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2004: Year of the Penguin? 427

houseofmore writes "The Toronto star suggests that things are looking good for the Linux desktop this year as more heavy weight commercial vendors get behind it, including HP, Novell, IBM, Sun and... Walmart. It also mentions Red Hat's plan to offer a new corporate desktop edition of their enterprise desktop sometime this year. The article states that more and more companies are considering (and) switching to Linux for their desktop due to expensive Windows licensing fees and high-profile security vulnerabilities."
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2004: Year of the Penguin?

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  • Yep - October 5th... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Penguinisto ( 415985 ) on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @11:32AM (#8848587) Journal


    From: torvalds@klaava.Helsinki.FI (Linus Benedict Torvalds)
    Newsgroups: comp.os.minix
    Subject: Free minix-like kernel sources for 386-AT
    Date: 5 Oct 91 05:41:06 GMT
    Organization: University of Helsinki
    Do you pine for the nice days of minix-1.1, when men were men and wrote their own device drivers? Are you without a nice project and just dying to cut your teeth on a OS you can try to modify for your needs? Are you finding it frustrating when everything works on minix? No more all- nighters to get a nifty program working? Then this post might be just for you :-)


  • by AndroidCat ( 229562 ) on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @11:33AM (#8848607) Homepage
    The Toronto Star's @Biz section stories were all-but-one about Linux yesterday. [] (The Tux with sling was big across the front.)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @11:38AM (#8848666)
    It works, it's just not pretty on the command line, which is why most people don't use them:

    ls -l You\ could\ always\ escape\ spaces\ like\ this.mp3


    ls -l "Filenames can certainly be 64 characters long, even longer.mp3"

    Yes, the "," is supported, too, and you can easily have more than one "." in a filename. Compare this to Windows:

    Me: F2 -> Rename "htaccess" to ".htaccess" before uploading
    Win: "Wah, wah, you must supply a file name (and not just an extension)!"

    I mean, really...
  • by molarmass192 ( 608071 ) on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @11:39AM (#8848680) Homepage Journal
    Were you using ALSA or OSS? OSS is pretty much dead and I haven't used it in years. That said, I've never NOT been able to get a soundcard working with ALSA. I'm not saying full functionality 100% of the time, but basic sound has never been a problem. I'm not sure which distros you used but I can almost guarantee that SuSE 9.0 would have picked up and configured that card for you. SB Audigy support has been in ALSA since the 0.9 series which I know is included in SuSE 9.0.
  • Already happened (Score:5, Informative)

    by arvindn ( 542080 ) on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @11:45AM (#8848770) Homepage Journal
    Listen all cynical American naysayers:

    In India, where I live, 2003 was the year of linux on the desktop. Yup. Last year. Already happened.

    Starting around last August, the avalanche started. Linux desktops crossed a threshold minimum level of usability, and the price of Windows became an unacceptable fraction of the price of the PC in this cost conscious market. I think it was IBM that ran the first ad for Linux PCs. Soon the taboo was broken. OEMs switched in droves. Today there is hardly anyone that only sells windows boxen. This year two companies have entered the market specializing in linux PCs.

    I can feel the pulse at the grassroots level as well. While the percentage of linux users is surely nowhere near two figures, it has probably doubled since a year or two ago. Banks and other enterprises switching all employees to linux happens every day.

    Billy Gates shot himself in the foot. Major anti-piracy ad campaigns and policing action by NASCOMM (BSA equivalent in India) contributed to awareness about alternatives and fueled linux growth. Today the ads directing the reader to are conspicuous by their absence, but the damage has been done. What linux has won is mindshare. PC geek mags regularly carry linux distros and other linux software these days, and have as many articles about linux as windows. It looks like an exponential growth curve is assured.

    If you're thinking of moving to Bangalore, there's at least one thing you can look forward to :-)

  • by ComputerSlicer23 ( 516509 ) on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @11:46AM (#8848804)
    Yeah, I know at least two or three people who have the Audigy working under Knoppix. I know I have 3 different machines with Audigies in them. Two of the three run Linux.

    In my 9 years of running Linux, I've never had a sound card not work. Of course, I only ever use Creative Labs branded equipment, or onboard sound because I'm too cheap to go buy a separate sound card.

    The only Audigy I have that you can't run Linux on is an "Audigy LS", that isn't based on the EMU10K chipset (it's the third Audigy I have running on my Windows Gaming machine), and thus isn't supported by the normal Audigy modules. Go out buy yourself a "SoundBlaster 16PCI", or a SoundBlaster 512. Local CompUSA, it's under 40 dollars. Put it into a machine. Boot. Disable the onboard sound in the BIOS. It'll work under RedHat. If for some reason that doesn't work, you've done something silly wrong. I had all three cards in various RedHat machines and swapped them, and they all worked flawlessly.

    I believe counterstrike is supported by TransGaming, a commercial Wine fork (from when Wine was still under a BSD like license, instead of the LGPL it's under now).


  • Re:Maybe when... (Score:4, Informative)

    by newell_nicosia ( 234410 ) on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @11:59AM (#8849004) Homepage
    I have to agree. I am a big Linux fan for server apps and writing code. But when it comes to desktop integration and cool little games and utilities, I still have to choose evil MS Windows. The day my mother (who is a total technophobe) can turn on a linux machine and not feel any discomfort is the day when I know Linux has a fair fight with Windows. Unfortunately, that day has not yet arrived. Let's face it, there are a vast majority of computer users out there who do not know what the word "compile" means.
  • by randall_burns ( 108052 ) <> on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @12:01PM (#8849021)
    I work for a large public school district. We use Win 2000 server quite a bit(that may be changing with the movement of Novell to Linux). The place where the district lags behind quite a bit is on the desktop-we still have _thousands_ of Windows 98 machines out there because there simply isn't funding to upgrade the hardware/OS's. What would be really compelling in our case is a really nice desktop version that had Wine that worked seemlessly _and would use existing Win98 DLL's and libraries if available. Basically, I'd see that as an alternative to a Win 2K or Win XP upgrade that would breath some new life into these old machines. We'd get a lot more functionality with Linux _but_ short of doing a dual boot, I haven't seen a way to keep the functionality that Win98 has--and the district has what is for it quite a substantial investment in Windows software--and training in Windows applications for its staff.

    What I'm saying here is that part of the logical niche for a free OS is as an alternative upgrade path for folks that are finding that Windows simply doesn't give them an economically viable upgrade path. Microsoft is ceasing support of Win98. Now, to put this in perspective, even among folks outside of the district that hit our web page, over 20% are using older versions of Windows(ME,98,95) compared to less than 1% for Linux-and 4-5% for Macintosh.

    Its always seemed to me that folks pushing desktop Linux generally assume that folks will ditch many of their windows applications(I know Wine works, but last I checked it was still a bit limited in what applications it would support) or at least substantially retrain themselves to use Linux.
    I tend to think that just being the viable upgrade path for older hardware is the type of thing that will take Linux clearly past Macintosh in terms of numbers.
  • Re:Sounds Familiar (Score:2, Informative)

    by xandroid ( 680978 ) on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @12:23PM (#8849289) Homepage Journal

    "...Mac OS it right. You download the DMG, it mounts as a folder, you copy the "program" (really a folder that the OS makes look like a file) to your Applications directory. Done."

    The Zero Install system [] does this same make-the-directory-containing-the-program-look-lik e-the-program-itself thing, aiming to be a program repository and easy method of installation/uninstallation in one go. It's like OSX's folder-mounting plus apt-get plus a nice big cache of available programs all in one.

  • by mahdi13 ( 660205 ) <> on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @12:26PM (#8849335) Journal
    The comparison is with Linux and Windows, if we get into the Unix stuff we open a huge can of worms that everyone has 'barrowed' from

    >Highlight text and middle-click to copy
    Middle clicking is an innovation? Didn't Sun/really old graphical Unix have this years ago?

    Yes, Sun had this first but Windows does not have this feature, period

    >Tabbed internet browsers (Comparing to IE) Is a browser part of Linux (OS)? If you claim innovation there, do you also take the blame for the crappy stuff too? Or is this one sided?

    No, in Linux the browser is NOT part of the OS (which MS claims IE is)
    What crappy stuff are you refering to? Lack of ActiveX??

    >Live bootable CDs that don't require installation (If there are MS equivalents, please point them out)
    Floppy disk formated with /SYS
    We are talking full desktop environment here, a floppy with /SYS does not give you a desktop environment

    >Truly separate user environments
    Again, is this innovation or something that Unix had already?

    Again, we are comparing Linux to Windows, not Unix
  • Re:Sounds Familiar (Score:3, Informative)

    by AKAImBatman ( 238306 ) <> on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @12:42PM (#8849531) Homepage Journal
    That's funny, because IT JUST HAPPENED ON SUSE! I had to track down 300 different RPMs just to get the thing installed. Once it was installed and working fine, I installed the NVidia driver. VLC no longer runs due to an NVidia incompatibility with libc. Is this just a figment of my imagination?

  • by mahdi13 ( 660205 ) <> on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @01:01PM (#8849812) Journal
    Nice response, applause!

    I can pick it apart for days, but like you, I don't have that time ;-)
    As you also mentioned, most of the points are ripped right from Apple. Apple are the ones that should get most of the desktop credit, for everything. Trashcan, taskbar, (do they have a start like button?), Minimize, Maximize, and Close buttons (often in the same places to keep them standard.)

    I agree KDE and GNOME are awful and do not innovate much at all and slow things down a lot.
    I use Fluxbox [] which only uses the taskbar by default (a very bare one might I add). There are no 'start like buttons', a menu is brought up with a right click anywhere. It is very lean and very fast. and highly configurable. The only real downside is that configuring is not user friendly at all, this is being improved on as it is a very young project still.

    Windows can not take any credit at all for the desktop environment as that strongly belongs to Apple. The best anyone can do is improve on it.

    Mono was create to keep interoperability between operating systems, not to copy and be a 'me too'.
    The Minimize, Maximize, and Close buttons have been around forever in any windowed desktop and are not always in the same order. In TWM default you have close on the top left, minimize on the far right with no maximize. This style was around before Windows 3.1, saying anyone copied this from Windows is wrong.

    Looking around at other peoples desktop screenshots, I see that most people are imitating OSX on the desktop and keeping away from looking anything like Windows. Even the use of desktop icons are diminishing and becoming less common.
  • Re:Laptops (Score:2, Informative)

    by Adocso ( 553100 ) on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @01:09PM (#8849938)
    Buy SuSe. When I bought my widescreen Toshiba with .11g I thought I'd be struggling. I went through all the other big name distros before landing on SuSE. I just worked. I didn't have to install Mad-WiFi myself or any of that garbage. I did go get the nVidia driver. It wasn't necessary, but it does make that widescreen pretty.
  • by ComputerSlicer23 ( 516509 ) on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @01:17PM (#8850033)
    I appreciate your problems, but something else odd is going on. Part of your problem, is you might be ahead of the curve. Either, your hardware is too new, or your software is too old. I know that I couldn't get an Audigy to work under various versions of RedHat 7.x (I want to say it worked under 7.3, but not under 7.1 and 7.2 until you installed much later kernels). I'm sorry to say, that in 1997, you had to be a lot more Linux Savvy to get your sound to work then you do in this day and age. It should be a lot easier. Laptops are just a pain in the ass in my experience.

    If your serious about getting it working, reply to this post. I know several people who use Knoppix, I'll get them to burn me a copy of the latest one they use, and get one of my machines to make the Audigy go under it. If you we're using RedHat 9, I could diagnose it relatively easily (given that RH9 is not EOL, I can't recommend installing it any more). A friend of mine just got a new Audigy he installed into a machine he runs Knoppix on, no more then 10 days ago. I'll ask him if there was anything special, and what version of knoppix he ran.

    WhiteBox Linux is a free rebuild of RHEL, that's what I run at work/home. It's just like RedHat. I once had a Creative Labs SB16-PCI that gave me trouble. Mostly the problem was that it was really a repackaged ES1371 (I think that's the number). It was a chipset from a company they bought out years ago. My problem was that the PCI ID wasn't in old precompiled kernel image, so I had to hand load the modules.

    There's a simple way to do that. By the way, Unless you are getting the highest end Audigy equipment, $150 is paying too much.

    The one thing you really want to know is the PCI ID of the card. Run lspci -v,

    00:08.0 Multimedia audio controller: Yamaha Corporation YMF-724F [DS-1 Audio Controller] (rev 03)

    find the number of the left it'll look like this: "00:08.0", that will have the name of the sound card somewhere on the line. Remember, that, now run "lspci -v -n", look for a line that has the same number as before, should look something like this:

    00:08.0 Class 0401: 1073:000d (rev 03)

    That's the number of the PCI ID. That's the global number that should uniquely identify that specific PCI card. Linux Kernel drivers use that as the key for which modules to load during auto-detection. Go plug the number that looks like "1073:000d" into google, add other keywords as neccessary (linux, problem, detect, etc.). If there is an answer, that's the way I've found to be sure I'm going to find someone whose very knowledgable (most people don't report PCI ID's with their problems), and has exactly the same PCI card I have. I've been known to grep the source code looking for pieces of the PCI ID to see if cards are supported. If you have an Audigy that is supported by the 2.4.21 kernel I have installed (and I have access to the source), the PCI ID should be: "1102:0002", or "1102:0004" (I found that in: drivers/sound/audigy/main.c, search for PCI_VENDOR_ID) . If it's not one of those, that is probably why the auto-detection isn't working, and probably won't work under any circumstances.

    In the end, you are looking for which modules need to be loaded. In your case, assuming you don't have an Audigy LS, the answer is probably as simple as:

    modprobe audigy
    insmod audigy

    I know this is a lot more technical information then you probably really want. However, given that I can't show up where you are, it's the best I can do. Hate to see someone give up just over a minor issue like that (getting a sound card to work under Linux isn't terrible difficult assuming the hardware is supported by the version of Linux you have). You sound like you can understand all of this, it's just a lot more information then you are really interested in. Sorry, if this is way overkill. However, the stuff about lspci should give you clues to track down the information. If you run RedHat no recompilation should be needed.


  • Re:Laptops (Score:2, Informative)

    by insert 3 letters ( 768692 ) on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @01:19PM (#8850057)
    SuSe also keeps a list of laptops that are known to fully work with their distros. Also, my gateway, a very propritary laptop, work virtually out of the box, all i ahd to do was switch from acpi to apm to get my fans working. It detected my wifi card on install, and I even have 3d drivers (yay for quake goodnesss). No more configuration than it took to get winxp pro working on it anyhow.
  • by Doofus ( 43075 ) on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @01:52PM (#8850474)
    Also see this article in Business Week - not a fringe publication -titled Linux Spreads its Wings []. The business folks are finally turning the corner on Linux:
    Wait a second. Doesn't Linux reside mostly on servers, the powerful computers that run data centers, publish Web pages, and drive corporate networks? Until recently, the answer was yes. However, Tux the Penguin -- Linux' mascot -- has escaped from the server closet and is now waddling across a much wider expanse of the technology landscape.
  • by tepples ( 727027 ) * <{tepples} {at} {}> on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @02:22PM (#8850875) Homepage Journal

    people love to bash Windows or the Mac by pointing out things that were true of them five years ago and are completely untrue now

    Many people still haven't upgraded their OS, possibly because they still haven't upgraded their hardware, and unlike free operating systems, one cannot readily slim down either of the major proprietary desktop operating systems to run on 1999-era hardware. This is part of why people must still consider Windows 98/ME's 64 KB "System Resources" heaps.

  • Zeitgeist stats (Score:1, Informative)

    by I'm Don Giovanni ( 598558 ) on Tuesday April 13, 2004 @04:15PM (#8852207)

    Linux = 1%
    Windows = 91%
    Mac = 4%

    'Nuff said

The moon may be smaller than Earth, but it's further away.