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Linux Can't Kill Windows 1054

Posted by Zonk
from the that's-his-opinion-he-could-be-wrong dept.
nberardi writes "Infoworld is running an article in which the author claims 'Linux is established and has a niche that, as various pendulums swing, will grow and shrink. Show me charts and stats and benchmarks that prove Linux superior to Windows in every measure and I'll not argue with you. But no matter how much money and dedication is poured into Linux, it will never put a dent in Windows' mind share or market share because Linux is an operating system, a way -- and probably the best way -- to make system hardware do what it's told. But you can't turn Linux into a platform even if you brand it, box it, and put a pricey sticker on it.'"
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Linux Can't Kill Windows

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  • by bigtallmofo (695287) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @08:52AM (#12232487)
    Let's start with the unsensational headline of "Linux Can't Kill Windows", follow through the article to no rational arguments as to why this is, and ending with a "Stay tuned; I'll tell you all about it."

    Seems like a well-thought out article that certainly wasn't created for the purpose of increasing impressions or generating clicks to advertisers on the site.

    • by mallumax (712655) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @09:06AM (#12232638) Homepage
      "Businesses and organizations of all sizes need consistent, predictable, scalable, self-contained platforms for server solutions. Windows wins. Linux doesn't lose, because it can continue the legacy of another nonplatform, namely Unix, that needs to be refreshed and extended."

      Linux isn't scalable ? It runs on everything from ARM to huge supercomputer clusters.

      Consistent ? I will give it to him that across distributions linux is not consistent but businesses use RHEL or Novell against which all major applications like Oracle are certified.Within these distributions things are largely consistent.

      Predictable ? What is unpredictable about Linux ?

      What does self-contained mean ?

      Doesn't this article give the feeling the author has no clue about what he is talking about and has just put together some buzzwords like scalable, self-contained to create a controversial article?

      • by millennial (830897) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @09:25AM (#12232829) Journal
        "Self-Contained" means that everything you need should be in the operating system. Like a media player, a web browser, an e-mail client, an IM client, a basic Word(Pad) processor, a notepad...

        They're all integral parts of the OS, after all.
        • Oooh- and then we can get mad at the OS and make them remove all of those components.

          But realistically, that's what Linux is. A base install of RedHat will give you everything from graphics libraries, to video codecs, to a word processor, to a spreadsheet.

          As with windows, for better versions (OpenOffice, etc) you start buying/downloading.

          How is Windows better? If anything Linux has more applications put there by the vendor

          -M
      • by El_Muerte_TDS (592157) <elmuerte AT drunksnipers DOT com> on Thursday April 14, 2005 @09:28AM (#12232854) Homepage
        Down-time isn't predictable in Linux.
        • by aonaran (15651)
          Down-time isn't predictable in Linux. ...in case anyone missed how that was dripping with sarcasm....

          Sure it is, I predict that the next down-time for my linux webserver will be when I take it offline and bring the new machine online. After that there should be another downtime when new hardware needs to be added, other than hard drives which will no longer cause downtime thanks to my raid controller in the new machine which I was able to afford by not having to pay $300 for an OS and another $1000 for th
        • by _xeno_ (155264) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @10:32AM (#12233516) Homepage Journal

          Of course it is, but like all things in Linux, it requires a bit of effort to get working.

          Just add "0 0 * * * /sbin/poweroff" to your Crontab, and then you'll get your daily downtime, right on schedule too! More dedicated users may want to write a custom script to directly tell the UPS to poweroff, thereby allowing for the expected corrupted hard drives and fscks.

      • by IWorkForMorons (679120) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @09:29AM (#12232863) Journal
        Buzzwords? Inflammitory headline with no real story? Maybe he didn't write it at all. [slashdot.org]
      • No way (Score:3, Funny)

        Doesn't this article give the feeling the author has no clue about what he is talking about and has just put together some buzzwords like scalable, self-contained to create a controversial article?

        No, the problem is that you aren't being sufficiently proactive in shifting your paradigm to thinking outside the box like the author clearly has. What does scalability mean? I don't know, but I saw an IBM commercial about it during the Super Bowl, so I figure that qualifies me to write an article about it.

      • by ajs (35943)
        "I will give it to him that across distributions linux is not consistent but businesses use RHEL or Novell against which all major applications like Oracle are certified.Within these distributions things are largely consistent."

        You're correct, but let me hone that point a bit: Linux is NOT a platform. Linux is an operating system kernel, and the term loosly applied to a variety of platforms. Saying that Linux is not consistent is like saying that cars are not consistent. It's a correct statement, but also
    • by Christian Engstrom (633834) < ... piratpartiet.se>> on Thursday April 14, 2005 @09:14AM (#12232724) Homepage
      The article speaks a lot of rubbish, but it raises one valid point as well.

      To most end users, a consistent look and feel, that works right out of the box, is really important. So it's a very good thing that Linux distributions are improving in this area (which the article conveniently forgets to mention).

      For the same reason, I also think it's good to see Open Source applications adopting user interfaces that are more similar to their Windows counterparts. It may annoy some old-time Unix or Linux users to find "Options" under "Tools" rather than under "Edit" in the Firefox browser.

      But for Windows users that are looking for a safer alternative to their present browser, the chance that they'll make the switch increases with every item that works as expected when they first try it out.

      And it's only by convincing today's Windows users to switch, that Linux can avoid the fate that the article spells out.

    • by Xerp (768138)
      Indeed.

      On top a being that, it is FUD in a candy casing, this time advocating Mac OS X and Solaris.

      Wait a moment. I don't have a problem with that ;)

      But seriously, this is just word soup. A collection of marketing words and phrases neatly packaged together with little or no glue.

      Here is what my poor old brain thinks about choice components of the article:

      You can quit proclaiming Linux the Windows killer.

      I don't think many people really to proclaim that anyway. Linux is an alernative to Windows, as a
    • by Simonetta (207550) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @11:01AM (#12233849)
      Linux is the manifestation of Ayn Rand's 'rebellion of the intellect' projected in Atlas Shrugged. Computer professionals were constantly being knocked back to square one whenever management decided to change the company IT structure. Since the early 1950's it was normal to expect programmers to master a dozen languages and systems, all theoretically similar but with arbitrarily different structures. It was the modern equivalent of the Greek myth of Sisyphus, who was condemned to push a boulder to the top of a hill, only to have it roll down again, forever.
      Linux changed that. Computer professionals are telling management that they will work with one standard OS. Their OS. Designing and building it themselves and distributing it freely is a brilliant strategy to counter management's claim that some other OS was cheaper.
      All this happened concurrently with the widespread introduction of powerful inexpensive desktop computers into the workspace. Office computing adopted the Windows OS in order to maximize the productivity gains that could only be achieved by having the entire world adopt a single standard. An incredible stroke of luck for the company selling that standard. The price went to the company that was the most relentless and focused on forcing the world to adopt their standard. That company was also flexible and intelligent enough to integrate huge positive feedback loops into the process of getting the world to adopt its product. The astonishing success of the company in selling a product that the world was desperate to buy doesnt mean that they can do it again with another type of product.
      The widespread introduction of powerful inexpensive desktop computers was predicated on the condition that the performance/price ratio of the PCs would double every few years.
      The current problems that result from the conversion of all other Operating Systems to Linux are temporary. They are being addressed; they will be solved. The widespread introduction of powerful inexpensive desktop computers was predicated on the condition that the performance/price ratio of the PCs would double every few years. The entire next generation of desktop computers may find their doubling of power completely dedicated to transition from Windows to Linux. In other words, it may take a doubling of computer power to make Windows applications run on Linux with the same speed and efficiency that they currently run on Windows OS. This will be denounced as a complete waste by IT professionals. Theyre correct, but it will be a necessary step anyway.
      • I typed the above message into Microsoft Word 2000 in order to use the integrated spelling checker.
        When I cut and pasted the text from Word to the Slashdot message text box, none of the apostrophes transferred correctly. All the "don't" and "won't" became "dont" and "wont".
        Any operating system that makes its users look illiterate is doomed. It's just a matter of time.
      • Actually, plenty of computer professionals don't really care much for linux. I use it when I need to, and I use other systems when I need to, I have no linux hardon making me use linux for things it doesn't do well. Using several OSs really isn't that hard, and I get the benefits of always getting the best tool for the job.
      • by Geoffreyerffoeg (729040) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @04:58PM (#12238383)
        Linux is the manifestation of Ayn Rand's 'rebellion of the intellect' projected in Atlas Shrugged.

        I was surprised for a second to see what is half-correctly described as a "Communist" project in the role of something from Rand. Then I realized that you're correct. The strike doesn't need to involve a laissez-faire economy; it just requires a radical change from the corrupt status quo. If that's a change from a monopolized market economy to an open-source change of ideas, so be it. The strikers still refuse to work with the Old Guard.

        The one thing they need now is the concept of "intellectual property." Companies today, e.g., SCO, go so far as to claim that IP cannot be voluntarily freed (remember "the GPL violates the copyright clause of the Constitution"?), just as those from AS tried to force Rearden to release his rights to Rearden Metal. Those from Galt's Gulch set up a system strongly based on private property; the OSS hackers have a system based on voluntary and unrecompensed donations to the community. It may be the opposite economy, but it's the same underlying idea.

        When we see the blinkenlights of New York go out from the next Windows vulnerability, we will know that our job is done.
  • Long term impact (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Max Romantschuk (132276) <max@romantschuk.fi> on Thursday April 14, 2005 @08:52AM (#12232490) Homepage
    I didn't read the article.

    But history has shown that the short term impact of most new things tend to be over-estimated, whereas the long term impact tends to be under-estimated.

    Who knows where Linux will be in 20 years? I sure as hell don't, but I have a rather optimistic view.
    • by SerpentMage (13390) <ChristianHGross@@@yahoo...ca> on Thursday April 14, 2005 @09:07AM (#12232653)
      I regularly use three platforms; Windows, Linux (Fedora) and OSX. Conclusion? I cringe at having to use Windows. I find that once you learn UNIX it is faster to get anything done. Albeit you have to learn UNIX.

      Now having said that, what I see more off are peacock articles. All fluff and very little facts because the three operating systems are TOO similar. Compare it to cars. These days all of the cars are good enough! They will last four years without too many problems. So then how do you distinguish yourself? Write articles like a peacock struts its feathers, all emotional.

      The easiest way to illustrate this peacock argument is to take a bushman from the jungle and get them to figure out what a computer does. Without helping them. My guess is that the bushman will have a hard time figuring out what the mouse is for. Most likely they will use the mouse as a slingshot and head back into the jungle. I am not saying that bushmen are dumb. I am saying that computers require some upfront learning time regardless of the OS used.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        I regularly use three platforms; Windows, Linux (Fedora) and OSX. Conclusion? I cringe at having to use Windows. I find that once you learn UNIX it is faster to get anything done.

        That's your conclusion. My conclusion is that you just don't know Windows.

        For example, how many of your regular tasks have you offloaded onto the Windows Scripting host? Unix users all have their favourite scripting language, and Apple users are always blathering about how wonderful AppleScript is, but Windows has just the sa
        • For example, how many of your regular tasks have you offloaded onto the Windows Scripting host? Unix users all have their favourite scripting language, and Apple users are always blathering about how wonderful AppleScript is, but Windows has just the same functionality,..

          You know, maybe that's the case because Microsoft doesn't really push WSH? I mean, on my Linux systems Perl, Python and Bash scripts are everywhere, on my Windows systems I haven't seen a single usefull script. When you go exploring a UNI
  • Mindset (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CypherXero (798440) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @08:53AM (#12232495) Homepage
    It's the mindset of most people that keep them from using Linux. They've been using DOS and Windows for YEARS, and they're so familar with how things are, that changing that even slightly is very confusing for most people. If Linux had been in Windows place, and had 90% of the market, people would LOVE Linux and HATE Windows. Simple as that.

    For example, my dad is a Windows person, and his SO has a Mac with OS X. He can't seem to understand how OS X works, so he dissmisses it and claims that Windows is better (on the fact that he knows how to use Windows).

    It's not that Windows is "special", it's just that that's all most people know. And half those people don't know much, if anything, about Windows anyway, so it's no wonder Linux has a difficult time trying to enter the mainstream market.
    • Re:Mindset (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      That is funny. I work in technical support. I would argue with your assumption people like windows because they know how to use it. Most people have no clue how to use windows.
      • Re:Mindset (Score:3, Insightful)

        by saha (615847)
        I believe what CypherXero was saying when his father says he knows Windows, his father isn't claiming to be knowledgeable just that he's familiar with the OS and it remains in his comfort zone. The biggest resistance to change is due to people who are nervous and unsure about compatibility issues with Windows and the anticipatory frustration of learning a new system.
    • Re:Mindset (Score:5, Insightful)

      by harley_frog (650488) <harley_frog.yahoo@com> on Thursday April 14, 2005 @09:04AM (#12232618) Journal
      It's not that Windows is "special", it's just that that's all most people know. And half those people don't know much, if anything, about Windows anyway, so it's no wonder Linux has a difficult time trying to enter the mainstream market.

      Excellent point. Any OS is "difficult to learn" to a complete newbie. Someone familiar with only one OS will think that OS is the greatest and everything else is "subpar". While those users who know two or more OSes well can more easily transition from one to another, even to a totally new and unfamiliar OS. Therefore, in order for Linux or OSX to really make a major dent in the desktop arena, users need to be exposed and educated about them. That, of course, requires that the in-fighting between the various Linux distro fanboys needs to be put aside and join forces to make this happen. And that is a huge hurdle to overcome.

      • Re:Mindset (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Zate (687440) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @09:17AM (#12232747) Homepage
        Definately agree. 2 cases I have seen recently where someone who hasnt really "used" any OS wanted to try Linux. First person was a friend of mine who decided he wanted to get into IT, just on whim. He'd heard us discussing this Linux stuff so bought himself a PC (hadnt had one before) and downloaded FC3. With in 3 months he is Linux+ certified (not a big deal) and can use the OS to do anything he wants. He thinks its amazing, so simple, so easy. I got him to try Windows XP, last time he used a computer for anything major was Win95. He hated XP and is happy as can be with his Gnome/FC3. He's now looking around at other distros and learning stuff at an incredible rate. But my point is for someone who isnt familiar with either OS, either OS will do what they want just fine. Its when your set in your XP lazyness that Linux becomes difficult or confusing.

        Second point is i got my wife using tools for her everyday tasks that exist on both OS's. She isnt a power user either, most of what she does is her mommies gorups, emails, web pages, gaim and little photo editing etc etc. All of which she used open source packages to do on windows. I decided to rebuild her downstairs PC with Gentoo. Took her a day to get used to KDE, and where to find her programs. Now she just does what she used too. She doesnt miss Win XP and couldnt care less that she is using Gentoo.

        Kinda sad that I'm the tech guy and I'm the only XP user left in the house. Damn EQ2 and its inability to run on Linux.. hehe.
    • Re:Mindset (Score:3, Insightful)

      by P-Nuts (592605)

      It's not that Windows is "special", it's just that that's all most people know. And half those people don't know much, if anything, about Windows anyway, so it's no wonder Linux has a difficult time trying to enter the mainstream market.

      Why is everyone so worried about whether Linux gains market share over Windows anyway. The people who do use it find it works for them, and are a large enough base that it will continue to improve.

      Regular desktop users (non power users, non programmers) are unlikely to

    • Re:Mindset (Score:3, Insightful)

      by howlinmonkey (548055)

      I am comfortable with Linux, Windows and BSD. I have done a little dabbling with the AS400, and worked on a mainframe in college. I have no fear of the command line, or learning a new OS. The reason I still use Windows as my desktop is STABILITY.

      I know it is hard to believe that stability is an issue, but I have tried a number of Linux distros, only to have the OS go nova when I tried to install some new software, or update the base install. I am a geek, but I also have a buisness. I need my computers to w

      • Re:Mindset (Score:3, Informative)

        by drooling-dog (189103)
        Funny, I had the opposite experience, and I was more than merely "comfortable" with both sides of the fence. I used to dual-boot my desktop with Linux and WinNT, and my laptop with Linux and WinME. Then one day a couple of years ago I realized that my utilization of Windows on both platforms had dwindled to nothing; I hadn't booted it at all in 5 or 6 months. So, I reclaimed the disk space and have never regretted it one bit. And I do a lot with both machines.
      • Re:Mindset (Score:4, Interesting)

        by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Thursday April 14, 2005 @10:57AM (#12233802) Homepage Journal

        I know it is hard to believe that stability is an issue, but I have tried a number of Linux distros, only to have the OS go nova when I tried to install some new software, or update the base install.

        I've only ever had one distribution blow up on me when I installed new software, and that was SuSe Enterprise 8 sp1. I installed the development tools, and the system stopped working properly.

        Upgrades are a bad idea at best, unless you have an upgrade-in-place system like a *BSD (they often get it wrong too) or gentoo. Gentoo in particular is easy to update from version to version, and what's more it tends to work, especially if you sync soon enough after a new version announcement. :)

        You want it to be as reliable on the desktop as Windows? If installing programs blows up the OS, and upgrades don't work right, it sounds like Linux is already there. Those are "features" that Windows has had as long as there's been Windows!

  • I'm sorry (Score:5, Interesting)

    by A beautiful mind (821714) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @08:53AM (#12232497)
    This is just sensationalism. If you look at for example the server market, or the governments sector, linux is already beating up windows.

    My long term projection would be, that Linux will push Windows into a third of the market, something like 1/3 linux, 1/3 windows and 1/3 else.
    • Re:I'm sorry (Score:3, Interesting)

      If you look at for example the server market, or the governments sector, linux is already beating up windows.

      And did you look? According to IDC, Windows has a larger server marketshare than Linux, and that trend will continue with Windows dominating 60% of the market by 2008.

      Even if the numbers are arguable, the idea that Linux "beats up" the server market is nothing more than a little fib the Linux advocates tell themselves to feel better. MS is doing quite well on servers.

      Linux has done very very well
  • by Ckwop (707653) * <Simon.Johnson@gmail.com> on Thursday April 14, 2005 @08:53AM (#12232498) Homepage
    Will the /. editors stop posting flamebait articles?

    Simon.
  • I disagree (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 14, 2005 @08:53AM (#12232499)
    "But you can't turn Linux into a platform even if you brand it, box it, and put a pricey sticker on it."

    What does branding it, boxing it and putting on a price tag, have to do with a tool doing a job?
  • Vaguest article... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 14, 2005 @08:53AM (#12232500)
    ...of all time? I could barely extract a single coherent, definite statement out of that. I'm not even sure why I'm typing out this post; the only justified response would be a post consisting of the single word:

    what

    Very poor indeed.

  • I disagree (Score:5, Interesting)

    by suso (153703) * on Thursday April 14, 2005 @08:54AM (#12232505) Homepage Journal
    Last week I gave a class [suso.org] about Linux to 4 people who haven't used it yet. They were blown away because they didn't realize it had a desktop and all the fancy programs that Windows has. I think what really is hurting Linux is just myth. That myth is that Linux is just a text interface for servers or something like that.
    • Re:I disagree (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Noksagt (69097) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @09:21AM (#12232790) Homepage
      They were blown away because they didn't realize it had a desktop and all the fancy programs that Windows has.
      I use Linux on the desktop. I'm in the sciences, so many peers do the same. A long-time colleague in an adjacent office walked in, glanced at my desktop, and said "I thought you ran Linux."

      All I had displayed was the fluxbox window manager with firefox, gvim, and a matplotlib window from a python session.

      I had to switch vterms to convince him, as I was running Linux, as he also assumed Linux was all CLI.

      He should've known better too: He wasn't some PHB, but someone who used X11 and fink under OS X! If those who are as technically literate as this don't get Linux, how will the "average consumer" ever get it?
      • by hey! (33014) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @11:35AM (#12234237) Homepage Journal
        That sounds like an advertisement:

        Announcer: We're here at the Vigneswara Call Processing Center in Bangalore, India, where we've secretly replaced the customer service reps' Windows XP with Linux. Let's listen in.

        Operator: Wow! That went completely smoothly.

        Announcer: Did you know we replaced your Windows with Linux?

        Operator: Impossible! Where's the bitter CLI taste?

        Announcer (tapping the keyboard a few times): Right here!

        Operator: Amazing! Can I work a third consecutive shift please?

        Supervisor (shocked): they never ask for a third shift with Windows!

    • Re:I disagree (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Lumpy (12016)
      90% of the people here that pan linux as too hard or driver limited are working from information that is so out of date it is not funny or blatent FUD.

      I have YET to find a desktop machine that mandrake 10.1 will not install onto and have everything configured after 1st reboot. (external scanners and cameras not included.)

      and yes, I have personally tried it on 12 different dell, 11 different compaq (including proliant servers), about 20 different generic, and about 6 different laptops. we had an installfe
  • by zoobab (201383) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @08:55AM (#12232515)
    A way to fight network effect is to have platform independent applications.

    The web is a first step.

    XUL and other technologies like thsi is one step is the right direction.

    Open and RF standards are also a key in this process.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 14, 2005 @08:55AM (#12232518)
    Linux Can't Kill Windows
    One fundamental difference guarantees that Windows will continue to dominate

    By Tom Yager
    April 13, 2005

    You can quit proclaiming Linux the Windows killer.

    ADVERTISEMENT

    Linux is established and has a niche that, as various pendulums swing, will grow and shrink. Show me charts and stats and benchmarks that prove Linux superior to Windows in every measure and I'll not argue with you. But no matter how much money and dedication is poured into Linux, it will never put a dent in Windows' mind share or market share because Linux is an operating system, a way -- and probably the best way -- to make system hardware do what it's told. But you can't turn Linux into a platform even if you brand it, box it, and put a pricey sticker on it.

    Businesses and organizations of all sizes need consistent, predictable, scalable, self-contained platforms for server solutions. Windows wins. Linux doesn't lose, because it can continue the legacy of another nonplatform, namely Unix, that needs to be refreshed and extended.

    The practical need to keep Unix around isn't rooted in nostalgia or misguided conviction. There may be times when you're convinced that the solution you need doesn't exist as a whole. The total solutions that exist might be too confining or expensive, or -- as is sometimes the showstopper for me -- simply closed. Open source Unix, in which category I place Linux, BSD, and Darwin (the OS layer of Apple's OS X), is a 500,000-piece bag of Legos that comes with some drawings and a few models you can use, build on, or tap into as references for your own creations. On paper, an OS is an ideal place to start building, because you get to choose everything that sits above it and presumably you know just what belongs in each of those gaps between your hardware and your application. You see, while developers can write to an operating system's default API, they'll spend most of their time encapsulating and abstracting low-level system calls to create what is, in effect, an application platform.

    No one is so foolish as to make what can be acquired cheaply or free; it's wiser to pick one from among hundreds of platforms and modules that fill in the holes between open source Unix and your applications.

    In contrast, Windows fills in all the blocks between the hardware and your apps. It does it in ways that you can't alter, but which you can use in different ways. You can code with the tools of your choice and in the programming language of your choice, and unless you stray too far from the rule book, everything you create will interoperate with everything others write for Windows. An operating system is a rack into which device drivers and APIs are inserted. A platform is a rack into which applications are inserted.

    Linux and Windows don't compete. Sun Microsystems (Profile, Products, Articles) sees this as an opportunity and has struggled mightily to position the combination of Solaris and Java as a platform. It almost makes it. I'd choose J2EE and Solaris over Linux for nonuser-facing server applications in shops that have expert administrators. But, similar to Linux and other flavors of Unix, Solaris is a nonstarter on clients, and that's enough to hurt its capability of competing with Windows. There is only one platform that can stand toe-to-toe with Windows, and that's the combination of OS X and Java.

    Stay tuned; I'll tell you all about it.

  • by Jearil (154455) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @08:55AM (#12232522) Homepage
    Linux isn't really about killing Windows off.. whoever thought that the primary idea behind Linux when it was created was to make MS go bankrupt and for no one in the world to ever use Windows is a bit dilusional. Linux is an alternative. It's a choice. The same thing could be said in reverse: Windows Can't Kill Linux.

    There's too many people who are interested with tinkering.. with having something being totally customizable if they take their time. With being free and able to run their computer the way they want. Is this the majority of people? Not even close! But it's enough that Linux will sustain itself in spite of any FUD MS and crew would throw at it.

    Who cares if Linux never overtakes Windows? I know before I discovered it in '98, I thought I was doomed to the endless update/virus/adware world that everyone else was in (except those crazy mac people.. which now due to the mac mini I am one as well.. side tracking....)

    Anyway, the point being.. Linux is strong due to it's following, and has great potential to do quite a few things Windows has troubles with. The choice is there for anyone to pick up that option if they so choose. What's the big deal?
  • Wrong wrong wrong (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Weaselmancer (533834) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @08:56AM (#12232529)

    From the article:

    Businesses and organizations of all sizes need consistent, predictable, scalable, self-contained platforms for server solutions.

    I thought Windows was winning on the desktop? Isn't that what we're always hearing?

    Linux and Windows don't compete.

    Ok, so the whole "Get The Facts" campaign was done just for grins?

    Open source Unix, in which category I place Linux, BSD, and Darwin (the OS layer of Apple's OS X), is a 500,000-piece bag of Legos that comes with some drawings and a few models you can use, build on, or tap into as references for your own creations.

    Also wrong. There are distros that are like that, but there are distros that aren't. Linux offers choice, and not just the "bag of Legos" kind.

    And, just in case the article author reads this...ever hear of Wine? As soon as Wine gets DCOM working correctly and Installshield working right, it won't matter to Joe User if the OS is Linux or Windows, just so long as he can install TurboTax and Doom3. Check back in a few years, and we'll see if you're singing a different tune.

  • Opinions (Score:3, Insightful)

    by lemnik (835774) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @08:57AM (#12232541)

    Linux cannot make a dent??? I'd say it already has, else why is M$ running "Get the facts"?

    That said, there is an important point here: Linux probably won't "kill" windows, it will be RedHat, or Mandrake, or Debian, or even Linspire :/

    Linux at it's heart is nothing more than a Kernel, it's a GNU/Linux distro that people ultimatly install (mostly anyway).

  • by ites (600337) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @08:57AM (#12232542) Journal
    Linux as a brand cannot compete with Windows, because Linux is not a brand, not a product. There is not even a single definition of what "Linux" is, except a bunch of software running on top of a specific kernel.

    Even the concept of "competition" is a straw man.

    Linux represents a total, brutal, and unstoppable commoditization of technology that follows the same rules which drive "Moore's Law". When you remove the costs of improving a technology, its marginal cost will fall to zero as people compete to be the key suppliers.

    Software is basically becoming free, and this is what will kill Windows, whether or not it's something called "Linux" that takes over.

    Most likely, "Linux" will never become more than a niche OS, excellent for servers but rare for desktops. But what it represents - unlimited and perfect software at no cost - will, inevitably, rule the desktop as it will rule every single computing platform, for the simple reason that no amount of lock-in or marketing is going to get people to keep paying more than the going rate for a commodity.

    Apple's strategy - where the OS and a bunch of software is basically thrown in for free - is the trend of the future.

    I hate to say it, because I truly love using Microsoft's well-engineered products, but between the commoditization of their core markets and the parasites eating their way in from the internets, they are dead, Linux or no Linux.
    • I hate to say it, because I truly love using Microsoft's well-engineered products

      Me too, I really like their optical mice. They feel more comfortable in my hands than a Logitech or generic brand.

      Oh, wait, you were talking about Windows? Well Engineered? To quote Dan Akroyd: Jane, you ignorant slut.... ;)

  • by Raul654 (453029) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @08:57AM (#12232543) Homepage
    His first sentence is right on the money - "Linux is established and has a niche". So the question is - what is holding it back? And here, he misses the bleeding obvious - every single one of his points (from TFA - the reasons to keep unix or windows around, the cost analysis, etc) is flatly wrong or misses the mark. The answer is, I think, obvious --- Linux is the OS designed by geeks, for geeks. It's the classic example of overengineering the wheel. The problem is, I have yet to see an interface for *nix that does as good as job as windows does of 'packing everything under the hood' and making an operating system that (as a friend of mine, the chief sysadmin for Connectiv would say) "protects users from their own stupidity". When someone can come up with an interface that is as intuitive and user-friendly as windows, then (and only then) can linux hope to compete in the desktop market.
  • by ehack (115197) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @09:06AM (#12232643) Journal
    Platform is the new brand buzzword. Windows is a Platform. Anything that does not have rock-firm foundations is a platform - ie what used to be called middleware before. By that standard, the GNU utilities are a platform, Linux is not.

  • by Knights who say 'INT (708612) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @09:09AM (#12232669) Journal
    Step 1. Run Bochs or VMWare.

    Step 2. Install Windows on [Bochs|VMWare] environment.

    Step 3. Run it.

    Step 4. kill -9 `ps ax | grep [bochs|vmware]

    Step 5. Sing "tadaaaa".

    Step 6. Skip the question marks and profit.
  • by foxtrot (14140) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @09:09AM (#12232684)
    He believes Linux isn't a "whole platform", and I can see where he gets that idea-- Linux isn't very unified (Do have KDE or Gnome? [0]) and anyone who hasn't dealt with a modern package manglement system has dealt with Dependency Hell.

    So let's imagine some company, we'll call them Red Hat, to pull a bogus name out of thin air, and let's say they were to take this Linux thing, and make a nice standardized platform out of it. People ship you an application, you take your server, we'll call it a "Red Hat Enterprise Server" or something like that, and you can simply load the app on it and run it. They wouldn't say their app runs on Linux. They'd say their app runs on Red Hat.

    To him, _that_ would be a platform, and that would have a chance at taking on Windows. It would be Linux behind the scenes, but it's more that just Linux.

    Too bad nobody's ever going to do something like that.

    -JDF

    [0] Thankfully, even if you generally only see one of these, you can still have the other behind the scenes and run stuff intended for either...
  • by Lehk228 (705449) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @09:16AM (#12232737) Journal
    Linux Can't Kill Windows

    I see someone didn't try to dual boot Fedora Core 2
  • by pvera (250260) <pedro.vera@gmail.com> on Thursday April 14, 2005 @09:37AM (#12232923) Homepage Journal
    Is the real goal to come out with a great OS? Or is it to kill Microsoft?

    Ever heard that BSD is for geeks that love Unix, while Linux is for geeks that hate Microsoft?
  • by delire (809063) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @09:47AM (#12233039)
    To some extent he has a point, though it was never the intent of Linux (if one can name it as an entity) to 'Kill' Windows. Linux's performance offerings are known and overtly apparent to the computer consuming world, but the "Windows came with the PC" | "I don't like changes" renders adopting Linux as difficult as a name change for many; even when a distribution like Mepis proves that installing Linux is several degrees easier than Windows itself.

    Regardless, performance enhancements pull few punters other than power-users and those responsible for large mission critical deployments. The curious are simply an exception (myself included). This of course is statistically proven to be changing, but will happen most largely at the enterprise level, where people just simply find themselves working with Linux one day, and perhaps even decide they like it enough for home use.

    Perhaps another thing worth mentioning, on the level of branding is the Repitition-Produces-Comfort factor - people see WinXP at the boot promp and thus can project their workflow as a continuation of work done on another machine. I see that alot here at the university, which has both Fedora and XP on all machines. With Linux comes a strange kind of noise, for many; a class of noise called 'Choice'. Linux, as a self-defying entity (in the public imagination) cannot be summarised in the mind.

    Linux has a poor image precisely because it doesn't have one.

    It also needs to be said that Linux is fairly young, and so attempts at branding are even younger. Perhaps the weight of Novell can change that with a little constructive meme production. I disagree however OSX will have any real foothold, sitting at about 2.9% in desktop share it's as 'niche', or even more niche than that of Linux. OSX has a thick glass ceiling that Linux doesn't have, a brutal dependency: OSX requires not only a certain build, but a certain vendor of hardware. There is a reason we aren't seeing an uptake of OSX in offices and enterprise operations. This is one area Linux is making great headway.

    What will pull people over to Linux are Linux exclusive third party applications that lead people by the nose of their own creative and productive ambitions. And yes, I wouldn't discredit the possibility that proprietary apps could seed the swell of change in this regard. Imagine what a Final Cut Pro or powerful multi-track hard disk recorder (perhaps ) could do for the adoption of Linux in Universities for instance. It certainly worked for Linux in Hollywood. Naturally this requires alot of development capital ultimately justified against an isolated, and quantifiable target market. Linux users as it stands are certainly far from that. Chickens and eggs perhaps.
  • So what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Beolach (518512) <beolach@@@juno...com> on Thursday April 14, 2005 @10:28AM (#12233473) Homepage Journal
    You know, I honestly don't care if this is true or not. So what if Linux can't kill Windows? Windows can't kill Linux, that I'm positive of. And that's really all I care about. Sure it'd be nice if enough people abandoned Windows in favor of Linux to "kill" Windows, but whether that happens or not, I can still use Linux to my hearts content. If other people continue to use & support Microsoft, that's up to them, and while it will have some effect on me, I doubt it will be a significant enough effect for me to really care.
  • by H0ek (86256) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @10:29AM (#12233493) Homepage Journal
    1991 : Linux? A plaything for college students. It'll never work like *real* Unix.
    1996 : Linux? So it makes a simple web server. It'll never scale as an enterprise server.
    2001 : Linux? Yeah, it's nice for my enterprise servers, but it'll never give end-users any satisfaction.
    2005 : Linux? So hackers have pretty desktop. Didja see the effort they had to go to make it work? It'll never be easy enough for our secretary Jane Typist.

    Nope, Linux will never compete. Not even that Novell Linux Desktop that has proliferated our workplace and made every desktop look the same (but secure). It'll never happen.
  • by radarsat1 (786772) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @10:34AM (#12233547) Homepage
    I think what's needed is a good bridge between the two operating systems. You can get people to walk over to the dark side (mouahahaha) without giving them a bridge. The bridge between Windows and Linux is cross-platform apps, like Firefox and OpenOffice. Get everyone using these apps, and then point out to them that "hey, you could actually use the exact same apps on linux, why are you paying for windows?"

    You have to take things one step at a time. First the apps, then the operating system. Change everything at once and it won't work.

    I've gotten a couple of people using Firefox, and .. like... ONE person using OpenOffice. Since everything's working fine they have no need to switch OS, but if their Windows installations ever got totally bunged, I might suggest Linux.. and since they're already using these apps, I think they might be more open to it. Of course, they're using Firefox now so spyware isn't much of a problem for them... so the chances of them needed to switch OS is down about 90%... ah the irony..
  • it's like combat (Score:4, Interesting)

    by CAIMLAS (41445) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @10:40AM (#12233610) Homepage
    It's like combat: the force with the superior size and resources is going to be unbeatable until they make a major tactical or technical mistake. Use the Iraqi War if you want an analogy: the US is cleaning shop, and it's because of superior technology, tactics, and sheer size (of the establishment, not the deployment). Training, too: Windows (say, all the futuristic military tech) is damn easy to set up and install, and everyone knows how to use it, so anyone can use it. Linux, on the other hand (say, a trial-and-error mortar system) is difficult to use for someone unfamiliar with it than Windows is, and it's not always as straightforward to get a system up and running.

    The Vietnam War would be a good example of how the superior force (size and resources) can still lose. Shitty M-16 rifles, poor coordination, and the disadvantage of not being on home ground (ie, the other side had "home team" advantage) all made things difficult for them. If Linux were to get a wide corporate install base, I think things would slowly start to get away from Microsoft.

    Also, I think RedHat (the company) is a big problem for Linux adoption. Their support is pretty bad, and they tend to still have a very "non-corporate" software attitude. Bug in your kernel? "Here, try this beta kernel." It's not a very corporate-friendly attitude, in my opinion. Are there any other good corporate options out there? No, not really, unfortunately.
  • by Atreide (16473) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @10:43AM (#12233636)
    10 years ago IT was only beginning to look at Windows and did not seriously thought of Windows for most of their server infrastructure.
    Now people say the same thing but about Linux.

    Why did Microsoft succeeded ?
    1/ network integration with personnal computers
    2/ marketing
    3/ ease of use
    4/ price compared to Unix systems
    5/ drivers & software

    Points 1 and 2 are Linux weakness.
    Point 3 had a lot of improvements.
    Point 4 : Linux is at advantage (until you dont buy Red Hat Server that costs more than W2003 SRV).
    Point 5 is improving for linux.

    Some experiment in our corp. We wanted to use Linux to host antivirus repositories & Windows Update Service & hardware+software inventory tools. None of the tools we selected work with Linux. Therefore we have to pay a W2003 for each box... hardware : 1300 euros, system : 700 euros, software : free or licenced per user. We plan to have tens of such computers.
    The lack of software compatible with Linux costs a lot of money. And slows down the propagation of Linux.
  • by ezavada (91752) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @11:37AM (#12234266)
    It has killed the main thing that made Windows immortal. It destroyed the perception widely held in the early 90s that everything would eventually move to Windows. As a result, people are willing to consider alternate platforms, and those who take them up are more often than not finding advantages.

    I love the work Apple has done with OS X, but without Linux having broken the "Windows everywhere" mindset, OS X wouldn't be getting much attention.

    Increasingly, computer experts are seeing a OS monoculture as a bad thing, which is a huge change from the early 90s. And it was Linux that made that possible.
  • by smcdow (114828) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @11:41AM (#12234309) Homepage
    ... I'd be a lot more worried about GoogleOS than Linux.

    But I'm not Microsoft, so instead I'm looking forward to both GoogleOS and future versions of Linux.
  • by retro128 (318602) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @01:04PM (#12235343)
    I think the one thing that's really slowing Linux on the desktop uptake are all the dependency nightmares and package inconsistencies. Yeah, things like yum, apt-get, emerge, et al have made things a lot easier, but they are not perfect. Last night I was trying to apt-get (I hate yum with a passion) proftpd on my FC3 box and no matter what I tried in the config, users could not authenticate - I kept getting "bad password" in the logs. I ended up compiling from source and guess what, it started working. Apparently the binary package had something funky going on with its UNIX auth module.

    And then there's this thing that happened yesterday. I'm experimenting with groupware and picked up Conflux. My boss walks in and sees me looking at the demo site they have, and says "that looks cool, install it". It was winding down to the end of the day, and I say "Eh, I'll do it tomorrow", to which he says "You just can't click on the "Install" icon?"

    That's when I told him the tale of how I had to get the following operational on the system first: apache2, python, mod_python, postgres, and a smattering of other libraries. Then I had to write the config files to make it all work together. And I've never worked with postgres, so I don't even know how to define users or a database in it yet.

    The moral of this story is that installing software on any flavor of Linux is still a royal pain that Joe user won't tolerate. Without a unified base distro and a universal package management system, that will never change.
  • business lingo (Score:3, Informative)

    by pikine (771084) on Thursday April 14, 2005 @01:26PM (#12235634) Journal

    Many comments so far criticise the article with a technologician's understanding of the words "scalability", "consistency", "predictability", and "self-contained." However, we have to realize that this article is targeted to businesspersons. These words have a different understanding in a business sense. I try to point out the "business meaning" here and reassess Linux on those merits.

    If you don't care about businesses using Linux, then what I say here is a waste of time for you, and you can skip the rest.

    1. Scalability does not mean excatly if a computing cluster can scale from a few nodes to a huge number of nodes. But rather, in a more general sense, can I scale the system from one solution to another solution? In particular, if I change my business model, can my solutions scale with me?

      This also includes scalability in size as one factor. As the business grows, the solution must also scale in size, therefore the underlying platform must also scale.

      The problem with Linux here is that there is a high initial cost of deployment in labor, though justified by the software being free and low maintenance thereafter. However, the high cost of labor in deployment must be paid again whenever a new solution is deployed. So Linux is not scalable for new deployments. The fact that many businesses, especially those migrating from Windows, need a pilot program already says that Linux costs too much.

      Windows by itself also has a similar cost of labor for deployment, but asset management solutions exist that lower that cost. (OpenCountry is selling software for Linux asset management though, but don't accuse me of putting a plug here. You did not read this text inside the parentheses.)

    2. Consistency, in the sense that if I learn one thing about an application, then it also applies to another application. People in business do not have time to learn everything over and over. Training only makes sense because supposedly you learn everything you need to know.

      The difference in distributions is only one minor factor to inconsistency in Linux. The problem is that user experiences are different for applications like OpenOffice.org, Firefox, GNOME desktop environment, KDE, etc. A trick or two that you learn to do is not "portable" to another application.

      There is no hope for consistency if open source developers only care about programming for their own itches. Fortunately, many developers are willing to stick to a certain guideline if it means more people can benefit from the program.

    3. Predictability is the ability to answer for "what if" scenarios. Although systems crash unpredictably, but it has become a general expectation that all systems fail at some point. One must be able to tell "what if that happens?" Who do you turn to in order to get help? For commercial products, including commercialized Linux distributions, you turn to the vendor from whom you bought support. If you reaped a free version of Linux distribution, all you can do is search the web for an answer. It is unpredictable where you get your answers, how much time it takes to get it, or if you'd even get your answers at all.

    4. Self-containedness, if you take that to mean all-in-one packaging, then Linux distributions are much more feature rich than a Windows installation CD. However, it should be taken to mean "what solutions can I buy for $10,000?" You may say "infinite" because "Linux is free." But that also means you can't buy a free Linux solution with money. An ideal business is that you invest in some money, you get profit from it, then you reinvest the money for growth, which earns you more money more quickly. Money is self-contained; Linux is not contained in money.

      Again, commercial Linux distributions come close by pulling Linux into the circle of money. Linux vendors should go further to sell prepackaged solution to business. Heck, they should even sell a business model if they know how. Notice that Microsoft actually

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