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Interview with Joseph Cheek of Lycoris 161

Glykoriza writes "Lots of talk lately about the future of Linux in the desktop. Red Hat wants to have a piece of the pie, while Lindows seems to do well too. Lycoris seems to do great as well, they released their latest beta a few days ago, and they have already made deals with retailers, like Fry's. OSNews hosts an interview with Lycoris' CTO and founder, Joseph Cheek."
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Interview with Joseph Cheek of Lycoris

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  • by Drunken Coward ( 574991 ) on Thursday June 27, 2002 @07:07AM (#3777744)
    The name lycoris always reminds me of that Seinfeld episode where Jerry can't remember the woman's name, but knows it rhymes with a part of a woman's body, so he guess that it is Mulva. It turns out her name was Dolores, but it could just as well been Lycoris- I think it rhymes even better!
  • this is great for gettin linux on the desktop, its great to see it happening and happening in general mainstream stores, distros like mandrake are good but they aren't coming on computers in the mainstream, ppl have to go out and get it themselves
  • Can they really do better than Dell, Gateway, or any other dedicated system builder who has attempted to provide Linux systems and given up?

    Wouldn't the DIY'er who is attracted to Linux more likely download Debian or buy RedHat or SuSE? What's the benefit?

    I guess we're just warming up for another "Desktop Linux is Dead" article 3 months from now when Fry's gives up on this silly venture.
    • by mccalli ( 323026 ) on Thursday June 27, 2002 @07:34AM (#3777833) Homepage
      Can they really do better than Dell, Gateway, or any other dedicated system builder who has attempted to provide Linux systems and given up?


      People can see the OS first, rather than just picking a drop-down off some web site. Besides, although I don't know about Gateway Dell buried their offering so deep it was almost impossible to find on the site. You had to go in via some special URL - if you just went through to order a laptop via the normal route, you wouldn't have ever seen Linux as an option.

      Also, as far as I remember, the Linux option was actually made more expensive on Dell machines than buying a Windows license.


      • I've been thinking about this a lot lately. What makes Windows so special and why are the PC makers requiring customers to purchase XP/98/2000 with a PC purchase?
        What's the number one reason people purchase a computer, and what are people using a computer for?

        Answer these questions and you start to realize why Microsoft is so powerful. Couple of factors that we do know:

        • You cannot purchase a PC by the big three without paying for a license of Windows in some way or another. The cost is built into the purchase of every new PC from DELL,Compaq,HP,Gateway etc.
        • People mainly use a computer for three reasons: Games, burning audio and Web browsing. Yes things like "business" and word processing are important, but games are really driving the technology. If spreadsheets and word processing were the factor, we wouldn't need "honking" processors with oodles of memory. Ok, you need some "ooomf" to do the MP3/Burn thing, but most people with a Celeron 300 can get away with it...

        I've been thinking about this a lot because I've setup a couple machines for folks that are "non-computer literate". I've come to the conclusion that most people *do not* need Windows. But they've been forced into Windows to survive.
        Case and point:
        Not only do they NOT need Windows, they would probably be better served by something like Linux because its cheaper and it gives you more bang for the buck. The unfortunate thing about this?
        Microsoft has really forced Windows down people's throat and made the OS ubiquitous and very hard to *not* have -- just by the 3rd party applications alone.
        One person I helped with a computer problem (a neighbor) actually uses her notebook for her job, shes a court reporter. The interesting part of this story was that she had been using a Toshiba Laptop pre-installed with 95 since 1997 using a customized court reporting package (a $4500.00 piece of crap software that looks no different than Microsoft Works). When the old Toshiba finally died, she went out and bought a new Toshiba pre-installed with Windows XP Home Edition -- a honking machine. When she got it home, she went to install her software *for her job*, and couldn't because the software was not compatible with XP.

        Incredibly, the company that makes the software charged her another $750.00 to get a "new version" which was XP compatible (which by the way is NO DIFFERENT than the previous version, other than it looks like they ported some things over to 32bit instead of thunking down to 16bit -- there were no visual changes to the software or features added.)
        Did she need Windows? Yes, her software required it. But to her, it was a tool just to get her job done, she barely used anything in the Windows environment beyond the software for her job. However, I firmly believe that if it was Linux, she would not have known the difference. She only knew her application -- thats it.
        Now, I ask: had that software been on Linux, how much money would have been saved, and were options of purchasing a laptop been better?
        Its clear to me that if there was a Linux version of her software, she could have bought a used Notebook for far less *without* Windows and installed Linux on that... She didn't need a $1700.00 notebook pre-installed with XP, only to spend another $750.00 to get the "XP version" of her software. Such a shame. Such a scam

        If you think about the way you purchase a PC today, most folks think Windows *IS* the PC. This is where Microsoft has completely succeeded.
        Its almost like people years ago used to say "Hey, I have the Internet, I've got AOL.". They are completely brow beat and marketed too by the power of Microsoft.
        There is a perception by most non-techie folks that the only choice is Windows, they have no clue that they're getting robbed and there are other choices, why? Because the PC vendors don't make those choices available or clear to the consumer.

        The gating factor for me with Linux on the desktop and its success, is the ability for the general public to be able to "do something" with Linux beyond the ability to browse a web site. Even though I believe for most people, Mozilla and KDE would be fine, for the big PC companies to make the major switch, Linux needs two things on the desktop to succeed: Games and 3rd party application support.
        I actually think the 3rd party support is getting there, we now have more options for professional software than we ever did, and it'll get better because of the Apple movement with OSX. How long now before Photoshop and Ill. make it to Linux?
        Games? Well, thats an area for debate I guess. I just think the day you can get Medal of Honor for both Win32 and Linux, will be the day that Linux on the desktop succeeds.

        The main fear for the PC makers is not pissing of MS. They fear being "dropped a rung on the discount ladder" if they offer something other than the Microsoft product as a choice (i.e. Linux).
        The margins are so low on PC's, if they get a crappy price on Windows, it could really eat into their bottom line. Hey, I'm no genius, but I think as a good business move, why not have the customer request the OS that they want and charge them for it!! I mean, it would be really nice to be able to get a Thinkpad and pick the OS from choices like Linux, Windows, BSD etc. Charge the customer! Whats the problem with this? Hell, we buy a car and ask for a custom CD-changer, and we pay, why do we expect to get OS's installed free?

        I hate to bring up the Monopoly point again, but PC makers are a victim of Microsoft's power in the OEM world of Windows, and this hurts Linux's success on the desktop.

    • Dell gave up Linux on the Desktop because of blackmail from the Redmond Beast. As was shown from the MS emails in the MS anti-trust case.

      Fry's as a small consumer electronic's chain may not be getting the sort of major discounts that that the Beast can threaten.

      Furthermore Walmart is about to start shipping online PC's preloaded with Mandrake. They don't get the major discounts that the big OEM's get but they might just get bought off by MS offering it to them. But then the anti-trust case may prevent that.

      Linux is kept from being sold preloaded on PC's by anti-competitive monoply action not because there is no demand.

      BTW I think we should call PC's with Linux loaded on them Personal Workstations to differentiate them from Windoze boxes and to indicate their superiority.

    • by zandermander ( 563602 ) on Thursday June 27, 2002 @07:55AM (#3777905)
      Dear Obvious Guy,

      Obviously you've never been to Fry's. They are a California-based electronics chain but far, far better than CompUSA, Best Buy, Radio Shack....

      I have had the pleasure of living near a Fry's for 9 months and, basically, it is a Slashdotter's wet dream. You name it geeky/gadget/electronic/radio/software... they've got it.

      I hope you too one day have the chance to visit a Fry's.
      • The service at Fry's is the worst I have seen in the Calif.

        Not my idea of a wet dream... more like a cheep whore.
      • Fry's isn't perfect, but I want one near my home.

        It's the only place where you can get computer chips and potato chips, oscilloscopes and bottles of Coke, cheap toys and expensive Fluke meters. You can get anything CompUSA has, plus lots more.

        I've heard horror stories about people trying to return things at Fry's... but when I get a chance to go I mostly wander around in a glassy-eyed daze without buying anything, so it's okay.

    • Actually I was in Fry's (Houston) this weekend and I noticed the system in question. There was a saleperson helping a couple with the unit. The system was $299. The couple (they had a little boy just big enough to reach up and touch the keyboard.) were looking and the man asked if they would have to install all of their old software themselves. The salesman replied it was running a different OS and it wouldn't run their old programs. Then the guy said he didn't care what OS it came with because he was gonna install his old OS when he get's it home. I'm not sure that's what we want but at least to Fry's it looks like a buy for Linux.
    • If I'm not mistaken, this is Lycoris' first break into a deal with a name that people recognize. Once they have one deal, they can use that deal and the name involved to be more persuasive in their effort to land other deals.
  • by captain_scarecrow ( 584495 ) on Thursday June 27, 2002 @07:20AM (#3777784)
    is that Mr. Cheek announced in the Lycoris forum sometime back that Lycoris, following the lead of Caldera, is going to per-seat licensing for business use- thus joining the ranks of those selling Linux outright.

    That's really too bad, it had a lot of promise for that niche.
    • Oh boohoo, someone is asking you to pay for something. The whining never fucking stops. What about the fact that Lycoris wants to charge money to its corporate customers is so wrong? They're spending their capital packaging a working and decent desktop Linux system, their customers aren't doing the work, therefore the Lycoris folks should be for the work they are freeing the company from doing. Being an economy of scale, Lycoris doesn't need to charge a large fee (which they don't) for their work done. Their customers get a good desktop Linux distribution and the Lycoris folks feed their families and have a place to live. Everybody wins.

      I really don't understand this communist manifesto inspired meme among Linux geeks that Linux ought to be free and a person's time is worth nothing. Lycoris is doing work, for that work they ought to get something. A pat on the back and kudos for doing a good job and fighting the good fight or some hippie bullshit is not going to pay their bills. These guys are working a 9-5 on the product, they don't have day jobs and then at night spend endless hours coding like the Debian crowd (which is no bash in the slightest on the Debian crowd). Besides they're only going with per seat licensing, if they wanted to be badasses they would have gone the Microsoft route and used per user licenses. Per seat licensing is not so bad. If you have 5 computers and 10 users you only pay for the 5 computer seats. Find that pricing scheme with Windows XP Server, go ahead and try. It isn't going to happen. Windows XP Server pricing is based on the number of users with site licenses allowing an near infinite number of installs for a pretty hefty price.

      It's Linux anyhow, if Lycoris turned into a bunch of insane badasses it wouldn't be too terribly difficult to drop them like a bad habit and switch to another distribution with a better licensing scheme. It is sad this whole process hasn't already worked itself through the fiber of your being preventing you from making this comment. It is also sort of sad that someone had modded you up for making this comment. I feel bad for the people programming shit you use that likely never get so much as a kudos from your hippie meme banner waving ass.
      • I'll try to explain what it is that other people are seeing that causes them to have a different perspective than you have got.

        I have long heard the argument that the reason that owners get to keep the majority of the money in a company is that they are taking all of the risks - so that they get to keep the rewards.

        But what exactly is the risk that a business owner takes? The answer is: if things don't work out he will wind up as poor as his employees and have to go to work for somebody else. That is not a risk for an employee - that is an iron clad guarantee!

        The thousands of employees at Microsoft who did all of the actual work of creating the code are not together worth as much as Bill Gates. People who think that is OK - do so because they have greed and larceny in their hearts; they want to be able to steal from their employees the way that Gates and millions of others have stolen from theirs. When your highest morality is "I can get away with it" you will create a structure that lets you get away with it. Heaven forbid that you should treat your employees ethically.

        In a sense the people who write software know that their time is practically worthless - so some of us have decided to become software philanthropists and give our code away - we really have little to lose in doing so; the 'Bill Gates' of the world are going to replace us with hordes of cheap programmers from third world countries in any case.

        Mostly we give our code away because we love programming, and we want good software to always be available, but a small part of our motivation is malicious: in response to the way that we have been treated we want to say to the 'Bill Gates' of the world "You want to treat us like dirt? Fine, asshole, try competing with something that costs nothing."

        Do you now understand why we might find it objectionable to see business men trying to exploit programmers work by something like 'per seat licensing'?
        • That argument is as ridiculous as the one I originally responded to. I don't care that you chose to give away your software, you did't make it public domain, you stuck it under a viral self perpetuating license in the case of the GPL. What happens with the GPL is that by using it you are licensing it from the person who originally wrote it. You have a non-exclusive license to do as you please with said code. While you have right to do as you please with public domain code the GPL defines an important difference. The licensee (you or I or Lycoris) is granted the right of redistribution in any form we see fit. However, we can charge money for our rerelease of the code as long as we provide the source at no extra charge beyond the media cost of distribution.

          If you were a philantropist and your point had any thing meaty to back it up, your code would be public domain and as free as sunshine. Since it isn't the licensees of your code can do as they damn well please with it in accordance to the GPL. If you wanted to better humanity or some shit you wouldn't have used a license on the code that contains a redistribution clause.

          The point you make is doubly ineffective because it totally misses the idea I was trying to convey. Lycoris is adding value to an otherwise easily attainable product. Anyone can download KDE and the Linux kernel and whatever other shit they want. The catch is except for a couple large packages like KDE or GNOME few if any Linux applications can be obtained from a single source with any modicum of support. Lycoris is putting their ass in a sling in order to provide users with a value added experience, packaging and supporting otherwise unpackaged and unsupported software. They are doing the same thing every other damn distribution is doing and has done for years and years. The only difference is they are requiring businesses to pay for every system they get use of the OS out of. There is NOTHING WRONG WITH THIS. They are not extorting grandmothers and impregnating virgin teenagers with devil spawn. They are removing the burden of support from their customer companies and charging a pretty fair price at that. You see not everyone has oodles of free time to code up hippiesoft for the good of mankind. Due to this lack of free time and expertise companies who will be Lycoris, SuSE, and Red Hat's customers are willing to fork over money in return for work because they appriciate that people's time and effort is worth something.

          The adage is, Linux is only free if your time is worth nothing. Linux is not free to me because my time is not worth nothing. A computer is not a means to an end despite you thinking it is. It is a tool to get shit done, if I can get no shit done with a computer it is useless. A Linux kernel does me no good without a way to command it and programs that I can command to do something. Thus I need a shell be it text or graphical and some compiled and linked programs ready for me to run. There's no magic Linux fairy magically flipping bits on my hard drive when I'm asleep which means I have to do that myself. Since my time is valuable I'd gladly pay someone a small fee to make that bit flipping a whole lot easier so I can get on to things I find more important. If they can amortize the cost of that service over a bunch of customers, the happier I am because the less money I pay.
          • Sorry I didn't read this yesterday but I was out doing more important things.

            I spend less time fighting with the operating system with Linux than I did when I ran Windows; I am more productive with Linux than Windows. How can anybody claim that there is a time cost which is some how greater in Linux? English translation: you sir, are a blithering Idiot.

            Here is a more accurate statement of reality: "Windows is costly only if you are trying to do something important."

            And by the way I have given code away to public domain also

            You are a paid shill planted by Microsoft in this newsgroup to spread Fear Uncertainty and Doubt - which is literally the only thing which Microsoft has left to offer anyone. Since you believe nothing that you say - the entire Microsoft organization from top to bottom is full of people who lie so habitually that they will knowingly fabricate evidence for use under oath in a court of law; there is little point in saying anything else to you.

            • Wow man you really told me. I wish I was paid by Microsoft to talk to idiots like you, slashdot is full of them. I'd be a billionaire by now.

              Do you know why you've had less hassle with Linux than with Windows? I would wager that you don't. See that lack of difficulty comes from people putting effort into packaging a Linux distribution. This is EXACTLY what Lycoris is doing and exactly why you shouldn't fucking bitch about them charging for a per seat license. The distribution packagers are dealing wiht the hassle of putting Linux together. The hassle is not passed onto you for most distributions. Some people do this work for free but others would like a kickback for their time and affort, if you are too fucking cheap to pay them, use something else and don't bitch about it.

              Businesses to not build Linux from scratch, they do not have time nor should they waste the resources to build their IT infrastructure from the ground up. This is where Lycoris, Caldera, and Red Hat come in. They can pre-build a solution that works for most businesses and stick it on a CD.

              I don't know where you got your Microsoft ramblings from. I was talking about Linux distributions doing the hard part for you and you should shut the fuck up with your bitching about them including GPL software you gave them a right to include. I didn't mention Windows nor Microsoft anywhere in the comment. I don't see why you even bring it up. Why don't you try finding an old copy 4.x era copy of Red Hat and try installing it on your computer. See if that is as hassle free as anything available today, Linux or Windows.

              Now I really wish I was paid to talk to idiots.
  • by DanThe1Man ( 46872 ) on Thursday June 27, 2002 @07:21AM (#3777786)
    This is not a question to Joseph Cheek, but to the linux community reading /..

    It said in the article about Lindows:
    LindowsOS is based on a distribution of Linux, which is covered by a license that requires it to be made freely available for modification and redistribution. However, a system designer who used an unlicensed version of LindowsOS would not be able to use's logo or join the LindowsOS Certification program, and would receive no technical support.

    So, where can I download a free Lindows ISO without the logo?
  • by Antity ( 214405 )

    From the interview:

    7. Where do you see Lycoris in one year from now? What are the plans for the company itself?

    Joseph Cheek: We'll be bigger, stronger, and come with extra whitening power. Seriously, we just plan to grow and grow.

    People saying things like this obviously aren't experiencing financial problems yet. ;-)

  • by DaneelGiskard ( 222145 ) on Thursday June 27, 2002 @07:26AM (#3777799) Homepage
    Did anyone yet take a closer look on them? Is everything they do in accordance to the respective licenses? I know that they are using a lot of GPL programs, but the only source code I can find is here es . hp?category=29

    and it doesn't seem to be much.

    Also, one can only download (often GPL'd) software from them if he pays them a fee to access this software es . hp

    is that ok too?

    Don't get me wrong. I'm a linux enhtusiast too and would love if linux finally came to the desktop and I would also love seeing a company making money with desktop linux...but I have a strange feeling about the legality of what lindows does....can anyone enlighten me? Or just join the discussion?

    • You only get the source if you get the binaries. You don't get the binaries from Lindows unless you pay them.

      Nothing to see here.
    • And what about that paragraph from the article then: ?

      LindowsOS is based on a distribution of Linux, which is covered by a license that requires it to be made freely available for modification and redistribution. However, a system designer who used an unlicensed version of LindowsOS would not be able to use's logo or join the LindowsOS Certification program, and would receive no technical support.
      • by Anonymous Coward
        This is just another case of someone misunderstanding or misquoting the GPL.

        Short correct version re distribution only:

        If you distribute, you must distribute the source or,

        if you distribute the binary, you must distribute the source with it or,

        if you don't distribute the source with the binary, you must make the source available to the people you distributed the binary to at no extra charge (I believe small media charge is allowed IIRC)

        It is YOUR CHOICE as to whether you charge for the original distribution or not. These rights for source pass to the people who get the software, not to the world at large.

        BTW - I am a big time GPL supporter and appreciator and don't like it when people try to wriggle out of their obligations, but it would be better if we actually understood what those obligations are.

        A Nony Mouse ~;-)
        • Try the GPL quiz [] here. What you're writing is what I thought too, until I took it.

          The provision of source code regardless of whether someone purchases the binaries or receives them for free is not optional - as long as you release copies publically, you must provide the source code for no more than a nominal copying/mail fee. This is covered in the GPL faq []:

          What does this "written offer valid for any third party" mean? Does that mean everyone in the world can get the source to any GPL'ed program no matter what?

          "Valid for any third party" means that anyone who has the offer is entitled to take you up on it.

          If you commercially distribute binaries not accompanied with source code, the GPL says you must provide a written offer to distribute the source code later. When users non-commercially redistribute the binaries they received from you, they must pass along a copy of this written offer. This means that people who did not get the binaries directly from you can still receive copies of the source code, along with the written offer.

          The reason we require the offer to be valid for any third party is so that people who receive the binaries indirectly in that way can order the source code from you.

          That's tortourous English, which is probably one of the reasons why the quiz asks the same questions.
    • Also, one can only download (often GPL'd) software from them if he pays them a fee to access this software .... is that ok too?

      In a word - yes. Running package repositories isn't cheap you know, it needs bandwidth and that costs money. In the case of Debian, the FSF pays for it. In the case of SourceForge VA Software pay for it (uh oh). I think it's pretty reasonable for Lindows to ask you to pay for access to a service that costs money to run.

      • Also, one can only download (often GPL'd) software from them if he pays them a fee to access this software .... is that ok too?

        In a word - yes. Running package repositories isn't cheap you know, it needs bandwidth and that costs money.

        They want $100 for them to upload a 700mg file? Who is their ISP, Microsoft?
      • Ah yes, poor, poor Mr. Robertson. He only got $100 million cash for selling out, right? Verio must really be ripping him off if he can't afford to release source code with his $99 binaries.

        One could suppose that he could just donate to the FSF if he wanted a stronger Linux community. Oh wait, the FSF is suing Lindows for not meeting the terms of the GPL.

        Dear Ask Slashdot,
        How about an update on that lawsuit?

  • by pieterh ( 196118 ) on Thursday June 27, 2002 @07:26AM (#3777802) Homepage
    This reminds me so much of the period before Win3.0 came out. Lots of companies making valiant efforts to produce the 'best desktop'. IIRC, Microsoft beat them all largely because it produced VB and with it, a way for millions of amateur developers to make Windows applications.

    I remember using GEOS, a GUI that kicked Windows' ass mightily. I remember trying to find tools to build GEOS applications. Zilch.

    Today, Windows is totally out of reach of amateur developers. It is one of the most complex development environments imaginable. And Microsoft seems to be heading at full speed towards even more complexity with every new technology it brings out.

    This creates a wonderful opportunity. Instead of aiming for 'end users', Linux desktops should aim at amateur developers who want a free and simple workbench for writing the kinds of applications that made Windows 3.1 rule the world.
    Imagine a really simple programming environment for excellent web applications, running on a database that is as easy to use as Access, with as many widgets as you can dream of.

    This is the kind of thing that will start the revolution. Not cheaper Window-like boxes.
    • [...] Instead of aiming for 'end users', Linux desktops should aim at amateur developers [...]

      Very good point. Though I think Windows' popularity stems from Microsoft's marketing, rather than its advantage to amateur developers, this is the thing that will attract amateur devels. To them, Linux has a "cool" rather a "complicated" image. In reality, however, Linux is far more complicate, primarily because it doesn't have a "clean singleminded" design and because good documentation is lacking.

      What we need is a good development distro that includes stuff like Kylix, or a downsized Glade/CodeWarrior rather than StarOffice or WordPerfect.

      What simple, yet powerful tools exist for Linux only?
      • It is mostly about the applications that are available, including those made by the little developers. The executives make no bones about this, they firmly believe that much of microsoft's success builds on their developer support. This is actually what the anti-trust case centered on. In Microsoft executive's mind Netscape's plan was to use java and the internet to deliver an application platform that didn't matter what was beneath it. This would of course greatly reduce the value of MS Windows, and so they killed the competitor. Linux certainly has great developer support, and I believe that that is why Microsoft is fighting so hard against the GPL, it also reduces the value of the platform, since anyone can port GPL software to another platform. Also, Linux has attracted the developer population much faster than the general population.
    • This is the kind of thing that will start the revolution. Not cheaper Window-like boxes.

      Yea, I agree with you. But that shouldn't slow down Linux desktop development. I think user-friendly devolpment tools and user-friendly end-user support are very-importaint to midly-importaint, repestively.

      One thing to keep in mind is that everyone and their grandma wasn't useing 3.1 like they were 95+. The internet plays a significant part in that, but I still think it shows taht a good user-interface is part of the revolutionary process as well.

    • Well we have the nice easy to use desktop, now we need to come up with some easy to use development tools. While I'm a Linux user and have been for over 2 years now I never develop or help develop anything. I did on the other hand look into Borland's Kylix [] for the simple fact that it's rapid development just like VB and it has a nice pretty little IDE. On top of that they have Open Edition for amateur or hobbyist programmers. For something kind of like Access I think Data Architect [] from theKompany looks like a nice tool. Then again that's just me, I'm sure you can find a ton of tools and IDEs for Linux of you just looked.
      • Language - Python
        IDE -IDLE
        SDL libraries - Pygame
        OpenGL - PyOpenGL
        Simple GUI - Tkinter
        Complex GUI - wxPython

        All free, of course, and conveniently packaged for Linux.

        Note to budding developers: wait no longer, go for it!

    • Did Geos kick Window's ass? Oh yes, Geos was written in 8086 assembler - it was much tighter and faster than Windows, and a total embarrassment to Microsoft. Even had Geos released the API it would have been out of reach of most developers - professional or otherwise; most programmers can't write applications in assembly. Because of the 640 K non protected mode limit on OS and applications, the programs would have needed to be either very elementary or written in assembly to fit. (It would have been possible to do something with LIM memory to have paged non running programs out to additional memory the way Lotus paged out sections of 123.)

      At the time Geos was started it was a good idea; there were many 808X computers in use that did not have protected mode available so there was a much bigger market for a Geos type system than for something which used protected mode. By the time it hit the market the situation had changed: many people had 286's or better with protected mode capabilities.

      Windows existed as a non protected mode version before 3.0 but it was a useless flop. It wasn't until a (286) protected mode version of Windows was made that it became successful.

      Remember that a protected mode operating system from Microsoft had existed for a considerable period of time: OS/2. The main reason that OS/2 didn't win is that its DOS computability was very poor, and that few people had written apps for the GUI; so the perception of the public was that you couldn't do much with it. Microsoft created the perception in the minds of the public that Windows had better DOS computability and that there were more programs for Windows.

      Inside of Microsoft everybody knew the reality: which was that OS/2 was far superior to Windows as an operating system - after all Microsoft had written most of OS/2. With Windows, Microsoft saw a chance to cut IBM off at the knees; which they did. Had people's perceptions come closer to reality Windows would have been dismissed as a poor joke and OS/2 would have won the day.

      Microsoft knows from experience (reinforced with W95 vs OS/2 Warp) that inferior products can win in the market place as long as the public doesn't know that they are inferior. Microsoft knows that no matter how good any variant of Linux actually is as long as people perceive that Windows is better that they are home free. For example Red Hat is easier to install than Windows - but most people don't know that because they don't install Windows.

      When your perceptions match reality it is difficult to see the world from the perspective of the vast majority of humanity - who live in the reality distortion field which caused by a lack of understanding.

      The Linux community is faced with a fundamental problem: the difficulty of raising the educational level of the masses to a sufficient level that they can understand the reality of Linux vs Microsoft; as Microsoft has repeatedly demonstrated a plausible lie is a much easier sell than an implausible truth.
      • There is no reason why GEOS applications had to be written in assembler, any more than Windows applications had to be written in C. What made Windows 3.1 succeed was not Microsoft's marketing, but DOS compatibility on the one hand, VB on the other, and Word & Excel on the other other. Microsoft aimed right at developers with the right tools at the right time. IBM had nothing for OS/2, their C/C++ tools came our late and were expensive. GEOS had nothing, no tools and no apps.
        Where is the next VB? Get the small developers - the ones who use MS Access to make small applications - to adopt a new tool, and users will follow.
        It's a fallacy to think we can 'educate' people to use Linux. People take the way of least pain and change mental modes only when they have no choice at all. Microsoft understood (I think they are forgetting this) that you just have to make it really painless for developers to adopt your system. End users never choose an operating system. They take whatever they have to.
    • I agree.

      I was a bit disappointed when redhat stopped installing gcc in the base install a while back and when they just recently started surpressing core dumps without a simple gui to turn it back on. A newbie + a core file + core analysis program ( eg. bug-buddy ) can be a wealth of info for a open source programmer, and a lot of the time is just about the only way to get pertinent information from some absolute newbies.

      I bet if they polled their users there would be a overwelming majority of users that installed gcc or at least tried to after a base install. Maybe to install a random program from SRPM or something.

      Why does this matter? Redhat linux is becoming less and less of an attractive testing platform. To get crash analysis information from newbie users, I have to walk them through
      (i) installing gcc - because no unstripped binaries are made available.
      (iii)enable global core dumps

      It rarely ever works out with absolute newbies. :)

      Redhat and a lot of OS projects are just mimicking microsoft's moves instead of focusing on our unique advantages. I believe the distro that corrects this, and does it well, will get a significant share of Redhat's market.

    • "It is one of the most complex development environments imaginable."

      Well, you better start sweating, because .NET is going to be a big improvement. It's sad to say, but does Open Source have to show in the realm of "helping amateur developers"? (yeah yeah, use the source luke, but nothing that is as integrated as .NET or Java). We've largely ignored "Let's Make Unix Not Suck" and instead are still down the path of "Let's Make Unix Suck But More Efficiently and Faster!"
    • by Art Tatum ( 6890 ) on Thursday June 27, 2002 @12:31PM (#3779860)
      This creates a wonderful opportunity. Instead of aiming for 'end users', Linux desktops should aim at amateur developers who want a free and simple workbench for writing the kinds of applications that made Windows 3.1 rule the world.

      You are talking about GNUstep []. For many years, the OpenStep API and development tools have been far superior to *anything* else in the Windows or UNIX world. The GNUstep project has already got usable alpha clones of the NeXT development tools [] that are a joy to work with. Take a look at this mail client [] developed quickly with GNUstep tools. It runs on GNUstep platforms and Mac OS X.

      The GNUstep project is actively tracking the additions made to Cocoa [] (what Apple decided to call OpenStep after buying NeXT).

      GNUstep frameworks and applications will build on most UNIXes, on Mac OS X (obviously), and win32 platforms. Support for the GUI backend is Alpha on win32 but is progressing.

      GNUstep has a database framework much like NeXT's Enterprise Object Framework and a web development system [] much like WebObjects []. Also available is a 3D framework [], music and sound frameworks [], a networking framework [], an email framework [], and others [].

      Like Apple, you can write your applications in Objective C or Java []. Unlike Apple, the GNUstep project provides several other language options: Ruby [], Guile, and other scripting languages by way of StepTalk [].

      • Yunno, I'm starting to think GNUstep looks the way it does for merely gratuitous reasons, because the interface metaphors it uses were soundly rejected eons ago. It doesn't turn GUI metaphors on their heads, merely on their sides.

        Options are typically represented by a long scrolled row of buttons. Maybe this won't be so bad once we all have jog dials, but it's a horrible navigation system. Ask any interface designer what they think of horizontal scrollbars.

        Completing the ninety degree flip, we have menus that take the worst of windows and macos. Now not only are menus not attached to the application, they're not attached to anything *at all*, but merely float out there, unattached. I don't remember if they expand over the existing menu (thus making menus hard to navigate) or cascade to the size (thus forcing one to zigzag), but neither is all that useful.

        Then there's the retro industrial battleship grey sharp edged 3d look, but I should assume *step is skinnable by now...
        • Options are typically represented by a long scrolled row of buttons. Maybe this won't be so bad once we all have jog dials, but it's a horrible navigation system. Ask any interface designer what they think of horizontal scrollbars.

          Errr, that's a design decision. No one forces you to use this idiom. The frameworks and tools don't force you to design your application this way. You can do whatever you want with them, just as with any other tools. The nice thing about *these* tools is that they are much easier and simpler to use.

          Completing the ninety degree flip, we have menus that take the worst of windows and macos. Now not only are menus not attached to the application, they're not attached to anything *at all*, but merely float out there, unattached.

          No one ever uses them that way, of course. We always just use the right mouse button to get the menu to pop up right under the cursor. That way, you don't have to move to get to the menu. Ever. I like that.

          I don't remember if they expand over the existing menu (thus making menus hard to navigate) or cascade to the size (thus forcing one to zigzag), but neither is all that useful.

          They cascade. But seriously, that's the way *all* menus work. Look at the top of your web browser in Windoze. Now click on one of those. Wow, look at that! They cascade!

      • The kind of programmers he's talking about didn't popularize Windows 3.1 by writing Objective C or Java apps. They popularized Windows 3.1 by putting out thousands and thousands of VB apps.

        Remember Visual Basic 3.0? It was the first "good" version of VB. It was an awful memory hog, hideously slow, didn't even compile to native code, and lowered the barrier so that lots of non-programmers could release code by drawing a form, double clicking on the buttons, putting in a few almost English-like commands (even in all caps if they wanted, VB would fix it for them), and selecting "Run" from a menu. They could select "Make EXE" from another menu, and then upload their new program to AOL. They didn't even have to worry about distributing a setup program since anyone downloading apps from AOL at the time was quickly pointed to the small runtime DLL required by VB apps.

        VB didn't require novice programmers to learn to think in an object orientation; they were just able to say "When I click this button, do this, this and this." At the time some of us thought VB was like a less elegant Hypercard, not a real development language. Unix C programmers and DOS Turbo Pascal programmers laughed at VB fans. Those new coders released thousands of awful applications.... and some of them actually developed into something good. VB itself turned into a huge mess of dependencies and version conflicts, but it's the closest really working thing to a non-coder's language I've ever seen, not to mention a far more efficient use of one's time for prototyping or simple applets than any C-derived language and toolkit, as long as one is stuck in Windows to begin with.

        If Lycoris (or Lindows, or someone I haven't heard of yet) were to include a coding tool as simple as VB or simpler, yet also capable of doing everything VB does plus automate all the cool things modern Linux distros include (mp3, web, video, for that matter simple things like pipes etc.) I bet they would own the Linux desktop market within a year, and quickly take a chunk out of Windows' marketshare soon after. Lindows could do it now by licensing some version of Delphi for Click-n-Run, but I wonder if even Delphi is too much for the kind of people VB appealed to in those early years (new programmers hate semicolons and type declarations! and if they have to deal with them, rather than learn something more "correct" they will simply give up... and there goes your critical mass.)

        GNUstep is cool, but GNUstep is nowhere near the empowering and market-generating technology that VB was when it first appeared. It is essentially a slightly modernized clone of NeXTstep, which you may have noticed did not take over the world right around the time Win3.x and VB did.

        To the parent of the parent: They finally did come out with some kind of VB clone for GEOS, I think NeoBASIC or something like that, but of course it was too little too late. I think you can actually still buy PC/GEOS from the makers of NewDeal Office [].... but as their marketing gimmick was that it runs on a 286, they're looking kinda dated at this point.

    • Today, Windows is totally out of reach of amateur developers. It is one of the most complex development environments imaginable

      I'm not sure what you mean. MFC made it possible for some pretty amateur programmers to start developing full-fledged GUI applications right out of the box. VB as well.

    • >Imagine a really simple programming environment for excellent web applications, running on a database that is as easy to use as Access, with as many widgets as you can dream of.

      Already have it. It's called Perl.
  • Funny claim... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by gentix ( 559742 ) on Thursday June 27, 2002 @07:30AM (#3777819)
    The article claims that "Red Hat is warming to the use of the Linux operating system on desktop computers, a difficult market where customers are picky and Microsoft is the leader."

    Most customers aren't that picky, but just go along with the mainstream of users and do not understand the power of open source systems such as Linux. The majority just wants text processing software, solitaire, and some internet capabilities, and seem to think Microsoft software is user friendly and Linux software is complex as hell. If customers were in fact picky, Microsoft would have a very hard time competing with these open source software systems, since they provide more stability and speed at much lower cost. How's that for user-friendly? Easy of use is becoming less of an issue in later distributions of Linux and and you don't have these big-brother issues as with XP and the coming Palladium...

    No, customers being "picky" hasn't got much to do with it, but many customers are just ignorant.

    How user friendly is it to have to push "start" in order to shut down a computer anyway?
    • by Anonymous Coward
      How user friendly is it to have to push "start" in order to shut down a computer anyway?

      Obviously, it's not the problem you think it is. My six year old has known how to shut down her computer for years. It may not be the first place a user would look, but if you show them once.

      Windows raises a lot of questions, but Linux isn't the answer for most users. Microsoft is busily answering thoses questions, though.

    • Users, being stuck in the office on nice days, having to schlep to the office on nasty ones, occasionally confronting the BSoD, having to put up with their idiot colleagues, Hell, having to work at all, have no love for M$ or much of anything else work related.

      M$ may not be kidding itself about that but I suspect that the reality distortion field around Bill Gates these days makes the one around Steve Jobs look like clear-eyed, realistic pragmatism.

      Users don't like M$. The great majority of them hate it. Its work.

      Customers, the OEM who just want to shove boxes out the door and make enough dough to pay the rent and DP/MIS/IT deparments, on the other hand are applying the same rules that gave rise to M$ in the first place:
      1) nobody ever got fired for buying IBM quickly followed by
      2) nobody ever got fired for saving money which created the clones, and M$.

      Usability was a secondary concern at the time. Remember all those books about DOS and the command line?

      Visicalc opened the office door, Lotus 123 swept in followed by WordPerfect and M$ became an expert at ripping off other people's IP.

      And nothing much has happened since except in niches like desktop publishing, graphics, (now Apple is doing it again with video editing,) email and the web which didn't depend on M$ in the first place.

      Given the downward direction of the ROI and upward direction of the acquisition and support costs of an M$ box, M$ will disappear when Linux becomes just "good enough." Not even, uh, "Insanely Great," but just good enough.

      OpenOffice, a free OS that any MSCE can install on existing boxes to extend their usable life (even by a single year,) and cheap site-wide licences will destroy M$ on the desktop almost as quickly as the switch to the x86 destroyed Digital Research, who never made it off the -80 architecture.

      The switch to a new architecture on the server side is starting to worry M$ too since they have nothing real ported to it anyway. (NT in x86 emulation on the Itanium architecture? Naw, I think, we'll go Unix or Linux.)

      I should be smelling fear from Redmond but since M$ has billions in the bank and can survive a change in course, in direction and in what sea they swim in, they won't disappear.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      --Linux is fun, I've been using it for several months now, but it sure isn't as raw newbie user friendly as either microsoft or mac OS. Example, a glaring one, out of the box ability to actually get on the internet and to actually have a functional firewall. I've been using the previous OS's for many years, actually RTFM, and still had a major tussle to make the dang boxen dial out on a simple PPP conection. Then I had the fun of becoming an instant security administrator. I still have the problem of the box losing the modem "awareness" I'll call it with a shutdown, have to delete the modem, then re-find it to get it to work on a new boot up. The two shipped "firewall configurators" I've used with redhat and mandrake were very difficult for a newb to use. Mandrake I was never able to get to actually work, I was NEVER able to get online with it, and redhat I had to reload OS several times, had to go to an outside GUI front end to configure the firewall. Catch 22, you need to actually BE on the internet to go accomplish these tasks. A lot of people have ONE computer. I am more patient and enjoy learning about the computer itself, but here's the "but" MOST people want to use the tool, not hand design the tool. Computers are tools. When I go to the hardware store, I don't want a "tool-kit to learn how to build a tool". I don't want to have to learn to dig raw iron ore and develop the blast furnace and learn to forge and harden just to have a set of socket wrenches.

      Same deal with "das kompooter". Linux is still making you do this. Most people do not want to do this. clue stick time. I don't mind myself, because I have several boxen and when I get frustrated I can reach one foot over to a mac and actually do something, and it's easy. That's worth a few bucks to me, and I have spent it in the past. Even windows isn't that hard to really use, I don't LIKE windows, but I can use it, and it's not that hard to find a firewall and use it. linux? Exxcuuse me, but firewalling is still a major issue.

      I built a nice tower for a friend, made it dual boot, two HDD's, windoze and linux. I eventually told him to stop using linux because I was tired of going over there trying to get it to dial out for him. He's not a geek but runs a rather large business, several locations, he makes the final decisons on "computers" for his company and employees, and I can guarantee he's not gonna go with linux any time soon. I did my best guys, but it ain't happening. He's owned computers himself for a long time, I think around 15 years, and honestly he couldn't figure out how to use linux to do even simple tasks. He'snot stoopid, is a multi millionaire, does 'complex" things every day or he wouldn't be a multi millionaire, runs PGP and allsorts of programs all the time, etc, etc and linux was a dead end stumper for him, and I wasn't able to help. He owns around 6 personal boxen himself, windows and macs. His company, I don't know, a lot though. Many employees, it's a retail chain, clerks, secretaries, bean counters, you name it. I wasn't able to help enough. When he couldn't make it work his comment was "this looks cool but it's crap" He popped the full price for his copy, and isn't about to throw any money away on it again. And I had to agree. Linux is NOT non sys admin or non coder friendly, not yet anyway. It LOOKS like it is from the GUI facade.

      Windows or mac you can at least get the CD, stick it in, they work, dial out. He popped the full price for the redhat install, I tried in vain to get any help from them including faxes-ignored. I spent hours and hours and hours in a vain web search for info that was easy enough to understand to use. I finally made it "work" but it was a serious pain in the ass, and the onlyreason I did is because I like to fool around with this stuff, but even I reached my "aggravation" level faster with linux than with any other OS I had ever used. You can't use up2date if your box won't dialout. You can't find out info if you can't get online, and the man ppages are written in code-lish that the average person is not going to be able to use because this problem requires this set of acronyms which means go to another entire set of man pages, which lead to another, yet another, about 5 or 6 levels in you've lost track of the original problem. See? Well, I made his box dial out three times (normal external modem, not a winmodem, so that isn't the issue), now it's quit, and frankly, I'm tired of fooling with it for him, and tired of reloading the OS. I just plain don't want to go into a code editor and try to tweak PAP and CHAP and whatnot. The box I am on now I can make work, but 99.99% of people out there will throw it away after one hour if it can't do this simple task, they could care less how many themes or desktop eye candy dealie widgets ship with a distro. The other major companies, again, windows and mac, got this down 15 years ago or so to make it work as advertised.

      This is real world testing here, take it for what it's worth.

      I ADMIT to being a n00b, but sheesh gosh and gomorrah, the average joe blow home consumer doesn't want 6,789 programs they don't even know what they do and 99% of them are betaware. I've been a pooter user since the 80's, but I'm NOT a coder. Not any raging desire either. I got actual work to do, if I wanted to be a professional coder guess I would have picked that career field, but I didn't. I got things to do, I will do *some* tweaking and learning, but I'm not going to spend hours every day doing this, NOR will this "most people" that the phrase "home desktop market" represents. It ain't happening, so stop wishing it will, because it won't. If this means 7/8ths of the distros out there have to be abandoned, I recommend you coder guys do this as soon as possible or your linux experiment is gonna continue to spring leaks and sink, at least on the home market. Yep, walmart shipping with some linux is cool, but after two weeks when they get brought back to the customer service deak with "it don't work" that experiment is gonna end, too.

      Linux works IF an ubergeek sets it up for you and can do the almost constant tweaking. Big hint to linux developers trying to make money-most home users aren't going to hire a 60$ an hour sys admin to keep their boxes running. You coders doing it for fun, well, thankyou, honestly, but don't expect the average joe to really use it either, until it's *not* betaware. Second big hint, the exterior sheet metal on a car and the price as in cheap does not make a good car. cheap is just that, yugos were cheap, but they broke a lot, total ownership experience was dismal, they lasted some time and phased out. Detroit used to ship iron that had gorgeous "skins" -you could get any flavor of what a car looked like you want-but when japanese cars started working better with three times the mileage-guess what? Pretty "skins and themes" lost out to functionality. First major problem on a linux box will mean-bye bye, most folks will switch back to what they had before. They aren't gonna see any benefit from saving a few dollars for something this hard to set up and use. The ease of set up is sorta misleading. yes, it will install just fine usually. After that it'smuch harder to use than the zealots here maintain. Most people aren't coders, if this is forgotten, it will never "take off" like you want it to. If "the community "wants to be taken seriously on the desktop, 3/4ths of the coding projects should cease and the coders switch to a lot more cooperation and standarization should take place with the coding. Have a few votes why don't you, what's to stop that? anarchy is a nice hobby, hint again, it has never workled in the real world, some sort of organized structure usually works with cooperation being the key. Linux has more branches to it then the amazon, and it's getting worse, not better. Much less egos, much more cooperation, insist on standarization to get functionality over form.

      Take this for what it's worth, I can think of a lot of people who have "tried" linux and won't even consider it now. I can think of hundreds of people who have "tried" microsoft and mac and will stick to it-even with it's flaws- because it works better for non geeks who don't want to spend their time learning to code.

      It's really that simple a problem, too.
    • With LindowsOS.COM you *do* get all the same big brother aspects as WinXP. Hell, Michael Robertson will even send your e-mail directly to Microsoft at the slightest hint of a lawsuit!
  • What's your take on the Linux desktop war? situation? Do you think that Gnu/Linux will remain an OS for servers and geeks or that our mothers could some day use it too?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Did he really write this app himself?

    Or can I rebrand ls to:

    Cyber 3d Turbo Filesystem Navigator (TM)
  • Well, 3 sites mentioned on the linux front and the only one that isnt slashdotted is RedHat. Does that prove Lindows is only for the Desktop and not a server enviroment ?
  • Could they have misspoken?

    The livelier Linux gets, the more vociferous and ridiculous the denials from Redmond.

    Eventually, the man will hold up his hand and ask us like he did to Winston Smith: "How many fingers am I holding up?"

    And we'll chop it off and say "None..."

    M$ will never necome Big Brother (Bug Brother? :-) or the Borg. Its too inefficient, insecure and vulnerable.
    • On Slashdot they said that MSNBC said that Linux was dead. Which was far from the trith of the article. Which was unbiased and actually said that Linux was alive and well and making significant inroads into several markets. Example was server market share.

      The article said that Linux was having a hard time on the desktop of Joe User. Which is true. Read the article. No where is the word 'dead' used.

      I beleive in Linux, use Linux, and promote Linux. But with facts and figures, not misquotes and allegations. Until we all stop fingerpointing without proper cause we are going to have a hard time getting a proper foothold with our beloved Penguin.

      Linux now has the same sort of spin doctoring that we accuse MS of. Come on people.

      And once again I want to see the Slashdot log files on the browsers that roll in here. And to make it fair since most browse at work and are forced to use windows boxen. We will take a samlimg from 6 pm to 5-am.

  • I have posted a lot about this, so I hope I get the opportunity to have this question addressed by the guys who can make a difference.

    For the record I would like to say that I hate the way M$ treats its customers, the draconian patents and copyrites, and their business practices. Following that I would like to say that I have Windows installed on nearly every PC in my house (except my firewall) and every non-server PC at work. Here are the reasons:

    When I first set up a linux desktop to try it, these problems caused me to recoil from using it:

    #1) I had to learn new keystrokes for everything. M$ may be bad, but their choice of keys isn't 3v|L, it's just a standard. It's not a standard because someone agreed to it, but because about 90% of the PC market uses it.

    #2) Software install/uninstall is a real problem for people unfamiliar with the platform. Yes, I know what an RPM is and how to use one, but it's flaky to say the least. When I first attempted to start using RPMs they complained about older versions of the utility or app I was installing but (after much searching and downloading) the older RPMs refused to uninstall the older versions, claiming they weren't installed. Is it that hard to wrap the RPM functionality with a GUI and make the latest RPMs uninstall older RPMs?

    #3) I don't want to dive into the whole driver issue, but I will go through my nightmare with my latest PC. I installed RedHat 7.2 on a Asus CUV4X Dual PIII motherboard. The apic problem hit me right off, refusing to boot the PC in SMP mode. Something about that problem kept RH from detecting my integrated NIC (an EtherExpress Pro 100). After about 2 days of searching I found the answers I needed, but not the know-how. Luckily, I knew enough about Linux by this time to do the required: Modify my grub.conf file boot line to add the -noapic flag. Once I had rebooted into smp mode I loaded my network driver with insmod e100 and added the alias line to /etc/modules.conf.

    4#) Following the above issue, I wanted to be able to watch Divx, Mpeg and Mov files on my desktop. Now .mov (Quicktime) is owned by apple, and they haven't been too kind about giving away the software requierd to get it working on linux, so that I understand. But Divx :-) is an open standard. There are players available. Mpeg is open, and there are players out there. Why doesn't the default desktop install in RH work? KDE? I can't answer that because I still haven't gotten this working.

    #5) I wanted to use my scanner with Gimp. I went out looking and discovered this thing called SANE. After a long time in the man pages (I have NEVER IN MY LIFE used the Windows Help file BTW), I figured out enough to try it. Sane was already installed, but it wouldn't detect my scanner. I downloaded and installed the latest sane from source and got it working, but, little surprise, my ScanMaker 3700 didn't work. There were ScanMaker 3600 drivers which claimed that they might work with the 3700, but they didn't. I'm now going through the source for the 3600 and the specs from Microtek to see if I can get my scanner working. I write code for a living so I can do this, what about everyone else?

    If I hadn't already spent a lot of time getting to know Linux, I would have given up days before. This isn't the first time I had this much trouble either. Nearly three years ago I bought a copy of Suse, and I flat gave up on using it on my desktop.

    I hate to say it, but all other development is secondary to getting a stable, easy to use and learn desktop working. Until then the Linux userbase will be limited. Only people who have either an excessive amount of time and energy to spend learning linux can use the OS in a meaningful fassion.
    • 1 - use KDE and their windows keymap (lycoris does this by default).

      2 - lycoris's update program would take care of this, as would Debian's apt system (which is available for redhat now, too, though it's not completely trivial to set up)

      3 - no OS will install flawlessly onto all hardware - if this were windows you'd probably have a harder time finding a workaround. I've had a hell of a time getting windows version X installed onto various pieces of hardware over the years. A couple of those times the problem has been unresolvable.

      4 - that's valid. lycoris, however, does work with those things out of the box.

      5 - the windows help files are absolutely useless, that's why you've never used them. If you had some hardware that didn't work for windows, would you be able to modify some other TWAIN driver to make it work? The latest version of windows doesn't support every piece of hardware out there either.

      Anyway, you should really look into trying lycoris out. It's not right for my uses, but I consider myself pretty knowledgable about linux. It sounds like you just want a desktop that works and has convenient shortcuts for maintenence (which is fine) - lycoris is designed for exactly that need. I tried it a while back and have planned to set up some of my family with it. That should be an adequate endorsement, because anyone who's set up a non-computer-savvy family member with a computer knows how much that family member will call them when things don't work the way things are expected to... :)
      • I can't begin to list all the "suggestions" I have gotten for what distro to use. I AM NOT SWITCHING DISTROS every time I want to get this-that-or-the-other working.

        And without exception, every time I set up a different distro half my s*t breaks! The source tarballs I download install into the wrong place, rpms don't work right, It's hard to find help because it's not popular etc, etc, etc...

        "1 - use KDE and their windows keymap (lycoris does this by default)."

        I do, but still there are many many differences (ctrl+f4 switches desktops instaead of closing a window, for a brief example).

        "2 - lycoris's update program would take care of this, as would Debian's apt system (which is available for redhat now, too, though it's not completely trivial to set up)"

        See my comment about distros. This does not work for me. I need something that's at least as standard on every distro as X is.

        "3 - no OS will install flawlessly onto all hardware - if this were windows you'd probably have a harder time finding a workaround. I've had a hell of a time getting windows version X installed onto various pieces of hardware over the years. A couple of those times the problem has been unresolvable."

        Very true, but Linux has a lot more problems than M$. I understand that this is more a vendor problem than a Linux problem, finding software support for drivers is hard as hell. But Linux is Waaaay behind M$ on this one.

        "4 - that's valid. lycoris, however, does work with those things out of the box."

        KDE is supposed to as well, but it doesn't. Neither does Gnome. As it is, the players seem to be way behind conventional windows players.

        "5 - the windows help files are absolutely useless, that's why you've never used them. If you had some hardware that didn't work for windows, would you be able to modify some other TWAIN driver to make it work? The latest version of windows doesn't support every piece of hardware out there either."

        That's just a troll statement. Windows help files are useful too. The big thing is, the interfaces are intuative enough that you don't need the help files. There are tooltips which clue you in to what this-or-that bitmap buttom means, as well as Pretty standard menus (File, Edit, Window, etc...) which you can assume have menu items which relate to the underlying principle. Mac is the same as Windows. It's only Linux that has this problem.

        All of these issues are meant for Distro providers, not standard open-source developers. People should not be expected to produce multi-thousands of dollars software packages for free, with full Q/A and UI design teams. But it is in the best interest of all distro providers to tackle this problem first and start softening up the desktop market for real competition.
    • Just a few responses to what seems to be a very honest message.

      "#1) I had to learn new keystrokes for everything."

      Of course the solution isn't for the system to use what you consider standard keybindings. People like me adore the traditional GNU keybinidngs. I think there should be a switch somewhere that toggles between the Windows keys and the GNU keys, probably defaulting with the GNU keys (since it is a GNU system afterall :-)

      " Is it that hard to wrap the RPM functionality with a GUI and make the latest RPMs uninstall older RPMs?"

      Well, both Red Hat and Mandrake have their own software management applications that use a graphical user interface. But, yeah, RPMs are a hassle. I've heard good things about the Debian system.

      "I hate to say it, but all other development is secondary to getting a stable, easy to use and learn desktop working."

      Stability is very important to me also. But I think your ease-of-use worries can be solved with proper documentation. I don't think you should have to go wondering around internet to learn how to configure your hardware and software on the system. Also it would be nice if all documentation on the sytem can be converted into the info format so that it can be accessed both from the command line as well as from the help viewer in GNOME and KDE. Personally, I hate trying info, man, looking for docs in /usr/share/doc and then doing a search on the web as well as on USENET to find information. I think this is a problem you elaborated on in your point #5.

      It's going to be a while before I get my own computers working properly but once I do, this is something I want to work on.

  • One of their screenshots [] shows a CD burning utilty about to burn an ISO image file.

    The file is named: /home/admin/snapshot1.png

  • I just took a brief look at your screenshots [], and the first thing that comes to mind is that most of the icons are ripped off straight from Windows XP! This does little to curb the commonly-held belief that Linux desktops are just half-baked attempts to mimic Windows, and also leaves your fledgling company wide open to copyright infringement suits from Microsoft in the future. Will you be planning on hiring some graphic designers to give the Lycoris desktop a unique look and feel for the final version? I would hate to see such a promising project get shut down before it even has a chance to get off the ground.
  • I use Linux. I use it a lot. But I don't use it like a desktop OS. I spend 90% of my time in xterms running vi. Linux is quite simply is not up to the tasks of a desktop environment. KDE and GNOME are bloated morasses of cartoons. I don't know any other way to put it. You can't copy and paste arbitrary objects through some kind of "Clipboard". How does one expect some intern to get any work done if they cannot copy some graphic from the something like Dia into a Word Processor. And that's another thing. There are no Word Processors that can handle Word documents. I find it difficult to believe that I'm the only one AbiWord doesn't work for. There's a lot that has to happen before Linux desktops become viable. Now you can mod me down; I hit the cap long ago.

No problem is so large it can't be fit in somewhere.