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Message started by Pleonasm on Oct 28th, 2007 at 10:35am

Title: Re: Linux Won't Succeed On The Desktop
Post by Pleonasm on Oct 28th, 2007 at 10:35am
MrMagoo, let's assume for the sake of argument that Microsoft does succeed in offering Windows for the XO laptop and – as a consequence – the adoption of Linux on that machine mirrors its current desktop level of about 1% in the marketplace (i.e., we have no reason to suspect that Linux will be preferred over Windows on this laptop in greater numbers than the observed distribution today).  What then?  Is the XO laptop project the best factor on the horizon that might help Linux gain a footprint on the desktop landscape?  What are the (other) "compelling reasons" that would accelerate the adoption of Linux?

Title: Re: Linux Won't Succeed On The Desktop
Post by MrMagoo on Oct 28th, 2007 at 8:38pm
You are asking the wrong question.  The question should be: What compelling reasons do these kids have to switch to Windows?

As it stands, the XO will be delivered with Linux on it.  No one chooses how their OLPC XO is configured.  There is not Linux/Windows checkbox on the form.  They ship with Linux.  It is as much part of the package as the keyboard is.  XP doesn't even run on the laptop currently.  Even if it did work, the OLPC staff has given indications they prefer not to use Windows for a variety of reasons.  So, hundreds of thousands of children (millions, if the project sees their vision all the way through,) who have never used a computer (and therefor have no reason to favor Windows) will receive an XO laptop pre-loaded with Linux.

You see how now the shoe is on the other foot?  These children would need a compelling reason to switch from Linux to Windows.  Assuming that Windows becomes available for these laptops (which it is not currently), and it is free (which Microsoft doesn't often like to do), and these kids have a fast enough internet connection that it doesn't take months to download (which seems unlikely in some of the developing countries that these laptops are intended for) - they would still need a compelling reason to switch to Windows.

Given the isolation these kids have from the technological world, interoperability (the biggest compelling reason for most people to use Windows) might not be a very big factor for these kids.  The XO laptop also isn't powerful enough to play games, so there goes another usual big compelling reason out the door.  What other compelling reason do you see for these kids to go through the effort of downloading and installing Windows - keeping in mind that installing an operating system would be a very difficult thing for someone who has never owned a computer before.

Title: Re: Linux Won't Succeed On The Desktop
Post by Pleonasm on Oct 29th, 2007 at 1:11pm
MrMagoo, those are interesting notes on the XO laptop project.

However, my intention was not to ask specifically about the “compelling reasons” for a user of a XO laptop to switch from one operating system to another; but rather, to ask in the more general case about the “compelling reasons” that would stimulate a user of Windows to forsake the familiar and switch to Linux on any desktop platform.

As a secondary point, it seems that you are placing quite a bit of emphasis on the XO laptop project, hoping that it will be the major force that advances the cause of Linux.  That could happen.  However, isn’t there something more?  Are there not other factors (i.e., additional “compelling reasons”) on the horizon that will encourage the adoption of Linux — or, is the future of that operating system completely dependent upon the success of the XO laptop, in your opinion?


Title: Re: Linux Won't Succeed On The Desktop
Post by MrMagoo on Oct 30th, 2007 at 2:39am
Of course Linux isn't dependent on the OLPC project.  My point is just that it might be the big break Linux needs right when it needs it.

As far as what other compelling factors might exist, I can't predict what forces the market will provide.  The PC industry moves so fast its hard to see very far into the future.  Mostly I think that people are beginning to want more visibility into how their software works and interacts with other systems and more independence from a single vendor.  Both of these trends favor Linux, but its hard to tell if it will develop into a significant movement.

Title: Re: Linux Won't Succeed On The Desktop
Post by Pleonasm on Oct 30th, 2007 at 2:29pm
MrMagoo, it appears that the decision to only ship the XO laptop with Linux might not be as definitive as originally anticipated, in so far as it is in contradiction with the open philosophy of the OLPC project:

The possibility of running Windows on the XO is part of the project's open philosophy, according to Negroponte.  He told news media that OLPC couldn't say it was open and then remain closed to Microsoft, and that it has a long-standing working relationship with the company.

In fact, he added, the XO's Secure Digital memory slot is part of the OLPC design to provide additional memory for such uses as running Windows, and said that some of the prototype models in any given build go to Microsoft. …

The advent of Windows on XO laptops would undoubtedly raise some eyebrows. The XO laptop's independence from Microsoft was one the rallying cries of the effort's supporters.
Source:  Windows XP Coming to OLPC Laptops

While a few people "want more visibility into how their software works," I doubt that this is a need expressed by a many desktop users.  Additionally, the desire to have "more independence from a single vendor" might be appealing to some corporations, but also is unlikely to be a factor in the desktop realm as a motivation to switch operating systems.  Like yourself, I too really don't know what the precipitating factors might be that will advance the adoption of Linux.  Honestly, I don't see anything of compelling merit on the horizon, in the short term.  But, time will tell.  The realm of technology has a habit of changing, rapdily, in unanticipated ways.

Title: Re: Linux Won't Succeed On The Desktop
Post by MrMagoo on Oct 30th, 2007 at 3:25pm
I was at the NANOG 41 conference a few weeks ago.  We spent a lot of time talking about the need for vendor independance.  Another important topic was visibility into how our systems interact.  This was not only for security reasons, but also for compliance with new regulations.  That is where I got my information about the industry needing openness and vendor independance.  I doubt either is important to most desktop users, but I know for a fact that both are weighing heavily on the minds of many Enterprise IT decision makers.

Title: Re: Linux Won't Succeed On The Desktop
Post by MrMagoo on Nov 16th, 2007 at 12:54pm
Walmart recently announced a $199 PC which runs Linux.  The Emprex gPC sold out from Walmart's online store in less than a week, and users seem happy with the computer so far.


Linux.com did a review of gOS, which seems to be a slimmed down Ubuntu distrobution with lots of links to Google's free applications in order to avoid bundling software with the machine that would add to the cost.  I've known the Linux.com reviewer to have no problem pointing out weaknesses in Linux products and he is quite honest when he doesn't like a distribution, so it is good news that he found gOS to be very acceptable.


Combined with the news that the OLPC project recently started mass-production, 2008 is looking to continue this year's strong momentum for Linux on the desktop.


Title: Re: Linux Won't Succeed On The Desktop
Post by Pleonasm on Nov 16th, 2007 at 1:05pm
Very impressive, MrMagoo!  Hopefully, this will be one factor that enhances free market competition among operating systems and thereby stimulates the entire industry to achieve new heights of innovation.

Title: Re: Linux Won't Succeed On The Desktop
Post by MrMagoo on Dec 31st, 2007 at 1:42pm

On January 30th, Microsoft released Windows Vista to consumers, who have been adopting it in ever-growing numbers. But those numbers have been creeping along rather than rocketing: As of now, Vista [follow link below for chart] is used by 14 percent of visitors, while 71 percent use Windows XP.

How much of an accomplishment is it for a new version of Windows to get to 14 percent usage in 11 months? The logical benchmark is to compare it to the first eleven months of Windows XP, back in 2001 and 2002. In that period, that operating system went from nothing to 36 percent usage on PCWorld.com--more than 250 percent of the usage that Vista has mustered so far. In fact, it only took eleven months for XP [follow link for chart] to surpass Windows 98 [follow link for chart] and become the most-used version of Windows among users of the site...

One last startling chart: Here's the a graph of the percentage of PCWorld.com visitors who use a Mac to access our site, covering the past five years [follow link for chart]

It was as low as one percent at some points, and was around four percent when 2007 began. Now it's seven percent. That's still teensy compared to the 90 percent-plus who use various versions of Windows, but it's almost certainly the highest in the history of this site.

Source: http://blogs.pcworld.com/techlog/archives/006130.html

Computers and handheld devices running default GNU Linux or Unix OSes have swept Amazon's 'best of' list for 2007, according BusinessWire.com for 28 December 2007. Best selling computer? The Nokia Internet Tablet PC, running Linux. Best reviewed computer? The Apple MacBook Pro notebook PC. Most wished for computer? Asus Eee 4G-Galaxy 7-inch PC mobile Internet device, which comes with Xandros Linux pre-installed. And last, but not least, the most frequently gifted computer: The Apple MacBook notebook PC.

Source: http://linux.slashdot.org/linux/07/12/29/1959244.shtml
Original Article: http://www.businesswire.com/portal/site/home/index.jsp?epi_menuItemID=887566059a3aedb6efaaa9e27a808a0c&ndmViewId=news_view&ndmConfigId=1000017&newsId=20071228005057&newsLang=en

In a just-released poll of more than 250 of its clients, PatchLink noted that only 2% said they are already running Vista, while another 9% said they planned to roll out Vista in the next three months. A landslide majority, 87%, said they would stay with their existing version(s) of Windows...

Reconsiderations about Vista have given rival operating systems a second chance at breaking into corporations. Last year, Linux and Max OS X had only meager appeal to the CIOs, CSOs, IT and network administrators surveyed: 2% said they planned to deploy the open-source Linux, while none owned up to Mac OS X plans. July's survey, however, noted a sixfold increase in the total willing to do without Windows on at least some systems: 8% of those polled acknowledged Linux plans, and 4% said they would deploy Mac OS X.

Source: http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=viewArticleBasic&articleId=9028478&source=NLT_AM&nlid=1

So, while Windows still dominates the industry and likely will for the forseeable future, more people are using or considering Unix/Linux than ever before.  I don't know if Linux will ever take over the world, but it certianly isn't trending toward failure this year.

Also, a quick update on the OLPC project just for continunity.  The first few countries have received the first shipments of the laptops and distributed them to children.  The children seem to be loving them.  People here in the states who received one through the 'buy one, donate one' promotion have also given them good reviews, including the head writer for Linux.com, who isn't afraid to speak up if something doesn't meet his expectations.  The laptop is being distributed with Linux on it at this time, and to my knowledge, Microsoft hasn't released a version of Windows for the laptop.  


Title: Re: Linux Won't Succeed On The Desktop
Post by amish on Jan 1st, 2008 at 2:35am
just checking in.

thread has over 1,000 views.

Title: Re: Linux Won't Succeed On The Desktop
Post by Pleonasm on Jan 1st, 2008 at 9:32am
MrMagoo, the fact that Windows Vista isn’t being adopted at the same pace as occurred for Windows XP may indicate how successfully XP has been in the marketplace and how well it is regarded and respected by its users.  In other words, the greatest competitive threat to the adoption of Vista does not appear to be a third-party contender such as Linux; rather, it’s another product (XP) from the same company.

Based on my reading of various industry reports, it is anticipated that the adoption curve for Vista will soon have an inflection point, because:  (1) Vista SP1 is about to be released, a milestone for which some have been waiting; (2) essentially all third-party applications and hardware are now Vista compatible; and (3) upgrades from Office 2003 to Office 2007 are being coordinated with (and serving as an additional motivation for) using Vista.

With its strong sales and its unavailability on Linux, Office 2007 may singlehandedly do more to sustain (advance?) the penetration of Microsoft’s operating system products in the PC desktop marketplace than any other influence.  Time will tell.

Title: Re: Linux Won't Succeed On The Desktop
Post by MrMagoo on Jan 1st, 2008 at 2:04pm
I think people just don't like Vista.  As much as I dislike Microsoft, I've always liked WindowsXP.  Setting aside WGA and other bad practices, WindowsXP was a huge leap ahead of previous OS's.  It has always had strong driver support, awesome hardware auto-detection, and was a about 1000x more stable than Windows9X/ME.   It supported the latest file-systems at the time, and ran almost faster and better on the same hardware due to better resource management.  If you really want something to just work right the first time, WindowsXP is probably your best bet for an OS.  I am willing to admit that even Linux needs some configuring to support many of the things that WindowsXP automagicly makes work out of the box (although I maintain the effort is worth it.)

I don't like Vista.  Most of my friends (most of whom know Linux but choose to run WindowsXP at home for reasons stated above) don't like Vista either.  It is bigger, much slower on the same hardware, and more complicated.  It has far less driver support than WindowsXP, even almost 1 year after release.  It doesn't include any new compelling features or a truly innovative redesign of the user interface, and lacks the journaling file-system Microsoft promised.  It nags the user constantly.  The new security features are already starting to be bypassed.  Games do not always run stably, even if the OS itself does.  

I have a copy of Vista Ultimate through an MSDN subscription.  I installed it, hoping to replace my WindowsXP installation I have for gaming and things like that.  I didn't like it, even for occasional use, so I went back to XP.  I'll have to learn Vista eventually in order to support it in my network, but I'm procrastinating as long as I can because I dislike the OS, as it seems many IT professionals do.

I agree that many users may be waiting for SP1.  That is a popular thing to do with MS OS's.  And you are right: Time will tell.

Title: Re: Linux Won't Succeed On The Desktop
Post by Pleonasm on Jan 2nd, 2008 at 12:24pm
Useful historical context for this thread...

Is the year of the Linux desktop upon us? ZDNet blogger Robin Harris thinks 2008 is it. With the advent of sub-$400 notebook computers and sub-$200 desktops comes a greater demand for Linux, Harris says, because “on a razor-thin margin, vendors can’t afford Windows.” He points to AsusTek’s Linux-based Eee PC as an example, and notes that the company is set to build 1 million Eees in the first quarter of 2008.

Desktop Linux has made good progress this year, with both Dell and Lenovo offering Linux-based systems, but I have to admit I’m skeptical anytime someone proclaims the new or upcoming year as “the year” for anything. I came to IT Business Edge late in 2005, and each year it seems someone decides desktop Linux will come into its own.

In 2005, the former Open Source Development Lab’s Desktop Linux Working Group completed a survey that indicated user demand was bringing Linux to the enterprise desktop, but that applications would need to be easier to use and peripheral devices’ “plug-and-play-ability” would need to be improved before the operating system would have a better foothold in the market.

2006 brought Red Hat’s Fedora Core 5, and Novell began to focus on “basic business users” with SuSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10. In 2007, projections ran the gamut: Some said desktop Linux is “still a no go,” but Dell and Lenovo bet otherwise with their offerings, and the Google-friendly gPC has upped the ante even more.

So will ‘08 be the year? I don’t really think so. I tend to agree with a commenter on Robin Harris’ post, who said:

    There will never be a “Linux’s Year on the Desktop.” Linux will continue as it has, slowly gathering adherents, large corporate clients, and governmental units of varying sizes globally. …Eventually, Linux will have a statistically significant market share.
Source:  ‘The Year’ for Linux Desktop?

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Whether Windows Vista will succeed to the same extent as Windows XP is an interesting discussion, but it may not be tightly germane to the issue of whether Linux succeeds on the desktop.  In other words, if Vista fails to meet expectations in terms of its adoption, then a potential opportunity for Linux to gain ‘share of desktop’ may be created — but that potential does not, by itself, propel the advancement of Linux.  For Linux to succeed, in my opinion, it can’t just be a “second choice” to Windows Vista — it must stand on its own merits and win the hearts and minds of the hoi polloi of the PC community.

Title: Re: Linux Won't Succeed On The Desktop
Post by MrMagoo on Jan 2nd, 2008 at 2:28pm
Speaking of historical context, I think we are missing what used to be the first few pages of this thread...

[edit]RAD edit. Sorry about the missing posts. That suks.I am unable to locate in the back-up. Hopefully new forum will not have these problems. Nobody accidentally hit the "split"button, right? I have done that muself a few times.[/edit]

Title: Re: Linux Won't Succeed On The Desktop
Post by MrMagoo on Jan 10th, 2008 at 3:32pm

"With $200 machines being all the rage these days, it's surprising that more coverage hasn't been given to Shuttle's KPC which is an Intel Celeron processor, a 945GC chipset, 512MB of memory and either a 60GB or 80GB HDD. With deals like these, will Linux become the dominant home operating system for the thrifty?"


Title: Re: Linux Won't Succeed On The Desktop
Post by Rad on Jan 15th, 2008 at 5:31pm

We lose posts here?


How many?

Great thread.

Title: Re: Linux Won't Succeed On The Desktop
Post by Pleonasm on Jan 16th, 2008 at 10:49am
As MrMagoo noted on Jan 2, 2008, “I think we are missing what used to be the first few pages of this thread”.

Rad, can’t you retrieve the missing posts in this thread from a backup?  Maybe just print to a PDF the posts in this thread before Oct 28, 2007, and attach that document so that the information is not lost?  This is disheartening, especially to see much of the thoughtful commentary of MrMagoo disappear from the discussion here.


Title: Re: Linux Won't Succeed On The Desktop
Post by Rad on Jan 24th, 2008 at 11:13pm
Sorry to hear about the missing posts. That suks. I am unable to locate in the back-up. Hopefully new forum will not have these problems.

Nobody accidentally hit the "split" link/function, right? I have done that myself a few times, cuz the links are fairly close together. That would put the other posts in a seperate thread. Maybe look/search for keywords you used there.

Do you as moderators have access to the "split" function? .. (right next to the "Modify" link.)

Title: Re: Linux Won't Succeed On The Desktop
Post by MrMagoo on Jan 25th, 2008 at 1:52am
I have split and splice, but I haven't been able to locate the rest of the thread.

Title: Re: Linux Won't Succeed On The Desktop
Post by MrMagoo on Jan 31st, 2008 at 1:56pm
Another article about the growth of Linux on the desktop:


The trend from throughout this thread continues - Linux's share of the desktop market is miniscule, but the trend is toward rapid growth (percentage wise) rather than failure. The author expects sales of the Eee PC alone to double the current number of Linux installations on the desktop.  

Of course some might argue that the Eee PC is a UMPC rather than a desktop, and I tend to agree, but that just means that Linux has a HUGE share of the UMPC market.  2 of the 3 most popular UMPC's run Linux.  Familiarity with Linux on a UMPC will likely increase the interest of users in Linux on a desktop, so the figures aren't completly unrelated.

Again, Linux isn't taking over the world anything soon, but failure really isn't in the projections.

Title: Re: Linux Won't Succeed On The Desktop
Post by Pleonasm on Apr 24th, 2008 at 9:35am
A recent article in InformationWeek reports the following…

Red Hat said it has dropped plans, disclosed last year, to develop a version of the Linux operating system for consumer PCs -- in part because of Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT)'s dominance over the market.

"The desktop market suffers from having one dominant vendor, and some people still perceive that today's Linux desktops simply don't provide a practical alternative," Red Hat officials said in a blog post Wednesday.

"Building a sustainable business around the Linux desktop is tough, and history is littered with example efforts that have either failed outright, are stalled, or are run as charities," they said.

Linux commands only about 1.2% of the desktop market in the United States, according to research group Gartner.
Source:  Red Hat Drops Plans For Consumer Desktop Linux

Clearly, the abandonment of Linux on the desktop by Red Hat isn’t a “vote of confidence” in the future of the operating system among consumers.

Title: Re: Linux Won't Succeed On The Desktop
Post by MrMagoo on Apr 24th, 2008 at 2:00pm
Red Hat's development model would make it difficult to charge for a desktop version of Linux.  With Fedora floating out there for free and CentOS offering the exact RH OS without fees, RH has been depending on its large business customers that make good use of the professional support RH supplies with their license fees.  

Similar desktop support would be difficult and expensive due to the challenges of supporting an end-user vs. supporting a large company's Linux admin team.  So, it may not be as much of a remark on their predictions for the success of Linux on the desktop so much as their ability to make money off the desktop market.

Title: Re: Linux Won't Succeed On The Desktop
Post by MrMagoo on Jun 9th, 2008 at 6:23pm

Now, it seems we have to define 'Desktop'.  Because Linux is clearly beginning to succeed in the UltraMobilePC catagory.  By desktop, did you simply mean "consumer level non-server PCs"?  Or did you mean the actual desktop tower computers sitting on people's desks?

There's no ignoring that Linux is making large headway on devices many consumers are interested in - iPhone, Eee PC, the up and coming Android mobile phone platform, etc.  So, to me, the question is if Linux will make it onto actual 'sit-under-the-desk' desktops, or if that even matters given the market trend toward mobile devices. Either way, I see evidence Microsoft is scared, so that says something.

Title: Re: Linux Won't Succeed On The Desktop
Post by Pleonasm on Jun 10th, 2008 at 7:40am
The hope that the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) initiative would advance Linux on the desktop is fading, both because the initiative itself is encountering significant problems and because the hardware will now support Windows.

With Microsoft on board, tens of thousands of educational software applications designed to run on Windows can now be used on the XO, making it more useful in schools and acceptable to government ministries. "This will have a huge impact on the psychology of OLPC. It brings us more into the mainstream of people's minds," says Nicholas Negroponte, OLPC's founder and chairman. …

While the alliance improves the XO's chances for mass acceptance, it also drew the ire of long-time OLPC supporters who saw the machine as a counterweight in the developing world to Microsoft's dominance of computer operating systems. Walter Bender, the longtime president of OLPC who resigned last month, says Linux, the open-source operating system now on the XO, is a better choice because it is constantly being improved, whereas Windows XP, first introduced in 2001, is no longer being updated by Microsoft. Also, he says, "I believe that the culture of freedom and self-determinism that comes part-and-parcel with free and open-source systems is synergistic with the culture of learning that OLPC is trying to espouse."
Source:  Microsoft Joins One Laptop per Child

Title: Re: Linux Won't Succeed On The Desktop
Post by MrMagoo on Jun 10th, 2008 at 1:54pm
And despite that, more and more Linux computers show up in the consumer market every day...  What is your thoughts on the emerging mobile market?  

Title: Re: Linux Won't Succeed On The Desktop
Post by Pleonasm on Jun 12th, 2008 at 6:55am
The ‘disappointment’ of OLPC as a mechanism to advance Linux on the desktop is insightful.  Apparently, the issue is not a concern with Linux per se, but with the fact that “educational software applications {are} designed to run on Windows.”  That is a difficult chasm to cross.  If mobile applications are primarily written for Linux, then the situation may be reversed in that realm – and, maybe mobile will be the consumer driven force that propels Linux forward.

What else is ‘on the horizon’ that might also serve to enhance the presence of Linux?

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