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Shuttleworth Says Ubuntu Can't Just Be Windows 710

Posted by timothy
from the bsod-screensaver-must-suffice dept.
ruphus13 writes "When Mark Shuttleworth was asked what role WINE will play in Ubuntu's success, he said that Ubuntu cannot simply be a better platform to run Windows apps. From the post, according to Shuttleworth, '[Windows and Linux] both play an important role but fundamentally, the free software ecosystem needs to thrive on its own rules. it is *different* to the proprietary software universe. We need to make a success of our own platform on our own terms. if Linux is just another way to run Windows apps, we can't win. OS/2 tried that ...' The post goes on to say, 'Linux simply isn't Windows (nor is Windows Linux) and to expect fundamentally different approaches (and I'm not just thinking closed versus open) to look, feel, and operate the same way is senseless.'"
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Shuttleworth Says Ubuntu Can't Just Be Windows

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  • Well, not quite... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheRaven64 (641858) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @12:08PM (#27832185) Journal
    OS/2 tried to be a $500 way of running Windows applications while Windows was a $100 way of running Windows applications. It didn't matter that OS/2 was better, it wasn't (in the minds of most consumers) $400 better, especially when it needed $400 more RAM as well.
    • by Tackhead (54550) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @12:11PM (#27832265)

      OS/2 tried to be a $500 way of running Windows applications while Windows was a $100 way of running Windows applications. It didn't matter that OS/2 was better, it wasn't (in the minds of most consumers) $400 better, especially when it needed $400 more RAM as well.

      Of course, Vista and 7 tried to be a $500 way of running Windows apps, while XP was a $100 way of running Windows apps. And compared to XP, Vista also needed $400 worth of hardware.

      Depressing proof that it's all in the marketing.

      • by Sockatume (732728) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @12:42PM (#27832859)
        Actually it's all in the bundling. OEMs will put in whatever version of Windows you give them, it's not like it costs them $500.
      • by The Grim Reefer2 (1195989) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @12:46PM (#27832931)

        OS/2 tried to be a $500 way of running Windows applications while Windows was a $100 way of running Windows applications. It didn't matter that OS/2 was better, it wasn't (in the minds of most consumers) $400 better, especially when it needed $400 more RAM as well.

        Of course, Vista and 7 tried to be a $500 way of running Windows apps, while XP was a $100 way of running Windows apps. And compared to XP, Vista also needed $400 worth of hardware.

        Depressing proof that it's all in the marketing.

        But the $100 option meant you couldn't have "Team OS/2" in your Usenet signature.

      • by BrokenHalo (565198) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @12:56PM (#27833085)
        The cost is beside the point.

        I am a long-time Linux (and much more recently OS X) user, and if I am presented with a piece of software that requires Windows to run it, I usually prefer to just do without.

        Fortunately in my discipline (biotech) developers are beginning to realise there are alternatives - for instance, Geneious [geneious.com] is a stupendously fine example. It's definitely not free, but it is available on multiple platforms, which is a big step away from where we were a couple of years ago.

        Compare this with Endnote [endnote.com] which is rapidly losing ground to Zotero [zotero.org] because the developers refuse to cooperate with the *nix world.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by langelgjm (860756)

          Do you really think Endnote is losing out to Zotero because Zotero is available for Linux (Endnote exists for OS X, too)? I doubt that's the reason. I'd say it's because Zotero is free!

          • by BrokenHalo (565198) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @01:38PM (#27833761)
            Yes, I do. A major gripe of academics and students has been that there was no good bibliographic software available for Linux, and that Endnote does not interact with OpenOffice, while many major scientific journals are happy with submissions made in OpenOffice formats.

            Zotero fills that gap on both counts, and works perfectly well with OpenOffice. I'm not interested in starting a flamewar here, since any mention of OOo on /. typically sparks a deluge of posts to the effect that it is worthless by comparison to MSOffice, but the simple truth is that the open-source option is more than adequate for just about any purpose if one is prepared to take the trouble to learn how to use it.
            • Bibtex (Score:5, Informative)

              by zippthorne (748122) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @03:34PM (#27836061) Journal

              That's because you shouldn't be using OpenOffice for academic writing. It's ok, but it's painful if you have to say.. typeset equations.

              You should be using LaTeX. If you need a gui, then use LyX, which has, to date, the most efficient and capable equation editor I've seen so far. It's helped, of course, by including a pass-through feature for anything it doesn't understand.

              LyX integrates with a few bibtex managers, or flat text files.

              And of course, the big advantage is that you don't even bother writing the style file. You just use the standard one from the appropriate body (ams, for instance), or get it from the publisher. You use the markup for what it was intended for: telling the software where the sections are, and what bits of text are the titles for those sections, subsections, etc.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by mydn (195771)
        Vista Ultimate ran just fine on my Compaq Presario SR1710NX. The whole machine was less than $400 (actually think it was $399 at Fry's). It was already old hardware before Vista came out.
    • by Bourbonium (454366) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @12:34PM (#27832691)

      I remember only paying $75 for my first version of OS/2 Warp 3.0. Then, a few years later, I was willing to pay up to $119 to upgrade to OS/2 Warp 4.0 to avoid having to use Windows on my home PC the way I was forced to use it at work. I can't remember any of my OS/2 colleagues paying any more than that. Where did you get those pricing figures?

    • by Will.Woodhull (1038600) <wwoodhull@gmail.com> on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @12:57PM (#27833125) Homepage Journal

      Look at the history.

      If IBM had gotten its shit together and gotten OS/2 out the door in the early 1990s as originally intended, Windows would have been known only as the GUI interface. Windows would have been to OS/2 as Gnome is to Ubuntu: a pretty front end to a powerful and secure operating system.

      But OS/2 was crippled by infighting among the divisions of IBM, and was tilting at windmills in its pursuit of true multitasking on the Intel 80286 microprocessor. (One of the best quotes ever from Bill Gates was when he described the 286 as being "brain dead"). While IBM got itself all tangled up trying to do something never done before-- true pre-emptive multitasking on a microchip with all the appropriate security that would need-- Microsoft took advantage of an escape clause in its contract to develop Windows for IBM, and tied this GUI front-end on top of DOS, which could not do multitasking and had no security model at all. Micorsoft also jumped over the 286 and developed for the 80386 microprocessor (then backfilled to provide some limited capabilities on the 80286). Thus Win3.0 came on the scene, complete with "cooperative multitasking"-- which meant no true multitasking at all.

      If OS/2 had been released even as late as 1992, Microsoft would have been unable to compete with its technical superiority. We would have OS/2 and not Windows. A lot of things would have happened very differently... the delay in OS/2 was a significant historical cusp.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        >>>IBM was tilting at windmills in its pursuit of true multitasking on the Intel 80286 microprocessor.
        >>>(One of the best quotes ever from Bill Gates was when he described the 286 as being "brain dead").

        Why is that? The much-older 1979 Motorola 68000 was capable of doing preemptive multitasking, so why couldn't the 286 perform multitasking too? I don't see why the task would be impossible. Although if your story is accurate, developing for the 286 does seem a waste considering the i386

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by chthon (580889)

          The 286 had all the infrastructure needed to do multitasking. However, the segmentation model was still the same 16-bit model with segments of at most 64 kB. I suppose that was the braindead-ness that Gates referred to.

          The 386 built really extended the 286 hardware by adding a segment selection size so that segments of 4Gb could be addressed and then added paging on top of it to provide a good virtual memory system.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by fm6 (162816)

      I don't think cost had that much to do with OS/2's failure. Note that at one point IBM was basically giving away OS/2 to people who bought PCs from them, with machines that dual booted OS/2 and Windows. And towards the end, you could buy OS/2 for a lot less than $500! Anyway, the retail cost of a shrinkwrap copy of an OS doesn't have much to do with its adoption, because most people adopt an OS by buying a machine with it pre-installed.

      One day I read that even IBM sales pushed Windows and ignored OS/2. That

    • by mangu (126918) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @01:20PM (#27833505)

      OS/2 tried to be a $500 way of running Windows applications while Windows was a $100 way of running Windows applications

      If Ubuntu were a $0 way of running windows applications it would take over the world.

      Ubuntu shouldn't be *just* windows, it should be windows and more. The problem is that the "and more" part Ubuntu already does perfectly but the "just windows" part is still not complete.

      If wine could run every relevant windows applications, people could forget the applications and concentrate on what the system itself does.

      Linux is so much better, so much more powerful, easier to use, secure, and stable than windows it's a shame so many people are turned off Linux because their work requires exactly this or that application.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by BlueStraggler (765543) *

        Ubuntu shouldn't be *just* windows, it should be windows and more.

        Wanting a better windows is like wanting a better Ford Escort. A better version of an obsolete piece of crap seems like a good idea to people who are accustomed to the piece of crap, but it's holding back the rest of the world who isn't interested in compatibility with old things done in a retarded way. Desktop Linux has been on a long march sideways since about RedHat 4, with its FVWM-95 Windows theme. (So yes, for some of us, the Year of the Linux Desktop was around 1997. We've moved on.)

        The basic prob

  • by cayenne8 (626475) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @12:10PM (#27832241) Homepage Journal
    No, Linux isn't windows, BUT,if it were very easy to run windows apps in Linux (for common Joe user with Joe user level hardware), I think it would be a boon to Linux.

    With me...there are some windows applications I have to use (Quickbooks pro for my company I contract through), and on jobsites often there are tools they have that are only windows based.

    I find when I have to use those windows boxes on site, I often really, really miss having my unix tools (sed, awk, etc...) around. If I could have my linux install, and have the hard core tools to use, and be able to also run windows apps when I needed to, I'd be happy to go.

    That need, obviously isn't one Joe User needs, but, maybe it would work the other way around with JU. He has his windows apps, and over time, discovers the neat tools and functionality that Linux offers. Frankly, as long as he has his apps he needs from windows, he doesn't care what the OS is.

    • by gnick (1211984) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @12:17PM (#27832361) Homepage

      I find when I have to use those windows boxes on site, I often really, really miss having my unix tools (sed, awk, etc...) around.

      1) Install Cygwin [cygwin.com].
      2) Add the Cygwin bin directory to your path.
      3) Enjoy - The Command Prompt just got a helluva lot more useful.

      Wasted 3 mod points that I'd contributed before posting, but felt the need to share the joy of Cygwin. Makes Windows damned near tolerable for people that have to have it.

    • by Kell Bengal (711123) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @12:18PM (#27832387)
      I agree with the parent entirely, but I'd go one further. I would say that if Ubuntu (and Linux distros at large) are to thrive and gain greater market share they need to beat Windows at its own game by running Windows apps out of the box.

      Wine is getting there, but it's not there yet. Emulation might work, but then it needs to be seamless. Until Ubuntu can beard the dragon in its own lair, it will be fighting the overwhelming advantage of incumbent software Windows has rather than making it work for it.

      • by CannonballHead (842625) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @12:39PM (#27832815)

        I've never bearded a dragon, that sounds difficult. What if the dragon hasn't gone through puberty yet? :-o

        Joking aside, I disagree. Linux needs to be good (and easy, if you want the same market share and same market demographic) at the SAME THINGS, but not necessarily the SAME PROGRAMS. There's a vast difference.

        Now, being able to go between the two - including file formats - is important. But I don't need to run, say, MS Office on Linux. I do use OpenOffice 3 and it works well (except for Impress, last time I tried using it). And going between MS and OO.org isn't a problem, for the most part.

        Firefox, chatting (I even used Pidgin on Windows), etc.

        Where I see Ubuntu (8.10 and just upgraded to 9.04) right now is multimedia. Video playback isn't all that great, Flash video full screen is jerky (not related to sound) ... (I know, video drivers [ATI], but you're not going to convince the average person that Linux IS better, it's ATI that's the problem...). Sound can sometimes get tied up between applications. PulseAudio is not very standard yet and doesn't work with all apps. Songbird is an OK itunes replacement but it's not as good. Amarok 2 doesn't play well with Gnome/ALSA/Pulse as far as it running and other sound-enabled apps running.

        I think the Linux community needs to focus more on being able to do the basic stuff easily and well, and forget trying to run Quake 3 or Far Cry or Half-Life 2 [or whatever] with a higher FPS than native in Windows.

        (and by the way, lest anyone think I'm just an Ubuntu guy and not a Linux guy, I used opensuse and only recently switched to ubuntu [after trying a variety of other ones, including Mint, Mandriva, etc) at home, and redhat/SLES[/hpux/solaris/aix] at work)

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Kell Bengal (711123)
          To answer your question, prepubescent dragons are not bearded but rather wedgied - although only the uncool ones.

          I think the clearcut question here is whether or not program substitution works; that is, can FOSS program X beat proprietary program Y. In some cases that's a resounding YES. In some cases, that seems to be a very likely no.

          The obvious examples that spring to my mind are things like specific engineering applications which do not have a linux port. Admittedly, that number is shrinking, and I

      • by melikamp (631205) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @01:26PM (#27833579) Homepage Journal

        IMHO, Wine is not "getting there" at all. If the Windows API specs were open, it would be a different matter. As it stands, the specs are closed, and Microsoft is as willing as usual to spoil any attempts to make things compatible. Would it not be easier to rewrite core apps from scratch? Office, Photoshop, Exchange. What else do you guys need? No one really cares about games. If Windows remains the primary game platform, no big loss. We have plenty of other proprietary game platforms, and it seems to be the natural way. Can we finally have a productivity platform running free software, though?

        We already have OpenOffice, which is comparable to MS Office in both feature set and performance. While it may be wise at the time for most people to delay the transition, those who say that MS Office is better for anything are insane. Today, those who build a solution from scratch and are not tied to DOC format will automatically choose OO. Here we won already.

        Gimp is not Photoshop, but it would be a Photoshop Jr. if only we added more color depth. That seems to be easier to do than to make Wine work.

        Please correct me if I am wrong, but Exchange server is a database with a web interface. Don't we have all the components already? Compared to the Wine project goals, it would be almost trivial to throw some stuff together to make a feature-equivalent app.

        I greatly respect the effort that went into Wine, but it seems like we could do better by simply filling the few remaining gaps in the desktop application world. Wine offers quickly diminishing returns because MS will never publish (let alone free) the code and will never stop intentionally breaking compatibility. Aside from very simple cases, Wine will never be used for OS transition, as that would require 100% compatibility, which is impossible to achieve.

    • by SCHecklerX (229973) <thecaptain@captaincodo.net> on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @01:12PM (#27833385) Homepage

      No, Linux isn't windows, BUT,if it were very easy to run windows apps in Linux (for common Joe user with Joe user level hardware), I think it would be a boon to Linux.

      Wrong. That's exactly what Shuttleworth is saying. If linux can run windows programs, then traditional windows programmers have no reason to try to develop natively for the platform. This is one thing that ended up killing OS/2. But Linux, luckily, cannot be killed in this way thanks to the community of open source developers around it. OS/2 didn't have that advantage, so died when nobody wrote native apps for it. Not to discredit the WINE developers for the work they have done, but native apps are the better approach here.

      Shuttleworth has it right. We don't want to be another way to run windows programs. We need to be our own environment, and not ape things just for the sake of doing it the same, tired, broken way. I am happy to see that many of the wonderful things from OS/2's WPS are slowly making their way into the linux environments. There's still a way to go, but it's already better in many ways than the windows UI 'experience'.

  • by Ed Avis (5917) <ed@membled.com> on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @12:11PM (#27832255) Homepage

    So this news story is fluff spun out of two lines of IRC chat?

    • by RiotingPacifist (1228016) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @12:20PM (#27832433)

      TFStory

      (12:24:03 PM) jcastro: jcastro: QUESTION: Do you see Wine (and Windows-compatibilty in general) or native Linux ports as the more important ingredient in the success of Ubuntu, or do they each play an important role?
      (12:24:18 PM) sabdfl: they both play an important role
      (12:24:30 PM) sabdfl: but fundamentally, the free software ecosystem needs to thrive on its own rules
      (12:24:41 PM) sabdfl: it is *different* to the proprietary software universe
      (12:24:54 PM) sabdfl: we need to make a success of our own platform on our own terms
      (12:25:08 PM) sabdfl: if Linux is just another way to run Windows apps, we can't win
      (12:25:13 PM) sabdfl: OS/2 tried that

  • In other words... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SatanicPuppy (611928) * <Satanicpuppy@g m a i l .com> on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @12:13PM (#27832301) Journal

    We're not going to try and base our business model on WINE.

    Much better to have native apps.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      If you read what he said:
      "they both play an important role
      but fundamentally, the free software ecosystem needs to thrive on its own rules
      it is *different* to the proprietary software universe

      we need to make a success of our own platform on our own terms
      if Linux is just another way to run Windows apps, we can't win
      OS/2 tried that"
      much better to have open source apps! Proprietary apps running natively on Linux affect the free software ecosystem in the same way that prop

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      I thought the business model for Canonical was enterprise desktop Linux? I mean, they have to grow up and become a profitable firm at some point right, even Shuttleworth will run out of money one day. But if their marketing for Ubuntu is "it's good because it DOESN'T run your existing line-of-business applications" I don't think they're going to get far. Canonical is a toy company, still, and always has been.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by cyber-vandal (148830)

      In an ideal world however we live in a world where there are millions of Win32-only apps and the cost of rewriting them is prohibitive. People are not going to leave Windows if their software doesn't work, and that doesn't mean things like Office and Photoshop, it means much more obscure stuff.

  • In a stunning public relations coup, Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ: MNPLY) has successfully overshadowed Ubuntu Linux 9.04 "Juicy Jubblies" [today.com] by announcing that it is laying even more people off.

    Microsoft announced new and expanded roles for remaining key executives as another several lesser, losing quitters deserted upper management. "It shows the fantastic opportunity available to everyone at Microsoft to climb seven or eight reporting levels up the org chart," said marketing marketer Steve Ballmer to pitchfork-wielding Wall Street analysts today. "If we haven't laid them off for making too much money or not kissing enough ass."

    The Yahoo! deal is expected to go ahead. "We figure they'll go broke before we do. Probably." Mr Ballmer also plans to run the Yahoo! servers on Windows NT rather than FreeBSD after a similar change worked so well at Hotmail. "Some say synergy's another word for two plus two equals one, but you just have to make the value of one work for you."

    Windows 7 betas have been greeted with remarkable positive press. "Of course, the betas preview the 'champagne and hookers' edition, which would be way too much for netbooks and explode users' brains. Imagine thinking those little things are computers! So we're releasing what we call Windows 7 Dumbass Edition(tm). It lets you log in and look at the shiny. Even Spider Solitaire has the ribbon toolbar! And you can buy an upgrade to the version that runs programs! It lets you do that!"

    Dumbass Edition(tm) comes with pre-installed viruses to make the computer part of the Storm, Conficker and FBI botnets. "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em."

    However, Microsoft has indicated to its press corps, Microsoft Completely Enderlependent Analysts, to ixnay on the evensay and highlight the job openings for work on Windows 8, firmly penciled in for a 2012 release. Windows 8 will be optimised for low-end 32-core systems with a mere 16 gigabytes of memory -- 28 cores for the interface, 3 cores for the DRM and one core for everything else. "'Seven' is just so this year. I hear they'll get $DATABASE_FILESYSTEM done next release for sure!" said ZDNet marketing marketer Mary-Jo Enderle. "It'll be awesome(tm)!"

    "I'm sure it'll be fine, fine," said Bill Gates, upping his hours at his charitable foundation and scheduling the sale of several more packages of Microsoft stock.

    Larry Ellison of Oracle, who recently purchased Sun Microsystems, merely snickered, muttered "Java. OpenOffice." and let out a long and resounding laugh.

    Mark Shuttleworth of Canonical, speaking from his castle on a crag high on a mountaintop in west London, was sanguine at Ubuntu's news being overshadowed. "I lost ten million dollars on Ubuntu last year. I'm losing ten million dollars on Ubuntu this year. I expect to lose ten million dollars on Ubuntu next year. At this rate, I'll be broke in ... sixty years."

  • I think he's wrong (Score:3, Insightful)

    by kazade84 (1078337) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @12:20PM (#27832447)

    I normally agree with Shuttleworth, but I don't think he's right here. He's right in the long-term, Ubuntu shouldn't just be another platform for running Windows apps, because ideally long-term all apps will be written cross-platform to hit both markets.

    However, in the short term, I firmly believe that Wine is the only way to massively increase Ubuntu's market share. It's the appications that people care about, like iTunes, Photoshop or Autocad. If Wine can run your Windows apps, what do you have to lose by migrating? If Ubuntu doesn't run Windows apps, then whole crowds of people just can't dump Windows for it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      However, in the short term, I firmly believe that Wine is the only way to massively increase Ubuntu's market share.

      Embrace, extend, extinguish!

    • by RiotingPacifist (1228016) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @12:53PM (#27833041)

      If your going to be using windows apps anyway, what do you have to gain by migrating?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Chabil Ha' (875116)

      If Wine can run your Windows apps, what do you have to lose by migrating?

      Support.

      Company X: Hi I'm having problems with your software.
      Tech support: Sorry to hear that, to start off, can I have the software version and the version of Windows you're using.
      Company X: Sure. I'm running v3.4.5 and I'm running it on WINE.
      Tech support: Our product wasn't designed to work while the user is intoxicated.
      Company X: No, I meant I'm running it on Ubuntu under WINE.
      Tech support: Do experience this problem when running on Windows?
      Company X:No.
      Tech support: I'm sorry, but our software is only

  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <.moc.liamg. .ta. .nhojovadle.> on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @12:23PM (#27832501) Journal
    Setting: press conference room. Shuttleworth is standing behind a podium with disheveled hair and sweat stains spreading underneath his arms. Reporters sit in chairs before him.
    Reporter A: So ... Ubuntu is trying to ... "be" Windows?
    Shuttleworth: Ok, for the last time, I am going to go over this very very slowly.
    *Shuttleworth writes Ubuntu and Windows on the chalkboard and puts a massive "does not equal" sign in between them.*
    Shuttleworth: Ubuntu cannot and will not ever "be" Windows. I've been over this for the past two hours, can we move away from Windows/Ubuntu comparisons here?
    Reporter B: But you want to be a widely used operating system?
    Shuttleworth: That is correct.
    Reporter B: And Windows is the most widely user operating system?
    Shuttleworth: Also correct.
    Reporter B: ... so you want to be Windows?
    *Shuttleworth lets out a long drawn-out sigh, massages his forehead and takes a drink from his glass of water*
    Shuttleworth: *holds up two pieces of fruit* In my left hand I hold an apple. In my right hand I hold an orange. Although both are round, the two taste different and have different colors and subtle shapes ...
    Reporter C: Hold on, an "Apple"? I'm not following you, are you saying you're trying to "be" OS X?
    Shuttleworth: This press conference is over!
  • by jd2112 (1535857) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @12:35PM (#27832701)
    For running apps in a corporate enviroment. Many current business apps (think more along the lines of ERP/CRM/indrusry specific apps rather than Word/Ecxel) aren't supported by their vendor when running under virtulization with a full version of Windows (e.g. Citrix or VMware) so it is very unlikely that they would be supported under WINE. While it is possible that the apps may run fine under WINE most companies would be unwilling to risk running their mission critical applications (I.e. The apps they make money from) in a completely unsupported environment like WINE.
  • by WindBourne (631190) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @12:35PM (#27832715) Journal
    need to work together and get companies to port. All they need is a few to move over. The rest will come. Intuit's Quicken, quick books, and taxpro are BIG ONES. Autocad should have moved over eons ago. And OpenOffice should be ROCK SOLID on Mac just like the others.

    The question ppl should be asking is WHY is Apple gaining desktop? because they PUSH to get the apps that are needed. Just like Safari. Jobs hit all the banks and got after them to make it work with safari. And Safari is now up and coming. If the Linux world would learn from that, and push a few of the top companies to port their app to Linux, then we would see massive surge in it. As it is, Shuttleworth has realized that having Linux INSTALLED at time of purchase is big.
    • Actually (Score:4, Interesting)

      by StreetStealth (980200) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @01:13PM (#27833411) Journal

      If the Linux world would learn from that, and push a few of the top companies to port their app to Linux, then we would see massive surge in it.

      There is a proper time to push WINE compatibility with Ubuntu -- after a few major industry players, as you describe, put out an Ubuntu version of their software.

      The key is to get a user's most important apps running natively, so that there's an incentive to switch. Then you add the compatibility layer for their other miscellaneous apps to take away the disincentive to switch.

  • Bravo (Score:5, Insightful)

    by HangingChad (677530) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @12:37PM (#27832763) Homepage

    Ubuntu cannot simply be a better platform to run Windows apps.

    Exactly right. Morphing Linux into a Windows software platform would be a major mistake. You'd still be locking users into one way of doing things. I'm sitting here looking at our developers, all working on Linux. One uses pico, one a text editor another uses Eclipse. We all work differently, even different distros, and all manage to get our work done.

    In a Windows shop we were all using the same OS, the same development environment and the same tools. Everything was regimented into MSFT's way of doing things and limited by the latitude they decide you get. Their tools, their rules, their training, their way. And it seemed we were always dancing on their string over something. Licensing, product activation, version compatibility issues, so we'd get paid to rewrite working applications for new frameworks, security patches that break things, the upgrade treadmill. Hours of undocumented time pouring through knowledge base articles. It was a constant waterfall of nit-picky little things that we would have to bend our schedule, manage our time to accommodate. The bonus was you always looked stressed out and busy and it was job security. Without regular maintenance, apps would stop working. You have no idea how much time you spend digging sand in a MSFT environment until you move off it.

    I think it's nice that Wine exists for those odd times you need to run a Windows app. But that should never be the OS focus. And in the bigger picture of proprietary v free, as long as MSFT dictates your application environment, you're still dancing on their string.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Morphing Linux into a Windows software platform would be a major mistake. You'd still be locking users into one way of doing things. I'm sitting here looking at our developers, all working on Linux. One uses pico, one a text editor another uses Eclipse. We all work differently, even different distros, and all manage to get our work done.

      Lokcing users into one way of doing things is a Good Thing(tm). With Windows or OS X, there's a finite learning curve. With Linux, skills are far less portable. In Window

      • Re:Bravo (Score:4, Informative)

        by yoshi_mon (172895) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @01:48PM (#27833937)

        I think most devs would tend to agree that having uniformity is a good thing indeed. It's why the Linux kernel is popular and nobody really cares about Hurd. Linux is good, people know it, and so for the vast majority of people it's the way to fun FOSS.

        However there is nothing wrong with some flexibility. Is it a bad thing that we have both Gnome and KDE? I'd further argue that the MS platform is, as the GP said, filled with a ton of little issues that can make working with it not as much as a 'finite learning curve' as you think. Digging to see why some API call is not working correctly because MS wants to obscure it for whatever reason is no fun.

        • Re:Bravo (Score:4, Interesting)

          by Actually, I do RTFA (1058596) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @02:43PM (#27835055)

          Is it a bad thing that we have both Gnome and KDE?

          Yes.

          Freedom is great. However, freedom requires choices. Choices impede adoption. Imagine there was one Linux distro. Well, now to convince people to try it out, they have to partition their drive and set up a dual-boot. Icky, but a well-written setup program can accomidate this. So, let's say you can make a Windows installer that re-partitions the drive, and installs Linux, sets up the dual-boot properly. Now, you can convince people to download and try Linux.

          Now, every choice you make means I have to try to research what I want, and every bit of extra time you ask for me to make a choice between two things, I have three options. A, B or screw it.

          I don't mind reparitioning and installing a new OS... I did that so I could dualboot 2000 and XP. But I really don't want to have to make tons of little choices. I don't give a shit, but my pride doesn't let me choose arbitarily. Give me one thing that works. I don't want to tinker with the OS.

          So, KDE + Gnome slows adoption by quite a bit, which means that fewer people write apps, which has a chilling effect, etc.

          I'd further argue that the MS platform is, as the GP said, filled with a ton of little issues that can make working with it not as much as a 'finite learning curve' as you think. Digging to see why some API call is not working correctly because MS wants to obscure it for whatever reason is no fun.

          Sure. And as a developer I have to do dig through a heap of inaccurate documentation. I hate it. But my customers (for the reasons I outlined above and many others) use Windows. I create software to make money, so I create software for Windows.

          And yes, we try to abstract out the OS, so that we can port it later. But it's never been worth our while to actually do so.

    • Thumbs down (Score:3, Insightful)

      by westlake (615356)

      Exactly right. Morphing Linux into a Windows software platform would be a major mistake.

      This is the developer speaking.

      Not the user. Not the office manager. Not the kid manning the help desk.

      Users like having one way of doing things.

      It makes their life easier.

      The astonishing thing about The Ribbon in Office 2007 is how quickly and easily this fundamental change in the Office UI took hold.

      That doesn't happen unless you really, really, understand the user and the task.

      The proprietary developer has to do th

  • by bcrowell (177657) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @12:37PM (#27832765) Homepage

    I've gotten several people in my family started with Ubuntu, and one weird thing I've observed is that none of them ever seem to spontaneously figure out how to install applications -- they don't even seem to realize that the open-source apps are out there, or that it might be desirable to install them.

    Okay, maybe this is a good thing, because maybe it just means that a default Ubuntu does a very good job of including enough apps that the average user can do everything they need to do. Or maybe it just means that most people, unlike me, don't enjoy playing with software.

    But it really does make me wonder whether the Linux community could be doing a better job of selling itself based on the availability of a huge number of free, high-quality applications. Apt-cache stats says that I have 25,000 packages installed on my desktop machine at home, all of them free. If even 1% of those cost $10 each, we'd be talking about a massive investment in order to build up a similar software library using proprietary software.

    Now it might seem obvious to linux geeks that you should say, "I want to do x, therefore I search on freshmeat for an app that does x, and then I install it." But most people don't even think that way about computer software. They're in the habit of buying it in a store, or on amazon, and they expect it to cost money. Synaptic doesn't exactly advertise itself very well, either. Users seem to putter around for years in Gnome without ever noticing that there's a utility built into the menus that would allow them to download a ton of free software.

    • by qw0ntum (831414) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @01:04PM (#27833249) Journal

      I completely agree. Synaptic and the whole "Add/Remove Software..." (I think that's what Ubuntu calls it) thing are fundamentally different ways of obtaining software than what people are used to with Windows or Mac. I told someone today that I had only paid for one (non-game) piece of software in my life, and they thought I meant I was a huge pirate or something. "Download" has become synonymous with "illegal" for most people and telling folks they can just download whatever software they want for free is going to require some serious de-indoctrination.

      When that lightbulb goes off in someone's head that they can download any of the software in that big list for free, legally, and easily, and then that it (generally) just works... it's a beautiful thing. That's when I think people start to realize how awesome OSS can be.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by itsdapead (734413)

      I've gotten several people in my family started with Ubuntu, and one weird thing I've observed is that none of them ever seem to spontaneously figure out how to install applications

      Not weird: they're used to Windows, which doesn't have a "go get free software" button - and if they have found the "Add/Remove programs button" in Windows, that is almost exclusively used to remove software, so the natural assumption is that the similarly-named button in Ubuntu does the same.

      Perhaps that tool should be re-styled, and re-named, along the lines of an "App Store" with a bit of hoopla - user reviews, featured products etc. and kept restricted to end-user friendly, GUI-driven application soft

    • by Anna Merikin (529843) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @01:21PM (#27833521) Journal

      We casual computer users will use the applications we find unless they don't do what we want.

      I never wanted to learn computer science, I wanted to use a word processor instead of a typewriter back in 1990 when I got my first PC. I used WordPerfect-5.1, had to learn DOS memory management to get WP to run in (faster) expanded memory mode. Note I said "had to" not "wanted to." I even wrote macros to make editing docs more rational than WP's infamous interface.

      When Windows 95 came out, DOS was obviously deprecated, and I got on the upgrade treadmill, installing WP-6.0a for WIndows. Alas, my macros wouldn't work. Also I hated Windows' registry. I could still run WP-5.1 under DOS, but W95 kept crashing under it.

      I tried Linux in 1997. Got SuSE 5.0 installed and it was ugly. Tried again in 1998 when WP ported version 8 to Linux. My distro was Caldera 1.3; I liked KDE, which seemed more advanced than W95 to me, and ran WP-5.1 under DOSemu. I moved to Red Hat 6.0, which I used for six years, learning to update and upgrade with RPM and by compiling. By then, I needed a newsgroup client; Pan was just coming into existence, and I volunteered to build RPMs for that project while using NX under Wine as Pan was still unstable as all hell.

      Now I use an Ubuntu variant and run WP-5,1 under QEMU. Pan is now useful, so I quit using FA; VLC, Dragon Player, Gnome viewer and Digikam have replaced Irfanview under WINE for me. Ytree has replaced Xtree Gold. Sylpheed mail replaced Forte Free Agent under Wine.

      I found Linux programs I needed on the internet, gradually, over time, the same way I found Windows apps.

      As I said, I never *wanted* to learn CS. But I have, I have.

      And doubtless many other unwilling CS hobbyists will do the same, find Adept or Synaptic and explore it, or find mention of an app on the internet and try to install it.

      Shuttleworth is quite right, but after almost twenty years, I have NOT replaced WP-5.1 with emacs or the like; I most profoundly do NOT want to learn another macro language. WP-5.1 serves me very, very well still, thanks to Freedos http://www.freedos.org/ [freedos.org] Ultimate Ubuntu and QEMU.

  • Freedom. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bannerman (60282) <bannerman@rocketmail.com> on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @12:38PM (#27832791)

    Ubuntu won't "just be windows" because it is free (NOT as in beer). The more I use my 360 and PS3 to try to play media from my PC the more I understand how bad the protected DRM-everything model is for consumers. That's the future of Windows, guys. People are not going to put up with their hardware refusing to do what should easily be able to do as long as there is an alternative that will do everything else too. Convenience is king, and DRM is becoming increasingly restrictive and annoying.

  • by Twyst3d (1359973) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @12:51PM (#27833001)

    To me the difference between purchasing Windows and choosing to go open source can be compared to the difference between getting a Dell desktop or going to Newegg and making your own.

    Sure you can save a lot of money at newegg and make a powerful machine. You need to assemble it yourself (which for myself was much fun). Service wise its only adequate. I had a DVD burner break down, it was still under warranty I consulted my return policy, did what I had to do and had a new DVD burner back in my machine in a week.

    But with Dell. You pay much more for a really good rig. You dont have to assemble it (and while assembly is fun - it can be a hassle). Service wise, as someone who works in the industry - Dell is fantastic. With the right warranty they will send a local technician straight to your office to repair anything. Peace of mind can be bought. You can have a warranty so good you can toss your insanely expensive laptop out a window for kicks and have it replaced shortly.

    As long as there are people in the world who cant handle the extra hassle of servicing open source - there will be a market for Windows. But given the direction the world economy is taking that could change fairly soon (in my lifetime anyways). Right now whoever provides the best service wins. And in an environment like Open Source. Its hard (not impossible) to guarantee top notch service. Sad but true.

    • by scribblej (195445) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @02:49PM (#27835201)

      Have you ever tried calling Microsoft Tech Support?

      Don't lie. I used to work for them. I know the idea of getting any kind of /useful/ support out of them is a /joke/. You can yak about support all day long, but it's lies. In windows, the problems fall into two categories:

      1) Problems you can diagnose and repair yourself.
      2) Problems that will go unsolved until Microsoft decides to patch it.

      That it, that's all there is. That leaves absolutely no reason or room for support. Either you don't need it because you can solve the problem yourself, or you do need it but it can't /do/ anything to help.

  • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @01:00PM (#27833163) Journal

    >>>"if Linux is just another way to run Windows apps, we can't win. OS/2 tried that ..."

    If Linux tries to be proprietary, you can't win that way either. Atari ST and Commodore Amiga tried that approach, and they went bankrupt. People want and need to be able to run the same stuff they run at work, or in school, or wherever. If they cannot move their files back-and-forth, then they won't be choosing your proprietary OS - they'll be choosing Windows.

  • by bogaboga (793279) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @01:10PM (#27833345)

    ...Linux simply isn't Windows (nor is Windows Linux) and to expect fundamentally different approaches (and I'm not just thinking closed versus open) to look, feel, and operate the same way is senseless....

    There are things Windows does better than Linux especially software installation.

    I know apt and yum resolve dependencies well to a large extent but in some cases, there are version conflicts and lots of chaos in the Linux domain. This does not help at all.

    In my opinion, software for Linux should be developed for a particular kernel period. So that one can say, This software will work with this kernel and users should expect it to work.

  • Reinvent wheel? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dave562 (969951) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @01:48PM (#27833957) Journal
    What does Shuttleworth mean? Linux can't be a different way to run Windows apps? Those Windows apps are out there because people need those applications. What is the alternative? Is he suggesting to completely reinvent the wheel? Is he suggesting that everything that is on Windows should stay on Windows, and Linux needs to something else entirely? Maybe Linux can be the social networking platform of choice? Maybe I should RTFA, but the entire premise seems stupid. There isn't anything that Linux can do that OSX or Windows can't. The three simply do what they do in different ways, with different quirks, strengths and weaknesses.
  • by Nerdposeur (910128) on Tuesday May 05, 2009 @03:34PM (#27836065) Journal

    I genuinely don't know the answer to this: what did Mac do to allow people to run Windows programs on their machines? Did they emulate a Windows box? Did they dual-boot? What's the experience like of using programs from both operating systems?

    All I know is that when I heard you could do that, I thought, "hmmm, that takes most of the risk out of switching." And maybe instead of trying to guess how to run things under WINE, it's wiser to use a solution where "in this little Window in Ubuntu, I've got XP itself running and such-and-such program running in it." Ship Linux boxes with that feature installed.

    Yes, Linux needs to compete on its own strengths. But if you want average consumers to switch, they need to perceive that they won't lose anything in the process. "Keep running your Windows programs AND get all this cool stuff for free." Maybe later they'll give up the Windows programs, too.

    (If my implementation ideas sound screwy or naiive, I apologize.)

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