Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Red Hat Software Businesses GNOME GUI

Interview with Havoc Pennington of Red Hat 185

Posted by michael
from the cry-havoc dept.
JigSaw writes "OSNews published an interview with Havoc Pennington, the head manager of Red Hat's Desktop department, also known for his freedesktop.org initiative and his very active/leading role in Gnome. Havoc discusses the internal changes on Red Hat, the future of the desktop version of Red Hat Linux, the XFree86 fork Xoutert, GTK+ and Gnome while he characteristically says regarding Linux eating UNIX's marketshare: '...nails are firmly in the UNIX coffin, and it's just a matter of time.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Interview with Havoc Pennington of Red Hat

Comments Filter:
  • hey (Score:5, Informative)

    by Mohammed Al-Sahaf (665285) on Monday September 15, 2003 @05:08AM (#6962314)
    Its Xouvert [xouvert.org], not Xoutert.
    • Amazing! (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      An informative, on-topic first post!
    • Re:hey (Score:4, Informative)

      by oever (233119) on Monday September 15, 2003 @06:13AM (#6962454) Homepage
      From the xouvert website:

      What kind of a name is Xouvert?

      Xouvert is named after the ancient Babylonian goddess of open windows, wooden digging implements, and moonlight. A notorious ritual among the higher levels of Freemasonry has kept her memory alive until now. Xouvert, awake!


      Which is of course, complete bollocks. Xouvert is french for Xopen.

  • This reminds me... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PakProtector (115173) <cevkiv@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Monday September 15, 2003 @05:09AM (#6962316) Journal
    ...somewhat of the time I said DOS was dead, soon to be replaced by OS/2 Warp... ...Well, not quite. But isn't it premature to predict the death of such a venerable OS?
    • by zakezuke (229119) on Monday September 15, 2003 @05:35AM (#6962375)
      I must admit, i'm a little confused by this. You can say that MS-Dos is dead as no one is developing for it anymore. In fact the last DOS version i'm aware of was IBMs PC-dos 2000, which to be honest I never saw.

      You could say that it was killed by the more advanced operating systems of last decade of the 10th century. This would be fair and reasonable.

      But Unix being dead... that seems a bit of a leap. It seems to me that development for Linux is actually helpful in keeping Unix alive. There are still a vast number of applications distributed for specific flavors of unix that are offered in their binary form only, and OSS seems to be damn fucking useful in keeping these systems up to date and useable.

      • You could say that it was killed by the more advanced operating systems of last decade of the 10th century. This would be fair and reasonable.

        DOS wasn't perfect, had issues with memory, very large filesystems were not supported, 1.0 did not even have directories and the available commands were a sorry bunch compared to unix, but to say that OS's from the Middle Ages were better is taking it a bit too far, IMHO.

      • the more advanced operating systems of last decade of the 10th century

        Hell, I thought I was getting a bit long in the tooth, but I hadn't noticed missing over a thousand birthdays since the really modern OSs of the 1970s, but I guess living in a reverse time-warp can do that to you.

        Pity it left me old and wrinkly, though... :-)

      • Sorry but DOS is still used here, mostly in most retail apps, POS like PCs, etc. It's being slowly replaced by Linux and Windows alternatives, but is a cost effective way to reuse old hardware.
      • DOS is still very much alive in embedded systems and industrial automation. Some part of that is due to companies just having old equipment, but there is also a huge base of knowledge and experience still out there. DOS is a "get it done" OS, nothing fancy, just a single-tasking system that gets you very good hardware performance.

        With FreeDOS in existence and currently in active development, the DOS platform is going to be around for quite a while yet.
      • UNIX continues to evolve through standards like POSIX and Unix98, and thus a no-frills POSIX system is pretty damn functional. DOS had no such steering, and arguably it didn't really need it, since it's more of a extended BIOS than anything else, i.e. the hardware really ran the show. It still has its uses, mostly for providing a loading framework for simple drivers.

        It's a matter of time til the sun burns out. I should imagine it's a matter of considerably less time til Unix is irrelevant. Saying "it's
    • By definition a prediction has to be made before the event.

      Nor does the statement "it's only a matter of time" seem that outlandish. Already we've seen Linux being adopted by major Unix vendors. It's not unlikely that it will continue to make inroads in core areas and gradually drive their traditional offerings to more "niche" areas which ultimatly may be too small to warrent the expense of maintaining a seperate offering.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 15, 2003 @05:10AM (#6962317)
    Not to put to fine a point on it but your hyperlink is incorrect

    http://www.freeesktop.org/
  • UNIX is dying? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dancin_Santa (265275) <DancinSanta@gmail.com> on Monday September 15, 2003 @05:15AM (#6962326) Journal
    I don't think you can seriously say that UNIX is dying and say that Linux is killing it. Linux IS UNIX.

    Unless you are trying to say that commercial UNIX systems are losing ground to Linux, it simply doesn't make sense to make such a false distinction between UNIX and Linux. They are one and the same.
    • by Chris Sontag (684398) on Monday September 15, 2003 @05:33AM (#6962366) Homepage
      He has it the wrong way round, my friend. Do not listen to the lies. Linux is like a snake we are going to cut into pieces. Unix will rise again! We will push those crooks, those mercenaries back into the swamp. They are retreating on all fronts. Their legal effort is a subject of laughter throughout the world.
    • by martin-boundary (547041) on Monday September 15, 2003 @05:33AM (#6962367)
      So what you're saying is: "Luke, I *am* your father."

      "Nooooooooooooooooo!"

    • Re:UNIX is dying? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by MoralHazard (447833)
      Wha happen? You HAVE to be trolling. Come on--what?

      Just because they both work with a BASH shell, they were both written in C, and they were both coded and championed by a geek clique don't make them both UNIX. Or are we going to say that BeOS is UNIX, too? Or how about Win2K with Cygwin? That looks a lot like UNIX, so it must be.

      Can anyone believe this was at 5 (insightful)?
      • Wha happen?

        Somebody set up us the bomb.

      • Re:UNIX is dying? (Score:2, Interesting)

        by jhdsl (74051)
        Linux smells like UNIX, so it *is* UNIX :-)

        More points:
        Linux uses the "everything is files" philosophy, Win2K does not, Cygwin does not.

        Linux has all "traditional" UNIX API:s.

        Internally in the kernel, Linux has a lot of "traditional" UNIX solutions, tty/ptys, serial ports, filesystem mounts, networking, etc. is very UNIX.

        Most utilities are UNIX-utilitie (cu, ls, mount, etc.).

        Sysadmin stuff is basically UNIX (/etc/init, runlevels, inittab, and more).

        Linux is therefore much more UNIX than Cygwin, BeOS o
        • 1. well, everything but sockets, look to plan9 if you really, really want *everything* as a file.

          2. So does windows pretty much, win2000 is posix compliant. see here [microsoft.com]

          3 - 5. true

          6. Well, it certanly *feels* more unix, but it's actually nothing but a clone of a lot of unix stuff. Also a lot of what ppl see as unix nowadays is actually GNU stuff, which is, as we all know, *not* unix stuff, at least according to it's creator! ;-)
    • GNU Not Unix.
    • stopp blurting the flase SCO linux is unix arguemnt..

      OpenGroup did not certify linux as a unix implementation thus your cliam is flae..

    • Re:UNIX is dying? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by emil (695) on Monday September 15, 2003 @07:19AM (#6962715) Homepage

      Just imagine for a moment what might happen if Sun released some version of the Solaris kernel under the GPL.

      Solaris is far more scalable than Linux; Linux would begin bleeding enterprise market share, and would probably never recover. Solaris doesn't seem to scale down very well, so it is probable that Linux would retain its embedded systems market share.

      The moment that Linux becomes a real threat to the software environment of an E15k, I have to believe that Sun will do whatever is necessary to protect this segment.

      Of course, the sooner that Sun does this, the sooner that the question of enterprise Linux is put to rest. Sun is probably dragging its feet because they don't want to see Solaris running on the HP Superdome (especially since HP is killing their own UNIX and thereby depressing sales). They already have to contend with Solaris running on Fujitsu Primepower (which are arguably better machines than an E15k), but I am convinced that eventually, Sun will have to level the playing field by truly opening the Solaris source.

      • Just imagine for a moment what might happen if Sun released some version of the Solaris kernel under the GPL.

        Solaris is far more scalable than Linux; Linux would begin bleeding enterprise market share, and would probably never recover. Solaris doesn't seem to scale down very well, so it is probable that Linux would retain its embedded systems market share.

        Solaris scales very very well on Sparc hardware, for obvious reasons. But I haven't seen much evidence that it scales just as well on x86 hardware,

      • Re:UNIX is dying? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by green pizza (159161) on Monday September 15, 2003 @09:04AM (#6963432) Homepage
        Just imagine for a moment what might happen if Sun released some version of the Solaris kernel under the GPL.

        This is happening now, though not with Sun/Solaris... SGI's Altix handles up to 64 processors on a Linux kernel using the patches they release as opensource. As SGI hacks away at their bigmem and numa patches, they'll be able to handle more and more processors. The plan is to eventually graft enough IRIX technology to support just as many processors on Altix as they do with MIPS processors in Origin with IRIX.

        Even if you aren't a fan of Itanium2, Linux, or NUMA, these patches are bringing some nifty high-end tech to the free software arena.
      • Re:UNIX is dying? (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Wdomburg (141264)
        Solaris is far more scalable than Linux

        Solaris also sucks hairy moose cock on Intel.

        Not to mention that Linux performs better on the "low end" (read 2 to 4 CPU) configurations that dominate the computer market. Is "enterprise scalability" important? Yes, very very much so, but only in a tiny tiny fragment of the enterprise market.
      • The moment that Linux becomes a real threat to the software environment of an E15k, I have to believe that Sun will do whatever is necessary to protect this segment.

        OK, maybe I'm a little dense here but you'll have to explain this one to me. Exactly how would releasing Solaris under the GPL benefit Sun? So you have people using free Solaris instead of free Linux. So what? It's still free; Sun isn't making any money off of it. Sun might be able to charge for support but if Solaris is GPL, so can a num
    • I don't think you can seriously say that UNIX is dying and say that Linux is killing it. Linux IS UNIX.

      McBride?!!! Wake up, McBride!!! I can't pass in my code in your handwriting, now can I? ...

      Seriously though, linux is not unix. or at least. UNIX is the crufty old stuff that linux used to want to be like. Linux may look like UNIX in some ways, but it is not. It does it's own stuff now.

    • Unless you are trying to say that commercial UNIX systems are losing ground to Linux

      That's exactly what's being said. There will still be computers running various flavors of Unix for quite some time, just as there are still computers running DOS and OS/2 and BeOS. But the number of companies selling UNIX variants will decrease until none are left. Coding resources focused on adding new features will shrivel up and die. Bug fixes and maintenance coding will continue for awhile but it, too, will go awa
  • UNIX / LINUX (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Manos Batsis (608014) on Monday September 15, 2003 @05:22AM (#6962336)
    Geeeez, lets get some things even I know straight:
    • Linux is (in a way) derived from UNIX, so UNIX is not getting dead any time soon
    • Linux is not as mature as the UNIXes used in demanding production environments, so UNIX is not getting dead any time soon
    • UNIX is not getting dead any time soon
    • Here Here somebody that understands that Liux may be good but it missing a pile of features to make it realy work in single box no downtime for even scedualed maitnence production the nitch currently filled by Sun and IBM's AIX for the most part.
    • Re:UNIX / LINUX (Score:1, Redundant)

      by Haeleth (414428)
      Okay, but what about BSD? That's still dead, right? :p
  • Is it an earthquake? A herd of elephants?

    No, it's all the SCO jokers, with their (+5, Funny)'s at the ready! Time to run for cover, guys!

    • Is it an earthquake? A herd of elephants?


      No, it's all the SCO jokers, with their (+5, Funny)'s at the ready! Time to run for cover, guys!


      Oh come on. The interview is with a guy named Havoc Pennington. I'm sure there'll be at least a few original (+5, Funny)'s in the stampede.

      -- james
  • by MoralHazard (447833) on Monday September 15, 2003 @05:28AM (#6962351)
    I really, really doubt that all of these efforts to push Linux onto the desktop will tend to attract more "developer"-type users, as opposed to more "user"-type users.

    New developer-users make contributions, bug fixes, and give intelligent feedback on problems and solutions. Your secretary, on the other hand, will probably not be much use when it comes to putting out bug reports. So I'm not all that excited by Redhat's ever-onward desire to convert the masses. Actually, I'm a little bit DIS-excited.

    Nobody hassles a thing when it's a fringe-user, ubergeek phenomenon. There's a reason why SCO is fucking around with Linux and not the BSDs--Linux is getting popular and widespread enough now that slimeballs like D and the boyz see opportunities to milk it. Sure, it's nice that IBM contributed all they did, but it wasn't a free ride.

    (Not that the BSDs are dying, or anything--give them another couple of years, and maybe they'll get sued by a huge mulitnational... oh, wait.)

    I'm NOT saying that it's a bad thing that more people use Linux, just that the next 10,000 users of RH's pre-packaged, duh-whats-a-compiler will be substantially less of a pure good thing for MY Linux experience than the the first 1,000 kernel contributors were. Even if nobody else whips out a lawsuit for a while (knock wood), the new luser influx will be at least temporarily troubling until people start getting up to speed. Go check out what's happened to the Samba listserv, if you don't know what I mean--I unsub'd entirely because of the 1:100 ratio of {sensible questions|useful answers} to droolers who can't find a fucking man page, let alone a step-by-step HOWTO.

    I swear, if Redhat ever actually gets into the black, I'm switching to Apple, stat. Fuck market share--I want something where nobody will bother me with free tech support requests.
    • by botzi (673768)
      duh-whats-a-compiler will be substantially less of a pure good thing for MY Linux experience than the the first 1,000 kernel contributors were.

      You forgot that the developers are those that give birth and educate, but it's the users that become close lifetime friends. The people who use a software(even on some profan level) certainly are not so useful for the products development as the programmers team, but are crucial to its survival. A product will die without its users and gaining a larger user DB can

    • I swear, if Redhat ever actually gets into the black, I'm switching to Apple, stat. Fuck market share--I want something where nobody will bother me with free tech support requests.
      Decembler 2002 - Red Hat has reported a profit using Generally Accepted Accounting Principles [com.com]

      I recomend OpenVMS if you really don't want any bother.


    • So, uhh, you use an operating system based on how many people ask stupid questions about -applications which run on it-?

      Just don't interact with people who ask 'stupid' questions. If you don't like the signal:noise ratio on a list, unsubscribe and look for a dev list.

      That said, Linux is probably better without elitist jerks giving it a bad name anyway.
    • by Illbay (700081) on Monday September 15, 2003 @06:55AM (#6962606) Journal
      So I'm not all that excited by Redhat's ever-onward desire to convert the masses. Actually, I'm a little bit DIS-excited.

      So in other words, "user"-users like me aren't really welcome when it comes to Linux, because we won't "make Linux better" through code-contribution and timely bug reports?

      Um, may I ask what is the raison d'etre for any operating system?

      Following your logic, no one but automobile designers should be allowed to drive automobiles.

      • Well, I'd think that its because of most of the rants about linux that you see in "newbie" discussion bords/e-mail lists/etc...

        Many newbies are ok, and they seem to be ok with learning of new ways of doing things. But many others seem to know that Linux Is Not UniX, but fail to acknowledge that Linux is not windows either.

        And as more and more people get converted from Windows to Linux, this will get significantly more common and annoying.

        Thats one reason why I dont show Linux to relatives (and sometimes
    • Now these users may have already read the FAQ but because the FAQ is sometimes wrote by a elitest prick or someone who assumes too much, they are asking the question on the list. People should write documentation like they were writing it for someone who has never seen Linux before and not for someone who is in it everyday. PLUS,if it was not for people wanting to use Linux, you would not HAVE a Linux unless you want to depend on Debian unstable for production and I sure don't. If Red Hat, SuSE and Mandr
    • by IamTheRealMike (537420) <mike@plan99.net> on Monday September 15, 2003 @07:29AM (#6962777) Homepage
      I'm NOT saying that it's a bad thing that more people use Linux, just that the next 10,000 users of RH's pre-packaged, duh-whats-a-compiler will be substantially less of a pure good thing for MY Linux experience than the the first 1,000 kernel contributors were

      What an incredibly arrogant attitude. I am not a kernel hacker, and if I can avoid it, probably never will be. When I first started using Linux, I didn't know C, yet today I hack on Wine, which is used by a metric ton of people, and am busy writing and designing autopackage, which from the feedback we're getting seems to be something that people want. It'll make it easier for luser types to use Linux.

      Oh, and guess what. I use Red Hat 9, because I prefer getting stuff done to dicking about with my WM configuration. So sue me.

      By your logic, I should never have been allowed in, because these people might *gasp* hassle you for tech support.

      Let me make you aware of something. If it weren't for those legions of "lusers" out there, buying their Dell PCs and surfing MSN with Internet Explorer, it's highly unlikely most of us could afford a PC at all. The only reason I can have my own computer is because I can put together a decent little box for less than 500, and the only reason I can do that is because economies of scale caused by mass market acceptance make it cheap for me.

      If those people didn't use computers, there would be no mass market, no economies of scale, and I wouldn't have a computer at all! I'd never have been able to learn C, hack Wine or write my software.

      So, feel free to spit and vilify people who don't match up to your supposed guru-ness (though I really doubt you are as good a developer as you think you are), I for one will continue to enjoy cheap hardware and free software, and I won't bitch when newbies ask me questions. That's fair game, in my books.

      • Oh, where are the mod points when I need them. Even when I have them, it is very rare that I come across a comment worth modding up.

        You, sir, have one of the best perspectives on users that I have seen in a long time, even to the point of making me rethink my attitude toward the people I support on a dialy basis.

        As much as I tire of answering the same stupid questions for what feels like the 10 millionth time, I have to agree that if it were not for all the "clueless newbs" out there, my own ability to bu
    • I swear, if Redhat ever actually gets into the black, I'm switching to Apple, stat. Fuck market share--I want something where nobody will bother me with free tech support requests.

      My idea of tech support for RedHat users is telling them to install a distribution that doesn't completely suck for desktop use. If they insist on something RPM-based, they should at least use Mandrake.

      The only sensible place for RedHat is business servers, multiprocessor RAID systems in big black boxes. I use it for that. Onl

    • Open source software / Free Software (OSS/FS) must gain market share on the desktop, or it may die.

      Many organizations are, for various reasons, pursuing their own policies that will try to make sure that OSS/FS programs/systems can't be used. It's reasonable to presume that Microsoft will want to modify its operating systems and applications to ensure that nothing can interoperate with them. Many organizations want to patent-squat on clearly obvious "inventions". Many are paying legislatures to rewrite

    • I swear, if Redhat ever actually gets into the black, I'm switching to Apple, stat. Fuck market share--I want something where nobody will bother me with free tech support requests.

      Dude, you should check out NetBSD if you want a geek-ish user community and a top-notch OS

  • Linux vs Unix (Score:2, Interesting)

    by mantera (685223)

    I think the momentum linux has over Unix is a matter of its GPL license, which makes it widely and freely available, and ensures a constant flux, NOT that it's technically superior. I think it's generally established that Solaris or FreeBSD for example, are technically superior to linux, however, both Sun's proprietary or BSD licenses are the detriments of those two Unices in the face of the Linux onslaught. (do you like how I used Unices as a plural to Unix? I do.)

    Linux, ironically, now fits into the le
    • Re:Linux vs Unix (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      What about the BSD licensing makes FreeBSD less "widely and freely" available? It is the GPL, not the BSD license, which imposes strict restrictions of use. Therefore an OS like FreeBSD can find itself used in business environments without fear of reprisal. FreeBSD is significantly more free.

      And for you GNUtards who are going to flame me with "GPL is more free because it gives the developers more rights," no it fucking doesn't. It takes away their rights to use the project as they see fit. BSD doesn't
      • Yes; FreeBSD's license is more free than the GPL. There's no doubt about that.

        However, the GPL somewhat ensures the exchange and flux of code; I would argue that it is the GPL that makes the difference in momentum betwee linux and BSD. With BSD, people can use it however they see fit, with linux, they're sorta obliged to contribute back modifications if they use it.
      • First of all, I have utmost respect to BSD lecense and all the softwares released under that license as they are perfect Free(speech) softwares. But I have to say that it doesnt help to perpetuate the freedom(I know its not meant to be like that..). And this IMHO, is the reason why BSD systems didnt achieve the commercial success linux enjoyed. Average deveopers think like this "I can give the source code , but you too should do that". Business firms are even more paranoid. IBM cant think of making some mod
      • You obviously don't understand the GPL, and it appears you have it backwards.

        The GPL is a license whose goal is ensure that an end user has some rights with respect to a piece of software. It imposes no restrictions on end usage, it only imposes restrictions on people/companies who want to re-distribute GPLed code.

        So you favor developer/corporation rights, I favor end user rights. Arguing over which one gives more freedom is not going to go anywhere. We'll just let the software and the chosen licenses
    • I think it's generally established that Solaris or FreeBSD for example, are technically superior to linux, however,

      No, they aren't. FreeBSD is not superior to Linux, even if FreeBSD advocates like to tell you so. Hell, if it was indeed superior to Linux, they could scrap Linux altogether, fork FreeBSD under the GPL, and build on that. FreeBSD just recently got SMP, for chrissakes. Constantly repeating the superiority of FreeBSD (which the advocates insist on doing) doesn't necessarily make it so.

      And as
      • FreeBSD just recently got SMP, for chrissakes.

        The emphasis in FreeBSD is on quality, not on including whatever is recent. I would argue that the SMP in FreeBSD is superior to that in linux.

        Yes, linux has the latest, but FreeBSD has the better quality stuff.
        • Re:Linux vs Unix (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Cro Magnon (467622)
          Maybe, but until recently if you needed SMP, BSD wasn't even an option! If you need support for the latest hardware BSD may not be an option. For many people Linux IS better than BSD!
      • You're evaluation of Solaris is short-sighted, I'm afraid. Please direct me to the portion of the Linux kernel where I can swap out CPU's, memory and entire portions of the centerplane (that's the back-side bus for you Lintel people) without even going to single-user mode, much less powering down the machine. Also, what were the benchmarks for Linux running full SMP on 100+ CPU's? Oh wait, there weren't. And if it did, you wouldn't have the guys from Cray working on it like sun did for hte 10/12/15k to make
        • You're evaluation of Solaris is short-sighted, I'm afraid.

          I don't think so. Solaris has all the whizbang features right now, but they aren't important enough to most people to justify using it instead of non-proprietary Linux. And Linux will have all these features, with time.

          Also, what were the benchmarks for Linux running full SMP on 100+ CPU's?

          Not necessary, a dual processor x86 box can do the same thing ;-).

          Also, what were the benchmarks for Linux running full SMP on 100+ CPU's?

          32 CPUs is goo
  • Heh (Score:3, Funny)

    by arvindn (542080) on Monday September 15, 2003 @05:44AM (#6962400) Homepage Journal

    Verisign could have made a lot of money [slashdot.org] by redirecting http://www.freeesktop.org/ and http://www.xoutert.org/ to their own ad pages :-)
  • by DrSkwid (118965) on Monday September 15, 2003 @05:58AM (#6962420) Homepage Journal
    Dan Egnor says it best :

    Somewhere deep inside the secret headquarters of the RedHat/GNOME/Ximian/Mozilla Cabal, there's a hidden document with a list of everything in Unix you know and love, marked with a date for its final expurgation. I think 'ls' is slated to be finally replaced with a symlink to 'nautilus' in 2007. Except that symlinks will have been replaced by ".shortcut" files, which are interpreted by the Mono implementation of GNOME-VFS.

    Luckily the spirit on Unix lives on [bell-labs.com].

  • by JazFresh (146585) on Monday September 15, 2003 @06:02AM (#6962426)
    It is me, or does that sound like the name of the next Bond villain?
  • "Unix is dying"...

    He is partially right, the above post mentions that Linux is another Unix flavor, so Unix is not dting which is true...

    Where i work, there are almost 24 AIX nodes (16 processors each), endless Solaris blade server.. and all of these are being replaced by Linux clusters. My team and i are responsible to get the app.'s on Unix to be up and running on the cluster... BOTTOM LINE he is partially right...but not quite
  • by connect4 (209782) on Monday September 15, 2003 @06:49AM (#6962587)
    Desktop standards are critical to Linux achieving greater desktop market share.

    ISP: Hello?

    Mom & Dad: Hi, I can't connect. I'm having trouble getting the modem to dial . . .

    ISP: Ok, whaddya got? A Mac? Some kind of windows?

    Mom & Dad: Uh, yeah . . . it's a PC

    ISP: Ok, click on "start" in the bottom left hand corner of the desktop . . . . .

    Mom & Dad: Um . . . I can't see start, there's like a "red hat / footprint / dinosaur" in the "bottom left / bottom right corner.

    ISP: OK, we only support mac and windows, right. Bye now.

    -Click-

    The issue in this example is that tech-savvy call centre staff with no more than thirty minutes training can be expected to support mac and windows dialups over the phone. But until the same can be done for Linux, ISPs (for example) will never support it. This is a big barrier to Linux take-up by "Mom & Dad" type users. Standardising (across distros) things like the location of the pppd configuration would allow (again, for the sake of this example) ISPs to provide quick training to staff on how to support Linux users.

    Things like this are great for Linux penetration, 'cause when someone rings their ISP saying "My computer won't start up properly, it states that ntoskrnl is missing, and I don't have the CD or windows key", rather than saying "too bad call back when you have the CD", the ISP support staff can prod these "Mom & Dad" users in the direction of Linux. Not possible when the ISPs position is that Linux can't be supported and staff who try are wasting company time.
    • by Azghoul (25786) on Monday September 15, 2003 @07:01AM (#6962626) Homepage
      Not to pick on your nice thought, but if I put Linux on Mom & Dad's machine, you can be sure they'll be calling ME when something goes 'wrong', not the ISP.

      In fact, if your parents don't call you already, even with their Windows questions, you must suck. Or be a bad child.
      • by IGnatius T Foobar (4328) on Monday September 15, 2003 @09:02AM (#6963407) Homepage Journal
        In fact, if your parents don't call you already, even with their Windows questions, you must suck. Or be a bad child.

        Or perhaps just someone with enough guts to put a foot down.

        I finally got so sick and tired of doing tech support for family and friends that a couple of years ago I simply declared to them all, no more computer help for Microsoft products. I don't get paid for tech support, and Bill has too much money, so go bug him instead.

        There was one person with a clue. My mother-in-law switched to Linux. I installed it for her and she finds it a pleasure to use compared to the constantly broken dozebox she sits in front of at work. It never has any significant problems, and when she does have the occasional question or concern it's a reasonable one that I can help her with.

        Would she be able to compile a kernel? Shut up idiot, that's a stupid question. She doesn't have to. She turns it on and It Just Works (tm). And when the latest dozeworm comes wriggling across the wires, I don't have to drive 100 miles to her house to patch things up, because, like my own computers, hers is immune.

        So yes, it's doable, and no, it doesn't mean you're a terrible friend or relative. Friends don't let friends use broken Microsoft products. And for that matter, true friends and family members don't try to press each other into involuntary servitude doing tech support.
        • Yeah, I totally agree with what you're saying. Most of the time now I just say, "Sorry, I don't use windows any more..."

          But the original "conversation" was some mom and dad talking to tech support about linux. If my relatives want to go for linux, then I'll be there to help (open-source community and all that :))
        • I finally got so sick and tired of doing tech support for family and friends that a couple of years ago I simply declared to them all, no more computer help for Microsoft products. I don't get paid for tech support, and Bill has too much money, so go bug him instead.

          Fortunately for you that your parents never declared "No more parenting. We don't get paid to feed you."
      • NAH, my mom doesn't use a computer. In fact, all jokes aside, she probably would be more comfortable with an abacus than a calculator. Now, my brothers do ask for advice, but its usually something beyond my skill (what do you do when a laptop won't even post). Oh, well.
        • My mother calls with problems ... I want to install Linux on her computer and not give her the root password because I'm evil though.

          The only problem is that she has a digital camera that isn't supported by gphoto2 yet. Once it is, I'm making her switch.
    • I'll give you a real-life counter example: myself.

      I didn't know a thing about Linux,so:

      1. Installed Mandrake Download Edition, duall booting with Win98.

      2. Autodetected everything, including cable internet.

      3. NEVER had a problem.

      4. Two weeks ago: OFF went the Windows partition.

      5. Reinstalled, whole disk now.

      6 Still no problems.

      7. Profit?

      Cheers,
    • Things like this are great for Linux penetration, 'cause when someone rings their ISP saying "My computer won't start up properly, it states that ntoskrnl is missing, and I don't have the CD or windows key", rather than saying "too bad call back when you have the CD", the ISP support staff can prod these "Mom & Dad" users in the direction of Linux.

      Not to nitpick, but if someone called about ntoskrnl missing, (s)he would probably be redirected to their OEM or Microsoft to get that fixed. ISPs don't

  • OSNews, blah... (Score:5, Informative)

    by vsync64 (155958) <vsync@quadium.net> on Monday September 15, 2003 @07:11AM (#6962669) Homepage
    While reading through the interview, I noticed such bizarre and nonsensical statements as:
    Looking Red Hat's recent press releases and web site lately, it reveals a new, stronger effort to shift focus further into the Enterprise and leaving Red Hat Linux to the hands of the community for the home/desktop market while leaves a "hole" in the previous target of Red Hat at the "Corporate Desktop market".
    At the end of the day, we have seen patents being so "duh, brain dead", that many have said that writing software is almost impossible anymore. What a solution for this issue OSS software should find, to ensure a future that is not striked by lawsuits left and right?
    Once, you started a C++ wrapper for GTK+, but then the project got sterile.
    Do you feel that Linux is replacing Unix slowly but steadily, or do they follow parallel and different directions in your opinion?
    I said to myself, "This article must be by Eugenia Loli-Queru", looked to the byline, and lo and behold I was correct. The local rag [steamboatpilot.com] is more respectable, which is saying a lot, considering that they routinely misspell the names of cities in front page headlines and such. Even JeffK makes more sense than Eugenia.
    • I typically avoid OSNews because of the poor quality of their writing, but this article hit a new low. After struggling to understand Eurenia's first question I switched to reading Pennington's answers only.
    • Yes, it would be a nice benefit if you could understand the question she was asking without having to reread it 4 times and include your own (sic) marks as you read it.
  • by anonymous coword (615639) on Monday September 15, 2003 @07:20AM (#6962718) Homepage Journal
    Gnome and KDE can't merge, but they can unify some of their interfaces. Here, in my opinion is what they need to do, which don't appear to be on freedesk yet.
    • Ditch the Foot/K-gear and replace it with a standard menu button, something like start but better.
    • Unify font/color configuartion. So when I choose green with arial size 12 on KDE my gtk programs comply too.
    • Common shortcuts. For example, to open a tab on Konqueror you have to press ctrl+shift+n while mozilla and freinds use ctrl+t, Konqueror should switch to ctrl+t!
    • Standards for icons/emblems/backgrounds
    • Unified help/control system (man and /etc don't count), we need to be using gconf&scrollkeeper!
    • STANDRARD BUTTON ORDER! THIS THE MOST IMPORTANT! And make it easy to switch. People usually say yes or no! Not no or yes in real life.
    • www.freedesktop.org
      Just remeber that standarization and unification like this does
      not happen over night.
      • Menu button - Can't see the point, but would be the matter of exchanging an icon in KDE.
      • Color/Fonts - works for me on KDE-3.2-alpha. GTK1+2 programs follow my KDE settings. (Also OOo and Motif programs...)
      • Common shortcuts - This is just a configuration issue. Many things are standard. Konqueror uses CTRL+ALT+N instead of CTRL+T by default because KDE users of old want to open a terminal window in Konqueror with CTRL+T. Mozilla and Nautilus don't have this feature
      • Standards for icons - Well there are a
  • The freedesktop.org url you have is incorrect - it is pointing to freeesktop.org!
    correct: click [freedesktop.org]
  • It's really dissapointing to see that
    30% is commenting on guys name.
    30% is commenting on grammar mistakes
    10% is commenting on wrong hyperlinks
    20% is commenting if Linux is UNIX or not
    9% are trolls
    1% actualy managed to stay on topic

    My best guess is that all /. people that:
    always bitch on how clipboard doesn't work
    lack of 3D Desktop drawing and translucency
    lack of KD, GNOME, X11 cooperation
    no default printer interface
    etc.

    don'teven nearly realise that:

    Havoc is one o the leading people on freedesktop.org, w
  • Havoc is an absolutely fantastic programmer. He's also, in my opinion, a spectacularly bad usability "expert". Ever since he got on his usability kick, the stuff he's programmed has become less and less usable in many respects.
  • 3. In the past (pre-SCO), Red Hat has admitted that was growing awry of patent issues

    Looks like your spelling checker has a case of sexylaid, Eugenia...

3500 Calories = 1 Food Pound

Working...