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Linux on the Desktop Doubles in 2007 657

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the double-your-pleasure-double-your-segfault dept.
00_NOP writes "According to a report on Softpedia, citing Net Applications, Linux usage on the desktop doubled in 2006 — 07: though from a miserable 0.37% to a still not brilliant 0.81%. Given that Linux is free, is based on peer reviewed source (and so inherently more secure in the longer term) and that hardware support is now pretty good, how long are we going to have to wait for the big breakthrough?" Of course the focus of the article is that Vista is kicking butt over Mac/Linux, which is not particularly surprising.
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Linux on the Desktop Doubles in 2007

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  • Given that Linux is free, is based on peer reviewed source

    I used to develop a GPL app, the GNUstep-based character map Charmap. It had a few dozen users, and I'm pretty sure none of them ever took a single look at the source. Only the very biggest applications get attention, and very often quite uncritical examination at that.

    • by webmaster404 (1148909) on Sunday October 07, 2007 @09:12AM (#20887279)
      But usually the most common aspects of a system (Firefox, Linux kernel, X, Core Utilities) all have many people looking at the source. And there is very rarely an attack on any system Linux or Windows that doesn't take advantage of the things that most everyone has (Think of all the Outlook and Internet Explorer spyware/viruses/Trojans) rather then some obscure program that say 100 people use. And the author was saying that it made it more secure, not that it helped development (which it does also) And for the uncritical examination it is mostly because the Free/Open Source community is in dire need for that application, think of Linux, even though the Hurd kernel was going to come out sometime soon Linux was used because it was there, not necessarily because it was the best (Even though now it totally demolishes the Hurd in capability)
    • by stoolpigeon (454276) * <bittercode@gmail> on Sunday October 07, 2007 @09:14AM (#20887291) Homepage Journal
      So you've extrapolated that because no users looked over your code that no one looks at linux? I'm not sure how anyone could think that follows. I made a video and put it on youtube. Nobody watched it but my family. That's why I don't know what the big deal about youtube is. Nobody looks at video on the site but family of people who submit stuff.
    • by Rakshasa Taisab (244699) on Sunday October 07, 2007 @09:33AM (#20887417) Homepage
      Next you'll claim science isn't peer-reviewed because no one reviewed an obscure sociology paper on the spitting habits of an insignificant african tribe?
    • by GreatBunzinni (642500) on Sunday October 07, 2007 @10:42AM (#20887891)
      That's funny, as my experience is the exact opposite. I've developed a very small GPL library and posted the project in sourceforge. Although I'm the only developer and I regularly submit packages of the code, the section which is mostly visited is the project's subversion repository. Moreover, I do get patches from random people who browse the code.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by udippel (562132)
        That's funny, as my experience is the exact opposite.

        Maybe not that funny ?
        But rather the result of a difference ?
        You developed something useful, and attracted the vistors.
        The other whiner duplicated an existing software, and did it badly. Now he is crying aloud about the lack of interest. The World Is Flat, and just putting up GPL-ed software doesn't entitle anyone to plenty of visitors automatically.
    • by mcrbids (148650) on Sunday October 07, 2007 @11:27AM (#20888177) Journal
      I used to develop a GPL app, the GNUstep-based character map Charmap. It had a few dozen users, and I'm pretty sure none of them ever took a single look at the source. Only the very biggest applications get attention, and very often quite uncritical examination at that.

      In a sort of backhanded way, the fact that nobody bothered to look is a complement!

      Programmers typically look at sources when they need it to do something it doesn't already do. There's an itch they're looking to scratch, and your stuff doesn't do it. Years ago, when I was still pretty green at coding, I threw out some code that allowed you to send email through a remote server.

      It was about as basic as you could get. [phpbuilder.com] And, the many revisions that happened thereafter over the years [phpbuilder.com] are a clear example of how source review is done.

      What I originally threw out was pretty weak, and was extended by other programmers who wanted to scratch an itch that my original code did not fulfill. This is code review at work...
  • by JackMeyhoff (1070484) on Sunday October 07, 2007 @09:07AM (#20887243)
    ... now we have 2 installations :)
    • by JackMeyhoff (1070484) on Sunday October 07, 2007 @09:09AM (#20887253)
      Soon Linux will be passing AmigaOS installations at this rate!
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Actually that would be a 100% increase. 0.81% is not a 100% increase of 0.37%
      • That's right it's not exactly a 100% increase, it's slightly more. So... what's your point, or were you just ducking to get out of the way of his joke?
        • It means the number of Linux users couldn't have increased from 1 to 2 (or anything else) in the past year because it would be a clean 100% increase, not a slightly more then 100% increase.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by ozmanjusri (601766)
          That's right it's not exactly a 100% increase, it's slightly more.

          It's fortunate some of us can do the maths.

          In the past month, the open source operating system only increased its footprint on the market by 0.4%, from 0.77% to 0.81%.
          Maybe you can teach the "Technology News Editor" a thing or two...
    • by DuncanE (35734) * on Sunday October 07, 2007 @11:03AM (#20888013) Homepage
      I'm just gonna post the following each time someone says its the year of desktop Linux:

      GAMES GAMES GAMES
      Most of the top 25 requested apps for wine are games - http://appdb.winehq.org/votestats.php [winehq.org]
      (Also note these are games that seem to benefit the most from a mouse)

      I know I can do everything else under a Linux based OS (e.g. Ubuntu), but the only reason I have windows OS on my PC is because I enjoy playing games.

      And buying an MS or Sony console seems a bit "Meet the old boss same as the new boss".
    • by btarval (874919) on Sunday October 07, 2007 @01:12PM (#20888967)
      There are currently about 1 Billion PCs worldwide. If Linux had a 0.81% "marketshare", that would equate to a grand total of 8.1 Million systems. Fedora alone provided a fairly accurate measure of installed systems last year (for FC6 IIRC), and the last I heard it was 7 Million and counting.

      But that's just Fedora alone. Ubuntu has a significantly bigger "marketshare" than Fedora. SuSE is also a significant player. Altogether, the Linux marketshare is probably somewhere between 3-5 times what Fedora is reporting, which would put Linux at about a 3-4% marketshare, worldwide.

      But the point remains that the numbers in the article don't jibe with what most other people are reporting. In fact, these numbers are downright silly.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by 00_NOP (559413)
        Really? I'd say the numbers were pretty accurate in my experience, at least in the sense that Linux on the desktop is about 1% of installs. Three - four per cent just doesn't ring true.

        I think the key point here is that the growth rate is high.
      • Thank you. (Score:3, Insightful)

        by The Monster (227884)

        But the point remains that the numbers in the article don't jibe with what most other people are reporting.
        I just want to thank you for spelling "jibe" correctly on Slashdot. I'm so used to seeing it misspelled "jive" (a word with rather the opposite meaning from what is intended in this context) that I actually notice it when someone gets it right.
      • We can extrapolate as to what would happen if we keep on at this rate.....

        .81/.31 = 2.612 ... So we're actually almost tripling.

        2.62^5=123

        123*0.81= 99.63

        so if we keep up at this rate, Linux will own 99.6% of the desktop market in 5 years.

        No Wonder why Bill Gates is soiling his pants worrying about Linux.

        .... And in six years, we'll have ... uhm ...

        • Oh, nevermind.
  • ...the two rival platforms have almost flatlined in terms of uptake in 2007. According to statistics provided by Market Share by Net Applications, starting in December 2006 and through September 2007, Linux doubled its market share....
    That's quite a flatline if you tilt your head on the side.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by burnin1965 (535071)

      That's quite a flatline if you tilt your head on the side.

      The person who wrote that article either doesn't have a clue what they are doing with the statistics or they have learned to generate proper statistical lies.

      When you look at the chart included with the article it does appear to be a flat line. Funny thing is they all appear to be pretty much flat lines. Since the scale on the chart is 100% so the growth in OS/X and linux are masked by the market share of WindowsXP. I have to deal with these lies occ

  • People talk about there being a breakthrough, but no one has ever defined what that is. How will we know when it happens?
    • by arth1 (260657)
      When we see a "switch"-type campaign from either MS or Apple directed against Linux users, you know that the breakthrough has come.


    • When netcraft confirms Windows is dead?
    • by vtcodger (957785)
      ***People talk about there being a breakthrough, but no one has ever defined what that is. How will we know when it happens?***

      You'll know when you walk into the big box store and say "I want one of those", and the salesman says "You want that with Windows or Linux? Now about our extended warranty ..."

    • People always point to sophisticated software being unavailable on Linux. But the majority of users don't use photoshop. I think the problem is that even basic system services are still flaky, so that even if all you want is to use a browser and basic office applications (which work, in my opinion), linux is still too much of a hassle.

      My latest example: I can't get VPN to work as documented on Ubuntu 7.04. When I asked about this on the Ubuntu forums, I got the response that "yeah that's broken, but you can
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by GPL Apostate (1138631)
        Correct me if I am wrong, but isn't 'VPN' in and of itself a broken concept based on the Microsoft view of networking? Why wouldn't it be better to run a SSH pipe to and from your Ubuntu box? And if it's interoperability with 'Doze boxes you're concerned with, why blame it on Ubuntu?
  • by ChangeOnInstall (589099) on Sunday October 07, 2007 @09:17AM (#20887317)

    According to statistics provided by Market Share by Net Applications, starting in December 2006 and through September 2007, Linux doubled its market share. This detail would sound nothing short of promising, except for the fact that the doubling in market share is equivalent to a jump from 0.37% to 0.81%. In the past month, the open source operating system only increased its footprint on the market by 0.4%, from 0.77% to 0.81%.
    Only increased by 0.4%?

    Try again, that's a 5.2% increase in a month...after more than doubling in the previous year. That is huge. If adoption doubled every year as a percentage of the marketplace, Linux would have 100% of the market within 7 years.

    Hey Softpedia...I'll give you $100 a day for a month, if you give me 1 cent on the first day of the month, 2 cents on the second day, and so on, doubling the amount each day for the 30 days.
    • In today's immediate gratification society the idea of having to wait 7 years (and we all know of course it isn't going to double every year. It takes a better statistician then I to even begin to guess how much Linux's use will increase next year). Its also why Japan is having its densely populated cities (along with other areas) laid down with fibre optic while we're stuck with inferior methods of internet access. Japanese businesses are willing to look at the long-term while American businesses only look
      • by afabbro (33948) on Sunday October 07, 2007 @11:43AM (#20888303) Homepage
        Its also why Japan is having its densely populated cities (along with other areas) laid down with fibre optic while we're stuck with inferior methods of internet access. Japanese businesses are willing to look at the long-term while American businesses only look to the next quarter.

        Yeah...that must be it. It couldn't be because the entire country of Japan is smaller than California, and when you subtract the inhabitable mountains, volcanos, etc. it's more like Nevada. Or that it has some of the densest metro regions in the world, including the world's largest, Tokyo.

        Nope, couldn't be that running fiber everywhere is a much smaller and easier task. Must be that the Japanese are so clever and the Americans so dumb.

  • by TheGreatDonkey (779189) on Sunday October 07, 2007 @09:21AM (#20887349)
    Background: I am a sysadmin for a 300+ node Linux shop, and have fairly lengthy experience in Solaris, Windows, and AIX as well.

    I still run Windows XP as my desktop of choice. I only run it because it came with the laptop that was provided to me by IT, or I would probably still be running Windows 2000. Very simply, I use the OS as a tool to get my job done, and Windows 2000 was doing the trick. Windows XP is now doing the trick. When there is something I want to do that Windows XP can no longer do, I will look beyond. If Linux starts to pioneer in new features and areas that Windows and the Mac OS cannot answer, then I will certainly consider it for my desktop OS. Meanwhile, I deal enough headaches from users at the server level that I don't feel like battling with my Linux wifi drivers, sound card strangeness, or having to jump through other hurdles to just stay productive. Of course there are patches and ways around most/all of the issues I have seen, but that doesn't mean its acceptable to me.

    Now, cue over to the server arena, and Linux is certainly replacing Windows boxes for all standard day-to-day servers. It does what I need, it does it well, and even offers features and ease of use that the Windows boxes simply cannot match. That was a compelling reason, with cost also being a close secondary, that we now run so many nodes.

    Meanwhile, who really cares. If _XXXX_ does what you want, use it.

    • I work with Oracle running on AIX. I was given a Windows laptop for work. I got really tired of all the crap I had to do to simply work with my servers. I scrounged up an old optiplex and installed Linux on it. Work is so much easier for me now. The windows laptop sits on the side - I don't really need it any more.
       
      If I'm off site - the wi-fi thing is an issue. But at work, windows really gets in the way of productivity.
      • Excellent, and my point exactly! You found the tool that works best for you. And to come back to the topic question, do you feel a genuine concern over why others don't do the exact same thing or for some big breakthrough?
        • No - I don't feel a concern about people doing things the way I do. I would like to see greater adoption of linux so that some of the issues you've brought up are more likely to be resolved more quickly.

          At the same time I do feel a level of concern when Linux is presented as being incapable of being productive, especially in an environment where it has such great advantages, like a shop using Unix, Linux or some other *nix. I'm wracking my brain trying to think up a scenario where that really make
        • by Bert64 (520050)
          But the point is also that he had a choice, many people have no choice at all, and the people taking their choice away have never (or often arent equipped to) evaluated all their options objectively.
    • by speaker of the truth (1112181) on Sunday October 07, 2007 @09:46AM (#20887489)

      I still run Windows XP as my desktop of choice. I only run it because it came with the laptop that was provided to me by IT, or I would probably still be running Windows 2000. Very simply, I use the OS as a tool to get my job done, and Windows 2000 was doing the trick.
      I used Windows back when using Windows wasn't cool. When Works was what people used and I was being different by using Word. I migrated from Windows 98 to Windows XP quite happily because of one very important feature: the damn thing stopped crashing. It was in fact the only feature I migrated for. Now with the release of Windows Vista I've realized that it has no new features I want. I'll be migrating to openSUSE today or tomorrow and already I'm seeing some benefits just by a little research (Something that's been annoying me is the limitation in columns that Windows spreadsheet programs have. I use Excel/OOo Calc as a flatfile database because it has a nice and easy to use interface. KSpread I've discovered has a lot more then Excel 2003/OOo Calc so I'm glad to finally be rid of that annoyance) already, I anticipate more and more advantages making themselves known.

      If Linux starts to pioneer in new features and areas that Windows and the Mac OS cannot answer, then I will certainly consider it for my desktop OS.
      Don't you mean have to pioneer new features that Windows XP doesn't have? Otherwise Windows and Mac OS have to compete with these new features AS WELL AS Linux's price ($0.00).

      Meanwhile, I deal enough headaches from users at the server level that I don't feel like battling with my Linux wifi drivers, sound card strangeness, or having to jump through other hurdles to just stay productive.
      In the past I've tried to migrate and had these difficulties you mention which has stopped me. I'll admit that this time I'm not going to accept failure and I will migrate, but given the many postings on the web these problems are past for most of the popular Linux distros (at the very least for openSUSE 10.3) and so installing it should be as painless, if not less so, then Windows (which many of those I know simply pay the store clerks to install for them because its so difficult). Regardless I'll see later today for myself if the rumors of Linux's installation ease have been greatly exaggerated.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by bigstrat2003 (1058574)

        Now with the release of Windows Vista I've realized that it has no new features I want. I'll be migrating to openSUSE today or tomorrow...
        You are of course welcome to use whatever OS you want, but your logic absolutely befuddles me. "The new version of Windows doesn't offer any real improvement over the version I have and am happy with, so I'm going to drop Windows altogether!!"
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          Well as I said I'm not completely happy with it, I accept it. However continuing to wait for the next Windows OS to be released has been a fruitless wait so with the latest release, while Linux continues to improve (with only a cursory search already revealing one advantage). So that's why I'm switching.
  • by poptones (653660) on Sunday October 07, 2007 @09:29AM (#20887397) Journal
    "Market share" only counts MONEY, not "free" installs. If I download ubuntu and install it on my laptop, how do they know? They don't - and they don't care, because there are no beans for the bean counters to count.

    Likewise, bootleg installs. I have not yet had a single person seriously inquire about "upgrading" to vista. Many people have, however, brought in spanking new machines to be retrograded - either XP or linux. Many more come in with Vista licenses on the box and unregistered XP installs on the hd.

    emachines, gateway and all are now shipping with vista and yet the users are still screaming abou tit and doing everything they can to undo the damage. These folks can spin numbers all they like, real world surveys provide ample proof of the suckitude of vista.
    • That's why you should start buying Ubuntu at Amazon [amazon.com]
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Loke the Dog (1054294)
      They don't count sales, the count visitors to a selection of websites. I'd say their system is as good as you can get when it comes to counting linux penetration percentage. Besides, come on, do you really think there's more than 1% of PC using linux? Their numbers seem a lot more likely than the 3% w3schools claim. The thing is of course their selection is not representative of all internet users or that they count servers too.
  • that Linux is practically non-existent on the desktop. I say who are you softpedia? An encyclopedia of free software downloads you say? For linux too? Really, well we have apt-get, emerge, etc. No wonder your statistics suck.
  • by jonathan3003 (797920) on Sunday October 07, 2007 @09:35AM (#20887425)
    Shitty website, low quality news. Just as an example, the same site has a different article that doesn't favor Vista: http://news.softpedia.com/news/Vista-Is-Nothing-Compared-to-XP-Move-to-Mac-OS-X-and-Ubuntu-Linux-65786.shtml [softpedia.com]
  • Nothing New. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jellomizer (103300) *
    Not to surpassing, the fact that people upgrade their computers, they will get the latest version of the OS.
    Being that the average turn around for computers a new computer every 5 years. About now we would expect Vista
    to be double what TFA said Vista is. Vista Right now should have close to 14%, not approaching 8%. Anyone who think
    Vista will not be a leading OS is hopeless lost in the realm of Fanboyism. But what the data does show that Visa is not
    growing at a rate that would statically be at. But lookin
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Anyone who think Vista will not be a leading OS is hopeless lost in the realm of Fanboyism

      Anyone who thinks ME will not be a leading OS is hopeless lost in the realm of Fanboyism. Windows will remain the leading OS in the foreseeable future, however Vista is by no means guaranteed that slot.

      Still unpolished compared to XP/Vista

      Really? Less polished then Vista? Then why am I hearing about all this trouble with installing drivers and hardware support while Linux keeps touting how it supports most hardware now?

      for only a couple of Major advantages (Security mostly)

      And:
      * Free OS (for those of you who aren't suckered/forced into buying from stores that bundle the OS price with the hardwa

    • Linux doesn't have fear on its side. There is not nor have there ever been choice in computers. What keeps people using Windows is what will happen if they stop. I for example, against my will will have to install a Windows Server 2003 machine in a VM because my university Class requires it, otherwise, the teacher will fail me. (There are certain assignments I can get by on with Linux, but maybe one or two where he has INSISTED on seeing screenshots of a Windows Desktop, as for Application.

      Right now, in peo
  • Sell it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NekoXP (67564) on Sunday October 07, 2007 @09:42AM (#20887467) Homepage
    Here is the problem: you can't convince people that "Peer reviewed source, therefore more security, and oh it's free" is a good reason to switch to Linux.

    Most people don't understand what peer reviewed source means, have no idea of the security of their PC (and not a care in the world anyway if they can just drop a virus checker on it and "solve" it) and, Windows and MacOS came with their system anyway, so are ostensibly free.

    Linux has to actually expose a feature people want and do it so that it increases productivity and feels better than Windows or MacOS X. There was a podcast on The Register the other week with Mark Shuttleworth - the basic premise of part of it was that Compiz is cool, but useless, and it's the hope that enabling it by default means developers will turn it from a cool whizzy 3D smooth suave thing into something that improves user's experience, and their lives.

    And that's why MacOS X and Windows win, because MacOS has Genie Effects (this is the carrot) but it also has Spotlight, and iTunes, and iPhoto, and Quicktime, and all the other stuff people want and need every day (this is the stick). Where MacOS has a soft, warm and inviting stick, brandished by a really hot chick in leather and a penchant for candle wax, Linux's stick has a poo on the end, and is brandished by a 300lb atheist liberal.
  • Don't forget that the stats for Vista include all those PCs sold with Vista where the buyer had no choice. If you were to limit the samplings to only the cases where the buyer had a genuine choice of OS, including no pressure by the sales people to go with one over another, then the stats might mean something about market preference. Even if it was just a choice between Vista and XP, then the stats would at least be indicative of the true preferance of the market for a particuler version of Windows. Inst

  • Yeah, thanks to ME. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Donniedarkness (895066) * <Donniedarkness@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Sunday October 07, 2007 @09:46AM (#20887491) Homepage
    I'm proud to say that I'm one of those new Linux users (Ubuntu). I'm honestly very impressed with it; I expected to like it, but not find anything mind-blowing.

    I love the application manager, I love the ability to switch desktop workspaces, I love how I can update everything from one spot.

    However, one thing has kept XP on my system (dual-boot)-- drivers. I can't find drivers for my printer (Lexmark x7350), or newer ones for my webcam (Logitech Quickcam Communicate STX). I can't use my printer at all, and my webcam is using some way old drivers and is very blurry-- looks much better with the newer ones on XP. I've looked around, but not found anything to help me out... and I'm not even close to being talented enough to write my own.

  • What is the error here? I wonder if .4 or .8 percent are both essentially zero in the context of measurement accuracy.

    However most IT people I know have a linux box or two in addition to the Windows boxes that they have bought and use for their main office-type work. I imagine a poll like this would not have captured those.

    In the end though Linux and Apple are missing a huge window of opportunity - Microsoft has rarely been so vulnerable as they have been in the last year with this botched release of Vista.
    • by turing_m (1030530)
      "You can be sure they are aware of it and are closing that window as fast as they can."

      New operating systems aren't created or rectified overnight. That window is actually a door. That little speck of dust in the distance is the horse.
  • Because the market itself is growing very fast. Even if the market share for Linux on the desktop would remain the same it would mean lots more Linux desktops out there.

    Also have you considered that 0.81% is more than twice as much as 0.37%? If Linux on the desktop can keep up that growth rate another 5 to 7 years it will end up at more than 120% market share ;-)
  • by Kjella (173770) on Sunday October 07, 2007 @09:58AM (#20887555) Homepage
    With doubling every 12 month, Linux should take the market in 7 years with 103.68% desktop share (you can have more than one desktop per person, right?). Hey, what do you mean it's not a valid application of Moore's law, which is no law?!
  • They do try to illustrate the idea that people have migrated from XP to Vista but the rate is pretty damned poor. I wonder where they are getting their data and if any of it reflects new PC purchases? I particularly like the way they throw about words like "Loyalty to the Windows brand." People don't use computers out of loyalty. Many, if not most, were initially pushed or forced into it in some way... at least where professional use is concerned. And the human reality from that point on is not "which
  • by SignupRequired (1165001) on Sunday October 07, 2007 @09:58AM (#20887559)

    Their article, and to a greater extent the inflammatory Slashdot article, incorrectly portray these statistics as some universal truth handed down from the gods. In fact, if you look at the article, you'll see that they're merely talking about their own browser user-agent statistics. In other words, they pulled them out of their ass last time they stuck their head up there (perpetually about one minute ago according to the site).

    Ubuntu is king of the Linux desktop, and Ubuntu users get the vast majority of their software through Synaptic, a genius piece of software which if introduced in Windows would put "Softpedia" out of business within a year. In fact, I can't think of any reason for a user of any major Linux distribution to need anything from "Softpedia's" website. We have our own more community-centric sources in every case.

    Fuck Softpedia.

  • I tried to install Kubuntu on the striped drives of my windows xp box in a dual boot configuration, but linux didn't see the stripe. Turned out it doesn't recognize SATA drives that are striped on windows installs. Many searches on the web for the solution kept saying how SATA raid is not REAL raid so why not use Linux's built in software raid. Because I have windows on their and want to dual boot since I need the windows install for several things. And to me when it runs on windows when I start the mac

  • I'm sure a downloaded/compiled Linux wasn't counted anywhere.
    While a pre-installed Windows which was quickly erased was counted.
  • most users are not computer geeks who have time to install/learn/ test drive/reinstall operating systems for fun. For instance, my wife is a biology professor who uses a Mac. There is something seriously wrong with her Mac Book. There is a perceptible 0.5 sec. lag between when a key is hit before it appears on the screen. However, it STILL works good enough for her that she doesn't want to reinstall OS X, because that will lead to down time. (it would drive me insane, but she is a slow typer so it doesn't a
  • Whenever i see discussions like this i always think to myself, "look to the past". (I use the word linux here alot, but in reality i mean a whole host of things like apache and mysql, etc).

    If you go back and look at the past, you may see the future spelled out for you.

    The one known constant in the software industry so far has been almost-0 innovation from MS except in the area of the user interface. Everything they've done has been driven by someone coming up with an idea, MS taking it, putting a more usabl
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by nomadic (141991)
      These days, linux is playing a catch-up game with the UI and its going to be a slow game, but i really dont think its a game MS can win in the long run given their lack on innovation.

      But they have won it in the long term. Linux is 15 years old. 15. In computer development time that's an eon. Linux has been around for half the lifetime of personal computers in general, and it still hasn't taken off. Now I've been using linux off and on for about 11 of those years, and while I really do like it, it's
  • This year we picked up a couple new laptops. Needless to say they count as Vista. There wasn't much else on the shelf pre-configured with the manufacture's warranty. On the other hand, my Core 2 Duo homebuilt and the converted PIII and P4 machines are probably not reported and counted properly.

    Just how are they counting the Linux installations. I hope it isn't just from browser User Agent strings, or from sales figures of new hardware. If Linux is such a small showing, then why is VMware stock doing so
  • I thought Vista was a huge butt by itself, with multiple orifices !

    Vista doesn't have any 'feet' to even outpace XP... this news is surprising.
  • by Ralph Spoilsport (673134) on Sunday October 07, 2007 @10:16AM (#20887691) Journal
    TFA asks:

    Given that Linux is free, is based on peer reviewed source (and so inherently more secure in the longer term) and that hardware support is now pretty good, how long are we going to have to wait for the big breakthrough?"

    What is holding Linux back from massive adoption is software. Very simply, it's just not as good as the proprietary stuff found on Mac/Win. This is NOT to say that the stuf on Linux is BAD, but it's just not equivalent. OpenOffice is very very good. But not as good as MSOffice. GIMP is very good. But not as good as Photoshop. And so on down the line.

    The strength of Linux and FOS is also its weakness - having a volunteer developer army. Herding cats isn't as effective if you don't have a big sack of kitty kibble for incentive, or the ability to cut off the kitty kibble as a goad.

    Perhaps this will change a bit now that China's getting more involved with Linux - perhaps they can come up with dead-solid apps that are absolutely equal to, or even exceed the abilities of the following applications that are (for me) essential:

    1. Photoshop
    2. Ilustrator
    3. InDesign
    4. MSOffice suite
    5. FinalCutPro
    6. Ableton Live
    7. Propellorheads Reason
    8. Soundtrack
    9. iDVD
    10. Flash
    11. Dreamweaver
    12. Contribute

    That's what I use, and I use all of the above, all the time. Some are Windows, some are Mac. I am not a programmer, and I don't have the time to do that. So, it's A: Not My Problem and B: Someone else's job to come up with these apps.

    Until the above are developed, I will have little use for Linux.

    RS

  • by gilesjuk (604902) <giles.jones@NOspam.zen.co.uk> on Sunday October 07, 2007 @10:31AM (#20887801)
    Where do these people get their statistics from?

    If I buy a branded PC I buy windows, if I then download and replace windows this doesn't get recorded. All that is recorded is the sale of Windows.

    Market share is hard to analyse, I would imagine the Windows share is less than people think, purely because there's so many extraneous Windows licences sold.
  • by hattig (47930) on Sunday October 07, 2007 @10:41AM (#20887875) Journal
    My installation of Ubuntu Feisty Fawn a few months back went flawlessly and was very simple. Linux has the install sorted, no need to keep on working on that part okay? It was good 5 years ago. People are obsessed with the install process for some reason.

    However Flash doesn't work in my browser because I'm running a 4 year old architecture - AMD64, and the creators of Flash haven't deigned to recompile the Linux version for 64-bits. Maybe if Linux had Mac OS X-like Fat Binaries people would be encouraged to create cross-platform binaries, rather than just create a simple IA32 version.

    Installing the graphics card drivers was hell. For 4 months the graphics card was not supported in Linux anyway, so I had to run in VESA mode. However nVidia finally decided to release 8600GT drivers for Linux, and I thought "Hooray!". The install was hell. Due to idealogical beliefs that border on religious extremism you can't just install the drivers. Oh no, you have to recompile the kernel headers and then do wizardry. Not a problem for me, although it took some time because for some reason I don't like spending my free personal time doing sysadmin stuff, so I try to avoid it as much as possible. I tried many forms of instructions online, but they were either for a previous version of Ubuntu, or incorrect. After hours of searching, I finally found a tool called Envy. It worked. Many thanks to the author of Envy. I now have desktop effects - some pointless, some useful.

    However the system update mechanism now tells me that I have updates available for the kernel headers and other things, and I'm petrified that by installing them all that hard work would be undone. So I'm now ignoring the updates.

    Let's not talk about how many configuration options Ubuntu removes from applications like gaim and so on. Want to have a listing with small buddy icons? Well fuck off, we've removed that possibility. Oh, but there's a plugin for editing the .gtk-rc file - yeah, that's user friendly. NOT. This is a stupid retarded and backward attitute. I approve of not installing 25 text editors by default, but don't remove options from the one you do provide.

    Until there is a Linux distribution that is simple, yet has the power available for those that want it, Linux will not gain a lot on the desktop. There needs to be a mechanism to install essential third-party drivers that is as painless as Mac OS X and Windows.

    And just to be sure, it isn't about catching up to Windows any more, it is about catching up to Mac OS X. It just works, it's simple yet powerful, it's a full Unix, it looks nice, the desktop effects are very useful and accessible, and drivers install easily.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      And just to be sure, it isn't about catching up to Windows any more, it is about catching up to Mac OS X. It just works, it's simple yet powerful, it's a full Unix, it looks nice, the desktop effects are very useful and accessible, and drivers install easily.
      Ah! But you're ignoring the fact that Apple sells its OS preinstalled in its own hardware. Do you have any idea how much advantage does that provide in terms of drivers?
    • by OmegaBlac (752432) on Sunday October 07, 2007 @12:42PM (#20888741)

      However Flash doesn't work in my browser because I'm running a 4 year old architecture - AMD64, and the creators of Flash haven't deigned to recompile the Linux version for 64-bits. Maybe if Linux had Mac OS X-like Fat Binaries people would be encouraged to create cross-platform binaries, rather than just create a simple IA32 version.
      Adobe has not released a 64-bit version of the Flash plugin for any platform, yet. Nor have I heard of any beta ones either. So how is this a PITA with Linux? As for the rest of your post, you seem to be obsessed with OSX (you may want to seek help) so why don't you just continue to use it as a [Ff]ree OS that works just fine for millions of users obviously is not up your alley.

      http://www.adobe.com/products/flashplayer/productinfo/systemreqs/ [adobe.com]
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by bcrowell (177657)

        Adobe has not released a 64-bit version of the Flash plugin for any platform, yet.

        I'm running flash just fine on my amd64 ubuntu box. Adobe hasn't released a 64-bit native flash. So what? The 32-bit version works fine on 64-bit machines.

  • by Balinares (316703) on Sunday October 07, 2007 @10:41AM (#20887881)
    ...how long are we going to have to wait...?

    Well, it's something I've been thinking a lot over the last years, and I'd like to share my thinking with you lot:

    At this point, I don't think we're going to have a major breakthrough until Linux becomes third-party friendly.

    Let me explain.

    At the moment, the whole experience of using a Linux distribution is balanced between two parties: the user, and the developers of the distro. Linux distributions in general have come a LONG way in minding the user's convenience, but I am still not sure this will suffice.

    Because the success of other platforms (well, Windows, alright) doesn't boil down to user friendliness, I think that much is clear by now. No, what made its success is that it fosters a rich environment of third parties -- entities that are neither the OS maker nor the user, yet benefits both.

    Something that is still a long way from penetrating the Linux culture, I think.

    At this point, let's imagine you're a third party (and as such, not particularly involved in the Linux world as such -- to you it's just a platform among others) and you wish to ship your software for Linux. What are your options? Well, and that's assuming you're even going to bother trying to figure out the whole mess, you can: try to ship various packages (.rpm and .deb, really) in the hope of covering a sufficient user base, while hoping it won't completely break next time some distro upgrades to libwhatever.so.52; or you can try to get your software into the package repositories of all the major distributions (and thus become entirely dependant on the goodwill of each distro for access to your software); or you can try to package the software your own way and hope for the best (that's what Loki did for their games, for instance), which is still vastly suboptimal because it's a lot of additional work for you and you still have no guarantee it'll work well, due to countless issues [autopackage.org], the least of which not being that ELF has real, real issues where it comes to binary compatibility. Oh, and yeah, you can also just ship the sources in a tarball, hereby reducing your user base to the demographic of Linux geeks.

    Compare with Windows: just put the binaries in a ZIP file or an installer. Done.

    And let us not mention the issue of drivers. At this point, shipping a driver for Linux, when you're a neutral hardware maker third party, involves either sending the kernel maintainers your code and hope they'll consent to include it in the main kernel tree at some unknown point in the future, or ship some manner of hack that will try to compile your driver against the installed kernel, which will simply not work if the compiler, or even the right kernel headers, aren't already installed. (To be fair, the initiative that was recently spoken of on Slashdot, about some company developing Linux drivers for third parties for free, is interesting and might improve the situation lots.)

    In short: when you're a third party, supporting Linux is generally not worth the pain.

    This is a very bad situation for us, because we need hardware makers to support our platform, so there isn't an ongoing gap of weeks or months between the release of bleeding edge hardware and its support on Linux, and there is just plain not enough of us to reproduce the functionality of all the software third parties are making for other platforms

    Admittedly, projects like Klik [atekon.de] and Autopackage [autopackage.org] are a step in the right direction, but isn't it too little and perhaps even too late? I don't know.

    Because the main, the core issue here is not technical.

    The core issue is that when you discuss something like Autopackage, the response typically amounts to "Why don't you use .debs | use .rpms | fork your own distro?"

    And this, my friends, is why I've lost hopes of seeing the Linux desktop go mainstream.

    Hopefully the future will prove me wrong, though.

Mathematicians stand on each other's shoulders. -- Gauss

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