|FROM ||Marco Scoffier
|SUBJECT ||Re: [hangout] Big Business & World Perceptions - Linux on the Desktop
|From owner-hangout-desteny-at-mrbrklyn.com Tue May 27 21:39:19 2003
Received: from www2.mrbrklyn.com (localhost [127.0.0.1]) by mrbrklyn.com (8.12.3/8.11.2/SuSE Linux 8.11.1-0.5) with ESMTP id h4S1dIWM003910 for ; Tue, 27 May 2003 21:39:18 -0400
Received: (from mdom-at-localhost) by www2.mrbrklyn.com (8.12.3/8.12.3/Submit) id h4S1dIUu003909 for hangout-desteny; Tue, 27 May 2003 21:39:18 -0400
X-Authentication-Warning: www2.mrbrklyn.com: mdom set sender to owner-hangout-at-www2.mrbrklyn.com using -f
Received: from debian (ns.metm.org [184.108.40.206]) by mrbrklyn.com (8.12.3/8.11.2/SuSE Linux 8.11.1-0.5) with ESMTP id h4S1dIWM003904 for ; Tue, 27 May 2003 21:39:18 -0400
Received: by debian (Postfix, from userid 1001) id 2C8A5801F; Tue, 27 May 2003 21:42:06 -0400 (EDT)
Date: Tue, 27 May 2003 21:42:06 -0400
From: Marco Scoffier
To: "Inker, Evan"
Subject: Re: [hangout] Big Business & World Perceptions - Linux on the Desktop
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
Reply-To: Marco Scoffier
List: New Yorker GNU Linux Scene
Admin: To unsubscribe send unsubscribe name-at-domian.com in the body to hangout-request-at-www2.mrbrklyn.com
Obviously some tensions have been raised, and I have to say that I too
was annoyed by the tone of this article. So, I decided to give it a
close reading. This article is full of pro-Linux information.
What boggles me is the bad light it puts Linux in as though, 'linux'
(whoever 'Linux' is) were a company fighting for market share and not
winning the battle.
The most annoying part is the title.
> Linux lags on the desktop
Read the article and try to explain why wouldn't the reporter name it
'Linux makes huge inroads into Corporate Infrastructure even on the
'Linux lags' is an advertisement for Microsoft, and a misplacement of
Even 'Corporate world still enslaved on the Desktop' would be more
> CIO Michael Prince drew the line at desktops in the company's
> headquarters: Linux wasn't ready, for a slew of technical reasons.
Damning openning sentence, except that she gives no technical reasons to
back it up. See below:
> Prince says. Support from key vendors and advancements in the
> compatibility of Linux software gave him reason to put StarOffice, Sun
> Microsystems' desktop software suite that runs on Linux and other
> operating systems, on 300 office PCs. He uses it himself.
Ok so Linux is ready. I'm confused, why the negative openning?
> But here's the catch: The corporate PCs still run Microsoft's Windows,
> and Prince hasn't abandoned Microsoft Office. He wants Burlington
> office staff to have the same applications as the retail stores, but
> he doesn't yet think a corporate transition to Linux on the desktop is
> worth the trouble of migrating existing data and retraining employees.
I thought she was going to give us a technical reason. Migrating data
is an enslavementware problem, and retraining is normal. This does not
make Linux 'not ready for the desktop'
> Linux looks increasingly like a technically viable option as an operating
> system for PCs, but it's still one that's rarely considered seriously in
> business environments.
Not considered because 'not ready' or why? ...
> Office productivity suite and a Linux suite such as StarOffice not enough
> for most IT execs. "They're not willing to make a change from
> Microsoft when the Windows software is handling their needs and users
> are comfortable with it," says Nicholas Petreley, an analyst for
> research company Evans Data.
Was that my technical data? People don't like change, so we won't even
if it could save money, and be more sustainable, functional, etc.
> Linux on the desktop is confined mostly to workstations that rely
> heavily on graphics for digital-content creation and product
> engineering, says Jim McDonnell, senior VP of marketing for
> Hewlett-Packard's personal systems group. "This makes sense because
> it's taking advantage of the operating system for performance," he
So linux is better technically.
> But vendors haven't given up trying. Sun's latest low-cost
> Linux PC, slated to ship this summer, could spur wider use of the
> system on desktops, says Bill Claybrook, research director for Linux
> and open source at the Aberdeen Group. "Linux hasn't made a dent in
> the desktop marketplace so far, but things will change," he predicts.
So you say everyone is waiting for the change. Why not seem more
encouraging about it?
> The technical barriers are steadily falling away, Burlington's Prince
And what were those technical barriers again. You got yourself trapped
in proprietary formats because your IT department had no foresight, and
this is now Free Software's fault? That's why it is lagging?
> StarOffice 6.0 can open Microsoft Word and Excel documents, removing
> one of the most annoying problems of the past, Prince says. By
> deploying both StarOffice and Windows on corporate PCs, he hopes to
> ease any eventual transition to Linux.
Again, this article has basically been talking transition to linux as an
eventuality. Why the increadibly negative, putting the fault on Linux
title, "Linux lags on the desktop". I just don't get it. As per the
data in this article, this is the only real reason the switch hasn't
> Still, a migration is a migration, so Prince isn't making a major
> operating system or productivity-suite change right now. "I'm not sure
> there's any payback in migrating people," he says. "Cost-wise, Linux
> is better, and it's more reliable, but migrating users one-by-one is a
> big effort." Prince will encourage new employees to use Linux instead
> of Windows, but he won't force them. "We want people to use what
> they're comfortable with," he says.
'People dont like change.' This is linux's fault? Here again the blame
is put on Linux:
> Linux still has shortcomings. Rory Hudson, retail systems manager for
> Zumiez Inc., a retailer with 100 stores, deployed PCs running Linux in
> stores so managers can access a company intranet and Linux-based
> E-mail and spreadsheets for financial reporting. But he's keeping
> Windows at headquarters to do some of the company's more-complicated
> PC-based work. "We wouldn't consider switching off of Windows, because
> we have advanced spreadsheets and Excel handles those really well,"
Blame 'Linux' instead of gnumeric, or Microsoft the creator of Excel who
doesn't provide a Linux version, so as to entrench it's monopoly.
> Hudson says. "We've found a really good niche for each operating
> system." That includes Apple Macintoshes for the company's graphic
I won't get into this one, except that freedom is crutial everywhere.
> Aberdeen analyst Claybrook has his own Linux experience. He dabbled
> with the open-source system on his desktop but dropped it because some
> document formatting was lost when files were sent to a Windows
> machine. "We have a specific format that we need to follow when we
> send reports, so I couldn't afford those discrepancies," Claybrook
Are the discrepancies "Linux's fault" or the crappy proprietary change
every six months formats the company has chosen to adopt?
> Laptop users also face challenges. "Laptops are tougher to run Linux
> [on] because they've got more proprietary devices, and not very many
> are designed for Linux," Prince says. "It's doable, but it's a lot of
Again, "Linux's fault" or companies that sell laptops with proprietary
> Some business-technology executives are just getting comfortable with
> running Linux on their servers, where it has something of a track
> record for value and performance; Linux on the desktop isn't even in
> the planning stages. PNC Bank is evaluating whether to move some
> servers to Linux and plans a limited test this year. The bank is
> confident it can lower costs and increase performance using Linux. But
> it isn't even considering a desktop change. "We don't really have a
> need for faster performance at the desktop level, so there's not the
> same push to evaluate Linux on the desktop," a spokeswoman says.
So the bank hasn't changed because they haven't even thought about it.
They are happy where they are. As far as I am concerned this is the
only place the ficticious 'Linux company' is lagging. It needs to create
it's market. We need to create the market here like every other vendor
who has ever lived. 'Your bank is still using bug ridden, virus laden,
enslavement-ware? Haven't you heard of Linux? It's bug free and virus
proof, and less expensive" (alter marketing blurb to you preferance).
Now at the very end. After no technical reasons except, don't want to
migrate, haven't heard of it, and trapped in enslavement format. The
article ends with Linux glory stories:
> For those who choose to take the plunge, however, there are savings to be
> had. Zumiez's Hudson says that running either Windows or Unix on
> point-of-sale computers in all stores would have cost about US$1,000 per
> store. Zumiez went with free Linux systems for the 19 stores it opened
> last year. Sun's StarOffice suite lists at US$50 per machine for 125
> users, to US$25 for 10,000; that compares with an average price of
> about US$400 for Office.
> Ernie Ball Inc. turned to Linux out of crisis more than cost savings.
> Three years ago, the global manufacturer of guitar strings was slammed
> by the Business Software Alliance for running more copies of Windows
> than the company had paid for. Then there were the pirated copies of
> software from Autodesk Inc. and FileMaker Inc. It was the spark that
> turned Ernie Ball into a Linux hot spot. "We had 120 days to comply
> with the BSA, and we complied by throwing everything out," says Jeff
> Whitmore, an IT manager at Ernie Ball.
> The company operates almost all of its business on open-source
> software, including Red Hat Linux on its desktops and servers,
> StarOffice on PCs, and E-mail from Ximian. Whitmore says the company
> spent about US$20,000 to make the switch and cut US$80,000 to
> US$100,000 a year from its IT budget. With a little more than 70
> users, the IT staff handled training on the fly. "There wasn't a lot
> of training involved, and we just handled questions from users as they
> popped up," he says.
> For now, Microsoft commands more than 90% of the desktop market, and
> most users seem comfortable with what its productivity apps cost for
> what they deliver. With its upcoming Office suite, Microsoft will try
> to pull further ahead of competitors. That leaves only a little wiggle
> room for Linux, as it battles the inertia of an installed base.
There are no two ways about it. The whole mindset has to change. Not
just of the people using computers. But of the people writing about
them. There is no 'Linux company', battling the Microsoft company. The
weaknesses are not Free Software's, but :
1) Human beings don't like change.
2) Proprietary vendors have done a darn good job, of trapping people and
companies in situations they would rather not be in (proprietary
formats, trapped data, forced upgrades etc.)
3) Since there is no 'Linux Company' no one is out there creating the
market for the product. The only sales people are the people using it.
I am sorry Evan, but you are very far from convincing me that anyone
is not ready for a Linux Desktop. That is an insult to every computer
user. Saying, however, that a company is so trapped in enslavement-ware
that it will take it a few years before they can adopt the preferable
Free solution, is a whole other issue. This is the light the article
should be written under.
The Corporate world's level of entrapment in no way makes a comment
about Free Software's level of 'readiness' or technical viability.
NYLXS: New Yorker Free Software Users Scene
Fair Use -
because it's either fair use or useless....
NYLXS is a trademark of NYLXS, Inc