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Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The state of Linux

Dear Readers

* (Linux is a term I chose to use. Please don't start with me philosophy debates regarding naming conventions. Besides, I'm sure everyone who reads this will understand).

I'd like to challange a little the Linux community. In all recent press, me, my friends and many other people I know are reading about Linux all sorts of information. There's one article talking about winning some deal, where Linux shines and outperfomes Windows. There's another, where we finally "Get the facts" where Windows gets the win hands down. And then there are more, where Mac is better than Windows and Linux is better than Mac, etc...

This, of course, is an endless list of PR (public relations) and other commercial stuff. (Yes, I said Linux and commerce in one sentence, and I meant it so). Each vendor shows all the cases he wins over his competitors and we know that.

But here's the thing. I'm sure it happens all over the net, but I mainly read Unix/Linux news and not Windows ones. I'd say, that in an average day I see the same number of those messages from public press on all three major operating systems. Even more than that, news about less known ones like *BSD, Solaris, etc are also pretty much at the same level.

Here what I'm trying to say: with regard to my own field of expertise, I'm saying that all 3 operating systems (and even few more) are valuable and existing choices, all offer the same features and all can do the job. Customer chooses the solutions to his/her likings and he's happy.

Let me elaborate on this.

All ... operating systems... are valuable choices. What I mean by this, is that when I as customer am coming to a vendor, and explain to him my problem, I at least expect that I will get all the possible solutions. In almost all cases (except in OS-specific problems) I want him to provide me with Windows choice. Not that I think it is the best choice (it may not be), but because I like choice. It makes me feel better and more comfortable. And also, I'm saying that all operating systems today offer similar features, so I can solve almost anything in any of them.

With all this, I come to main point. We often talk about how Linux is ready (or not), it's on Desktop (I even wrote a piece about that as well), or on server, and how its better than Windows because ....... (fill in your favorite), and how its more open than MacOS, etc. What I'm saying, its this:

Linux is ( and already for some time) ready.
It's ready for Desktops. Ready for servers. Ready for embedded. Ready for everything.

Ready for competition.

I'm saying its ready, because the community is ready. Customers are ready.

Linux stake in OS business is ~3%, and this serves (surprisingly or not) as the reason for many people to ignore it. Well, too bad. Apple has the same share, but it is hardly ignored. Solaris has probably even less, but no one ignores Sun.

So, I'm calling to a Linux developers out there (and application developers): stop worrying. Keep going. You're doing a great job. Your product is better than other ones. Keep doing what you do, because the fruits of your labor are being used by millions and this number will only keep growing. I'm handing off my hat to all of you.

There's no point in bashing other operating systems. Linux holds its place. It will get even better. But competition is good for us. It keeps us all in shape and prepared. It makes us go over the edge. It makes us think.

And want to know what is the best thing of all? The community. It will overgrow companies. That's why Linux (and other open OSes, and applications) will thrive.

Linux is ready. Welcome to Linux state.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

You wrote a "piece", not a "peace".

Anonymous said...

I think you have hit a large nail on the head. I have been aware of the same things within the Linux community, over many years. I like the ideology of Linux and open source, but large chunks of the community 'can't see the wood for the trees.'

I am a visionary and understand business. I am considering investing time in helping the Linux community, to help it pull together and address it's shortcomings, resulting in a better 'user-friendly' experience, hardware and driver support, and just as important, raise the quality of it's software offerings across all linux distros.

Ivan said...

I think this is the best article I've read this year on Linux vs Windows vs etc. subject catched from LinuxToday.
I fully support you.
Enough of "fighting" just get to work :)
Linux is good. Windows is good. MacOS is good. But there is much room for each one of them to improve.
Let's improve Linux!

Alex said...

To 1st Anonymous:

Thanks, fixed.

To 2nd Anonymous:

That's really great! I think any help developing an ecosystem will help, and that is the greatness of open-source - anyone can help.

To Ivan:

That's exactly what Ia m saying - is that Linux is already good, it is on par with all other operating systems and that it is completely useful. And another thing I'm saying, is keep going and Linux will gain even more ground and success.

Tristan said...

Oh my gosh what is the world coming to? A linux article that does not demonise Windows and Mac, even worse it does not parade the benefits of one distro over then next, could that be the tiny glimmer of common sense shining through? I'm truly shocked.

Rex Ballard said...

Linux is Ready
You are correct, Linux is "ready" everywhare, including servers, desktops, and embedded.

It is ironic that hundreds of millions of people use Linux and Open Source Software in various forms without knowing it, and then think that Linux and Open Source Software are not commercially viable.

According to some reports, FireFox has now been deployed to about 500 million PCs - almost 50% of the total established market base.

Open Office it at about 400 million.

Mac (Unix) has grown from 2% to almost 5% in the last year - nearly 30 million machines, or about 30% of the total annual PC sales.

Linux/"Generic" (Linux browsers aren't "branded) has increased from 4% to 7% of the user base in the last year, another 30 billion units.

OEMs sold 100 million PCs last year, more than half were "Linux Ready", supporting 64 bit processors, dual-core pentium processors, OpenGL/XGL/GLX compatible video chips, and Linux compatible WiFi chips.

Microsoft was bundled with about 99% of the non-mac PC market, which means that end users installed their own Linux systems.

Live-CDs make it easier to test a PC for Linux compatibility. Corporate customers often test for Linux capability before purchasing hundreds or thousands of PCs. Those machines that can't run Linux are usually dropped from the short list immediately.

Microsoft's decision to try and prevent Vista users from installing Linux and running Vista as a virtual client has cost them market share. Many Linux customers are ordering machines with "Downgrades" to XP. Microsoft still counts it as a "Vista" sale, since the OEM just buys a Vista license that is downgradable. For example, a new machine sold with XP Profession is actually a "downgraded" version of Vista Business edition, which the OEM buys in bulk.

The OEMs are chomping at the bit to offer retail versions of "Hybrid" machines that can run Linux and Windows concurrently. That might be Windows as the host and Linux as a VM Client, or Linux as the host and Windows as the client.

Until Microsoft gives them permission to do so, End Users can purchase "Linux Ready" machines, use VMWare Converter to generate a VMWare "appliance" from their existing Vista or Windows system, then install a supported version of Linux such as SLED or Ubuntu, and then install VMWare Player and the VMWare Converter generated appliance. The Appliance can be archived on a USB drive, and when the Windows image does get corrupted, the archived image can be reloaded.

A mybook USB drive can hold up to 500 gigabytes, and sells for about $130. That's enough for about 50 backup Windows images, if desired, just in case one of the backups contains an undetected virus.

Windows VMs can still get viruses, but the viruses can't do as much damage, and recovery is much simpler. All you have to do is reload an older snapshot.

Alex said...

To tristan:

Well, yea, I don't even know what happened to me...

Too much coffee?

Celia said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Rex Ballard said...

Linux is Ready
You are correct, Linux is "ready" everywhare, including servers, desktops, and embedded.

It is ironic that hundreds of millions of people use Linux and Open Source Software in various forms without knowing it, and then think that Linux and Open Source Software are not commercially viable.

According to some reports, FireFox has now been deployed to about 500 million PCs - almost 50% of the total established market base.

Open Office it at about 400 million.

Mac (Unix) has grown from 2% to almost 5% in the last year - nearly 30 million machines, or about 30% of the total annual PC sales.

Linux/"Generic" (Linux browsers aren't "branded) has increased from 4% to 7% of the user base in the last year, another 30 billion units.

OEMs sold 100 million PCs last year, more than half were "Linux Ready", supporting 64 bit processors, dual-core pentium processors, OpenGL/XGL/GLX compatible video chips, and Linux compatible WiFi chips.

Microsoft was bundled with about 99% of the non-mac PC market, which means that end users installed their own Linux systems.

Live-CDs make it easier to test a PC for Linux compatibility. Corporate customers often test for Linux capability before purchasing hundreds or thousands of PCs. Those machines that can't run Linux are usually dropped from the short list immediately.

Microsoft's decision to try and prevent Vista users from installing Linux and running Vista as a virtual client has cost them market share. Many Linux customers are ordering machines with "Downgrades" to XP. Microsoft still counts it as a "Vista" sale, since the OEM just buys a Vista license that is downgradable. For example, a new machine sold with XP Profession is actually a "downgraded" version of Vista Business edition, which the OEM buys in bulk.

The OEMs are chomping at the bit to offer retail versions of "Hybrid" machines that can run Linux and Windows concurrently. That might be Windows as the host and Linux as a VM Client, or Linux as the host and Windows as the client.

Until Microsoft gives them permission to do so, End Users can purchase "Linux Ready" machines, use VMWare Converter to generate a VMWare "appliance" from their existing Vista or Windows system, then install a supported version of Linux such as SLED or Ubuntu, and then install VMWare Player and the VMWare Converter generated appliance. The Appliance can be archived on a USB drive, and when the Windows image does get corrupted, the archived image can be reloaded.

A mybook USB drive can hold up to 500 gigabytes, and sells for about $130. That's enough for about 50 backup Windows images, if desired, just in case one of the backups contains an undetected virus.

Windows VMs can still get viruses, but the viruses can't do as much damage, and recovery is much simpler. All you have to do is reload an older snapshot.

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