the desktop applications? I even have to ask where the distributions were. I saw SuSE and Red Hat. What happened to TurboLinux or Mandrake? Even the new guys like Lindows did'nt show up.

    They need to rename the show LinuxEnterpriseWorld.

    What a world. What a world.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    In case you are at Linuxworld and would like to use the wireless "hotspot" here is the info:

    ESSID: linuxworldny
    WEP Key: aaaabbbbcccc00001111222233

  • Linus is currently attending Linux.conf.au [linux.conf.au] here in Australia. So far the conference has been great with an excellent Q&A session yesterday with Linus, Tridge, and Bdale Garbee. Topics discussed included women in IT, 2.2 vs 2.4 kernel stability, TCPA, patents, and 2.6 kernel release dates (any day now ;) ) and the name of the immininent 2.6 kernel maintainer (first initial A.) Also Linus dressed up in a penguin suit for the first time. It's suprising no one has posted a full summary, it will probably go up after the conference ends. Stay tuned. There were some gems in the Q&A alone.
  • too many people are shouting why they can't get linux pre-installed and yet they are doing little to change linux so that it is suitable for pre-install. pre-install requires some predictability and some uniformity for it to work. RedHat typical install is so much different from Debian typical install. Can a user Joe reading about RH on how to format a floppy, use his knowledge and apply it to Debian?

    Let us face it, pre-install Linux is difficult for HW manufacturer. Naked PC are hard to test for them. They put windows on PCs so that when user complains about some hardware not functioning (e.g. sound card), their tech support can ask user to check out set of things (check driver setting etc) before asking user to send the pc back. What if they ship naked PC and user compains sound not working. How would they know, if the problem is in software or in hardware?

    Until we have some sort of "Standard Linux" definition which is a stronger brand name than RH or Suse or Debian, pre-install is unlikely.

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