Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Microsoft Software Linux

Stopping Linux Desktop Adoption Sabotage 616

Posted by Zonk
from the fair-play-is-for-the-birds dept.
Mark Brunelli, News Editor writes "Outspoken IT consultant John H. Terpstra believes that Microsoft and electronics manufacturers are working together to hinder the adoption of Linux on the desktop. In a three part series, he tells a story about how two guys trying to buy Linux desktops found they were overpriced, and lacked certain tools. He then describes how Microsoft uses its considerable resources and the law to create such roadblocks. (Part 2, Part 3)"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Stopping Linux Desktop Adoption Sabotage

Comments Filter:
  • Not Forever (Score:4, Insightful)

    by gregbains (890793) <greg_bains@hotTOKYOmail.com minus city> on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @05:29PM (#13821172) Homepage Journal
    Theres only so much you can push people. Windows XP did not deliver what people thought it would and Vista won't achieve what it set out to do, and updates take too long coming. Many people I know are or will switch to Linux in the near future because it makes more sense in the long run. Keep pushing people and they will try something else, look at Firefox or Opera. All it takes is a little piece of information to hit the public and people will begin to learn more about it, and adopt it.
    • Re:Not Forever (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Billly Gates (198444)
      ... but I kid you not there will be folks waiting at midnight at the local compusa for WIndows Vista assuming it will be the os to fix their problems.

      MS won and is a monopolist and will do everything to keep people in. Until people leave software developers will only target windows. People dont care about oses and use whatever comes with their computer.

      This is how ms won.

      • And where google will win ;)

        Web services are the future so this OS importance issue will be less and less of an issue as the technologies mature.

        • Re:Not Forever (Score:5, Insightful)

          by geomon (78680) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @06:23PM (#13821765) Homepage Journal
          "Web services are the future so this OS importance issue..."

          In which case, Microsoft wins by default. With the largest installed userbase, they will still benefit from a full migration to web services. You will still need an OS to get to the internet regardless of whether everything is web-based.

          The push for Linux will only come from the education market. When more children grow up in a UNIX-based world, then their preference will drive their purchase. It worked for Apple and Microsoft.
          • Re:Not Forever (Score:4, Interesting)

            by Vancorps (746090) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @07:42PM (#13822519)
            I fail to see how web services in any way forced people to go with Windows. I just created a web based Auction application that works whether your are on OS X, any distro of Linux, my XBox, and yeah, most any version of Windows too.

            My point is that web apps free the user from the OS. The OS is still needed and I wasn't suggesting otherwise. The OS however becomes irrelevent when your cell phone can open a web based app just like a desktop with Windows can.

            As for you second statement I believe you are again incorrect. Colleges are where Unix was more or less born. That didn't result in a mass migration. In fact the opposite happened at the same time most probably due to hardware expenses.
          • Re:Not Forever (Score:3, Insightful)

            by westlake (615356)
            When more children grow up in a UNIX-based world, then their preference will drive their purchase. It worked for Apple and Microsoft.

            My niece began with XP at age four. Windows is in her home and in her hand every day. Something she can touch.

            • Re:Not Forever (Score:5, Informative)

              by geomon (78680) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @10:29PM (#13823563) Homepage Journal
              My niece began with XP at age four. Windows is in her home and in her hand every day. Something she can touch.

              Get her a copy of Knoppix and by age seven she will be knocking out bash scripts.

              Linux is what my daughters started with and what they prefer to use. One is sixteen and the other is eleven.

              • Re:Not Forever (Score:3, Interesting)

                by Burz (138833)
                Sometimes I think that's what the XBox is all about: "Get them while they're young."

                Just as important is what Linux can "see and touch". So I will put this very un-subtley: HCL! HCL! HCL! HCL! Live by your distro's Hardware Compatability List and demand Linux compatability before you buy. That kind of pressure is the only way we'll get hardware mfgs to back-off from their MS "special relationships", their Vista-Gfx cards, their WinCableModem cards, etc.

                Someone recently asked me if Linux was compatible with
      • Re:Not Forever (Score:3, Insightful)

        by kubevubin (906716)

        For many, Vista will be the OS that fixes their problems. I've tried several times (without luck) to switch to Linux, but what would typically be a simple task in Windows (i.e. installing video card drivers) becomes an exercise in frustration in Linux.

        Now, before you inevitably mod me down as a troll, hear me out...

        You know what the #1 thing is that's working against Linux adoption? Its open nature. Yes, it's fantastic that everyone and their mother can potentially modify it to their liking, but how man

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

          by rtb61 (674572)
          No, windows for workgroups will be the OS that fixes their problems.

          No, windows 95 will be the OS that fixes their problems.

          No, windows 98 will be the OS that fixes their problems.

          No, windows NT 3.5 will be the OS that fixes their problems.

          No, windows NT 4 will be the OS that fixes their problems.

          No, windows 98 second edition will be the OS that fixes their problems.

          No windows ME will be the OS that fixes their problems (I gagged when I typed that ;-)).

          No, windows 2000 will be the OS that fixe

        • Re:Not Forever (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Master of Transhuman (597628) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @09:26PM (#13823232) Homepage

          I don't know where to begin - virtually everything you said is total bullshit.

          "what would typically be a simple task in Windows (i.e. installing video card drivers) becomes an exercise in frustration in Linux."

          Wrong - installation of Linux is easier than Windows PROVIDED the hardware is supported - which is the point of the article. If the manufacturers refuse to support Linux because they are being bribed by Microsoft (and incredibly charged by Microsoft for developing drivers, why they put up with that is insane), Linux has a problem, sure. The Chinese will solve that one in due time and put the US hardware manufacturers out of business in the process, as the article states. US IT hardware manufacturers (ARE there any who don't buy components from Asia?) are doomed. Resellers like Dell will go down as well.

          Meanwhile, the only REAL hardware problems with Linux relate to stuff that is extremely new or stuff that is incredibly old. People who want to use Linux shouldn't buy a video or wireless card that came out last week, it's that simple.

          Another thing that needs to be done is that the big corps who DO support Linux - like IBM - need to start leaning on the peripheral manufacturers. Here, again, I expect IBM's deep connection with the Chinese will produce results.

          "how many different distros are there, and how many of those distros can you typically find easy-to-install driver/software packages for?"

          Utterly irrelevant. Nine-nine percent of the existing distros are used by people (read: geeks) who happen to like installing new distros. Any NORMAL consumer will end up with Red Hat/Fedora, Mandriva, SUSE, Sun JDS, or possibly Debian (and maybe Linspire) - for all of which there are easy-to-install software package management systems and available software.

          The average consumer has never HEARD of any other Linux distro and never will. In fact, the main issue with the uptake in Linux is simply the fact that ninety-nine percent of the computer buying public has STILL never heard of Linux at all.

          "And for something that's supposed to be free, I find it quite amusing how many distros' developers end up devising some under-handed method to charge for their work."

          Clueless. Linux is supposed to be free-as-in-freedom. It does not have to be "free-as-in-beer" - but ninety percent of the time it is if you have the bandwidth to download a few CD ISOs or you can afford twenty bucks to buy CDs on eBay. Virtually all the big distros make their money on various methods of support. Why is that underhanded? Nobody said they have to work for free even if the software is free. Is it better that Microsoft charges a minimum of $100 for their OS (and we're talking the obsolete Windows 98 here) and THEN charges a couple hundred for support?

          "Insightful", my ass. There should be a mod for "clueless and arrogant" - or maybe "Windows shill."
    • Re:Not Forever (Score:3, Interesting)

      by westlake (615356)
      Theres only so much you can push people. Windows XP did not deliver what people thought it would and Vista won't achieve what it set out to do, and updates take too long coming.

      How do you explain numbers like these? OS Platform Stats: [w3schools.com] XP with a 70% share, up 40% from March 2003. Linux and OSX at 3% each, no change.

      • Re:Not Forever (Score:4, Informative)

        by LiquidCoooled (634315) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @07:18PM (#13822321) Homepage Journal
        XP is up because they stopped "selling" the other Windows operating systems.
        Most "sales" of XP come from pre-installed setups.

        People go out to buy a computer that can run all the software in the local PC world or game store - at the moment, that is a Microsoft OS.

        Times are changing though, and more space is being given to the alternative OS's.
        Its kind of like the time when "PC" software was nowhere to be found and all the stores were filled with Amiga/ST stuff.

        Windows will not be dominant forever, it will be replaced just like everything else.
  • Genius (Score:5, Funny)

    by suso (153703) * on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @05:29PM (#13821181) Homepage Journal
    "Outspoken IT consultant John H. Terpstra believes that Microsoft and electronics manufacturers are working together to hinder the adoption of Linux on the desktop

    Wow, this guy is a genius for his insight. I really should read what he has to say now.
  • by gelfling (6534) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @05:29PM (#13821185) Homepage Journal
    Bottom line if this is true then your company is being price gouged and being offered inferior goods and services ON purpose so that WilliamSoft can play out his personal Passion Play against imaginary enemies.

    This would be worthy of Federal Prosecution.
    • Yet you can't prove it.

      The doj tried that and no pc manufactor dared go up agaisnt MS out of fears they would be priced out of windows and office. The only thing they could go on was an email from balmer talking about cutting off netscapes air supply.

      This is just business as usual.

  • I'm surprised that MS hasn't gotten either the GPL (or the concept of Open Source) legislated out of practice yet. After all, supposedly what's good for Business (and to most legislators MS==IT) is what's supposed to be good for america.

  • by js3 (319268) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @05:31PM (#13821212)
    I guess he can apply it to the rest of the world
  • by KiltedKnight (171132) * on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @05:32PM (#13821223) Homepage Journal
    When I recently went to purchase a laptop from HP Shopping, because I wanted a 64-bit laptop and they were one of the few actually offering it at lower prices, I ended up having all kinds of grief, having an old-fashioned "fuck you" fight with the customer service desk.

    It went something like this...

    I started customizing the zv6000 laptop, choosing XP Home, knowing that I probably wouldn't get reasonable tech support without having it installed (never mind that there wasn't an option to not get it). As I got to the end, I looked around for a way to request custom partitioning of the hard drive. No dice. So I cancelled the order and wrote to HP Shopping and asked if they could do a custom partitioning job because I wanted to create a dual-boot system.

    The response I got was that they couldn't do it and that they were sorry the web site didn't suit my needs.

    I responded by asking if they could sell me a blank laptop and provide the installation media on the side, since it was included, and I didn't feel like trying to reinstall the recovery partition for Windows. This is why you don't get installation media... they put it all on a partition on the hard drive that only the Windows installer can use.

    Their reply was that they were contractually obligated to sell the laptop with the latest version of Windows installed.

    So I told them that they just lost a sale because of their contractual obligations, and that I would take my money elsewhere.

    So they replied again with how they were sorry that the website didn't suit my needs and that they would notify the appropriate people.

    Now they've pushed my buttons... so I tell them that this is not about a web site, it's about a person sitting there running an FDISK command and watching the install take place instead of just using a ghosting program. I also tell them that I would've been willing to wait an extra couple of weeks, knowing I was asking for a truly customized job.

    In the end, I did get an HP laptop, but got it from CompUSA. I got the HP L2000, and for about $40, the tech desk people there were able to do the customized partitioning job for me, reinstall the version of Windows that came with it, and leave me with blank, unformatted partitions to use for Fedora Core 4 x86_64. The tech guys there knew exactly what I wanted to do, understood it, and thought it was really cool. Yes, I need ndiswrappers to get the wireless card to work, and I have to download a driver for the ATI graphics card in there (both are available via a yum archive at livna.org).

    Now if only we could get Macromedia to release a 64-bit version of the flash player and Sun to do a 64-bit verison of Java... (yes, I know about the OSS alternatives... doesn't change the fact that they need to do it).

    • by Chanc_Gorkon (94133) <gorkon&gmail,com> on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @05:48PM (#13821404)
      You have to understand that for HP to hire a guy that is knowledgable enough (not that it takes much) costs HP money in both the position as well as training costs. Look, I like Linux as much as the next guy, but is it worth the extra money to HP for doing your custom partitioning?? No it isn't. Is it worth HP's money and time to do a custom job on your laptop? No, they can't do thatas they would be bombarded with many requests to do the same thing.

      Is HP right for not including REAL Windows install disks?? NO. HP should realize....hard disks fail. To a regular AOL/Joe Sixpack type of user, mailing the laptop back to HP or taking it to a service center is perfectly acceptable when replacing a hard disk. To us, we look on it as a opportunity to upgrade the feeble disk it came with. In any case, HP and many other manufacturers SHOULD ship REAL install media....not this crap that accesses a windows recovery partition. They should also stop shipping SPYWARE with there machine as well.

      HP's website itself works FINE in Firefox. The website itself is Linux friendly. Not being able to ship you a custom solution should not be a judgement of thier site. Face it....Windows DOES have the marketshare. If you don't like the website that they make you use, then you are free to go to a dealer that IS able to satisfy you. Being mad at them because they won't do your custom job is stupid. Finding a manufacturer that will do whaty you want and supporting them rather then HP is the sure fire way to get HP to change thier ways. What you did by buying from them anyway is VALIDATE thier planning! If a company can't do what I want, I tell them to pound sand.

      • Is HP right for not including REAL Windows install disks?? NO. HP should realize....hard disks fail. To a regular AOL/Joe Sixpack type of user, mailing the laptop back to HP or taking it to a service center is perfectly acceptable when replacing a hard disk. To us, we look on it as a opportunity to upgrade the feeble disk it came with. In any case, HP and many other manufacturers SHOULD ship REAL install media....not this crap that accesses a windows recovery partition. They should also stop shipping SPYWAR
    • [ ...Sun to do a 64-bit verison of Java]

      There is a 64 bit Linux version of Java available at the bottom of this URL.

      https://jsecom15.sun.com/ECom/EComActionServlet;js essionid=DA5B35C261DED503304CFE10857DC842 [sun.com]

      I couldn't get the installer to run on FC4 when I tried but the package clearly does exist.
    • Its more profitable for HP to lose a sale then it is to lose 10 sales because the price of their laptop went up to pay the increase in the MS tax.

      Until more people demand for unix this will not change.

      HP is just doing what is more profitable.

    • I bought a ze4610 back in Feb '04, on the strength of it running Knoppix nice in the store (Circuit City)... and mine came with a real XP Home installation CD, not a restore disk. I also got, separately in the package, a disk with all of HP's utilities and drivers and assorted bundled software, AND a student edition of Office 2003 for some reason, even though I wasn't a student, which I never bothered to install because I don't care for the product activation.

      I promptly ditched XP Home and installed XP Pro
    • you trust HP to do a custom partition job and not fuck it up? that's brave.
    • HP Pavilion notebooks (which the ZX6000 series are) do not come with a recovery partition. None of the consumer notebooks do. They come with an OEM CD for Windows XP Home, and one or two driver/application recovery CDs or DVD.
      The software will come preinstalled, but you're certainly free to wipe the hard disk and install whatever you'd like however you'd like.
      Just don't expect HP to support it, of course.
    • by poot_rootbeer (188613) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @06:20PM (#13821738)

      By ultimately giving your money to HP anyway, you truly showed them how much it matters whether they offer custom build options for power users like yourself.

      Not at all.
  • I find that some computers just don't want to run a linux distribution reliably. I think it's often linked to something like an ATI video card, but it wouldn't be hard for HP or another manufacturer to introduce some kind of DRM that only works with Windows or other "sanctioned" Operating System.

    I tried Damnsmalllinux.org on my HP Evos and dx2000s at work, and they don't boot at all, when it works fine on most other computers I try. Why can't a brand new HP run a new linux distribution every time?
    • You're probably talking about the ATI Radeon Xpress 200M (or other cards in Radeon Xpress series).

      Check http://rpm.livna.org [livna.org]. They've got a lot of good utilities, including video players, pre-compiled kernel drivers, etc.

    • Their desktop models in particular have been very flaky over the years. I have a ton of old Vectras here of various versions, and another company I worked for used them as a standard desktop. They were always weird...strange issues with video or certain expansion boards, and they aren't the best choice in the world for Linux.

      We waste more time with 20 Vectras than we would with 100 Dells in terms of hardware-related support.

      I was really sad when Compaq was bought out. Their higher end x86 compatible mach
  • Linux is on my desktop, and on the desktop of my family.

    As for manufacturer support, if they don't want to support linux then they also don't want my money.

    I hate seeing windows on a PC as much as the next /.er, but let the use of windows be the penalty in and of itself.
  • by eison (56778) <<moc.liamtoh> <ta> <nosietkp>> on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @05:34PM (#13821245) Homepage
    "Part 2", the "what MS is doing to stop Linux" part, points out obvious facts (can't buy Linux computers in major retailers), asks why, and then postulates no decent answers. We should all ask, why does it suggest no decent answers? Is it perhaps because the most likely answer, that retail stores would lose money selling Linux systems due to higher difficulty of making the sale, higher support costs, higher return rates, and lower volume? Or is it perhaps because there is a global conspiracy that stores take against profitable actions?

    The author says we should believe: "Obviously, there are forces at work in the IT industry that cause retailers to choose not to participate in being more profitable." Right. Global conspiracy, obvious. Try again. The only thing that is really obvious is that the course of action he is suggesting (selling Linux systems in mass market brick and mortar retailers) is deemed unprofitable for these stores.

    Sure, Walmart sells Linux. But only online, not brick and mortar.
    • by clodney (778910) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @05:52PM (#13821437)
      The article was sensationalist and attributed to malice and conspiracy what is best explained by profit motive.

      The major electronic retailers function as gatekeepers. There are thousands of products out there that they don't put on their shelves, so much so that simply getting a product on the shelf at Best Buy is a huge accomplishment for a small hardware or software vendor.

      The primary issue is one of space and inventory turns. Best Buy expects that every foot of shelf space bring in some amount of revenue, and they stock products that will maximize that revenue. A product that only moves 5 copies a month will always lose out to one that moves 5 a day.

      Computers with preloaded software take up a lot of space. I suspect that most models don't even give you a choice of XP Home or XP Pro, and XP Pro is far more popular than Linux. But every different SKU to stock means additional inventory headaches, so only the most popular choices are going to be in stock.

      Now consider some of the secondary factors. People buying a PC with Linux are going to be less likely to buy additional software. They arguably don't need things like Spyware or Virus products, and much of what they want is OSS and available for free anyway. So the chances for upsell are greatly reduced, and follow on sales are going to be less.

      Retailers will offer Linux boxes if the numbers justify it. Show them a way to make a buck and they will be all over it. But at the moment they don't feel it is profitable to do so. No grand conspiracy, just economics.
      • Now consider some of the secondary factors. People buying a PC with Linux are going to be less likely to buy additional software. They arguably don't need things like Spyware or Virus products, and much of what they want is OSS and available for free anyway. So the chances for upsell are greatly reduced, and follow on sales are going to be less.

        Wow. I had never even considered this. I wish that I had mod points to give you.

        But, on to other topics. I am surprised that more companies do not provice Linux

    • "Is it perhaps because the most likely answer, that retail stores would lose money selling Linux systems due to higher difficulty of making the sale, higher support costs, higher return rates, and lower volume?"

      Not to get all empirical on you or anything, but if history is any guide, it's likely because their OEM sales and partnership agreements require that they push MS into a place of such prominence that all other alternatives remain hopelessly unattractive.

      Don't feel compelled to pay any attention t

  • by glomph (2644) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @05:36PM (#13821268) Homepage Journal
    1. Forced sale of MS stuff still exists. Wow, what a surprise.
    2. Before buying hardware, especially laptops, spend an hour googling or otherwise studying what IS supported. The morons in the story buy stuff and then find out compatibility. Fuckin' DUH!
    • by kashani (2011) <slashdot.org@ba d a p ple.net> on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @05:47PM (#13821389) Homepage Journal
      Fucking duh is the entire point of the story. Why as a Linux user do I have to Google for an hour and then hope I can do the proper chicken sacrifice to make the drivers work? The OSS world has shown it can make kickass databases, web servers, kernels, mail servers, languages, etc, but we still can't get drivers installed. I'm likely to agree with the author that there are roadblocks not of our making that is causing this.

      kashani
      • You miss the point. The point is to -verify- that the hardware has mainline drivers in the kernel. The support list is PLENTY LONG. The kernel is what matters, not whether you get SUSE 14.g or whatever distro. If anything, the gakked-up distros make all of this worse.

        If you are the type that buys stuff in retail stores, just bring a KNOPPIX boot CD with you. If that finds all your hardware, you are assured of success. If not, buy something else.
        • He doesn't miss the point. In fact, he hits it on the head. You should not have to wonder wether all of the componants are going to play with your OS. I remember doing that with windows...back in the mid 90's.

          I'm not placing blame for it, and, indeed it's getting a lot easier to throw it on just about everything now. I'm just saying that it shouldn't be an issue to run a modern operating system on modern comodity hardware and researching "computer stuff" is something that your average pc user is not going to do, and in many cases isn't really capable of doing especially since most people only use their computers for email and the web.

          I believe Linux is ready for much more buisness use, but until my mother can deal with it easily, it won't be ready for mainstream home desktop use.

          disclaimer: I am the editor of a technical and open source magazine, a software developer, and have been a network analyst. My views are my own and not necessarily those of my employers or clients (past or present). In all fairness, I use Linux and even help others switch, but I realize that there are currently some limitations for its widespread home use.
      • The OSS world has shown it can make kickass databases

        No, the "OSS world" has made no such thing. The two actually performant, enterprise-ready databases available under a free license are derived from commercial products that were open sourced by corporations (Postgres - CA Ingres | Firebird - Borland/Inprise Interbase).

        The only "pure" from scratch free database server (MySQL) is just now coming of age (welcome to 2005!) by adding niceties like stored procedures and triggers.

        If you judge OSS by its tr

      • "Fucking duh is the entire point of the story. Why as a Linux user do I have to Google for an hour and then hope I can do the proper chicken sacrifice to make the drivers work? The OSS world has shown it can make kickass databases, web servers, kernels, mail servers, languages, etc, but we still can't get drivers installed. I'm likely to agree with the author that there are roadblocks not of our making that is causing this.
        "

        The roadblock is money. There's no incentive to support a niche market for consumer
      • by killjoe (766577) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @09:28PM (#13823244)
        "but we still can't get drivers installed. I'm likely to agree with the author that there are roadblocks not of our making that is causing this."

        In most cases it's illegal to try and write drivers for hardware you don't have specs and permission for. DMCA sees to that.

        If you have problems with drivers then you need to yell at the hardware manufacturer.
  • So Linux desktop computers cost more than Microsoft Windows PCs do, and it's hard to find devices and drivers for Linux.

    Linux works better with most hardware out of the box in my experience. Windows XP won't even recognize my SATA controller, and most of the other drivers don't work very well until I update them.

    Oh, and buy a system without ANY operating system, if it still is costing you more find someone with a 3 digit IQ to find a cheaper computer for you. Besides this is mostly Microsoft's fault beca

  • Complaints (Score:4, Informative)

    by Tribbin (565963) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @05:44PM (#13821350) Homepage
    People for who I installed linux, say the following is missing:

    Good MSN with all smileys, filetransfer, videochat.
    Support for all streaming media in your webbrowser.
    All multimedia files supported (without having to add (unofficial) repositories to have support for win32codecs and such).

    Oh yeah, for the transition, full NTFS writing support.

    Apart from that, my friends, mother, sister and girlfriend really like linux.
    • Re:Complaints (Score:3, Informative)

      by bersl2 (689221)
      Everything except for the second item is extremely difficult, because they rely on proprietary formats and protocols. The NTFS support we have to date only exists because people undertook the Herculean effort to reverse-engineer the way it stores information on disk. Some formats of media files are also proprietary; and so that we don't have to reverse engineer them immediately, we use modified binary libraries; however, we cannot officially package these with distros, because any distro doing so is a big f
    • Re:Complaints (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Liam Slider (908600)

      Yeah, but when I, as a Linux user look at a fresh Windows install/reinstall I note a lot of things missing...

      1) No decent photo editing software. Sorry, gotta pay extra for that, or download it. 2) No decent office suite. MS Office is an extra, that you have to pay for. 3) No decent web browser. Anyone who says that IE is decent deserves a punch in the mouth. 4) No video editing software. That's another extra you have to pay for with Windows. 5) IRC? Nope...gotta go download it somewhere. 6) CD/DVD burnin

  • It's probably more to do with the long term installed userbase. There really has never been a popular competitor to Windows on the x86 architecture. Even a company as vast as IBM gave in.

    Many electronics companies don't see why they should devote developer time or make technical resources available when it's such a miniscule market.

    Over time things will improve.
  • FUD alert! BullShit! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @05:51PM (#13821422)
    It's fud fud fud fud. Consperiacy bullshit, I figure.

    I LOVE Linux. Long time Debian user, I know that I simply couldn't use computers and be as happy with them if I was stuck with only choosing Windows and propriatory applications.

    I am a GNU, Free Software, ra-ra-ra type of guy. I probably seem like a nut to many people.

    But I don't beleive that it's a consperiacy against Linux. I beleive it's just complacency, laziness, apathy, and other crap like that.

    It's not that they care and conspire, it's that they don't give a shit and MS nudges here and there very rarely.

    Hardware manufacturers work their asses off making sure the everything works with Windows well. They generally dont' do jack shit about Linux because it doesn't contribute to their bottom line. (it could if they felt like it. No linux support = no Linux-related money = no reason to support linux = no linux support, etc etc etc.)

    This is why it's important to support hardware manufacturers that support Linux. Stuff like Ralink-using Wifi cards that use the rt2500 and related chipsets. http://rt2x00.serialmonkey.com/wiki/index.php/Main _Page [serialmonkey.com]

    And specificly requesting Linux support is the only way to go. Seriously. Buying random hardware and expecting it to work in Linux or expecting that your Dell laptop will work 'just because' is foolish.

    This guy is spreading fud. There are certainly hardware companies that dislike the idea of free software. They dislike having to tell end-users how to use the hardware or releasing minimal REAL documentation on the hardware. Well then, fuck them. Don't buy their shit and if you do don't cry when you can't get it to work with ndiswrapper.

    PS. Don't buy wifi cards with Conextent, Broadcom, Texas Instruments using chipsets. Avoid them like the plague. Modern 802.11g that work in Linux well are Intel Wifi setups and Ralink rt2x00 based chipsets. Intel 'Sonoma' platform with Intel Video and Intel wifi should work well in a modern Linux setup. Avoid ATI and Nvidia if you can, and if you can't and need the 3d horsepower always choose Nvidia.

    What Linux needs for the 'average' user however is pre-installed support from a major manufacturer. The most likely canidate would be HP right now, but it seems to me that it's going to take a relative unkown to realy break through and start making buckets of money from this sort of thing. Maybe a successfull company that produces hardware specialized for Linux clustering or server work can step up to the bat and do it. (not talking about IBM.)

    It is certainly possible to get a very nice computer for inexpensive that will work in Linux without having to resort to e-crappo hardware to make it cheap.
  • by gmuslera (3436) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @05:52PM (#13821434) Homepage Journal
    "Never attribute to malice what can be adequately explained by stupidity"
  • I have a theory, and it don't involve Microsoft (directly). Support costs. If the laptop in the article was sold with Linux but with no support whatsoever, then I wouldn't understand why it costs more, it should cost less. But if it included the same level of support as Windows, then I can see why it costs more. Now the hardware manufacturer has to test every piece of their hardware against Linux whereas in the Windows world, they would just pick and choose hardware pieces that were already deemed Windo
  • by rmpotter (177221) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @05:59PM (#13821518) Homepage
    It comes down to development and support. In order to ship a PC, Dell has to package and certify a boat load of drivers and asssorted software. It has to be more cost-effective to do this and cater to Windows -- the OS that 95% of the world uses. More to the point -- Dell -- and other vendors -- have to do the best they can to make drivers reliable, easy to re-install, configure and troubleshoot in order to maintain their reputations and keep support costs down.

    Now consider support. If you are a Windows user -- preferably an XP user -- and you call Dell or HP for support, theoretically all of the drivers have been tested, most issues have been noted and posted to a knowledge base and chances are good that the tech at the other end of the line will have reasonable experience in helping you solve the problem.

    Conversely, if you buy a barebones systems and run into problems, Dell will have fewer Linux techs who can help, these techs will be more expensive to retain and _your_ level of competency will have a huge impact on the length and outcome of the support call than if you were a lowly Windows user.

    Perhaps if you could purchase with an iron-clad zero-support option, then Dell could justify dropping the price. But probably not. Dell is probably just as greedy and unwilling to pass the savings on to the customer (if they don't have to) as most other companies. This is also true of many open source vendors. Whether it's Dell, RedHat or IBM, they'll work hard to extract money out of us one way or another.
  • by davmoo (63521) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @05:59PM (#13821519)
    I just happen to know the manager of a big-box retailer in a near-by major city (I live in the sticks). This retailer thinks they offer the Best prices to Buy things at (hint hint). Up until a couple of years ago, this retailer stocked a selection of Linux software, mainly Suse, RedHat, and Mandrake. It wasn't a lot (5 shelves on one display section about 6 feet wide), but hey, at least it was there.

    Every time a new release of Mandrake (now Madriva...at least this week) came out, I went and bought the pro package, even though I could download it for free. I figured it was necessary to show support so they would maybe expand the selection.

    Then it slowly disappeared. It has now been replaced by racks of more Windows stuff.

    Not long after it disappeared, I asked him why. The basic answer was because aside from me and 4 or 5 other geeks, no one else was buying it. In fact, many people straight-up asked him "why should I buy this from you when I can get it legally and still for free on the internet?"

    Stores are in business for one thing, and one thing only...to make their owners (stock holders) money. Any product that doesn't turn a certain level of sales disappears. Quickly.

    To get the big box retailers to carry Linux, they are going to have to be shown there is a market there AND THEY CAN MAKE MONEY DOING IT. Thousands of people can talk the talk about wanting Linux, but in the grand scheme of actually spending money on it, its a very tiny segment of us that does so.

    The moral of this story is that if you want more retailers to carry more Linux, then people need to step up with their wallets and actually buy some of the stuff that is already out there.

    I still get every new release of Mandriva, but now I do it via the Mandriva Club since I can't find a retailer that carries it locally. And my club membership costs me almost as much yearly as a Windows XP Home license (and I don't have to have a new license every year). So Linux does cost me money, but I want to show support so that's okay. More people need to be showing their support with pictures of dead presidents (or what ever is on the currency in your country for non-US readers). Only then will Linux offerings and support increase.

    • I couldn't care less how much linux is on the shelf at best buy. I'm a BSD guy by choice, so I wouldn't have a use for it anyway. Put all the Windows software on the shelf you want, I don't care.

      I want hardware that will work. When I want a wireless adapter for my laptop I want it today, with no hassles otherwise I'd buy it mail order. So I often find myself in Best Buy looking at some box, and wondering if it will work on my system.

      My solution: research. First I find out what will work with BSD, a

  • Hardware Makers (Score:4, Insightful)

    by borgasm (547139) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @06:02PM (#13821545) Journal
    OK so 98% of my userbase uses Windows.
    2 % use Linux.

    I can write Windows drivers for my device and keep 98% of my userbase happy.

    I can write Linux drivers for my device, and keep 2% of my userbase happy.

    If the cost of writing that Linux driver is more than I would make back in profits, why would I ever do it?

    Business decisions......

    • Re:Hardware Makers (Score:5, Insightful)

      by sqlrob (173498) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @06:13PM (#13821666)
      What about the cost of releasing specs so that others can write the drivers?
    • Re:Hardware Makers (Score:5, Interesting)

      by harrkev (623093) <kfmsdNO@SPAMharrelsonfamily.org> on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @06:26PM (#13821803) Homepage
      OK so 98% of my userbase uses Windows.
      2 % use Linux.

      I can write Windows drivers for my device and keep 98% of my userbase happy.

      I can write Linux drivers for my device, and keep 2% of my userbase happy.

      If the cost of writing that Linux driver is more than I would make back in profits, why would I ever do it?

      Business decisions......
      Well, you asked...

      Let's assume that you make hardware. You have a lot of competition, and you have 10% of the market. Nobody offers Linux drivers. All of a sudden, you decide to offer the drivers, and your market share goes up to 12%. All of a sudden, Linux has added 20% to your business.

      If you are a monopoly, then you have little to gain. If you are a fringe player, then Linux support can differentiate you from the pack.

      Let's talk another benefit. If a person runs Linux, then there is a 95% probability that they are pretty good at technology. If you offer Linux drivers, all of a sudden you have made a friend .. a friend who may be in a very high position as his company. Or, at the very least, a friend who recommends to his friends/family what type of stuff to buy. This is the type of stuff which may not show up on raw statistics, but can make a real difference.
  • All smoke, no fire (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Michael Woodhams (112247) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @06:02PM (#13821558) Journal
    "He then describes how Microsoft uses its considerable resources and the law to create such roadblocks."

    Where? I couldn't find that anywhere in the article.

    Generally, support for Linux sucks in hardware retailing. There are at least three possible reasons for this:
    1 There are good commercial reasons why it isn't profitable to support Linux.
    2 It would be profitable, but companies lack the vision to see this
    3 Big bad Microsoft is conspiring to keep it this way.

    I was hoping to see evidence for number 3, but all I saw was the article questioning whether 1 could be true (but without in-depth analysis - how much would Linux support cost, and how many sales would it gain?), and the /. summary alleging 3 without evidence.
    • Yeah, I noticed the same thing. Evil microsoft promises from the slash writeup aren't delivered in the article, just: wow, these hardware makers and stores sure are stupid.

      Actually, it looks to me a lot more like hardware makers being stupid. I mean, I can't much fault Best Buy if they aren't selling units that they would have to cobble together to make use of Linux friendly hardware when one of the points that he is trying to make in his article is that there there is very little linux friendly hardware. A
  • ...what can be adequately explained by stupidity.

    It's -entirely- possible that the "big boys" treat Linux as a redheaded stepchild, and throw their laziest, stupidest employees at setting it up. "Jim! You're responsible for setting up Linux on these machines!" "But boss, I don't even know how to open the CD drive..."

    Still, it's a problem that needs addressing. Granted, I've never gotten a (Dell|Gateway|Compaq|insert other big brand here), I purchase only from a couple of local shops or build my own. How

  • by suitepotato (863945) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @06:06PM (#13821599)
    Windows desktops are less expensive than Linux? How can that be when the Windows desktop costs not one cent extra to put a FREE copy of Linux on and you get a Windows license left over.

    Micrsoft is hindering Linux on the desktop? Excuse me while I laugh myself into an asthma fit.

    The regular slew of updates to KDE ALONE will screw up the average KDE installation bad enough and quick enough to make you want to strangle everyone who works on it. Gnome which is supposed to be so much less cool than KDE is five times more stable in my experience and two times less useful. Of course so is a hammer by comparison to a vertical knee mill but at least the hammer does what it is designed to.

    I use Fedora Core 3 as my regular desktop and only log into XP when I have an absolute need. I've made Quake run with sound in less than an hour USING the idiotically bad and largely conflicting and contradictory documentation on the net (woot! I can translate geekoid!). I got SSH working with public keys in ten minutes. I regularly customize my FC3 boxes and rework them rather than the lazier nuke and pave method. So... I am not a Windows newbie-to-Linux here.

    The ONLY thing killing Linux on the desktop is Linux. XOrg and XFree86 and their ongoing back and forth pecadillos, KDE's zealot army of moronic children screaming the leetness of their preference, Gnome's less than stellar array of boosters, and both desktops' having little to no clue towards stability and regularity are merely the tip of the iceberg. The neverending foreverwar over what goes in the kernel, the endless bs of how drivers and hardware abstraction should work, the "ooh isn't this cool" phenomenon of distros spreading like mold based on their purveyors' egotistical desire to have some note in the history of Linux... All of this and more is what is killing Linux on the desktop.

    It's like the movie Braveheart. The penguin sallies forth to do battle with the incredible menace and its own supporters backstabbing, squabbling, infighting, and inability to arrive at a common vision and stick with it do it in. Penguin meat anyone?
    • 1. Don't use Fedora. It's not a 'working-out-of-the-box' distribution. Use SuSE. All your updates are automagic, and stuff like 'Quake run with sound in less than an hour' archaic.

      I can't believe anyone still goes through that kind of hell. There's a reason that SuSE doesn't update KDE between versions, and its to avoid that kind of inter-version breakage you experience. The full upgrade of the next SuSE revision incldues the next KDE, and it'll upgrade smoothly, too, assuming you have not tried to self-upg
  • But why do the electronics manufacturers want to see Linux dead? That doesn't make sense

    If I was an electronics manufacturer, the thing I'd want is as many operating systems as possible using my hardware to reduce the possibility of control being with one who could set the standards that I'd be forced to follow.

    Hardware manufacturers, it seems to me are starting to open up to Linux. They know there's a market out there, and that if you are the only one in there, it's a good income.

  • Usually bare/Linux PCs is more expensive because they are spyware-less. Manufacturers accept money from spyware people to preinstall all that junk. Symbiosis.
  • by GMFTatsujin (239569) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @06:11PM (#13821649) Homepage
    It's hard enough making a choice of laptop these days based purely on the numeric stats of the innards. The way they play merry-go-round with their suppliers can really screw up your chances -- basically they play the game of "who's selling the cheapest wireless this week."

    Even if you find stable laptop distributors, it's practically IMPOSSIBLE to determine whether you can run Linux on it because they usually won't tell you what's actually inside. Like, is that a Broadcom or a Atheros 802.11 wireless in there? It makes a *huge* difference.

    If you don't know what kind of chipsets a laptop has in it, you can't do the research. Easy as that. You have to wait for someone to buy the thing, try installing a flavor of Linux on it, and report back what their successes and failures were.

    Even if HP or whoever doesn't support the hardware directly, it'd be nice to know what kind of hardware is in there to begin with. I don't need them to hold my hand. I just want to know what I'm buying.
  • When Lokisoft first started distributing through the channel, CompUSA had their titles on the shelves. The problem was that they mixed them in with all the windows titles so you had to look closely at the box to see which OS it was for. Months later they no longer carried Linux software except for OS distributions like Redhat and SuSE. When I asked about it, I was told there were too many returns on the Linux software 'people decided they didn't like it,' I was told. I should have bitchslapped the guy for l
  • While I agree with a lot of what is being said one statement is wrong. CompUSA, Best Buy, Circuit City, Fry's Electronics and other major consumer electronics retailers do not offer Linux pre-loaded PCs for sale. The Frys Electronics near me in Downers Grove Illinois sells Linux pre-loaded PCs, while they're the bottom of the lineup "Great Quality" brand machines they do sell them.
  • Because it is more of the same tactics Microsoft was found out to be doing before the Antitrust suit. Now that they can't force manufacturers to sign contracts that lock them in for a large number of years, they are trying the same tactic but with a different twist.

    We need stronger laws when it comes to dealing with big businesses. Here are some for everyone to mull over:

    1. If a company is run by someone who makes more than a billion dollars a year - that person has to get out of the company. They can st
  • About Time... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Hosiah (849792) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @07:11PM (#13822251)
    We're finally going to acknowledge it in public, huh? (-:

    But, I'm tired of being treated like I don't exist: Linux "made it" on my desktop years ago, has run for all of our family's needs (internet, chat, email, games, graphics design, programming, and YES office document use too!), will continue to "make it" on our desktops forever. And we're ALL sick of being discussed as if we were unicorns: "Do home Linux desktop users exist? No, that's just a fairy-tale. It's physically impossible to run Linux on a desktop, because it's just a teletype terminal you have to write the kernel from scratch every time you start it and it doesn't even use a monitor and mouse, it uses punched cards instead." This is all bandied about like it was common knowledge, taught at our universities, discussed with great seriousness in the tech publications, and carried as a confirmed opinion amongst many of my fellow Slashdotters, even.

    If you can bear to have your whole reality re-defined, click here: http://www.lynucs.org/ [lynucs.org] . Behold: Linux desktops! Running on monitors! Note the "taskbar" on the bottom, JustLikeWindows. See the applications open on the desktop, they have a bar at the top with the little "x" thingie to close them and the little box thingie to full-screen them and they use jpg images for wallpaper, JustLikeWindows. Note the scrollbars on the sides of the windows, JustLikeWindows. Note the little icons that you click with the mouse to launch a program or open a file, JustLikeWindows.

    Do you suppose, if they spend all this time making all this software...dozens of different window managers and hundreds of distros...that maybe, somewhere, just maybe, somebody could actually use them for anything, at all, at all?

    So, the real story is, "Linux struggles daily against Microsoft to survive - and even thrive! - but we'd all be better off if there was less fighting in the world.", not "Linux has been killed by Microsoft. Alas, poor Tux, I knew him...almost." Get it right! Discuss us like we're dead, and we're likely to rise up and prove how alive we are!

  • by FishandChips (695645) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @07:16PM (#13822298) Journal
    The constant use of the term "Linux" is a misnomer and the sign of an immature market.

    No one goes into a store and asks whether they stock "cola-based drinks", They ask for Coke, Pepsi, whatever. We'll know when Linux has really hit the highway when folks stop asking for "Linux", if they ever do, and start asking soley about a brand - Red Hat, Novell, Ubuntu, whatever. As yet I guess the main Linux outfits haven't really extended beyond IT industry workers and enthusiasts but their challenge is to ensure that they do.
  • by Greyfox (87712) on Tuesday October 18, 2005 @08:58PM (#13823069) Homepage Journal
    Make it illegal to bundle software with a computer.

    That's right, you heard right. Simply force the user to buy his OS and software separately, and bar manufacturers from distruting system-specific install software too. Let the user choose his own OS and software according to his needs and install them himself. And no discounts for having just bought a PC, either.

    "But Grey, the average user isn't qualified to install his own OS," I hear you cry. Well then how can he possibly be qualified to connect his OS to the Internet, where his zombie PC is currently gumming up the works for everyone. Besides which the Windows install is a point and click thing that anyone with half a brain can do in their sleep. Isn't that what Microsoft would have us believe? And if the user, presented with a choice between Windows for $200 or Debian for the cost of the netinst CD it's burned to, happens to unwisely choose the much harder (Microsoft would have us beleive) to deal with netinst CD, well at least he isn't out that much when he has to go back and buy the Windows media. Right?

    As an added benefit, maybe then the manuals will tell us what hardware is actually in the machine we just bought again. Have you ever seen a manual from the pre-Microsoft era? You got ASCII charts and port pin-outs. Seriously. What do you get now? "Here's how to use all the bundled software that's installed on the machine," which I just formatted off in favor of Debian.

Programmers do it bit by bit.

Working...