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Linux Software

2004: Year of the Penguin? 427

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the we've-heard-that-before dept.
houseofmore writes "The Toronto star suggests that things are looking good for the Linux desktop this year as more heavy weight commercial vendors get behind it, including HP, Novell, IBM, Sun and... Walmart. It also mentions Red Hat's plan to offer a new corporate desktop edition of their enterprise desktop sometime this year. The article states that more and more companies are considering (and) switching to Linux for their desktop due to expensive Windows licensing fees and high-profile security vulnerabilities."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

2004: Year of the Penguin?

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  • Maybe when... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by spungo (729241) on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @10:15AM (#8848354)
    - one of the big vendors decide to publicly ship a consumer desktop machine with a GNU/Linux install (or even a dual install), will I start to think that the challenge is on.
  • Seriously... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @10:16AM (#8848357)
    Don't we hear this every year?
  • by mindless4210 (768563) * on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @10:18AM (#8848391) Homepage Journal
    "The power of innovation in the open-source community is unparalleled," says Chris Pratt, manager of IBM Canada's Internet server business. "You've got thousands of people working on this thing for no other reason than to produce the best quality product. If you look at what they've been able to produce up until now, imagine how it's going to go forward."

    This guy couldn't have put it any better. It's the reason Linux will continue to grow and have deeper market pennetration over the next few years.

    It's good to see that more and more people are recognizing the power of Linux, especially when it comes to a server OS. It's very powerful, modular, and best of all... it's free.
  • We're On Board (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @10:19AM (#8848416)
    Recently upgraded all of our workstations to Linux. Fully wiped about 15 machines and added a custom install of Fedora Core 1 in less than six hours. We use a single Windows 2003 Server via rdesktop for a handful of legacy applications. The amazing thing is that everything worked flawlessly. We've had a handful of interface questions and a few printer hiccups and that's it.

    Other small companies can do this and do it now.

  • Training Costs (Score:4, Insightful)

    by LaNMaN2000 (173615) on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @10:21AM (#8848435) Homepage
    One of the things few Linux desktop advocates consider is the cost of retraining users to use the new software and any loss of productivity that would result from incompatibilities between OSS Office packages (OpenOffice,StarOffice,etc.) and Microsoft's offering. If 90% of business users create their documents in word then even subtle incompatibilities or limitations of the import functionality could make it very difficult to share information across and between organizations.

    It is the chicken and the egg problem. The value in MS Software is certainly not any features of the packages, themselves; it is the network effect of being able to easily share data with all other users of the software.
  • by bonch (38532) on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @10:21AM (#8848439)
    ...please no more of these, Slashdot! It seems you post two a month now. They're always the same, everyone makes fun of them, and they don't offer anything new or insightful other than "things are looking good."

    Stop!
  • Re:Maybe when... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by AKAImBatman (238306) <akaimbatman AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @10:22AM (#8848444) Homepage Journal
    Agreed. OEM support is a big issue. Many of the problems I ran into when testing various distros [slashdot.org] wouldn't happen on an OEM machine.

  • Wait a moment (Score:4, Insightful)

    by frodo from middle ea (602941) on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @10:23AM (#8848456) Homepage
    Unless, somehow , all those copies of Windows 95/98/ME/2K/XP installed on 90% of the PCs of home users some how , misteriously disappear over a period of one year and magically they have Redhat./Suse/Mandrake/Debain/Slack/Gentoo installed .

    And then all those ex-windows users, some how magically learn how to use linux (not that it is hard, but it still has to be learnt, just as they did learn (?) to use windows)., I don't see this happening. Same holds for all the corporate desktops

    I am tired of people claiming "This is the year of linux", year after year after year. There is never going to be one single year of linux, It will have to slowly and steadly erode in to M$ territory. But it will take a much longer time than a mear year, or even a decade, unless ofcourse M$ decides to do something very stupid, like I don't know, Make the wallpaper with setve ballmer and make it unchangable.

  • You can always... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tuxedo Jack (648130) on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @10:23AM (#8848457) Homepage
    Drop a few hints to your local MS vendor that you're thinking about switching to Linux to make them drop their costs on licensing fees.

    Trust me, it's so wonderful to take an MS vendor to lunch, sing the praises of Linux the whole time, then take them to a room near your computer room and point out the two shiny new mailservers that are blank and say you're debating about the TCO of Linux versus Exchange.
  • by caluml (551744) <slashdot@NOsPam.spamgoeshere.calum.org> on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @10:23AM (#8848460) Homepage
    Another month, another prediction. And yet, most people on Slashdot run IE (and hence Windows).

    Linux womble 2.6.4 #1 Tue Mar 16 10:52:42 GMT 2004 i686 Intel(R) Pentium(R) 4 CPU 1.80GHz GenuineIntel GNU/Linux
  • by ArbitraryConstant (763964) on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @10:25AM (#8848485) Homepage
    Seriously. Every year major stuff happens that no one thought we'd ever see.
  • IBM + Laptops (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ibm5_25 (713547) on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @10:26AM (#8848504)
    If IBM is doing so much for Linux (inc. their ad campagin with the little dude a while back) why can't you buy one of their laptops with Linux preinstalled?
  • Re:Training Costs (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pe1rxq (141710) on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @10:29AM (#8848536) Homepage Journal
    Training guy: Remember that white plane Word had were you typed your text?

    Luser: Yeah...

    Training guy: Your new word processor also has it...

    Luser: ........

    Training guy: You know how you used 'open' and 'save' and 'print' in that 'file' menu in the top of the window?

    Luser: Yeah....

    Training guy: Good, keep doing that.

    Luser: Ok....

    Training guy: Remember how above the white plane you could select the font and its size? And whit those funny buttons with italic and bold text you could make the text in the white plane turn to italic and bold?

    Luser: Uhuh...

    Training guy: Great! NEXT!
  • Every Year (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MrRuslan (767128) on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @10:29AM (#8848549)
    For me because evry year I look back and say ...wow look how much progress was made this year...i mean it just grows and there is no stopping it no matter what anyone says.
  • Re:Sounds Familiar (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AKAImBatman (238306) <akaimbatman AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @10:29AM (#8848550) Homepage Journal
    From what I've seen so far [slashdot.org], there are only two possible desktops for the average user:

    1. SuSE
    2. Java Desktop System (SuSE based)

    I haven't had a chance to try Xandros, so that may be a competitor as well. The biggest problem is that the Linux developers have to get off their high horse and make binary distribution as easy as source distribution. SuSE, RedHat, Mandrake, etc. are all Linux, but all need different RPM files. And then some RPMs may not match the version of libc/glibc you use.

    What's the standard solution? "Just recompile it."

    That is *not* acceptable for the average end user. Take a look at Mac OS X. They got it right. You download the DMG, it mounts as a folder, you copy the "program" (really a folder that the OS makes look like a file) to your Applications directory. Done.

    Linux OTOH, goes like this: Find the RPM you want. Try to install and get a list of dependencies. Go track down every dependency you need (because you should already have libart_gpl and libtheora, right?!) and then install the dependencies. After spending and hour or two just to install one piece of software, log out and log back in so the menus update. Then try to run the software and hope that you didn't accidently install an incompatible binary. ARRRGGGHHH!!!
  • Laptops (Score:4, Insightful)

    by b0r0din (304712) on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @10:30AM (#8848562)
    I'm waiting for a huge backing for a laptop that Linux supports fully, including things like wifi support, full driver support, etc. When I can get a fairly affordable laptop with Linux installed, or a base driver system maybe built for IBM or HP parts, then I'll begin to think Linux starting to make heavy inrows.
  • Personally, having tried Xandros/1.0 and now using Xandros/2.0 it's clear that Windows has real competition.

    No doubt this comment will be targetted by the increasing number of moderators who appear to be Windows admirers, but I have enough karma for a whole barbeque, so here goes with a list of the ten reasons why Linux is destined to overtake Windows in 2004 (or 2005, or 2006, etc.)

    - Windows is expensive, Linux is free
    - Distros like Xandros "just work"
    - Linux is secure from worms, trojans, viruses
    - Linux runs on modest hardware
    - Linux is less complex and thus more stable
    - Linux has a "cool" factor missing from Windows
    - The IT world's view of Microsoft as "evil" is percolating down to the general public
    - Linux now comes with a sufficient set of applications for most common purposes
    - Linux applications are more stable and simpler than Windows' ones

    And lastly: more and more institutions will choose Linux as they discover the advantages of it, leading to consumer uptake as people "stay compatible" with their work PCs.

    From a 3% marketshare this seems unbelievable. And yet this is how markets work: the "tipping" often happens way before the 20% mark, but once it starts, it's unstoppable.

    At the very least, 2004 was the year in which people seriously started to wonder "when" and not "whether" Linux would become the de-facto OS standard for all computing, including the desktop.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @10:35AM (#8848631)
    Disable the kernel emu10k1 module; download the souurce and compile from scratch at http://sourceforge.net/projects/emu10k1 [sourceforge.net]. Possibly in a recent 2.4 or 2.6 the builtin emu10k1 driver works with audigy and audigy 2, not sure.
  • by hotspotbloc (767418) on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @10:36AM (#8848638) Homepage Journal
    And why it's not a bad thing.

    GNU/Linux is in it for the long haul. MS Windows flashes on the media's screen with a new release and fades away. GNU/Linux is growing bigger and stronger everyday. As that happens more and more companies will port their wares, more hardware venders will supply GNU/Linux instead of MS Windows, more users will leave MS Windows (most likely because they're tired of the upgrade costs for both hard and software related to the upgrade), and someday MS Windows will be a "niche" OS.

    Think about it like Apple. They make an excellent OS which includes some great apps, overall better than average desktop and small server hardware, is clearly better than MS Windows but still isn't "number one". Is this a bad thing: no. Apple will be around for a long time building their stuff reguardless of their marketshare. IMO this is the fate for MS Windows (except for the quality part of course).

    Forget about this "Year of the Penguin" stuff because no one year will be it's "year". GNU/Linux is here to stay, grow and get better.

  • Corporate vs. Home (Score:3, Insightful)

    by PretzelBat (770907) on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @10:36AM (#8848641)
    The article states "Fortune 1000 companies are already dabbling." While this may be true, Linux becoming dominant on the home desktop is still unlikely, IMHO. There are still too many usability issues for the average computer user to perform configuration in Linux (e.g. installation of programs). Once KDE is up and running, I suppose everyone will be okay until the purchase of a new printer, etc., but until system changes are as simple to handle in Linux as they are in Windows, there is not much chance of Aunt Tillie feeling comforatable with Linux.

    In a corporate environment, where configuration is taken care of by IT, this is a completely different issue, and I can see that Linux is liable to make some important inroads here in the next few years. Perhaps once Linux becomes more widespread in corporate America (and has polished up some of the persistant usability issues), it will begin to make more of an impact on the home desktop market.
  • by zapyon (575974) on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @10:36AM (#8848642)
    ... at least for a number of years to come. Why? Easy: While MS OSes have reached a state of saturation of the market, Linux is only just entering the exponential part of the growth function -- with many factors playing in favour of Linux.
  • Gotta love your sig. Mostly because it's a lie. I've had a lot of people ask me about Linux, geek types and not, because they've heard a little bit about it somewhere and want to know what it's all about.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @10:37AM (#8848657)
    Linux on the desktop won't succeed until the applications can be installed and run by Joe User. I'm a Linux newbie with RH 9 on a home server. If I didn't remember a little UNIX from mumbledy-mumble years ago I'd be completely lost.

    It's running great as a server, but as a desktop it's not there. I've downloaded plenty of software and getting any of it running has been a struggle. Documentation is terrible, if it's there at all it says high level things like "run the makefile", which doesn't work half the time anyhow. How is Joe User supposed to know how to do that? Frequently applications don't even say how to RUN the freaking thing after it's installed. With no desktop icon and no uninstall program how is a user supposed to use Linux?
  • by grassy_knoll (412409) on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @10:41AM (#8848704) Homepage
    With XP calling home to register itself, word about the holes that come with the XP firewall, etc. I can see where Linux looks much more attractive ( hell, some home users might have to BUY it ;) ).

    Similarly, the increasing cost of XP/Office XP with little or no percieved increase in value *cough*software assurance*cough* has got to be grating the nerves of even a few PHB's.

    Either way, it's good to see Linux making some inroads into corporate desktops.
  • Re:Wait a moment (Score:5, Insightful)

    by telbij (465356) on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @10:41AM (#8848719)
    There is never going to be one single year of linux, It will have to slowly and steadly erode in to M$ territory.

    Funny that you never see articles about this, but it's the truth. I would go so far as to say that growing Linux marketshare is inevitable going down the line. Why? Because Linux is not subject to the same market forces that cause Microsoft to ignore bugs while building ridiculous and ill-advised features that simply look good in a power point. While Microsoft struggles to please shareholders, Linux is plodding along fixing bugs and steadily increasing the value of the platform.

    Tech news is dominated by financials, and Linux has oodles of economic potential, but to look at Linux in those terms is so shortsighted. Linux is true progress in the sense that its advances can never be expunged as we have seen happen time and time again with proprietary software. Once Linux reaches a critical point, there will be no financial incentive to develop a separate OS. At most, companies will customize Linux, but in general commercial development will shift to the application layer where it belongs, and we can look forward to renewed competition in the software industry, only this time on a much more solid base.

    Of course there's no telling how long all this could take...
  • by WormholeFiend (674934) on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @10:45AM (#8848771)
    well, sorry to nitpick, but your Linux isnt free if you use a non-free Linux distro as an example.

    It's cheaper, yes, but not free as in warez.

    Just cuz you keep repeating it doesnt make it so, otherwise, money would be growing on trees, too.

  • Re:Sounds Familiar (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Overt Coward (19347) on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @10:45AM (#8848774) Homepage
    Exactly. The state of Linux right now is still similar to a car designed by auto enthusiasts -- if you know what you're doing (and enjoy doing it, to boot), it's relatively easy to use and maintain.

    But the average person doesn't tinker under the hood of their car much, or at all. (Heck, most people don't even change their own oil these days.) They just want a product that works with little to no detailed knowledge of what's actually going on, and rely on support (mechanics, JiffyLube, whatever) for keeping the thing working properly.

    Same for operating systems -- most users aren't going to want to spend the time or energy learning how to maintain their own system. Linux "for the masses" will require a system that can be maintained with a minimum amount of effort from the end user. In a corporate setting, this is less important because those machines would be administered by IT specialists, but in a personal/home setting, self-maintaining systems are a must.

  • by mahdi13 (660205) <icarus.lnx@gmail.com> on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @10:46AM (#8848795) Journal
    Could we get a few examples of Linux just playing catch-up and not being "Innovative"?

    Here's some I see in Linux but not in Windows...
    Highlight text and middle-click to copy
    Tabbed internet browsers (Comparing to IE)
    Live bootable CDs that don't require installation (If there are MS equivalents, please point them out)
    Truly separate user environments

    I know I'm missing a bunch, but the only real 'catching up with Microsoft' I see with Linux is trying to keep interoperability working, which is a must in any business environment
  • gaaah. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Moderation abuser (184013) on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @10:52AM (#8848906)
    I can just see the rollouts now. Linux on every local desktop, local passwd, group, apps, complexity rising exponentially, security, performance and reliability decreasing in response.

    While Windows can be an insecure mess, it's nothing compared to just how messy Unix systems can become.

    With Unix, the least efficient use of the hardware is to put a single instance of many different applications on to lots of different machines.

    Say a Unix app consumes 20Mb of RAM, 80% -> 90% of that memory is shareable; shared libraries, program text and the like. So *conservatively* 2 people can run the application on a machine and it only takes 24Mb of RAM, not 40Mb of RAM, 3 people it uses 28Mb, not 60Mb and so on. On top of this, the application is already loaded, it doesn't have to be read from disk again each time it's started. The filesystem buffers are already pre-loaded, the CPU caches have a significantly better hit rate than if there are a dozen different apps running.

    Unix(and Linux) is *not* Windows, there's an entirely different system architecture which should really be considered before just wiping Windows on each desktop and replacing it with Linux.

    Of course there's a great opportunity for people who know.
  • by francium de neobie (590783) on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @11:00AM (#8849012)
    Although I like Linux, I'm not as enthusiastic as you. Linux has evolved quickly, but the people haven't changed. You see...

    > - Distros like Xandros "just work"

    But it is not well known yet.

    > - Linux is secure from worms, trojans, viruses

    True, but sadly the average Windows users seems unaware of the fact at all. Even sadder is that some of them can treat a system filled with spywares, viri, crashing and stop working as normal now.

    It is as if they've been force fed 10 years of shit, and now they cannot distinguish between meatsteak and poop. I dunno whether I should laugh or feel sorry when those complete newbies tell me poop is tasty.

    > - Linux runs on modest hardware

    Again, people just don't know that. They're willing to spend $3000 on a top line rig just to run spywares and 3DMark.

    > - Linux is less complex and thus more stable

    On a programmer's perspective, yes. Linux's structure is more understandable and its API is standardized and simplier (i.e. POSIX). Just try to do a file mapping on Win32 API and then Linux and you'll know...

    But for the user, sorry, no. No matter how simple you've made it, they've been accustomed to the Windows environment for years. Unlearning the old usage pattern alone would be hard enough.

    > - Linux has a "cool" factor missing from Windows

    There're plenty of kiddies who think they're "cool" just because they know a few DOS commands.

    > - The IT world's view of Microsoft as "evil" is percolating down to the general public

    There's plenty of people (IT or not) who think Microsoft invented computer, and Bill Gates is a god-send. Just ask a few persons around you.
  • Re:Seriously... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Soko (17987) on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @11:04AM (#8849052) Homepage
    Anybody thinks MS is weaker today because the last 5 years was "the year of linux"?

    Kind of.

    (1999)
    Slashbot: "This is teh year of Linux!!!!"
    Customer: "What's Linux?"
    Microsoft: "What's Linux? *CHACHING*"

    (2000)
    Slashbot: "This is teh year of Linux!!!!"
    Customer: "Linux? Geek toy."
    Microsoft: "Linux? Pffft. *CHACHING*"

    (2001)
    Slashbot: "This is teh year of Linux!!!!"
    Customer: "Gah, viruses - no time to look!!"
    Microsoft: "Ya, sure. We heard some of our customers ask about it in passing. *chaching*"

    (2002)
    Slashbot: "This is teh year of Linux!!!!"
    IBM: "Dude, learn how to spell..."
    Customer: "IBM? Linux? Lemme see what this is all about, OK?"
    Microsoft: "Hmmmm... You guys are getting irritating for our salesdroids. Cut it out or we'll FUD you to death. *CHACHING*"

    (2003)
    Slashbot: "This is the year of Linux!!!!"
    Customer: "Nice, but not yet. This needs fixing here, and this over here could be..."
    Microsoft: "Whoa now, this is getting serious. Send out the Marketing Dept. FUD riders!!! *chaching*"

    (2004)
    Slashbot: "This is the year of Linux."
    Customer: "Hey, this Linux thingy is worth looking at now - still kinds rough in spots though. Can it do $FUNCTION1? Cool. And $FUNCTION2? What about $FUNCTIONn..."
    Microsoft: "WTF??? The FUD Riders failed? Call in the Tactical Lawsuits - we're in trouble! *chaching?*"

    Weaker? Probably not. However, Microsofts feet are being held to the fire by the interest Linux is creating - you can be sure of that.

    Soko
  • by GoofyBoy (44399) on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @11:11AM (#8849146) Journal
    >Highlight text and middle-click to copy

    Middle clicking is an innovation? Didn't Sun/really old graphical Unix have this years ago?

    >Tabbed internet browsers (Comparing to IE)

    Is a browser part of Linux (OS)? If you claim innovation there, do you also take the blame for the crappy stuff too? Or is this one sided?

    >Live bootable CDs that don't require installation (If there are MS equivalents, please point them out)

    Floppy disk formated with /SYS

    >Truly separate user environments

    Again, is this innovation or something that Unix had already?

    Every new release of a Linux distribution gets closer and closer to the latest Windows OS.
  • More like 2005 (Score:3, Insightful)

    by WindBourne (631190) on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @11:23AM (#8849292) Journal
    One of the issues with "new" technology is that there is a learning AND testing curve for the faint of heart. Just about every CIO fits in the faint of heart category, as they typically pick what others run, so that they can hide in "nobody go fired for using X".

    Back in the 80's,early 90's X was IBM. But even in early 90's, Windows was good enough to replace much of the character screens. The issue was CIO's were afraid so they would allow bean counters and others to slowly bring them in before they stuck their neck out.

    We have been in the learning phase for the last year. Now, it is moving to testing for these folks. In early 2005 (one year before Windows big one), we will see mass replacements as part of the 2005 budget.
  • by bonch (38532) on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @11:27AM (#8849349)
    Could we get a few examples of Linux just playing catch-up and not being "Innovative"?

    • Taskbar
    • Start menu (I'm sorry, "big giant K" menu)
    • Integration of the file browser and internet browser, shamelessly stolen from Windows 98--you know, the OS everyone still bitches about around here six years later
    • Minimize, Maximize, and Close buttons, often in the same exact places
    • Mono project
    • Text shadows under icon labels (poorly done, I might add)
    • A trashcan, which not only rips off Windows but also Mac. Before you bother (and I know someone will), note that it doesn't matter if Windows also ripped it off--you asked what Linux was ripping off and not innovating.
    • Christ, man...I could go on and on but I'm at work right now.


    The entire Linux desktop movement blindly follows the Windows paradigm for desktops like a happy little dog. Why not DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT?! Get that taskbar the hell out of there--they don't facilate spacial navigation and are horrible. Get that Start menu-ripoff out of there--Start menus are extremely poor program launchers. That integrated browser doesn't belong--it has absolutely no reason for existing and adds seconds to my loading of the Home folder (and you guys call Windows XP slow).

    The only "innovation" KDE and GNOME can profess is having tons more pointless applets running on their panels, and running a lot slower than Windows on the same hardware. That's absolutely it and nothing more. Other than that, they offer nothing more than what Windows offers, and they don't even have a chance of eating OS X's dust.

    You asked, I answered. Linux needs something completely new with its OWN IDENTITY--something that sits alongside Windows and OS X in having its own identity. KDE and GNOME are awful, horrible, and very, very bad. Personally, I'm looking forward to Y-Windows [y-windows.org], which plans to replace the failed experiment that is X with something modern and better, while retaining the advantages that X had like network-transparency. No more endless "extensions" that conflict with each other! No more non-integrated desktops, where you're having to install TWO desktop environments just to be able to run each other's apps.

    The Linux desktop is the perfect example of fragmentation run amok, holding back progress and adoption. Hell, very basic things still don't exist. The day you finally implement a binary installation/uninstallation routine so that someone can stick in a CD and run an autoplay installer that properly creates its shortcut icons and so on will be the day more apps will start coming out for Linux. Not to mention using just ONE library instead of multiple "toolkits" doing the widget work that should be done by the desktop anyway. Man, like I said, I could go on and on for pages...
  • Re:Training Costs (Score:4, Insightful)

    by kahei (466208) on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @11:32AM (#8849393) Homepage

    Luser: I want to embed my graphs in it now. And when Accounting change the graph, it should email me. Some of the graphs are generated from this old DLL. And when you click here, it should bring up foo.xls with sheet 3 selected.

    Training guy: ...

  • by Junks Jerzey (54586) on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @11:42AM (#8849529)
    It's more secure in some ways. We know. But let's put that aside.

    As I see it, there's no clear reason why anyone should bother switching to Linux. Seriously. It's open, yes, but that doesn't matter except to very small minority of people (remember, Windows software can also be Open Source, even though the kernel is closed). Other than that...not much. Both Linux and Windows are equally complex and confusing. People who argue that Linux is a beautiful gem either (a) don't really know what they're talking about, or (b) are talking about the raw kernel and not the 10x more stuff that needs to stack on top of it to make a Windows-equivalent system.

    If an alternative operating system had some huge and obvious benefits to the user, then I'd be all over it. Linux and Windows are more similar than different.
  • by JavaLord (680960) on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @11:44AM (#8849546) Journal
    I think this is flame bait or something. I mean this sounds impossible. I have never had a Linux Distro not pick up a sound card, except for Gentoo which is for system admins. I have used Mandrake, SuSE and Red hat.

    Well, I've had three different ones NOT pick up a soundcard. That doesn't make my post "flamebait". Did you ever think that just because it worked for you running on your hardware that it might not work for someone else on different hardware? Is this your line of thought - "It must be flamebait because it says something non-flattering about a product I like"?

    Mod's really need to learn that "flambait" and "troll" aren't the same as "Disagree with" or "don't want to hear about".

    Why would I make something like that up? Do you think I find joy in the fact that my soundcards are bastard children that linux ignores? Do you think I get off on linux not being compatable with my hardware so Bill Gates can fuck me up the ass while Steve Ballmer sodomizes my mother for another year or two? (I don't).
  • by omicronish (750174) on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @11:46AM (#8849578)

    - Linux is less complex and thus more stable

    Increased complexity may make stability more difficult to achieve, but it does not imply instability. Additionally, the core parts of Linux and Windows appear to have equal stability on the desktop. I've always been able to trace Windows blue screens to a driver, and I've had a Linux system completely freeze with error text printed to the console while accessing the CDROM.

    On the UI end, I've had crashes on both operating systems. KDE and Gnome applications have crashed on me before, but the situation has greatly improved since earlier versions. Explorer and IE crashes are rare but they still happen.

    Stability is pretty much a non-issue for me. I'm happy with the stability of either Windows or Linux on the desktop.

  • Re:gaaah. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @11:47AM (#8849602)
    The thing you don't realize though, is that these desktops already exist. Sure, if you were buying new equipment it would theoretically be more efficient to get one server and a bunch of thin clients, but who cares when you already have a bunch of workstations that you just wiped Windows off of? At least this way, you don't have to worry about everybody having to stop working if the server crashes, and the configuration is more flexible too.
  • Re:Same difference (Score:3, Insightful)

    by AKAImBatman (238306) <akaimbatman AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @11:50AM (#8849647) Homepage Journal
    Well, normally you have to use an installer even though the method you describe (copy .app folder to Applications) was the way Apple intended it to work.

    I'm typing on a Mac right now, and I can assure you that most programs come in DMG files *without* installers. The only programs with installers are ones that need to insert system components of some sort. Even Office X is as simple as drag and drop.

    However, this is beside the point. To install a typical Free/Open Source program on Mac OS X, you normally have to recompile it! And sometimes even that doesn't work, because the coders used linux-only features that are not available on the BSD-based Mac OS X.

    I use tons of Open Source on my Mac, and I have never needed to compile anything. I usually get them from OpenDarwin [opendarwin.org] via WebDAV.

    If you install software made (packaged) for Mac OS X, it's easy. But if you use Fedora and install software made (packaged) for Fedora, that's easy too. Or if you use Debian and install software made (packaged) for Debian.

    Sorry, the packages themselves tend to be easy, but almost no one is helpful enough to give you all the dependencies that you need before installing. Mac software comes with all the dependencies inside the .app file. That's why I'm able to download something like ToastCD or LAME GUI (both based on Open Source) and never have to install any dependencies.
  • DRM Counter Attack (Score:3, Insightful)

    by 4of12 (97621) on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @11:56AM (#8849721) Homepage Journal

    switching to Linux for their desktop due to expensive Windows licensing fees and high-profile security vulnerabilities.

    It's a good question how much Linux desktop deployment will occur before the first pre-installed Microsoft OS's on PCs with built-in hardware-level DRM (TCPA, etc.) begin to appear.

    That OS will be trumpeted as being "more secure" and "lets you watch videos, listen to music", which will help to sell it to the virus-weary public and to the content paranoid **AA members.

    And it's questionable whether people will even care if their PC is not "free" as in freedom as long as they're getting enough perceived benefit for not too much perceived cost.

  • Re:Training Costs (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @12:09PM (#8849926)
    Thank you, Seth. I don't know why anyone would use M$ Office in this day and age. People willingly spend $400 a seat for software they could download for free?
  • by FooBarWidget (556006) on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @12:11PM (#8849961)
    But corporate desktops is where desktop domination begins. You don't begin targeting home users - you begin targeting corporate users. Once you have a good piece of market share on the corporate desktops, it'll be easier to extend to the home desktop.

    Yes Linux has issues. These issues are constantly being worked on and are improving. Installing a printer for example is as simple as starting the printer configuration tool and have your printer autodetected. I don't have a digital camera but I heard that on desktop distros like Mandrake, the camera is automounted and an icon will automatically appear on the desktop.
    My parents for example don't install software or hardware. They just use the computer to get on the Internet, that's it. Linux is a perfectly fine option for them - they're already using it.

    But there are also other *huge* issues which are something Linux can't really do something about: the chicken & egg issues. Hardware support for example - hardware manufacturers won't support Linux until there are lots of users, and users won't use Linux until hardware manufacturers support it. Same thing for games and commercial apps.
  • Re:Seriously... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DrCode (95839) on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @12:40PM (#8850311)
    Yes, and now it's time for everyone with a specialized need to proclaim how "Linux will never catch on because the software my company uses to layout dovetails for antique desk reproductions only runs on Windows."
  • Re:Seriously... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Frizzle Fry (149026) on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @12:48PM (#8850422) Homepage
    This is the thing that most Linux critics simply don't recognize: Linux keeps improving and gets closer and closer.

    Perhaps, but the flipside of that is that most linux advocates don't seem to recognize that other operating systems are improving as well (at least here, where people love to bash Windows or the Mac by pointing out things that were true of them five years ago and are completely untrue now). So Linux can improve and still not be "closer" to them.
  • Re:We're On Board (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rah1420 (234198) <rah1420@gmail.com> on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @12:56PM (#8850510)
    . There is no Linux Corp. with 4 hour response times for business down situations.

    And I'm sure that you have that kind of service level agreement with the MSFT Channel Partner that you used to deploy your current desktop solution, right? Riiiiiiiiight.
  • by IANAAC (692242) on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @01:01PM (#8850575)
    Again, easily done. You clearly have no experience working with OpenOffice (which is superior).

    You missed the original point.
    Sure it's doable. Did you bother to look at the Subject to which you replied? Rewriting macros (they don't call them scripts in Office) is time-consuming, not to mention just plain different than what users are used to. That clearly has a cost associated with it in a real work environment.

  • by randall_burns (108052) <randall_burns.hotmail@com> on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @01:04PM (#8850628)
    The big thing that I would like to see:
    Improve Wine so that if you have a win98 license, they'll make more use of the Microsoft DLL's--and improve the installation and documentation to that installing into a situation in which Win98 already exists is _seemless_.

    What I'd ideally want here:
    Take _nothing_ away from folks that already have a Windows license on their machine(particularly if
    this is an older license)

    Add Linux functionality.

    Here at the district, we have some fokls that know that Windows networking and security is rather lacking--but they are a bit intimidated by the Linux learning curve. The fact that Novell is moving towards Linux is a big draw here. The next biggest draw IMHO would be to make the win98 machines work better so that the life of these machines can be extended--and the software can be update at lower cost than the microsoft route.

    When you are talking a cash-strapped customer with thousands of machines, those sort of things really do add up. I don't think it is just school districts-cost savings is going to be more of an issue for a lot of organizations over time--if the Linux community can simply make it clear that Linux is the logical, low cost upgrade path then in time Microsoft will feel the heat.
  • by Seth Finklestein (582901) on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @01:17PM (#8850786) Journal
    Open standards, Ian. It's all about open standards. If I write a Perl script (Perl is open-source) to parse OpenOffice's XML (whose schema is wide open), then I can easily adapt it to any other XML-based format.

    Contrast this with Microsoft Office, whose mysterious closed-source data model is ever-changing and proprietary. Nobody with any brains would develop for it.
  • Re:Seriously... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by zsz2k (743184) on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @01:24PM (#8850896)
    So what other OS is actually "done" and neither requires nor receives ongoing development?
  • by hahn (101816) on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @01:27PM (#8850948) Homepage
    "People are willing to pay for windows."

    I don't know that this is true. I think people are willing to think that it comes free with their computer purhcase. If you were to separate the costs so that they had to pay for Windows separately, or get Linux for free, you might see a difference in the "willingness" to pay.

  • by JCholewa (34629) on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @01:42PM (#8851106) Homepage
    > Windows just works, and works with more
    > hardware without extraconfiguration.

    That's not true for everybody. I had to turn ten kinds of hell to get my 5.1 audio card to work in Windows. In the end, I had to boot into Linux (which had detected it properly) to find out what the audio card's chipset was, which finally gave me enough clues to get drivers for the card.

    Yes, though, Windows has ubiquitous driver support.

    > Ummm rootkits?

    I've never been rootkitted, and I'm very horrible with security.

    > When more people switch over to
    > linux you will see more viruses out there for
    > linux because right now windows is an easy
    > targetwith a ton of machines out there.

    And how will these viruses spread? Unlike Windows, the dominant email apps for Linux do not run applications when you click on them. Unlike Windows, viruses on Linux can't take control of system files. Unlike Windows, Linux computers start up with unnecessary ports turned off.

    > People much rather write a virus that will
    > effect a much larger population.

    I don't think you get it. Why do you think that there are multiple means of package management? Why do you think that different distributions handle things differently? Why do you think that Linux advocates and Open Source Software programmers make such great strides towards making sure that applications are available not only on Linux but on other operating systems such as FreeBSD, OS X and QNX? It's because having a monoculture is *BAD*. We don't *want* every computer in the world to run Linux. That would be *stupid*, even though Linux has a far safer security model than Windows. We want operating system usage to be distributed more or less evenly among different models, just like it was in the old days, when viruses *weren't* dangerous, and when a stupid move by one OS maker didn't negatively affect every single computer user on the planet!

    > If linux was secure from viruss,why are there
    > linux virus scanners?

    They're to scan for *Windows* viruses. You know, like if you had a mail server on your Linux box? I do, and I filter mail through clamav in order to prevent infection on a Windows box if I chance to check my mail on one.

    > with linux you need to figure out why your
    > soundisnt working and then configure the driver
    > and what not and edit configfiles.

    You mean, "with linux you have at least one way of getting sound working if your sound card doesn't work". This is opposed to "with windows if your source card doesn't work you can only cry a lot and try to reboot or just buy a new sound card".

    Linux isn't perfect, and I certainly hope that no single operating system ever captures more than a quarter of the desktop or business market, because that would lead to disaster. But Linux has saved me from a ton of frustration that Windows had caused me, and it's a lot easier to use (especially installing software, which Linux reduced to a simple, single step from the more popular many-step process.

    --
    -JC
  • True, anybody can write scripts in any language that operate on OpenOffice.org documents. But what does this do for the large library of scripts already written in Microsoft Office VBA? Some organizations have concluded that the wages to pay a code monkey to rewrite mission-critical VBA scripts in an OO.o compatible language and then test them thouroughly would exceed the fees for several more years of MS Licensing 6.

  • Re:Training Costs (Score:2, Insightful)

    by wuice (71668) on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @03:23PM (#8852355) Homepage
    If you're starting from scratch, by all means go with Linux and do it now instead of later. If you have to support an old system, you can't just ignore the cost of rewriting scripts, macros, and so on into their format. If you communicate with other companies or entities, and they have their own Microsoft-centric practices, you either have to find a way to handle them or stop doing business with them. Both cost $$$.

    The reason this issue gets argued back and forth forever is because so many people think there is only one right answer. In any business situation especially, *all* factors must be considered not just the long-term benefits, or the short-term costs.

    The world don't move to the beat of just one drum. What might be right for you may not be right for some. You take the good, you take the bad, you take em both and there you have.. my slashdot post. Sit ubu sit. Good dog.
  • Not yet (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @04:10PM (#8853003)
    Many 5 years from now. Gnome and the distros themselves have to make things a lot easier for Windows users who don't know BASH shell.
    I install Windows clicking "Next" in one hour. I install Gentoo with bash language + Gentoo specific language in 3 days.
    Many years of intensive work still to come before the average user who bought his computer and his windows license switches to a new OS without the M$ toys he has on Windows, the sweet smileys of Messenger vs the dull GAIM smileys, and so forth. People love Micro$oft, Office and Messenger. Only us geeks don't like Microsoft.
    That's life.

The use of anthropomorphic terminology when dealing with computing systems is a symptom of professional immaturity. -- Edsger Dijkstra

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