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Linux will never beat Windows?

© September 2006 Anthony Lawrence


Microsoft will maintain its dominant position among operating system providers even if Linux achieves technical superiority in the future, due to Microsoft's legacy hold on not only computing users, but also the larger industry.

So says https://www.technewsworld.com/story/52966.html, anyway.

My immediate response is "those who do not study history are doomed to repeat it." I bet you could find something from the early 80's that made equally assertive predictions about Wang and Dec's entrenched position in the computer market. Heck, they owned the minicomputer field AND were moving into PC's. How could they fail?

Well, they did. It may be true that the average person is too dim witted to know what's good for them (in any area, never mind something as techy as computer operating systems), but that's relatively unimportant. Microsoft is besot by danger and trouble from without and within, and smart people are starting to understand that.

This week I finished up a conversion from Windows to Linux. As explained at the referenced article, we did this transfer because of apparently unresolvable database problems, but now that the work is done, I doubt you could get the customer to switch back without threats of violence. Reports that took hours to run on Windows now finish in minutes, reports that took minutes run so quickly that users think they did not run until they hear the printer warming up! Of course a large part of this is because it's a relatively small database in a machine with a lot of ram and little need for it: Linux's aggressive caching really shines here. But there are other issues: it's a lot easier to give them more features now and we've already started exploiting that. As time goes on, they'll be even more happy with Linux, and I know that experience is repeatable in other places: Linux IS superior to Windows, and it's not all that hard to see it.

Yeah, yeah, that's server, not desktop. Desktop is harder because fragmentation (six zillion Linux distros) makes it harder to get mind share, and if Linux does catch Average Joe's attention, the multiple distro choices will throw him into helpless confusion. OK, but that doesn't help keep Microsoft on top forever.

Microsoft's days are numbered. If they screw up with Vista, that number may be much smaller than anyone now thinks. Any technological problem or even medical scare (National Enquirer says high Ghz machines cause cancer!) or economic downturn could make the pricey hardware necessary for Vista a big problem even if Microsoft's young buck programmers don't trip over their shoelaces. Microsoft CAN fail, and nobody knows that better than Gates and Ballmer.

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-> Linux will never beat Windows?


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More Articles by © Anthony Lawrence

Fri Sep 15 10:16:13 2006: 2457   TonyLawrence

I was at this client yesterday working with their Windows IT consultant to work the Linux box into their Windows backup scheme. He pulled out his laptop: a Mac.

Why? Because he's starting to get Mac customers. We talked a bit about Vista: he says none of his clients are interested and agreed that Microsoft could stumble badly here.

Fri Sep 15 14:55:19 2006: 2458   BigDumbDinosaur

New technology isn't necessarily better technology. The old adage is "Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door." Gates and company are apparently confusing new with better.

Sat Sep 16 00:59:25 2006: 2464   anonymous

Microsoft doesn't have any choice, Vista has to be better or at least people have to be convinced that it's better enough to buy new computers to get. The vast majority of the profits they make is from Windows and MS Office. Most anything they have done, even most of it is pretty much successfull by other people's standard, it doesn't make any money for them. Like the Xbox for instance, mice keyboards, wireless devices, or development tools.

Since they've saturated the market with their products the only way they can make money is by convincing people to buy new stuff. So Vista has to be so much better then XP that people go out and buy all new computers that will be needed to run it.

Sun Sep 17 02:52:41 2006: 2466   BigDumbDinosaur

Since they've saturated the market with their products the only way they can make money is by convincing people to buy new stuff.

The term you are looking for is "planned obsolescence." The automotive industry has used this technique for decades to keep 'em coming back to the showrooms. Try buying replacement parts for a car that's more than 10 years old.

Mon Sep 18 14:09:43 2006: 2467   anonymous

MICROSOFT Windsows are designed by amators who are being told what to do, how to do and are being paid for.

It is patch over patch and we can only hold fingers that that crap will not crap on us with the most viewed BSOD.

Windows is being SOLD (not licenced) for profit.

United States Laws prohibits BUNDLED transaction unless the customer demands it.

I said WINDOWS is being sold as there is NO valid licencing or leasing contract between the Microsoft and buyer.

To licence or lease the product a fully executed LICENCE (or LEASE) contract MUST be signed before the product is sold.

To sell some one a product and than after purchase execute the contract is unlawfull.

Microsoft is forving people to BUY (a BUNDLED transaction) software (OS) with NO choice of version of OS which is attached (preloaded) with specific hardware against the will of customer willing to purchase the hardware only is nothing but MONOPOLISTIC VIOLATION of Fair Business practices in almost each and every State of the United States.

Consequently when people are forced with hardware to buy OS which they do not want or need the alleged contract is unlawful.

Any buyer can do with the purchased product what ever he wants or whishes, while MICROSOFT alleged LICENSE agreement executed after the physical purchase of product is legaly INVALID.

In contrast with Microsoft Windows

LINUX, LINUX distros and applications are designed by unpaid PROFESSIONALS who program what they need and how they envision it should work.

None of professionals is being paid for when they release it under Open Source GPL.

Many programers and system administrators however might chose to be paid for programing as a part of system integration, administration and maintenance.

The superiority of LINUX distribution comes from the hearts of all professioanl programers.

LOVE knoppix now version 5.01.





Tue Sep 19 00:22:18 2006: 2469   Sledge

So when I think about the future of Microsoft OS on the desktop, I don't see Linux as the dominant threat. For years there was a need to put a pretty face on X. KDE does a pretty good job of it but it is now very bloated and the integration isn't that tight (I have to wait forever for the sound server to play the audio file I set to go off when the IM client has an incoming message). I hear good things about Gnome but I don't use it, and I also hear bad things about Gnome. The real point here is there is no clear winner, it is till a matter of prefference.

Then one day, Apple says "Hey, we got a really nice window manager over here." and without much fanfare and really for the most part with out much hassle over adoption, Apple releases the real threat to Microsoft's dominance on the desktop.

Now we just need to tell people, because Apple isn't very good at tooting their own horn.

Wed Sep 20 10:51:14 2006: 2472   drag

KDE sound stuff is tragic. It's that artsd stuff. I wouldn't considure it bloated as much as simply bad design. Artsd itself has been unmaintained for a long while now.

KDE version 4 should be a lot nicer and they've completely rid themselves of KDE3 arts media framework and should end up being much nicer. The main problem with it that I see is that it's a big rewrite. QT4 library is not API compatable with Qt3 and applications need to be ported to use it. This means to me that it's going to be a long while before KDE4 stabilises and gets good application support. Otherwise I am looking forward to it.

Can't stand KDE3 personally. I didn't think Gnome was worth anything either until Gnome 2.6 and I started using it at Gnome 2.8. Now the latest version is 2.14 and (along with standard distro-provided add-ons) you get nice automated network configuration for mobile devices through Network-Manager, integrated desktop search for files/directories/metadata/content/email/browser history/etc etc. Vector based graphics and it has beginnings of OpenGL-based desktop support. The nice thing about it is that for applications they do a good job at backward compatability while still being able to modernize quite a bit. Having the source code and being able to update freely makes things a bit more flexible then what you'd normally see on OS X or Windows. Also they have been working with the newer Linux oriented profiling software and Solaris's dtrace to slim it down and improve performance. They are aiming for good performance for stripped down GTK/Gnome-based environments for things like "One laptop for every child" project and mobile phones with companies like Nokia. Eventually Gnome will probably go with Gnome 3.0 and break API compatability but right now they see no reason for it.

Nowadays your starting to see more people interested in it for business desktop and companies like Novell are starting to introduce real UI studies and testing for their Linux dekstop products.

As Ubuntu has shown this sort of work has made Linux desktop accessable for a wider audiance. Still not as simple or easy to use as a Apple system.

The thing about Apple that makes me not very hopefull for them is that I don't realy think that their goal is to try to take over any realy significant Windows market. They are working on growing their market share, to be sure, but I don't think that they are aiming for realy sticking it to MS.

For instance if Microsoft wanted to hurt Apple if Apple got to uppity all they would have to do is pull Microsoft Office support. Microsoft has the largest Apple development workforce outside Apple themselves and if they decide to pull support then it would realy make Apple's products unnatractive to a large numbers of potential users who feel they require MS Office for their day to day computer tasks.

Wed Sep 20 11:21:51 2006: 2473   TonyLawrence

For instance if Microsoft wanted to hurt Apple if Apple got to uppity all they would have to do is pull Microsoft Office support.

I don't think they could do that - they have enough anti-trust issues here and abroad.

Wed Sep 20 13:02:59 2006: 2474   BigDumbDinosaur

For instance if Microsoft wanted to hurt Apple if Apple got to uppity all they would have to do is pull Microsoft Office support.

I don't think they could do that - they have enough anti-trust issues here and abroad.

If Microsoft was dumb enough to cut off Office support for Apple, it would probably hasten the switch to Open Office. Most people I know are completely fed up with Microsoft and their attitude of invincibility. It kind of reminds me of the old Dial soap commercials, but in reverse: "Don't you use MS Office? Don't you wish everyone didn't?"

Thu Feb 12 06:12:25 2009: 5386   anonymous

why I dont use unix systems is it is difficult to install, use and takes time to learn. Windows is lot easier. Whichever operating system can make the installation, usability and small learning curve will win the market share. not all the computer users love/know c and c++ programming.

Thu Feb 12 06:13:37 2009: 5387   anonymous

I want to see how opensolaris can do this.

Thu Feb 12 11:44:57 2009: 5391   TonyLawrence

I don't know why you think C programming is necessary, but never mind that: from a flat start, there's no learning curve difference today. You think Windows is easier because you already know a little about it.. though in reality most users know very little and vastly under-utilize their computers.

I have no idea what you mean by "I want to see how opensolaris can do this." If ever there was a non-sequitor, there it is.


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