Become a fan of Slashdot on Facebook


Forgot your password?
Microsoft Software Linux

Dvorak on How Microsoft Can Kill Linux 842

gewg_ writes "John C. Dvorak thinks he knows the way Redmond can kill Linux. Basing his premise on the relative dearth of device drivers available for Linux (compared to what is available for Windows), he sees an opportunity for the Borg to embrace and extinguish." From the article: "The immediate usefulness of Linux running under Windows is obvious. You can use all the Windows drivers for all the peripherals that don't run under Linux. Drivers have always been an issue with Linux as PC users have gotten spoiled with Windows driver support. Today's user wants to grab just about anything and not worry about installing it and making it work."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Dvorak on How Microsoft Can Kill Linux

Comments Filter:
  • by sentenzux ( 541471 ) on Friday February 25, 2005 @12:56PM (#11778474) Homepage
    If only this one had been a dupe too, this would have been REALLY funny :-)
  • -1 Troll (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Golias ( 176380 ) on Friday February 25, 2005 @12:56PM (#11778475)
    Does anybody still take a word that says seriously anymore? All he ever does is troll for ad hits by saying something which will piss off one fringe group of computer geeks or another.

    Honestly. Why ever link to that joker?
  • Don't click (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JanneM ( 7445 ) on Friday February 25, 2005 @12:58PM (#11778497) Homepage
    Please don't click the link.

    John Dvorak knows the state of Linux drivers versus Windows (or Mac) perfectly well. This is an excellent example of writing something obviously incorrect so you get a huge amount of hits and links from people that (rightly) disagree.

    Exactly like the Science Citation Index, actually, but speeded up about 20 times.
  • by bigtallmofo ( 695287 ) on Friday February 25, 2005 @12:58PM (#11778505)
    John Dvorak has been in the computer industry about as long as Univac, but I really disagree with him on his points in TFA.

    The first thing I disagree with is his assertion of how useful Linux would be when running under Windows. Is anyone crying for this?

    His second assertion that Microsoft could create a flavor of Linux with their driver-base that people would adopt is just as loony. Beyond its quality nature, isn't one of the reasons people switch to Linux to get rid of Microsoft and their business practices and high prices?
  • Not exactly... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by The One KEA ( 707661 ) on Friday February 25, 2005 @12:59PM (#11778509) Journal
    I'll readily admit as soon as the next person that Linux doesn't support all of the latest & greatest hardware. That doesn't mean that it doesn't support last-generation hardware though - as long as you do research and buy the right sort of hardware, you can usually build a system where almost every piece is well-supported by any given Linux distro.

    Companies like Intel and ATi are examples of how the hardware manufacturers are realizing that Linux users want to use their hardware too.
  • by 14erCleaner ( 745600 ) <> on Friday February 25, 2005 @01:00PM (#11778534) Homepage Journal
    What he's saying is, if Microsoft starts supporting Linux that Linux will go away?

    If that were true, why hasn't Windows gone away?

    Dvorak thinks that open-source developers will stop working on their stuff if they perceive it as benefitting Microsoft. I say this is obviously not true; there are many, many projects now that run on Windows (like Firefox, just to pick one major example), and their developers don't seem the least bit deterred by running on Windows.

  • by narsiman ( 67024 ) on Friday February 25, 2005 @01:00PM (#11778542)
    But still since cygwin is feature complete . . Nuf said.

  • by R.Mo_Robert ( 737913 ) on Friday February 25, 2005 @01:02PM (#11778565)

    It's an interesting article--but I doubt just drivers would satisfy most people. There's applications they'll want to work, too. (That said, I'd personally be delighted if all my hardware would work under Linux; then I'd never need Windows. But I could just as easily have gotten Linux-friendly hardware ... and if you want Linux-ish distro that "just works" ... there's OS X. :)

  • by Caligari ( 180276 ) on Friday February 25, 2005 @01:02PM (#11778573) Homepage
    Oh no! Top secret M$ project to "kill" Linux!

    Its called Cooperative Linux, and has been around for quite some time. []

    Yet, suspiciously, the Linux kernel running on my laptop hasn't spontaneously died. Hmm. This Dvorak chap is quite the retard.

  • Re:Don't click (Score:4, Insightful)

    by cortana ( 588495 ) <sam&robots,org,uk> on Friday February 25, 2005 @01:02PM (#11778580) Homepage
    You should RTFA. The actual quotation is "Drivers have always been an issue with Linux as PC users have gotten spoiled with Windows driver support". I don't see how a rational person can disagree with this.
  • by djsmiley ( 752149 ) <> on Friday February 25, 2005 @01:05PM (#11778637) Homepage Journal
    "Today's user wants to grab just about anything and not worry about installing it and making it work"

    I mean, all i hear, over and over, is how linux is BETTER than windows.

    This last week i've been trying, over and over, to get ANY linux distro to boot upto a graphical user interface, so that my brother can use it without the worry of using the command line (which i think he could also use if he really tried). I've had no end of problems, first there was the problem of commands which stupid names, and commands which appeared the same.( xf86config is NOT xf86cfg )

    I tried many distros, livecds and netinstalls, all of which failed in a different (And sometimes amusing ) ways. However, this just goes to show that linux is FAR from what is needed for the adverge JOE user to switch.

    Plus its huge lack of support for games (i know its gathering but for joe, he just wants it to work) and such ideas as just plugging in some hardware and having it work.

    Im not a windows lover, i hate m$ as much as the next guy, but unless someone can provide something which at least has a gui (yeh cmd line might be great but its not what i want) which works OUT OF THE BOX (or at least with very little configuring) then m$ are going to continue to win.
    Oh, and i also use firefox.
  • by cheesedog ( 603990 ) on Friday February 25, 2005 @01:06PM (#11778656)
    Dvorak makes a couple of assumptions that immediately betray his lack of knowledge:

    1) Linux device drivers are a big problem


    2) Putting Windows PnP in Linux would be an easy task

    I have a problem with #1 because, well, I haven't had a problem with device drivers for years. The first thing I do with a new computer (and I've gone through 5, from Dell and HP, in the last few years) is reformat, install Windows, and then install Linux. Guess which one is easier to install? Guess which one requires special driver disks and arcane "press-F8-at-the-right-time-during-the-install" crazieness to get things working? That's right: windows. With Linux, stick the CD in, click a few buttons, and done.

    The problem with #2 should be obvious to everyone: one of the main tasks of an OS is to manage devices. Look at the code in the kernel that does this. Sure, there's other important stuff (vfs, memory management, process management, etc), but if you count the lines, the heaviest piece of the OS is device driver management. Ripping this out and sticking in Redmonds garbage would be disastrous.

    Now, user-mode linux is a different beast. Even virtualizing the hardware could get things to work correctly under Dvorak's scheme without so much effort. But what he suggests is not only ludicrous, its outright silly, and really illustrates how out of touch he is with how technology works.

  • by krgallagher ( 743575 ) on Friday February 25, 2005 @01:06PM (#11778659) Homepage
    "His second assertion that Microsoft could create a flavor of Linux with their driver-base that people would adopt is just as loony. Beyond its quality nature, isn't one of the reasons people switch to Linux to get rid of Microsoft and their business practices and high prices?"

    The thing I don't get is that he acts like Microsoft owns the drivers. The hardware manufacturers own the drivers. If Linux becomes the dominant OS, hardware manufacturers will write drivers that run directly in Linux. Why would they continue to write drivers that run in HAL when it is just a piece of cruft attached to the real OS?

  • by grahamsz ( 150076 ) on Friday February 25, 2005 @01:07PM (#11778666) Homepage Journal
    One of microsofts biggest assets is that fact that people are familiar with their UI and reluctant to change.

    If a user run MS-Linux and liked it, then they could make sure their next system had hardware that could run gpl-linux.

    And I really doubt microsoft would move down a pathway of familiarizing people with linux.
  • Drivers (Score:3, Insightful)

    by buckhead_buddy ( 186384 ) on Friday February 25, 2005 @01:09PM (#11778692)
    I was getting my shots for international travel at a county health clinic yesterday. Every terminal in this clinic (as probably every other one in the state) were running flat screen Windows systems that had one application: some sort of terminal server that logged into the mainframe where every financial, medical, and information app was running in text-only mode. The likely reason for this purchase was that some company offered sexy-cool flat screen machines with a promise that they'd work to make the mainframe app work 100% in the same manner.

    My favorite two bookshops have web based terminals that allow a user to search for a book and not bug the employees. One is unable to get out of these screens and into Windows, but one can tell by the sound, cursors, and occasional reboots that they are really win machines running underneath.

    All of this reminds me of those days in the 1980's when everyone was putting Apple ][ based end user terminals in their shops, but the app or utility that was being served was pretty trivial. When the Apple clones came out (like Franklin and their ilk) the expensive Apple hardware started going away. (You could tell on those machines because there were ways to crash the system or "break" into basic and see whose hardware it was.

    My guess is that ultimately on web based terminals and other mainframe terminal services, that there's a huge market of machines that are being sold on price alone. As long as there are "some" varieties of cheap hardware that run with Linux, I can't see this ever becoming a lock-in... price is just too important for some people. To those markets, it's the lucrative OS that will fall out of fashion in favor of the cheap and functional alternative.
  • Way to kill linux. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by generic ( 14144 ) on Friday February 25, 2005 @01:09PM (#11778696)
    Is if Microsoft released their source code. Companies and people who use linux use it for more than cost, but customization. We use a highly customized linux where I work, we have a kernel development team that modifies and tweaks our distro
    to our specific needs. We can run Linux on a 500 mhz pentium with 512mb of ram, junk video card and an 18gig disk with no problems. No need for a video management solution to manage all 400 of our servers, no need for mice. Just SSH.
  • Not *any* device (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nurb432 ( 527695 ) on Friday February 25, 2005 @01:10PM (#11778717) Homepage Journal
    Im a mac fan too, but if the device isnt blessed by Apple, it may not work well, or at all.

    If it is blessed, then it works like magic..
  • Never gonna happen (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bonch ( 38532 ) on Friday February 25, 2005 @01:11PM (#11778731)
    This week-old story from OSNews is pointless. Microsoft would never do that, because it would acknowledge that an opponent was on the level of Windows.

    Look how Microsoft very rarely mentions Linux, and barely mentions OS X at all (if ever). Microsoft's voice is heard by so many pointy-haired bosses that to talk about someone or release a product based around them is to give free advertising. Granted, they make an Office for Mac, but you'd never know it if you weren't a Mac user.
  • Re:Boring day? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Golias ( 176380 ) on Friday February 25, 2005 @01:12PM (#11778753)
    No, Jon Katz was sinserely wrong. He watched Buffy reruns and thought he understood modern teens, read Kevin Mitnick interviews in 2600 and thought he understood hacker culture, read Slashdot comments and thought they were a representative sample of American geeks. I think he was genuinely surprised at how detested some of his rambling became around here.

    Dvorak, on the other hand, knows better. He knows that if he calls the iBook 300 "girly" or says that Linux-on-Windows will put Red Hat, Debian, and Gentoo out of business, people will rush to the web site to read his rubbish, and then comment on it it forums, link to it on blogs and slash sites, and go to great lengths to alert the world about how wrong he is... all of which gets his site hits, and makes his publisher very happy with him. He's laughing all the way to the bank, because his goal is not to be seen as insightful, but simply to be seen.
  • by eyeareque ( 454991 ) * on Friday February 25, 2005 @01:13PM (#11778763)
    Windows has always had the advantage of having more drivers than Linux.

    So I ask, why not create code that would allow you to use Windows drivers on Linux?

  • by airship ( 242862 ) on Friday February 25, 2005 @01:16PM (#11778805) Homepage
    While I agree that Dvorak is a blowhard, he does have a point about Linux hardware support. I recently compared a dozen different install-from-CD distros, and only one supported my ASUS motherboard's on-board sound and video correctly. None had support for my Canon scanner, which I realize is Canon's fault. But don't tell me I need to buy a new scanner to be able to migrate to Linux. Your average Joe just wants to plug-n-play, and to me that's one of the two real advantages Windows has over Linux.
    The other? Software. There are still some tremendous voids in the software area. There is no equivalent to Visio (yes, I've tried Dia and it's cute, but it's not Visio), and the Gimp isn't Photoshop or even Paint Shop Pro. Linux needs more apps like Firefox, Thunderbird, and OpenOffice that can really bridge the gap, and can offer clear advantages over Windows applications.
  • by catdevnull ( 531283 ) on Friday February 25, 2005 @01:18PM (#11778835)
    Of course, this is the guy who has pronounced Apple as dead more than once. [] What value is the opinion of a pin-headed pundit? Wow. I was like, a poet there.

    Anyway, MS-Linux? W(hy)TF would I use that? The reason people use Linux is usually to get away from Windows and it's diseases. Why would I run Linux as a subjugated app under an inferior kernel design on a server? To enhance security? Ha!

    Dvorak says "MS Linux would quickly become the dominant linux distribution." He pulled that right out of his arse. Does he think that many people would actually buy Linux from Microsoft when it's available for FREE elsewhere?

    John C. Dvorak--I think you over estimate MS's position to dominate a market that's based on not being Microsoft.
  • by solios ( 53048 ) on Friday February 25, 2005 @01:20PM (#11778864) Homepage
    So here's my 3 day old OSN comment:

    Dvorak is right about as often as it rains lava in New York.

    Somebody who's been predicting the death of the Macintosh since TCP/IP stacks were still third-party user-installed add-ons thinks he knows where computing is going? The only thing separating him from a blathering retard in a homeless shelter is that whoever's paying him is even less cluefull than he is. :D
  • by Jugalator ( 259273 ) on Friday February 25, 2005 @01:22PM (#11778898) Journal
    Linux supports new hardware like wireless routers, lots of multimedia devices, etc, and he thinks MS making a Linux distro with a proprietary driver layer for a bit better compatibility will "kill Linux"? He can't have understood much of why so many people use Linux and not Windows. Why they even struggle to get stuff that don't work as easily on Linux, but still don't say "bah" and switch to Windows.
  • by popo ( 107611 ) on Friday February 25, 2005 @01:24PM (#11778915) Homepage
    The first step in Dvorak's strategy is for Microsoft to build a separate 'commercial driver-layer' for Linux. His prediction: if Microsoft builds this 'essential' layer, a large portion of Linux revenues will go towards Microsoft and developers will therefore lose interest.

    Let's put aside for a moment the fact that a major focus on Linux development would be disastrous for Microsoft (It would essentially encourage a mass migration from Windows servers), Dvorak makes some ridiculous blind leaps in assuming that an MS driver layer would [a] Become dominant (based upon what? Microsoft's proven ability to write superior code?) and [b] even if MS succeeded, that their success would cause the entire Linux world to pack up and go elsewhere.

    Is Dvorak's supposition that all Linux development is driven merely by the desire to "not" give Microsoft any more cash? Funny, I thought it was to build a stable, faster, and open-sourced OS.

    Developing yet another commercial add-on, hardly negates Linux's core mission and value. It would however negate the mission and core value of Windows Servers.

    I say go for it Microsoft. Let's see who wins.
  • Re:vmware (Score:1, Insightful)

    by penguinstorm ( 575341 ) on Friday February 25, 2005 @01:26PM (#11778944) Homepage
    Is this the same Dvorak who's predicted the Mac's death more than once?

    I think maybe he needs to be embraced. Man's clearly not healthy.
  • by Aqua OS X ( 458522 ) on Friday February 25, 2005 @01:27PM (#11778958)
    Agreed. People need to stop promoting this douche bag.
    He intentionally writes dumb columns in order to (negatively) attract readers.

  • by blueZhift ( 652272 ) on Friday February 25, 2005 @01:29PM (#11778992) Homepage Journal
    What Dvorak describes is too much work. Microsoft doesn't need to kill Linux to maintain dominance at all. In short all they really have to do is create their own Linux distribution, just like anyone else can, and then port Office to it. All of this can be done without violating the GPL or open sourcing Office. Office is the real source of MS power after all, people need Windows to run Office.

    Even if the MS Linux distribution were no better than any other, people would still buy it and/or support contracts preferentially over any other. Most people always play it safe. MS could still support Windows if they wanted to, or they could gradually phase it out. If they play nice, they could cut their development costs by leveraging the vast open source development community. So far, IBM has been able to embrace Linux and open source without killing their business, I think Microsoft can do the same. Developers didn't abandon Linux when IBM and Novell joined the party and I doubt they will if Microsoft joined in too. Indeed, a lot of Windows developers would be pulled along too. The question is whether Microsoft is brave enough to let go of the Windows security blanket.
  • by Jeremiah Cornelius ( 137 ) on Friday February 25, 2005 @01:36PM (#11779073) Homepage Journal
    I have read J.D. for 20 years. I have enjoyed him for his "devil's advocate" stance. But, man! What an IDIOT!

    He doesn't know the first thing about what he's saying!

    Linux as a task under Windows exists!

    Linux as a task under Linux exists.

    In either instance, the "guest" OS doesn't get a "magic ride" on the hosts's drivers.

    He takes an out-of-context comment, and combines it with half-knowlege of the subject and a dollop of wishful thinking.

    Whoops! I think I just defined "Visionary"!

  • Re:Don't click (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sstidman ( 323182 ) on Friday February 25, 2005 @01:37PM (#11779090) Journal
    Ahhh, the old DOESNTWORKFORME response. I've used Linux with a large assortment of hardware. I've also used Windows. I am not a Linux zealot like everyone else nor a Windows zealot, but I have generally had more trouble with Windows drivers than Linux drivers. For example, I have a Hauppage WinTV card on one of my dual-boot machines. It works flawlessly under Linux. I get weird errors under Windows and can't use the card at all. I've reinstalled the drivers in Windows, but no luck. The quality of many Windows drivers simply suck; I find that the Linux drivers tend to work much better. The main reason tends to be that many Windows hardware drivers include all kinds of unnecessary bells and whistles. My favorite recent example is the driver for the Lexmark Z11 inkjet printer. It's just a printer, so I could probably use a generic driver and it would work great. But Lexmark included all this unnecessary crap so that it puts an unneeded icon in my task bar as well as having a man come over my speaker telling me each time I print a job (I know I just printed, but thanks for telling me ;-). Linux drivers tend to simply do whatever they are supposed to do, nothing more nothing less. They probably do so with less code than their Windows counterparts because of the lack of bells and whistles and less code generally means fewer bugs.

    Driver support used to be a problem under Linux, but it really hasn't been a problem for quite some time. There are certainly exceptions to that statement, but your blanket statement that Windows has vastly better driver support simply isn't true anymore.
  • Re:Don't click (Score:2, Insightful)

    by mrluisp ( 724199 ) on Friday February 25, 2005 @01:38PM (#11779096)
    That's spot on. If anything the lack of drivers (and the difficulty in getting them installed) is what's holding Linux back.

    Example: I'm constantly pushing Linux on people in the office. Not being an ass about, just regularly reminding them of what it can do. A co-worker decided to give it a go and install Mandrake on a laptop. He got almost everything set up within a day or two, having never used Linux before. Then he tried to get his wireless card working. For some reason Mandrake recognized his card, but didn't have the module available for his current kernel (the stock kernel from Mandrake btw).

    Now, my co-worker's no lay-man. He's a decent programmer, and he set himself on the task of getting the driver working. He spent the next week fighting the OS to get his card working. He ended up learning how to recompile a kernel, and learning how modules work, and kernel versions and all that. The card is finally working, with various front-end guis installed to configure it as well. The point is, it's way too much work for the common pc user to have to go through to get the card working. And this is directly a driver's issue.

    I know that's a feature that modules with a different kernel version than the currently compiled kernel won't work, but at the same time, requiring a recompilation of a driver because it's version 2.6.10 instead of 2.6.12 is ridiculous. It's not something that a normal user should be expected to do. Linux has a lot of catching up to do in this regard. And part of the responsibility falls on driver manufacturer's, part on the distributions, and part on the kernel writer's. It should be much simpler.
  • Re:vmware (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Bert64 ( 520050 ) <bert&slashdot,firenzee,com> on Friday February 25, 2005 @01:43PM (#11779168) Homepage
    It's actually only easy because your used to it, personally i find all versions of windows very inflexible in their interface..
    Once you get used to a window manager of choice on unix, and begin making use of features such as letting you click in a background window without it coming to the front, and the select, middleclick paste of X11.. Once you get used to this, and the multiple workspaces, and many other features of X11... you find windows totally unuseable and restrictive.
  • Re:Confused... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by airjrdn ( 681898 ) on Friday February 25, 2005 @01:44PM (#11779181) Homepage
    What stability? Xandros locks up in less than a day, yet WinXP hasn't crashed on me in months.
  • by eno2001 ( 527078 ) on Friday February 25, 2005 @01:47PM (#11779209) Homepage Journal
    I think the main issue with what he's suggesting is that if the emulation/virtualization layer you are running Linux under doesn't have access to the device, it doesn't matter much that Windows does. Unless he's talking about a true API that would be the complete reverse of Wine (run Linux/*nix apps under Windows with complete access to all supported hardware), I don't see how this could work. Using Cygwin, I still have found limitations. You can't compile one of the Wireless (802.11a/b/g) applications for *nix under Cygwin and actually use it with a Windows driver supported wireless NIC. Or... you can't use an application that can communicate with SCSI under Linux in Cygwin. Or... you can't compile and run a 3D accelerated Linux app (game, etc...) under Cygwin and expect it to use the ATI or NVidia drivers you have installed in Windows. So MS would have to expend a great deal of resources to absorb *nix functionality into their OS that takes advantage fo their drivers. The flipside to all of this is that I think Windows has been getting more "Unixy" over time, but they just approach it from a different perspective (kind of a backwards one at times and visionary at others).
  • by Pedrito ( 94783 ) on Friday February 25, 2005 @01:53PM (#11779280)
    He doesn't know the first thing about what he's saying!

    # Linux as a task under Windows exists!

    # Linux as a task under Linux exists.

    # In either instance, the "guest" OS doesn't get a "magic ride" on the hosts's drivers.

    I suspect you didn't actually READ beyond the first paragraph of the article (either that, or you just didn't understand it) nor did any of the people that modded you up.

    His comment about running Linux as a task was not his topic, it was simply pointing out an existing project. What he IS talking about is replacing the Linux driver interface with a Windows compatible driver interface that basically allows Linux to use MS drivers. I can't really comment on the feasibility of this, but this is a far cry from running Linux as a task.
  • Re:Confused... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by michrech ( 468134 ) on Friday February 25, 2005 @01:53PM (#11779281)
    Xandros != Linux!
  • Linux Drivers (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Phreakiture ( 547094 ) on Friday February 25, 2005 @01:53PM (#11779283) Homepage

    Point 1: If Microsoft were to get into the business of writing drivers for Linux, how would that differ (aside from licensing) from purchasing commercial drivers or downloading free drivers? More importantly, how would this kill Linux? As he pointed out, commercial software already runs under Linux without any GPL implications. The community buys this software when it must, but usually develops around it.

    Point 2: I have had fewer driver problems with Linux than Windows. Windows actually seems to sometimes generate driver problems, by seeking out a very specific driver where a generic one will do fine. A good example would be the USB port on my EPIA MII-12000 motherboard. It's USB 2.0. Linux sees that it is USB 2.0, and runs it as such. 'nuf sed. Windows, on the other hand, requires that I use the driver that came with the mobo (which is not inherently a problem) and no other. Not that this is a problem, but why?

  • by fireboy1919 ( 257783 ) <rustyp&freeshell,org> on Friday February 25, 2005 @02:08PM (#11779471) Homepage Journal
    That doesn't even happen in Windows. Why do you expect it to in Linux?

    Ndiswrapper gets pretty much as close as you can get. You don't have to edit anything. Just tell it where the driver is, and it does the rest.

    You have to do the same thing in Windows. You always have.

    On the other hand, there are versions of Linux that CAN automagically figure out what device is needed for most devices and load it for you. I'd venture that there are even more of these automagical devices for linux than there are for Windows.

    Most Windows devices require that you install the drivers yourself. Still, when you have to DIY in Linux, it's usually a lot more of a hassle (if it's even possible) than it is in Windows.
  • by Asprin ( 545477 ) <(gsarnold) (at) (> on Friday February 25, 2005 @02:09PM (#11779489) Homepage Journal

    Funny. I agree that he's wrong for a different version, but it's a different different reason.

    Let's face it, nobody looks at Windows and says to themselves "wow, great driver support." [Note: maybe they should, because Win95 single-handedly forced hardware manufacturers to stop making up their own rules and actually design their hw/drivers around standardized specifications, but I digress...]

    Plus, going forward, it's pretty clear that (until that NdisWrapper thingy makes it into the stock Linux kernel trunk -- if possible) hw vendors are going to have to start making a serious effort with *native* Linux support because - more and more - it's driving purchasing decisions, so I'm not real concerned about the future of driver support, just the legacy stuff.

    Nope, instead, I figured that if Microsoft was going to make have a go with Linux, they'd focus on the one area where Linux has needed a little standardization - the desktop environment. I figure if MS gets involved at all, it'll be with a Windows DE running on a stock or optimized Linux kernel. Linux would provide the engine, Windows would provide the cockpit instrumentation and in-flight entertainment. (Plus, they'd still get to sell optimized versions of MS Office and their business CRM and accounting software - don't forget how important *that* is to them.)

    Of course, that idea (which is now a couple of years old in my head) is probably outdated too, now, because the latest versions of Gnome and KDE are coming along *VERY* nicely, plus that whole Wine/Codeweavers Crossover*/XEN approach is probably going to the whole hardware and OS choice utterly irrelevant anyway as we just fire up emulators to do everything on thiry different native OSs in the future.

    It should be fun watching MS try to stay relevant, eh? EXPECT WEIRDNESS!
  • by Queer Boy ( 451309 ) * <dragon@76.mac@com> on Friday February 25, 2005 @02:10PM (#11779498)
    Over on Windows - and I'm not sure if this is the same on an Apple - it took about fifteen minutes of copying software from CD, signing up online, agreeing to several licenses, entering the serial number at least two times in different places...

    Uh, what? Serial number?

    Well, so you know, on a Mac you just plug in the iPod and iTunes asks if you want to associate the iPod with the current library, click yes and it feeds the iPod.

    You have to agree to iTunes license the first time you use iTunes, just like every application on any operating system you have to agree to the license whether it presents itself or not.

    I had no idea that Windows complicated even the most banal task of connecting an iPod.

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

    by wed128 ( 722152 ) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .ssalguodwordoow.> on Friday February 25, 2005 @02:12PM (#11779529)
    What he meant to say was that Xandros is a buggy distrobution on top of Linux, and does not adequately represent the stability of the linux kernel.
  • Re:Confused... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gurumeditationerror ( 631201 ) on Friday February 25, 2005 @02:26PM (#11779695)

    What makes Xandros buggy? Isn't it all the same basic sets of open source code that's so much more secure and stable than anything Microsoft produces?

    An unsafe and a safe house can be built from exactly the same bricks, it's the way you arrange those bricks.

    All the best open software is tested to hell and back through lots of release candidates etc.. If a distro chooses to use these development versions of software or doesn't test the combination of software they are using throughly (essentially making it a development distro) then you can't expect the security and stability that open source software done properly provides

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

    by Skye16 ( 685048 ) on Friday February 25, 2005 @02:32PM (#11779777)
    Those Linux fanboys you speak of are the same ones that brought it from a concept in Linus' mind to the relative powerhouse it is today. Sure, it isn't the desktop to end all desktops, but look at how far something that was put together by a bunch of geeks in their parents' basements has come.

    Everyone talks about the "death" of Linux that, or Microsoft "crushing" Linux. They may someday crush Redhat and SuSE and others, but they're never going to stop this "geek (r)evolution" from continuing to unfold. The only thing that could do that is something just as free and better.
  • Re: What a MORON! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dazedNconfuzed ( 154242 ) on Friday February 25, 2005 @02:33PM (#11779779)
    I fail to see what makes him think improved driver support will change people's reasons for running it.

    Wow, you're really missing the point.

    Microsoft's winning tactic is "embrace and extend": grudgingly accept the winning standard, get LOTS of people to use the MS version, then slowly deviate from that standard. They win by default via customer loyalty; when a large majority of users choose the MS solution, the "standard" becomes whatever MS says it is ... and the minority can either whine & be ignored, or give up and join the rest on the dark side.

    In this case, the idea is to play off Linux's biggest weakness: lack of drivers. MS drivers may suck, but at least they exist! (Personally, it was incredibly frustrating to run Knoppix on a once-popular reasonably-capable Gateway laptop and not even have sound because the drivers wouldn't support even the most common sound card - but freakin' Win95 that was on it runs sound fine! ARGH!) By "embracing" Linux via a method heavily dependent on drivers, there would be a boom in Linux - to be specific, MS-Linux. Then, once hooked like crack addicts, upgrades gradually fork away from "real" Linux and toward Windows - exactly what Microsoft did to IBM regarding OS/2. The few hardcore Linux users left are left swinging in the breeze.
  • by chris_mahan ( 256577 ) <> on Friday February 25, 2005 @02:49PM (#11779993) Homepage
    MS could not do that. They'd have to release the MS-Linux (I feel icky just saying that) in the GPL, and that would just chafe them big time.

    It would probably mean that manufacturers would say: Heck, leenooks people want drivers, microsoft wants drivers, let's just write linus drivers, since MS can use their MS-Linux.

    That woul dbe the death of the current windows Codebase.

    OT: Longhorn will not be released. Microsoft will have collapsed enough by then that they won't be able to support the core dev team.

    Fine, don't believe me. Just remember that windows 2003 server is already 2 years old, it is an overkill already.

    That, and if you want real enterprise-grade software, you go Linux (free as in Zero Dollars)

    For those of you who have a hard time accespting the last statement:
    Oracle is the de-facto enterprise database. See ory= []

    IBM's newest mainframe, the zSeries, supports Redhat, Suse, and Turbolinux. But no MS Windows. See []

    Linux on cellphones:,1759,1765103, p?kc=EWRSS03119TX1K0000594 []

    Linux at Merryl Lynch, etc etc etc.

    You can't kill linux. Even Linus can't kill Linux. If Linus decided he had had enough of the rat race and decided to spend all his time at home with his wife, Linux would go on withour missing a beat.
    Microsoft can't kill linux for the very same reasons.

  • Re:WHAT!? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dcarey ( 321183 ) on Friday February 25, 2005 @02:52PM (#11780025) Homepage

    This is the SAME GUY who went through tirade after temper-tantrum-touting-tirade about how he was eviling being targeted as an Apple hater meanwhile spewing out vitriolic fodder on how Apple will die (all within the confines of an OBJECTIVE viewpoint, of course ;). This as far back as 1998. You see where Apple is today.

    Dvorak's not a credible source. Case closed.
  • Re:vmware (Score:4, Insightful)

    by smittyoneeach ( 243267 ) * on Friday February 25, 2005 @02:57PM (#11780072) Homepage Journal
    Are you sure you can compare the X11 protocol with gdi.exe (or whatever it's called in WindowsXP)?
    The juxtaposition seems as disingenious as that of the Linux kernel alongside the whole Windows OS.
    Running GNU/Linux you've got an embarrassment of choices, and a configuration zoo of libraries to support them, from the spartan minimalism of Ion to the full-tilt boogie of Enlightenment, with KDE and Gnome somewhere in between. So party.
    Or just log in to a terminal and get your Emacs on. It really is all good.
  • by jusdisgi ( 617863 ) on Friday February 25, 2005 @02:58PM (#11780083)

    What if there existed an open standard for an operating system driver API?

    You mean, like the current Linux driver API?

    Or did you mean to say, "what if Microsoft signed on to an open standard for an operating system driver API?"

    By the way, it's clear that John's just being a dumbass. With his logic, OS/2 would have won. It was compatible up and down with Windows, with simple technical additions that made it much more usable and robust. Unfortunately for them, people aren't interested in buying a retread, even if it is better than the bald tire it's replacing.

    Oh, and in other news, there isn't anything wrong with Linux's drivers or hardware support. There hasn't been for years. There are a few, minor, instances of manufacturers not playing ball, and they will take care of themselves as this snowball keeps rolling.

  • by joeljkp ( 254783 ) <> on Friday February 25, 2005 @03:02PM (#11780127)
    Well, I suppose what I'm getting at isn't just a standard API, but a standard ABI as well. Currently, you need to recompile any modules you have every time you get a new kernel (or significantly change your current one). This prevents devices from shipping with a standard loadable module that could be used across Linux distros, much less different operating systems.
  • Re:Confused... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by nadadogg ( 652178 ) on Friday February 25, 2005 @03:03PM (#11780151)
    Actually, you using the word "windoze" is going to do more to slow down linux growth than Xandros' occasional lockups.
    Just remember, a calm and cool zealot will convert more than the raging fanboy.
  • by Anita Coney ( 648748 ) on Friday February 25, 2005 @03:10PM (#11780220) Homepage
    Dvorak's writings are either brilliant or idiotic. When he's brilliant, he's interesting. When he's idiotic, he's hilarious.

    I personally think he's idiotic merely to get people talking about his column. E.g., "Did you hear what Dvorak said about Linux and Windows' drivers?! He's a fucking moron!"

    That way he gets people linking to his column, checking out his column, etc, which makes his readership look larger than it really is.

    I seriously doubt if Dvorak really believes shit like this.
  • by cayenne8 ( 626475 ) on Friday February 25, 2005 @03:13PM (#11780248) Homepage Journal
    "He's not talking about Linux running under Windows. He is talking about a stand-alone version of Linux released by Microsoft that can be packaged with a proprietary driver management program that allows Window's drivers to run easily under Linux (to get all of the Plug n Play capabilities)."

    Well, that might do well for the x86 architecture, but, Linux runs a many more platorms than that...I've got Linux running on sparc64's, and on PPC, and soon on a couple of old SGI boxes.

    I kinda doubt ms-linux would be of much use to the wide world of Linux.

  • Re:Don't click (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ShieldW0lf ( 601553 ) on Friday February 25, 2005 @03:18PM (#11780295) Journal
    So, again, how are people spoiled by windows driver support?

    Let me take a peek at my system here and recall my experience attempting to install Linux on it...

    1) A7V133 motherboard with onboard Promise IDE RAID.
    Promise RAID unsupported. Half my hard drives gone.

    2) Asus V7100 Geforce2 MX with TV input/output.
    TV Input unsupported. TV Output unsupported. Guess I'll have to buy a DVD player and throw my DivX collection away

    3) S3 Virge PCI running secondary monitor.
    Supposedly it's supported, but I never managed to get it to work, and I spent almost a week working on it nightly. No more multi-monitor support.

    4) Hercules Gametheater XP 5.1 sound card.
    All inputs unsupported. Optical output unsupported. Stereo support only. No support for pass-through of Dolby streams. No support for integrated USB hub functionality. Guess I better sell my speakers, no point in having hardware Dolby decoding for a stereo PCM stream

    5) Sidewinder joystick.

    6) Sidewinder gamepads.

    7) Innovage Digicam/Webcam.

    8) SiPix Digital Camera

    I have Debian installed on several different "plain-jane" boxes around the house, and have experimented with Red Hat, Mandrake, Gentoo and TurboLinux among others. I'm not a guru or anything, but I'm not a n00b either.

    I use linux on several boxes around the house, and with all the security vulnerabilities cropping up lately I would love to use it on my main box. But the only way that's going to happen is if I buy a new one, because MOST of the hardware in my current machine isn't supported.

    Tell me again how great linux driver support is.

    My Win2K Advanced Server install supports all my hardware, and it hasn't been down since I switched back from WinXP Pro 3 months ago.

    And it's running, among other things, IIS, SQL Server 2000, PostgreSQL 8.x and JBoss 4.0.1. All while sitting in the DMZ, directly connected to the internet, never been hacked.

    I'll eventually buy a new main box to do my work and play on. And I'll hopefully stick linux on it. But this machine is very functional for me, and it will likely NEVER be supported by linux to any appreciable level.

    Just because you haven't had any trouble with getting your hardware to work doesn't mean there's not a problem for others, y'know.

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

    by DaveJay ( 133437 ) on Friday February 25, 2005 @03:37PM (#11780522)
    I've been running a RedHat 7.3-based distribution for years on a server in my home, and the only time it has ever stopped working was when I shut it down to change hardware. I even migrated the whole thing to a new box last night -- different manufacturer, by the way -- and all was fine.

    I've also been running Debian Testing on a G4 tower (works flawlessly) and a homebuilt AMD tower (works flawlessly except for FireWire and MIDI); until last night, neither had ever crashed.

    Then last night, for no reason I can ascertain, my AMD box wouldn't boot. After a few reboots, it started to fsck, but slower than any fsck I have ever seen. So I left it overnight.

    When I woke up this morning, the screen was full of timing errors, and it was just sitting there. So I rebooted it. And everything's fine.

    Am I happy that it crashed, and that I don't know the cause? Nosir. But I've had many a Windows PC stop booting for no reason, and never ever witnessed one fix itself after a few reboots.
  • Nice Philosophy (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Cytlid ( 95255 ) on Friday February 25, 2005 @03:43PM (#11780586)
    I've always said Windows and Linux "need each other". I don't see what he's saying as happening though. His claim that MS makes a "lopped-off head" version of Linux would kill the development cycle is bogus. Think of the hardcore, community-based, non-commercial purists... the Debian, Slackware, Kernel people. Probably 90% of the Linux-people. They would never just "give up".

    He claims developers would stop developing because MS would benefit from open source projects. Umm, if I developed a killer app, and I didn't want it to run on MS-Linux, I'd stick a compile-time flag in there. Set the flag for "MS-Linux" support. How many MS-Linux users (people who want many things to work out of the box and probably want to separate themselves from the running parts) would take the time to set the flag? Bingo. Linux-Killer Killer.

  • by rs79 ( 71822 ) <> on Friday February 25, 2005 @03:44PM (#11780607) Homepage
    Welllllllll, impossible is a pretty absolute concept. I've written bios chips and lots of drivers and although I feel dirty saying so, some winblows stuff. What he's describing in distictly non-technical terms ("Driver layer", snicker) is very very hard to do. But not impossible. possible means you can't do it under any circumstances. Very very hard to do means lots of time and money.

    He's got a point. But, it's also true that shitty third party drivers could be the death of this thing. It would make "MS Linux" look no more reliable than winblows. Ewww.

  • Re:Confused... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Skye16 ( 685048 ) on Friday February 25, 2005 @04:09PM (#11780856)
    I'm sorry to hear that. Gnome manages to lock my IM box up at least once a day. My Windows box hasn't been rebooted, much less crashed, in 26 days, 13 hours, and 11 minutes.

    I've never had anywhere near the stability problems on Windows as I have on Linux. I can see it being more stable without any sort of GUI interface, but really, I never, ever, ever have any Windows problems.

    Of course, you could chalk all that up to a: knowing what I'm doing on Windows and b: not _really_ knowing what I'm doing on Linux. Sure, I've installed Gentoo countless times, so I know stuff somewhat, but I'm nowhere near as experienced as I am with Windows.

    But I ramble :]
  • by Myrkridian42 ( 840659 ) on Friday February 25, 2005 @04:50PM (#11781226)
    Seriously, this is the same guy that insisted Apple was going to switch to Intel processors [].
  • Re:Don't click (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ckaminski ( 82854 ) <> on Friday February 25, 2005 @04:51PM (#11781243) Homepage
    Branches my ass. The only ones the vast majority of people care about are Linus' and Morton's.

    Linux is a far way from being king of the desktop, but it is one of the most COMPREHENSIVE Free Unixes out there. Don't blame the fact that the rest of the Free Software space doesn't get it on Linux. It's only a kernel. It can only do so much. It's one piece of a very big puzzle, hence the whole GNU/Linux bitchfrenzy.

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

    by Kent Recal ( 714863 ) on Friday February 25, 2005 @05:17PM (#11781672)
    No offense but unless you know what you're doing you should be running a "newbie-friendly" distro like Fedora, SuSE or maybe Ubuntu (I keep hearing it's good, never tried it myself though!).

    Gentoo is known for causing lots of trouble (it seems they don't do much regress-testing at all) so it's really no surprise your gnome is locking up.
    Have you checked the version numbers on the countless gnome components? Chance are that some of them are bleeding edge beta or testing versions.

    If you're just on linux for the learning expirience and not really using it for productive work (yet) then you might want to dip a toe in the real cold water and try to get a LFS (Linux from scratch) up and running.
    It takes patience and time but there's lots of documentation. And after you're done you'll have learned many of the important details that actually make your system tick. Most importantly: When it freezes again you'll know where to look!
    That route is hard but I keep recommending it to newbies who are seriously interested in becoming a "guru". It takes work but you learn much more in a very condensed timespan (may very well take a week or longer, though!) than in a year of running some polished up distro and hardly ever touching the command line.

    Again, this is not meant offensive, just trying to provide some advice :-)
  • Re:Confused... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anarke_Incarnate ( 733529 ) on Friday February 25, 2005 @05:18PM (#11781682)
    not really. All they would need to do is reduce the internet's usefullness. They could do this by developing software called "Operating Systems" and "Web Browsers." They would then make them very insecure and allow crap to exploit them and make using both "Operating Systems" and "Browsers" much less fun and much more irritating. As well, they could have a product for email that would execute all kinds of scripts and code. On top of this, people could send all kinds of adverts to this email, hindering its effectiveness as a communication tool. Then, nobody would want to use the internet except for porn... It almost sounds too easy, but it's only fiction.
  • out of it as usual (Score:3, Insightful)

    by idlake ( 850372 ) on Friday February 25, 2005 @05:43PM (#11782056)
    I heard about a secret project. It concerned the development of a version of Linux that runs smoothly as a task under Windows. []

    That said, there is no way Linux under Windows would be practical with all the overhead involved.

    It's very practical, actually.

    If Microsoft actually produced an MS-Linux that was the standard Linux attached to the driver layer of Windows, giving users full Plug and Play (PnP) support of all their peripherals, nobody would buy any other Linux on the market

    From first hand experience, I can tell you that this is not a really pleasant solution because it doesn't fix the things that are so wrong with Windows: lack of security, poor package and installer management, lousy system management interfaces, and a bad UI.

    The long-term implications of such a scenario, I believe, would be essentially to kill Linux. Microsoft's MS-Linux would quickly become the dominant Linux and the company would begin to profit from all the open-source development work that would go into Linux.

    First of all, Dvorak's premise is wrong: Linux has enormous numbers of drivers. Hardware "just works" under Linux when it requires cumbersome and flaky driver installations under Windows.

    But let's assume the premise were right. So, people have pure Linux PCs and MS-Linux PCs. Well, that means more commercial Linux usage and the ability of software vendors to standardize on the Linux APIs. The consequence? Cutting the cost of shipping Windows out of a PC becomes a more and more attractive proposition and hardware vendors would ship more and more Linux-only PCs.

    Microsoft only needs that one driver element to be proprietary for the plan to succeed.

    The flaw in that argument is that it is not Microsoft that is creating the drivers, it is the hardware vendors. Anything Microsoft does to make Linux more popular or credible will mean more Linux drivers from hardware vendors.
  • by theLOUDroom ( 556455 ) on Friday February 25, 2005 @07:38PM (#11783243)
    1) A7V133 motherboard with onboard Promise IDE RAID. Promise RAID unsupported. Half my hard drives gone.

    My promise raid works fine.

    2) Asus V7100 Geforce2 MX with TV input/output. TV Input unsupported. TV Output unsupported. Guess I'll have to buy a DVD player and throw my DivX collection away

    I have a Gainward geforce 2 ti with VIVO. Both video input AND video output work.

    3) S3 Virge PCI running secondary monitor. Supposedly it's supported, but I never managed to get it to work, and I spent almost a week working on it nightly. No more multi-monitor support.

    I'm sorry dude, but you suck at linux.
    There's not really a nicer way to say it. You're listing shit that I *KNOW* is supported and saying that it doesn't work. That gives you ZERO credibility.

    Here are some links proving that so of this hardware ACTUALLY IS SUPPORTED:

    If you were actually being honest and saying that you simply couldn't get these things to work, I wouldn't be so harsh, but it's pretty damned obvious that you didn't even try, and that things you're calling that "unsupported" ACTUALLY DO WORK.
    As a result, your cluelessness is misleading people as to the capabilities of my favorite operating system. The issue here really is your inablity to use google and read directions, not Linux's lack of driver support.

    I'm sure I could find more links to get some of his other hardware working, but my aim here is to prove that this guy is incompetent and should not attempt to speak authoritatively on linux driver support.

    Let me state this again and very clearly:
    I'm not flaming this guy because he couldn't get his hardware to work, that can be a hard thing to do sometimes. I'm flaming this guy because, by stating that something is "unsupported" he is implying that NOBODY has made his hardware work. This is really obviously false, and denies the existence of the hard work of some very nice people. If you can't be bothered to install the right drivers and edit the right config files.... fine, JUST DO GO AROUND IMPLYING THAT OTHER PEOPLE'S HARD WORK DOESN'T ACTUALLY EXIST.

God made the integers; all else is the work of Man. -- Kronecker