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Gartner Slams Linux 453

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the this-aint-good dept.
Porag_Spliffing sent us a choice quote from this well researched Gartner group piece which says "The lack of standards in the Linux community, coupled with a lack of key productivity applications and with Unix complexity, will continue to make Linux a poor choice for the mainstream business productivity user."
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Gartner Slams Linux

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  • > Memo to the ignorant: Money = Favourable Gartner Group blurb. Duh.

    Maybe that explains their article. They obviously haven't done any research, this year at least.

    They are just talking out of their ass from what they heard from a guy who is friends with a girl who read PCWorld last week.
  • Gartner Group:
    IDC figures show Linux comprised just 3.5 per cent of PC server shipments last year.

    Translation:
    Linux accounted for only 3.5% of the $$$ billed for OS orders last year. (IOW, for each 1000 copies of NT at ~$700 each there were 490 copies of Red Hat shipped at $50 each, and who knows how many times each of them was installed.)

    Alternate translation:
    Linux preinstalls accounted for only 3.5% of the $$$ billed last year for shipped servers. (Which is a lot more preinstalls than I would have expected, and why I doubt this translation.)

    The thing to remember is that the Gartner Group is a marketing research firm, and they track MONEY, not UNITS. That little detail was one of the main reasons that IBM and Compaq kept their top spots for as long as they did against higher-volume but lower-priced competition.
  • there's still a short-term future for closed source.

    Pol Pot said there was still a short-term future for the urban population of Cambodia.

    Marx and then Lenin said that the future was inevitable.
  • In effect the article is true because computer users in the work environment are dependant on windoze and windows compatible software due to ease of installation. the best was for linux to expand more fully into the enterprise market is to create more cross compatible applications. Linux applications that can create files that are easily convertable to windows apps. This wouldallow Linux to be a more viable "option" in the enterprise.
  • > Linux supplements HP-UX, it doesn't/shouldn't/will never replace HP-UX

    Premise: I use both Linux and HP_UX, and I like both of them. Evidently, Sanyo [linuxpr.com] does not think this way.

    Excerpts from the article above:


    Sanyo, a $17 billion consumer electronics manufacturer, will be using TurboLinux as the base operating system in 20,000 Newve medical workstation products it expects to ship over the next four years.

    ...

    The workstations replace PA-RISC Hewlett-Packard workstations running HP (UX).


    My 0.02 Euro, as usual
  • in the corporate setting, the admin configures the desktop once, puts all the homes on a server, and users don't have to configure squat.

    Actually, a better translation is that the users aren't allowed to configure squat.

    You're going to make Linux really popular by taking away the user's ability to fine tune their environment. Yep, people are going to love that.

    You wouldn't believe how popular that will make you in the lunchroom. People will probably grovel for the privledge of touching the hem of your robe.
  • What does powerpoint DO??
    Keeps PHBs and marketroids busy creating slide shows for each other. The only up side to this is that they then have less time to bother us hackers.

    Other than that, it's Concentrated Evil. I'm thinking about writing a commentary called "PowerPoint Considered Harmful":

    • yet another proprietary data format
    • elevates style over substance
    • makes presentations dependent on unreliable software and hardware, instead of simple and reliable projectors and slides
    • can mostly be replaced with the much more simple and clueful WimpyPoint [arsdigita.com]
    • worst of all, encourages the creation of documentation that doesn't document. Anyone who hands me a set of slides as documentation for their project, instead of an actual document - you know, sentances, paragraphs, not a damn set of presentation notes - is asking for a sharp kick to the groin. (PowerPoint didn't create this problem, but it's fed it much fuel.)
  • While we're at it, the employees should all wear uniforms as well.
  • Why does an end-user care if someone else can still telnet into his box? If the desktop crashes, the desktop crashes.

    My point was that Netscape is one of the few real-world apps that runs on the Linux desktop, and it often enough brings the system (end-user experience here, mind you, sure the kernel is chugging away nicely in the background- who cares?) and it introduces the "Windows experience" of instability.

    Let's wait and see what happens as more commercial-grade apps make it onto the Linux desktop. I predict when it plays the same game as the 'big boys' a lot of the stability hype fades away.
  • This is the same Gartner Group [gartnerweb.com] who reckon that a Palm Pilot in a commercial setting has a Total Cost of Ownership (to the business) of $2700 per year ... [theregister.co.uk]

    Mmmm yes, makes perfect sense to me. Next week : how we'll all be living on Mars in five years time, the moon is made of blue cheese and Bill Gates is a visionary leader ...

  • I'm going to be severely flamed for saying this, but here are my two Canadian cents (worth .01 American cents).

    I have to admit I haven't read the report yet, but I have to agree with the premise that Linux is not ready for the average business user RIGHT NOW. There's definately a lack of standards -- from one Linux distribution to another, something as simple as the init files, runlevels, etc, can differ. There's no universal packaging system and there's no standard desktop system. If I'm a commercial developer, do I develop for KDE or GNOME, or develop just for plain old X and not get features like drag-and-drop and CORBA? Choice is good -- but not when it makes things more complicated for the user and IS dept.

    Applications? They're hard to find for the average Joe -- they're out there, but they're not marketed well enough. Sure, Wordperfect and StarOffice are there. But, where's an easy to use graphical database package like Access or Paradox? Where are the RAD tools, like Delphi and C++ Builder? They're coming, but they're not here yet. Project management software? I understand there are some very good GUI ones out there -- but do corporate users know they can go to freshmeat.net to find it? Do they trust something that has no commercial support, even if it's 200x better than MS Project? Want good quality, commercial business graphics software? Fat chance now with Microsoft owning Visio! And good quality, commercial enterprise and small business accounting packages are on their way, but not quite as usable as the commercial solutions out there.

    Enterprise customers need someone to blame when it's not working properly -- and while makers of distributions and companies like Linuxcare provide OS support, who do you turn to when you need help for your GPLed applications not included with / supported by your distribution?

    I disagree, however, with the idea that Linux will NEVER catch up to Microsoft in the business world. I believe that we're starting to get there. Personally, I'm perfectly pleased using Linux at work -- but I'm a sys admin, not a typical user. All I want to be added is font smoothing in XFree, a clipboard that works universally, and a web browser that's not as crappy as Netscape 4.7. But, the typical business user wants alot more.

    Because of the way the Open Source, geographically-dispersed development model works, it adapts very quickly to the demands of the users. I believe we'll be able to adapt enough to the demands of the business and home user to be accepted sometime -- when, I don't know. But we're not there yet.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 14, 1999 @06:00AM (#1614531)
    I wish that people (INCLUDING the editor who put this story on slashdot) would *READ* the stories first. Your link isn't to a gartner group report. It is to an IDG article about the gartner group report. I will sum up the actual information from the gartner group report: paraphrased: Linux is not really ready for your standard end-user business user yet. There is a lack of standards, and some key productivity applications are missing. But, as linux continues to improve, its appeal will broaden. Okay. Someone PLEASE SHOW ME how the above is "slamming" linux now. What IDG said was THIS: "a damning report from gartner has all but put the kiss of death on linux". Those are *IDG's* words. NOT the gartner group. Next time people should read, and think, before speaking. I'm tired of all of these knee-jerk reactions to perfectly reasonable statements about Linux. It makes us all look like morons.
  • The point is, Linux (and unices in general) gives you as much or as little control as you want over what users are allowed to do.

    Based on my experiences supporting Winnders users ("Er, I deleted all the files in C:\lotus, now my typewriter thingy won't work!"), and with the potential for litigation if the wrong (politically incorrect) images appear on a workstation display, I'd lock down everything and only permit users to choose from an approved set of desktop configurations (e.g. benign tiled bitmaps, or company-oriented images).

    Users would not be permitted to install their own programs, no way. This would open the door for too many potential problems.

    Clamping down on user configuration may not make one popular in the lunchroom, but corporations don't spend millions of dollars on IT to make their admins popular in the lunchroom.

  • Overall I thought the article was well-done. In the PC desktop space it's certainly true that Linux will not displace Windows anytime soon, and IMO it never will due to the entrenced market.

    But Microsoft is wrong that Linux has not affected sales of NT. A lot of historical UNIX workstation users such as myself switched to NT in order to take advantage of the cheap PC hardware and easy software availability. I jumped onto NT almost immediately because it was good enough and a lot cheaper than your typical RISC workstation. It took a lot of effort to make a usable development environment, but you could do well enough.

    Over the last few months, however, Linux has started to make significant inroads into our engineering department. Today roughly a quarter of all engineers run Linux rather than NT -- up from just two in the spring (that's about 700% growth). Microsoft can't see that in their sales yet because IT is still buying NT licenses whether or not we use them, but the transition is happening remarkably fast -- far faster than the RISC->PC movement that brought in NT. It will not be long before new NT purchases are curtailed to some degree.

    There have certainly been some NT sales lost to Linux, however. I recently purchased a new laptop and I chose to go with Linux rather than NT despite running NT exclusively for the last four years. That's a sale NT would have gotten only a few months ago.

    Generally speaking Gartner is correct that the people jumping onto Linux are traditional UNIX users. That means that on the desktop Microsoft is pretty safe -- there never were that many UNIX users.

    But on the server, well, that's another thing entirely. Microsoft is not particularly well-entrenched; they're competing well against the commercial UNIXen at the low-end but that's largely because the hardware is cheaper. Linux uses the same hardware, costs less, and doesn't have client license issues. That 3.5% market that is dismissed in the article was statistically insignificant only a year ago!

    Gartner is right that the traditional UNIX vendors are in the most trouble, but they were already in trouble. Their problem isn't and never was Microsoft, it was the PC. Linux gives those UNIX people a lower-cost solution without giving up UNIX. For small servers it's a very interesting solution to an IT department that is UNIX-savvy.

    Microsoft makes great noise about how Linux isn't hurting them in that market, but the truth of the matter is that it's taking sales away from traditional UNIX vendors that Microsoft would otherwise have gotten. It has noticably slowed the impact of NT, and that definitely has their attention. Why else are they running benchmarks all over the place? They have to prove that NT is worth spending the money.

    A lot of Linux people believe that Linux will beat NT by outperforming it. That might be true in a couple of years, but it's not true now except on the lowest-end hardware. Linux will beat NT in two respects:

    1. Everything you need to run practically any kind of server is already in the box. That dramatically reduces the up-front cost of the server.

    2. Linux is dramatically more reliable. You set it up and you forget about it. I contrast this with NT, which needs a regular reboot to keep performance up or whenever you install or upgrade an application.

    Microsoft is worried about the server market and they should be. Linux is cheap and reliable and if there's any two things that IT departments like in a server those are the things.

    jim frost
    jimf@frostbytes.com [mailto]

  • by dougman (908) on Thursday October 14, 1999 @04:18AM (#1614544)
    Ok, this is a rare thing for me, posting 2 sharp-tounged comments on Slashdot in ONE morning, but here goes:

    The person who really, truly cares about what the Gartner Group says about X piece of technology is also the person who probably considers his grandest technological decision of the year the large order of CD-ROM labelling devices he made at PC EXPO ("I saved 50 cents a unit by buying 1,000! And they gave me this COOL T-Shirt and stuffed animal!") and steadfastly believes wrestling is real.

    Memo to the ignorant: Money = Favourable Gartner Group blurb. Duh.

  • by nevets (39138) on Thursday October 14, 1999 @04:19AM (#1614549) Homepage Journal
    I'm sick of this arguement from MS, that "It hasn't effected sales of NT" and "Linux is competing with Unix" this is a bunch of BS.

    When I set up a system, there are times I need Solaris, but to interact with it, I'm not going to buy NT! I'm going to use Linux, and maybe SCO and maybe BSD or a combination of them.

    Linux doesn't have standards? Then why can I have my Slackware system running fine with another Redhat system, as well as a Solaris, and AIX! But problems always arrive when I hook up a NT to the equation.

    Sorry, I'll come off my soap box now.

    Later :)
    Steven Rostedt
  • I don't know about you, but I don't look forward to replacing existing, working systems just because they are 3-5 years old... If it works, it works. I have a novel file server that has 2 years uptime. It does a great job, despite it's age. The other novel server, on the opposite side of the spectrum, is slow and kludgey, and is being replace with a linux/samaba machine. I pick linux over nt because - reliability, cost, and performance. I don't want to have to reset the cpu every week or so to reclaim memory. I don't want to have to spend thousands on user liscenses. I don't want my users complaining it is slow and cludgey.

    As for w2k, I don't think it's going to gain momentum right off the bat. OEMs will be eager, consumers might be eager, but corporate enviroments should hold off, until it is more stable and proven. I think w2k will start off fairly well (in sales) and have a steady climb as time goes by.

    I think that linux is gaining market share because
    a) it works
    b) it works fairly well
    c) there aren't any goofey liscensing agreements for every app you install. This is where the big money savings is.
    d) it works great without requiring a ton of hardware thrown into it.
    e) penguins are cute.
  • by MichaelH (3651) <pdxmph+sd@NospAM.gmail.com> on Thursday October 14, 1999 @04:20AM (#1614557) Homepage

    The Gartner Group doesn't seem to be doing the slamming. IDG has interpreted this as a "kiss of death" when what Gartner seems to have addressed is the "desktop productivity" side of Linux. Is that a surprise to anybody? Linux isn't quite there yet on the desktop.

    I'm glad they were careful to ask Microsoft if Linux was making a dent in NT sales. Glad to see the Linux threat we heard about in the DOJ case has already been vanquished and it's business as usual for the red-blooded innovators of Redmond.

    *snork*
    ------------
    Michael Hall
    mphall@cstone.nospam.net

  • by matty (3385) on Thursday October 14, 1999 @04:20AM (#1614558) Homepage
    Wow, I'm not sure we should even reply to the author on this one, it's so bad. My favorite part is at the end where a 'spokesperson' (no name, of course) for HP says that Linux isn't 'robust' enough yet. If that truly is someone who works for HP, I guess they haven't been to their web page [hp.com] lately.
  • Okay, sure, Linux may not have MS Office, nor does it have Corel Office, but it does have Wordperfect and Star Office. Isn't this mainly what the typical business person needs?

    As I sit here and think about what stuff we run where I work, 90% of it is Word and Excel, which Star Office does just fine.

    I really whished I had found Linux sooner. It would be saving me so much headache in the support department it would not even be funny - like all the time I have spent un-fsck'ing a Windows machine that someone who "thought they knew" fsck'ed up. Had I had real security to start with, I would not be wasting my time.


    941415926518293950285123123568785948184839358193 948913958495
    80124569890476636201512012315668018651125564087489 7980465063
  • Whenever one reads a report such as those produced by
    Gartner
    ( the company which can not tell the difference between crude oil and information systems by their own admission)
    it's important to read the actual report in it's complete details to
    garner any useful information. Serious IT professionals should just skip past the assay of a report, which is essentialy the opinion of the individual writing the article. IT managers get PAID to formulate an informed opinion. The value of these reports is not
    the conclussion, but the raw information and report of features and problems that the report creates.


    Frankly, mature managers, may they be Health Care managers reading a report on new drug therapy which is sponsered by a major drug
    company, or IT managers reading a report on an OS sponsored by a Microsoft endowment, realize that any reprt or research is an attempt to frame data to someones personal agenda. What is left of value in the report is a criticle look to see
    if that data contained within it seems valid or if it's quakery.

    Unfortunately, there are for too many IT Managers unwilling to do their jobs correcly, or to look fully at the research. BTW - there are far to many Health Care Providers, Researcher, and Governement Beuracrats that suffer the same problem. How do you think we got into
    this Microsoft mess in the first place?

    http://www.brooklynonline.com
    http://intranet.dental.nyu.edu

  • The problem is, that's not true. We have RFCs, just like everything else. Some stuff implemented on linux doesn't live up to the RFCs in question (dhcpd 2, for example, doesn't implement DHCPINFORM), but then again it also implements some stuff far better than mere standards-compliance (gnutar, bzip2, a whole gamut of decent shells).

    This is a key point I missed commenting on earlier. It is very true that Linux and other open source OS's have a great track record for following networking and Internet standards, as well as some UNIX standards. (And I must admit I like reading some of Linux's manpages when it comes to having to deviate from a standard or explain why a standard is silly -- the attitude is very refreshing.) :-) However, there are currently no good desktop standards, which I think was the thrust of the article.

    For example, as far as filesystems go, there's the Filesystem Hierarchy Standard [pathname.com], but beyond the distribution-makers, who really follows it? (Don't even get me started on how StarOffice installs... groan.) Maybe that has something to do with the fact that Linux users are so grateful for certain kinds of applications that they don't even concern themselves with whether or not they follow established standards...?

    Also consider that there are now countless ways of running your desktop. The unification efforts behind KDE and GNOME (and the nonexistent efforts between these guys and anyone else) are not anywhere near mature enough for me, as an application developer, to even say "ok, regardless of what environment Joe Blow has here, I want to register this mime type as mine, this icon, put this on the launch menu, etc." That's just as an important part of standards than sending the right bytes over your network wire.

    Do I personally care so much about whether or not an application can install its own file associations and launch menu icons? Nah. I still like the power. But it sure would be nice.

  • I just love this line:

    according to Microsoft, Linux has not
    affected sales of Windows NT.


    Yeah, they forgot to mention that according to Microsoft:

    1. NT is C2 compliant
    2. Windows 200 was out 2 years ago.
    3. Benchmarks show that NT is 5 times faster than anything on earth.
    4. Windows 2000 Supreme Data Center will replace all of your softwar solution needs.
    5. The Paper Clip is your friend.
    6. Hotmail does not have any issues which question certain small elements of limited security.
    7. Passport will allow you to never have to think about spending money ever again!

    Or this one's good:


    The NT market is so huge and powerful, it
    could drop a few thousand seats and
    Microsoft wouldn't notice,"


    The Party is all powerfull. You must conform to the Party. There is no other choice. Follow the lead of the Party.

    HP said "it is not ready for
    mission-critical heavy database and
    transaction serving functionality".


    Yes, so on your way out make sure you buy your copy of Windows 2000 Supreme Platinum Developer Professional Enteprise Data Center Software Solution Gold Edition.



    Anyway, it seems the Gartner group is just spewing the same old hash. I thought they were one of the groups to be trusted. I guess I was wrong.

  • Actually, a better translation is that the users aren't allowed to configure squat.

    You're going to make Linux really popular by taking away the user's ability to fine tune their environment. Yep, people are going to love that.

    You wouldn't believe how popular that will make you in the lunchroom. People will probably grovel for the privledge of touching the hem of your robe.



    Ok, it's patently obvious that you don't work in a corporate environment doing Tech support of any kind. I support 45+ customer service drones, 25+ Data entry typists, and around 100 factory 'puters. In the customer service systems we routinely have viruses that get past the virus scanners because they bring in disks at such a horrendous rate with stupid screesavers and crap on them. They are constantly screwing up their settings and deleting files that they 'didn't need' and then I have to fix it. While this is all great and wonderful since it keeps me getting my paycheck it is definately an argument AGAINST user control in a corporate environment.

    Kintanon
  • tar xzvf name.tar.gz;cd name;./configure;make all install

    Perhaps you should amend "hope it works" to the build process as well... I have compiled one too many things to have blind faith in that combination.

  • I understand where is coming from though. What's he's saying is if Joe User is surfing the net, and Netscape freezes on him (which has happened to me), he's not going to know what to do. His first reaction will be to reboot (from his Windows days) and that will totally screw his system over. Or even if it just crahses, and you can kill it with nuke, it still won't look favorably on Linux. The end user doesn't know/care if the kernal still works, just if he can surf the net. Or sometimes I'll get spontaniously kicked out to the login screen from Gnome. To a user, it crashed. Sure you dont have to reboot, but whatever you were working on and didn't save, you've got to start over. Yes, there is a differince between a crash and just a buggy app, but it doesnt' really matter if I can't use Linux for what I want to do, does it?
  • 1. Command shell that doesn't involve a lot of learning.

    This is unnecessary, just provide a pretty file manager like the Finder or Explorer and that will make Joe Blow much happier. Joe Blows that are willing to use a command line/scripting language can deal with the funny names or alias them.

    Automount of CDs would be nice; automount that automagically runs a startup program from the CD would be even better (with the option to disable this, of course).
  • ...are available here [gartner.com].

    Check it out. It's nowhere near a kiss of death.

    --
    Mike Hoye

    "A man without a .plan is not a man."

    --



  • NT For Brains:
    I had the plessure of siting down with a suprisingly intelligent individual who has his eggs in the M$ basket (I realize there is an inherent paradox in this statement). It was refreshing to talk with an M$ advocate who actually knew what he was talking about, or at least could speak inteligibly about computer technologies. Unfortunately this meeting came $160/hr.

    While we were waiting for the NT server to reboot multiple times (he was hired to help us with a specific M$ product) I probed his thought on Linux/Unix related matters to see what kind of person I was dealing with. He said a few things that clued me in to the extent of his brainwa$hing. Here are a few comments he made:

    • "At least they [M$] put a GUI on the thing."
    • "It's an administrative nightmare to maintain all those text files."(specifically refering to the nature of Unix static DNS name tables)
    • "Unix is stagnate, they have not inovated in years."


    The Point:
    Many NT users think standards are created by Microsoft and since *nix does not find it necessary to incorporate some of the same bells'n'whistles then they are falling behind and not "innovating". Unfortunately M$ marketing uese these same, so called, examples to prove NT is so much better.

    Case Study:
    I used to be an NT zealot, it's not something I am proud of, but we all have our pasts. As I made my way through my CS degree my mind changed a little bit but it was once I got to the "real world" that I did a total 180. I work in a mid sized company we have 6 Unix servers 2 Linux servers and 7 NT servers. We have 1 guy who administrates all of the Unix servers which are all mission critical and 4 people administrating the NT servers which are not mission critical (except for maybe 1).

    NT Admins:
    NT admins are not programmers, or at least VERY few of them are. That's why there is only one very limiting shell script. They are programmed to memorize things. There problem solving skills are relatively moot as a result. A saying we have around here is "In windows, if there is not a button or a checkbox for it it can't be done.".

    No $TANDARD$
    So it's true Linux has no $tandard$, it has something far greater StandardS that work, and a boatload of intelligence maintaining it.

  • by chuckw (15728)
    Analysis? Lets be honest here, many companies are adopting Linux to cover their bases. They are big enough that they can afford to write their efforts off if this "linux thing" fails. The upside is that there are people in these companies (even Microsoft) who really believe in the potential of Linux. They probably got begrudging approval from their superiors, who are afraid to let their company fall behind, and are running with it. I have it on good authority that most of Microsoft Office is already ported to Linux, not because of some corporate decision but because the developers thought they could do it. The corporate big wigs at Microsoft aren't ready to jump on the Linux bandwagon because they still think they can beat it. Besides, my guess is that Microsoft has a stream of money going into Gartner through several layers of corporate abstraction that would rival Whitewater.

    Right now, Microsoft and the rest of the world are through ignoring Linux, and they're in the ridiculing stage. Soon they will begin fighting it head on (Readers note: get a thick skin, it's gonna hurt, but it won't kill us!). I only see this as an important step in the progression of Linux into the mainstream. Soon Microsoft will be shelling out more and more money so that "objective" analysts can give their "honest" opinion of why Linux simply isn't that great. Then you'll see Microsoft attack Linux directly. This should be seen as the beginning of the end of Microsoft's dominance.

    I am honored to participate in a force so strong that it has prompted the richest software corporation in the world to pull out their dirtiest tricks to combat. There was a time when I had doubts about the future of Linux. Once Microsoft noticed it, my doubts were forever erased.

    --
    Quantum Linux Laboratories - Accelerating Business with Linux

    * Education
    * Enterprise Integration
    * Support

  • This reminds me of a dangerous surfing expidition I did a few years back. I went to ANSI [ansi.org] for the sheer Hell of it. I was amazed to find that they had a mission statement. This is ANSI, an organization that is standards--the department of useful boredom. And they have a mission statement.

    I click on the hotlink, and find that their mission statement is served up as a PowerPoint file.

    I guess PowerPoint is an ANSI standard, then.

  • by dingbat_hp (98241) on Thursday October 14, 1999 @04:22AM (#1614660) Homepage

    Incoming !

    Expect hordes of knee-jerking Slashdot readers flaming this article without even reading it. The Sacred Penguin is insulted and so its acolytes must rush to its defence.

    What the article actually says is that Linux is taking its market share from the nasty old dinosaurs like SCO and building new share in the home geek market. Desktop Windows in offices, where the vast majority of suit-and-tie wearing people work, isn't affected, nor will it be until Word runs under Linux (and Hell freezes over and and Puget Sound runs with molten lava).

    People are running Linux on net-connected servers with little or no interactive desktop usage. So when was this ever a big NT stronghold ?

  • by jht (5006) on Thursday October 14, 1999 @04:25AM (#1614664) Homepage Journal
    I'm growing more and more skeptical of analysis firms as time passes. It's easy to produce a piece of research stating whatever the analyst thinks anyways, by simply taking a few points of data and extrapolating it to the absurd extreme. Gartner and their ilk have produced reports that say Linux will, in fact dominate the marketplace, and reports that claim the opposite within short intervals of one another. My own choice is to believe none of the above.

    Trend analysis doesn't generally account for some important factors, like goodwill (or lack thereof) towards vendors, or technical obstacles and breakthroughs that may happen in a development effort. They tend to assume that obstacles (like NT's code bloat or Linux's lack of high-quality SMP support) are insurmountable and that the technical status quo will remain indefinitely. This means that, by analysis standards, current trends will continue indefinitely. If some of the analysis I've read over recent years had worked out as anticipated, then:

    1: Apple would be in Chapter 7 bankruptcy

    2: Linux would either
    a: be non-existent
    b: have over a 50% market share

    3: Novell would be out of business

    4: Microsoft Windows NT would have nearly a 100% market share on servers and desktops, and

    5: so would OS/2

    6: Microsoft SQL Server would have killed off Oracle

    7: We'd all have fully interactive TV sets now (shouting at your TV doesn't count - most of them don't answer).

    I'm not trying to paint all analysis with the same brush, but I really don't see much good stuff from these companies.

    - -Josh Turiel
  • by ewanb (18483) on Thursday October 14, 1999 @04:29AM (#1614667) Homepage
    Surely the point is that alot of compute is
    disappearing from the desktop and heading towards
    either the laptop or the server with a LAN in between.


    Linux fits ideally with the server, and as people
    switch to more this sort of computing, the greater
    linux's role is. It is the change in people's
    computing attitudes that microsoft should
    be worried about, not the OS.


    (BTW - I use linux on both the server and the laptop, but I know people who can't leave windows
    on their laptop, and that will remain for a while).
  • I have participated in a number of IDG surveys before I refused to answer any more. IDG is the most biased suvey that I can imagine. At that point in time, I was already extreemly weary of ZD stuff, but still hoped that other groups would do the right thing. Their suveys would not allow for anything out of the box (OS/2, Linux, lesser brand UNIX, e.g. Consensys). When they report their findings, they make bold statements like, "NT clearly is building up steam. Other OS's are not even a blip on the screen." Well, of course they are not, you never even checked for them.

    Having said that, I must admit that I too play the survey game with people. No matter how irritating it is, people seem to beleave something that in print even if the should know better. So, when I find something that supports common sense of experience, I point at it. This is very annoying.

    I know people that consider me to be extreemly Linux biased. I explain to people this is because I've used both (Microsoft products even longer) and have nightmares getting the same results with more downtown from NT. I honestly don't have a problem with NT in a departmental role. On the other hand, I'm happy to supply bullets for people that want to use it for an enterprise solution.

    Why is this relevent? Well, questions like, "Does NT crash more of less often than Win95?" Then, they report, "NT is preceived as extreemely relable my IT departments and managers."

    As you can tell, I have a very low opinion of the big survey companies (IDG, Gartner, etc). As one person pointed out their studies are paid for by someone. The end result is that the results are not tarnished, rather, the questions and stated results are. Enough said.

  • by law (5166)
    Seems to me Gardner is talking about the DESKTOP
    Not the server side... *shrug* The Desktop is Linux's future, but not for a little while.
    (I use Linux on the desktop)
    HP and SUN were talking about Server the side, that's there bread a butter, of course they will say it's not ready. Nothing new here.
  • Installation and configuration of computer systems for Joe Public are the job of computer manufacturers (sp?) like Dell, etc. Distros do not need to be "point-and-drool" right out of the box. Honestly, when's the last time you saw Joe Public buy a computer and Windows separately, then try to install Windows? All the free software community has to do is put together all of the different tools. It's up to computer companies to sell preinstalled, preconfigured systems (which would include setting defaults.. wow, look ma, I don't have to think anymore..! possibly setting up aliases so if Joe Clueless Newbie really does have to use a Unix shell he might not get so scared.. or maybe he'll actually like the original commands.. who knows?). Other than that, I doubt that the community as a whole particularly cares all that much about slamming down the gauntlet in front of M$ with regards to the desktop. Hackers tend to make things they feel to be particularly useful to them, or else things they feel the community at large could benefit from, whatever. That said, I don't think anything you said is anything that hasn't been mentioned a few million times or so now, and I rather doubt a call for "making GNU/Linux point-and-drool!" on Slashdot is going to have any kind of positive effect whatsoever.

    By the way, with regards to your complaints about X: refer yourself to this site [berlin-consortium.org].

  • What about the title? "Death knell for Linux" my skinny white *ss. This article is just more FUD, or perhaps more accurately (as you might say) it is being spun as FUD no matter what the article actually says. I think the flames are knee-jerk too but they are none the less justified.
    --
  • by JAPH Doggy (96000) on Thursday October 14, 1999 @10:40AM (#1614707)

    Take a look at the bottom of this page [gartner.com]. This is one of the original papers from the "Gartner" people.

    The disclaimer at the bottom reads:

    Microsoft Web Letter is published by Microsoft. Additional editorial material supplied by Gartner Group, Inc. © 1999. Editorial supplied by Microsoft is independent of GartnerGroup analysis and in no way should this information be construed as a GartnerGroup endorsement of Microsoft's products and services. Entire contents © 1999 by Gartner Group, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction of this publication in any form without prior written permission is forbidden. The information contained herein has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable. GartnerGroup disclaims all warranties as to the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of such information. GartnerGroup shall have no liability for errors, omissions or inadequacies in the information contained herein or for interpretations thereof. The reader assumes sole responsibility for the selection of these materials to achieve its intended results. The opinions expressed herein are subject to change without notice.

    So... in reality... this is bought and paid for FUD from M$.

    No denying that...

  • No one has really critized the model of developing for Linux yet. Why not? Because it is very difficult to critize, given it's success. Critiques of the product are very different from critiques of the model of development. This alone is something to be proud of, reflecting something that cannot be taken away, and idealizing the fact that we have something that is very difficult to usurp.

    This article addresses many temporal issues, things that are relevent now, but are bound to change over a given period of time (evolution). It is inevitable that a consistently improving operating system will evolve, when compared to a legacy operating system, which by definition, remains stagnant.

    There are issues to be dealt with, and industry spokespeople from magazines and publications provide excellent points, in roundabout ways. Largely, however, the we must be thankful for the time that industry critics provide in giving leverage against corporate dominance of this system.

    Everyone should be aware: When Linux reaches a certain level of corporate involvement, it loses the development model.

  • | The arrogant, narrow-minded, and bigotry
    | mentalities exhibited by the people here are
    | turning developers off. I for one will not
    | release any of my applications under GPL and
    | thus Linux.

    Read that sentence. Then read it again. Now tell me, isn't it everything you rail against to *not* release software for a platform that *your users* have been asking for? Because of some of the crap you see on *Slashdot*? Since when did Slashdot become the end all and be-all of the Open Source and/or Linux community?

    | As a chinese, I am offended by those remarks.
    | And yes, they helped to change my mind to NOT
    | release anything under GPL, not only for my
    | existing applications but for the several
    | projects down the pipeline as well. No GPL, no
    | porting to Linux.

    Not meaning to sound too mean here, but do you realize how bigoted *that* is? Basically, what you're saying is that since somebody who might use Linux said something you didn't like, you're going to tar *all* Linux users (including your users who asked for Linux ports) with the same brush and not port.

    I also fail to see what this has to do with the GPL, unless RMS personally offended you?

    As for the fussing about this Garner mess - well, it was deserved. Read the articles.

  • I would rather cut off all my finger than trade bash for comman.com any day. No command line completion, no command editing, no double-tab suggestions, no history. command.com is about as functional as a 5 1/4" floppy. Get real. If you think you can build a more intuitive, extensible shell, by all means do so. I for one LOVE bash.
  • by GnomeAttic (97126) on Thursday October 14, 1999 @04:32AM (#1614718) Homepage
    Alright everyone. I think this quote from some guy has left us with only one option: give up on linux entirely. How can we possibly go on if there is a lack of standards in the Linux community? It's practically pointless to coninue using Linux when there is a lack of productivity applications. I think everyone should just abandon this sinking ship before it destroys us all.
  • by Ender_Stonebender (60900) on Thursday October 14, 1999 @04:33AM (#1614724) Homepage Journal
    1. Command shell that doesn't involve a lot of learning. "move" should be the command to move a file, "copy" should be the command to copy a file, "delete" and "remove" should remove a file. Joe Blow doesn't care that when all we had was 6 letter commands, using "rm" for delete a good idea. We don't have those limits any more, we shouldn't be limited by them. (My suggestion is to call this DOS, for Dumb Old Shell, and make it work much like the MS-DOS command line.)

    2. Plug and Play Everywhere! Joe Blow does not want to mount and unmount CDs himself, nor does he want to figure out the IRQ, base I/O address, etc. for his hardware. So make sure that Joe Blow doesn't have to deal with those things.

    3. A good GUI/WM combination that comes default with all Linux distros. Joe Blow does not like command line interfaces and will avoid them wherever possible. So give him a GUI he can use easily and not be (too) confused by.

    4. Official suppourt from hardware vendors. If Joe Blow can't buy a new peice of hardware, plug it in, turn it on, install some drivers, and start using it; Joe Blow doesn't want it.

    The upshot of this whole comment? Take lessons from Microsoft and from MacOS. They've got the (relatively) painless-to-use CLI and the universal GUI. Just because M$ and Apple are the big commercial doesn't necessarily make all their ideas evil; we should feel free to clone the parts of their interfaces that make computers easy to use.

    -Ender
  • I would've though a more reasonable quote would've been precisely the opposite! But then the nice thing about Industry Standards(TM) is there's so many to choose from!

    However it's interesting to note that HP think Linux doesn't scale beyond 4 processors - kind of fails to track with MS' assertion that Linux doesn't scale *at all!*
  • Okay, sure, Linux may not have MS Office, nor does it have Corel Office, but it does have Wordperfect and Star Office. Isn't this mainly what the typical business person needs?"

    Depends on the typical business. I think a business that started on Linux from the ground up could do very well. The business that I'm working at now couldn't make such a switch, though: critical business applications are running on Access, and Excel spreadsheets that Star Office can't handle aren't uncommon.

    (For those of you wondering what kind of spreadsheets Star Office can't handle: ones with embedded Visual Basic, for starters. For those of you wondering why we'd use Access for critical business applications: I didn't write it! Don't blame me! It's not my fault!...)

  • Ah, true, for mom n pop desktops, but in the corporate setting, the admin configures the desktop once, puts all the homes on a server, and users don't have to configure squat.

    In addition, this type of setup makes adding new workstations very quick and easy.

    Maybe this could be done with Winnders, but at what cost?

  • True: Linux may not have many standards, but you can standardise on a distrobution. Decide on what one you think is best for your operation then stick with it.

    The same argument could be used for Microsoft people. Nobody varies off thier microsoft os once installed - people either use NT, DOS or Windows - you install and then don't change much from that.

    Its a well researched article but still echos some well known microsoft FUD: "The lack of standards in the Linux community, coupled with a lack of key productivity applications and with Unix complexity, will continue to make Linux a poor choice for the mainstream business productivity user."

    Its unclear what standards they refer to. Is it desktop? is it distros? is it package management? again these are things you pick the one you think works best for you and stay with it. I'm most cases it won't change radically in outward appearance over the years, unlike certain vendors if you go from a 3.x to a 4.x release you won't have to retrain your users because they thought a new layout would be nice, and you won't have to pay out multi-hundreds of dollars to replace all your obsolete development tools to support the new layout.

    In all for such a large scale project as linux people have settled into a pretty good set of standards. Most apps will run on SuSE, RedHat, Debian etc...

    The arguements put forward in the report are the ones that Linux will have to overcome in the next few years for it to truely succeed.

    Finally, I do think the HP spokeman mentioned on the report needs to browse on over to freshmeat.net and see what apps are available. Someone needs to point out the vendors that have and will be producing major database apps for Linux. In many cases people are using a Linux engine without realising it, so I think the productivity argument is not a valid one.
  • Good point. I hadn't forgotten that server != desktop, although I had glossed over it.

    I don't know offhand how much MS revenue comes from server sales, but its pretty significant. NT server costs a bundle just to install, and on top of that you have the client license charges for everyone who can log on. Eroding server market share hurts MS far more than eroding desktop share.

    In addition Linux is now usable on the desktop, and its use on servers should create an acceptance of its use on corporate desktops as well. These people understand Total Cost of Ownership, and they are getting tired of writing huge cheques to MS every year and then watching their machines fall over every day.

    Linux users account for approximately 0.08% of the hits to my website

    Interesting. Do you have any trend information? I'd really like to see it.

    Paul.

  • Actually I don't see a problem.

    Yes Linux numbers are on the rise. The analogy here is that the "Linux Movement" (not just the s/w) is to Microsoft a Dark Figure looming in an alleyway.

    Think this through:

    Since you don't know his purpose, you don't let them know you are scared. This fear comes from a lack of knowledge of this person.

    You immediately tense up, and try to look fierce to ward off a possible attack.(READ: FUD)

    When you realize that you would be pummelled by this large hulk-of-a-man, you attempt to make peace. (READ: Carving up the market w/ Netscape)

    If you can't beat them, you join them. (READ: MS-Linux)

    These concepts are straight out of a street fight, and they definately fit Microsoft's business practices.

  • That's what all the Microsofties think - if they just release W2K, all will be well. Sadly, they forgot WHY they are losing market share:
    1. stability of the OS
    2. code bloat
    3. stability of the OS
    4. failure to impose their own "required" shared library standards on themselves (MSFT products), not just all third-party vendors
    5. stability of the OS

    Until they solve at least 4 of the above 5 problems, they will continue to lose market share. Perhaps not by a 2x measure, but at least at a 1.8x measure.

    Did I mention that their OS cost as part of the total computer package, especially for servers (e.g. Cobalt Qube for $299 vs $699+ for Msft) is another major hindrance?

  • This coming from the group that decided network computers and e-money were the hotest tech items of 1998? Or the group that decided TCO of handheld devices was over $2700/year (read through their press releases..they're pretty funny).
    I dunno...i think I'd trust a Sesame Street review before I believed these guys....
  • The problem I have with this statement is the total inability to prove or disprove it. Perhaps some poll might identify organizations that have bought *less* NT than they otherwise might have because they used Linux instead for a server of some type. However, so long as NT sales continue to increase it's awfully hard for the MS marketing organization(s) to not make that claim. Besides, even if NT sales were to spiral downward, do you actually think that MS would claim that Linux was hurting sales? It would be a defacto admission of product inferiority in the marketplace.

    It would be interesting to see a list of large (> 750 employees) organizations that have migrated completely from NT in favor of Linux.
  • Yep. Have a look at the "Sales Graph" at http://gartner11 .gartnerweb.com/public/static/hotc/hc00082967.html [gartnerweb.com]

    I don't know if this is the same article referred to in the IDG article but it's worth a look anyhow. It has a large graph of "Server/Host Spending by Operating System". Linux has a very low level of spending compared to NT and the predictions for Win2K. Well obviously! They're overpriced to start with and need plenty of cash for maintainence...
  • by acfoo (98832) on Thursday October 14, 1999 @11:36AM (#1614767)
    I have a great deal of skepticism with regard to reports produced by Gartner, Forrester, or other IT analysts, and most of the problems are exactly what you have written.

    The problems that you describe are not only in the report-writing consulting world, but exist throughout the entire discipline of managment consulting. Recommendations are constantly made about where an industry or company should be going with NO knowledge of the underlying technical details of the industry or product. Analysts spend a few miniutes looking at Yahoo! Technology news and then make sweeping generalizations about an industry that sound eerily like the press release that was used to write the story. This has only gotten worse as the rise of the Interent and the web has increased the demand for "knowledgeable professionals" and misguided people have stepped in to fill a role that they are not qualified for.

    The worst part of the Gartner, etc. knowledge deficit is that they ask the wrong people and accept their answers as true, because they don't have any idea how to check the truth in them. So they listen to some executive complain that he couln't get a video conference because of the firewall configuration and write a report that the firewall is dead and that we need a more "open" computing infrastructure and that firewalls are getting in the way of the flow of information (which they are, but probably for the right reasons).

    The Economist had a great bit last week about consultants:

    "HERE is a cautionary tale about a telephone giant and a management consultancy. In the early 1980s AT&T asked McKinsey to estimate how many cellular phones would be in use in the world at the turn of the century. The consultancy noted all the problems with the new devices-the handsets were absurdly heavy, the batteries kept running out, the coverage was patchy and the cost per minute was exorbitant-and concluded that the total market would be about 900,000. At the time this persuaded AT&T to pull out of the market, although it changed its mind later."

    Finally, I would caution you about banging on a liberal-arts degree. A good liberal arts degree (mine is in history) should mean that the person has some critical thinking and reasoning skills and should be able to learn. Unfortunately, too many analysts have never spent any time on the business end of malfunctioning or poorly designed hardware or software to be able to separate the wheat from the chaff. Then again, I'm probably unusual in that I'll admit when I don't know something and I'll go ask or figure it out before giving an answer.

  • What the article actually says is that Linux is taking its market share from the nasty old dinosaurs like SCO and building new share in the home geek market.

    I can't help but wonder.. are you insinuating that many (most?) geeks who now use Linux at home used to use SCO stuff at home..? What, no one who uses Linux on their boxen at home today ever used Windows there in its stead? Or was this just an incredibly badly worded assertation? (yes, I'm honestly confused) =P

    Expect hordes of knee-jerking Slashdot readers flaming this article without even reading it. The Sacred Penguin is insulted and so its acolytes must rush to its defence.

    I also found it interesting that you chose to preempt any inflammatory comments with an offensive remark of your own. Perhaps you should consider being, more, ah, polite?

  • by Weerdo (24976) on Thursday October 14, 1999 @04:39AM (#1614771)
    You feel angry, you want to fight Gartner about this report.. Don't even think about doing this! It's inmature, it's plain stupid and not a good thing to do. This report is already bad enough, but they also can throw out another (bad) report in days. Don't let that happen.

    For those who aren't aware of the power of Gartner:

    Garner is one of the 5 largest consultancy organisations around and alot of PHB's are in fact using their advise. Organisations rely on these reports for their IT planning. If Gartner says: "Novell Netware 5 is good" then Microsoft has really something to worry about.

    IBM (big blue) felt the power of Gartner. IBM reorganised and drasticly changed their business plans because of a single Gartner report (IBM Mainframes will die was the outcome of that report). IBM was doing well but many jobs were lost.

    The only right thing to do is to do nothing about this paper. Don't fight it, don't counter it. Just keep on using Linux and all will be well. Someday Gartner will see it's mistake.

  • So the bottom line for Gartner is...

    Here's the bottom line from that article:
    Microsoft Web Letter is published by Microsoft. Additional editorial material supplied by Gartner Group, Inc. © 1999. Editorial supplied by Microsoft is independent of GartnerGroup analysis and in no way should this information be construed as a GartnerGroup endorsement of Microsoft's products and services. Entire contents © 1999 by Gartner Group, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction of this publication in any form without prior written permission is forbidden. The information contained herein has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable. GartnerGroup disclaims all warranties as to the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of such information. GartnerGroup shall have no liability for errors, omissions or inadequacies in the information contained herein or for interpretations thereof. The reader assumes sole responsibility for the selection of these materials to achieve its intended results. The opinions expressed herein are subject to change without notice.

    This article is in the webletter/microsoft/articlex directory. There are a couple of other like-minded articles in the same directory.
    Obviously this is Microsoft marketing drivel. The Gartner group has been paid my MS to spew this for them. The MS Anti-Linux group is hard at work!
  • by LordStrange (19871) on Thursday October 14, 1999 @04:42AM (#1614790)
    Do we really care if "[Linux] will continue to make Linux a poor choice for the mainstream business productivity user"?

    I don't. I'm having plenty of fun with Linux even if I do have to engorge BillG's wallet some more when I'm at work. (And sometimes at home...)

    Why should we care or want to be "mainstream"? Linux need only be useful (which it is) to those that like that sort of thing. Why care about those that don't!

    Hatred, even directed at those worthy of it (MS), is a poor choice of motivation.

  • I don't know offhand how much MS revenue comes from server sales, but its pretty significant. NT server costs a bundle just to install, and on top of that you have the client license charges for everyone who can log on. Eroding server market share hurts MS far more than eroding desktop share.

    Yeah, I'll agree that this could definitely put a dent in Microsoft's profits. However, servers also tend to be less visible, so Windows is likely to remain synonymous with "Operating System" in the minds of most people for at list a little while.

    In addition Linux is now usable on the desktop, and its use on servers should create an acceptance of its use on corporate desktops as well. These people understand Total Cost of Ownership, and they are getting tired of writing huge cheques to MS every year and then watching their machines fall over every day.

    Perhaps, but it'll take a while. Many companies are very attached to their Microsoft Outlook or Lotus CC:Mail email systems, and it'll take some convincing to get them to switch. Many large companies are also obsessed with uniformity, requiring everybody to have the same software installed and the same configurations, so they may only switch to Linux if they can switch *everything* and *everybody* to Linux. That might take some effort as well.

    Interesting. Do you have any trend information? I'd really like to see it.

    Unfortunately, no. It's one of those free web-statistics tracking things where you put an IMG on your page, and they collect stats about the people that load the image. This may slightly undercount Linux visitors, as Lynx doesn't load the image, but it'll also undercount users like me who surf on Windows with the images off (using Opera, in my case). It also doesn't collect any trend information, though my observations show that Linux's share has improved slightly (from around 0.05% to 0.08% over the last year or so). IE has also increased its totals to around 75% while Netscape is down below 20%, compared to a 60-35 advantage of IE over Netscape a little over a year ago.
  • by Zigg (64962) on Thursday October 14, 1999 @04:42AM (#1614805)

    It was a shock to me when I had to agree with the Gartner Group's analysis of anything. They have been so steadily wrong for so long that I had to double-check outside for any horsemen of the apocalypse. :-) Regardless of whether this month seems to be Microsoft's to launch attacks on Linux (see this article [slashdot.org]) -- it would be a logical conclusion that this is another Microsoft-paid opinion piece from the Gartner Group -- there are very good points here, and I think clarifications should be made.

    Gartner's piece states that Linux is to be avoided for business-productivity applications. Let's not forget what a "business-productivity" application is. It's Word, it's Excel, it's Access, it's PowerPoint. All of these are targeted at single-user applications. (Some might try to say that Access can be used for multiuser applications; let me tell you from experience that you can only get up to about five people before it really starts bombing out. Where I used to work, an Access-based application was totally corrupted by someone leaving their computer on overnight. I don't consider that a multiuser application.)

    The problem is that there is really a pretty sad offering along the lines of single-user applications in Linux-based, and indeed other open source systems. I have a Linux workstation here and love it to death, but I'm an administrator and a developer. I have StarOffice for firing off memos, of course -- but there is simply no way I could effectively get the rest of the office to use Linux, even if I had the authority to send out a mandate from on high that Microsoft was to be abolished. (Now, perhaps I could get Macs in here...) :-)

    Where Linux as well as other UNIX clones and derivatives do excel is in multiuser applications. I don't care if you have figures showing that IIS performs better; I can do more and I can do it more effectively, and I can do it on an OS that was designed from the ground up to be shared among multiple users. To turn around a key point from that previous Microsoft piece (paraphrased: "Linux was not designed with a GUI in the core"), Windows NT was not designed with multiple users in mind. Its design is based on an OS that still really only can be effectively used by one person at a time. (Want proof? Go into \WINNT sometime and look at all the .INI files -- one person's settings easily override everyone's.)

    Let's not also forget the key benefit of free or open source software. I can change it if I need to. I've done so on quite a few incidents, to fit my needs when the stock configurations didn't. My NT system on the other corner of my desk goes largely unused for several applications because I can't change its applications to do what I need them to.

    What would it take to bring Linux to the desktop, or as Gartner puts it, the "business-productivity" market? Quite a bit. The latest round of GUI stuff is getting there but there are still so many key points to sweat out. Printing a memo off is still not a no-brainer on your typical Linux system unless it's been set up by someone with a clue. But in the meantime, Linux and other UNIX derivatives are what I and other administrators and engineers swear by for our desktops. We just can't get away from the power. :-)

  • by nevets (39138) on Thursday October 14, 1999 @12:03PM (#1614809) Homepage Journal
    EVERY OS competes with every other OS

    Yes and I wish MS would acknowledge this!

    Again, Linux may be "competing" with Unix, but I see it helping Unix against NT. So, can you compete and help the opposition at the same time? If so, then Yes it does compete. If not then no it doesn't.

    I didn't expect you to read my mind, but I was stating that Linux works well with Unix, and NT doesn't. NT may seem to work with Unix, but once MS gets a strong hold on the server market, you will see that stop.

    RedHat competes with Caldera, SuSE, Debian, Slackware, etc. and each competes with each other. But I see this as good and healthy competition. Under GPL each one seems to improve the other, all trying to stay on top. But the way Microsoft competes, it is to hurt the opponent and noone (but MS) benefits.

    The note about installation "make/configure" and so on was just to say there is generally a way things will work. It's not the best way. RPMs and other utilities are probably better, but are still young. I'm hoping that some "install wizard" should come out and be the end all of installation tools. But I have yet to have any app run on one distribution and not another. I do need to download and install libraries sometimes, but once I do than everything seems ok.

    Steven Rostedt
  • EVERY OS competes with every other OS

    Yes and I wish MS would acknowledge this!

    Again, Linux may be "competing" with Unix, but I see it helping Unix against NT. So, can you compete and help the opposition at the same time? If so, then Yes it does compete. If not then no it doesn't.

    I didn't expect you to read my mind, but I was stating that Linux works well with Unix, and NT doesn't. NT may seem to work with Unix, but once MS gets a strong hold on the server market, you will see that stop.

    RedHat competes with Caldera, SuSE, Debian, Slackware, etc. and each competes with each other. But I see this as good and healthy competition. Under GPL each one seems to improve the other, all trying to stay on top. But the way Microsoft competes, it is to hurt the opponent and noone (but MS) benefits.

    The note about installation "make/configure" and so on was just to say there is generally a way things will work. It's not the best way. RPMs and other utilities are probably better, but are still young. I'm hoping that some "install wizard" should come out and be the end all of installation tools. But I have yet to have any app run on one distribution and not another. I do need to download and install libraries sometimes, but once I do than everything seems ok.

    Steven Rostedt
  • I hadn't realized it before either... I'm so shocked. I'm not only going to throw away all my linux cds and diskettes, I'm going to print all of the kernel and X source, so I can burn while waving my big M$ Standards list in the air. Oh, it will be a joyous day when the penguin and the BSDaemon finallly end their foolish attempts to be a real OS. I mean really, I can't even get a nice GPF bluescreen from KDE or GNOME, and I *know* that C/C++ included with M$ VC++ is SO much more standard than any of that gcc ansi crap. Repent all ye CLI users, your day is through. Last but not least.... aiiiieeeee
  • It's all very well to go for a 'good GUI/WM' (and it's a crying shame that this is routinely a blind slavish copy of Windows- you'd think that at least somebody would be trying a blind slavish copy of MacOS), but there is a real problem with 'default with all Linux distros'. One of Linux's biggest promises for the people who have ALREADY BEEN USING IT, is that you basically get to invent whatever GUI you want, in a very personal sense.
    Replacing this with a blind slavish copy of Windows would take away a key Linux advantage for current users while offering nothing at all in the way of applications and 'business productivity' programs.
    There's also a very real concern- shouldn't we be trying to do better than Windows, since it is doing so badly in terms of living up to its promise? If we're supposed to be making business productivity stuff, shouldn't we try to figure out ways of operating software that look wizzier and cooler than Windows, but are actually easier to use through being simpler and more direct? In many cases I think a modified 'kiosk' would be just the ticket.
  • But, but... the rate of increase of the rate of increase of the rate of increase is slowing!! o_O

    *hehehe*
  • Personally, I didn't find learning the shell much more difficult than learning the Messy-DOS CLI. Maybe I'm just nutty like that. I wouldn't argue against temporary abstraction layers that would make it easier for newbies to get started, as long as they teach them how to use the CLI at the same time.

    I'm not one of the type who think people shouldn't be allowed to touch UNIX if they don't know what they're doing, but I do think there is something to be said for an informed user base and the effect their input will have on the direction of future development. Growing a generation of folks who use Linux, but can't tell the difference between it and Windows or DOS would do little good for Linux.

  • by Kythe (4779) on Thursday October 14, 1999 @12:08PM (#1614823)
    Look at the disclaimer on the bottom of the page. This article appears to have been written by Microsoft. They evidently have an area on the Gartner Group's web site.

    If this is correct, then this represents a new low in astroturfing. They must have known this would look like a Gartner Group analysis.



    Kythe
    (Remove "x"'s from

  • by bmetzler (12546) <bmetzler@nospAm.live.com> on Thursday October 14, 1999 @04:47AM (#1614828) Homepage Journal
    I reckon powerpoint is the big missing X. I *still* use MS powerpoint. Everything else linux.

    Oh, close, very close. The missing app is the ... Dancing Paper Clip. Linux will never make it into the mainstream with that important piece of functionality missing.

    -Brent
    --
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I have an account on their site, here is the actual report the article was written from its pretty sad and almost shorter than the idg article.

    Research Note
    Technology
    28 September 1999 Will Linux Be Viable Competition for Windows Desktops?
    M. Gartenberg

    While we do not view Linux as a serious competitor for Microsoft at the desktop, Linux will not disappear from the computing landscape through 2004.
    Core Topic

    Client-Operating-System Technologies ~ Hardware & Operating Systems

    Key Issues

    How will IBM's, Apple's, Netscape's and others' competition with the Microsoft Windows family for market share on corporate desktops affect users?

    How will the technology and markets for client operating systems evolve during the next five years?

    With the recent initial public offering (IPO) of Red Hat and its current valuation as a multi-billion-dollar company, and with the growing hype in the press over Linux and its variants, the question of Linux's viability as a mainstream desktop operating system (OS) has arisen. While many feel that Linux is the heir to Microsoft's 32-bit Windows offerings and will soon surpass Windows in volume shipments, we are not nearly as sanguine about Linux's prospects. Windows has achieved a level of nonsubstitutable infrastructure (see Note 1) and is tightly linked with hardware and peripheral vendors as well as independent software vendors (ISVs). To displace Windows, Linux would have to offer some compelling feature or "killer application" that is so overwhelming that it justifies a migration. The problem is that any application that can be created under Linux can easily be ported to Windows, thus obviating any advantage. We currently see three potential scenarios for the future of Linux at the desktop.

    Note 1

    Nonsubstitutable Infrastructure

    Nonsubstitutable infrastructure technologies support the following characteristics:

    • High switching costs
    • Total or near-total standardization within an organization
    • Strong third-party/vendor support
    • Functions as underlying technology for other services/applications
    Examples include the TCP/IP protocol, asynchronous transfer mode (ATM) networks, e-mail, office suite applications.

    1. Linux will become a major success and will succeed in supplanting 32-bit Windows as the dominant desktop operating system (0.1 probability). For this scenario to be feasible, several things in the marketplace would need to occur. If we assume that Linux will gain measurable market share in the desktop audience, then the door will open for additional momentum. If this were to happen, it would be possible for the Linux distributors to leverage this with increased support from third-party hardware vendors to bundle Linux instead of or in addition to 32-bit Windows. As a result, third-party ISVs could view the Linux marketplace as profitable and support the platform with native applications. However, we think it is late in the game for this scenario to feasible. Some major force would be required to break the Windows inertia, and Linux does not offer a compelling force against 32-bit Windows. It remains a complex Unix variant that offers little advantage to mainstream users.

    2. Linux will fail to supplant 32-bit Windows as the dominant desktop operating system and will fade from the market by 2004 (0.2 probability). It is very unlikely that Linux will vanish from the market during the next five years. Linux will continue to be supported and maintained by a core community that has embraced the OS with near religious fervor. We expect that future releases will focus on polishing the product but will not offer a major feature or enhancement that will be enough of an incentive to drive the installed Windows base to Linux.

    3. Linux will fail to supplant 32-bit Windows as the dominant desktop operating system but will remain an alternative operating system, gaining no more than 5 percent of the installed desktop space by 2004 (0.7 probability). Despite the lack of appeal that Linux will have for mainstream users, other users will still flock to Linux as an alternative to 32-bit Windows. The Linux community has demonstrated long-term loyalty toward Linux that will continue to grow. While standards for such things as the user interface will remain poorly defined, homegrown applications at no cost, or almost no cost, will provide the minimum level of functionality to keep the OS alive. In addition, as PC vendors continue to look for ways to lower the costs of their systems, we expect that many "white box" systems will offer Linux as a lower-cost alternative to Windows and broaden acceptance in that segment of the market.

    Bottom Line: Linux is the "hype du jour" that is thought by some to have the potential to upset Microsoft's dominance on the mainstream desktop. Despite the press hype, we believe that Linux deployments for desktops will not usurp OS dominance from Microsoft. The lack of standards in the Linux community, coupled with a lack of key productivity applications and with Unix complexity, will continue to make Linux a poor choice for the mainstream business productivity user. Linux, however, will continue to appeal to its devotees and, as it improves over time, to broader audiences.
    This document has been published by: Service Date Document # End-User Computing 28 September 1999 T-09-2550 Personal Software - Operations & Applications 28 September 1999 T-09-2550 PRISM for Distributed Computing 28 September 1999 T-09-2550 Spectrum for Midsize Enterprises 1 October 1999 T-09-2550 IT Journal 13 October 1999 T-09-2550

    Entire contents (C) 1999 by Gartner Group, Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction of this publication in any form without prior written permission is forbidden. The information contained herein has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable. Gartner Group disclaims all warranties as to the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of such information. Gartner Group shall have no liability for errors, omissions or inadequacies in the information contained herein or for interpretations thereof. The reader assumes sole responsibility for the selection of these materials to achieve its intended results. The opinions expressed herein are subject to change without notice. Please read the guidelines and policies for GartnerGroup copyrighted materials.

  • 1. Command shell that doesn't involve a lot of learning. "move" should be the command to move a file, "copy" should be the command to copy a file, "delete" and "remove" should remove a file. Joe Blow doesn't care that when all we had was 6 letter commands, using "rm" for delete a good idea. We don't have those limits any more, we shouldn't be limited by them. (My suggestion is to call this DOS, for Dumb Old Shell, and make it work much like the MS-DOS command line.)

    alias copy="cp"
    alias move="mv"
    alias delete="rm"

    We call this a shell, and it's smart enough that it can accomodate just about any user.

  • Their big "success" benchmark seemed to be server sales, i.e. more workstations sold with WinNT compared to the "3.5% Linux server sales". If I'm reading this correctly then they're not taking into account all the people that delete WinXX off their computers and install Linux themselves, rather than buying it pre-packaged, or people that build their own systems. If I'm correct, then these statistics are disregarding a majority of the Linux systems out there. I'm not going to scream FUD since this could have been a simple oversight, but one that shows that these people obviously have no clue about Linux.

    ----
    Dave
    All hail Discordia!
  • Remember that the Kiss of Death merely means that The Man has singled someone out for murder. In that sense, the author is right: Micorsoft has singled Linux out for Death by FUD.

    The question is, does The Man have enought muscle to pull it off this time? It doesn't look like the past year's FUD has done much to slow down the adoption of Linux, let alone kill it off.

    Personally, I think the 4Q99 FUD storm is just a last ditch effort by Micorsoft to prevent W2K from being stillborn. Every postponement, every announced reduction in features, means someone has time and motivation to consider the Linux alternative.

    Meanwhile, just remember: A Kiss of Death isn't as bad as a Blue Screen of Death.

    --
    It's October 6th. Where's W2K? Over the horizon again, eh?
  • 1. Command shell that doesn't involve a lot of learning. "move" should be the command to move a file, "copy" should be the command to copy a file, "delete" and "remove" should remove a file. Joe Blow doesn't care that when all we had was 6 letter commands, using "rm" for delete a good idea. We don't have those limits any more, we shouldn't be limited by them. (My suggestion is to call this DOS, for Dumb Old Shell, and make it work much like the MS-DOS command line.)

    Definitely! Help should also do something. Print out "use man for help" or print out a list of commonly used commands, or something. "Help" is the first thing most newbies type when they're stuck, and giving them an error message doesn't help things.

    2. Plug and Play Everywhere! Joe Blow does not want to mount and unmount CDs himself, nor does he want to figure out the IRQ, base I/O address, etc. for his hardware. So make sure that Joe Blow doesn't have to deal with those things.

    Most definitely. I was amazed when I found out I had to manually mount and unmount /cdrom (or whatever you use for the CD-ROM mountpoint) on Linux. I had a CD-ROM working fine, I switched CDs, and then i did a "cd /cdrom" and "ls" and i didn't see anything. Even MS-DOS auto-mounts CD-ROMs by default.

    I also don't want XF86Setup to force me to guess a bunch of specs relating to my monitor's refresh rate, supported resolutions, etc. Windows tells me what stuff my monitor can support, and it shouldn't be too hard for Linux to do the same.

    3. A good GUI/WM combination that comes default with all Linux distros. Joe Blow does not like command line interfaces and will avoid them wherever possible. So give him a GUI he can use easily and not be (too) confused by.

    Yeah, and it should boot up without having to configure it. Boot up in standard 640x480 VGA mode or something, but don't (as is currently done) give an error message, especially one that doesn't even say "you need to run XF86Setup first."

    4. Official suppourt from hardware vendors. If Joe Blow can't buy a new peice of hardware, plug it in, turn it on, install some drivers, and start using it; Joe Blow doesn't want it.

    Indeed. Linux could be the greatest thing since sliced bread, but if I paid $500 for a digital camera that connects to my computer via USB, I'll use Windows if Linux won't let me transfer my images with it.

    And perhaps I'm just weird, but I (mostly) like DR-DOS's CLI. It's much more intuitive than bash, at least to me, and using up/down arrow keys to scroll through previous commands (like using DOSKEY under MS-DOS) is a handy feature.
  • You start out making (reasonable) predictions as to Linux's server market share. How do you jump from that to saying that Linux will reach a 10% overall market share by next year, thus damaging Microsoft? From my own (non-scientific) research, Linux's desktop market share is somewhere below 1%, more likely less than 0.5%. Linux users account for approximately 0.08% of the hits to my website (slightly more than Solaris users, who are at 0.05%). I'd consider 3% desktop market share (comparable to Apple's) to be a difficult achievement for Linux.
  • I'm glad they were careful to ask Microsoft if Linux was making a dent in NT sales. Glad to see the Linux threat we heard about in the DOJ case has already been vanquished and it's business as usual for the red-blooded innovators of Redmond.

    Yes, Microsoft is *so* K-RAD. They are the elite of the marketing powers. A threat which threatened to doom them for eternity can be evaded by just posting an "'X' Myths" page.

    What'll we see next? ;)

    -Brent
    --
  • by Paul Johnson (33553) on Thursday October 14, 1999 @04:57AM (#1614868) Homepage
    According to the article Linux has 3.5% of the server market and is doubling every few months. This roughly agrees with my own research.

    So in another 2 doublings or so, say about nine months, Linux will have 10% of the NT Server market. This is a psychologically important figure. At that point lots of press stories will be printed pointing out that Linux has now started making significant inroads into M$ revenues.

    The thing that keeps M$ on top now is its reputation for invulnerability. Its certainly not its reputation for quality or value. But this is a very brittle thing. Once it cracks it will crumble and collapse.

    So I predict that Linux will reach 10% market share next July or so, and that this will be seen as a major event. Once you hit 10%, 80% is only three more doublings away. So Linux should achieve market dominance some time around mid-2001, and Bill Gates will no longer be the richest man on Earth. Microsoft will probably be taken over some time in 2002.

    Paul.

  • Writing a shell script to do anything that gets close to this is a relatively advanced problem -- and I don't believe it's possible without requiring some escaping/quoting/substituting to get the asterixes through the shell intact.


    Utterly preposterous.

    for file in *.doc
    do
    mv $file ${file%.doc} ${file%.doc}.txt
    done

    I won't claim for a minute that's accessable to Joe Sixpack, but it's a bloody far cry from an "advanced problem"



  • Blah, I need to proofread. that should have been:

    for file in *.doc
    do
    mv $file ${file%.doc}.txt
    done
  • Oh just shoot me. I used .txt in an example when I did this. Now something I WOULD like to see the shell become is a bona-fide scriptable programming language that supports a genuine object model, and transactions. Imagine being able to undo anything you screwed up in a transaction.
  • >I don't like NT either, but ini files should only >exist in WINNT for two reasons:

    >1. badly coded applications
    >2. 16-bit applications

    3. Portable applications. Where you just drag the directory to copy it. See, not everyone who lugs their laptop out into the field lives in this magical ubiquitously-networked world where they can just grab the installed program off the server and read the remote registry.

    Welcome to the real world.
  • Quote the HP Spokesperson:

    "Linux does not have the robustness built in it yet for mission critical applications."

    Why... thank you for your comment. Now can you tell me why you are using Embedded Linux Systems in your L and X ranges of HP Entria Thin Client stations and X-Terminals.

    Story is here [idg.net]
  • You can't tell me that companies aren't putting Linux in place of "traditional" unix workstations. Linux is competing with all OTHER operating systems, if you look at bit closer the Linux distributions are even competing with each other! There are lots of Sys V unix vendors out there, and they compete with each other.... oh, but Linux surely doesn't compete with Unix, Linux is the only exception to the whole entire marketplace.

    Standards... well then tell me the standard way to install a package that works accross all Linux distributions?

    I'm not bashing Linux, but you haven't convinced me at all.
  • "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win." (M. Gandhi)

    (Sounds like M$ is between the laughing and fighting stages...)
  • Anyway who is this gartner group

    They are basically IT analysts. The charge huge bucks for reports on various technologies, companies, etc. For example, here's a report they sell:
    GartnerGroup Outlook on Healthcare IT Business Trends,
    Market Forces and Technology
    Order Code 5630 Four volumes plus audio Price US$4,995

    They are actually well known and quite respected, though I'm not sure the respect is always deserved. Here is their really poorly done web site. [info-edge.com]
  • by killbill (10058) on Thursday October 14, 1999 @05:27AM (#1614901) Homepage
    The Gartner group is missing a key thing that I painfully rediscover any time I install a Linux or Windows system... That complexity will always result in pain (see second law of thermodynamics).

    They indicate that the complexity of Linux is a liability. Well, it is, but it is just as much a liability under Windows, but without the tools and controls to address it that are available under Linux.

    It used to be that Unix was (relatively) hard, and DOS was (relatively) simple. This was mainly because Unix did so much more then DOS (i.e. networking, multi user support, multi tasking support, etc).

    Now DOS (windows) and Unix are much closer in terms of overall capability. And complexity.

    Gartner misses two points. First... Microsoft (and most other sources of support) will only really support a very small subset of available hardware (hardware "certified" to work with windows). If you try to get vendors to help you with other products, good luck.

    If I were to create an equally small subset of "supported" hardware, I could make Linux darned easy to support and configure as well.

    Secondly, the average desktop user NO LONGER DOES their own support. I know, because I (and the rest of you out there like me) do it. I probably solve 200-300 windows problems a year for friends and family, and some can be darn difficult.

    I find I spend about the same amount of time setting up both Linux and Windows systems. The difference is that when a Linux system gets working, it stays working. I can count on some random catastrophe on my windows box about once every three months.

    The other difference is that when I fix a Linux problem, I generally feel pretty satisfied, as it turns out I was doing something wrong and I now understand what it was and how to do it right. When I fix a windows problem, I am typically just pissed off, because it "magically" went away after performing some random activity (like reinstalling the same driver a third time, or reinstalling window's itself). No explanation, no permanant fix, and I have to leave wondering how long it will be before they call me back to fix it again.

    Really, all this article says is that current operating systems contain a large degree of complexity (inevitable in our age of networks and bloated office applications), and that Microsoft has successfully captured the productivity market (read: Microsoft Office).

    Both statements are true, and neither "spells the death of Linux".

    Ironically, I think the increasing complexity that is inevitable in our computing culture will be an additional driving force to promote Unix...

    Unix has been complicated since it's birth, and we have spent 30 YEARS now giving you tools to manage it. You get your unix system, and you get thousands of tools to use on it.

    Windows is just now getting complicated. When you get your windows system, it comes with only one tool... a stick of dynamite. The solution to many failure modes it to blow up what you have and start over.

    I think Linux needs a better infrastructure to encapsulate error detection and recovery, system configuration and administration, and a better high level encapsulation of the human interface. The foundation is in place however, and tools like gnome, kde, and linuxconf are quickly moving the right direction.

    I think Windows needs a better foundation and architecture... it is designed to be flawed at it's core. The user interface is fine (due largely to the fact that they stole it from the mac), but everything under the covers is a mess, and getting worse with every release.

    I think Windows is a fantastic consumer wrapping around a terrible design and architecture. It is a credit to a lot of people at microsoft that such a haphazard mess runs as well as it does.

    I think Linux is a practical industrial grade wrapping around a great design and architecture. It was designed for smart people to use to do hard jobs well.

    I, for one, would much rather be faced with the problem of replacing the industrial grey boilerplate around a state of the art factory with some nice pretty stucco, then have to pull the pretty paper of a great big ball of snot and have to unravel it and keep it working.

    Bill Kilgallon
  • by Bozdune (68800) on Thursday October 14, 1999 @05:29AM (#1614906)
    Yes, there is a serious problem with Gartner group (and other) reports. Unless you are in the trenches with the techies, you really don't know what you're talking about. The Gartner people are smart, but many of them are seriously uninformed. Their senior analysts, who usually do have a track record in the industry they cover, generally haven't developed software in years (the Bob Metcalfe syndrome).

    jht makes an important point: even if you ARE technically proficient, it is very tempting to make predictions that fall flat. I love #1 -- who didn't read about 100 different smarty-pants analysts, including Gartner, who predicted the end of Apple? OK, in fairness to Gartner, they tried to temporize their Apple predictions with "probabilities of decreased market share" and "recommendations against" for businesses, but it amounted to same thing.

    CEO's (and other executives) really do have a serious problem. They must make technical decisions for their companies, and they have nowhere to turn but to the Gartners of the world. When the CEO is called in front of the board of directors, s/he's got to 'splain him/herself. Years ago, the question from the board was always "Why not IBM? Why did you buy this other crap?" So they bought IBM, defensively. Now they buy Microsoft, defensively. The so-called "Linux hype" has broken up this cozy little defensive arrangement, and the Gartners of the world must scramble to provide their clients with new justifications to provide to their bosses.

    Slashdot readers should also understand that there are lots of dirty secrets surrounding these "reports." For example, if your company PAYS for industry coverage by Gartner, generally speaking your company gets an opportunity to present ITS side of the argument in a way that it normally would not, just because of its ACCESS to the analyst(s) writing the report. Gartner will deny this to their last breath, but it's true.

    Another dirty little Gartner secret is the quality of the "analysts." I happen to know a Gartner analyst personally, who has been quoted many times in the mainstream press making pronouncements about Micros~1 and others. This person's background? Liberal arts. Has absolutely no clue -- and I should know, I've had to answer a lot of this person's stupid questions over the years.

    So the bottom line for Gartner is that they need to rotate out the fuddy-duddies from the 70's, whose last remembrance of Unix is v6 in college on a PDP-11/70. Then they need to ask some important questions about why the majority of competent technoids is so damn excited about Linux and the Open Source movement. Simultaneously, they need to recruit (and pay!) technical people who actually know that they're talking about. For starters, how about people who have hands-on Linux experience and who can explain why we can accomplish

    - about 100x more,
    - about 100x faster,
    - with greater stability,
    - in certain problem domains,

    with Linux than with Microsoft.

    As long as Gartner fails to understand WHY there is a nerd revolution, and WHY Linux is so exciting to the people like us who, increasingly, actually control the technical infrastructure of the world, they will totally miss the point. Their liberal-arts analysts can only see the world through their Microsoft laptops (which constitute, in many cases, the only computer they've ever actually used).
  • My favorite part is at the end where a 'spokesperson' (no name, of course) for HP says that Linux isn't 'robust' enough yet. If that truly is someone who works for HP, I guess they haven't been to their web page lately.

    The article was a little confusing because the journalist was jumping rapidly from one market segment to another. One minute he was talking about low-end servers, the next minute high-end servers, with distinguishing between the thoughts.

    The HP spokesperson was not saying that Linux was not viable at all. In that statement Linux was being compared to their HP-UX product. HP-UX is a high end enterprise OS, which doesn't even compare to Linux. Linux supplements HP-UX, it doesn't/shouldn't/will never replace HP-UX.

    So Linux isn't robust enough to replace their HP-UX product. However, as you pointed out, they do believe it is robust enough to replace NT. It's all about markets. Linux has been designed to compete in the market that Microsoft has generally focused NT in, not the HP-UX market, or the Solaris market.

    -Brent
    --
  • "Death Knell to Linux" - uhhh, but Linux has been growing, and the rate of growth is, itself, increasing. If that's a "death knell", we need more of them.

    Desktop Windows acutally -is- being affected. If it weren't, you wouldn't be seeing sales of Applixware or Star Office. For that matter, Sun wouldn't have -bought- Star Office. They didn't do that out of the kindness of their heart, they did it because there's gold in dem dere hills! (KOffice is vastly superior to MS Office, anyway.) Besides, if you want to get technical, Word DOES run under Linux, if you have Wine installed.

    Actually, most of the Linux installations I've seen are desktop, or combined desktop/server. I've seen VERY few dedicated Linux servers. Not because that's not a good configuration, but because Linux can handle both tasks extremely well.

    Productivity software - methinks Oracle, Informix, IBM DB/2, Code Warrior, Star Office, Applixware, KOffice, Klyx, BMRT, PoV-Ray, The GIMP, URT, Emacs (!), the complete KDE suite, Enlightenment, the complete GNOME suite, GNU Plotutils, the various Linux PIM suites and FlightGear prove that all the bases that Microsoft claims for NT are covered by Linux. (FlightGear beats the socks off Excel's FS, any day!)

  • I have been using Linux for a couple of years now and I am a real advocate (but not rabbid) and I definately have to agree with the consistency issue. It can be really annoying to have to stop and think "hmm, now which modifier did this program use for hotkeys, was copy 'control c' or 'alt c.' That is my one major annoyance with Linux (and Unix in general), it would be really nice for there to be a set standard for hotkeys. On the Mac I know that no matter what program I am in 'command c' is copy and 'command v' is paste, on Winblows I know 'control c' is copy and'control v' is paste. It definately adds to the user friendliness of a platform to have a few simple standards like those.

    "Trouble is, just because it's obvious doesn't mean it's true"

  • I reckon powerpoint is the big missing X.
    I *still* use MS powerpoint. Everything else
    linux.




    Ok, I might get flamed to hell for this, but... ummm What does powerpoint DO?? I know a lot of the marketing people around here use it, but I've never seen it DO anything? Help me out here?

    Kintanon
  • Also, I thought linux was always considered to be competing with NT in the server space, and not the desktop?

    Yes, I thought that was absurd logic also. Because Linux isn't "great" as a Desktop OS, it is not a viable solution anywhere? Come on, the real strength of Linux is in a server. The desktop really doesn't have anything to do with whether Linux "survives", if Linux *does* take over the desktop, it's just another market segment.

    I wonder why we don't see reports like this in other markets. For instance, the automobile market. Will we tommorrow see a headline proclaiming "Ford fails again with the release of their new sub-compact car to make a vehicle that will stand up to the demands of hauling 40,000 lb loads across the US." Or how about "Chrysler see Kiss of Death with their new SUV which doesn't provide economic method of travel for weekday commuters." How about food, "Tony's makes a new Pepperoni Pizza which won't appeal to the vegetarian market." Or just about anything.

    But I disagree about the Gartner Groups analysis of the desktop market. As if they've ever been right. Anyways, the consumer desktop market is changing. And with that change a new OS is poised to take over the Desktop. If Microsoft isn't ready to embrace the new desktop, then Linux (and others) will take the desktop market handily.

    -Brent
    --
  • Maybe Linux offers the functionality in seperate applications but it doesn't integrate them as well as windows. Sure we have Gnome and we have KDE. Both are nice approaches to integrated applictation environments. But both star office and wordperfect don't seem to integrate well with either of those environments. So even though there's wordperfect and the gimp and netscape, ect. None of these applications work well together. The big advantage of windows is that all applications use the same (inferior) application framework which enables them to interact.

    Integration of applications is something both windows and mac os offer. Linux doesn't offer this and therefore is an inferior desktop environment. I'm not talking about speed or stability here. I'm talking about usability. It doesn't matter if there's a presentation tool X and a spreadsheet tool Y for linux if X and Y can't work together.

    As for star office, I installed a 5.x version (on windows) and was shocked to find that it completely takes ownership of the desktop. It's worse than MS Office! Not that I'm an office user anyway, I prefer framemaker for serious writing.

    Of course it should be possible to have a nice application environment on linux. For that to happen there should some standardization of how applications interact with each other. Either KDE or Gnome seems a good candidate for this but not both at the same time because that would fragment the application market (unless you can somehow get applications to work in both environments without using only a subset of their capabilities)
  • How is the "Dancing Paper Clip" any different from Xeyes, Oneko, Xant, Xroach, or any other X toys?

    Hehe, that's easy. Xeyes didn't have Millions of Dollars spent in R&D to create it. Er, I mean they weren't developed by Microsoft.

    -Brent
    --
  • What'll we see next? ;)

    After stealthily hacking into Microsoft's computer network, I was able to download a file containing some of the PR documents Microsoft is working on:

    • BeOS Myths ("Despite claims by advocates that BeOS is a superior multimedia platform, Windows offers preemptive multithreading, a real microkernel architecture, and a commercial-quality file system with true journalling capability.")
    • OS/2 Warp Myths ("Some people think OS/2 Warp is still viable on servers, despite it's reliance on five-year-old technology.")
    • PalmOS Myths ("Just because it has six times the market doesn't make it any less inferior to WinCE!")
    • GCC Myths ("GCC lacks an extensive GUI and RAD capability to design high-powered graphical business applications.")
    • Non-Microsoft Application Compatability Myths ("Just because a program says it's compatible doesn't mean it is. We go to great lengths to make sure our applications support our file formats completely, and you can only be guaranteed to read Microsoft files correctly if you use Microsoft products.")
    • Open Standards Myths ("Proprietary standards actually increase competition, and we all know how important competition is in today's ultra-competitive marketplace that is focused on competition, especially given that Microsoft is locked in competitive battles with competing competitors.")
    • Hardware Support Myths ("The great prevalence of drivers for Windows-based operating systems is because Windows allows for the most complete and active use of the hardware device; Linux' command line, for example, only uses a fraction of the power of modern video cards.")


    Prepare for the FUD-storm, people! :)


  • First of all, I agree with davie's reply [slashdot.org] to your post. Aliases are your friend, and it's one very simple example of the customizations that you can make to make things easier for you. If you don't like the name of a command, make an alias to it or a link to it. You can't expect the people who maintain the command to anticipate everything that anybody in the world might be more comfortable typing. They make a command that does what it's supposed to do and document it. That's enough.

    To continue:

    > Joe Blow does not want to mount and unmount CDs himself...

    Perhaps you haven't seen KDE... double-click the CD-ROM icon on the desktop and the CDROM is mounted automatically. Get over it.

    > ...nor does he want to figure out the IRQ, base I/O address, etc. for his hardware...

    I can't tell you the last time I had to manually give an IRQ and an I/O address under Linux. My last install, my NIC card was autodetected without even prompting me for which one to look for, my video card the same way, and my monitor was right there on the list.

    > A good GUI/WM combination that comes default with all Linux distros...

    Pick one: Gnome or KDE. They're both great and free. Red Hat comes with both. As far as all distributions coming with them (I think most do), surely you can admit that "Joe Blow" isn't going to go out and get Debian. Let's concentrate on making a couple of distributions "good enough" for Joe. Hey, how about you come out with JBLinux? Never mind.

    > Official suppourt from hardware vendors...

    Well, that one's up to the hardware vendors, isn't it? Many do have it, finally.

    > Just because M$ and Apple are the big commercial doesn't necessarily make all their ideas evil...

    That's true, and I defend those operating systems based on the good they have done for the popularily of personal computing.

    > ...we should feel free to clone the parts of their interfaces that make computers easy to use.

    Gee, you haven't seen KDE, have you? Win, win, win! If it's not a blatant copy of Windows 95, I don't know what is. And I'm not saying that's an incredibly bad thing, either.

    RP

  • Who is NT competing with? Unix and not Linux.
    If NT is competing with Linux, then how can Linux not be competing with NT. But if you just answer Unix, then this arguement doesn't hold up.

    My company has been switching to NT from "traditional" Unix workstations and servers. The sole reason was for cost. Now that Linux is in the picture, Unix is not lost. It's now cheaper to buy a few Unix servers and a lot of Linux servers than to buy all Unix servers. So, instead of replacing all Unix boxes with NT, we now have a few Unix with Linux. The reason I said that Linux was not competing with Unix, is because NT is competing with Unix. It's not easy to incorporate NT with Unix, but it is easy to incorporate Linux. If it wasn't for Linux, Unix would probably be out of the picture here.

    I'm not saying that there are not those who are replacing Unix with Linux. I'm saying that Unix would probably have been replaced with NT. But if Linux is chosen then you still can have Unix interaction. Example: A new professor came to our University and wanted to set up a cluster of Solaris machines. The administration said it was too expensive, and why not use NT instead. I talked with the professor, and we all agreed (including administration) we can have a few Solaris machines and several Linux ones. So here is a case Solaris is still being bought, but it would not have if we went the NT route.

    As for standards: is installation the only standard out there? Yes you can make/configure tarballs, I even installed rpm packages on Slackware with the rpm2tgz utility. But once you have something installed, it works fine on all platforms. The standards I'm talking about is communication between the utilities. Why do I have trouble installing something on NT that I installed easily on Windows 95? If you have different platforms, of course you will have different ways to install!

    Steven Rostedt
  • I'm a market research analyst(thats analyst, not marketer) for one of the big 5 computer hardware and software companies. My organization works extensively with Gartner Group (and about 20 other research vendors) and I thought I'd make a few comments here.

    1)Remember, when dealing with research companies that they generally are very conservative in their analyses. I can't tell you how many times I've had some project manager question the data that comes out of a Gartner/IDC/Forrester report because the report was incredibly conservative.

    2) As another general rule, Gartner et. al. are concerned with large trends. I realize that Linux and the open source movement is a larger trend than they want to give credit for but it still does not account for much of the market. That IMHO is one of the reasons they feel safe giving it a less than stellar outlook.

    3)Regarding standards, applications, and support, Gartner is correct on an Enterprise basis. Linux is still a risky proposition for most enterprise. BUT, everyday there are more apps and support for Linux, not to mention the open source community. It will just take time for the large enterprise market to embrace it more enthusiastically. We all know how fast multinationals move (can anybody say molasses in January!)

    4)As has been said many times here, better does not always win. Linux may be the best thing there is but that doesn't matter if no one knows or cares. In some ways this article is a good thing because it shows that the vendors are (and have been) talking about Linux. That, of course means that it is having some impact.


    5) "HP says other inhibitors to Linux's growth include general industry mistrust of freeware, difficulty in installing and configuring it, lack of scalability beyond four processors and the scalability of its development and support model."

    This is a crucial quote in the article. I know that you have all heard it before, but it is a pivotal set of problems. I realize that some of these problems have been addressed, but it is a question of education. The open source community needs to have a voice that will be heard by enterprise. Slamming articles that do not paint a rosy picture of Linux does no good whatsoever. As important as the open source movement is, its really too bad that SOME of the most vocal supporters have nothing constructive to say. "You're a stupid @#$&^!!!" goes nowhere for converting the masses.

    Okay so I got a little off the subject, sorry anyhow thats my 2 pesos


    Poo-Bah
    I know Kung-Fu! -Neo
    matt@swo.com
  • Disclaimer: I'm not a Microsoft advocate, I'm just an old timer who has been here before.

    Why is Linux gaining market share? Much of it has to do with NT4.0 being 4 or 5 years old now. However NT5/W2K will almost certainly ship in the next 6 months.

    I hate to say it, but I've seen this before. Before NT 3 shipped, Novel & co were taking the oportunity to erode MS's market share. Where are they today?

    My opinion is that W2K will ship, and while it wil be OK, it will probably continue the quality slide started in NT3 -> NT4 caused by being large, complex and closed. The adoption of W2K may be slowed until service packs come out if the problems are bad.

    The Linux vs. Win2K market share fight is the interesting one, not his Linux vs. Nt4 thing. Right now Linux has a head start (it's out of Beta), but don't automatically assume that your doubling will continue through next year and the next. MS will change the ground rules.


"Regardless of the legal speed limit, your Buick must be operated at speeds faster than 85 MPH (140kph)." -- 1987 Buick Grand National owners manual.

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