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Microsoft Attacks Linux With Retail-Training Talking Points 681

DesiVideoGamer writes "Over at, a user has posted screen-shots from Microsoft's 'ExpertZone' training course entitled 'Linux vs. Windows 7.' This course is available to BestBuy employees and will make them eligible for a $10 copy of Windows 7 upon completion." The screenshots linked show at least some creative interpretations of the state of Linux vs. Windows on a wide range of things, from media playback and video conferencing to ease of updates to (of all things) keeping your PCs "safer." Most of the claims, though, aren't concrete enough to be perfectly refuted. Writes DesiVideoGamer, "I think I now know why, when I enter BestBuy, the employees say the odd lies that they do."
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Microsoft Attacks Linux With Retail-Training Talking Points

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  • Re:Sign me up... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mr. Freeman ( 933986 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @03:33PM (#29325339)
    I can get a free copy of windows 7 and I don't have to take any bullshit propaganda course.

    It's completely unethical for bestbuy to go along with microsoft on pushing this course onto their employees. Though I can't say I'm surprised.
  • And.... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Manip ( 656104 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @03:38PM (#29325389)

    So what?
    Linux vendors would do exactly the same thing. Who is to say which OS is safer for example? It entirely depends on what metric you use to measure it. If for example you look at number of "hacker" style compromises then Linux is the worse but if we're looking at automatic spyware infection then obviously Windows is almost the only OS in that category.

    I don't blame Microsoft for selling their products. That is what a software company SHOULD do. The only reason these are "stories" is because people [incorrectly] feel Linux is a community effort and that any attack on Linux is an attack on this community. But when you look at the people who donate MOST Linux code you'll quickly discover that Linux is about as community as Windows is...

    So really this is just a slam at the Linux Vendors who have the cash to answer it...

  • by lukas84 ( 912874 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @03:42PM (#29325443) Homepage

    Sales and Marketing people have always been people incapable of coherent thought or doing honest work. They'll do whatever they can to get more money. The only thing worse than them are Executives.

    But that's just how the world works, there's no use in lamenting this. It's certainly interesting to see this, but there's no need to act like this was some big surprise. Every company acts like this. A society composed of only honest people doing honest work probably wouldn't work - nobody has tried yet, though.

  • by Frosty Piss ( 770223 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @03:43PM (#29325457)

    What's the cheapest way of getting Windows 7? Buy a new computer.

    This is true. But...

    With pre-loaded Win 7, all you get is a worthless "restore" CD. Running Windows really does require a full install CD unless you don't mind losing everything while reinstalling, which you *will* have to do now and then.

  • by negRo_slim ( 636783 ) <> on Saturday September 05, 2009 @03:44PM (#29325461) Homepage

    No profit in free.

    I disagree.

  • by GMThomas ( 1115405 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @03:46PM (#29325471) Homepage
    I don't hate Linux (in fact, I run it on all of my machines), but this is why Linux has not become popular on the desktop.

    The first reply to the topic says this:

    "Um WOW. THeir full of them selves. And if something dose not work with linux you can compile your own code and make it work."

    It's this kind of mentality that keeps Linux from becoming more accessible. Imagine that you install Linux for your mom, and she can't get so and so program to work, so you tell her to just go into the source and edit a few things and recompile it. That's just not going to work.
  • Re:Sign me up... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by lukas84 ( 912874 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @03:46PM (#29325475) Homepage

    Err, selling Windows Netbooks over Linux Netbooks makes perfect sense for them. They're more expensive and thus have higher margins.

  • by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @03:47PM (#29325483) Journal
    The way to refute an inconcrete reply is with an answer that is equally inconcrete. For example, in one of the slides, they say "Windows is safer than Linux." The quickest way to refute it is to laugh. You don't even need to answer. If they try to hit on an emotional level, hit back on an emotional level. Once they come back with a more concrete assertion, you can begin refuting it on a more concrete level.

    "Windows is safer because it has parental controls." Ooh, check out that argument, a clear attempt to change the subject. A typical geek will start by trying to think of any Linux software that can handle parental controls, and if there isn't one, start thinking of ways to write scripts and set permissions that will simulate it. Easier way to handle it is to smirk slightly, and say, "yeah, like that will keep hackers out." Roll your eyes. Don't let them get away with ridiculous arguments.

    On the other hand, Microsoft is right in some of their points, Linux has fewer games available, Linux has less software available, Linux has fewer drivers available. Those are my biggest complaints with Linux too. In fact, they may be my only complaints.
  • Re:Linux? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by negRo_slim ( 636783 ) <> on Saturday September 05, 2009 @03:49PM (#29325519) Homepage

    Linux in its current state on the desktop cannot compete with Win7. OS X can and does.

    How exactly does OS X compete on the desktop once you consider even marginal gaming? Look at the department store value bins, the $10 section. People want their cheap maddens, their cheap puzzle games and for some reason their cheap Ghost Recon... Seems like DirectX is the de facto standard.

    Outside of this one very specific issue I see both OSX and Linux as great alternatives to Windows. But unless Flash games are your end all be all none of these even try to compete. (and yes I am aware of what titles are available on these platforms, but it's far from an impressive list for either of them.) Once linux/mac software is available at Wal-Mart, then we might be talking.

  • by cwgmpls ( 853876 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @03:59PM (#29325623) Journal
    Nice idea. But your "Software Freedom Day" is two weeks away, and you don't even have a proper website? That is why Windows and Mac will always win over Linux, they both have some concept of marketing. Linux struggles with marketing. Not that marketing has anything to do with the quality of software. But marketing has everything to do with people knowing about it.
  • by Dr_Barnowl ( 709838 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @04:00PM (#29325629)

    redhaired hippie girlfriend who lives in a house in the country

    Sign me up for Linux...

  • by zippthorne ( 748122 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @04:08PM (#29325729) Journal

    I liked this one:

    Linux is safer than windows

    The Real Facts:

    • There's no guarantee that when security vulnerabilities are discovered, an update will be created. Users are on their own
    • There is no ability to set parental restrictions

    Are they talking about Linux or Windows? I thought it was quite clever that they could be referring to either, while implying that linux is the inferior one.

  • Re:Linux? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Ma8thew ( 861741 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @04:08PM (#29325735)

    Once linux/mac software is available at Wal-Mart, then we might be talking.

    You mean like this []?

  • Re:Sign me up... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by jack455 ( 748443 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @04:14PM (#29325797)

    Exactly. I have a sales background and think this is funny. They're implying that win7 vs linux is a reasonable choice. They're talking about built-in support for devices which people might remember having to install a cd to run. If people even know what Linux is I'm sure it was from someone (probably more knowledgable) saying Linux is more secure even if it was followed up by a critique of Linux. My friend that I work with as a sysadmin is very pro ms but wouldn't buy half the stuff in these slides.

  • by msclrhd ( 1211086 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @04:16PM (#29325847)

    ... because it updates *everything* (the operating system and all installed applications that come from the distribution).

    And the "cannot tell what updates are required and which are optional" comment in Linux is ridiculous. In the update manager on Ubuntu (checked on 9.04), it clearly shows updates with "Important security updates", "Recommended updates" and "Other updates" listed, with a description of the changes.

  • Re:Sign me up... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NotBornYesterday ( 1093817 ) * on Saturday September 05, 2009 @04:17PM (#29325851) Journal
    I noticed several mild comments in this thread hit with -1, Troll. I think the MS astroturfers have mod points. The joke is on them; if they use up their points now, there will be nothing left later when the really nasty anti-MS stuff comes out.
  • The fact that this course is offered to BestBuy employees - and apparently only BestBuy employees - says something about consumer electronics retail in 2009 in the US. When I worked at CompUSA (pre - 2000) I frequently went to vendor-sponsored "classes" where they would give us food, beer, free hardware/software, etc, for listening to their pitch. We generally went there and found that there were also BestBuy, CircuitCity, and even OfficeMax or OfficeDepot employees, depending on what was being sold. Now of those five retailers (including CompUSA) only BestBuy remains a significant factor in consumer elecrtonics sales.

    I'm surprised that Microsoft apparently didn't even think highly enough of Microcenter to invite them. I guess they are still rather small fish (in terms of market presence) at the moment.
  • by Johnny Loves Linux ( 1147635 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @04:36PM (#29326029)

    they don't believe in their own product.

    Why do I say that? Because you don't see BMW giving free training videos to car salesmen comparing their cars to say GM or Chrysler or Ford, do you? BMW lives or dies by the quality and reputation of their products; they don't need to "educate" salesmen about their products. This smells of a desperation move where Microsoft must believe their Windows 7 doesn't compare favorably with Linux on netbooks, so they have to try to convince the Best Buy personnel, who let's face it, don't know as much about hardware and software as they know about marketing products, to push the Windows 7 stuff onto customers.

    There have been some studies of performance of Windows 7 beta vs. Linux on netbooks which either have not have been clear win for Windows 7 or worse, have shown Windows 7 in an unflattering light. As for citations, the web sites that I can recall are, and

    I mean trying to "educate" Best Buy sales people and having Windows 7 "House Parties" sounds a little pathetic don't you think? Did Microsoft do something similar when XP came out or even Vista?

  • Syn-app-store-tic (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tepples ( 727027 ) <tepples@gmail.BOHRcom minus physicist> on Saturday September 05, 2009 @04:41PM (#29326077) Homepage Journal

    I'll tell Linux how to beat M$: make a app store. I know, stupidly obvious, but there isn't one built into ubuntu.

    I'm running Ubuntu 8.04 on my laptop, and System > Administration > Synaptic Package Manager looks a lot like an app store.

  • when is Windows... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Locutus ( 9039 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @04:42PM (#29326091)
    When is Windows not like Windows?
    When Microsoft ships a new version.

    When is Windows just like Windows?
    When Microsoft ships a new version.

    You all know that Windows 7 is not like any kind of Windows most people are running but as you should have seen if you RTFA, Microsoft's army of marketing droids still likes to tell people that it's Windows so you know it.

    Besides this telling the world+dog that Microsoft is fighting Linux, look at the first mention of netbooks and Linux. The page title is about netbooks but the bullets are on PCs. They are being real careful to not allow the netbook to be labeled a special device or market segment and want it to be considered a limited function PC. The reason why is because if people think of the netbook as another device like say, an iPhone, they know that all the smoke and mirror tricks claiming having Windows is better goes out the windows. Peg the netbook as a little computer and people will think that having Windows on it is a good thing to do and if you put anything else on it, you'll have less functionality. The reality is, these resource constrained devices do more with Linux because Linux and OSS does better and can do more in these small devices. Think about it, you don't see Window XP, Vista, or Windows 7 on smartphones or MIDs devices.

  • Re:Sign me up... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Bigjeff5 ( 1143585 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @04:48PM (#29326157)

    My problem with the repository system is there is a ton of stuff that is not in the repository. If you want it, it can be a pain in the ass to get it.

    For heaven's sake, it's 2009, why the hell do I have to friggin compile every damn piece of software that isn't in a repository? Windows figured this out decades ago, if you're compiling it into a binary, why do you need to compile it in the first place?

    Granted, that last statement shows a little ignorance of the way Linux works, but seriously, why hasn't the Linux community come up with a simple install script/storage container that packs all the dirty stuff into one neat little package for easy distribution? As it is now you have to dump a tarball into directory, run a few scripts while crossing your fingers that all your libraries match up, then make the binary. If something goes wrong and you don't have the time or knowledge to fix the scripts then you're stuck. It's bullshit.

    As wonderful as the repository idea is - frankly I love that everything is right at your fingertips - it is completely unnecessary with Windows, because Google works just fine as a repository. Click the link and you're installing the program, no mess no hassle. And if you wanted to set up a repository, it would not be hard, it would be little more than a database of .msi files, which install automatically.

    Frankly, some kind of unified one-step scripted install structure, preferably all in a single container, that actually worked as intended would catapult linux on the desktop by leaps and bounds. It would make so many things easier. Developers would have to use it, though, or it would have to be dead simple to convert current asinine scripted installs to it, else there won't be packages for it and the whole thing would be dead before it started.

  • Re:And.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cwgmpls ( 853876 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @05:02PM (#29326295) Journal

    I'm tired of this attitude of "It's okay to lie because the other guy is lying too. In fact, I can lie louder than him". That is exactly what has our government so polarized and dysfunctional. We've gotten to the point of saying nothing is true, there is two sides to everything, and we need to hear both sides, no matter how untrue their arguments are. Telling the truth doesn't seem to count for anything anymore.

    Some of these items Microsoft are just flat lies. Selling a netbook as a gaming machine. Saying Windows is easier to upgrade (I can upgrade ALL of my applications on Ubuntu with one click, for a price of $0.00). They are lies and we should call them out as lies. And if you see a Linux vendor lying, we'll call them out for their lies too. But saying all points of view are equally valid and it is okay to lie because the other side lies is morally and intellectually bankrupt.

  • Re:Sign me up... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by westlake ( 615356 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @05:04PM (#29326297)

    It's completely unethical for bestbuy to go along with microsoft on pushing this course onto their employees. Though I can't say I'm surprised.

    Why is it unethical when the Windows product represents 99% of your PC sales?

    You want to change the ground game?

    Bring in some new players.

    Someone whose notion of marketing OEM Linux goes beyond dusting the pallets on the Sam's Club floor.

  • Re:Sign me up... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cp.tar ( 871488 ) <> on Saturday September 05, 2009 @05:41PM (#29326605) Journal

    At any rate, does anyone think Microsoft is giving Linux too much publicity? There's people out there that wouldn't dream of running linux, and when they're asking questions wouldn't it be easier to say "I don't know, never heard of it" then have some tech person jump all over them with a barrage of answers?

    They tried that.
    First they ignored Linux. Kept saying it wasn't a threat.
    Then they ridiculed it.
    Now they are fighting it.

    You know what the next step is, right? (It's not PROFIT!, but it's not far either.)

  • Re:And.... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Zero__Kelvin ( 151819 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @06:08PM (#29326793) Homepage

    "Who is to say which OS is safer for example?"

    Any educated person who knows all the facts and isn't a moron?

    "But when you look at the people who donate MOST Linux code you'll quickly discover that Linux is about as community as Windows is..."

    You had too go pretty far out of your way to broadcast your stupidity with that little gem. Now off you go little troll ...

  • Re:Sign me up... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by timmarhy ( 659436 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @06:17PM (#29326863)
    i don't think you know what unethical means. bestbuy sell stuff, this helps them sell it. it doesn't cause them to break any laws or bend any truths more then any other salesman in the history of selling. i don't see the conflict.

    reading some of the so called articles on /., not THAT is propaganda.

  • Re:Linux? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Beelzebud ( 1361137 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @06:20PM (#29326891)
    Actually you've proven nothing here. Your whole argument is just to brand people he knows as communists (like his grandparents..) with nothing else to back it up.

    You're like Joe McCarthy without any power...

    Guilt by association doesn't cut it. Especially when you have nothing to prove the BS you're spewing. If Obama were a Marxist you'd be able to point to direct examples of why that is the case. You can't, because you're just a right-winger with an axe to grind.
  • Re:Sign me up... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Sir_Lewk ( 967686 ) < minus herbivore> on Saturday September 05, 2009 @06:22PM (#29326911)

    This will probably get me modded to hell by the FLOSSies, but what the hell, I got karma up the wazoo.

    And this is where I stop reading. Saying things to this effect just so you look like a martyr and get modded up is about as old as sliced bread.

  • Re:Sign me up... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gbarules2999 ( 1440265 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @06:49PM (#29327101)
    That entire post could have been summed up by saying, "Release less often." Good advice, but dear lord, we get it already.

    Also, few things annoy me more than a post that not only assumes the community won't like it, but points it out in the first sentence. "I'm gunna get moded tro11." Cool. Congratulations. Does that make what you're about to say any more valid? No? Then delete the line.
  • by future assassin ( 639396 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @07:05PM (#29327191) Homepage

    Seriously if MS has to teach BestBuy employees sales pitches to keep people from LINUX you know LINUX has made an impact on the average joe. All this will do isput the name LINUX into more peoples minds. It'll make people ask questions like.. Whats up with LINUX if BestBuy is trying to show me how much better W7 is VS LINUX? If they are trying to tell me W7 is the best compared to LINUX then LINUX must be up there? Maybe its good enough for me to try it out?

  • Re:Sign me up... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by vadim_t ( 324782 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @07:21PM (#29327295) Homepage

    Go into a shop, but a webcam, take it home and find that the drivers don't work with the customer's version of Linux they run. You have no idea which one they run, it'll probably be Ubuntu but even then, which version?

    Things don't work like that in Linux.

    You don't insert a CD with webcam software. If webcam is already supported by the kernel, then you plug it in, and it works without any extra messing with stuff. The "if" is of course the problem, but if there's no driver in a recent distro then it's quite likely none exists at all. Fortunately webcam support is very good these days and I've never heard of a webcam that didn't work.

    Regading "which version", it doesn't matter. Ubuntu/Kubuntu/Xubuntu all support the same hardware. Other distributions of a similar date are unlikely to show any significant differences. You can often see Linux logos on network cards, because the driver is in the kernel, so all distributions get it from there.

    Linux does things differently here, and frankly I prefer the Linux way.

    The Windows way is: The manufacturer provides their own software and driver, possibly for hardware that's not really their own. Manufacturers like Logitech often sell cameras not only by their technical specs but by the software included with them. For instance, the more expensive Logitech cameras have software that will let you stick a beard on your webcam image in Mr. Potato head style, even though the ability has nothing to do with the webcam itself.

    The Linux way is: The chip manufacturer's (hopefully) provides specs. Kernel supports the chip, supporting at once both the Logitech and the Creative webcams using the same hardware, possibly covering 10 different webcams with the same driver. This means that the users of all of those get unified, and if Logitech contributes a bug fix, Creative users get it too. The kernel provides the same interface for all webcams, so that so long it works, the software doesn't care what you have. If you want to stick a beard on yourself, you look for a program that will do that on Linux (haven't looked), which will work both with the most expensive and the cheapest USB1 webcam you can find.

    And that's what I like about the Linux way: The webcam is just hardware and works and such. It doesn't come with some gaudy and buggy piece of software to change settings. Every webcam works with the system in exactly the same way.

  • Re:Sign me up... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bralkein ( 685733 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @07:22PM (#29327301)
    I don't really agree with what you're saying, but you make a fair point so that's fine. However:

    So please FLOSSies, quit with the "it a M$ conspiracy!" crap

    Even if what you said is correct, if MS are being a bunch of underhanded arseholes then I think Linux/Free software people have the right to blast them for it. If Microsoft have concocted a scheme to feed lies to people trying to make an informed purchasing decision (and some of the things they say are patent lies) then it doesn't matter if Linux has no stable ABI or even if Linux kills your pet dog, MS are in the wrong and people can reasonably call them out on it if they want to.

  • Re:Sign me up... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by strangedays ( 129383 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @07:28PM (#29327329)
    I think the poster has a significant point.

    I have been a linux user for many years, various distros; I recently decided to get myself an up to date Ubuntu capable laptop, that would run wifi, etc without 4 hours of installing ndiswrapper or other weird stuff from odd sites.

    Clearly I can order a box from a specialized builder, but I was curious to see of that could be bypassed, apparently not.

    So far I estimate I have spent at least 4 hours trying to identify a laptop I can simply walk in and buy from Sams Club, or any major store, and expect it to run Ubuntu and have the devices work.

    This is not something Jo Internet should even attempt, or be expected to figure out.

    Hardware compatibility lists are basically obscure and useless, and often outdated. The detail is way inadequate.

    I like many HP laptop boxes (price quality choice mix is good), but there are so many variants and so little detail on the installed chipsets, no sane person should try to figure it out. Both dell and HP seem to have recently (quietly) walked away from providing ready to go linux on their sites.

    So what does the linux community expect Jo Internet to do, randomly buy a laptop and hope it works, until an update breaks it silently?

    My Girlfriend (yes, really) recently had a working laptop (HP Pavilion) with working wifi connection (probably the most critical item for most laptop users) which was silently broken by an Ubuntu upgrade. It took me several hours to find the necessary changes, download stuff and fix the driver, security is unavailable. Not acceptable and not someting Jo Internet will do.

    I agree with the posters comment that the purist view of open source is impractical in the real business workld of patents and hostile trolls.

    If there there was a usable and stable binary interface, and the distro's included the install of closed source drivers, then rational self interest will take over and the hardware manufacturers will release drivers, to enable increased sales of their gadgets.

    Clearly there will be anticompetitive actions, which will probably be quietly ignored by our open source hostile and arguably incompetent/corrupt DOJ, (the ludicrous never ending failure of the war on drugs shows the DOJ has no idea what supply and demand even means). Supply and demand always wins in the end. Anticompetitive actions don't really matter in the long run, unless we choose to think they do.

    The problem is not linux, or any distro, or the boot, or the desktop, or Gnome vs KD; The problem is that the wise and ancient Self Appointed Benevolent Dictators For Life have slowly become Self Appointed Barriers to Success.

    This is a common problem in any form of endeavour, when successful it can grow far beyond the capabilites of the original inventors;

    Dear SABDFL's, you have won, the future is going to be open, so take the bows, polish up your egos, do the lecture circuit, write books, FOSS is here to stay, many thanks; now, please let the rest of us do business in the real world.

    Please don't misunderstand me, I am not saying we give up the ideals of open source software and the real freedoms and security it provides.

    Is enabling closed (redistributable) device drivers a slippery slope?

    Not really, it is a necessary evil, so lets not get paranoid, just allow it carefully in the legal licensing and Distros.

    I agree with parent post that we need to provide a hybrid? closed source + open source license structure and a usable Binary Interface, so hardware manufactureres have the business incentives to provide working

    We all want Jo Internet to walk into a store, look for the fat penguin on the box and know the gadget will just work.

    Eventually, there will have been so many boxes sold because of the fat penguin, that business folks may be willing to open source drivers, if that really even matters, (it does not matter to Jo Internet); but until that bright shiny morning arrives, we should simply make it a no brainer for the device driver manufacturers to release working drivers, because it increases their profits.

  • good sign (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jipn4 ( 1367823 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @07:44PM (#29327431)

    This is a good sign. The fact that Microsoft feels it necessary to attack Linux at the retail level shows that Linux is becoming more and more of a factor in the computing mainstream as well. Thanks, Microsoft, for supporting Linux.

  • Re:Sign me up... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by chill ( 34294 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @07:50PM (#29327467) Journal

    Sorry, I disagree. Webcam drivers and the like DO NOT BELONG IN THE KERNEL. The V4L (or V4L2) ABI should be stable enough where vendors can provide userland drivers and the kernel people shouldn't be worrying about it AT ALL. Specific device drivers have no business being in kernel space. The various ABIs should be stable over the major version numbers: 2.4.x, 2.6.x, etc. The current way is dangerous, sloppy and one of the major reasons Linux has issues like this with off-the-shelf hardware.

    I mean, they did that for printers, why not every other piece of hardware?

  • by miro f ( 944325 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @07:54PM (#29327485)

    ubuntu. hands down, I tried a few different distros and ubuntu was the one that just worked. I install it on my laptop and every piece of hardware works with no issues. Plus any issue you have a quick google solves 9 times out of 10.

  • by DavidD_CA ( 750156 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @08:07PM (#29327577) Homepage

    That's because people who sell BMWs tend to work for... BMW dealers.

    There isn't much of a threat of a BMW salesperson selling an Audi or Lexus.

    A more accurate comparison would be an electronics retail store that sells Sony, Panasonic, and 10 other brands. And in that case, you can bet that the manufacturers do everything they can to get them to sell their product.

    When I worked for an Internet Service Provider, we sold circuits from many other first-tier companies such as NewEdge and Covad and AT&T. You can bet they all tried their best to "sell" us on their products. That ranged from contests to classes to newsletters to parties.

    If you don't think that AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and MetroPCS are doing the same thing at Best Buy, then either you're mistaken, or these stores are missing out on a great opportunity.

  • Re:Sign me up... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Alex Belits ( 437 ) * on Saturday September 05, 2009 @08:15PM (#29327605) Homepage

    I see. "Stable ABI" is the new "Gimp doesn't support CMYK".

    Both false, of course -- CMYK is supported by each and every color printer driver, plus color separation plugins, Linux ABI is stable enough that Quake 3 runs on any current x86 Linux box, neither has even a slightest degree of relevance for users.

  • Re:Sign me up... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gbarules2999 ( 1440265 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @08:21PM (#29327651)
    Jo Internet is never going to install an operating system anyway, so why does it matter?
  • Re:Sign me up... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <> on Saturday September 05, 2009 @08:30PM (#29327707) Journal

    The reason I added that is I have found if I don't instead of having a discussion on the subject i get 30 posts that are a variation of "M$ suxorz! U is teh newbz! CLI is leet and roxorz! Go back to Windblowz LOL!" and I have found putting that line at the first seems to take some of the fun out of it therefor the twitters don't spambomb the post. Sorry if it offends you, but if there weren't so many zealots of ALL camps here, and instead of mod wars we could all discuss things rationally, then it wouldn't be necessary.

    And I still stand by my post. Does anyone honestly think you could walk up to the geek squad guy or the guy working the counter at Wally World and say "which items here work with Linux?" and they would have a fricking clue? That is why I won't sell Linux, even though I think for my customers that simply surf and watch vids it would be a better solution. Because there is simply no way for me to tell them which items are safe to buy for their PC, and which are not. With a stable ABI I would have Linux boxes on my shelves RIGHT NOW, as I could simply tell them "you see this cute fat penguin? Yeah, isn't he cute? His name is Tux the Linux penguin. Just look for Tux on the side of the box and you are good to go".

    And this has NOTHING to do with releases. Because if they only released every three years but insisted on making everything from the kernel on up a moving target, like it is now, then it simply would be just as worthless than if they released every week. With a stable ABI it wouldn't matter what you did to the kernel, because I wouldn't have to worry about that, only the ABI. More improtantly with Windows I can hand it to them knowing that every single item sold in Best Buy, Staples, and Walmart all "just work". No research, no "device foo is broken by update Y", no crawling forums before every purchase, it all just works. There is NO REASON why in 2009 Linux couldn't be the same, with a stable ABI I am willing to bet my last dollar that you would see little Tux logos spring up on everything.

    But ultimately the choice is up to the community. Only by throwing a shitfit and demanding a stable ABI will this ever change. if it stays the same as it is now I predict we will be talking in 2015 about "next year is the year of the Linux desktop" while Linux sits at 2% and Win8 is on everything. And guys like me STILL won't be able to sell Linux machines, because even buying the simplest piece of hardware at retail will be a giant minefield for the customer. I believe Linux has what it takes to be a real force in the desktop market, and spur real change and innovation. But this will happen ONLY if guys like me and retailers like Best Buy can tell their customers "look for the Tux penguin on the box" instead of "I have no clue whether that will work or not. You will have to go to forum X and research it". In 2009 this is simply inexcusable, and will continue to keep Linux in the basement adoption wise.

  • Re:Sign me up... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rnaiguy ( 1304181 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @08:31PM (#29327715)

    Fortunately webcam support is very good these days and I've never heard of a webcam that didn't work.


    I spent ~3 months trying to get my philips webcam working in Ubuntu 9.04. By the end of it, I had only managed to get it to show an image that looks like the output of an infrared camera, and a blank screen in skype. In the end I had to go back to my older webcam, which still requires me to run skype with a script to preload some v4l component.

    The webcam support is getting better, but it sure as hell needs work.

    Lets not even start on the hell i went through this last week getting my tv tuner working, which was "supported" according to

    I still prefer linux, but every time i go through something like this, a part of me wishes I had gone for dual-booting with windows.

    These are the kinds of things I think people will want to do more and more with their computers in the future, and if the linux setup experience is not easy, people won't want to deal with it and retailers sure as hell won't want to deal with all the complaints and tech support.

  • by dbIII ( 701233 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @08:35PM (#29327743)

    Because the vast majority of hardware manufacturers, especially in the home markets, are NEVER gonna give you their code

    They don't have to. Just ask Nvidia about that one.

    Demand a stable ABI

    With MS Windows everyone copes with "you need service pack 4 to run this software" or other indications of a moving target. That's the way a lot of consumer and small business software is. At the big end of town vendors just specify RHEL4 or whatever. In nearly every case the "stable ABI" is there anyway since the applications don't care about the kernel, they just care whether certain libraries are there and they certainly behave in a much stable way than the DLL hell you get in systems without library versioning. So the linux distribution uses version 5 of the library and the application uses the totally incompatible version 2 - no problem, a half decent distro will give you the old version as well in some legacy package and a half decent application installer would include the old library as well. If neither is half decent it takes a few minutes on the net to track down the old library. There is no DLL hell, you have both libraries on the system and the application uses the one it was intended for.
    So the answer, oddly enough, is that for applications you have a far more stable environment than on MS Windows and many hardware manufacturers have been dealing with the kernel side for a decade. The reality is not what you imply but simply resources. It takes effort to port things to different platforms no matter what they are. On the kernel side there are a lot of people that will happily put in time to support new bits of hardware, but for various reasons (such as fear of competition or legal action) some hardware vendors will not release the information required to do this. It's not about a "stable ABI" at all.

  • Re:Sign me up... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by gbarules2999 ( 1440265 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @09:04PM (#29327925)
    You're so fast to argue and attack that you've forgotten that I agree with you. I suspect most of Slashdot would as well, despite what you may assume.

    While I agree with your discussions of the stable API, I disagree that it is the cause of Linux' downfall. Linux will not win any time soon, not because of any technical reason, but because Microsoft controls the entire computer market. Stable API will not change that fact. Device support, which is very good at this point, will also not change this fact. Maybe device creators would care enough to slap a Tux logo on their device if most of the computer consumers weren't ignorant and couldn't tell you the difference between a stick of RAM and a pop tart. Even if Linux had a stable API that was easy to code for, I doubt may device creators would care, because their users are all in Windows, completely oblivious to anything else that might be occurring around them.

    And you're wrong - whining about "I"LL GET MODDED DOWN TROLL" is just a lame, idiotic line that only makes you look like you're sticking your neck out to piss someone off, which, of course, is the very definition of a troll. I'm sick and tired of this new fad that Slashdot seems is goes through, which is mostly a mentality that everyone here thinks Linux is perfect. No, they don't. Nobody does. The fanboys might argue that there is some validity and play the devil's advocate, but in the long run you're basically alienating yourself from everyone that might potentially agree with you, which is everybody. What we need is some quiet, calm discussion of Linux' flaws that doesn't involve flaming or pre-emptive flaming, neither of which is going to happen because everyone who doesn't use Linux on Slashdot seems to think all Linux users consider their operating system perfect. Yelling "FIRE" before there's a fire is just stupid.

    While we're on that topic, Linux' flaws:

    -Audio is a mess, and Pusleaudio is not the band-aid that will cure it; at least not in the state it is in. It doesn't help that distros can't package it correctly, but there are too many switches and levels for even the most simple of tasks.
    -Package management is wonderful, but we need to standardize the damn things. I vote for Apt-RPM. Choice is good and wonderful, but not when it is considering package formats. Just pick one so we can finally just post a "Linux" binary on the web that works with every package management system seamlessly. How kick ass would that be?

    These two can be fixed now, and if anyone's awake at Red Hat, Debian or Canonical I suspect they will be. After that, Linux must simply wait and bide its time, adding features and fixing bugs until a government agency wakes up and slaps Microsoft for their ridiculous monopolistic behaviour they've gotten away with for decades. The missing link is the OEM's (who have all been bullied or paid into submission), because the average user won't install Linux on their machine anyway - no matter how easy it is, most users don't understand the concept because they've been taught that computers = Windows. Until the point where ignorance is no longer accepted, nobody can crack the barrier, and Linux will not win.
  • Re:Sign me up... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by petrus4 ( 213815 ) on Saturday September 05, 2009 @10:33PM (#29328393) Homepage Journal

    If by "run a few scripts" you mean "exactly the same scripts for every single package", fine. I mean, it's going to be ./configure && make && make install.

    The GP is an end user. The autotools triple is too difficult for end users. You're asking him to put his bottle in the microwave, set the timer for it, and take it out all by himself. You're supposed to do that, and then jam it in his mouth, and then burp him when he's finished.

    Oh and by the way, unless you do that, Linux won't universally supplant Windows, which for some inexplicable reason, the Linux community is desperate to make happen.

    No security.

    The GP is an end user. End users don't care about security. At all. They especially don't care about security, if security in any way compromises their ability to gain the kind of effortless, instant gratification described above.

    The absolute worst any modern desktop user has to do is run some commands -- that is, copy and paste something from a website into a commandline.

    The GP is an end user... You already know how that's going to go, don't you? ;)

  • Re:Sign me up... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 05, 2009 @11:07PM (#29328533)
    You sure do paint a rosy picture of Windows hardware support, and you say you sell these things day-to-day.

    As someone who has to actually support this stuff, I find hardware almost always ships with windows support, but not always with good windows support.

    I have to question the impartiality of anyone wanting to claim you simply pick random box A, and put it with random Windows box B, and it all works WELL without stuffing around. There will be many Windows techs reading these posts, and they'll know what rings true for them, and what doesn't.

    Works well a lot of the time doesn't mean all of the time.
  • Re:Sign me up... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday September 05, 2009 @11:18PM (#29328603)
    Somebody call nVidia and let them know.

    While it's true some kernel changes require updates to drivers, in the real world this isn't quite the catastrophe some would argue.

    While you can almost certainly find examples of "oh noes, this update broke me Linux", I can find examples of where "oh noes, this update broke me Windows"
  • by Draek ( 916851 ) on Sunday September 06, 2009 @01:12AM (#29329157)

    It reminds me of the RIAA and indie labels. You may have a better product, for a better price, available under less restrictions and in more convenient formats, and Joe Average *still* buys the other guy's product simply because he assumes that more money spent on marketing means a more polished end-product, and when he finds out how shitty the product they bought is, they only think "gee, if this is so bad, the other product must really suck!".

    Like many indie labels, however, while Linux would benefit from the extra market-share of the drooling masses, they're doing just fine so far and so there's little practical reasons for us, people who know better, to worry about it.

    Best of luck to the guys participating in Software Freedom Day. I appreciate the work you guys are making, but personally I'd rather laugh at the incompetent masses rather than educate them. I'm an elitist, lazy bastard like that.

  • by mysidia ( 191772 ) on Sunday September 06, 2009 @01:43AM (#29329269)

    Linux vs Windows is a fun debate that many nerds are interested in, due to Linux's special status, and many nerds have a passion for it, Slashdot is news for nerds, hence the article.

    I'm sure most of the others are low-key debates like the merits of consumers buying Halo over Blizzard Starcraft, Epson over HP printers, Fujitsu VS TDK CD-Rs, or Mitsumi VS Samsung DVD-ROM drives, or VI vs Emacs are of little interest to most.

    Those would be of interest to some, but probably not most slashdot readers.

    But i'm sure if Intel put out some seriously negative propaganda about AMD CPUs, or nVidia put out some seriously nasty propaganda about ATI video cards, or HP put out some negative propaganda about Dells or Apples, massive numbers of slashdot readers would be concerned....

    Much like they'd be if MS was involved. The bigger / more monopolistic the company, the more scandalous it is to put out negative propaganda about attempted competitors.

    Because it's seen as a clearer abuse of monopoly power to quash attempts by weaker companies (or the community, in the case with Linux) to compete.

  • Re:Sign me up... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by hairyfeet ( 841228 ) <> on Sunday September 06, 2009 @01:49AM (#29329287) Journal

    Since I have been modded down all over the place for daring to respond you may not see this, but I'll answer anyway. Where in there did you see Windows drivers are good? I didn't say they were great, hell I didn't even say they were good, I said they work. The printer prints, the fax faxes, the wireless connects. With Linux if it don't work out of the box you are SOL.

    And as I said go to Best Buy, Staples, and Walmart with a pen and paper and check for yourself. You are talking about MAYBE 30% of the devices carried supported, and that is if you count the ones that take 2 pages worth of CLI hoops, the wireless that won't let you have WEP, much less WPA2, and the ones were "support" is some driver written for a completely different piece of hardware that YOU are supposed to 'tweak" to make work. Does anybody think Joe normal could pull that amazing feat off? hell I have 15 years in IT and I wanted to fling my laptop across the room after trying for 2 days to get WPA to work on my wireless. hell I couldn't even get the damned thing to stay connected or see the WAP half the time.

    So how do I sell Linux boxes? How do I let customers walk out that door when there is less than a 30% chance that whatever they pick up at the big three retailers will actually work with their new box? How do i explain to them that for saving $50-100 on the price they have to research some funky forum for the rest of that machine's life? I WANT to be able to sell Linux. I think the Linux security model is much more appropriate for those that only surf and do videos. But unless they never actually allow the thing to update I can't even guarantee that the hardware that is on the thing will continue working without hours of searching and CLI hoops, and I certainly have no way of telling them what they can/can't buy at the big three retailers, because inventory changes all the time, and things that worked with Ubuntu 8 may not work with Ubuntu 9, etc.

    I say it is 2009 and this kind of craziness just don't cut it anymore. You could get away with stuff like that when Win9x would BSOD half the time when you plugged in the USB device. But now folks are used to WinXP, where they haven't seen a BSOD in ages. They are used to nice GUIs, and easy to install drivers, and shopping for hardware that you can simply look at the label for a few seconds and toss it in the basket. I think if Linux can fix this one major SNAFU that Linux adoption can really take off, as its better price and security could sell it. Not to mention the new desktops are damned nice, with lots of cool features. But that simply won't sell if they can't even buy a fricking printer without studying first. The Windows drivers may not be great, but they DO work. With Linux shopping for even the most basic hardware can be a minefield of incompatibility and frustration. And THAT is what I am saying simply HAS TO change or Linux simply won't ever break out and hit mainstream.

  • Re:Sign me up... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by walshy007 ( 906710 ) on Sunday September 06, 2009 @02:15AM (#29329365)

    a stable ABI is not equal to a certification program, which is more so what you would like.

    Linux already has the largest in-built hardware support of any os, only as you correctly point out you won't know if it works until you try it. So why not test against a standard kernel and if it works give it the linux stamp you so want?

    Because the vast majority of hardware manufacturers, especially in the home markets, are NEVER gonna give you their code. It simply isn't in their best interests and it opens them up to the risk of litigation by patent trolls

    The card vendors no, the chipset manufacturers, the majority of them will give you specs if you demand them, why wouldn't they? the people purchasing the chipsets for use in cards need the specs to effectively use them. This is how most of the drivers in the linux kernel for random hardware is made, there are only a few notable hold-outs.

    Having the drivers in kernel and frequently audited and updated is one of the linux kernels biggest strengths, running closed source random code in kernel mode from third parties is a serious security and stability risk. Most modern windows blue screens aren't caused by windows, but by shitty divers written by third parties.

    Still, I think you should perhaps gather, that having a stable ABI will do sweet crap all in regards to linux driver uptake, and that what you really want is a linux hardware certification program, which would solve the peripheral problems you've mentioned, once a piece of hardware is supported in the linux kernel, that support is very very rarely removed.

  • Re:Sign me up... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jhol13 ( 1087781 ) on Sunday September 06, 2009 @02:46AM (#29329473)


    MPT008 was dropped when moving from 2.4 to 2.6.

    Peracom USB Ethernet adapter stopped working while in the kernel. This is because the device driver writers could not test it, and most likely "did not give a flying fuck". Apparently "No one seemed to mind".

    Windows kernel ABI changes in every major release - i.e. every few years. Linux ABI changes in every minor-minor release, i.e. every month. This is especially painful for out-of-distro FOSS devices.

    And last but not least: there is no good way to get a driver into the kernel tree. There are webcam drivers for which the chip maker has helped to create drivers - still not in the kernel. New laptop (e.g. EeePC) - no way to get the drivers to the kernel tree a month after launch and obviously cannot put in before launch.

  • Re:Sign me up... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by westlake ( 615356 ) on Sunday September 06, 2009 @03:56AM (#29329693)

    The missing link is the OEM's (who have all been bullied or paid into submission), because the average user won't install Linux on their machine anyway - no matter how easy it is, most users don't understand the concept because they've been taught that computers = Windows

    You don't have to bully anyone into producing for the platform that has 95% of the global desktop market.

    The OEM system install has been the gold standard in the consumer market for close on to thirty years.

    The computer is sold under a warranty. It works as advertised or it goes back to the seller for a refund, repair or exchange.

    Computers=Windows because Windows=Software.

    Everything in FOSS. Everything in proprietary and closed source.

    Product available at every price point.

    Freeware. Shareware. Online distribution. Retail boxed.

    The classics of MSDOS and Windows PC gaming at $5.99 and $10. [] DRM free. Ready to run on Vista and Win 7.


  • Re:Sign me up... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Epsillon ( 608775 ) on Sunday September 06, 2009 @07:48AM (#29330435) Journal
    Ignoring them doesn't work because they feed off of each other, leading to some enormous threads with very little content beyond "{insert object of affection here} FTW!" What seems to put a stop to them is that rare beast, the highly gratifying post that looks at both sides of the free/proprietary issue objectively, examining the true reasons for the current state of software, i.e. all software sucks, usually an edifying read that immediately rings true to all but the most fanatical and blinkered supporter of one camp or the other.

    For example, a true Linux user is never going to be happy with the system, in the same way an objective Windows user is going to find flaws and niggles each and every day and can probably be found reading others' experiences and nodding sagely at the sorry state of whatever bit of software has caused regressions. Being able to discuss these flaws logically without exaggeration and hyperbole marks the intelligent and encourages continuous improvement. I know my own system of choice has huge flaws at present - Java is a complete mess and the new lockd seems to be incompatible with the last iteration causing headaches between 7 and 8 in NFS environments, two major issues off the top of my head from my own testing and there will be more.

    What encourages the fanpersons is arguments between obviously sane, sensible and intelligent people who can be objective but have fallen into the trap of becoming defensive over a single issue, such as opening with an unnecessary dig at the zealots which only serves to stir them up. Perhaps the answer is to be a bit more selective in choosing enemies, don't poke those that you have already identified with a stick at every opportunity and be a little more tolerant of those who just may be capable of objective thought?

    Oh, and who modded the parent flamebait? Can you honestly say that there are no people using Slashdot's comments just to fan the flames as the parent hints? Can you even honestly think for one moment that there isn't a solid core of Linux/Windows/OSX users for whom the operating system is more important than the facilities it provides and who will hear not a bad word against the object of their affections or who feel superior to those who disagree with their choices? Please, let's have a dose of reality here for a moment.
  • Re:Sign me up... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by shewfig ( 1051592 ) on Sunday September 06, 2009 @10:47PM (#29336429)

    Speaking of printers in Linux:

    My fiancee just had me print a document for her, because she hasn't figured out how to add the printer to her XP netbook. (No CD drive) OTOH, adding that same printer to my Linux netbook was quick & painless.

    Adding this printer in Windows requires either:
      a) installing the "enhanced" software that came with the printer, or
      b) downloading an installer for the same bloated crapware from the vendor's website - if you can find it.
    If I want to download just the driver, that's not an option.

    The infrastructure built into XP via Windows Update implies that the printer manufacturer could register the driver with MS and make it magically work, but oddly enough, manufacturers seem to prefer not to do this. Apparently, it's easier for them to ship dubious 3rd-party crapware than it is to get MS to host their driver.

    ("Crapware" in this case is defined as software which adds several seconds to my boot time, takes over 5% of my system memory, and _requires_ me to perform actions in a manner inconsistent with the standard ways Windows would do it for any other vendor. Extra credit if it crashes.)

    In short, it is interesting to me that, going with Linux, I had less user effort, a more consistent user interface, and a more stable / faster system.

    YMMV, this is anecdotal evidence, etc... but so is a lot of the MS-provided FUD. I bought the printer from Fry's (best price per feature - and it's Brother, which arguably isn't obscure), my fiancee's netbook from Best Buy, and my netbook from t3h internet.

God doesn't play dice. -- Albert Einstein