According to a recent survey, most companies will not deploy Windows 7. They just think it is going to suck and they are not going to have anything to do with it. YouTube will not be supporting IE6 any longer. Once again, an unpatched Microsoft Expected Feature, er, I mean Bug, is causing major problems. And, already, the Post Office is switching 1,300 of its servers to Linux.

It is only a matter of time…

Comments

  1. #1 Alex
    July 15, 2009

    I think we’ll see greater Windows 7 adoption in a few years. Companies are just going to wait till XP support is completely ended and for the Win 7 service pack.
    That said I hope that my work switches over to Linux, working under XP is really irritating.

  2. #2 John Swindle
    July 15, 2009

    Way back when Linux was still a baby, a journalist asked Linus Torvalds what kind of future he envisioned for his fledgling operating system. He answered “World domination”, then he chuckled, as if he was only joking.

  3. #3 SimonG
    July 15, 2009

    Unless it’s a diabolical flop, most businesses will switch to Windows 7 in due course: they just can’t continue with XP once it goes out of support. I don’t think anyone will be in a hurry, though.

    I was interested to learn that MS will be making it more expensive to upgrade to Win7 in the EU than elsewhere, supposedly as a result of the requirement to dec-couple IE from the OS. Not sure how much of an effect that will have: it doesn’t make sense for most home users to do an upgrade and I would imagine businesses will make their own deals. It smacks of MS being spiteful.

  4. #4 MattR
    July 15, 2009

    In all fairness, I do believe the Post Office was running Solaris previously, so it’s not the massive leap that switching from Windows would have been.

    This was pretty impressive though. By switching from XP to Ubuntu, I think the saving was somewhere in the region of $50M/annum.

    As a developer, it’s great to see companies phasing out IE6 support, too. Digg may also be phasing out IE6 support for everything except page viewing. IE7 isn’t much better, but still requires fewer hacks.

  5. #5 MattR
    July 15, 2009

    Oops, should have read the linked article more closely for the figure on the savings.

    “Since 2004 has saved 50 million euro on licences for standard office applications, hardware and maintenance.”

  6. #6 Fargo
    July 15, 2009

    You’d be amazed how long businesses will hold onto completely deprecated versions of Windows.

    That said, I’ve been steadily converting my clients to linux for a while now, at least at the server end. In rarer cases I’ve even managed desktop conversions.

    If you can kill… I mean persuade… the idiot admins that think the sun shines from the Windows CD we’ll all be better off that much sooner.

  7. #7 Ron
    July 15, 2009

    Linux domination?

    Yup, real soon now…
    (tongue firmly in cheek)

  8. #8 Greg Laden
    July 15, 2009

    There is a fine line between a chuckle and a Mwahahahahahah!!!!

  9. #9 Greg Laden
    July 15, 2009

    Ron: Linux is already dominating, and in fact, it is dominating on the desktop.

    Right now, how many regular end users are using computers at home or in coffee shops etc… this evening. Millions. What percentage of them are mainly browsing and/or doing email. 99% . How many of the sites they are looking at or servers running email systems for them are running Linux. Most.

    Linux rules.

  10. #10 Bert Chadick
    July 15, 2009

    Linux: The OS of the future, and always will be.

  11. #11 Bill James
    July 15, 2009

    GL: “According to a recent survey, most companies will not deploy Windows 7. They just think it is going to suck and they are not going to have anything to do with it.”

    Just as well you labeled this troll bait since there is a great difference between “having no plans to upgrade at this time” versus “will not deploy Windows 7.”

    Indeed, I could well imagine an entire army of MCSE’s praying to their respective Gawds that Windows 7 doesn’t suck.

  12. #12 Greg Laden
    July 15, 2009

    I think they’ll just upgrade to Linux instead.

  13. #13 Azkyroth
    July 16, 2009

    When I can run Solidworks natively in Linux I’ll seriously consider switching. Unfortunately, unlike many of my older games, it’s just not going to be viable to run under an emulator.

  14. #14 Jeff Knapp
    July 16, 2009

    If Ubuntu or another similar GUI desktop can rise to the level of the Mac OS for ease of use for the average user, then there is a real chance it could become the dominant desktop OS as well.

    From my personal perspective, the main thing that is holding it back is the need to interact with a command line. For Unix/Linux gurus, that is obviously not an issue but, for the rest of us, it most certainly is. For me, the Mac gives me all of the power, security and stability of Unix with a nearly seamless, mature, easy to use desktop GUI that has never required me to open a terminal to do any sort of setup, installation, maintenance, or any daily use tasks. For Windows users, flawed as it is, Windows succeeds on that regard for them too – most of the time anyway.

    For a large corporation that has a dedicated IT staff to setup, install and maintain desktop machines as well as the servers, a situation where the end users are never expected to do any of those kinds of tasks, I would think Ubuntu would make a great choice over Windows or the Mac. Available apps would be the only real question to deal with.

    If the Linux development community can really overcome the need for a command line and make a desktop environment that equals or exceeds the Mac OS X in the “grandma” test, I think it could put Micro$oft in the ground.

  15. #15 Babak
    July 16, 2009

    People around Linux OS are so impressed with it that look like a gang to me. Not sure what is so significant about it that even one person here doesn’t have anything to say against it. At least I can add one thing here, there are TONS of device drivers, applications, tools working on Windows OS that are simply not available under Linux. How you make your favorite webcam working under Linux? How you deal with TONS of office documents circulating in everyday business environment? How you know that your Linux OS is as safe as Windows if hackers even care to attack it? and many more….

    Linux can not get even close to what Windows OS achieved during years in terms of productivity especially for businesses.

    Of course everything comes with a price. Once the productivity degrades or things getting really competitive then you will see Windows will have the same price tag of Linux OS.

  16. #16 John Swindle
    July 16, 2009

    Babak – I bet every Linux user here and elsewhere could come up with some things we dislike about Linux. But in spite of that, Linux manages to inspire loyalty and affection. I don’t think Microsoft can do that. At least some of us (maybe most) are impressed by the culture: volunteers working toward a great product just for the love of it.

  17. #17 Lassi Hippeläinen
    July 16, 2009

    Of course Linux rules.
    http://www.top500.org/stats/list/33/os

    #15: “How you deal with TONS of office documents circulating in everyday business environment?”

    OpenOffice.

    #15: “How you know that your Linux OS is as safe as Windows if hackers even care to attack it?”

    Linux isn’t as safe as Windows, it is safer. Just take a look at system architecture. Windows is a single-user OS where the user has access to everything. Crack a Windows application and you pwn the machine. Linux (as a derivative of Unix) is a multi-user OS, where each user is sandboxed. At most you can crash a process.

  18. #18 Bill James
    July 16, 2009

    #17: Linux isn’t as safe as Windows, it is safer

    YouTube – Tim Meadows Marijuana Warning

  19. #19 Dunc
    July 16, 2009

    Yeah, many companies are poised to simply walk away from over a decade’s worth of business-critical records, documents and custom applications in favour of a technically superior operating system. Sure.

    Most business users don’t give a shit about the OS. They do give a shit about their sunk costs and previous investments.

  20. #20 MadScientist
    July 16, 2009

    I’d just like to point out (as others already have) that corporations are very conservative with their software. Software costs money so you’d better have an extremely good reason for switching. Corporations are also rightly concerned that being an early adopter is not such a good idea because you may be left with a huge bill for fixing things up. Also keep in mind that many corporations will acquire copies of W7 anyway and spend 1 or even 2 years testing to ensure that any somewhat critical systems can be switched over with no major fuss.

    Personally I would expect a rather large corporate shift to W7 in the first half of 2011 (but anyone else’s guess is as good as mine). I also think MS somewhat shot themselves in the foot by announcing W7 so early – that virtually guaranteed that corporations axe VisDuh adoption and wait a while longer for W7 instead.

    As for XP, depending on local laws MS may need to provide it and provide support for up to 5 years after they announce that the product is no longer available. This is generally a matter for the industrial and embedded market though (and MS has indeed pushed XP as a replacement of sorts for WinCE) and I believe MS deal fairly well with their customers in that field.

    Now as an instrument maker myself, I do my damned best to avoid MS operating systems. Many scientific instruments are one-off items and I have to support them for anywhere from 5 to 15 years after delivery. With Linux (or QNIX or another number of operating systems for that matter) I don’t have any major issues with support for old instruments and with Linux (and numerous other free tools) I even have the option of incremental upgrades if there is any benefit to such an upgrade. Myriad issues with MS operating systems make it more difficult to support and some issues just give me nightmares.

    I enjoy watching how Free Software and Linux catches on with the average Joe though. Personally I’ve never recommended Linux for non-geeks until early in 2008. I still wouldn’t push it on anyone but if someone wants to play around I’ll help them out. A 76 year-old buddy of mine shocked me one day in 2002 by telling me he installed ‘Debian’ – one of the geek distributions – I asked him what the experience was like and he said “oh, it was easy – I just read the installation manual and followed the instructions.” Now if only the younger generations would take time to read the instructions …

  21. #21 MadScientist
    July 16, 2009

    @Babak: You really should do some serious reading before making such statements; you’re just making it obvious to many people that you have absolutely no clue what you’re talking about.

    The fraction of hardware without a suitable Linux driver is a miniscule percentage of currently available hardware and the free software drivers are generally of very high quality. Where the are problems (and there will always be some problems) is usually where the manufacturer of a device refuses to cooperate and provide information necessary to implement a free driver. In general I find it much easier to install Linux and device drivers than to install Windows, especially when critical bits of hardware are too new to have a driver available in your MSWin install disc – in the case of Linux just get an updated installer while in the case of MSWin you need to work around – and sometimes the workaround is a painful and long process.

  22. #22 MadScientist
    July 16, 2009

    @JohnSwindle: You do realize that the bulk of the Linux operating system development is done by corporate programmers, don’t you? The totally free “I just felt like doing it” contributions are still a significant chunk, but a substantial majority is in fact coded by people paid to do the work.

  23. #23 Greg Laden
    July 16, 2009

    When I can run Solidworks natively in Linux I’ll seriously consider switching.

    Your repertoire of computer hardware and software should be chosen on the basis of your primary needs. We have had the need to maintain a single Windows box for similar reasons. That machine can not go beyond XP and has certain other limitations, so it is already starting to show signs of obsolescence. Every now and then I consider the replacement strategy.

    Eventually that computer will go away. Perhaps we need a linux desktop up at the cabin …. that could make sense. At the moment it has been over six months since anyone played a game on that box. Its only function now is iTunes.

  24. #24 Greg Laden
    July 16, 2009

    Babak[15] There is not a single office document that can not be opened, edited, closed, and saved properly, by standard distro Linux software. Not. One.

    My brother inlaw gave me a web cam for xmas. I plugged it into my linux computer. Works fine from the get go. I just installed linux on a used laptop the other day. Suddenly, I needed to print something. My wife’s printer was sitting there with it’s usb Cable, so I plugged the cable into my laptop and hit the automatic “print” button on the browser. It printed. There was no installation process. Try that on a Windows machine!!!

    There are not tons and tons of drivers not available in Linux. There are three kinds of drivers:

    1) Those that exist (the vast majority)

    2) Those that do not exist because manufacturers are being paid off by Microsoft to not develop them AND no one has gotten around to producing them. For most of these, there is a wrapper that allows the windows driver to function in your Linux machine.

    3) Those that are simply unavailable for Liux because the hardware just came out and the manufacturerer chose to screw over the linux users, but these will be developed soon enough. A small subset of these will never be developed, but there are FAR FEWER pieces of hardware that Linux can not manage than pieces of hardware that windows can’t manage.

    Also, why, please tell me, is that question NEVER EVER raised with Mac OSX. Try running THAT system on your randomly chosen Dell laptop!!?!??!!

    Your information is old and out of date.

  25. #25 Greg Laden
    July 16, 2009

    Mad: That is a good point about who develops software. It is still Open Source, of course, and it is still”volunteer” but the “vollunteering” is being done at a different level.

    Can you imagine that if every corporation and institution with an IT staff of more than B FTE’s contributed a percentage off their FTE’s to OSS, such that the percentage went up slightly with B (to a point)? Thus, most users would be directly involved in development. In less than two or three years all the prop. software that does not currently have quality OSS alternatives would be in trasntion out. The overall cost of doing business would be down measurable. If we really are an information and service economy, and if IT really can increase efficiency by whole percentage points, such an OSS self-tithe could cause increased economic develoment AND deflation of cost at the same time.

    … but no one ever listens to me ….

  26. #26 Ray Ingles
    July 16, 2009

    Bill James – Um, yeah, Linux is safer. Even if you’re having marijuana-related problems, you still should be able to see the difference between the pictures linked at the bottom of this article.

  27. #27 dean
    July 16, 2009

    I know of two instances (my employer, a small private college) and another business, where the choice to stay with windows machines over Mac or something else, even to give employees the choice, has been heavily influence by older administrators: they are familiar with windows, not with other systems, and have nixed changes away from the “standard”.

    I’ll assume this wouldn’t occur at large businesses, but I do wonder how often it occurs at the scads of smaller businesses that exist.

  28. #28 Ray Ingles
    July 16, 2009

    Jeff Knapp – Linux already is at the level you’re asking about. You don’t have to use the command line in Ubuntu for “setup, installation, maintenance, or any daily use tasks”. On Ubuntu, for example, there’s the basic Update Manager to keep software – all the software on the system, from OS to apps – up to date. For installing, there’s Synaptic Package Manager, a GUI that lets you browse and select available software. For maintenance, there’s a whole collection of ‘control panels’ and GUI tools.

    True, much of the advice on the forums uses the command line… but which would you use in a text format? “Click on the System tab, then choose Administration, then choose Synaptic, then, in the search box, enter “mplayer” and hit return, then check the box next to…”

    Or just “Open up a terminal, and type ‘sudo apt-get install mplayer’”?

    This leaves aside the fact that normal users rarely actually do that kind of maintenance. They have their child or neighbor or cousin or friend who’s “good with computers” do it. (For our last family reunion, my wife got me a t-shirt that says, “No, I will not fix your computer.”) Linux is no different in that respect.

    My elderly parents have no trouble at all using their Ubuntu system. I swing by every so often and do some maintenance, but for daily use it’s already there.

  29. #29 Jason Thibeault
    July 16, 2009

    Greg @24: hate to break it to you, but Microsoft Visio files are still on the “un-openable” list. We have lots of good programs that can do the same job (or better, actually!) like Dia, Kivio and OpenOffice.org Draw, but none of them can open Microsoft’s proprietary binary blob yet. There’s a project trying to reverse engineer the format but I can’t recall the name and a few Google searches isn’t bringing it forward.

    The good thing is, Visio 2003 works fine in WINE (with a less than ideal installation method detailed here). I don’t know about 2007, I don’t have a copy of it, but apparently it works as well. And they work even better if you use Crossover Office.

    Azkyroth @13: Remember, WINE and Crossover Office are not emulators. They are compatibility layers. They provide the executable code with reverse engineered versions of the Windows DLLs to link against. WINE applications are actually running natively, though without copies of the real Windows DLLs often will fail since the DLLs provided with WINE are, as I said, reverse-engineered. You can get your WINE installation running a lot of existing applications quite easily by providing the original Windows DLLs for it to run against. That’s not to say it’s flawless, obviously — WINE is constantly playing catch-up against Windows’ (intentionally) moving target.

  30. #30 Andrew
    July 16, 2009

    Dean: influence by older administrators: they are familiar with windows, not with other systems, and have nixed changes away from the “standard”.

    Why is your assumption familiarity rather than that they are getting paid off?

  31. #31 Greg Laden
    July 16, 2009

    Jason @29: Visio. Who cares about visio? Visio sucks. Dia rules.

    This (visio) would be a a pretty thin thread to hang a philosophy for implementing an OS strategy on.

    But as you point out, it Visio runs on your Linux machine. The thing that originally stopped me from switching to Linux totally a few years back was not being able to run Endnote. Then I ried crossover word and endnote (a two-versions back version of word and one version back on endnote, at the time) and found that both worked BETTER in Linux than on a windows machine.

    Better. Not the same, not almost as good, better. The more recent version of Word seemed to work as well, but I stuck with the earlier version to get it going without problems just in case.

    I’m sure Visio using Wine with Crossover to make the installation painless is wonderful.

  32. #32 Greg Laden
    July 16, 2009

    Oh, and this talk about the command line… I agree with Ray, but I should also mention that I started to write a response comment but it turned into a draft of a blog post. Coming in the future.

  33. #33 Jason Thibeault
    July 16, 2009

    I’m absolutely in agreement. I don’t often use Visio except to open and alter network diagrams given to me by other IT folk, and even then I save it in a non-VSD just to cheese them off. I don’t understand why people prefer Visio with all its bugs and glaring issues, when Dia is so much better (once you’ve built up a library of good stencils).

    And yes, without all the extra overhead of Windows, both WINE and Crossover Office run the same applications on a way thinner environment and performance is visibly better.

  34. #34 Ray Ingles
    July 16, 2009

    Babak (and Greg): The “driver problem” used to be a major issue for Linux… back in the early to mid 1990s. It’s gotten progressively less important and by now is, for the majority of users, a non-issue.

    There’s a couple reasons for that. First, hardware has been moving to be much more standards-oriented, and the standards themselves have improved. Take USB, for example: there’s a standard way to talk to keyboards and mice and joysticks (HID, “Human Interface Devices”), there’s a standard way to talk to disks and flash cards and such (“USB Mass Storage”), there’s two ways to talk to cameras and scanners (Picture Transfer Protocol and USB Still Image), there’s now a standard protocol for webcams, etc. etc. Most hardware uses off-the-shelf interface chips and you don’t need a specialized driver to use ‘em. Same with SATA, Firewire, Ethernet, PCI & PCI Express, DVD/CD recording, etc. etc. You need to start getting fairly exotic to find something that doesn’t implement a bog-standard interface, these days.

    Second, for the subset of hardware that doesn’t have such standards – these days, almost exclusively video cards – there’s been a consolidation among manufacturers, and you have only three major players there (AMD/ATI, Nvidia, and Intel) along with maybe a couple minor players (S3′s the only one I can think of). All of them have Linux drivers – Intel’s are even open-source.

    For example, I just got an HD camcorder for my birthday. I didn’t even worry about “whether or not it supported Linux” – I knew it would. To get the files off it, I can either use a bog-standard USB cable (shows up as a flash drive) or copy them onto an SDHC card and hook that into a card reader. I can play and edit the files on Linux – with hardware video acceleration, so it uses negligible CPU.

  35. #35 Greg Laden
    July 16, 2009

    BTW, I have a visio story. One day a guy I know showed me this software that used the idea of moving icons of drawing elements into place to produce a drawing. His brother had come up with it. His brother owned or partly owned a database company and this was partly inspired, it seems, by the need for a computer based easy to use method of drawing database structures.

    Eventually, the database company became mega famous (Ashton Tate), and the guy (Larry Ellison) who invented viseo sold it to Microsoft. Peter, Larry’s Brother, is still a reproductive ecologists at Harvard. Peter was one of the founders of the Harvard Ituri Project, which brought me to Zaire, where I also worked on the Semliki Porject, which in turn is chronicled in the Congo Memoirs:

    http://scienceblogs.com/gregladen/congo_memoirs/

    So …. it is all connected after all…

  36. #36 dean
    July 16, 2009

    Andrew-I don’t think they’re being paid off (in the instances I know of) because:

    1) The business certainly isn’t big enough
    2) Our administrators are stodgy in pretty much everything – they dislike change in
    essentially everything. Also, I know some who, even if payoff money were waived in
    front of them, wouldn’t take it. Not a blanket statement, but I’m secure in that
    belief about some.
    3) I may be way out of the loop, but I don’t know of a big conspiracy to pay off folks
    anyway.

  37. #37 DrMcCoy
    July 16, 2009

    I’ve never used Visio, but I had to use Dia for a time two years ago (building UML diagrams for a uni project) and I absolutely hated it, especially its broken SVG export. In the end, I basically did everything by hand in Inkscape.

    Dunno if it’s any better now though, since I’ve never used it again since then. I don’t think much of UML in any case ;)

  38. #38 Babak
    July 16, 2009

    Thanks to those who replied to my comment, I can see there is a lot of passion going on with Linux OS. This is in fact very healthy for all OS makers including Microsoft to learn from their mistakes and try to be more competitive in terms of pricing as well as quality or probably functionality.

    @JohnSwindle, your comment sounds reasonable, very true if this in fact brings together a community of well talented computer programmers.

    @Greg, thanks for the article and your comments, I just didn’t like the title of this article and I commented here only because I felt it is not fair or entirely true. But certainly I see there are good improvements on Linux side.

    @LassiHippeläinen, I am sure you don’t actually believe with a “SandBox” idea you can solve all OS security issues and stop all hackers. Brilliant idea!!

    Just one thing: look at the title of this article “Microsoft is Doomed, Linux is the Future” you are making the same mistake that Microsoft did many years ago. Don’t get too excited or passionate about Linux. We need multiple OS competing with each other so we can all benefit from this healthy business environment otherwise you just replace one problem with the other.

    No I have to go back do some coding…

  39. #39 Phaedrus
    July 16, 2009

    Got my laptop back from the shop and decided to go all Linux (no dual boot) – Dell Vostro 1700.

    Ubuntu Jackalope installed just great. Had to fiddle with the sound settings to get them to work (via the GUI). Wireless didn’t work out of the box, neither did wired – network GUI interface was not installed on default installation, had to manually (command line) install it, still not sure I did that right because I can’t seem to get it to work. I finally just ran ifconfig to get wired lan to work. Looks like I’ll have to install the NDIS wrapper for the wireless. This is may be easy stuff for a gear head, but it involves LOTS of internet searches, etc, for me.

    I’m sticking with it and will see it working, but with Vista I was installed and online (wireless) without a hitch.

    The best answer I can give for people who don’t like Linux because it doesn’t do (fill in your complaint) is that you can do something about it! I hate that Windows is a black box. I understand that not everyone has the gumption or knowledge to program fixes for your problems, but just having that avenue open for you inspires so much innovation that I really do think Linux is the future.

  40. #40 Greg Laden
    July 16, 2009

    Phaedrus: Thanks for the comment. A question for you. Was this computer originally shipped out into the market with Windows on it, or with Linux on it? If the latter, then Ubuntu should have installed hitchlessly because engineers had already decided on which hardware to put in the box. If the former, then engineers did not consider linux-friendly hardware when they chose what to put in the box.

    I am astonished as to how many time I installed Linux cold on a windows-designed computer with everything working. I’m also astonished (going back into my history here) with the number of times I installed Windows on a machine designed to run windows and it did NOT work.

    My daughter has a laptop that she got because my father inlaw was unable to reinstall windows on that machine from the orignal exact, installation disks that came with it. There was a problem with the way the HP driver interacted with the system when it tried to upgrade. I believe his only option was to buy a full scale copy of Windows (at full price… no OEM help here) and install that. Without assurances that this would work, and after years of frustration with windows, and after no longer needing to run windows at home or on his laptop because of a change in the way he VPN’ed to work, he ….

    …. bought a Macbook. He’s happy. I took the HP and threw Linux on it (took minutes, worked FLAWLESSLY!!!!!) and now my daughter has a laptop.

    Now, if only I could figure out what she’s doing with that laptop….

  41. #41 James Sweet
    July 16, 2009

    All of my development work at my job is Unix-based, thank Jeebus. I wouldn’t have it any other way. (Our product unfortunately runs on Solaris rather than Linux, but it’s still Unix..)

    As far as personal use goes… The main hard drive in my at-home desktop machine is on its last legs, and I have no frikkin’ idea where my Windows install CDs are… so I’m considering making the jump to Linux.

    Five years ago that would not have been an option, because I played a lot of video games. Now, with a wife and son, I don’t have nearly as much time for PC games so it’s not as big a deal (and anyway, my PC is old enough now that I’m not sure it could run the latest games very well anyway).

    Nowadays, the things I use my PC for, I think Linux might be a good choice. We’ll see…

  42. #42 Bill James
    July 16, 2009

    #26: A bit of levity there Ray. The line about Linux not being “as safe” as Windows, “it is safer“, reminded of the Dewey Cox line “it makes sex even better.” Of course I knew when I posted the Youtube link that some wouldn’t make the connection and/or recognize the humor. So it goes.

    For the record I’ve been using Linux continuously since 1995. Starting with Slackware, I soon migrated to Debian which remains my distribution of choice on the server side. Along the way I’ve tried many other distributions with a particular eye towards suitable desktop replacements ultimately settling on Ubuntu.

    Now I’m not stuck on these choices and will entertain other distributions and options in best fit for client needs or my own for that matter. One computer here is dedicated to BSD for example. Three desktops are running Ubuntu, two others running Windows with two laptops using Windows as well. Four servers are running Debian and if business dictates a need for Mac support I’ll do that also. Same with Solaris.

    I’m a Linux advocate not an evangelist.

  43. #43 Jeff Knapp
    July 16, 2009

    Alright. I am convinced enough to give Ubuntu a try. Why not? I can run it virtually under Parallels. Here goes for a new computing experience…

  44. #44 John Swindle
    July 16, 2009

    MadScientist –

    Without bothering to look it up, I’ll agree you’re probably right about that (most Linux coding being done by paid employees, not volunteers). I’m aware of Canonical’s contributions to Ubuntu, and of the way their business model works. I don’t really pine for the days when it all was done by altruistic volunteers, because if that situation still existed, we wouldn’t have Ubuntu, Red Hat, and who knows how many others. But the romantic notion persists. And I thought Babak needed an answer that went beyond feature-for-feature comparisons. People do love their Linux, in ways that M$ and Apple can only envy.

  45. #45 Greg Laden
    July 16, 2009

    Actually, people love their Apples. Almost … too much (ducking, running away)

  46. #46 Phaedrus
    July 16, 2009

    Got my laptop back from the shop and decided to go all Linux (no dual boot) – Dell Vostro 1700.

    Ubuntu Jackalope installed just great. Had to fiddle with the sound settings to get them to work (via the GUI). Wireless didn’t work out of the box, neither did wired – network GUI interface was not installed on default installation, had to manually (command line) install it, still not sure I did that right because I can’t seem to get it to work. I finally just ran ifconfig to get wired lan to work. Looks like I’ll have to install the NDIS wrapper for the wireless. This is may be easy stuff for a gear head, but it involves LOTS of internet searches, etc, for me.

    I’m sticking with it and will see it working, but with Vista I was installed and online (wireless) without a hitch.

    The best answer I can give for people who don’t like Linux because it doesn’t do (fill in your complaint) is that you can do something about it! I hate that Windows is a black box. I understand that not everyone has the gumption or knowledge to program fixes for your problems, but just having that avenue open for you inspires so much innovation that I really do think Linux is the future.

  47. #47 Stephanie Z
    July 16, 2009

    How much could possibly be too much, Greg?

  48. #48 Greg Laden
    July 16, 2009

    There are a dozen people that come instantly to mind with whom I have a relationship, ranging from kinda know them to am related to them and everything in between, with whom I’ve never ever had a nasty or negative word pass between us even though we have a diversity of beliefs and have often had lengthy discussions about those disagreements on topics ranging from politics to Mayan archaeology to engineering to astronomy to evolution to religion and on and on and on….

    … Unless I either a) criticize Apple/Mac or b) in some cases fail to say a nice thing about Apple/Mac. Then I took crap. I have actually had to learn to not mention the operating system in some cases. In other cases I know that I can yank the chain any time I want on this topic, though such chain yanking does not work on other topics at all.

    Now, I admit that I am a little like this with Linux. Well, a lot like this. I’m not saying I’m above it. I’m just saying.

    It is more complicated than that. There was a time when I defended MS over Mac. And I was right. Dos 5.0 was better than pre 5.0 versions of the Apple Mac System. Windows 2000 was better than Mac 9.X for many purposes. Or at least, it could be a matter of preference.

    I quickly add before I get shot by anyone out there that the difference between Mac system 9.X and OSX is huge, with OSX being an amazing system generally run on good hardware.

    Of course, it is a non-compliant but pretty cool version of Linux, so that’s why

    (running away again)

  49. #49 Gruesome Rob
    July 16, 2009

    Of course, it is a non-compliant but pretty cool version of Linux, so that’s why

    It’s Unix, Linux isn’t :-P

  50. #50 amphiox
    July 16, 2009

    What was that old joke again?

    Linux is for those who want to know how their computer works.
    MacOS is for those who don’t want to know how their computer works.
    Unix is for those who want to know how their computer doesn’t work.
    Windows is for those who don’t want to know how their computer doesn’t work.

    That said, as much as I am impressed with Macs, as much as I have admired Linux from a theoretical point of view, I use Windows, and will continue to use Windows, because it’s what I’m familiar with and used to and as a result most efficient with.

  51. #51 michael J
    July 16, 2009

    I do contracted computer support and would like to put my 2c into the mix. I love linux and it getting better but there still are some issues that will stop it taking over. Take Open Office for example. Yes it can open MS Office documents, but the format for more complicated documents will need to be cleaned up. What is the cost of doing that for all of the documents on the fileserver. In addition, most people understand just enough to use MS Office, the cost of retraining is huge.
    I maintain a number of server installations. With windows particularly SBS there is pretty much just one right way of doing things. With the Linux server installations, not only are there the many different flavours of Linux, the original techs all have their favourite way of doing stuff and I make far more money from my Linux server customers than SBS customers. In fact, I have just removed a Linux server from a customer (replaced it with a simple Windows fileserver) and a whole raft of network issues disappeared.

  52. #52 Jeff Knapp
    July 16, 2009

    Duck! Here come the hurdling apples!!! (dang, missed!)

    Yep, Greg, you are right. We Apple folk do tend to be a bit overenthusiastic some times. And, yes, you are indeed just as bad about Linux but, hey, an OS and ecosystem that can engender that much passion must have something good going for it.

    Got the desktop version of Ubuntu downloaded and will install it tonight. Looking forward to seeing how it goes. I have eight processor cores and 10 Gig of RAM to run it on.

  53. #53 Alex
    July 16, 2009

    Greg @ 47: “OSX being an amazing system generally run on good hardware.”
    Maybe if you build a Hackintosh. IMO, the stock Mac hardware is ok at best; if you build a system yourself you can get faster ram, more HDD space, and/or better graphics for around the same price. As far as I can tell amphiox’s joke was right, Mac is for those who don’t want to know how their computer works; you pull it out of the box, plug it in and it goes. The downside is that you also pay 20% more for the same hardware.
    Also, I’ve always thought that OSX feels like it’s spending too much time looking pretty. Eye candy is for computer games, not operating systems.

  54. #54 MadScientist
    July 16, 2009

    Greg (#25): I agree; I’ve always encouraged clients and employers to use the free software and contribute to a small number of projects. Even for a very small business it ends up much cheaper than paying multiple software companies hundreds per software package. You just need a big enough customer base to throw a few dollars here and there to keep everything running. No one makes much money from selling the software, but businesses get their work done cheaply and everyone’s happy (except for companies whose earning strategy is to sell software licenses at very high cost).

  55. #55 Joseph
    July 16, 2009

    “How you make your favorite webcam working under Linux?”

    How to make a webcam work under Linux:
    1) You plug it in
    2) There is no step 2

    “How you deal with TONS of office documents circulating in everyday business environment?”

    1) If you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.
    2) Use OpenOffice. It works 99% of the time.
    3) If OpenOffice fails, you can always fall back to either running your old copy of Windows and Office under a vm, terminal server, or Crossover Office. Same as you do for the 1% of MS Office documents that the latest versions fail to open.

    “How you know that your Linux OS is as safe as Windows if hackers even care to attack it?”

    Erm, “as safe as”? It’s not “as safe as Windows”; it’s safer, by a wide margin. No parallel to SELinux and AppArmor exists under Windows.

  56. #56 Joseph
    July 16, 2009

    “Got my laptop back from the shop and decided to go all Linux (no dual boot) – Dell Vostro 1700.

    Ubuntu Jackalope installed just great. Had to fiddle with the sound settings to get them to work (via the GUI). Wireless didn’t work out of the box, neither did wired – network GUI interface was not installed on default installation, had to manually (command line) install it, still not sure I did that right because I can’t seem to get it to work. I finally just ran ifconfig to get wired lan to work. Looks like I’ll have to install the NDIS wrapper for the wireless. This is may be easy stuff for a gear head, but it involves LOTS of internet searches, etc, for me.”

    This is why I buy from System76 or another system with Linux pre-installed. The vendor does the hardware support, not me.

  57. #57 Jeff Knapp
    July 16, 2009

    Well, posting this from the current desktop version of Ubuntu running under Parallels Desktop for Mac. Almost but, not quite, a seamless experience. Install went smoothly – quick and easy. Updates equally as smoothly. Recognized and is using my FireWire 410 audio interface and graphics acceleration.

    However, was not able to find my network printer.
    Was not able to install Flash Player. It is not a simple “double-click” to install process and the automatic Ubuntu package errored out saying, “Error: Wrong architecture ‘i386′” The .tar.gz opened but, double-clicking the installer did nothing. It didn’t recognize the .rpm file.

    Until simple exercises for novice users like me (who just want to point and click to have it go), such as installing Flash Player, is as simple and trouble-free as it is on the Mac OS X is, I am not sold.

    I am going to keep playing with this but, this early, “first out of the box” experience has proven to be not so seamless.

  58. #58 DrMcCoy
    July 16, 2009

    @Jeff, #56: I dunno about Ubuntu, but in plain Debian it’s just a matter of installing the package flashplugin-nonfree via aptitude.

  59. #59 Jason Thibeault
    July 16, 2009

    Jeff: you’re actually doing it the hard way, installing in Parallels. Try running the Live CD instead, and see what works and what doesn’t. If you want, you could install it to dual boot. You may also need to get the PPC version to work with your system architecture, if it’s old enough — that’s my first suspicion when I see something like “wrong architecture i386″. I’m surprised you got as far as you did with as few problems as you did with Parallels, as I’ve never tried it before myself.

    Joseph: there are gearheads all over the place willing to lend a hand. Myself included. Just ask.

  60. #60 Greg Laden
    July 16, 2009

    Now that you have Linux running in Parallels, try running an emulator in Ubuntu and play some Windows games… That would be cool.

  61. #61 Gruesome Rob
    July 17, 2009

    @DrMcoy:

    That error sounds like he installed the 64-bit version of Linux. I don’t think there’s flash support for that.

  62. #62 Alex
    July 17, 2009

    There is no 64-bit flash for Linux, but you can install the 32-bit version. It does require jumping through a few hoops though, and also some light command line work.
    If I could remember how I would tell you, but I did it once and promptly forgot.

  63. #63 Jeff Knapp
    July 17, 2009

    @Gruesome Rob – You are absolutely right. I did indeed install the 64 bit Ubuntu. I am interested in using it for some visual effects software where having 64 bit address space is important. I guess it is similar to Windows in that it matters if an app is 32 or 64 bit. I forget this. In OS X, it doesn’t matter, 32 bit and 64 bit apps can coexist peacefully within the OS which is, itself, kinda-sorta 32 and 64 bit. (10.6 will be a true, 64 bit clean environment that will happily run either 32 or 64 bit apps without complaint.)

    What I can do is make another virtual machine with the 32 bit Ubuntu.

  64. #64 JM
    July 17, 2009

    The real reason why Microsoft is doomed: money.

    They have just two cash cows: the operating system and Office. They either lose money hand over fist on everything else (eg. mobiles) or struggle to break even (Xbox)

    They’ve just announced a free version of Office and they’re letting people use W7 for free after stuffing up Vista so badly that almost no-one uses it (so no money there).

    Over the last few years their cash reserves have fallen from about $60B to around $20B now. A few more years of bad revenues like this and they won’t have any money left. Oh they’ll still operate, but they’ll be effectively dead.

  65. #65 DrMcCoy
    July 17, 2009

    @Gruesome Rob and Alex, #61 and #62:

    $ apt-cache policy flashplugin-nonfree
    [...]
    990 http://ftp2.de.debian.org unstable-amd64/contrib Packages
    [...]

    Note the amd64. :P
    Newer Flash releases actually do have 64bit versions. And before that, nspluginwrapper existed (though it is a hack).

    @Jeff, #63:
    On GNU/Linux, 64bit and 32bit stuff can co-exist peacefully too. You just have to go the route your distribution implements. But: You still can’t use a 32bit plugin directly in a 64bit browser. nspluginwrapper was written for that reason.

    Again, I don’t know about Ubuntu, but in Debian Sid, the new way of doing that (since they’re currently changing their system there) is by install ia32-apt-get, which hooks into the installation system and lets you then install ia32* packages (you can choose beforehand if you want to only install 32bit libraries or applications too).

  66. #66 Jeff Knapp
    July 17, 2009

    OK. Downloaded and installed the 32 bit Ubuntu running as a virtual machine in Parallels Desktop for Mac. Got Flash installed and running in Firefox quite nicely. Turns out, the 64 bit Ubuntu I installed was for AMD processors, not Intel. So, when I tried to install Flash, it refused insisting it was not an i386 architecture. Sigh… Early in the learning curve for me.

    btw., my system is an intel based system – two quad-core processors for 8 cores total. I assigned four of the cores and 4 Gigs RAM to Ubuntu.

    I have to say, it is fast! I mean really fast. Firefox loads faster and is more responsive running on a virtual machine than it is running natively in OS X. Very nice.

    Downloaded and installed Blender 3D – an open source 3D animation program. To say I installed it is a misnomer since all I did was download it and unpack it, double-clicked the icon and in some small fraction of a second, it was loaded and running. Nice.

    I am very encouraged.

  67. #67 DrMcCoy
    July 17, 2009

    @Jeff, #65:

    Except if you have an Itanium CPU, amd64 /is/ the correct architecture even for your Intel system. See also:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IA-64
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/X86-64#Industry_naming_conventions

  68. #68 punz
    July 18, 2009

    I have been using Ubuntu 6 months with no Dual Booting. I love every moment of it. I work for a non-profit organization as the IT Admin and I would love to setup Linux on the desktop. Linux is the future OS:
    1. Its free, you know how many people are stealing Windows OS and software, why steal it when you can get Linux for free.

    2. Its more stable, my system has never crashed point blank.

    3. Its more safer. I have not once had a virus, popup, etc on my system and I have put it through some nasty testing.

    4. Besides the free software, my machine tunrs on and off within 30 seconds max. Let’s try and see a Windows OS do that after a couple of days.Linux gets faster over time , Windows…. Can you say Defrag :)

    Working for a non-profit has taught me one very important thing about Windows, its expensive!!!

  69. #69 Ron Krumpos
    March 25, 2010

    Let me think back to the days when using a PC. Trouble, trouble and more trouble.

    For me, my wife, most of our associates and friends, Leopard roars.

    What is a virus?

  70. #70 Mr. Fergus
    February 12, 2011

    Big piles of dung take longer to rot away, in Microsofts case the process is well under way.

  71. #71 Mr. Fergus
    February 12, 2011

    If every one were geeks linux would rule, however this is not the case, although an excellent OS linux is currently, and probable will always remain the OS of geeks.

  72. #72 Greg Laden
    February 12, 2011

    Mr. Fergus, every single person who uses a Kindle, a non-iPhone smart phone running android, or who visits the WWW is using Linux!