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IBM Pushing Microsoft-Free Desktops 417

Posted by kdawson
from the straight-for-the-jugular dept.
walterbyrd and other readers are sending along the news that IBM is partnering worldwide with Canonical/Ubuntu, Novell, and Red Hat to offer Windows-free desktop PCs pre-loaded with Lotus software and ready for customizing by local ISVs for particular markets. The head of IBM's Lotus division is quoted: "The slow adoption of Vista among businesses and budget-conscious CIOs, coupled with the proven success of a new type of Microsoft-free PC in every region, provides an extraordinary window of opportunity for Linux." One example of the cooperation: "Canonical, which sells subscription support for Ubuntu, a Linux operating system that scores high marks on usability and 'the cool factor,' will re-distribute Lotus Symphony via their repositories. Symphony 1.1 will be available through the Ubuntu repositories by the end of August."
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IBM Pushing Microsoft-Free Desktops

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  • Great... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Dice (109560) on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @07:51PM (#24489035)

    ... but can I get one without Lotus Notes too?

    • Re:Great... (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @08:14PM (#24489301)

      To paraphrase Yoda, "Notes leads to anger. Anger leads to Notes consultants. Notes consultants lead to suffering."

      • Re:Great... (Score:5, Funny)

        by roc97007 (608802) on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @09:26PM (#24490155) Journal

        That's no moon, it's DOMINO!

      • Re:Great... (Score:5, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @10:09PM (#24490619)

        Lotus Notes is truly bad. I've held a job as a notes developer for 18 months before quitting and went back to C++/C#.

        It's often sold as an exchange replacement.. but in practice I've seen it more often used as a document-oriented distributed database (a quick way to write day to day business workflow apps). Where I worked, this technology held the company together.
        As easy as it was to say "let's develop it in (name your favourite enterprise technology)", we built apps from start to finish in less than 2 weeks flat (a.k.a. the time it takes to say Oracle, Java, JSP, Struts, Tomcat, Log4J, setting up your Eclipse and getting people to give you test instances of everything you need). Maintenance was however a nightmare. We had to routinely jump through hoops to get the software to do things it wasn't designed to do.

        Management was happy however! They could easily start new projects and deco old ones - just as quickly as they would start getting replication errors :-D.

        Bahhhh!! Can't stand notes!!

        • Re:Great... (Score:5, Funny)

          by Gleng (537516) on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @06:50AM (#24493899)

          A couple of what I will call Old School Developers at place I used to work, which will remain nameless, actually managed to write a relational database system in Lotus script that ran the entire operation.

          It was a buggy, unmaintainable pile of spaghetti that was congealed rather than designed.

          One day, both the developers quit at the same time due to the manager being the biggest unlikeable bastard that any of us had ever met. This left the "database" completely unmaintained.

          The manager ended up contracting a Lotus Notes expert from IBM themselves to do some emergency bug fixing. The following Monday morning, the expert turned up at 9 AM sharp, in an equally sharp suit, and carrying a trademark Thinkpad.

          He sat down at a computer, looked at the code, and cried with laughter for a good, solid ten minutes, then got up and left.

          • Re:Great... (Score:5, Interesting)

            by kabocox (199019) on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @10:14AM (#24496063)

            One day, both the developers quit at the same time due to the manager being the biggest unlikeable bastard that any of us had ever met. This left the "database" completely unmaintained.

            The manager ended up contracting a Lotus Notes expert from IBM themselves to do some emergency bug fixing. The following Monday morning, the expert turned up at 9 AM sharp, in an equally sharp suit, and carrying a trademark Thinkpad.

            He sat down at a computer, looked at the code, and cried with laughter for a good, solid ten minutes, then got up and left.

            See a really good contractor would have found either or both of those developers and have them work for 10x of their normal price and just be the front man. Today it's even easier. Your contractor can say, I'll need today to gather notes and talk to people "so I can give our folks in India the specs" where the folks in India are instead your former now happily highly paid employees.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          "I've held a job as a notes developer for 18 months before quitting"

          Sorry but 18 months would only make you a junior developer if that. You probably weren't even certified.

          I mean imagine someone telling you they only used C#/J2EE/Linux/etc for 18 months and said it sucked. You would laugh at them I am sure if you had been using it for much longer and took the time to get certified and training on how to code correctly for the architecture.

          Difference between using a language and knowing a language.

          This would

      • Re:Great... (Score:5, Funny)

        by CronoCloud (590650) <cronocloudauron AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @12:53AM (#24492107)

        How does that sig go:

        Ladies and Gentlement, my killbot features Lotus Notes and a machine-gun. It is the finest available.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by linumax (910946)
      If you think Lotus Notes is bad, then wait until you try the Lotus Symphony (un)productivity tools that are gonna come bundled with notes.

      I don't know of any OSS solution which can replace Notes in the enterprise (anyone?), but at least for the Office Suite, I recommend they go with pure OO and not some unfortunate offspring of OO+Eclipse+Lotus threesome!

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by aliquis (678370)

        Why is it so bad? Screenshots looked nice, I don't like classic word palette/toolbar freenzy. Fonts looked ugly and like 20 years too late though.

        • Re:Great... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Maxmin (921568) on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @09:56PM (#24490479)

          Because it feels like software designed by committee. "We need feature X, oh but we've run out of 'room' under the menu it should be under, so stick it under the Utility menu under the Tools menu." And so on. Good software takes usability into account, and that evidently didn't continue after IBM bought Lotus.

          Back when IBM introduced the PS/2, they offered a hardware option they rather blithely dubbed the "Data Migration Facility." Otherwise known as a cable adapter for connecting two computers together. The style of thinking which produced that product name suffuses and pervades throughout IBM's corporate culture.

          That's the best I can do to prepare you for the Lotus Notes experience.

      • Re:Great... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Hurricane78 (562437) <deleted AT slashdot DOT org> on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @08:51PM (#24489749)

        If only there were some old Lotus ideas in this. WordPro's (and 123s) InfoBox was the best user interface module I ever used. If was very easy to work proper (with format classes) and it was quick to use. I installed it in every company i worked, and soon everyone had it, and was used to it. There are still people who now have to work with that nightmare of an UI that Microsoft provides (a modal dialog to get to all formatting options... really??), the comparably bad imitation that Openoffice is (why does open source imitate more than innovate? and wort of all: imitate Microsoft? either you can say how bad MS is, or you can imitate it. you can't have both.), or another - strangely similar - office package, who tell me how bad that thing is, compared to SmartSuite. (Yes, this is all subjective. But for the vast majority i think they (would have) liked SmartSuite more.)

        But instead of just implementing the InfoBox in OpenOffice (an idea that i would pay serious money to have), they just used the sidebar click-orgy paradigm + the gnome dumb-down* paradigm. ;)
        Great... idea...

        * No, I do not have anything against simplifying the UI, as long as it's only for people who WANT it simple [eg. don't want to spend much, or don't have much resources for it]. Make your UI *SCALABLE* and make everyone happy. :)

        • Re:Great... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @12:49AM (#24492069)

          OOo was always basically a clone of Microsoft Office, even back when it was a closed-source app called Star Office. It was the only way to get anyone to use it.

          The reason, as far as I can tell, is that people tend to be confused by something that's different than what they're used to. For most people, that means that if it's not Office, it's confusing.

          Back when SmartSuite was still around, Office didn't have complete dominance as it does now, so there was half a chance of something new actually working. Not anymore. Witness the general backlash against Office 2007's UI, for example. Or Vista. Or KDE 4. Or Mac OS X, back when it first came out. Or the number of clueless users who thought "hey, my browser's broken" when they first saw Internet Explorer 7. And so on.

          OSS projects that try UI innovations tend to fail, because everyone invariably compares the software to some incumbent proprietary equivalent, and then complains that it doesn't work the same. Doesn't matter if it's better or not. Ultimately all the developer interest evaporates, and the project either dies, or slows to a crawl and never goes anywhere. Meanwhile, the lets-make-a-clone-of-[whatever] project is proceeding quite nicely.

          Hell, the only reason Blender is still going is because it has people who actually do use it contributing to the project, so they're quite able to ignore all the "but it doesn't work like 3D Studio / Maya / Lightwave / whatever" people. Not that 3DS, Maya, Lightwave, or any other commercial 3D app has an interface that's anything like another one...

        • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @03:11AM (#24492849)

          "Why does open source imitate more than innovate?"

          Good question. We suspect the problem is that most open source software is written by programmers.

          Although programmers are similar to human beings in many respects, and may even be mistaken for humans when observed briefly from a great distance or under adverse viewing conditions, controlled observations clearly prove they are distinct. Since programmers are a different species (as the term is broadly defined, since unlike other species open source programmers have never been observed to procreate -- or at least the very least we feel sorry for any researcher who might witness such an event) they tend to construct interfaces that are either incomprehensible to the human mind, or in recognition of their own limitations, construct systems that are simply a mimicry of human designed interfaces (aka "human interfaces"). Here the term "construct" is used intentionally because we cannot in good conscience use the term "design," with all that it implies in this context, as most evidence indicates programmer-constructed interfaces are unusable by human beings.

          We performed several tests.

          Emacs, an advanced operating system constructed by a programmer, was tested first. We requested our test subjects start emacs, write a short sentence, save a file containing the sentence, and cleanly exit the system -- all without the intervention of an open source programmer. No human test subject was able to do so. In fact, mere open source programmers were typically insufficient to complete the task: an open source programmer with a gray neck beard was often required.

          We contrast emacs with Microsoft Word. The latter is not regarded as having an ideal interface, but nearly two thirds of human beings under the age of 40 who grew up in a developed Western country were able to complete the open-edit-save-exit task without the intervention of a programmer. Even marketing staff had little trouble opening the application, saving the file, and exiting; most confusion revolved around the requirement to type a short sentence, but in all honesty this wasn't the fault of the software and furthermore this was the portion of the task least likely to elicit effective guidance from the programmer.

          An equivalent test with Open Office, written by open source programmers but sporting a derivative interface, returned similar results.

          Next we tested the GIMP. Several graphic designers simply began to cry when placed in front of the testing terminal. Further testing was aborted on ethical grounds after one designer became physically ill. Although the results were officially recorded as "inconclusive," we remain skeptical as to the usability of the GIMP's interface by anyone other than a GIMP programmer. Similarly, we remain skeptical as to the graphic design proficiency of those programmers, but this is strictly conjecture and remains untested.

          With commercial software from well established vendors we presume there is a high likelihood that one or more human beings will be responsible for the human interface design. Although further research is needed, it is possible that the absence of humans on many open source projects results in unusable or derivative interfaces. Furthermore, there may be aspects of the typical open source development process that discourage participation by humans. Again, further research is needed.

        • Re:Great... (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Bert64 (520050) <bert@NoSPaM.slashdot.firenzee.com> on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @03:45AM (#24493043) Homepage

          Unfortunately people are used to microsoft, regardless of how inefficient their way of doing things is, people want familiarity.

          That's why many open source projects tend to copy them, as it's the only way to capture a large market share (if you do things the right way, you can end up with a small but loyal niche).

          Really i think openoffice (and other large apps) should have a config program like the menuconfig present in linux, so you can configure it before compiling, and choose to have a huge monolithic app (like it is now), or choose various features as modules (loaded as theyre used) or simply disable them, and also choose between several interface options (or build these as modules too so you can switch between them). Tho i'm sure this would all be a lot of work...

          As for you paying serious money for the infobox, why don't you donate to the project, offer a bounty to someone to implement such features or if your really that serious, hire some developers to implement it.

        • Re:Great... (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Junior J. Junior III (192702) on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @08:33AM (#24494623) Homepage

          why does open source imitate more than innovate? and wort of all: imitate Microsoft? either you can say how bad MS is, or you can imitate it. you can't have both.)

          Sure you can. Not everything Microsoft does is bad. A lot of people dislike MS because they're closed source. Most people dislike MS because they're an anticompetitive monopoly, and as a resulttheir products are frequently buggy (because there's no competition to push them to do better), and won't play well with competitor's products (because that would allow the competitors to compete), and are bloated resource hogs that perform poorly.

          But most people like Microsoft's user interfaces. Not everything about MS UI design is great, but even where it sucks, it's what people are used to. Certainly things could be better, and it's not hard to come up with a list of things that should have been done better 10 years ago but haven't. But overall they have a decent, usable, familiar user environment.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by AvitarX (172628)

          Easy clear licensing that lets you do as you please was a major innovation for software.

          I feel bad for people (myself included, so maybe more of a self pitty) that need to waste time and effort on managing licenses. And then when something breaks, the re-install is a huge pain in the ass.

          FOSS took all of that away.

    • Re:Great... (Score:4, Informative)

      by roc97007 (608802) on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @08:29PM (#24489485) Journal

      Copy that. But you don't actually have to use Notes. Make sure the back end is Domino on Linux, and then just use the box for something else...

    • Re:Great... (Score:5, Funny)

      by value_added (719364) on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @08:31PM (#24489517)

      ... but can I get one without Lotus Notes too?

      In anticipation of a thousand Slashdotters nodding approvingly, I'll point out that the head of the White House IT Dept. testified (during the recent missing emails scandal) that Notes is obsolete software, and then went on to explain the problems they were having with Exchange, and why those problems couldn't be fixed. The senators, reassured the White House was using state of the art technology, nodded approvingly.

  • Finally! (Score:5, Funny)

    by morgan_greywolf (835522) * on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @07:52PM (#24489041) Homepage Journal

    The 2008 will be known as the year of Lotus Notes on the desktop!

  • Working link (Score:5, Informative)

    by symbolset (646467) on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @07:53PM (#24489049) Journal
  • Perfect example (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Darkness404 (1287218) on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @07:54PM (#24489063)
    This is a perfect example on why IBM stays ahead. They adapt. They went from proprietary to open, from DOS to Linux. From punch cards to computers. Despite how "old" IBM seems, they always seem to adapt, something that some tech companies refuse to do.
    • by motek (179836) on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @07:58PM (#24489117) Homepage

      They adapt. They went from proprietary to open, from DOS to Linux. From punch cards to computers.

      ...from 'world domination' to 'also run'...

      • Re:Perfect example (Score:5, Insightful)

        by c_forq (924234) <forquerc+slash@gmail.com> on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @08:05PM (#24489203)

        ..from 'world domination' to 'also run'...

        Eh, they seem to be doing better than Standard Oil, Carnegie Steel, and I would even say Ma Bell.

        • Re:Perfect example (Score:5, Insightful)

          by VGPowerlord (621254) on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @08:15PM (#24489313)

          I'm surprised you mentioned Ma Bell, as AT&T seems to have almost all its pieces back together again. It seems that they aren't such a Humpty Dumpty after all.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by whoever57 (658626)

            I'm surprised you mentioned Ma Bell, as AT&T seems to have almost all its pieces back together again

            I'm sure that you posted the revionist history tha the current AT&T managment would like to see, but it simply isn't true. The present AT&T is not the same as the old one. Another company assembled the pieces, not the old AT&T.

            • Re:Perfect example (Score:5, Insightful)

              by BoChen456 (1099463) on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @08:44PM (#24489685)

              I'm sure that you posted the revionist history tha the current AT&T managment would like to see, but it simply isn't true. The present AT&T is not the same as the old one. Another company assembled the pieces, not the old AT&T.

              Who cares which company assembled all the pieces. The pieces are back together, so the old company is back together.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Apple Acolyte (517892)
          Uh, if you didn't know, Standard Oil became Exxon Mobile (XOM), and I don't think they're doing too badly. . . .
        • AT&T Seems to be doing well. [youtube.com] (Colbert Report flow chart)

        • Re:Perfect example (Score:5, Interesting)

          by evilviper (135110) on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @09:00PM (#24489857) Journal

          Eh, they seem to be doing better than Standard Oil, Carnegie Steel, and I would even say Ma Bell.

          Standard Oil was renamed to "Exxon", and recently posted the largest annual profits of ANY company, EVER.

          Carnegie Steel became US Steel; now USX. It remains the single largest steel producer in the country. It certainly has slipped a long way from it's historic highs of world domination, but it took almost a century, nowhere nearly as quickly as IBM.

          Much like the terminator, Ma Bell's shattered pieces have slowly been coming back together for the past few decades. What's worse, she's a badder bitch now than she ever was before... Much like with any disease, as the host got weaker, the viruses took over, and prospered.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by osu-neko (2604)

            Standard Oil was renamed to "Exxon", and recently posted the largest annual profits of ANY company, EVER.

            Nope. Around here, all the Standard Oil stations were renamed Amoco, and later renamed BP. The company that was Standard Oil was ripped apart year ago. Parts of it went to Esso/Exxon, parts to Mobile (the two later merged into ExxonMobile), parts to Amoco (later absorbed by BP), parts to Chevron, parts to Texaco (Chevron and Texaco later merged into ChevronTexaco, then dropped Texaco from the name), parts to Conoco (now ConocoPhillips), and parts elsewhere as well. In fact, Standard Oil was broken up fa

          • by symbolset (646467) on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @10:38PM (#24490955) Journal

            IBM at the end of business today had a 174.60B market capitalization - more than HP and Dell put together and within reachable range of Microsoft's 239B. IBM's trend is up (just off the 52wk high) while Microsoft's is, well, to be kind, not. Microsoft nearly killed them -- by 1994 their value had dropped to 1/10th of what it is today. For the past twelve years however IBM's stock has been as good or better as an investment than Microsoft's. IBM's value today is more than five times what it was when Microsoft was knifing their OS/2 love child in 1990. And IBM didn't just spend 7B engineering a product so abhorrent it needs this [mojaveexperiment.com] kind of "no matter what you've heard, our product doesn't suck" kind of marketing.

            I hope the tide is turning. Maybe this will help [nwsource.com].

      • by greenguy (162630) <[estebandido] [at] [gmail.com]> on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @08:21PM (#24489391) Homepage Journal

        Frankly, I'd rather see Microsoft in that position -- humbled, force-fed a fresh perspective, and one player among many -- than totally ground out of existence.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by motek (179836)

          Frankly, I'd rather see Microsoft in that position

          But of course. I can't quite imagine Ballmer with a white cat on his lap, anyway. Besides, it is just me who is destined for the true world dominance...

          • by techno-vampire (666512) on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @02:36AM (#24492625) Homepage
            But of course. I can't quite imagine Ballmer with a white cat on his lap, anyway.

            It doesn't matter. If Balmer picks up the cat, Balmer will become Blofeld. Please note that in each Bond film that he appears in, he looks different, but the cat's always there, and it's the same cat. Clearly, the cat itself is Blofeld and its spirit possesses whoever picks it up. Now, consider: do you really want Balmer turning into Blofeld?

      • Re:Perfect example (Score:4, Insightful)

        by burnin1965 (535071) on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @10:11PM (#24490655) Homepage

        'also run'

        Hmm, and who was the winner in this race they ran?

        Based on IBM's income statement [yahoo.com] they are fast approaching $100 billion in annual revenue. To put this into perspective Exxon Mobile, that company that has made the news by making record profits for any company ever [nytimes.com] by gouging consumers, is a $116 billion in revenue corporation.

        And how can it be they are an 'also ran' and yet they are continually on the leading edge of many technological [qmul.ac.uk] breakthroughs [imechanica.org].

    • Adapt implies "behind the curve." Something has to change before a thing can adapt.

      IBM doesn't stay ahead at all. They have learned to, as you say, adapt to market forces. How much leverage they actually have, however, is another matter.
    • by Kjella (173770)

      This is a perfect example on why IBM stays ahead. They adapt.

      My impression is that they're just big enough to make huge blunders and still come back. Companies like IBM, Intel, Microsoft, nVidia etc. aren't going to just bend over and die by making one bad generation or getting kicked out of one market. My impression is that they've not been around so long because they adapt, but rather that they've had to adapt so much because they've been around so long.

    • Re:Perfect example (Score:5, Insightful)

      by ChrisA90278 (905188) on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @08:42PM (#24489667)

      IBM has been a technology company for over 100 years. The company was founded in 1896, back when information technology was a new idea. I think they learned about "change" long ago. They adapted to the invention of the vacuum tube and every other new technology of the 20th century. How many other tech companies from the late 1800's are still around?

  • Woo Hoo! (Score:4, Informative)

    by clang_jangle (975789) * on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @07:54PM (#24489067) Journal
    The link in TFS didn't work for me (they may have fixed it by now), but here's the marketwatch article [marketwatch.com] and BigBlue's press release [ibm.com].
    Oh, and uh, WOOHOOOOOOOO!!!!!
  • by hasbeard (982620) on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @07:54PM (#24489069)
    I not I'm not supposed to read the article, but when I tried to the site gives a "story not found" message.
  • C64 (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @07:57PM (#24489109)

    IBM should get together with the people who created Commodore 64 and see about modifying it for a networked business environment. We already know the C64 is suitable for networked environments because people have already abandoned Vista to have lan parties on their Commodore 64s. T

  • I gotta say (Score:4, Insightful)

    by $RANDOMLUSER (804576) on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @07:59PM (#24489133)

    ...Microsoft-free personal computing choices...

    Has a nice ring to it, don't it?

    • Re:I gotta say (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Nerdfest (867930) on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @09:09PM (#24489953)
      It sure does. That nasty part is that as bad as MS has been, If IBM was still dominant, Personal computing would probably be an order of magnitude more expensive and far more limited. I think if MS hadn't come to prominence, things would be even worse than they are now.

      They still suck of course.
      • Re:I gotta say (Score:5, Informative)

        by chthon (580889) on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @03:56AM (#24493079) Homepage Journal

        I think that you owe it to Compaq that personal computing dropped in price, not Microsoft.

    • Sounds good (Score:5, Insightful)

      by symbolset (646467) on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @11:04PM (#24491241) Journal

      That it's actually attractive enough an idea to make it the theme of an advertising campaign is even better. Perhaps "Vista free" is this year's "Fat Free" of the computing world. Imagine the Vista logo with a red circle and strike on the box of PCs, phones, printers, scanners, external media, routers and switches along with the text: "Don't worry. This product does not contain or require Windows Vista." Or maybe this nice logo. [fsf.org]

  • by Howitzer86 (964585) on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @08:02PM (#24489157)
    I guess I should start learning linux. Maybe buy a few books to study and frequent the irc channels. It finally looks like it might have a shot at replacing Windows.
    • by Paradigm_Complex (968558) on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @09:38PM (#24490275)
      You probably won't need books or irc. Linux is getting pretty accessible these days. The best thing is to have a buddy who is already comfortable with Linux. Lacking that, I'd recommend taking a look at the very noob-friendly Ubuntu forums [ubuntuforums.org] and Ubuntu wiki [ubuntu.com]. You should probably start by toying around with a virtual machine in windows, where you won't have to worry about things like drivers. You could also try playing around with a live boot CD.

      After that you can take the plunge and install Ubuntu to the bare metal. In case something (eg: wifi) doesn't work, it's a good idea to have a laptop with internet access and a USB flash drive at hand when you start. Also make extra careful special sure you don't kill your mission critical Windows partition. Not yet anyways :D I got another old hard drive for Linux while I was still getting used to it, and disabled the Windows hard drive whenever I was going to do something maybe possibly risky.

      Don't expect everything to go super smooth - there will be some hang up somewhere. Even if it's more user friendly than Windows, it's different, and there is stuff to learn.
  • Nine To Five (Score:2, Insightful)

    by westlake (615356)
    Canonical, which sells subscription support for Ubuntu, a Linux operating system that scores high marks on usability and 'the cool factor..."
    .

    I stopped reading right there.

    If there is anything less "cool" on this world than the corporate desktop I have yet to find it.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by MrMista_B (891430)

      Um, since when is Ubuntu a 'corporate desktop'?

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by flerchin (179012)

      Hardy with Compiz and advanced desktop effects is pretty damned cool. I'm getting converts daily on my university campus just from fellow geeks saying "What is that!?"

  • by sleeponthemic (1253494) on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @08:04PM (#24489183) Homepage

    But I've never met any "common man" family with a linux based PC. I find it strange to hear that previous article on penetration of linux in new PCs in the UK up to 2.8%. As good as linux desktops are, I still can't quite believe that Joe Bloggs with zero knowledge will comprehend the virtues and not be seduced by the fact that almost everybody around him is running windows
     
    As I say, it might just be "where I am". I can't recall anywhere generic selling linux based desktops here so no real surprise I don't know anybody who fits this bill.

    • by freeasinrealale (928218) on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @08:59PM (#24489851)
      Well I live in Canada. And yes, 'joe sixpack' or the common man here in NA doesn't really care about 'Linux' or 'Windows'. I am a part owner in a family run brewery here in Ontario. We brew and sell craft beer or 'real ales'. Recently I was at local watering hole that sells Big Name Swill. One customer was amazed at how our brew tasted fantastic, reminded him of how good his beer had tasted back in ole Blighty. After finishing the real ale, he ordered up his regular - Bud Light. (We price ours the same as regular beers). As A Linux fanboy for many a year, I have also tamed my enthusiasm for converting Win users to Linux. Most people don't want to know what an OS is. Like a PVR - switch it on - and it works. Linux will succeed when the big boys start marketing it, just like the 'swill beers' that now dominate the world markets. Me - I'm happy with our small base of real ale fanatics.
      • Linux wins when... (Score:5, Interesting)

        by symbolset (646467) on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @11:16PM (#24491363) Journal

        Most people don't want to know what an OS is. Like a PVR - switch it on - and it works. Linux will succeed when the big boys start marketing it, just like the 'swill beers' that now dominate the world markets.

        The advertisers of the eee pc or the new Atom netbooks don't make a big deal of the fact that there's no Windows [amazon.com] in the box. "Like a PVR - switch it on - and it works." You are right that most people don't care to know and that is perhaps more insightful than I would have expected from your post. I would say you're very perceptive. I would expect that the lack of spyware and viruses on the PCs after six months will only be considered a pleasant bonus.

  • by Tumbleweed (3706) * on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @08:15PM (#24489317)

    ...how do you get rid of IBM?

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Skinner: No, that's the beautiful part. When wintertime rolls around, the IBMs simply freeze to death.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by evilviper (135110)

      Once you get rid of Microsoft... ...how do you get rid of IBM?

      You convince them to get back into the PC business...

    • It went the other way: "Once you get rid of IBM... how do you get rid of Microsoft."

      ... and we wore an onion on our belt, as was the fashion of the day, yadda yadda...

      Anyway, Microsoft didn't kill IBM. They just smashed their hubris. Perhaps if IBM returns the favor we will be done with the tyranny of monopoly in IT forever. Or maybe in 17 years a scrappy reborn up and coming Microsoft will be there to remind the aging monolithic giant once again that assuming the sale only goes so far.

  • this is it guys, The rest is up to us.

    The future is free.

  • in other words (Score:4, Interesting)

    by roc97007 (608802) on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @08:24PM (#24489421) Journal

    Either the url is borked or the story no longer exists, so guessing from what we can read:

    "The slow adoption of Vista among businesses and budget-conscious CIOs, coupled with the proven success of a new type of Microsoft-free PC in every region, provides an extraordinary window of opportunity for Linux."

    So, how I'm reading this is "The slow adoption of Vista provides an opening for Symphony to increase market share" which is a perfectly reasonable strategy for the manager of a product line. (Besides, if you don't like it, you can always download OpenOffice.)

    It could also mean "The slow adoption of Vista is cutting into our hardware sales, so we are looking at alternatives to get units out the door" and shipping more copies of Symphony is a happy byproduct.

    Either way, it's more new systems that are not running Winders. I don't see a downside.

    This could also be read as IBM stating publicly that Vista jumped the shark. ...which is waaaay different from a bunch of geeks in Slashdot saying it.

  • As Bullwinkle would say, "this time for sure!".

  • by TheNucleon (865817) on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @09:14PM (#24490021)
    ...about that OS/2 thing.
  • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @09:42PM (#24490323) Homepage Journal

    If IBM really wants to help replace Windows PCs with Linux PCs, it can do a lot more than just partner with Canonical. IBM could help fix the two biggest gaps in Linux's ability to "do what Windows does": full PDF and SWF suites that "just work".

    PDF is a standard format that Adobe dominates with Acrobat. It's the favorite way for offices to send around read only documents that will have no chance of problems. Unless you send it to someone with Linux, in which case something funny can happen. Not so much in reading it, but if they do indeed want to make changes anyway. The SW for editing and managing PDF docs isn't so reliable on Linux, and not at all widely available. It's probably easy for IBM to fix that problem, because PDF availability for Linux isn't so bad, just needs some more "formalizing". Getting a brand name, but still open source, edition from IBM with support and training will help.

    The real problem that needs engineering is Flash. GNU's Gnash player for SWF is all some Linux distros, like for PowerPC, have for playing YouTube and all the other Flash web content. More and more Flash is used for commercial sites, especially as Flash starts to run on mobile phones. But Gnash barely works, and often doesn't work with YouTube. IBM could really level the playing field by making enough contributions to Gnash that it "just works", even as Flash evolves and other players have to keep up with it. It takes a place like IBM to do that to Adobe's dominance without Adobe either winning or even killing the competitor. Gnash is also pretty close, so IBM's investment in it would be the finishing touches that make all the difference in corporate IT strategy decisions.

    PDF and SWF are still Windows territory. With a little investment, IBM could not only make Linux a first class business platform, but also take (and deserve) credit for it under an IBM logo.

    And if Novell paid a little more attention to Evolution, which competes with Outlook, the whole Desktop could be a Windows killer in the right hands.

    • by symbolset (646467) on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @12:10AM (#24491807) Journal

      And if Novell paid a little more attention to Evolution, which competes with Outlook, the whole Desktop could be a Windows killer in the right hands.

      Novell's focus right now is getting Microsoft's IP into Linux, as I said they would do when they made their legendary deal. Mono with .NET libraries and binary Codecs (embrace, extend, you know what comes next...).

      Don't look for them to save you from teh evil Redmond Monster. They're a puppet now and they must dance when Ballmer pulls their strings.

  • by massysett (910130) on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @09:51PM (#24490411) Homepage

    Interesting that Ubuntu will make Symphony available. It is not Free Software.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lotus_Symphony [wikipedia.org]

    Currently the Ubuntu Philosophy allows non-free software only for drivers.

    http://www.ubuntu.com/community/ubuntustory/philosophy [ubuntu.com]

  • I used Linux at IBM (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @11:45PM (#24491587)
    I used Linux as my primary OS for the majority of the 7 years I worked at IBM. The internal distribution is of course, based on Red Hat, though I used SUSE, Debian (and Ubuntu) as well. It sucked in the early days of the project because Notes ran under wine, rather than a native client. Now with the Eclipse platform, Notes is a "native" client and works much better. Disparaging remarks about Notes aside, the latest release was quite nice to use. I'm sure development has improved even more in the last year since I left, and it was a complete Windows replacement then.

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