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Linux Going Mainstream 618

Gossi writes "The BBC is carrying an excellent overview of the growing use of Linux, by many different fields. The article says it all, really, and is probably something you should show your Boss."
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Linux Going Mainstream

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  • Government, yup (Score:5, Interesting)

    by tcopeland ( 32225 ) * <tom@thomaslee[ ] ['cop' in gap]> on Sunday February 01, 2004 @05:47PM (#8153405) Homepage

    Linux is also proving popular in the public sector. Governments like the idea of not paying a proprietary vendor huge licensing fees for years and years.

    So true. Running [] on [] Linux [] baby! []
    • Re:Government, yup (Score:5, Interesting)

      by The Slashdotted ( 665535 ) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @05:56PM (#8153493)
      It's interesting to note the similarities between the desires of governments and small businesses. Right now, as a Linux newb, I've set up SmoothWall and Red Hat on old computers in a back room. The owner's only demands are that it be near free (as in beer), and it be customizable. With CUPS and OpenOffice out of the box, I can type basic memos. I can hardly wait for OSSuite to come out with the next release (I need product attributes), and he'll be ready for the future on some Pentium 2s
    • by SpookyFish ( 195418 ) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @06:04PM (#8153577)
      Sure, old news, but the truly amazing, out of this world, "oh my god" thing about this -- The government actually WANTS to be thrifty with OUR tax money??!

      Oh, wait, no, they just want to spend that money on more beaurocrats and $1000 screwdrivers.

      Ah, well.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 01, 2004 @05:48PM (#8153417)
    Oh no... I've got to start hating it now. Once common people like something, I can't like it, or I'll lose my elitist status. Hrm, what's a good obscure OS? BeOS isn't around anymore... maybe OpenBSD?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 01, 2004 @05:50PM (#8153437)
    If my boss was so dumb that he didn't know Linux is the only choice for everything - well, he wouldn't be my boss, he would be the janitor.
    • by sbennett ( 448295 ) <> on Sunday February 01, 2004 @05:58PM (#8153508)
      If my boss was clever enough to want to use Linux, he wouldn't be my boss, he'd be the janitor.
    • by glpierce ( 731733 ) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @06:00PM (#8153520)
      "he wouldn't be my boss, he would be the janitor."

      Unless you're the assistant janitor, in which case he's both...
    • Show Linux to the grandmother who needs her computer fixed. Show Linux to the government of your country. Show Linux to your mom. Your Boss already knows about Linux.
  • Games.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fitten ( 521191 ) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @05:50PM (#8153438)
    Until Linux is a complete entertainment package as well as a utility package, Linux will be hard pressed to take over the desktop.

    With the way games are written these days (requiring massive amounts of time and money), game development will have to undergo some pretty radical changes before it will fit successfully into the OSS model and we continue to have the quality of games we have today.

    Of course, the other path is that the PC is removed from the entertainment picture and consoles take over that role completely (woe be that day).
    • Re: Games.... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Black Parrot ( 19622 ) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @05:54PM (#8153471)

      > Until Linux is a complete entertainment package

      Sounds like all the more reason for corporations to adopt it.

      • by finelinebob ( 635638 ) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @06:35PM (#8153906) Homepage
        > Until Linux is a complete entertainment package

        Sounds like all the more reason for corporations to adopt it.

        You mean, no one has written Solitaire for Linux yet? What more does the average office worker need?

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

      by wan-fu ( 746576 ) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @05:57PM (#8153495)
      Already games have appeared for linux such as ut2k3 and Neverwinter Nights. More and more people see Linux as a viable platform for games (e.g. Doom 3). Games on linux do not have to be OSS nor be based on the OSS model. Just because most linux apps have OSS roots doesn't mean everything on the system itself has to be. There aren't going to be OSS movies any time soon, but that doesn't mean people aren't going to play DVDs on their linux boxes (DeCSS being a whole different topic of course).
    • Re:Games.... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by BESTouff ( 531293 ) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @06:00PM (#8153522)
      Of course, the other path is that the PC is removed from the entertainment picture and consoles take over that role completely (woe be that day).

      There's no obligation for the game development to fit into the OSS model. Games can continue to be proprietary if they simply intall and run fairly under Linux.

      • Re:Games.... (Score:3, Insightful)

        by G27 Radio ( 78394 )
        I agree, but I also see where OSS could help games. If decent OSS game engines were freely available, game companies could dedicate more resources to the actual content of the games (textures, artwork, characters, sound effects, music, storyline, etc.)

        Right now they keep their engines proprietary and duplicate a lot of each other's work.
    • Re:Games.... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Eivind ( 15695 ) <> on Sunday February 01, 2004 @06:01PM (#8153540) Homepage
      Chicken and egg situation. The *only* reason many games are not released for Linux, is because that market is so much smaller.

      Thus, to say that "If only we had Windows-like selection of games, then we'd be ready to take over the world" is sorta self-defating. The games won't come before the people come, and the people, according to you, won't come before the games are already there, thus nothing changes.

      Fortunately you're wrong. What happens instead is that every day Linux improves. (with Linux I really mean Linux + the apps) And with every improvement it becomes acceptable for more people. And with every new person who uses it, there's one more reason to consider making a game available also for Linux.

      • Actually, one handy side effect of Linux taking over the server market is that game developers are more likely to create and distribute Linux-server versions. And once you've got a game working on a Linux server, porting the rest of the game is relatively simple. If the gaming community can build momentum from the server market, then Linux as a gaming platform isn't much of a stretch. Personally i'd like to see it happen, because as a gamer i'm practically chained to WinXP. I'd like to try Linux, but right
        • And once you've got a game working on a Linux server, porting the rest of the game is relatively simple.
          Yep, those 6 lines you have to remove to port the server from Winsock to regular sockets are the hard part, after that the hundreds of thousands of lines of DirectX/3D that have to be converted to SDL/OpenGL are a walk in the park!
      • Re:Games.... (Score:3, Interesting)

        There will be inertia unfortunately. The people who use there computers for gaming will stick with windows because it has the games and the games come out first on that platform even if they do come out later on mac or linux. Sure you can dual-boot, but that by its nature increases the complexity of installation of linux significantly.

        There are two distinct home computer markets, gamers and people using computers to; surf the web, check email, do accounting of there personal finances, and write letters and
    • Re:Games.... (Score:3, Insightful)

      With the way games are written these days (requiring massive amounts of time and money), game development will have to undergo some pretty radical changes

      Not so fast.

      How many games do you know of, that run only on one architecture?

      There are a lot of games out there that run on PlayStation, Nintendo, Xbox, and PC/Windows... and maybe the occasional Mac port. They're using portability frameworks to make sure they can reach all markets. In some sense, this could mean that the games world is actually ahea
      • Re:Games.... (Score:3, Insightful)

        If your game engine is already portable, it's not a monumental effort to make a Linux port available if someone decides there's a reasonable sized market for it. Free speech thrives at UNCENSORED! BBS - []

        The problem has to do with support costs more than implementation costs. Having full commercial support is hard enough across the Windows line, throw in Linux with umteen different kernel variants in wide use, different LIBCs, other dependencies and all that s

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

      by sokk ( 691010 ) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @06:49PM (#8154027)
      Don't you remember the transistion from DOS to Windows? I almost laughed at the thought of Windows games in the Quake 1 and Duke Nukem 3D era -- but now it's defacto standard.

      Times change.
  • Do your part! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by chrispl ( 189217 ) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @05:53PM (#8153460) Homepage
    I carry a variety of flavors of Linux CDs in my car and use live version to show friends and family what they are missing. Suse 9.0 live-eval works great for showing people what this "linux thing" they have read about is.
  • by Heggsy ( 55536 ) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @05:53PM (#8153466)
    This ons still makes me slightly cross:

    Earlier BBC story []

    Still, I suppose that the latest story is written by someone who has Clue. I'm told that they exist, even at the BBC.
  • not so suprising (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LadyMayhem ( 720913 ) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @05:55PM (#8153479)
    I'm 15 and have been using linux for a little over a year...people in the k-12 school system are starting to get a grasp on the bennifits of open source. It really is the best option for so many people and with the newest distros of Mandrake (what i use) make it incrediabily simple to do most anything graphically. With a little bit of help even people like my grandmother (who could never even minimize windows) can do as much on linux as any other OS out there.
    In my openion the main problem is people, in general, don't even knwo open source exists. And those that do only vaguely recall that they've hear about it somewhere. Hopefully its only a matter of time before people (especially in the US) catch on.
  • by cookie_cutter ( 533841 ) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @05:56PM (#8153489)
    It's actually quite clever: it involves a fable about a little orphan boy(rather nordic looking ;), whom, while having no true parents, is adopted by the whole world.

    It's very interesting in that it doesn't mention technology at all, only some stuff about the "open" future.

    You can watch it here [].

    • by AtariAmarok ( 451306 ) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @06:02PM (#8153555)
      It also doesn't explain how the kid grows up to be a penguin.
    • by niko9 ( 315647 ) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @06:12PM (#8153666)
      Open eh? It asks that you either have Quicktime, Realplayer, or Windows media player to watch the commercial. Even though I have mplayer setup for such tasks, it still gives me ther error that the "proper" plugin is not installed.

      There is the ASCCI ART(?) version available:

      Open on Linux boy, close-up on his face, while you hear Ali's voice. Cut to boy sitting in front of old black and white television with old Mohammed Ali fight footage playing.

      Male voice: Never. Never make me no underdog. And never talk about who's gonna stop me. Well, there ain't nobody gonna stop me. I must be the greatest. I shook up the world. (Inaudible background voices) I shook up the world. I shook up the world. I shook up the world.

      You hear the television being turned off. Cut to Mohammed Ali sitting across from Linux boy.

      Ali: Shake things up.

      Cut to Linux boy face. Cut to full screen shot of Ali and boy. Cut to shot behind boy, facing Ali.

      Ali: Shake up the world.

      Cut to Linux boy, slight smile.

      Title: Linux
      The Future is Open
  • by Huff ( 314296 )
    Yup, this is one thing I will be showing the director of the museum that I volunteer at.
    I was hoping that when we get funding to construct the new building that it wont be squanded on things that can be obtained for free... licenses for instance...... If you are gonna have a multimedia kiosk running for instance to show how something works (A large steam pump for instance) Do you really need (or indeed want) to fork out a load of money when you can just sling linux on a resonable machine. Possably use Mozil
  • by queen of everything ( 695105 ) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @06:01PM (#8153544) Homepage

    Ok, I'm a software developer. I want to port my software, written for windows, to linux so that the average joe will be able to use it. Is it so simple? Well, which distro will I do first? Mandrake? Redhat? Suse? Debian? Then what about those who use *BSD? There are so many choices. I mean its a great kernel, I use different distrobutions for all of my servers. I have no desire to mess with Active Directory or IIS.. But how can it take over the mainstream market when each distro is different.

    • If you're a software developer who has no control over what distributions your software will run on (no "supported distributions"), then your best be would be to do one of:
      • Distribute the shared libraries you rely on with your application (and wrap your application in a shell script that sets an appropriate LD_LIBRARY_PATH)
      • Distribute them as non-shared binaries. Link something statically, and it'll work on any distribution since there's no dependencies.

      If your question was more about user-interface is

    • by belmolis ( 702863 ) <billposer.alum@mit@edu> on Sunday February 01, 2004 @06:25PM (#8153795) Homepage

      For most software, the differences among Linux distributions are immaterial; if you port to one, it will run on all. In fact, in most cases, so long as the CPU is the same, the binaries will be compatible. For that matter, most properly written software will be portable, at the source level, among POSIX-compliant systems, meaning not only Linux but a wide range of other UNIX systems.

      Except in the very unusual case in which different distributions use different versions of the kernel that differ in what system calls they support, and where your software makes use of these system calls, the differences among distributions are entirely a matter of what versions of what libraries they come with, and what other software. That means that software that compiles and runs on one distribution can always be compiled and run on another; the difference will be that in some cases the person doing the build will have to install a library or a program that did not come with the distribution. That is generally not a big deal. If your software requires something exotic, you can also provide statically-linked binaries that incorporate it for those who don't have the necessary library.

      I've never encountered a problem due to differences among distributions. I have been using Mandrake on my own machines for the last several years. I have had no problem compiling software that I write on the Red Hat machines in our lab. In fact, I rarely encounter any problem compiling my software on our Suns. (When I do it is almost always because I am using GNU extensions that Sun libc does not support.)

      The variety of distributions may seem confusing and chaotic to non-Linux people, and at the level of the desktop, I can see how inexperienced users would find the differences offputting. But it really isn't a problem for developing or porting software.

  • by Interruach ( 680347 ) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @06:02PM (#8153549) Journal
    Linux is unique in that its code is open source, meaning anyone can look it and modify it, as long as they agree to share their changes with everyone else.
    There are other GPL'd operating systems, and the BSDs are all open source, aren't they?

    Large companies have been benefiting from Linux for years now. They use it to run large servers and networks.
    Small companies have arguably been benefitting more: I know from my experience that it's easier getting Linux into a small company than it is into a large one.

    "This is something that a lot of people in developing countries have. It is a natural for them to make do with little, and to produce something of value out of nothing."
    This is just patronising.
    How about pointing out that people whoever they are all benefit and can run the same software without the discrimination that high prices cause.

    Some worry, though, that large corporations may be reluctant to share their Linux-based software with others. And that, say long-time Linux programmers, would violate the tenets of the open source philosophy.
    More importantly, it would also be copyright infringement if they ever distributed it, and would cause them no end of trouble keeping their version of the code up to date.

    But other than that, refreshing to read an article about linux that doesn't mention either Redmond or Utah.

  • by xao gypsie ( 641755 ) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @06:02PM (#8153550)
    when will "Pirates of Sillicon Valley 2: The Wrath of Linux" come out?
  • the IBM ads (Score:5, Insightful)

    by feidaykin ( 158035 ) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @06:03PM (#8153561) Journal
    The article says it all, really, and is probably something you should show your Boss.

    I think that if your boss does not already understand the ways of Linux, perhaps reading an article on a Web page won't be enough to convince him.

    Get a hold of one of the new IBM ads [] and play it for him. Seeing a major, big name company back Linux with a TV spot would carry a lot more weight than someone's opinion on a Web page, no matter how eloquent that opinion is presented. But then, I'm not even employed right now, so I shouldn't be giving advice on what to show your boss. ;)

    Still, it's hard for anyone to ignore the opinion of IBM. Or rather, it's a lot easier to ignore the opinion of an author at the BBC.

  • by saskboy ( 600063 ) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @06:03PM (#8153566) Homepage Journal
    My Mainstream is not always your mainstream.

    Government computing is not homebased computing.

    To be mainstream, could mean that the software is being embraced by the majority of teenagers using computers, or it could be that the majority of corporate users will start using Linux somewhere in their business this year.

    I've seen Linux evolve a lot since I first tried to use it in 1997. I couldn't figure it out then. In 2000 I used Red Hat 6.0 for the first time, and found it easier to understand, but still not useful to me. Now in 2004, I could make it be almost as useful to me as my Windows machine. Do I really think that this year there will be some killer distro that will blow Windows away? No. But it is possible...
  • by Pecisk ( 688001 ) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @06:06PM (#8153599)
    I would like to sway away all those trolls nay-sayers, and such things and would like to ask them one question - when Microsoft started to deliver to desktop what do you see now? Not so long time ago. And it's still unstable and unsecure. If someone is desktop king now - from visual and usability - it's Apple OS X.

    I was doubtful three years ago but now I say for sure - Linux and Free Software has a future, and it is right here - in Gnome, in KDE, in, in all those new ideas, which pop-up instantly in mailing lists, forums,, I like that creativity which grows and grows and seems to be unstoppable.

    Linux is here to stay. Is also here to stay and be viable alternative for your desktop usage. Whatever you choose it or not, it's upon you. Because it is about the choice, not about pushing you to use it.
  • by Bazman ( 4849 ) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @06:14PM (#8153678) Journal
    Oh no, we can't trust the BBC these days don't you know? I can imagine that Bill Gates will now be launching a swingeing attack on the BBC, leading to a month-long enquiry chaired by, oooh, an unbiased Paul Allen, and then resignation of several senior BBC executives....

    [if you dont know what I'm talking about, google for 'Hutton Report' or see BBC news main page :)]

  • Yes, its coming... (Score:3, Informative)

    by gillbates ( 106458 ) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @06:22PM (#8153762) Homepage Journal

    I'm in a local pizza and gaming establishment (rhymes with lucky sneeze), and lo and behold, I'm looking at a linux boot up screen on an arcade game.

    And then I'm at a local clothes retailer, and I look and see Red Hat 6.0 sitting on the register display.

    It's coming, folks. It's just a matter of time.

  • Ok (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cubicledrone ( 681598 ) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @06:29PM (#8153834)
    and is probably something you should show your Boss."

    Corporate middle management is not interested in facts. They are not interested in improvement. They are not interested in efficiency that is not accomplished by either making people shovel shit or firing people.

    Middle management seeks to maintain the status quo, and to do nothing unless it is absolutely necessary. Incompetence, bankruptcy, waste, stupidity, anything is better than trying and failing.

    They have failed to learn that the raw materials for success are failures. They have failed to learn this because they do not listen. They do not seek the advice of people who know better than they do. Faced with irrefutable truth, middle management will very often if not always follow the path of maximum stupidity.

    Therefore, middle management will very often if not always refuse to allow Linux to be used to improve their business. No accomplishment, no fact, nothing will change this. Discussing Linux with a middle manager is nothing more than an amusing waste of time.
    • Re:Ok (Score:5, Informative)

      by darnok ( 650458 ) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @07:49PM (#8154383)
      > Corporate middle management is not interested in
      > facts. They are not interested in improvement.
      > They are not interested in efficiency that is not
      > accomplished by either making people shovel shit
      > or firing people.

      > Middle management seeks to maintain the status
      > quo, and to do nothing unless it is absolutely
      > necessary. Incompetence, bankruptcy, waste,
      > stupidity, anything is better than trying and
      > failing.

      I'll call bullshit on this.

      Corporate middle management (MM) now faces the repercussions of CIOs and senior management telling shareholders "we'll reduce the cost of IT by 20/30/50% in the next 12 months". Middle management then gets told "do this or die"; either they slash their costs by A LOT within 12 months or they're out the door. Whatever was the case in the past, MM is now *all* about efficiency.

      A sizeable chunk of MM has worked out "Hmm, if we keep doing what we have been doing, we'll keep getting the same results, so now we have to try something different". In many cases, they don't yet know what "something different" is or should be, but they are on the lookout for something - anything - that means they won't be leading their team into the unemployment office in 12 months' time.

      **Now** is the best possible time to go to these MM guys with your ideas.

      I'll give you an example: want to put e.g. Postfix/procmail in front of Internet-facing MS Exchange servers and use it to (a) de-evil incoming email with evil HTML content such as @ signs in URLs, and (b) filter out email from known open relays? Collect some figures on how much time/money has been lost in your org fighting spam and the latest HTML-based email virus, drop those figures on your MM's desk along with the costs of implementing your solution. If you do it right, your MM will realise, if it's done right, it'll slash his costs hugely and maybe get him a few percent closer to keeping his (and your) job intact.

      The trick is to present data that makes sense to your MM. Don't tell him "we'll block 13432 incoming spam messages per day"; tell him "we'll block 13432 incoming spam messages per day that cost us $2300 per day in storage costs. My solution will cost us $3000 to implement, so it's paid for itself by the 2nd day". He has to talk in terms of financial outcomes, because that's what his boss wants; if you want to get your ideas across, you have to do the same.

      Many techos, and I've done this myself in the past, present their ideas in such a way that it comes across as "It'd be really cool if we did X, and there might even be some benefits for the company if we did it. We're not quite sure exactly what X will cost, or how long it's gonna take to do it, but we should do it anyway because my geek buddy did it and he's really smart". It only took about 300 rejections before I worked out that this approach never works unless your boss has a goatee...
      • Re:Ok (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Malcontent ( 40834 )
        You are living in a fantasy world. Here is what happened in my company.

        The board told the CIO (and the CTO and all other officers) that the corporation had not met it's goals so every body had to cut their budget by some amount (don't know exactly how much).

        You know what they did? they fired people that's what. The biggest cost is salary so they got rid of people. They are still paying through the nose for compaq servers, MS sharepoint licenses, exchange, SQL server, vertias net backup, and a dozen more c
  • by ValourX ( 677178 ) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @06:41PM (#8153957) Homepage

    As with most people in the IT field I get a lot of requests for help from friends and family. It's almost never a hardware problem that they have -- it's always some virus or spyware program or some Windows corruption someplace. I found that I was reinstalling Windows every time I worked on someone's computer. And I was using my copies of Windows because they never had their own.

    The first thing I want to know is, just how many people are using pirated copies of Windows? I don't even know one person who is now using a legitimate copy of Windows. Why pay when your pal can get it from work, or now from the net? How does this figure into the estimates of Windows domination and market share? Surely if you only counted legitimate, purchased and properly licensed copies of Windows, the home user market share would be drastically lower. Businesses are more or less forced by threat of litigation, fines, and raids, to be legitimate. That's why the first wave of GNU/Linux migration has been happening in the business sector. No matter how many bullshit Gartner studies "prove" that Windows has a lower TCO, it just doesn't. It costs more to buy, it costs more to maintain, and it costs more to upgrade.

    I think the best thing that could happen to GNU/Linux right now is for Microsoft to crack down on home user piracy. Activation schemes are a step in the right direction. With more hassle, increased costs and the apparent (or at least, apparent to those who don't know how to get an activation crack) inability to get a copy from a friend, GNU/Linux will look like a much better choice to home users.

    But back to my main point: service. I have continued to refuse to service a Windows machine unless it involves replacing the operating system with a Free alternative. Don't like it? Find someone else to do the work... but it'll cost more. I think if more people refused to work on Windows for friends and family, the death of Windows as a dominant desktop platform would be much more speedy.

  • by ithilienrp ( 728334 ) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @06:44PM (#8153975)
    I'd been a happy Linux user for years, and used it for everything, from works (scientific research) and my own entertainment (music, movies, etc).

    However, things changed a big bit for me a year ago: I've got a girlfriend. Being a typical person who can uses computer to a level (M$ Word, IE, WinAmp, etc), making her use Linux was difficult. It was just simply too difficult for her. So I had no choice but to installed Windows for her. Even that, I tried to make her use Mozilla or Firebird for web browsing. That failed, too. She simply use IE whenever possible. So, forget about, etc. There are people who refuse to use any other word processors because "it's not Word", and any other browsers because "it's not IE"... (the list goes on).

    That's fine with me, whatever, I can still use Linux in another partition.

    But, there was a problem: I usally run process as backgrounds and I want to do that when she's using Word or we both watching movies. And having all my works in Linux partition wouldn't allow me to do this!

    So, I decided to get a Mac. OS X seems to provide me a reasonably good solution. First, it is a nice and very user freindly Desktop OS, one of the most friendly out there. Learning to use anything in OS X was painless, even for my girlfriend. Second, if she insists on using Word, then there's Office v. X for Mac (even though there're some compatibility problems). Third, it's UNIX with X11 so I can recompile most of things I need to do my works.

    So, while I hope that Linux will eventually become more favorable for Home Users, I don't expect it anytime soon. This is simply because, more than anything else, convincing people who don't really know anything but stick with "name" of programs is very difficult. (Ex. There are people who won't buy anything but a computer wih Pentium-brand CPU, regardless of what he/she's doing with it.)
  • Linux needs games (Score:4, Insightful)

    by darth_silliarse ( 681945 ) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @06:56PM (#8154076) Homepage
    It's great that the mainstream press is giving Linux good coverage, unfortunately to wrest the Windows system from the mainstream user I'm afraid the games companies need to be involved in producing original Linux games alongside those of Windows. Only then will Linux get the Windows user looking the other way.... Unreal Tournament and Neverwinter Nights were starts but enter any Electronics Boutique and ask for a game for your Linux OS and chances are the sales rep will look at you like your ET

    • by pandrijeczko ( 588093 ) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @07:26PM (#8154252)
      It's actually good to see someone come up with a good, honest, valid criticism of Linux for a change. And, to be honest, there's no real answer to this because game companies won't invest in Linux ports of games until they can be virtually guaranteed of a certain number of sales.

      I do actually wonder, though, if when people say "Linux isn't ready for the desktop", they really mean (like you quite rightly say) "There aren't enough games for it".

      The reason why I say this is because I look back to Windows 95, for example, which was accepted on the desktop yet both Gnome and KDE are far more advanced as GUIs - yet people still make the "not ready" statement.

      Incidentally, before anyone flames me for not saying KDE and Gnome are better than, say, Windows XP, my reasons for comparing to Windows 95 was because it was far more reliant on command-line usage and didn't have stuff like "Active Desktop" which a lot of Windows people seem to like (can't think why though...)

  • by gad_zuki! ( 70830 ) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @07:08PM (#8154146)
    As much as I liked the tone of this article, it does come off as way too optimistic. Issues such as drivers, buying linux pre-installed, standards compliance, etc are glossed over. Granted this is a Linux 101 article, but these are important topics.

    I think Linux expansion on the server end is doing more good than some think. If a small, mid, or large company migrages to Linux servers then they are more or less forced to drop prorietary crap like MAPI and open the door towards accepting standards over closed-proprietary standards, protocols, etc. With this mechanism in action tat means more competitors, less vendor lock-in, and a healthier IT market all around.

    I don't see Linux as a MS-killer, Apple-killer, but as a carrier of open protocols and standardization. If Linux can deliver this than most of the problems in the IT industry will disappear. As we've seen many times before its much tougher to make a monopoly without proprietary protocols, vendor lock-in, etc.

    Right now I would say the fastest way to getting things more "open" in general would be OSX on the desktop and Linux in the server room. Its a shame Apple isn't seen a serious player in the corporate environment, especially with their prices so low.
    • by pandrijeczko ( 588093 ) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @07:53PM (#8154412)
      Issues such as drivers, buying linux pre-installed, standards compliance, etc are glossed over. Granted this is a Linux 101 article, but these are important topics.

      Be careful though... even Windows IT departments only tend to support a fixed number of hardware platforms on the corporate intranet - i.e. there will be a specific hardware vendor for laptops, servers, etc.

      Plus, IT departments never use preinstalled PCs anyway, they usually "Ghost" on an image of the corporate platform straight onto the hard-disk...

      At that level, Linux is no different - you can use a distribution that will pick up all the hardware on one laptop perfectly fine but on another you'll need to play about with drivers and config files.

      The hurdle here isn't Linux itself, it's actually about having the people who can create custom disk images in Linux as well as they can in Windows.

  • by Darth_Keryx ( 740371 ) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @07:32PM (#8154286) Homepage
    I noted with interest this comment:

    "If you spend a dollar with a local company working on Linux, that dollar stays in your economy," said Simon Phipps of Sun Microsystems.

    "When you spend a dollar with a multi-national corporation as a license fee for a piece of software, that dollar leaves your country."

    "It's about keeping the money in your local economy, developing skills and developing the local economy to be strong in its own right in a global context."

    At first I wondered, "Wait a sec. Microsoft is an American company, right? So if other nations pay fees to M$, then the 'local economy' is... the American economy. 'We' are the economy that this benefits!"

    Obviously Phipps wants China and other nations to recognize that if they develop open source software (presumably Linux based) then whatever money the government spends on software supports their own people.

    One has to ask. "Where does Phipps live and work?"

    Do not misunderstand me. I love Linux. I want it to grow and expand and compete effectively with Microsoft. Especially because I want poorer nations to have a solid alternative that works - and works well. Even discounted M$ software imposes a burden on Third World nations.

    My only point is that is struck me as odd that an American(?) like Phipps working for Sun Microsystems would invoke the "we want them to invest in their own nations' economies" argument.

    • My only point is that is struck me as odd that an American(?) like Phipps working for Sun Microsystems would invoke the "we want them to invest in their own nations' economies" argument.

      Yeah, that got me too...

      I don't know the inner machinations of corporate IT departments but I'm assuming that someone somewhere in the IT department of every Windows house has some kind of Service Level Agreement with Microsoft for support.

      Assuming that a corporation rolls out Linux, even though they have people traine

  • by SQLz ( 564901 ) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @08:15PM (#8154521) Homepage Journal
    The article says it all, really, and is probably something you should show your Boss.

    If your boss doesn't know about Linux at this point he/she should be fired.

  • the BBC uses Linux. (Score:3, Informative)

    by chris_sawtell ( 10326 ) * on Sunday February 01, 2004 @09:16PM (#8154885) Journal
    What a pity that Clark Boyd, the tech journo who wrote the piece, failed mention that the BBC [] uses Linux [] and Apache [] to host its main news portal []. If some above average technical writer would like to do a piece about the Net infrastructure at the BBC [], I for one would be very interested to read it.
  • by alchemist0405 ( 697664 ) <> on Sunday February 01, 2004 @09:22PM (#8154926) Homepage
    I just saw an awesome Linux/IBM commercial during the superbowl. I usually just watch for the commercials - so I am pretty apathetic about the game. But when I saw the commercial come up, I stood up and screamed...

    Half of the people at the campus-wide superbowl party turned around and looked at me like I was insane, while the Comp Sci club all raised their fists in the air in victory.

    It is good to have allies with deep pockets. Let's just hope it stays this way.
  • by fygment ( 444210 ) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @10:15PM (#8155211)
    "If you talk to governments, they're actually thinking - why don't we write open source software as well.

    "So it's not just cost-based, but also the concept of open source software. They just like the idea of saving the people money, but also giving back to the people what they created."

    So now government will get in to the business of writing it's own code and releasing it to the public? Just think about that and reflect upon what projects have governments undertaken that you personally would hail as successful, efficient, and inexpensive.

    Didn't we the public just spend a decade crying for how government should be more business-like e.g. outsourcing? But we should change that for things like the software that makes government "run"?
  • by Senior Frac ( 110715 ) on Sunday February 01, 2004 @10:32PM (#8155288) Homepage

    Where is the obligatory Gentoo-freak? Everyone knows you can't mention the word "linux" without one jumping out to scream, "Use Gentoo, just like me!"

  • Screw it! (Score:5, Funny)

    by evilviper ( 135110 ) on Monday February 02, 2004 @06:10AM (#8156984) Journal
    Aww, screw it all. I'm tired of trying to explain the benefits of Linux to Windows users. I'm tired of talking until my voice goes out about how terrible Windows is...

    I'm just going to leak an ISO onto the net of RedHat, and change the name to:

    "Windows 2005 (unreleased) [pirate] NO KEY NEEDED.iso"

    Thousands of people "upgrade" to Linux, and everyone is perfectly happy. They will recieve a small error message when they try to play their games of old programs that they are incompatible with the new version of Windows, and should request a new version from the company (nothing new there, Windows upgrades always do that crap). Meanwhile it'll lead them to free equivalents.

    Bingo. Linux takes over the world overnight. Companies are suddenly getting hundreds of thousands of requests to port their software to Linux, and many are happy using the free equivalents.
  • Accountability? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by fygment ( 444210 ) on Monday February 02, 2004 @09:52AM (#8157799)
    OK. The government takes on its own software development but also uses some open source. Something goes wrong. Who's responsible? Now you may argue that current EULA's waive any accountability at the moment except that there is nonetheless an accountable party and the issue can be debated in court. In the case of oss who does the government take to task?

    Even worse, what if a government agency develops some software which it releases. Will it be held responsible should there be a flaw which adversely affects other users? In this day and age there is no doubt that someone would try to sue esp. if it's a government agency. And let's face it, a government agency is fundamentally accountable to "the people" for its actions.

    Lack of liability is already bad enough. Moving to oss would seem to exacerbate the problem. And should you doubt any of this, ask yourself, when you've bitched about a really thorny problem with some oss software how often have you had the response that "Hey, it's free. Don't like it then take a hike." That is not an option for a responsible agency with a critical need, nor is it a response they can make.

"Well, social relevance is a schtick, like mysteries, social relevance, science fiction..." -- Art Spiegelman