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IBM Pushing Microsoft-Free Desktops 417

walterbyrd and other readers are sending along the news that IBM is partnering worldwide with Canonical/Ubuntu, Novell, and Red Hat to offer Windows-free desktop PCs pre-loaded with Lotus software and ready for customizing by local ISVs for particular markets. The head of IBM's Lotus division is quoted: "The slow adoption of Vista among businesses and budget-conscious CIOs, coupled with the proven success of a new type of Microsoft-free PC in every region, provides an extraordinary window of opportunity for Linux." One example of the cooperation: "Canonical, which sells subscription support for Ubuntu, a Linux operating system that scores high marks on usability and 'the cool factor,' will re-distribute Lotus Symphony via their repositories. Symphony 1.1 will be available through the Ubuntu repositories by the end of August."
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IBM Pushing Microsoft-Free Desktops

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  • Perfect example (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Darkness404 ( 1287218 ) on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @07:54PM (#24489063)
    This is a perfect example on why IBM stays ahead. They adapt. They went from proprietary to open, from DOS to Linux. From punch cards to computers. Despite how "old" IBM seems, they always seem to adapt, something that some tech companies refuse to do.
  • Re:Great... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by linumax ( 910946 ) on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @08:16PM (#24489337)
    If you think Lotus Notes is bad, then wait until you try the Lotus Symphony (un)productivity tools that are gonna come bundled with notes.

    I don't know of any OSS solution which can replace Notes in the enterprise (anyone?), but at least for the Office Suite, I recommend they go with pure OO and not some unfortunate offspring of OO+Eclipse+Lotus threesome!

  • in other words (Score:4, Interesting)

    by roc97007 ( 608802 ) on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @08:24PM (#24489421) Journal

    Either the url is borked or the story no longer exists, so guessing from what we can read:

    "The slow adoption of Vista among businesses and budget-conscious CIOs, coupled with the proven success of a new type of Microsoft-free PC in every region, provides an extraordinary window of opportunity for Linux."

    So, how I'm reading this is "The slow adoption of Vista provides an opening for Symphony to increase market share" which is a perfectly reasonable strategy for the manager of a product line. (Besides, if you don't like it, you can always download OpenOffice.)

    It could also mean "The slow adoption of Vista is cutting into our hardware sales, so we are looking at alternatives to get units out the door" and shipping more copies of Symphony is a happy byproduct.

    Either way, it's more new systems that are not running Winders. I don't see a downside.

    This could also be read as IBM stating publicly that Vista jumped the shark. ...which is waaaay different from a bunch of geeks in Slashdot saying it.

  • by geekoid ( 135745 ) <`dadinportland' `at' `'> on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @08:25PM (#24489429) Homepage Journal

    Compare there services.
    Lower CTO. You need fewer people to admin Linux machines..or UNIX machines for that matter.
    5 to 1 I believe was the ratio.

    that 881 and 293 is nothing for a business. It's small potatoes.

    How much is WIN2k, OS and equal support?

      I question you overall effectiveness if the little of price is what you base a purchase decision on.

  • Re:Great... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by aliquis ( 678370 ) <> on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @08:40PM (#24489633) Homepage

    Why is it so bad? Screenshots looked nice, I don't like classic word palette/toolbar freenzy. Fonts looked ugly and like 20 years too late though.

  • by spisska ( 796395 ) on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @08:44PM (#24489679)

    I went to Canonical and "bought" (put in cart) a year of Ubuntu Desktop Support... $293!!!! [...] That's about as bad as Vista Ultimate!

    Server Support was $881!! THAT IS MORE THAN W2K3!

    What you're buying is support -- i.e. a voice on the telephone and expertise to get your system running, repaired, upgraded, etc. You're not buying software, and you're certainly not buying licenses.

    Canonical support, much like similar arrangements from Red Hat et al, is not on a per seat or per processor basis.

    Yes, paying $293 per year for support of a single desktop may seem as exorbitant as the cost of Vista. But what if you roll out 20 machines? If you go the Vista route that's thousands just for the OS, and additional thousands or tens of thousands for the software you actually need.

    But with 20 machines, your Canonical support costs are now less than $15 per machine-year. And the support contract comes with an SLA []. How much does MS support cost? How much is a seat license for MS Exchange-related products?

    How do these costs compare when you move from 20 systems to 100? Or 1,000?

    Do you still think you can compare support costs to license costs?

  • Re:Perfect example (Score:5, Interesting)

    by evilviper ( 135110 ) on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @09:00PM (#24489857) Journal

    Eh, they seem to be doing better than Standard Oil, Carnegie Steel, and I would even say Ma Bell.

    Standard Oil was renamed to "Exxon", and recently posted the largest annual profits of ANY company, EVER.

    Carnegie Steel became US Steel; now USX. It remains the single largest steel producer in the country. It certainly has slipped a long way from it's historic highs of world domination, but it took almost a century, nowhere nearly as quickly as IBM.

    Much like the terminator, Ma Bell's shattered pieces have slowly been coming back together for the past few decades. What's worse, she's a badder bitch now than she ever was before... Much like with any disease, as the host got weaker, the viruses took over, and prospered.

  • by massysett ( 910130 ) on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @09:51PM (#24490411) Homepage

    Interesting that Ubuntu will make Symphony available. It is not Free Software. []

    Currently the Ubuntu Philosophy allows non-free software only for drivers. []

  • by mikael ( 484 ) on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @10:16PM (#24490705)

    I was always annoyed that an Atari computer could display 256 colors simultaneously (with some assembly), while an IBM PC clone could only do four colors (1986 - CGA graphics). EGA could do 16 colors, but it wasn't until the late 1980's that VGA came out with 320x200x256 colors, and if you were lucky, your card would support SVGA with 1024x768 with 256 colors, and if you had a $1000+ coprocessor board, Windows 3.1 would support 16-bit (65536 color) graphics at 800x600 pixels.

  • Re:Great... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by DXLster ( 1315409 ) on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @10:52PM (#24491109)
    In other words, the move from Notes to Exchange was a smokescreen for the Bush administration to lie to Congress. See "Where Have All the Emails Gone?" for more information.
  • Re:Good thing? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Tubal-Cain ( 1289912 ) on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @11:11PM (#24491305) Journal

    Even my family is just now accepting OpenOffice, ~9 months after switching. They want(ed) MS, but I wouldn't help/let them pirate it.

    My brother's laptop's internet dies every 10 minutes, requiring a reboot (some, uh, 'blunt force trama' inflicted with a wall after an he had an argument with my sister), and it drives him nuts (Ethernet and wifi are both aflicted, and an external USB wifi adaptor doesn't help, either). Kubuntu's LiveCD booted and stayed connected to the internet for hours, so it's not a hardware problem, but he won't let me install it. He doesn't want to give up XP (a reinstall of that may help, but again, I won't help him pirate).

    So yes, people are brainwashed.
    And yes, I probably am, too. But a fanboi has a diffrent mindset from someone who resists anything diffrent for no other reason than it is different.

  • Linux wins when... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by symbolset ( 646467 ) on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @11:16PM (#24491363) Journal

    Most people don't want to know what an OS is. Like a PVR - switch it on - and it works. Linux will succeed when the big boys start marketing it, just like the 'swill beers' that now dominate the world markets.

    The advertisers of the eee pc or the new Atom netbooks don't make a big deal of the fact that there's no Windows [] in the box. "Like a PVR - switch it on - and it works." You are right that most people don't care to know and that is perhaps more insightful than I would have expected from your post. I would say you're very perceptive. I would expect that the lack of spyware and viruses on the PCs after six months will only be considered a pleasant bonus.

  • by symbolset ( 646467 ) on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @11:22PM (#24491399) Journal

    It went the other way: "Once you get rid of IBM... how do you get rid of Microsoft."

    ... and we wore an onion on our belt, as was the fashion of the day, yadda yadda...

    Anyway, Microsoft didn't kill IBM. They just smashed their hubris. Perhaps if IBM returns the favor we will be done with the tyranny of monopoly in IT forever. Or maybe in 17 years a scrappy reborn up and coming Microsoft will be there to remind the aging monolithic giant once again that assuming the sale only goes so far.

  • I used Linux at IBM (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 05, 2008 @11:45PM (#24491587)
    I used Linux as my primary OS for the majority of the 7 years I worked at IBM. The internal distribution is of course, based on Red Hat, though I used SUSE, Debian (and Ubuntu) as well. It sucked in the early days of the project because Notes ran under wine, rather than a native client. Now with the Eclipse platform, Notes is a "native" client and works much better. Disparaging remarks about Notes aside, the latest release was quite nice to use. I'm sure development has improved even more in the last year since I left, and it was a complete Windows replacement then.
  • Re:Great... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by AvitarX ( 172628 ) <> on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @09:51AM (#24495681) Journal

    Easy clear licensing that lets you do as you please was a major innovation for software.

    I feel bad for people (myself included, so maybe more of a self pitty) that need to waste time and effort on managing licenses. And then when something breaks, the re-install is a huge pain in the ass.

    FOSS took all of that away.

  • Re:Great... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by kabocox ( 199019 ) on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @10:14AM (#24496063)

    One day, both the developers quit at the same time due to the manager being the biggest unlikeable bastard that any of us had ever met. This left the "database" completely unmaintained.

    The manager ended up contracting a Lotus Notes expert from IBM themselves to do some emergency bug fixing. The following Monday morning, the expert turned up at 9 AM sharp, in an equally sharp suit, and carrying a trademark Thinkpad.

    He sat down at a computer, looked at the code, and cried with laughter for a good, solid ten minutes, then got up and left.

    See a really good contractor would have found either or both of those developers and have them work for 10x of their normal price and just be the front man. Today it's even easier. Your contractor can say, I'll need today to gather notes and talk to people "so I can give our folks in India the specs" where the folks in India are instead your former now happily highly paid employees.

  • Re:Great... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by forgotten_my_nick ( 802929 ) on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @11:36AM (#24497507)

    "I've held a job as a notes developer for 18 months before quitting"

    Sorry but 18 months would only make you a junior developer if that. You probably weren't even certified.

    I mean imagine someone telling you they only used C#/J2EE/Linux/etc for 18 months and said it sucked. You would laugh at them I am sure if you had been using it for much longer and took the time to get certified and training on how to code correctly for the architecture.

    Difference between using a language and knowing a language.

    This would explain why maintenance was a nightmare for you and why replication errors occurring so often. I suspect you mean replication conflicts rather then errors though. Two different things. Also you don't mention what version you worked on.

  • Re:I gotta say (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Strudelkugel ( 594414 ) * on Wednesday August 06, 2008 @01:13PM (#24499423)

    And we got cheap personal computing because IBM took the decision to set up a skunkworks to design an open architecture PC - disruptive technology.

    You might want to read the history of the IBM PC. [] IBM made the model 5150 with an open architecture because they did not want to invest too much money in the project. The published BIOS specs allowed other companies to reverse engineer the BIOS and make clones. This was certainly not the intent of IBM, as represented by the fact that they came up with the proprietary micro-channel [] design (be sure to read the "market share" section) as an attempt to recapture the market.

    The IBM PC was a Black Swan. [] Gate's brilliance was in the way he structured his DOS license agreement with IBM. IBM had a royalty free right to distribute it with every PC they built. Gates retained the right to sell it to any other vendor, none of which existed at the time. The IBM people thought the idea of clones was far fetched, evidently. The clone market turned out to be enormous, which was great for Microsoft, but also recognize Gates couldn't be certain that it would be. IBM doesn't do anything disruptive intentionally. Their customers don't like disruptive things, and they don't like disruptive things. Like most companies, they try to stay in Mediocristan []. Desktop linux is from Mediocristan, as is Vista. Embedded and server hosted linux is from Extremistan, as is Windows NT and Mac OS on the iPhone.

    If you think my view has some merit, you might want to reconsider this statement:

    The other is of course its decision to support Linux.

Money can't buy love, but it improves your bargaining position. -- Christopher Marlowe