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Operating Systems Businesses Red Hat Software Software Linux

Red Hat CEO Questions Relevance of Desktop Linux 615

snydeq writes "Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst questioned the relevance of Linux on the desktop, citing several financial and interoperability hurdles to business adoption at a panel on end-users and Linux last night at the OSBC. 'First of all, I don't know how to make money on it,' Whitehurst said, adding that he was uncertain how relevant the desktop itself will be in five years given advances in cloud-based and smartphone computing, as well as VDI. 'The concept of a desktop is kind of ridiculous in this day and age. I'd rather think about skating to where the puck is going to be than where it is now.' Despite increasing awareness that desktop Linux is ready for widespread mainstream adoption, fellow panelists questioned the practicality of switching to Linux, noting that even some Linux developers prefer Macs to Linux. 'There's a desire [to use desktop Linux],' one panelist said, 'but practicality sets in. There are significant barriers to switching.'"
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Red Hat CEO Questions Relevance of Desktop Linux

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  • He's just angry... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Thelasko ( 1196535 ) on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @12:34PM (#27331117) Journal
    that Canonical is doing what he's been trying to do for years.
  • perspective (Score:5, Insightful)

    by B5_geek ( 638928 ) on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @12:36PM (#27331149)

    It might not be ready for his desktop be it has been on my desktop for 7+ years.
    His main problem is that he doesn't know how to make money off of Desktop Linux.

  • Desktop irrelevant (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @12:39PM (#27331213)

    You're right, in 5 years the hundreds of millions of desktop computers running various OS's will all go away because of massive investments by companies in huge single points of failu^H^H^H cloud computing facilities. And with this booming economy, those billion dollar future tech gambles will be coming along any day now...

  • Dumbest. CEO. Ever (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fodder69 ( 701416 ) on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @12:40PM (#27331243)

    How many times have we heard the 'Death of the Desktop'. Just because he can't figure out how to make money on it does not mean it is going away.

  • by Frankie70 ( 803801 ) on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @12:42PM (#27331271)

    Put it on the shelf, and sell it for $50. Use the $50 to pay for 1) 24-hour tech support phone line

    One support call by each buyer will exhaust the 50$.
    And people who buy rather than download will be kind of people who will need support.

  • Re:perspective (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Andr T. ( 1006215 ) <andretaff.gmail@com> on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @12:42PM (#27331279)
    This makes me think that... if I don't know how to make money from orange juice, should I tell people that drinking it is stupid?
  • by kabloom ( 755503 ) on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @12:43PM (#27331291) Homepage

    Of course the desktop will be relevant in 5 years, because it's still the most convenient way to get serious crative work done (writing, coding, school work, artistic projects). I'd hate to see what would happen to the quality of kids' school reports if they wrote them on smartphones.

  • This just in (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jorenko ( 238937 ) on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @12:44PM (#27331303)

    Millions of Ubuntu users question the relevance of Red Hat on the desktop.

  • Re:perspective (Score:5, Insightful)

    by langelgjm ( 860756 ) on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @12:44PM (#27331307) Journal

    Also, what's with the assumption that the desktop won't be relevant in 5 years? That seems highly unlikely.

    It's already been around and mainstream for maybe 15 years, and I don't see it going away any time soon. Sure, mobile devices are going to play an increasing role, but I get the feeling that people are still going to be heading into an office five days a week five years from now.

  • Re:perspective (Score:5, Insightful)

    by anaesthetica ( 596507 ) on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @12:46PM (#27331355) Homepage Journal

    doesn't know how to make money off of Desktop Linux

    This is exactly why Microsoft is afraid of Desktop Linux – no money to be made.

  • by PrescriptionWarning ( 932687 ) on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @12:47PM (#27331371)
    I bought Ubuntu for $20 at BestBuy sometime last year shortly after 8.04 came out. Haven't seen it since then, but I assume free OS's don't sell too well when obscurely placed in the PC software section instead of directly next to all the shiny Windows Vusta boxes.

    But thats really irrelevant, the thing I take issue to is that Mac OSX is NOT a better developer environment than Ubuntu. I've been using Ubuntu for over 2 years now at work and the only thing I can't do with it is Netmeeting, which is becoming less relevant since Lotus e-meeting works in linux for sharing desktops. I own a MacMini at home and I just can't bring myself to develop on it. That bit aside, equipping a programmer with a MacPro desktop or laptop is just far too expensive to justify anyway.
  • I agree (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Em Emalb ( 452530 ) <<ememalb> <at> <gmail.com>> on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @12:49PM (#27331413) Homepage Journal

    In my opinion, he's right.

    Linux is fine for users who fit (mainly) into two categories:

    1) knowledgeable people who like to tinker with computers and have an understanding of the base OS and some of it's quirks.
    2) extremely un-knowledgeable people who get linux installed on their desktop by someone from category 1. They make no changes to their desktops, use few programs and if they do have an issue, call "tech support" who is almost always the guy or gal who installed it for them.

    In the middle, you have a huge number of people who just want their computer to work. Linux does the trick, but they're conditioned to MSInstallers and setup.exes. They're used to the "Windows Way" and the "Mac Way". They use their computer to play games. They use the internet, email, and maybe some word-processing type stuff.

    They don't want to have to change their thought process.

    (car analogy time)

    It's like being taught how to drive an automatic your whole life and then being forced to drive a stick. There's a learning curve there. And most people simply don't want to try it.

    (for the record, I have several different OSes running, Leopard, Ubuntu, XP, and Vista on various computers. I'm agnostic, I use what is best suited for the job.)

  • by upside ( 574799 ) on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @12:50PM (#27331423) Journal

    Making a profit and being relevant are two different things.

    I use Linux for desktop both at work (RHEL/PC) and home (Ubuntu/netbook).

  • by dwiget001 ( 1073738 ) on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @12:53PM (#27331473)

    Well, the French **also** fought with the U.S., kicking the British arse on the high seas, etc.

    Guess you missed those parts of the American Revolution.

  • by upside ( 574799 ) on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @12:54PM (#27331483) Journal

    This is one of the interesting things you constantly hear about Desktop Linux: vendors must provide support.

    Have you EVER heard of an end user calling Microsoft for support? I'm sure people do, but I've never heard of such a thing.

    People just assume they should know, else they ask me or other geeks for help. Corporation hire experts who are trained or self taught. Even THEY don't call Microsoft for help.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @12:55PM (#27331503)
    recent ati card still don't works out of the box, 3g huawei modem have troubles, sound card stutters, sleep works rarely, switching from x11 to console may cause lookups and so on.

    I love linux, but you need some reality check.
  • by commodore64_love ( 1445365 ) on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @12:56PM (#27331527) Journal

    I don't understand all this obsession with "cloud" computing, where the programs are run by some central server instead of at home. As someone who lived through the 70s and 80s, it sounds like the old "dumb terminal" and "smart central computer" model, and we abandoned that because it sucked. I can't envision a rebirth being any better.

    Plus there's the drawback of not owning anything. I bought Word back in 98, and yes it was pricey, but I've been able to use it over a decade now, at a cost of ~$10 per year. I also have the option to sell it and recoup some of my cost (around $25). I don't want to switch to a "software lease" model that sucks $50 out of my wallet year-after-year-after-year. That adds-up to $500 a decade which is plain nuts.

    I want ownership.

  • by Nyxeh ( 701219 ) on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @12:56PM (#27331529)
    I think when it comes to using terms like 'amazing' around Linux (and Ubuntu in particular) is that it has been so bad for so long that the fact that it works as it should is being treated like an amazing success, rather than an expected situation.
  • by PotatoFarmer ( 1250696 ) on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @12:59PM (#27331571)

    That bit aside, equipping a programmer with a MacPro desktop or laptop is just far too expensive to justify anyway.

    Unless you're developing for multiple platforms, in which case it's actually pretty cost effective to be a reboot away from Linux/Windows/OSX rather than purchasing separate machines.

  • by jabjoe ( 1042100 ) on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @01:11PM (#27331791)
    Wasn't the desktop never meant to happen? Won't we all meant to be using thin clients?

    This never happened, and may never happen because the bandwidth speed isn't going up faster than computers speed. Maybe we will reach a point where all the user input and computer output can be piped about and the latency isn't a problem, but even then I'm not sure people will want it. The freedom implications seams sinister to me, and I'm untrusting of storing stuff only online as I've had data lost for me before (ok, ten years ago, but still).

    I think things will continue as today, fat clients. I can do whatever I want the limits being only myself, time and my machine specs.
    Scales nicely too.
  • by CannonballHead ( 842625 ) on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @01:17PM (#27331895)

    Exactly! I find it annoying that people point to Ubuntu as if Canonical was a perfect example of an open source company. Canonical would not exist if Shuttleworth didn't have a lot of money. He's not making anything on this Ubuntu thing, as far as I know.

    Not to say Canonical is bad or Ubuntu stinks, I use it at home actually... but it's being supported by one of those evil corporate people that made money in business. (I don't think made money == evil, but you know...)

  • Re:This just in (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @01:19PM (#27331921)

    Well they shouldn't be, considering how much RedHat contributes to the Linux desktop.

  • Anecdotes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF ( 813746 ) on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @01:20PM (#27331931)

    But thats really irrelevant, the thing I take issue to is that Mac OSX is NOT a better developer environment than Ubuntu. I've been using Ubuntu for over 2 years now at work and the only thing I can't do with it is Netmeeting, which is becoming less relevant since Lotus e-meeting works in linux for sharing desktops. I own a MacMini at home and I just can't bring myself to develop on it. That bit aside, equipping a programmer with a MacPro desktop or laptop is just far too expensive to justify anyway.

    I used to work at a software development shop that created high end Linux-based servers and appliances (I think our cheapest offering was $20K) in the security market. Employees were given the choice of workstations, laptop or desktop. Our pre-approved vendors were IBM/Lenovo and Apple. When I started working there, three or four people were running OS X. A few years later when I left the vast majority of the engineers were using it. During that whole time only one employee switched back from OS X, and it was because he did Linux on the desktop development as a hobby and it made his hobby easier. These were not casual users or casual developers. We regularly submitted code to Linux and BSD and Apache and numerous other projects. One hold out developer who was an OpenBSD fanatic only switched after he wrote some kernel modules for OS X to provide the level of security auditing he felt was lacking.

    The reason people gave for sticking with OS X was that it saved them time and effort managing configurations that were not necessary to their tasks. One manager proposed a standardized Linux desktop for his group and the engineers raised hell until the idea was dropped. His proposal was not helped by the fact that he couldn't get more than two Linux fans to agree on a vision as to what that standard should look like. The cost of Apple machines over IBM was negligible and the new employee configuration time as measured by IT was about 20 hours less. They also had a lower hardware failure rate.

    My point is, at least in my experience, Linux on the desktop was replaced primarily because it was not as good of a development workstation as OS X.

    I've been using Ubuntu for over 2 years now at work and the only thing I can't do with it is Netmeeting, which is becoming less relevant since Lotus e-meeting works in linux for sharing desktops.

    I've been running Ubuntu longer than that and Kubuntu before that. There are numerous software packages I use that won't run on Linux, even in WINE. There are numerous tasks where Ubuntu is simply a lot more cumbersome. In general, all things being equal, I will run the same application in OS X instead of Ubuntu (assuming native versions for each). This is because

    That bit aside, equipping a programmer with a MacPro desktop or laptop is just far too expensive to justify anyway.

    Wow, you must work at some lousy places with weird costing. The cost of an Apple laptop versus another laptop with similar specs is pretty negligible. It probably cost companies I worked at less than filling the fridge with snacks. Just a little bit of time saved, is worth a lot of money when you're talking about the salary of a software engineer or even a QA guy. Heck, the cost of my time migrating to a new laptop using OS X's nifty auto-migrate feature versus installing Ubuntu again, re-downloading all the software, reconfiguring the software, and migrating my home directory and data probably more than makes up for the cost difference and that's just one task.

    Obviously there is a lot of room for variation. Different people perform different tasks and get paid different amounts. That said, you blanket statements were certainly not true when we tried them. We saved money.

  • Re:Oh Yeah?! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by morgan_greywolf ( 835522 ) on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @01:25PM (#27332015) Homepage Journal

    I've been running Intrepid Ibex and Hardy Heron on my wife's Dell Vostro and my Dell Latitude for several months now (with the hdparm fix).

    Linux having problems with laptop hardware is old hat. Linux runs great on a wide range of equipment.

  • Re:perspective (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @01:26PM (#27332041) Journal

    To hell with CAD, let me know when a mobile phone can act as a functional word processor.

  • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF ( 813746 ) on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @01:35PM (#27332191)

    And once again, those same metrics APPLY to Mac OS X just as it does to Linux, so if people will claim Mac is ready for the desktop and that Linux isn't, I think that there is probably something broken in their assessment.

    OS X does have something that Linux on the desktop is mostly lacking. That is OS X is championed by a hardware and services company (Apple) dedicated to making a very nice user experience for people who buy their hardware. It comes pre-installed, pre-configured, and working smoothly. There is support and services and a good commercial hardware ecosystem and stores individual people can go to to actually buy them at the mall.

    If a large company were to start dumping money into making desktop/laptop hardware that runs Linux just as well and keeping Linux working well for those users and promoting the software and add-on ecosystem... well it would cost them a pile of money to really get it going. Then, they'd probably do quite well if they managed their brand well. That said, I really don't think Linux on the desktop is ready because the experience really isn't as polished and the hardware and software ecosystem just doesn't exist. It could with some investment, but it really isn't there yet. Netbooks and corporate desktops are fighting for which will be the first real desktops that are the exception to this.

  • by Runaway1956 ( 1322357 ) on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @01:41PM (#27332277) Homepage Journal
    Errr, maybe the average homeuser has little use for a full-blown server? Or, maybe he's afraid of trying to set one up? Or, he doesn't understand the benefits of a server? Personally - I've only dabbled with server OS's enough to realize that some hacking on Win2003 results in a pretty secure and very reliable desktop. As a result of a growing family and growing home network, I intend to set up a server in the very near future. But, I regard this as a leap into the unknown. Do I want to serve only files (and file space), or do I want to serve applications? Multimedia streaming? What exactly DO I WANT?!? It's not exactly scary to me - but it will certainly scare off the non-geek.
  • by Captain Hook ( 923766 ) on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @01:50PM (#27332453)

    Americans more than repaid their help with liberating their country from Nazi Germany?

    And in doing so, very convientantly fought a war against Germany which was inveitable (or at least looked that way to American political elite of the time) well away from American soil and while Germany was already fighting on multiple fronts

    I'm not saying American involvment in the war wasn't decisive from an industrial and manpower point of view, but Americas entry at the time it did was also about the most advantagous time to enter if a American/German war was going to happen - albeit, a American/German war would have probably been much later.

  • Re:Wow, nice troll (Score:3, Insightful)

    by John Jamieson ( 890438 ) on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @01:50PM (#27332459)

    See, as I said I am not a real Linux user, So the number of Window managers and desktop environments is irrelevant to me. I just use one at a time.

    If I bring up KDE, I use the apps listed... They just work. In KDE I use Opera for web browsing and mail. Why do I need Evolution? When I am using KDE I rarely need to bring up a GNOME app!

    When I use GNOME (Ubuntu Studio), I use the Apps they provide.

    Even when there are slight differences in appearance, big deal, they didn't stop me from using the MAC, they are not going to stop me from playing with Linux now.

  • by vtcodger ( 957785 ) on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @01:51PM (#27332463)

    ***Linux just isn't ready for the desktop yet.***

    Quite true, but then neither is Windows. I often become quite frustrated with the usability, documentation, and quality problems in PC Unixes. Then, I'm forced to use Windows for some reason or another, and memories of the reasons that I quit using it come flooding back. The fact that Windows is an unmaintainable, malware riddled, shambles with severe usability and performance problems doesn't stop people from using it and often even (incomprehensibly) paying money for it. I don't imagine that the fact that Unix desktops are not really ready for prime time is going to discourage their slow adoption.

  • Re:This just in (Score:4, Insightful)

    by StormReaver ( 59959 ) on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @01:51PM (#27332465)

    > Millions of Ubuntu users question the relevance of Red Hat on the desktop.

    That's the key point. Though Red Hat's server systems are exceptionally good, its desktop operating systems are of very low quality. Add to that Red Hat's schizophrenic commitment (or lack thereof) to a desktop system, and there's little wonder Red Hat can't do a damn thing in the desktop space.

    In came Canonical with a focus on the desktop and increasingly high quality with every release, and Red Hat became completely irrelevant as a desktop player. At this point, most of the barriers to widespread Linux desktop adoption are more imagined than real.

  • by Seth Kriticos ( 1227934 ) on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @01:55PM (#27332533)
    Hey, he has enriched the world with a wonderful Linux distribution and accelerated the deployment of a superior operating system by years, how is that no profit? Oh, you are talking about money, never mind..
  • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF ( 813746 ) on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @01:57PM (#27332553)

    Have you run an Apple and tried to run it against an Exchange server?

    Yes. It worked fine for everything I tried, except the Web interface (which also failed for Windows and IE).

    Nothing works 100%.

    Of course nothing works 100%. Windows doesn't work 100% when trying to talk to other Windows boxes. In fact it fails quite often and always has. This isn't about getting everything to work perfectly. It is about getting it to work smoothly and well enough that the average target user performing average tasks has an acceptable experience. And by experience, I don't mean they can look at their favorite Web site after their nephew comes over and installs Linux as a favor. I mean they go to the store, buy a computer with Linux installed, plug it into their cable modem, and are able to get things working and do what they expect to be able to do.

    And there are most definitely limits to what Apple is capable and/or willing to support users on. Does that make Apple "not ready for the Desktop"?

    Hopefully by now you see the difference based upon the example I provide above.

  • by Brandybuck ( 704397 ) on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @02:00PM (#27332599) Homepage Journal

    Just because he can't make a profit on the desktop, doesn't mean the desktop is irrelevant. Just because no one else can either, doesn't make desktops valueless. They're part of the computing infrastructure, and without them we can't get to certain other profits. Stores don't make any money on their parking lots, yet they still use them so that their customer can park. Same with desktops. Commercial distros might not make any money on GNOME or KDE, but they should still consider funding them because it expands the distros' market.

    p.s. Oh, and if you're going to base your business decisions on trends, you need to look at ALL trends. Mobile devices are indeed booming, but so are large monitors. More and more people are going dual-screen and/or 20+" monitors. The desktop isn't dying, it's getting breathing room!

  • Wow.. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by spiffmastercow ( 1001386 ) on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @02:04PM (#27332653)
    This would be almost a fair assessment.. In 1992.
  • by fm6 ( 162816 ) on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @02:09PM (#27332735) Homepage Journal

    I think you overestimate your own relevance. Hackers love Linux because, well, it's easy to hack. But how many computer users are hackers?

    Netbooks sold with Linux preinstalled might change this equation. But in the meantime, most Linux systems are servers. And the growth of Linux in the server market is driven by for-profit companies: Red Hat, Novell, Cannonical. Plus the hardware companies (I work for one) that sell servers that run their products.

  • Re:perspective (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rary ( 566291 ) on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @02:18PM (#27332883)

    Let me know when a mobile phone can serve as a CAD workstation, video editing workstation, or other high performance need. We have plenty of those around here where I work. Also need to mention dual wide screen monitors in imaging departments like radiology (they rotate them vertically for x-rays, etc.) It's more likely that thin clients will become the norm again before mobile devices replace desktops. We have a lot of Citrix thin clients here and that number is growing steadily...

    Whitehurst is a CEO. He thinks that all anyone uses a computer for is sending and receiving email.

  • Re:Oh Yeah?! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by louzerr ( 97449 ) <Mr DOT Pete DOT Nelson AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @02:27PM (#27333023) Homepage

    Modern Linux distros run on more laptops, and netbooks than the current MS distribution.

    As far as I know, Windows doesn't even have an OS for netbooks ... they have to use an old OEM of XP, which won't be around forever.

    Many netbooks are using Ubuntu instead of any MS OS.

    Vista (more-have-y) requires such overloaded hardware to achieve the same thing Gnome, KDE and Mac have been achieving for the past five years.

    No - the real problem is not hardware, but the software people are expected to use. My wife is in school, where they may have been able to use linux, except one class absolutely required Microsoft Office 2007 (which wouldn't run on many students' old laptops), and most of the "demo" software that comes with the text books also requires Windows to run Flash apps (now how stupid is that?).

    Linux is ready for the desktop, has been for years. It's the half-ass software designers that are not ready to think anything beyond MS.

  • by AliasMarlowe ( 1042386 ) on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @02:32PM (#27333127) Journal
    Perhaps Red Hat CEO Jim Whitehurst is just referring to desktop installation of Red Hat Linux having insufficient payback for Red Hat. The need for support contracts would be SO much greater if clients used Windows desktops to connect to the Red Hat servers (Windows being even less ready for the desktop, and more needy of support).

    Whatever about Red Hat, I've found Ubuntu and PCLinuxOS to be eminently suitable for the desktop.
  • by Jerry ( 6400 ) on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @02:46PM (#27333357)

    And probably frustrated.

    His statements not withstanding, Red Hat announced a short while ago that they were "re-entering" the Desktop market. It's beginning to look like RH has a leadership problem where the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing or saying.

    Novell's Hovsepian said he made "the deal" with Microsoft because HE could not sell SUSE Linux against XP Pro. Will RH sign a similar "deal" with Microsoft for the same reason? Is a trend being established where Linux companies hire big name CEOs with WINDOWS experience only to learn they have NO knowledge of Linux or how to sell it against Windows, and soon give up?

    His statement about "usability" is laughable and ludicrous. Millions of Linux Desktops around the world are giving their users a fast, stable, functional AND secure environment.

    This Sony VAIO VGN-FW140E/H laptop is running Kubuntu 9.04 ALPHA 6 (that's right - ALPHA, and it is rock solid stable for me) with KDE 4.2.1 like a silk glove. It used to run VISTA Home Premium but Jaunty Jackalope is better looking and works better than VISTA. There is nothing I want to do that Jaunty can't do, and do better than any version of Windows I've ever used. I also like the fact that it doesn't tell me what I can and can't do, and it is NOT calling home with my personal info and demographics.

  • Re:Oh Yeah?! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by polaris20 ( 893532 ) on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @02:52PM (#27333449)
    The problem with desktop in the enterprise is the hundreds (maybe thousands) of industry-specific apps that are Windows only. Juris for legal, Rockwell for PLC's, Best Software for asset management, etc. While Linux itself is very much ready from a stability standpoint, the software (and to some extent, hardware) support just isn't there. Which sucks, because my life as an IT guy would be so much easier if everyone ran Ubuntu. That is until they port Antivirus 2009 to Linux. ;)
  • by Nursie ( 632944 ) on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @02:55PM (#27333509)

    Actually, linux needs threads because they are useful and so much easier to code for than multi-process applications. Multi-process programming sucks.

    Threads are a great addition to linux.

  • Re:Oh Yeah?! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Nursie ( 632944 ) on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @03:11PM (#27333711)

    This may well be true.

    It's also funny because a decade or so back we may have said the same about apps on commercial UNIX boxes.

    I may well be lucky because I fit precisely the demographic that is making linux and making it for themselves. I am a UNIX focused software developer. Pretty much everything I want and need is there, for home and business use. At work I have need for a couple of commercial apps, but they're available for Linux too.

    "While Linux itself is very much ready from a stability standpoint, the software (and to some extent, hardware) support just isn't there. "

    All depends on what you want. There's a hell of a lot of software flexibility over MS operating systems if what you want is to set up a DNS forwarding proxy, or quickly and easily start coding in pretty much any given language.

    As for hardware support, I'm sorry, but nothing else comes close to the range of hardware supported by Linux. I have debian running on servers, desktops, laptops, netbooks, NAS devices, mobile phones...

  • Re:I agree (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Draek ( 916851 ) on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @03:22PM (#27333857)

    So why didn't you install VirtualBox+WinXP on the Linux machines instead? if you're gonna use the OS as nothing more than a VM launcher, I can't see why you'd pay the extra price of a Mac in the first place. And I've yet to meet any dev that doesn't use XP on a VM to do their 'real work' so forgive me if I'm not convinced of OSX's benefits yet.

  • Re:Oh Yeah?! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @03:24PM (#27333887)
    I beg to differ. It's so easy to lie that even if you had an issue on any of those machines I'm quite sure you wouldn't share it.
  • Re:Anecdotes (Score:3, Insightful)

    by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF ( 813746 ) on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @03:33PM (#27334011)

    Conclusion: Apple lock-in works.


    What lock in? THey could easily install Linux or Windows if they wanted. They could get a different OS for their next machine if they wanted. Our company services were pretty much all standards based so that they worked with Linux, BSD, Windows, and OS X. So, where's the lock-in? Having a product people prefer to use is not lock-in.

    How is Apple any different than Microsoft? They both are proprietary, both use the lock-in tactic a lot, both have some BSD-code in them.

    Well, with regard to OSS Apple actually has kept their BSD derived components open and contributes all their changes back to the OSS community. So I'd say that is a difference. And Apple relies mostly on open standard protocols that are interoperable with Linux and anything else someone cares to make interoperable.

    You're probably just trolling though.

  • Re:Oh Yeah?! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Synchis ( 191050 ) on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @03:59PM (#27334383) Homepage Journal

    For the record:

    1. I'm a desktop linux user of almost 2 years.

    2. I'm a gamer, and all my games run just fine in Linux.

    3. Photoshop works just fine, out of the box, in Linux through WINE if you *really* must have it.

    So yeah... all is well for me. I also do video editing and DVD authoring work in Linux, which I find has better tools and better control over the end product than any package I've found for Windows.

    Is there a learning curve?

    Of course there is. But go visit the Helios project blog and you'll be awakened to a world in which desktop Linux is distributed to underprivileged children who pick it up in a matter of minutes. Keeping in mind that these are children who have never used a computer of *ANY* kind.

    If you want Linux adoption, the children is where to target it. Our generation grew up with windows, and a vast many people don't want to let go of the past.

    Teach your children Linux, and do the future a favor.

  • Re:I agree (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Ant P. ( 974313 ) on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @04:20PM (#27334615) Homepage

    The real problem is that Windows is trying to be Linux, and most people are too stupid to see it the right way around.

  • by misdirector ( 1515619 ) on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @04:20PM (#27334621)
    The comment "The fact that Windows is an unmaintainable, malware riddled, shambles with severe usability and performance problems" is someone ill informed. The fact that those that write malware for Windows only do so because Windows has 90% of the desktop market. If Linux had a larger percentage of the desktop market you would see similar attacks formed against it. The Unmaintainable statement is also a falacy since MS has the best rating for patching issues of any OS on the market. Lastly, as for usability, and performance, usability would be in the eye of the beholder. If what you are doing with it is something that requires Unix well then the usbility would be in question but if you are using it for something it is designed for they it works fine. I mean you wouldn't use a sports car to pull a travel trailer, if so then the usability of the sports car in that instance would be horrible and for performance yes Linux runs very good on hardware that would not even load Windows Vista, but if you want to run virtually any software that is sold today you need Windows and the lack of support for Linux by the mainstream software companies is one reason that Linux will never become a driving force on the desktop. Now before you flame me you must understand that I am neither for or against any OS they all have their place but honestly people use what they like and just because you dont like it doesnt mean we all have too or we all think that one or the other is horrible. Thank God we have a choice.
  • by turbidostato ( 878842 ) on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @05:06PM (#27335177)

    "Whatever about Red Hat, I've found Ubuntu and PCLinuxOS to be eminently suitable for the desktop."

    My thoughts were more or less on the same path. How is it that I've been using Linux on the destop both at home and at work since about 2000 and it's still "not ready" for the desktop? And while I'm professionally tied to computers I'm not on the league of the uberfreaks. I mostly limit myself on the desktop to "use" the system.

  • by Americano ( 920576 ) on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @05:26PM (#27335407)

    Apple doesn't make money selling OSX, they make money selling hardware.

    Apple makes money selling an integrated package of hardware, coupled with attractive & easy-to-use software that allow that hardware to do things easily that lots of people want to do. They *sell* the same commodity hardware that Dell, HP, and every other Intel-based vendor does, wrapped up in a pretty case. The differentiator is the software that runs on that hardware, and the "experience" that software offers.

    To say that Canonical, a newcomer, should be able to make an easy profit selling software for the same PCs that Microsoft has a monopoly on is ridiculous. To use Apple as support for that suggestion is not well thought out.

    Why is it ridiculous? Does Intel only sell hardware to Dell or Apple? Apple is an example of a vendor who has cut MSFT out of the loop to sell that hardware, and they're doing it quite successfully. Clearly there is a space for an alternative to Microsoft, why can't Linux establish itself as an alternative?

    I think Linux advocates have spent so long thinking of themselves as the "Anti-Microsoft" that they almost can't conceive of a way to do things that isn't the way Microsoft operates. Instead of trying to replace Microsoft at Dell, compete with Dell like Apple does. There's a space in the market for it, Apple proves that.

    To say that Canonical, a newcomer, should be able to make an easy profit selling software for the same PCs that Microsoft has a monopoly on is ridiculous.

    To say that Google, a newcomer, should be able to make an easy profit selling advertising on the same search services that Yahoo had a monopoly on is ridiculous.

    To say that Toyota, a newcomer (founded 1938) should be able to make an easy profit selling automobiles that GM (founded 1908) and Ford (founded 1903) had a monopoly on is ridiculous.

    Or maybe history & industry inertia aren't as important as selling a good product to people who want it?

  • by SiChemist ( 575005 ) * on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @05:32PM (#27335475) Homepage

    The comment "The fact that Windows is an unmaintainable, malware riddled, shambles with severe usability and performance problems" is someone ill informed.

    So, you are saying that Windows is NOT malware riddled? Because if you are, there is no reason to read any further. You are in serious denial. Regardless of WHY Windows is so malware ridden, the fact remains that Windows is the prime malware platform.

    As for your rambling about usability being "in the eye of the beholder" you make even less sense than the first part of your rant. I will quote the only factual bit of information in the last half of your rant:

    yes Linux runs very good on hardware that would not even load Windows Vista

    I think it's telling that the overwhelming majority of Linux users are like me: former Windows users. It's not that we don't know what Windows is like-- It's that we do know, used it for years, and found a way out. Maybe if some of the Windows evangelists on Slashdot would actually USE Linux for a little while, their rants would at least make more sense.

  • by treeves ( 963993 ) on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @05:33PM (#27335481) Homepage Journal
    Are you in Congress or what? Revenue != profit.
  • by bugfreezer ( 1088369 ) on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @05:42PM (#27335555)

    I'd Mod you up, but I already commented. Same vein as "Blu-ray will be irrelevant because we'll get to download everything."

    Think "Pay-per-view". Thanks, no.

  • by misdirector ( 1515619 ) on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @06:01PM (#27335739)
    Actually, if you were to look at this objectively you would see what I am saying instead of wanting to attack me. I said Windows itself is NOT malware ridden is correct. The fact that it holds 90% of the desktop market means that malware writers are going to write malware for it. If Linux or Mac had that kind of market share and not Windows we would be saying the same thing about them. Those that would write malware or viruses for an OS will only do it if they are going to get noticed or get what they want on a wide scale and attacking the platform that is used on 90% of the desktop computers (which are the most insecure due to the large percentage of them being in the home and virtually unprotected). There is no need for them to attack Linux or Mac simply because there will be very little press if a small number of computers are infected; however if you infect hundreds of thousands then you gain notoriety and have a larger opportunity to pilfer personal information that can be used for profit.
  • Re:Oh Yeah?! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jwhitener ( 198343 ) on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @07:22PM (#27336507)

    We can all trade anecdotal evidence for days and still have no idea what the average linux desktop experience is.

    Mine: ubuntu 8.04 Dell Optiplex 740. 2 video problems preventing startx after updates. Managed to fix it by reverting to vesa, then a later update came out and I could re-enable fglrx.

    Ubuntu 8.10: 1 video error, preventing startx from booting. Reverted back to vesa. Next update, fglrx starting working. Month later, hda-intel alsa sound stopped working after an update. Still doesn't work today. Had to install oss to get sound working.

    We've got an entire help desk down stairs that 'tried linux', had too many problems with it, gave up, and now use mac/parallels.

    Is any of this evidence for or against linux on the desktop? Nope. Just a bunch of stories.

    Linux distro's will be "ready for the desktop" when they can standardize more, and combine their marketing efforts to get their desktops on more systems. Dell, HP, Gateway, etc.. , thereby causing more incentive for better drivers and application support.

    Linux Servers took off because they are just plain better in many ways. The desktop isn't really better or worse. Just different. But without a single company/entity pushing it at vendors, they won't voluntarily market it when it is really no better.

    Dell allows it as an option, but that is far different from seeing a TV commercial touting it as a 'better experience' like you see Microsoft and Mac doing.

  • by walshy007 ( 906710 ) on Wednesday March 25, 2009 @11:18PM (#27338155)
    Well considering linux with apache powers a considerable (i.e. more than windows) chunk of the web server market, shouldn't there be more malware and worms etc written for it already? considering they are all facing the web etc.

I just need enough to tide me over until I need more. -- Bill Hoest