Monday, January 12, 2009

Why Linux makes Windows 7 obsolete

"My conclusion: We are not on a path to win against Linux. We must change some things and we must do it immediately."

Jim Allchin, Microsoft Corporation

Okay it is no secret that Vista has not been able to crack the desktop, either at the home or at the workplace. Not to ignored either is that Linux won some desktops last year (a little over 3%), but let’s not rejoice just yet, Windows still owns over 88% of all the desktops according to leading research. But that may change very quickly. Recently the numbers on Internet Explorer came out. We're getting pretty close to a fifty-fifty shootout between Microsoft and the rest of the browsing crowd.

Yes, Vista has been real good for OS/X and Linux. We saw growth figures of several hundred percents. And no, for those of you who think I was born on a Wyse terminal, I grew up with the Sinclair Spectrum, the PDP-11 and MS-DOS. It was working for a decade in this line of work when I typed my first commands on a VT-100 terminal. BTW, I still got a Wyse-50 terminal connected to my main Linux computer, because I can't do without a console.

To real Linux die hards.. terminals rule. Microsoft has realized at last that the serious Administrator needs the usefulness of using command line input to accomplish tasks. Windows Powershell has introduced cmdlets to improve administration of Windows. That means it has taken Microsoft over thirty years to realize that a real system administrator needs something more than a CLI that has been written by a drunk COBOL programmer on a piece of toilet paper while visiting the bathroom. It is sad to say, but whatever Microsoft forks out, it can never equal the awesome power of a Unix shell. Although tweaked and perfected, the Unix shell has virtually stayed the same. After thirty years Microsoft finally understand the only way to perfect their out-dated MS-DOS batch processor is to discard it altogether.

The argument for ages was Linux was free and so was many of the applications you run were actually developed for Linux. Applications like Firefox, Open Office, MYSQL, GIMP.. Now all these applications are now available for Windows, although they're still easier to install on Linux. Just open your favorite package manager, click the appropriate applications and on you go. In November 2008 PC World made a list of the things they would like to see in Windows. One of the things they mentioned was.. package management! Yes, it's true. Most Windows converts miss their installation packages. The truth is, it is far more easier to mark all the packages you want, let the package manager figure out all dependencies and install them all in one go. That it is not perceived as a superior way of package management is because they are not accustomed to it. Now, all that and a zero price tag. Which OS would you choose? Not to mention that I don't have to deal with General Failure, Major Error, Hauptobersturmbahnfuehrer Gates and other spies on my private property.

Let's go back to the eye candy, the mother of OS/X and the father of Vista. Well, most people are simply amazed when I show them this footage and tell them they can have it on their computer too. Yes, if need be you can even have it on your simple netbook. You know, that tiny, inexpensive device that significantly prolonged the life of Windows XP because Microsoft had nothing else that would run on it.

Of course, you still have the same problems with Windows 7 you had with Vista. Probably your old equipment still won't work. WGA, that tiny little program that points out to you that you have bought an illegal Windows version, is still there. His little brother, UAC is there too. Bill, how many times do I have to point out to you that you cannot backfit a feature when it wasn't part of the original design. Oops, I almost forgot to mention that multi megabyte register you have to clean all the time – until it breaks down completely.

As a matter of fact, Microsofts future is squashed between an obsolete Windows XP and a Vista nobody wants. With many home users getting tired to get and maintain the next pirated version of Microsoft Office and many governments moving to ODF I see very dark clouds for Microsofts main cash cows. It may be clear by now that Windows 7 is nothing more than a refurbished Windows Vista. Aero has been polished a bit more, some of the major resource hogs may have been optimized, but all in all it is nothing more than Vista SP2.

Byte declared Unix dead when Windows NT came out. Some 25 years later, Unix is still very much alive.. and kicking! Guys, you have to come with something more dramatic than this makeover to win me over.


Anonymous said...

Many thanks to The Beez' for this rather nice rebuttal to the original FUD-infused, almost sarcastic article titled "Why Windows 7 will crush Linux." Even the title of that one bewilders me, who can believe that Window$ 7 will not crush itself with it's own stupidity and uselessness, perhaps just wishful thinking from M$. Either way, the only thing Window$ 7 will crush is itself, and hopefully take M$ with it to the grave where they are long overdue.

r_a_trip said...

Accurate observations. Windows 7, like every other version of Windows, is more of the same rehashed "technology".

Not that it matters though. The problem is not that MS churns out almost useless software. The problem is the majority of computer users, who use PC's extensively, but know nothing about the technology behind it.

They will buy whatever the computer shops serve them. They don't know any better. I recently went to a corner of the world where people were happily using their PC's without knowing how to administer them. It also explains why they pay $ 80,- for the no cost version of AVG Antivirus. They don't know any better, nor do they feel the need to know any better. At least until somebody like me tells them they have been conned into paying $$ for a free product.

As long as people think they can trust computer vendors and repair shops to act in their best interest, they are at the mercy of monetary interests. Most people think they can trust third parties and therefore don't need to know how the most important tool of the 21st century works. Little do they know, that they are given the option of buying what makes the third party the most money, not what serves the user best.

MS knows this, the OEM's know this, the third party "support" vendors know this. This is why Windows and Office will stay around for a very long time. MS isn't going to dissapear overnight. They will always be in decline, but never gone quite yet for decades to come.

As soon as Linux makes more money to third parties than MS Windows & Co, the day wil come that Mr. & Mrs. Average User will be plugging away at GNU/Linux systems and paying through the nose for otherwise no cost, Free (as in speech) Software.

Windows being obsolete is not a contributing factor. Windows was truly obsolete as early as the year 2000, when GNU/Linux gained highly usable Desktop Environments.

Anonymous said...

Its SO funny you actually believe that.

If Vista is so bad why does it have 10 times the market share as linux, Oh BTW using a knockoff of a 1970's OS is not *NOT* innovative or cutting edge.

Let us know when you do something original! in the mean time, most of the world will opt for quality over crap any day, not matter how cheap your "product" is.

Cant you work out by now that even at ZERO cost no one wants your product.

UNIX (what linux is a copy of) was once the MAIN OS, it used to rule the world.

But that was 45 years ago, put on your flared pants and go back to you Disco's and forget about trying to tell us how good your vintage OS is.

Come and see us when you get to 1% market share, or even 15+% that Vista is.

W7 is the death nell for Linux.

Just like the rest of the dinosaur's.

17 years and 1% market share, SURE linux is doing just great /joke.

Anonymous said...

The reason why Windows has a large percentage of the market share is not because it is technically superior to Linux. It is because a large percentage of computer users don't know squat about their computers. Couple that with the fact that Microsoft virtually owns most of the distribution channel.

So, the reason why Vista has 10 times market share than Linux is because...., well, I know you have a brain to understand why.

Now, do you think Windows will still have the largest share of the pie if the situation is reversed? I don't think so!

What about viruses? Almost 30 years and still Windows is plagued by viruses? My boss can't stand the presence of a defect in our products for just one day and here we have Microsoft sleeping on the biggest defect of their biggest product? It surely makes Windows a big joke!

Atif said...

I make living out of Linux but I admit, it sucks when it comes to average joe (despite all claims of ubuntu fanboiees!)

If you talk about eye candy, my old ATI radeon card cannot display compiz correctly after an upgrade from ubuntu 8.04 to 8.10. So cut the sh!t and FUD.

I need a reference here but to my mind 4/10 people I know never had a straight forward upgrade from one ver of distribution of gnu/linux to other (e.g. ubuntu 8.04 to 8.10).
Ask average joe to install OOO 3 on 8.04.... then decide what package manager is better. The package manager approach of linux is like communist approach where you depend on them to provide you with packages in repo and those are the one they will support.
I am not saying Windows 7 will crush linux but it will do better as M$ seems to have learned from vista experience.

Anonymous said...

>>Its SO funny you actually believe that.

Ditto for whatever you've written actually.

>>If Vista is so bad why does it have 10 times the market share as linux

... and how much does it have with respect to XP? The author states that Vista failed to replace XP. Your statement certainly doesn't refute that position.

>>Oh BTW using a knockoff of a 1970's OS is not *NOT* innovative or cutting edge.

And somehow Vista has no legacy? You want to ask the IBM OS/2 engineers about that? Or the VAX/VMS engineers about that? Or Apple? Or Xerox?

>>Let us know when you do something original!

Ha! And Vista is original? After copying demonstrated features from Sun's Looking Glass and the Macintosh? After being based on years of legacy of copying the Mac? Good work mate! Keep sloshing the Kool-Aid down your throat.

>>Cant you work out by now that even at ZERO cost no one wants your product.

You mean no one like Asus EeePC, TiVo, the new LG TV, the ASUS motherboards, Acer ONE etc., yes?

>>UNIX (what linux is a copy of) was once the MAIN OS, it used to rule the world.

UNIX ruled the servers. GNU/Linux rules the servers. You have any data that proves otherwise, you must live in Bill Gates shack.

>>Come and see us when you get to 1% market share, or even 15+% that Vista is.

GNU/Linux has already exceeded 1% with the netbook PCs. Vista can't even install on one. If you love bloatware you must be gorging on Kool-Aid.

>>W7 is the death nell for Linux.

So a non-existant OS will now kill GNU/Linux! Do you follow the history of Microsoft Windows releases? Do you remember a single one done on time?

>>17 years and 1% market share, SURE linux is doing just great /joke.

Of course - your whole post is a joke. I'm laughing at Bill Gates shack mate.

Anonymous said...

While I actually *kind of* like the Windows 7 beta, I just see no compelling reason to switch to it. That whole reliance on the registry is just too stupid for me to put up with (it always slays me when people complain about the command line in Linux, but then happily give instructions on repairing the Windows registry.)
I have seen reports that 10,000 programmers worked on Vista and 7- they should have had 1/2 of them removing lines of code, IMHO.

Robert Pogson said...

Goog article. I wrote a similar one recently proving that GNU/Linux beat that other OS in 2001 when XP was released.

It is so true GNU/Linux is kicking butt. These fanbois who claim GNU/Linux is less than 1% of desktops have their head in the sand. The reason M$ hopes that '7 kills GNU/Linux is because it is the end of monopoly for sure if it does not. GNU/Linux is near 10% of the desktop today. You can easily see that the NetApplications figures are not representative of reality by looking at MacOS which they claim is about 8%. Apple, itself, claim only a bit more than 3% of the world's PCs in annual production. NetApplications does not sample China etc., the hot markets for GNU/Linux.

If you are selective of web statistics you can find 20% of hits for GNU/Linux in countries like Brazil. The problem is language. NetApplications does not monitor the non-English world very well. The emerging markets like BRIC are huge and not locked-in to that other OS.

Other common sources for web stats are either English specific or that-other-OS-specific in some way. I would really like to see what Google has to say about this by region...

Anonymous said...

Hi Darryl or Omni,

The reason Vista infects so many computers is the illegal monopoly that your company enjoys. Looking forward to you doing hard time in prison for all your libelous accusations. Enjoy cohabitating with Darl. You TE's are quite humorous, but your days are numbered, as with the T-Rex.

UNIX technology may be "old" but it was developed by the best minds in computer science. In contrast, M$ crapware was developed by marketing scum, and that fact shines like the sun during every moment of the user's "experience".

Toasting your inexorable and long overdue ride into oblivion,

Dr. Stu

Anonymous said...

I think people seem to forget that one of very reasons why Microsoft has a big market share, is because people around the world have been treating their products as being free. Yes they happily got hold of copies from friends or their jobs installing it without to much of a problem regarding the legal issues. The very reason Microsoft is shooting themselves in the foot nowadays is not how they go forth with closed source and bad package management, but rather the hunt for more licensed users and being the foot soldier for the film and music industry by enforcing digital rights management. A 'feature' I doubt any user ever asked for. No matter what one might think about their products, there is no doubt that would they start distributing it for free, they will certainly be able to keep quite a bit of their market share for quite some time to come. Lets just be happy about Microsoft probably never realizing this, and we will have a prosperous future ahead of us. :-)

Anonymous said...

Dr. Stu,

Loved your comment.

My sentiments exactly.

Will the scumbags every go to jail for all of their lies, thieving, deceit and anti-competitive behaviour?

Answer : Same as the W, sorry, Bankers. Nope.

Stephen Chapman said...

Man, you Linux crowd are quite feeble-minded for all of your self-glorification and ego stroking. While it's nice and convenient that all of you would-be marketing experts believe that Windows' marketshare is the result of idiotic users and people pirating the OS, did it ever occur to you that people are still going through that trouble in lieu of adopting a flavor of Linux for a reason?

Let's take an enterprise that has been running Windows, for instance. Did you ever take into consideration the cost of support for replacing that environment with Linux? I'm not going to be so stupid as to pretend I KNOW how the world goes 'round with every adopter of every OS, but from my personal experience in the IT realm, Linux is equally as - if not MORE - costly as Windows.

You Linux dolts sit around and talk like you're some elitest club; no freakin' wonder no one wants to adopt your product! "HO HO! Windows users are morons; only a MORON would want to use windows!" Who the crap wants to say they're associated with a product that breeds an attitude like yours!?

I've used many, many various operating systems in multiple environments and I always personally come back to Windows. While all of you may see Linux for its flow and simplicity (after spending years with the trial and error of just learning how to install or upgrade flavors), it just doesn't make sense to pay the cost of support (via a company or hiring the people who have the trained experience) in the IT realm in all scenarios.

Now, with all that being said, I think Linux is solid. There's no doubt; where I work, we have redundant Linux servers that run the main product we support. Sure, we use Windows on our client machines but Linux is solid. Redhat running Informix and a GE product.

If people are willing to learn and have the time, patience, and sometimes, money, then adopting a new OS can be a great experience and well worth it but my advice to all of you 1337 Linux users who probably had your Cap'n Crunch whistles and praised Kevin Mitnick is to learn to temper your elite attitude. When a product isn't intuitive enough to simply represent itself and make even the most ignorant of people try it, that product needs PEOPLE to support it and push it. This whole elitest attitude thing isn't working for you, so while you guys all sit around in your big, know-it-all brains, try realizing that it might just be because of people like YOU that Linux is where it is.

You can evangelize a product all day but don't make people feel like they have to be theoretical physicists to use what you're talking about. Lycoris, Ubuntu, et al; these have all been attempts to approach users on a more even playing field.

Oh, but what the heck do I know, anyway? I don't prefer Linux, so I MUST be a freakin' moron, right?


Anonymous said...

Every new version of Windows for the last ten years was supposedly going to be a "Linux killer." Meanwhile, Linux's market share has only increased. Slowly, yes, but it's never decreased, or even remained flat. Slow and steady wins the race, as the fable of the tortoise and the hare has taught us, and Microsoft certainly has the overconfidence of the hare.

Jose A. Núñez said...

Like many other linux fans (I am one) you (The Beez) miss the point.

Linux is still far from being a predominant Operating System, especially because interoperarbility.

In a perfect world for Linux fans, Linux would be running in 80% of all computers (servers and desktops) thus Open Office would rule and MS would have to figure out how to make their software seemly open and work with OO files, which would be easy as OO is open.

But, real life is the other way around.

Certainly, MS has a pressure on Windows 7 to make it easy at netbooks, easy for users to actually use. But, they have a lot of advantage to do so.

Every time I try to deploy Linux in an organization or user that is used to Windows, I face the same set of problems:

1- My PDA does not work Up front.
2- I open a MS office file and it shows weird. I fix it and then my peers who use MS Office open it to see it weird.
3- My Web cam does not work up front-

Linux certainly have more opportunities right now in the netbooks and low-budget space. But PDA's syncrhonization and web cams must be easier before conquering the world.

I am certainly optimistic about Linux, but I see it still behind Windows for quite some time.

Anonymous said...

I am working with linux for about 12 years, I prefer it to WinX for all the reasons you said. But for a person who use a PC just for some docs, mail, and games... linux is still hard; upgrae codecs for video, the slow OpenOffie, viewing Powerpoint files, .. and may be not to much, but this three things are the 99% of the usage on a desktop machine. I prefer and use linux, but for the rest users, windows is still easier (even vista).

Anonymous said...

I think they should name Windows 7 Windows Vasa when it eventually hits the shelves.

This, of course, is after then Swedish regal ship Vasa, the pride of the Swedish navy and the king, which was launched with much fanfare. It sailed a kilometer or so, then a light breeze came, tipped it over and sent it to the bottom.

I think that would be a very suitable name.

Elder Geek said...

Hardware prices are the Microsoft Killers.

Why do you think Microsoft has so many research products? Why does Microsoft push touch screens despite 40 years of Gorilla Arm Syndrome?

Because cutting edge high-priced new hardware is needed for Windows to succeed. When you have a $1,000.00 of hardware, it is easy to hide $200.00 of Microsoft cost. $1,200.00 is not that much more.

When you have $200.00 worth of hardware, $200.00 worth of Microsoft product equals $400.00 of cost. Hmmm.... $200 computer with Linux or $400.00 computer with Windows. Hard choice.

Hardware is only getting better, how much does a netbook with a 10 inch display 20gig SDD, 2 gigs of ram and wireless cost? Right now about $400.00 or so. It is more than enough computer for playing video, etc. As the price of hardware falls that does the same thing, Windows becomes a hindrance to sales. Someone is going to be making a lot of money making $150.00 laptops that sell for $200.00. It won't be the company touting Microsoft Products.

Not to mention Linux adoption is still growing. No one pays me to use Linux. It is not likely I will move to running Seven. My Windows Seven capable computer does MORE for me running Linux.

Business is the real stronghold of Microsoft. Every time a company switches to running another web based app they are one step closer to not needing Windows. Which lowers the cost to switching to Linux.

What do you want? Cheap hardware? Good, business will run Linux Netbooks and use webapps and linux apps. Want a dependable office? Buy $200.00 dumb terminals and run everything from a Linux terminal server environment. Who would not want to have computers that cost $200.00, run for 7 or 8 years. If they die you plug another one in and everything is going again. You log in from any workstation and have your settings.

No matter which way you cut it. All the reasons that people have switched to Linux over the last 10 years have not gone away. The arguments have become stronger and the pace of people switching is slowly increasing.

5 years ago. I could not hand someone a RedHat 10 CD and expect them to do an install. Now, I can give them Ubuntu 8.04 with Wubi and they are up and going on there on in an hour.

Anonymous said...

Maybe it's because I'm not a power user, but the article lists factors that made a difference in driving me from Windows to FOSS, but they weren't the critical aspects. After decades in MS environments, I was firmly entrenched, and it took motivators bigger than those described to make me move. Number one was reliability. XPSP2 was a nightmare on a new computer, with a need to reboot several times/day to maintain communication to the Internet (funny how it was rock solid when I converted the same hardware to Linux). Another big factor was a lack of choice. When it comes to my version of eye candy, I want options. I like having FVWM2, XFCE4, KDE, and fluxbox on my PC. I can have as much or as little eye candy as I want, depending on mood. Another issue was hardware support. It doesn't matter how many pieces of hardware claim to be supported; if the support quality stinks, it may as well not be listed. Finally, there was an issue with Windows compatibility. For what I wanted with older apps, Fedora plus WINE supported those better than Win-XP, even with 95/98 compatibility engaged.


Anonymous said...

Windows doesn't need a package manager because complete applications are distributed in a given installer. If there *are* dependencies, then like Linux, it's up to the person who creates the installer to take care of those dependencies (like dotNet, MFC, etc).

Mindless bashing serves no other purpose than to weaken your credibility and divert your readers from being able to draw their own informed conclusions. I could almost hear your voice develop into a shrill, frantic, harpie-like shriek.

Eirik Hoem said...

Quoting Stephen: "When a product isn't intuitive enough to simply represent itself and make even the most ignorant of people try it, that product needs PEOPLE to support it and push it."

This is the essence I believe. I'm running Ubuntu at work, and Vista at home. The reason for not even considering Ubuntu for my home machine is the hassle I've experienced at work, be it wlan support, ATI display drivers, packages breaking horribly during upgrades (like java support in firefox). I've had lots of problems with every single upgrade when it comes to a dual screen setup with my ATI card, some releases I've had to run two X servers.

Now, I claim to be a Linux expert in any sense, but I've been using it for quite a few years, mainly as a software developer.

Let me pop a question for you: Why would ordinary people spend hours on problems like this when paying a small fee for Windows takes care of it all? The majority of people does not find pleasure in tweaking things to make them work. They want to play their games, stream their Internet movies and radio etc. The general attitude when one seek help in IRC chat-rooms and message forums isn't helping either. The "elitist" people tend to be the first one replying, and the responses are pretty much discouraging.

When it comes to servers, I'm all for Linux, and so is my workplace (except exchange).

Mario said...

Here is my response.
Sorry but is quite long and I decided to do a post on my blog.

Anonymous said...

My Windows XP Security Center does not recognize COMODO as a firewall and antivirus. My KDE 3.5.10 does not know there are USB speakers attached. Both Windows and Linux have problems of approximately the same level.

This is why Linux is not the dominant desktop - it is in the same league as Windows.

Linux is better technically in many aspects, but in some other it sucks big time.

Finally, please note that "common users" benefit not only from what developers can do, but also from what they cannot do. Windows and MS discipline their developers and this is a MS advantage that will never go away.

David said...

If it's so clear that Windows sucks and Linux rules, why Windows is on 88% of the PCs and Linux doesn't?


Over 30 years?

Anonymous said...

All your observations are right.

Not to mention the philosophical distance between an open source product and a commercial closed product.

Or technological dependence to have to be accepted by a company with a large installed base with Microsoft products and practices.

Many Countries and large companies with risk of industrial espionage have opted for Linux for the same reasons even in the USA.

I think what these points by themselves are enough to choose Linux even if less than windows.

Unknown said...

Try Ubuntu 9.04 Alpha 2 - it's incredible.

Anonymous said...

I could live in a world without Windows. I'm so tired of spending my days repairing stuff that breaks because MS cannot seem to build an OS that is stable, or secure. I can't help wondering just what the cost of babysitting Windows PC's has been to our economy. If Linux had been the OS of choice when the IBM clones were first exploding into popularity, is there even a tiny chance MS would have made it past the first year in business? I think not.

Anonymous said...

i dont know which is worse. linux users or mac users. both are equally annoying.

Anonymous said...

Late last year, I upgraded from windows 98. THe only reason was because I took the plunge with a replacement PC, because I just wanted to be done with four data drives totalling 320GB and small media files.
A short week later, all the software I used on the W98 PC was working under Vista
Two significant differences: Visual and storage. No more CRT, a 21" widescreen, and easy on the eyes and organization of the desktop. And I have now oodles more HD space (now with a TB of data storage).
Sure, the software works apparently more speedily. But I can only work as fast as I work.
Other than that, nothing.
I despair when I see those upgrading "just because they can".
Instead I choose to use my time on real tasks rather than get bound up on the technology.
After over three decades in IT, it's good to see the end of the endless chase.
On to work. And not giving a monkey's wet slap about windows over linux over wherever else. It's a tool that works for me. Nobody has yet invented the tool to do away with this one. Because I always can go back to analog audio, which works very well.

Anonymous said...

Microsoft people can only hurl abuse.

They cannot host a technical arguement.
Like Steve Balmer they are intellectually
bankrupt much like the US Economy at present.

Could somebody check the price of Microsoft shares compared to IBM
Intel or Apple.

In the big game this matters. Its funny
the all use UNIX.

Pleb users will always use windows
as its a marketable brand nothing more.

Big business has switched by 2003
so small and medium business by 2015
and home users after that and with
a Google OS, Microsoft could go
the way IBM did when the personal
computer came about.

Looks like that MCSE was not worth
that much after all.

Anonymous said...

I liked the article. Ironically I have a reverse of most situations: Linux at home and Windows at work.

The reason?

Linux just works. At home I don't want to hassle with fixing it. At work someone else takes care of that for me.

VBA. Mocked though it is, Basic + AutoIt macros have done miracles for my workflow and I've yet to see anything equivalent for my Linux box.

Bottom line: a tool is a tool. If you are blinded by a brand to the point where it prevents you from doing what needs to be done then I'm sorry - you don't own that computer, that computer owns you.

Apologies to RMS

Anonymous said...

There's only two reasons why Nix users hate Microsoft that I won't really fight over because their right:

1) Monopoly

2) Interface vs Terminal principles

Yes I'm a Microsoft user, but I don't favor Nix on the contrary I think BSD is far superior to Nix and MS combined. Thus ends a pointless debate.