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IBM Linux

IBM's Answer To Windows 7 Is Ubuntu Linux 863

An anonymous reader writes "It looks like IBM isn't much of a friend of Microsoft's anymore. Today IBM announced an extension of its Microsoft-Free PC effort together with Canonical Ubuntu Linux. This is the same thing that was announced a few weeks back for Africa (a program that began a year ago), and now it's available in the US. The big push is that IBM claims it will cost up to $2,000 for a business to move to Windows 7. They argue that moving to Linux is cheaper."
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IBM's Answer To Windows 7 Is Ubuntu Linux

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  • by iamacat ( 583406 ) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @08:13PM (#29816937)

    If Microsoft introduces an incompatible change in Windows 8 (so that, for example a given version of IE can no longer be installed, or a driver for a widely deployed device stops working), it can force a company into unbounded costs of updating their software and hardware. On the other hand, once initial migration to Ubuntu is done, only an effort of a dozen developers would be needed to compile Firefox 1.0 with new libraries, update a driver to work with 2.6 kernel and so on. While for an individual it may be acceptable - and cheaper - to buy new peripherals and applications - IBM can trivially afford custom development costs to keep an operating system running exactly the same way they want it.

    It doesn't make sense for any large business with non-trivial needs to run an operating system for which they can not control future direction.

  • Sorry, Wrong answer (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @08:37PM (#29817243)

    Ubuntu is in the market since Windows XP, and it didn't even break through the Vista gap, if this is IBM's answer to Windows 7, sorry it is a very wrong answer

  • by Zerimar ( 1124785 ) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @08:44PM (#29817325)
    MS-DOS beat PC-DOS NT3.5 beat OS/2 Heck, you can argue that MS SQL Server is beating DB2 If I were choosing a side in this fight, I'd stick with Microsoft...
  • by Freaky Spook ( 811861 ) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @08:56PM (#29817469)

    The past 6 months for several clients I have been running Proof of Concepts of moving from Desktop infrastructure to VDI(Virtual Desktop Infrastructure)

    Microsoft have made licensing for running Windows desktops in a virtual environment so insane and added ridiculous costs just for the privilege of running Windows XP, Vista or 7 in a data centre that when you look at the ROI you don't see a massive benefit of shedding hardware.

    A couple of those clients are actually now investigating migrations from Windows desktop to Ubuntu/SUSE Linux and running legacy Windows applications from Sun SGD/Windows Termial Server.

    VDI offers huge opportunities for companies to shed the upkeep and maintenance of desktops and Microsoft are putting in as many hurdles as humanly possible to keep companies purchasing desktops every 3-4 years so they can still get their Microsoft tax from OEM's. I'm advising anyone these days to assess their dependence on windows if they are looking at VDI solutions and investigate deployments in Linux.

  • by md65536 ( 670240 ) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @08:59PM (#29817501)

    Well... Microsoft's tactics over the past decade have been even better than that (or worse, depending on your perspective). They've stated that they were aiming for cheaper and cheaper hardware, with the cost of computers focusing more on software and support. So, let someone else worry about "giving away" the PCs. I think they've literally stated they were foreseeing a future where the hardware is free.

    I guess they enjoy the effects of market competition when it comes to *hardware*.

  • Re:You go IBM!!! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Man Eating Duck ( 534479 ) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @09:07PM (#29817569)

    I've had basic functionality break between releases and this will not be acceptable for business use.

    With Ubuntu for basic business use you won't need to upgrade at every release. Their LTS releases guarantees three years of support. Running an old version is usually not acceptable for a home power user, but it provides the stability a small business needs.

    For a larger shop with at least one full time IT technician it would be possible to maintain your own repository with selected upgrades enabled. Then you can pick and choose the upgrades you need for new features in specific software. You would have the stability and security of an old release, and still get bleeding edge features where it matters with relatively little testing. This is how most major Windows shop does it for security patches and feature upgrades anyway.

    Also the differences and testing needed between each version of the major distros is still far less than what's needed between each new edition of Windows. That's when you ignore the immense practical problem of global reinstallation of individual Windows boxes (yes, MS shills, fire away. It's possible on Windows as well. Call me when it's possible for my company to have absolutely all system and OS settings administrated centrally while ALL the user's personal customisations ("registry") and documents rest in his home directory on a file server, and when a motherboard fries, it'll take less than half an hour to physically replace the box and get the user back in business with all software and personalisations in place).

  • by hagarę ( 115031 ) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @09:37PM (#29817885)
    I recently made the big jump for our IT department from windows to ubuntu. We havent looked back and it has been a great learning experience for many. We now have a department that is a viral resistant island in our windows heavy environment. The only things I missed was Visio for network diagrams and IE for sharepoint access, which we provide via a simple XP vbox. Everything critical however is done via ubuntu. We have lost nothing and gained much. I think in many cases the decision to NOT switch is based on ignorance of the platform and fear of interoperability, rather than on solid factual information. In a business environment its a no brainer.
  • by ZorbaTHut ( 126196 ) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @09:41PM (#29817921) Homepage

    Games work on a somewhat different market than proprietary software does - the goal isn't to make a "good product" and then keep improving it, the goal is to make a "fun game" and then - fundamentally - it's done and you don't keep mucking with it besides fixing any major bugs. Even if I did open-source it, the most that would happen would be a few bugfixes and a few crummy third-party games with the same engine. It's just not worth the trouble - no gamers really care.

    (See the open-sourced Quake engines to see the absolute most that you can get out. It's not much.)

  • by icannotthinkofaname ( 1480543 ) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @09:53PM (#29818017) Journal

    Forget trying to install it. I got suspended from my local community college just for running live CDs on April Fools Day 2009, but I suspect that's more because of a stupid IT team than a hate for Linux. I didn't see much understanding when I tried to explain exactly what this thing was. I didn't do anything malicious. I just fired up a live session of an OS from a CD.

    I learned a lot from mucking around with the school system, though. It was totally worth it. :) And I'm never trusting the CCAC IT team again. I like Carnegie Mellon University's computer system a lot more than that of the Community College of Allegheny County (and I currently attend CMU).

  • by 2Bits ( 167227 ) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @10:37PM (#29818467)

    Why isn't IBM jumping first, and take the lead to move the whole IBM to Linux desktop? You know, the do-what-you-are-preaching concept? Last week, 5 IBM people came to our office to pitch for a 3 million contract, and I saw every single person (technical and sales) is running Windows Vista, with the latest MS Office. The only thing I recognized as IBM-made is Lotus Notes, which we also use here.

    About 8 years ago, it was the same thing with Sun. We had a bunch of Sun people came to our office (another company), and they kept bitching about MS Windows and MS Office, while at the same time preaching Linux and Star Office. And guess what they were running? Yeah, you got it. At one point, I had enough of their bitching, I told them with a straight face: "Why don't you guys install Linux and Star Office, and send me that fucking slide in open format?" They looked at me as if I was from Mars, then I turned on my laptop, and it was running Linux.

    One suggestion to the big guys: don't preach, do it. Then everyone will follow, you have enough clout to take the lead.

  • by Darundal ( 891860 ) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @10:43PM (#29818523) Journal
    I shoved my old PC out in the living room with Ubuntu preinstalled for the kids/parents, and they love it. Nobody has asked me how to do anything, and the technophobe parents (won't update an iphone, points at computer and asks what is wrong with the modem) more often than not use it as opposed to the one that is in their room on a desk right next to their bed.
  • by Schmorgluck ( 1293264 ) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @11:14PM (#29818805)

    Well shit! When I first put my new PCMCIA WiFi card into my laptop under Ubuntu, it worked seamlessly.

    Why, oh why did it work so well? I like using the command line!

  • by sillybilly ( 668960 ) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @11:18PM (#29818845)
    Yeah, but that will come with a locked BIOS that periodically checks and makes sure that WindowsTM is running, and connected via the internet to one of the MS beacon servers. The system will shut down in 30 seconds, if not provided with an internet access. Kind of like killing the RPC service does on Win2k and later OS's. The OS will be a subscription only based operating system, the retro obsolete standalone licensing model will be deprecated. Everyone will be mandated by law to purchase a subscription, and if you can't afford it, the government will help you pay for it, at least initially. In your own best interest. But the hardware will be free! Kind of like you get a free cellphone if you sign up for a two year contract, and the monthly payments add up to well over double what the hardware alone would have cost you. Also the EULA will state that you agree that all your documents will be stored on the cloud, kind of like webmail, such as gmail/hotmail/yahoo mail is today. It will be extraordinarily difficult to download and store a copy of anything offline(meaning you would have to make hand typed copies), unless you're willing to upgrade to the Windows Plus service for another 1999.99/mo, kind of like Yahoo Plus, which will let you get POP3 access to your inbox, and POP4 access to your cloud computing My Documents folder. You can get an offline copy of your files, but they will not be good for much, because you'll have to jump hoops of a 30 step process to simply get it loaded into MS Breath or MS One. Still, there will be no way to remove the original copies online, and you can throw them into the Recycle bin, but nothing can ever be permanently erased from the Recycle bin. Microsoft will fund the increased cost of storage for free, but only for items in the Recycle Bin that you want to get rid of. Files in the regular My Documents storage will cost you about 8cents/terabyte/month (don't laugh, a 30 page powerpoint presentation by Office 19 will weigh in at a heft 400 GB filesize, among other reasons, because it will be 256 bit based), while the My Pictures folder will go at 4 cents/tb/mo, and My movies at a 0.01 cent/TB/mo. It will be illegal to scheme the system and try to store my documents files in the movies folder, because you will get ticketed, and get a real life court citation over violating the intellectual property laws of the contracts you have signed. There will also be a mandatory penance booth, called My Confessions, where you have to write a blog about everything wrong that you've done each week, and ask forgiveness for your sins. People caught not visiting this folder often enough will be red flagged, and real life psychologists will make them take multiple choice tests where there are two correct answers, and no matter which one he picks, the other will be deemed correct, and by failing the tests prove that he is in dire need of mental health attention, and a prescription. Who wouldn't help a fellow suffering human being who does not even realize he has a problem. Admission you have a problem is the first step towards any solution. Mind control? How about ascertaining that there is order in society, and security, by keeping very close tabs on everyone. Wait.. oh, never mind.
  • by kklein ( 900361 ) on Tuesday October 20, 2009 @11:37PM (#29819007)

    Microsoft continually shoots itself in the foot by completely changing the user interface with each new release of software, resulting in massive productivity losses as everyone has to relearn how to do their job.

    This. This is why I ended up on the Mac the last time I was looking at a new laptop (sorry, Linux didn't meet my needs--as much as I wanted it to). I took one look at Vista and Office 2007 and was like, "oh good lord, why should I re-learn an interface???" I then looked at the Mac and found that, despite the fact that I hadn't used a Mac seriously in almost 10 years, I knew where everything was and how to do everything. Also, the MS Office interface still looked like something I knew how to use.

    Sometimes I cannot figure that company out. I actually think that the Office 2007 interface, now that I've forced myself to use it every once in awhile (I'm teaching a class that is helped by knowing how to do things in it so I can explain), I think that, had I never used the product before, I'd take to it very quickly. That is probably what they were going for.


    When you have a monopoly, I think you should probably think more about keeping your existing customers than getting new ones. People have to use MS Office; they aren't going to start because of your great new UI. All a change of that magnitude does is piss of your base. They should have at least offered an option to keep the 2003 interface, which was basically the same as the 2000 interface. Basically, MS can't even get any new customers. It sure as hell can lose them, though. Their constant UI changes make no sense given their place in the market.

    OpenOffice, even though I don't like it, is easy to use. KDE and Gnome environments are easy to use. The Mac and its software is easy to use. Why would the industry leader in OSes and basic applications want to make their products more irritating than the (often cheaper) competitions'?

  • Re:Addendum (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Enderandrew ( 866215 ) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .werdnaredne.> on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @12:46AM (#29819509) Homepage Journal

    I appreciate your efforts. However I post my opinions as they are. Some days I get modded up and others I get modded down. It happens.

    Certain opinions (I'll take XP over Gnome and Ubuntu, or I think Apple is as evil as MS) almost always get me modded down. I still post them because I honestly believe those things.

    I really enjoy the concept of democratic moderation and karma rankings. But I don't believe in catering my posts to manipulate them.

  • by symbolset ( 646467 ) on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @01:15AM (#29819693) Journal

    This is not off-topic.

    I happened to notice today that Apple surpassed IBM in market capitalization (the total value of their stock) about a month ago. Apple has been on a tear for the last five years, growing about 24x. Even though IBM has a valued brand, a deep patent portfolio, committed customers and a broad portfolio they haven't kept up with that pace. I think that the last technology company Apple has to surpass in company value is Microsoft - and they're closing in. Apple's executing well not just in PC Hardware (where they've cornered the market on premium PCs at over 80%), but in media where they've pretty much taken all of the market for online distribution of music (and they're working on video), and in cellular phones where they're a serious threat to Blackberry. So Apple is not just in a wider base of markets than IBM and Microsoft - they're winning in all the markets they're in. They're executing well.

    Microsoft wants to be Apple but Zune, Plays For Now and the Microsoft Danger FaceKick isn't going to gain them new customers in the new markets they need to win. The have a considerable [] negative [] partnering [] history [] to overcome. If Steve Jobs got a good stock incentive to come back and rescue Apple in 1996 he should die the world's richest man. Since I'm talking about how smart he is, here's a quote:

    "There's an old Wayne Gretzky quote that I love. 'I skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.' And we've always tried to do that at Apple. Since the very very beginning. And we always will."

    IBM could do these things and the fine article is an indication that they're slowly interested in doing so. I wish them well - I prefer committed open source to Apple's exploitation of BSD's liberal terms, though I have to admit it's more of a personal bias than a difference in utility. I don't think IBM can pull this off without outside help. The Boys From Boca thing was, as far as I can tell from subsequent history, a one-off incident of accidental genius.

  • by davaguco ( 771514 ) * on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @01:59AM (#29819897) Homepage
    I have to agree with this. I tried to switch to some Linux and Open Office distribution a few years ago, and the kind of things I had to learn to do to get that machine running, and then to fix several driver problems, were a bit too much for anybody without a lot of technical expertise. I have several friends that are in love with Linux and Open Office, but they all happen to be software engineers, and when I complain about something not being user-friendly, they tell me that it's really very easy, you just have to "mount this drive and then ...." do you really think users are going to consider introducing linux commands, ever? If you believe users should know this stuff, then you just don't live in the real world.
  • Re:Oh no you didn't (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dotancohen ( 1015143 ) on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @04:07AM (#29820475) Homepage

    No, Wine has a strict policy of not letting app-specific hacks into the mainline tree, if that wasn't the case things would be a mess and nothing would run.

    Actually, Windows has app-specific hacks. There was a /. story when Vista was coming out that linked to an MS blog in which the developer described how Quicken would not run on Vista, so MS hacked the API to identify Quicken and do as that app expected. They test all major software and most have app-specific hacks.

  • Re:Ridiculous (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @04:45AM (#29820645)

    I can see that one going down

    No, you cant. The mistake is never the CFO or his equipment. This is how it would go:
    CFO: "Why can't I open this spreadsheet that accounting sent me?"
    IT: "Because accounting used Excel and its formats, which is against company policies."
    CFO gets out the cluestick and applies it to accounting.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @06:36AM (#29821155)

    And, funny, it's a Windows application.

  • by Kupfernigk ( 1190345 ) on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @08:48AM (#29822087)
    Market capitalisation was one of the things that caused the financial crisis.It isn't real because it makes the incorrect assumption that you could sell the shares and the price would remain the same. This is characteristic of a bubble. One cause of the Japanese crisis was that at one time real estate in Tokyo was so expensive that its market value was greater than all of the rest of Japan. But once there was a recession and offices started to empty, real estate prices dropped like a stone. There was a similar bubble collapse in the UK in the 1990s, and there is a similar one in the US today.

    Market capitalisation is a result of several factors - the perceived cool factor of a share being one of them, and the need to include them in certain types of fund being another. The point is that a perceived decline in value can collapse the bubble very fast, as shares start to be sold which triggers off removal from portfolios and small investors getting out.

    All this is very basic finance 101 but is widely misunderstood. If you are in for the long term (which is the least risky way of making a profit) you need to look at the customer base and the value added. Apple has many customers for its newer products which are on phone company contracts, and it does not have the majority of the smartphone market. It has forced Nokia to look at its product range again, it has stimulated the development of Maemo, Moblin, Chrome and Ubuntu Netbook. The competition is coalescing around Linux with value added in the front ends. Apple has a strong installed base but its market cap is based on a belief that it is the wave of the future. A change in perception, a major provider coming out with a competitive iPhone replacement (Verizon/Pre?) could depress Apple shares overnight.

    IBM, like Rolls-Royce, is rather invisible to the public. It has no real brand image. But, like Rolls-Royce, it has stackloads of bought in installed base who can't just replace their phone when the contract ends, or buy a new notebook computer.

    I'm reminded of someone at Rolls-Royce commenting on their share price that "people don't take into account that if we never sold another product, starting tomorrow, we would still be around in 60 years servicing our installations. And many of our customers are Governments".

    Apple may overtake IBM in the long term. But currently this is far from evident, and market cap is not a useful measurement.

  • by True Grit ( 739797 ) * <(edwcogburn) (at) (> on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @09:40AM (#29822619)

    Well, so far, every single one of my games

    I know nothing about your games, so my comment was only meant in the general sense of the entire gaming industry.

    On average, people don't care.

    On average, commercial game companies never release the source for their old games, nor do they even go out of their way to allow gamers to mod/hack/tweak their games (and many actively make this harder).

    So of course people aren't going to 'care' about something they have no control over anyway.

    The ability to be modded is somewhat more important, but even then, they are rarely interested in modifying more than the obvious things that can be exposed through the mod interface.

    This sounds like you're talking about your games, and not talking in general. As always, it depends on the game.

    The fact there are still actively developed games (including new content), even after all these years, based on the old Quake engines that you mentioned is just one counter-example. Maybe they don't look like much to you, as you said, but the example the other poster gave of 'Urban Terror', which I played a little bit of awhile back (although shooters are not really my thing), looks to *me* like its a lot more than 'not much'.

    For me, this prevailing attitude of 'write it, pimp it, then let it die' slowly turned me against the commercial gaming industry over time, as I watched one great game after another die a slow death (no updates/fixes for new OS versions or to deal with new hardware, bug fixes, minor/trivial improvements, etc), not because the game didn't have fans who cared, but because the game's distributor SIMPLY DIDN'T GIVE A DAMN.

    Every gamer has their own example, but for me it was the game 'Master of Magic'. A fabulous game with *enormous* potential, but its fans never even got so much as a mediocre sequel to it. Nothing, Nada, Zilch. So the seeds of my discontent began with the death of my beloved MOM... and then turned to pure disgust over the last decade with the still ongoing obsession with glitz-over-substance action-shooters, cranked out one after another, using a nauseatingly unoriginal, cookie-cutter approach.

    Haven't bought a game in over a decade, but its not because I'm no longer interested in gaming...

    But please, feel free to ignore these rantings of a cranky, turn-based-strategy-lovin' old-timer who hasn't taken his meds yet this morning... grrr, where the hell *is* that bottle!

  • Re:MS Response (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @11:13AM (#29823747)

    Apple is single...

  • Re:Misguided (Score:3, Interesting)

    by maugle ( 1369813 ) on Wednesday October 21, 2009 @07:44PM (#29830279)
    Why must you take what I said in the worst possible light? Let me make this plain: The fact that there are many, many forums dedicated to solving the many, many problems with Windows does not let Ubuntu off the hook. But it does reduce your argument of "the Ubuntu support forum is full of Ubuntu problems, therefore Ubuntu isn't ready for primetime" to a pile of smoldering ash.

    Unless, of course, you think that none of the operating systems available today are ready for primetime.

Thus spake the master programmer: "Time for you to leave." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"