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The Truth Behind the Death of Linux On the Netbook

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the it's-a-horse-analogy dept.

Portables 406

eldavojohn writes "Groklaw brings us news of Microsoft holding the smoking gun in regards to the death of Linux on netbooks. You see, the question of Linux on netbooks in Taiwan was put forth to the Taiwan Trade Authority director, who replied, 'In our association we operate as a consortium, like the open source consortium. They want to promote open source and Linux. But if you begin from the PC you are afraid of Microsoft. They try to go to the smart phone or PDA to start again.' It's simple; fear will keep them in line. PJ points out, 'So next time you hear Microsoft bragging that people prefer their software to Linux on netbooks, you'll know better. If they really believed that, they'd let the market speak, on a level playing field. If I say my horse is faster than yours, and you says yours is faster, and we let our horses race around the track, that establishes the point. But if you shoot my horse, that leaves questions in the air. Is your horse really faster? If so, why shoot my horse?'"

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first (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28401215)


Re:first (0, Redundant)

Cold hard reality (1536175) | more than 5 years ago | (#28401223)

first idiot.

Smoking Gun? Hardly (5, Insightful)

hansraj (458504) | more than 5 years ago | (#28401259)

Taking the whose-horse-is-faster analogy from the summary, if you decided not to challenge me to race your horse with mine because you are afraid that I might shoot your horse instead of my actually shooting the horse then you can't really claim that you have a "smoking gun" about my evil intentions.

All that is quoted in the article is that someone said they are afraid of Microsoft. That in itself doesn't even come close to a smoking gun against microsoft. Unless "smoking gun" now just refers to something that is just a circumstantial evidence.

I despise MS tactics and personally suspect that there might actually be some truth to whatever is being implied here, but come on, this article is nothing but preaching to the choir.

Re:Smoking Gun? Hardly (3, Insightful)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 5 years ago | (#28401317)

more like microsoft just up and killed your horse and then claimed it won the race that they would otherwise have lost

Need a better horse (4, Insightful)

tjstork (137384) | more than 5 years ago | (#28401911)

more like microsoft just up and killed your horse and then claimed it won the race that they would otherwise have lost

Obviously you should have made a better horse, if it were so easy for Microsoft to have killed it.

Re:Smoking Gun? Hardly (5, Insightful)

just_another_sean (919159) | more than 5 years ago | (#28401341)

Having RTFA I can say that there is a lot more to it then just an off hand remark by a Taiwanese executive. No one seemed to be showing off Linux products. Any hype that companies like AMD, Intel and Acer made about using Linux seems to have dried out completely. And there sits MS, fat and confident that they can continue to tell hardware companies what to do and they'll just fall in line.

Hyperbole? Maybe. But history *does* seem to suggest otherwise...

Re:Smoking Gun? Hardly (5, Insightful)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | more than 5 years ago | (#28401491)

The first netbooks; the ones so successful they started the entire trend; were based on Linux. It is very strange that we have quite a few of the first people posting here people claiming that nobody tried Linux based netbooks. That no one is "showing off" Linux products now is likely because Microsoft made it clear to them that they had better not.

Re:Smoking Gun? Hardly (4, Informative)

hitmark (640295) | more than 5 years ago | (#28401761)

When the eeepc first hit the market, two things showed up:

1. Blogs and forums about how to get terminal and root, so that one could edit the package repo list and install debian packages.

2. Blogs and forums about how to install xp...

Asus eeepc used a xandros made distro, based of a somewhat aged debian version...

Acer aspire one used a linpus made distro, based of a similarly aged fedora version...

MSI wind used opensuse, but messed up when it came to drivers...

I'm not fully sure what HP is using...

Dell uses ubuntu...

HP and dell was slow onto market, and may well be the ones that triggered the price climb towards the low end laptop range. The first HP model was higher priced then the rest when it first launched, with the excuse that it was aimed at the prosumer or business market.

Also, Acer at least ended up shipping windows models that had more bang for mostly the same buck. Only asus did the opposite when they launched the 900 with more flash storage on the linux model vs the windows one, at the same price.

And speaking of flash storage, it seems that most netbooks these days comes with a hardrive rather then flash. Sad really, as my opinion was that flash, tho giving less overall storage, allowed for a more rugged machine. Comboed with the price, that allowed for a machine one could "abuse" a bit more. And all had a SD slot anyways, so if one needed storage, grab a couple of SD's and stuff them in the wallet or some other container and swap them as needed...

Re:Smoking Gun? Hardly (1)

JoeCool1986 (1320479) | more than 5 years ago | (#28401859)

Nice post, but I think you might have semicolon cancer.

Re:Smoking Gun? Hardly (4, Interesting)

OmegaBlac (752432) | more than 5 years ago | (#28401881)

The first netbooks; the ones so successful they started the entire trend; were based on Linux.

I remember. Funny how it wasn't really that long ago. Asus EEE was running Linux and then many other OEMs started pushing out Linux based netbooks until Microsoft panicked. Then we start hearing reports that OEMs were making half-assed attempts with Linux on netbooks by shipping netbooks with driver issues, not optimizing the OS for netbooks, or just completely "fumbling the ball" in other ways. Then articles began spreading regarding the number of returns of Linux netbooks. In a short period of time there are almost no Linux netbooks that can be purchased while Microsoft Windows has quickly went from a market share of 0% to just about completely dominating the netbook market. Now any OEM that shows off their new Android based netbook at these trade shows, and receive positive reviews, suddenly pull the plug on their projects a short-time after? Of course the U.S. DoJ doesn't appear to be in any rush to investigate Microsoft in regards to this situation, even with a new administration at the helm. Guess those "campaign contributions" from Microsoft are reaping dividends as I type this. This whole situation is just disgusting.

Re:Smoking Gun? Hardly (4, Interesting)

Chelloveck (14643) | more than 5 years ago | (#28401883)

The first netbooks were largely adopted by geeks, who like Linux. Then some people who were born and raised on Windows looked at the machines and thought they were pretty cool; too bad they didn't run Windows. The manufacturers looked at which OS had the biggest market. It's not a hard decision, and doesn't require any goofy back-alley coercion.

Or, this was the manufacturers' plan all along. They wanted Windows, MS priced it too high. So they brought out the first generation with Linux, knowing Microsoft would freak and drop the price to almost nothing.

Either one works for me. Yeah, I'm sure MS was there pushing the manufacturers, but overall I'm pretty sure it's a case of you can't rape the willing.

HP Mini owner checking in (4, Interesting)

ihatewinXP (638000) | more than 5 years ago | (#28401973)

Picked up an HP Mini 1000 series 10" about a month ago when my original Macbook Pro drank a glass of water as a stop gap measure. I have run this thing through 4 operating systems and (goddammit) it has been my primary computer with about 8-10 hourse use daily in that time.

First was winXP - as you can infer from my screen name I have never been its biggest fan.

Second was OSX using iDeneb - such a pain in the ass to get everything working right that it completely undermines the entire idea of having a mac. Clones will never kill Apples marketshare.

Third round Ubuntu Netbook Remix... Ok, the install was a breeze, the price cant be beat, and it picked up 90% of the hardware without a hiccup. Not bad. Until you start using it - graphical glitches everywhere. There is some single window dashboard on the netbook version that is sluggish and confusing garbage - turn it off first to even attempt to have a decent time. It still fails on so many common tasks without tweaking / dl'ing that it failed "The Wife Test" and that was it.

I cant see some hardware manufacturer sitting down and saying "Yes, this is the best way to show off and sell my hardware" after using it for a week.

Fourth and finally: Windows 7. Mac zealot since '99 here - first gen iPod and iPhone fanboy - and I have to say Windows 7 is by far the best thing Microsoft has put out since Windows 2000. THIS is what is going to kill Linux on netbook - the fact that Microsoft realized that they couldnt hand this segment to the Open Source community on a platter and designed an OS to run GREAT on a 1.6 Core Solo with 2GB of ram.

XP is garbage. Linux had a great chance to lead this market. But now Win7 is here and there is no way in hell the user experiences can be compared. [That said I am still just biding MY time for another macbook ;]

Re:Smoking Gun? Hardly (2, Insightful)

ground.zero.612 (1563557) | more than 5 years ago | (#28401731)

There is also a cart-and-horse problem in that software runs on hardware. If hardware companies make bad decisions or bad hardware, it either a) puts undue burden on software companies, or b) fails out of the market (ie, PS3).

Maybe GNU distributions should consolidate and form a mega-corporation if they actually want to compete. It seems like GNU is fractured beyond repair and the zealots are becoming whinier and whinier by the minute. If *you* want GNU to be the next Microsoft, quit arguing amongst yourselves about which GUI is better, which editor is better, which distribution is better, which package system is better, etc, etc, etc...

If I ran a software mega-corporation you had better believe that I would put as much influence as possible in the hardware companies' direction to ensure my product has the proper tools it needs to run better than my competition's.

Re:Smoking Gun? Hardly (1)

tonycheese (921278) | more than 5 years ago | (#28401847)

Where in the article is there "a lot more to it"? I'm glad three people modded you up without reading the article themselves.
The article doesn't even make sense. Asus said the Android isn't ready yet (the same thing Nvidia said), then apologized that a different booth had put up one of their PC's with Android. If you're not ready to roll out Android on your PC, of course you don't want rumors stemming from a PC someone threw together.

Re:Smoking Gun? Hardly (1, Flamebait)

rbanffy (584143) | more than 5 years ago | (#28401359)

It's not like Microsoft never had a smoking gun on its hand.

I doubt they still threaten OEMs by e-mail. A "It's a nice OEM price you have here. It would be a shame if your competitors got better conditions" dropped over dinner or on a golf course is far less useful for antitrust lawyers.

Still, we can see it's very effective.

Re:Smoking Gun? Hardly (1)

perryizgr8 (1370173) | more than 5 years ago | (#28401917)

i know that this is somewhat offtopic: why is the story tagged 'omgponies'?

Re:Smoking Gun? Hardly (1)

what about (730877) | more than 5 years ago | (#28401395)

Hey, Microsoft is not stupid, they didn't happen to be multimilion dollar company by chanche entirely.
Of course lots of pushing and threathening is done behind closed doors and no microphones ! assuming they do not do it is surely naive and close to stupidity.

What you are left with is "things happening" that if properly understood point to the right direction.
Eg: How come that governments (especially US) do not mandate a document format that is not encumbered ? (sole property of Microsoft ?)
        Ahhhhh... yes, now there is a clear reason for the OOXML :-; so Microsoft can pretend it is "open" even if it is not, clever ....
How come that as soon as a new market opens up Microsoft jumps in with an offer that cannot be refused ?
People where happy of Asus Linux Netbook, then, magically, lots of negative feedback (astroturfing ?) Asus goes back to Microsoft...

Look at Android now, as soon as the platform starts threatning Microsoft territory then negative reviews happens, chance ? no way.

Look at C# and Java, Microsoft tried to kill it and if you wonder why, Java does deliver the Write once paradigm (as long as you do not
corner yourself into proprietary DLL) Microsoft cloned Java into C# just to blend a good idea back into its territory.

Do I have to go on ?
How many dead bodies do you need before trying to do a real investigatin on the main suspect ?

Cheers :-)

Re:Smoking Gun? Hardly (1)

MathFox (686808) | more than 5 years ago | (#28401533)

Does anyone remember BeOS?

Microsoft Settles Anti-Trust Charges with Be [internetnews.com] , off course without admitting doing anything wrong. I wonder why MS paid Be that $23.3 million.

Re:Smoking Gun? Hardly (2, Insightful)

tjstork (137384) | more than 5 years ago | (#28401933)

Does anyone remember BeOS?

I do and I actually wrote a couple of things for it. For the most part, BeOS torpedoed itself when they switched from BeOS 5 to that whole Network appliance push they were trying to make. BeOS had a viable business selling copies from their download site. If they would have just stuck it out, I think they would have been able to make a go at it, especially considering that the entire value proposition of having an operating system designed to work with massive numbers of CPUS turned out to be remarkably right.

Re:Smoking Gun? Hardly (5, Insightful)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 5 years ago | (#28401535)

This is a good example of what I find is one of the least desirable traits of the Linux community in general: a tendency to blame everyone else for any failure, whether it's the user who's too stupid or Microsoft who's too mean.

Fairly widespread deployment of Linux on netbooks was a great opportunity to get some real user feedback and identify problems that could be addressed, but instead all that comes of it is whining about Microsoft. Sure, MS has a bad track record and I have no doubt they tried their best to use their influence in this case, but it appears the Linux community is completely squandering the chance to address real end user issues and making excuses instead, just like MS does.

Re:Smoking Gun? Hardly (0, Flamebait)

MeatBag PussRocket (1475317) | more than 5 years ago | (#28401723)

flamebait? i guess the truth hurts geeks too.

Re:Smoking Gun? Hardly (4, Insightful)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 5 years ago | (#28401907)

The mod just demonstrated my point far better than I could.

Ironic, considering the article is about Microsoft trying to suppress dissenting opinions.

Since Linux is developed by the community, as long as that community refuses to look at it critically, it will find widespread use only in that same community. Which is really too bad. I've been using Linux for various things since about '94, and it's been great watching it develop, but when my girlfriend bought a netbook a couple of months ago I really couldn't recommend Linux over XP to her.

Re:Smoking Gun? Hardly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28401837)

Agreed. And the fucking idiot who modded you as "flamebait" shows exactly what is wrong with the Slashdot community. You play to the crowd, your voice is heard. Common sense, valid criticism? We'll have none of that here.

Re:Smoking Gun? Hardly (1)

perryizgr8 (1370173) | more than 5 years ago | (#28401923)

sad but true.

Re:Smoking Gun? Hardly (5, Insightful)

CarpetShark (865376) | more than 5 years ago | (#28401601)

All that is quoted in the article is that someone said they are afraid of Microsoft. That in itself doesn't even come close to a smoking gun against microsoft.

I suspect whoever controls (or fails to control) monopolies there might disagree. When a monopoly has purchasers afraid to do business with competitors, the fundamental supply-and-demand mechanism at the heart of the capitalist trading system is completely undermined. Also, being "afraid of microsoft" is vastly different from being afraid that microsoft's products might be a better choice.

Re:Smoking Gun? Hardly (1)

tjstork (137384) | more than 5 years ago | (#28401969)

I suspect whoever controls (or fails to control) monopolies there might disagree.

It's a cheap excuse. Coca cola and Pespi both try to do exclusive deals all the time. There is a reason you get Coke at McDonalds and Burger King, and not Pepsi. I actually hate Pepsi, and I thought it was a victory for freedom when Burger King switched to Coke. There is huge competition between Coke and Pepsi, trying to lock in these winner take all deals. But, it can only go so far. Many convenient store chains still carry both coke and pespi despite any perceived threat, that is actually backed up by consistent market practice.

The point is, if 7-11 can tell Pepsi and Coke that is going to carry both, or else, at some point, the soda companies will have to blink. Look at this way, Microsoft could only withdraw Windows from the likes of Dell once. Sure, Dell might crater down to half of its market share with Linux, or even a fraction of that, but, ultimately, that would establish Linux in the market place. Asian companies know this, and so does Microsoft. The whole netbook thing might have actually been not a push to get Linux into the consumer space, but a push by Asian companies to get Microsoft to lower their prices.

Re:Smoking Gun? Hardly (1, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#28401947)

Microsoft has a reputation as a gun slinger. It is a well earned reputation. The OOXML ISO incident only happened recently and the list of crap Microsoft has pulled is longer than I will ever know. If you think for a moment that fear is not a weapon Microsoft wields, then you haven't been paying attention.

No Smoking Gun.. Just Dramatics (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28401267)

So an off hand remark by an executive at a trade show is a "smoking gun"? Get real please. The quote seems to be saying that Microsoft is the dominant player (duh) and that was it.

There is simply no hard evidence that Microsoft is abusing its monopoly to crush Linux on netbooks. None. There is no smoking gun here, just more hysterics and jumps to conclusions from groklaw, as usual. No surprise this would get attention from slashdot.

Re:No Smoking Gun.. Just Dramatics (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28401393)

I can't say I agree with you or disagree.

In past, when the "netbook" thing started, Linux was used more like an teaser for M$. Initially M$ refused manufacturers Windows support for the netbooks: "market doesn't exist, show us the market and we might get interested". It went along the lines. So OEMs had no better option than simply try to create a new market themselves. And Linux is probably only the option for companies starting new markets. They tried Linux, there was a demand, new market opened and M$ "jumped" on it.

What I'm trying to convey here, is that netbook manufacturers never planned to keep Linux for a long time. They were, they are and they will be always in bed with M$ - because they are part of larger PC market and no PC business would go against M$. And as long M$ is capable sweetening the lock-in pill, Linux will not appear on the mainstream OEM desktops.

H/W manufacturers simply do not have any interest in software. And as long as there is a company (M$) which can take care of software, OEMs will outsource it.

Re:No Smoking Gun.. Just Dramatics (1)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | more than 5 years ago | (#28401561)

What I'm trying to convey here, is that netbook manufacturers never planned to keep Linux for a long time.

As with all companies, they could n't care less what they sell with their laptops as long as it sells for profit. In theory you might be right that they didn't plan to invest further in Linux, but there's no way that they will kill a product which is already sellilng. The disappearance of successful Linux notebooks even though they are popular and don't cause any extra costs through returns [ostatic.com] clearly points to pressure from outside.


Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28401611)

Seriously.. Grow the fuck up boy.

smoking gun and hard evidence (5, Informative)

viralMeme (1461143) | more than 5 years ago | (#28401471)

"There is simply no hard evidence that Microsoft is abusing its monopoly to crush Linux on netbooks"

'The very next day, Asus' chairman, Jonney Shih, after sharing a news conference stage with Microsoft corporate VP, OEM Division, Steven Guggenheimer, apologized for the Android Eee PC being shown [computerworld.com] '

Microsofts Walmart/Linux Taskforce [gotthefacts.org]

'We invest big [edge-op.org] , big $$ in Dell .. we be quite prescriptive in our investments with Dell relative to the competitive threats we see with Linux .. we constantly benchmark ourselves against the actions they do with RedHat'

'A cross-group team has been working for the last two weeks on a proposal to have a more planned response process to defend against Linux [edge-op.org] and other low-cost/no-cost competitors in large education/government deals in both developed and developing subs'

Re:smoking gun and hard evidence (1)

buchner.johannes (1139593) | more than 5 years ago | (#28401627)

Love it how they don't know what to write in the "Linux on the Desktop" section. :-]

Re:No Smoking Gun.. Just Dramatics (1)

hachete (473378) | more than 5 years ago | (#28401869)

Microsoft were so desperate to get on the netbook wagon, they forced OEMs to use XP - an OS which was officially dead - at knockdown prices. That's the evidence right there.

And even XP can't really operate with SSD, and the netbook market has been skewed with netbooks with hard-disks, because "hard disks are better for you." Duh. If XP or 7 or whatever the fuck ms and it's apologists are force-feeding us these days, I bet that SSD would suddenly become "good". I looked for a "netbook" with SSD the other week in trawl of non-techie emporiums and I could not find one. All the netbooks I found were XP with hard-disks.

This is so frustrating (3, Insightful)

ClaraBow (212734) | more than 5 years ago | (#28401269)

Linux has come a long way and it is ready for the average user. Yes, Joe-six-pack can use linux with a 15 minute tutorial in the basics. I just want to scream knowing that Microsoft is still undermining the market and retarding progress!

Re:This is so frustrating (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28401363)

You obviously don't understand the business dynamics of what M$ has nor the lack of technical expertise of the average user - they just want familiar applications that "just work" - and Linux still has a way to come in that regard (i.e. drivers, etc.)

Re:This is so frustrating (2, Funny)

just_another_sean (919159) | more than 5 years ago | (#28401379)

1998 called, they want their tired, lame anecdote about Linux back.

Re:This is so frustrating (0)

howardd21 (1001567) | more than 5 years ago | (#28401759)

Actually I think Linux is still too hard to use. I have been using it since 1993 off an on, and am a Windows developer in my past and now work for a network services firm. And as of a year ago or so I still had extreme difficulty getting a wireless NIC in a notebook to work in Ubuntu. What NDISWRAPPER? What settings? What is an NDISWRAPPER any way.... just too frustrating. I pop in a Windows 7 beta CD and everything works an hour later. This post in slashdot may be one of the better Linux experience descriptions I have personally seen:
http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=1255403&cid=28196021 [slashdot.org]

And don't get me wrong, I like Linux just fine when it has all been installed and is working, and why wouldn't I? Gnome and K-win basically copied the Windows UI...

Re:This is so frustrating (1)

hitmark (640295) | more than 5 years ago | (#28401893)


Try a more recent ubuntu release, and maybe get a computer with a more friendly wifi chip in it. I swear, wifi is the winmodem (basically a soundcard with a RJ11 rather then phono, that did all its modulating in driver) of today, sometimes...

Re:This is so frustrating (2, Insightful)

downix (84795) | more than 5 years ago | (#28401451)

>they just want familiar applications that "just work"

Then they want Linux or a Mac, which both offer this, and not Windows, which doesn't.

Re:This is so frustrating (0, Flamebait)

mR.bRiGhTsId3 (1196765) | more than 5 years ago | (#28401551)

Just because you assert it as the truth does not make it so. I think you should go read some of the Linux support forums for things like sound, video, and wireless issues and then re-evaluate you statement. If Windows doesn't just work, then Linux most certainly doesn't.

Re:This is so frustrating (4, Insightful)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | more than 5 years ago | (#28401735)

If you were posting to a story about how easy it is to install Linux on a Netbook, you would be right. Because it doesn't come pre-installed, Linux has a big problem: installing any operating system on a computer is difficult and requires searching for drivers etc. etc. However, you are posting to a story about netbooks with pre-installed linux. This means that the users never have to look up the drivers because they are already there when they buy the computer. Go to Windows support forums for people doing fresh installs and you will find exactly the same problems as you described. However, almost nobody does a fresh install of windows; they just reinstall from the image which came with their computer; so they basically don't experience these problems.

Re:This is so frustrating (1)

downix (84795) | more than 5 years ago | (#28401783)

For tell please inform the class where this upgradeable netbook is which you can add sound, additional wireless, and such to. Because, since we are talking about machines with pre-installed Linux, the customer will never have to deal with any of these except in extreme cases. And in those cases, they'd be in as much trouble as with Windows, which *also* will not install on a netbook without these same driver issues.

Re:This is so frustrating (4, Interesting)

Norsefire (1494323) | more than 5 years ago | (#28401811)

Ubuntu: My wireless card works right out of the box, nothing else needed.
Vista: My wireless card works, after I install the drivers, open the device manager, remove it and re-enable it (a trick which I discovered after Googling around for a while) and it still spits out a warning about being unable to initialise a library on startup (works okay though so I haven't bothered to try and fix that).

Which one of those methods is too complicated for the average user?

Re:This is so frustrating (1, Troll)

iggymanz (596061) | more than 5 years ago | (#28401599)

Don't be silly, it is quite well understood what Microsoft has and does not have. They have marketing power, but not technical excellence nor stable robust business grade software. They make unnecessary changes to major application's UI which serve no real purpose but confuse trained users. They force expensive upgrade and purposely break backwards compatibility to this end.

Re:This is so frustrating (1)

hitmark (640295) | more than 5 years ago | (#28401793)

Then they go on to sell expensive certification courses and material, that in the end reads more like a course in microsoft marketing 101 then how to set up and maintain microsoft products...

Re:This is so frustrating (2, Informative)

jbolden (176878) | more than 5 years ago | (#28401915)

They make unnecessary changes to major application's UI which serve no real purpose but confuse trained users. They force expensive upgrade and purposely break backwards compatibility to this end.

I don't think in a discussion about Linux it is reasonable to be critical of Microsoft's frequency or degree of UI changes nor of their binary formats not being stable enough.

Re:This is so frustrating (4, Interesting)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 5 years ago | (#28401643)

Linux apps are perfectly familiar, the differences are not so huge especially when compared to differences between different versions of the same app (eg msoffice 2003->2007, xp->vista)...

And users are perfectly used to minor differences between things, no two brands of TV have exactly the same controls, tho all have a very similar basic set there are many differences for more advanced controls. Same with any other appliances people use, or even vehicles. Even the most non technical of users are willing to accept that different brands produce different products for performing the same tasks.

The difference is that people don't realize linux exists, don't realize that anything other than ms exists... Users need to be educated (via advertising/promotions) that linux exists, what advantages it has over windows and where it's most suitable.

The existing linux netbooks were poorly advertised and poorly implemented, they had stripped down installs which made it difficult to install apps (package management is one of the biggest advantages of linux, neutering it is very bad)... They were also very badly advertised, they were touted as being cheaper than the windows based ones but were also made out to be inferior because of this... With better promotion and better implementation, linux netbooks would sell a lot better... Something like an eee running ubuntu netbook remix and with good advertising would do very well.

Re:This is so frustrating (1)

NotBornYesterday (1093817) | more than 5 years ago | (#28401879)

You are obviously don't understand Linux, and lack any recent (last several years) Linux experience. The driver support in Linux is generally very good, and in a few cases I have experienced, better* than in Windows. Users have no problem using basic Linux apps. If I have one of my kids go use one of my Linux boxes to do a research paper for school, they have no problem with Firefox and Openoffice. Play some mp3's? Sure, just click on it. Burn a CD or DVD? No problem. Click on K3B. It's right on the desktop. The list goes on. The only people I know who have used Linux and don't feel comfortable with it (after a small learning curve, as you would expect with ANY unfamiliar technology) are people who don't feel comfortable with computers in general, even with Windows (my wife, probably her mother too if I could ever get her to touch a computer).

Note that I am talking about using the system, not administering it. Users generally fail badly when doing administrative tasks on any platform; Win, Lin, or other.

*"better": Generally, I am speaking about my experience with a home network of Win XP boxes, a couple Solaris boxes, and a couple boxes with some flavor of Linux, generally Debian-related.
- HP Photosmart C7280 printer: Windows software is bloated, runs like crap. Win machines have a hard time locating the printer on the network. Documents from Win boxes routinely fail to print. Linux boxes find it on the network easily, the drivers work great, and I have never lost a print job from a Linux box.
- Digital cameras (several of them): Plug them into a Linux box, they just work. Windows box? You'd better have the proprietary software that came with the camera.
- Various motherboards with different built-in graphics, sound, and other interfaces: Linux generally has a driver that can run things just fine. Windows? Generally, a new install requires that I surf the web in 640x480 vga with 256 colors until I find the MB manufacturer's web site and hope they have a decent driver.

Re:This is so frustrating (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 5 years ago | (#28401477)

So long as all you want to do is use what's already been set up for you, in a stock configuration. Want to plug in an extra monitor? Well, that's kind of tricky....

Re:This is so frustrating (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28401569)

Most people couldn't get that to work on windows either. What is your point?

Re:This is so frustrating (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 5 years ago | (#28401977)

I admit it's been a while since I used a second monitor on a Windows machine, but I don't remember it being that hard. You plugged in the monitor, maybe jiggled a few resolution settings and it usually worked. Frequently switching monitors could be a problem, but otherwise not so bad. On a mac, you plug in the monitor. Done.

About six months ago a friend of mine decided to install Linux on his home machine because he had to develop some software for it for his PhD project. I was impressed - last time I installed a Linux system from scratch you were probably going to have to do at least a little light editing of the X configuration files to get it set up the way you wanted but his install went fine and Ubuntu made all the right choices for X and his monitor.

Then he plugged in a second monitor. Okay, it didn't autodetect. Take a stroll through the repository and there are a couple of utilities that are supposed to help get multiple monitors up and running. Except they crash, screw up the system so even the first monitor doesn't work, or seem to do nothing. Edit the config files directly? Nope.

Turns out you had to have the perfect combination of video drivers or it wouldn't work.

Re:This is so frustrating (4, Insightful)

jbolden (176878) | more than 5 years ago | (#28401889)

Take a look at the Netbook discussions from a year ago. Limpus, Netbook Xandros.... weren't quality. The Linuxes that shipped with Netbooks weren't really good enough in particular in terms of software choice and package availability. Almost every /. person who bought one ended up putting on a different Linux. That means an OS install. And those OS installs were complicated because of obscure hardware which often required specialized driver packages.

It wasn't ready.

Linux has been ready given a strong backing for a decade. What it lacks though is the sort of strong backing. Something like Mandriva's OEM Netbook Linux pairing with a Dell would have been perfect. But then where are Dell's cost savings?

Horse analogies are making a comeback! (5, Funny)

selven (1556643) | more than 5 years ago | (#28401279)

Good for the horse analogy union that they seem to be making a comeback against car analogies. Horse analogies were always superior to car analogies - they are more maneuvrable, can use almost anything in nature for fuel (car analogies only compatible with Octane Troll and Flamebait) and they don't need a bailout.

Re:Horse analogies are making a comeback! (1)

hansraj (458504) | more than 5 years ago | (#28401303)

..they are more maneuvrable, can use almost anything in nature for fuel

You bastard! I couldn't find any animal-food store nearby, and believing you made my horse drink petrol. Now he doesn't look so good!!

Re:Horse analogies are making a comeback! (2, Funny)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 5 years ago | (#28401439)

Silly Hansraj! Horses run on diesel.

but u r forgetting... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28401357)

the terrible pollution from their exhaust;-)

Re:Horse analogies are making a comeback! (2, Funny)

Blue Stone (582566) | more than 5 years ago | (#28401365)

That, good sir, is complete horse shit.

(the inherent vulnerability in the equine metaphor)

Re: Analogies! (2, Funny)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 5 years ago | (#28401877)

Sorry good sir. All the complete horse $hit has mysteriously vanished from the tracks and the stables. The Apple trees are gone too.

The carbon compounds you see are from proprietary, non-reproducing animals like the mule on the desktop, and a smaller animal similar to the well liked Pony, is being developed for riders with lower speed riding needs.

Talks are underway in Michigan to return the land back to quadraped friendly parkways suitable for buggies. The whips may be found on the internet.

Re:Horse analogies are making a comeback! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28401865)

They could, however, enjoy a bale-out.

Re:Horse analogies are making a comeback! (1)

sdpuppy (898535) | more than 5 years ago | (#28401891)

I've been getting tired of this car analog thing on Slash Dot -

people have been beating this dead horse for too long now.

Oh wait...

Look, over there on the grassy knoll !!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28401285)

It's... it's...it's Bill Gates !! He killed Linux !! You bastard !!

Easy picture (2, Funny)

rbanffy (584143) | more than 5 years ago | (#28401287)

It's easy to see Ballmer, gun in hand, claiming "Now, mine is faster".

beating a dead horse (3, Funny)

MeatBag PussRocket (1475317) | more than 5 years ago | (#28401315)

if i shoot your horse, i'd bet to hell mine is faster than yours. my horse would beat any dead or crippled horse.

now... anyone got a horse i can borrow? xerox?

What a dumbshit (0, Flamebait)

drsmack1 (698392) | more than 5 years ago | (#28401323)

Do you even know what a smoking gun is? When did they start letting the mentally challenged start posting news on this site... oh wait...

he doesn't care which horse is faster. (2, Insightful)

gTsiros (205624) | more than 5 years ago | (#28401349)

he kills your horse so his horse is the only one left standing.

you are free to go on worrying which one would be faster.

Cry me a river (-1, Troll)

El Lobo (994537) | more than 5 years ago | (#28401353)

Yeah, sure, cry me a river. I am so tired at this moment of all the tears that isn't funny anymore. Sure, Linuzz has comming a long way and there are people that actually use it. Let everyone else use whatever they want. Maybe there ARE a lot of problems in Linuland that are actually preventing it being more popular at the desktop: the audio debacle, the lack of a standard between several (even closely related) distros, etc...

I really hate Apple products, but you have to give them credit: they have done in five-six years more than the (oh so praised) linuzz comminity has done in 20 years and they have comming up with a system that people use and gladly pay for. On the other hand, for being free, Linux is a failure in the desktop. for whatever reasosn. And yes, keep crying, maybe you will get 3 more users out of pitty.

Gibberish (2, Insightful)

blackpaw (240313) | more than 5 years ago | (#28401369)

The summary was pure gibberish. I only deciphered it because I had fair idea of what was intended in the first place.

Cunning Plan (4, Interesting)

turgid (580780) | more than 5 years ago | (#28401385)

What these companies need to to is to club together to form a new "independent" company that makes netbooks. This company would only sell non-Microsoft netbooks (whether that was Linux or some other new-fangled OS) and thus be immune to Microsoft's mafia tactics.

No turnips required.

Re:Cunning Plan (1)

HyperQuantum (1032422) | more than 5 years ago | (#28401885)

2 questions:
  1. how can you be sure that the new company can ignore Microsoft's tactics?
  2. and how can you be sure that the new company will actually be successful?

I for one (1)

Thermionix (1473355) | more than 5 years ago | (#28401391)

I for one welcome our new Scary Microsoft Overlords

I prefer Windows on my netbook. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28401403)

I get more battery life with Windows.

OMG (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28401409)


Seriously, they have been well known, since their inception for the strongarm business techniques and relentless salespeople

That's why the rose to power in the first place, so why is this really news? Any we all know that plebians are trained to be afraid of linux and "t3rm1n4l h4x"

The real reasons (5, Insightful)

asavage (548758) | more than 5 years ago | (#28401425)

There are two reasons why it is hard to get a linux netbook these days. First, Microsoft panicked and started letting the netbook manufacturers put windows on for next to nothing. Second, even the better manufacturers put a barely usable Linux on the netbooks that wouldn't allow you to install any software without using the command line, broke the wireless when you installed software updates, etc. Some of the manufacturers didn't even include working webcam drivers on their Linux netbooks.

Re:The real reasons (1)

fermion (181285) | more than 5 years ago | (#28401897)

Also, when a netbook with MS WIndows is cheaper than a netbook with Linux, one assumes that there is some sort of kickback going on that makes the net cost of licensing MS products negligible. Evan accounting for the alleged increased integration cost for linux, the netbook itself uses the same hardware, which is the primary costs.

For *nix to succeed to netbooks, someone, as Apple did, is going to have sell a premium netbook with a working OS that fixes all the problems listed. It is going to require a long term investment, not the fly by night attitude that permeates most hardware vendors. Of course such a venture would be silly since the average tech, as seen on /., cries out in pain when asked to pay an extra $100 for a computer, which is why MS still rules.

Re:The real reasons (1)

jbolden (176878) | more than 5 years ago | (#28401941)

Agreed, though actually there are rumors they subsidized the hardware.

I'd also add:
3) They didn't truly customize the netbooks. They shouldn't have had an OS but rather there should have been end user images you just select and installed via. the web.
-- college student (non engineering)
-- college student (engineering)
-- professional commuter
-- middle/high school student
-- IT professional

Take advantage of Linux's strengths.

Who's holding the smoking gun? (1, Insightful)

zak317 (1581267) | more than 5 years ago | (#28401437)

I'm wondering who's holding the smoking gun? Microsoft or the customers who buys netbooks? Because I know a lot who don't know Linux and don't want to see nothing else than Windows everywhere...

Re:Who's holding the smoking gun? (1)

hitmark (640295) | more than 5 years ago | (#28401641)

Or more likely, do not want to see something they are not familiar with, so that they need to start asking questions about how to do something...

Asking for help seems to have become quite the faux pas these days. Nearly up there with tinkering with devices for the sheer fun of it...

The truth behind Linux netbook failure... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28401445)

The truth behind the Linux netbook fail? Nobody wants it! Nobody that is, except for nerds.

Re:The truth behind Linux netbook failure... (4, Interesting)

mattcasters (67972) | more than 5 years ago | (#28401577)

I badly want a netbook with Linux on it and I know quite a number of people that would love one too.

The truth is that in the country where I live (Belgium) I simply can't buy one anywhere.
There used to be a web shop that had two (2) high end models, but no more.
I just saw they are started selling one (1) ultra-cheap model for â149 at the local Carefour supermarket.
That's *it*.

Note that exactly the same goes for laptops and PCs. I simply can't buy any brand with Linux on it or even without a Microsoft/Apple operating system on it.

After I bought my Dell Precision M60 laptop, I never even booted it into Windows XP pro, I just booted from a Kubuntu DVD. I simply erased all the crapware from the hard disk.
Now, 3 years later, I haven't looked back, but it *still* annoys me terribly that I had to pay Microsoft for something I didn't even want.
That's at least â100 that I didn't want to spend over at Microsoft although I would have no problem spending it at Canonical.
The same sort of laptops get sold with Linux pre-installed in other countries. Not in Belgium, not in many other countries.

It's not very hard to claim that Linux sales is negligible in that sort of situation. Heck, I'm amazed Linux reached the 1% barrier at all.


OEM laziness (5, Insightful)

javacowboy (222023) | more than 5 years ago | (#28401487)

I can't remember where I read this, but from what I understand the reason Linux died on the netbook was because the netbook makers didn't bother to install the right drivers for various hardware components and didn't configure them properly. This resulted in many Linux netbooks getting returned.

OEMs tend not to want to write their own software or do much configuration. Their business model has traditionally been to assemble commodity components, load Windows on them, and maybe the odd driver not included in Windows.

It will take a polished corporate effort such as Moblin or Android to get a non-Windows OS on netbooks.

Re:OEM laziness (1)

OmegaBlac (752432) | more than 5 years ago | (#28401693)

It will take a polished corporate effort such as Moblin or Android to get a non-Windows OS on netbooks.

Unless of course the companies that want to sell a Moblin or Andriod netbook continue to mysteriously ax these products before they hit stores selves.


On Monday, Qualcomm showed an Asus Eee PC using its new ARM Snapdragon chips to run Google's Android Linux. From all reports, the skinny, little Android-powered netbook looked great.

So, this was a good day for Asus right? A new ARM-powered Asus netbook with Android, the Linux everyone has been talking about, and at a price-point that will given Intel's Moblin 2.0 some real competition. Wrong.

The very next day, Asus' chairman, Jonney Shih, after sharing a news conference stage with Microsoft corporate VP, OEM Division, Steven Guggenheimer, apologized for the Android Eee PC being shown.

Shih said, "Frankly speaking ... I would like to apologize that, if you look at Asus booth, we've decided not to display this product. I think you may have seen the devices on Qualcomm's booth but actually, I think this is a company decision so far we would not like to show this device. That's what I can tell you so far. I would like to apologize for that."

It appears to me it is going to take more than a "polished" effort to beat back the anti-competitive behemoth that is Microsoft.

Linux didn't die on my netbook (1)

hoarier (1545701) | more than 5 years ago | (#28401699)

I'm using a Dell Mini 12 with Ubuntu "preinstalled". Nothing dead about it. The right drivers are installed and they are configured right.

Oh, and I bought a Mac notebook after I bought a Kubuntu floortop, but then I did go back (to Ubuntu).

If you happen to be in Japan you can buy a Dell netbook like mine here [dell.com] ; if you're not in Japan you might find the same thing in some part of dell.com that's in your language.

What I wonder is why Dell won't (here) sell me any bigger laptop with some alternative to Windows.

Re:Linux didn't die on my netbook (1)

jbolden (176878) | more than 5 years ago | (#28401987)

What I wonder is why Dell won't (here) sell me any bigger laptop with some alternative to Windows.

Dell Inspiron 15n. A 15" linux laptop.

Re:OEM laziness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28401781)

and maybe the odd driver not included in Windows.

It's practically a requirement, Windows ships with only legacy drivers most of the time.

Re:OEM laziness (2, Interesting)

hitmark (640295) | more than 5 years ago | (#28401843)

MSI was the one with the driver issues (and also the one that first complained about return rates on their linux model).

Asus and Acer are the ones that use odd offshots of debian (xandros, asus) and fedora (linpus, acer). and the versions they based those of are not even close to the latest...

Still, as one think about it, asus probably got its inspiration from OLPC and intel classmate, and envisioned linux as just some "featurephone firmware" that would not be messed around with much ones installed. They also clearly aimed the eeepc at children, not the geek adults that ended up embracing it for price and that it ran linux out of the box...

Something tells me that a ARM based netbook will be truer to those roots then the current gen "netbook" is...

Re:OEM laziness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28401919)

Not just the drivers. I just bought an Asus Eebook 900 series and was told that although XP was preloaded there would be no problem blowing it away and loading LINUX... WRONG. The microphone is dead, so no IP Telephony (Ekiga, Skype, etc.) will work. I have Ubuntu 9.04 loaded. I did later (kick self) check the forums and found that this is a known problem with no good work around. It has been known since 2008. The Asus solution is go back to XP. There is a kernel patch available that will be blown away each time the kernel is upgraded. AAARGH.

Re:OEM laziness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28401989)

Or perhaps just installing Fedora 11. It ran nearly perfectly out of the box on an Asus EEE 1000. I would assume the Ubuntu remix is also a strong contender for the market. (I really wish fedora had the remix interface, it looks very cool.)

The original linux install on the eee 1000 was next to worthless. I think i was more productive with a Commodore 128D running GEOS. (Yeah i really should have picked up an ibm clone instead of the 128D back then.... but it had two separate processors!!! ...one of which i never used).

Fedora 11 and probably Ubuntu have the necessary level of polish and integration to make a netbook shine in addition they offer a fantastic platform for business users as well. Not sure what Windows offers these days, but i've got the netbook setup with the following:
  - Fully encrypted drives (including swap) that are activated during the boot process
  - Encrypted usb and sd cards that automatically prompt for the password when inserted that I can use on both my desktop and laptop
  - Openoffice (which does a good job these days opening office 2007 files last I checked (yesterday))
  - Several types of vpn connections configured (for clients and the office) setup in one location
  - A realistic 5.5 hour battery life with wireless and bluetooth running
  - A no-hassle Verizon wireless usb internet connection
  - A solid voip softphone that integrates with the company pbx
  - A decent and reliable (so far) browser - firefox
  - Working suspend and hibernate
  - Hotkeys working fine

I think I needed to use the command line to get the suspend and hibernate working (bug suprise there), but I started on F10 and recently upgraded to F11. Everything else was configured or installed via a gui.

Additionally, I have a remote filesystem that can be mounted from anywhere as long as there is internet access, is flaky connection tolerant and offers a a few hundred gigs of space if needed. Thats a hack I put together to to ensure enough drivespace if needed and is just running the equivalent of a batch script. I'm sure there are better ways out there.

Taiwan ? wrong target Msoft (1)

itsthebin (725864) | more than 5 years ago | (#28401493)

the Chinese are already taking the chips and panels from Taiwan and assembling devices

ballmer can throw as many chairs at the Taiwanese horses as he desires - the Chinese won't care

Horses... (2, Funny)

Fuzzums (250400) | more than 5 years ago | (#28401521)

"If I say my horse is faster than yours, and you says yours is faster, and we let our horses race around the track, that establishes the point. But if you shoot my horse, that leaves questions in the air. Is your horse really faster? If so, why shoot my horse?'

Because then my living horse is faster than your dead horse, obviously.

No smoking gun, just pro-Linux propoganda (0)

jinushaun (397145) | more than 5 years ago | (#28401547)

Whether manufacturers were scared of upsetting MS or whether MS actively bullied manufacturers is irrelevant. It's the same argument as the Linux desktop PC. Truth is, the only people that care about a Linux netbook are Linux fanboys. Your average Joe computer user doesn't care about your 'religious war'. He doesn't care about the OS as long as It Just Works (tm). In fact, he may even be upset if he got 'tricked' into buying a non-Windows netbook. (Why can't I view Office 2007 files? Why can't I view Silverlight websites like Netflix?)

The current strategy of "Let's put an XP theme over Linux and say it's just like Windows" used by the Linux camp is working as well as when Apple used it over a decade ago. In other words, it doesn't. Think different.

Re:No smoking gun, just pro-Linux propoganda (1)

cyber-vandal (148830) | more than 5 years ago | (#28401605)

Not sure about Silverlight but Open Office can read Office 2007 files.

Re:No smoking gun, just pro-Linux propoganda (1)

GRW (63655) | more than 5 years ago | (#28401807)

Well Joe computer user should care. Real competition in the marketplace makes for better products and consumer choice. We would not accept the situation in the computer industry in any other industry. I can walk into an electronics retailer and see multiple brands of sound systems, or go into a housewares store and choose among multiple brands of cookware or coffee makers, yet if I walk into a computer store I see the same OS on all of the computers even if they have different brand names on them. Many people might prefer Windows to Linux, but they should have the right to make that choice. As things stand, they do not in any meaningful way.

Linux is a very loose federation... (5, Insightful)

PinchDuck (199974) | more than 5 years ago | (#28401637)

Whereas Microsoft is a corporation with focus, clarity, and direction. Linux seeped into the netbook niche because it was the best alternative at the time. Any new computing device that needs an O/S and hasn't yet gotten a proven business model for making money is a perfect platform for Linux. It plays to Linux's strengths. The netbook craze caught MS completely unawares, and Linux was very successful for a year or so. Then MS focused on that segment, clarified their offerings, and went directly at the manufacturers to make sure that XP was a viable option on that platform. In other words, the market morphed to a situation that played to Microsoft's strengths. No conspiracies or dead horses here, just the standard business cycle. I hope to pick up a netbook, and I know to get one that has Linux, but most people just don't care, and are familiar with XP. They see the familiar "Start" button and gravitate towards that. To each their own.

Don't forget Intel (2, Informative)

dpilot (134227) | more than 5 years ago | (#28401649)

If anyone these days has the balls to take on Microsoft, it's Intel. Intel has Moblin, and just sunk a pile of money into Moblin. I suspect they're also a bit tired of getting the screw-deal from Microsoft, too. Intel's entire low-end is pretty much zero profit - they make all their money on the high-end that piggy-backs on top. The lion's share of profit on low-end computing goes to Microsoft. Most live with it, I suspect Intel is tired of that situation.

Not that Intel doesn't have their monopoly abuses, too.

Fear Will Keep Them in Check (1)

Looshi (1038712) | more than 5 years ago | (#28401659)

Steve: The regional governors now have direct control over their territories. Fear will keep the local OEM's in line. Fear of this operating system.
Linus: Don't be too proud of this technological terror you've constructed; the ability to destroy a small OEM is insignificant next to the power of the open source.
Bill: Don't try to frighten us with your sorceress's ways Lord Linus. Your sad devotion to the ANCIENT RELIGION does not help you conjure up the stolen datatapes..or given you the clairvoyance to find the rebels hidden fortress...*choked*

A better analogy? (1)

MacTO (1161105) | more than 5 years ago | (#28401717)

Microsoft isn't really shooting the competing horse. They know that they can't do that because it is illegal. It would also draw the government's attention to the problem of fixed horse races, and open the door to more legislation. No one really wants that.

The hardware vendors are more like the race track operators. They provide a venue in which anyone can compete, and will gladly let anyone participate if it reflects their business interests. Except that they have one little problem: the owner of the most popular horses is a spoil sport. Microsoft said that they would charge the race track operators more, or even pull their horses out of the race, if Linux's horses competes. Since Microsoft's horses bring in more money than Linux's horses, the business interests of the race track operators is quite clear and Linux's horses cannot compete.

Which may actually explain why Microsoft's OSes are so expensive in retail channels. Microsoft has virtually no control over who buys retail copies of Windows. At least not without facing a major anti-trust suit. So if a vendor wanted to sell Linux or Windows, based upon the customer's request, Microsoft could refuse to sell cheap licenses to them. The vendor could still buy retail copies or Windows, but it would drive up the cost of their Windows systems by 20% or more. So their Windows customers would evaporate since other vendors will always be cheaper.

Linux is inherently anti-consumer, pro-business (5, Interesting)

tjstork (137384) | more than 5 years ago | (#28401755)

The great mystery of computing is not that Linux is not in the consumer space, but that Windows is so entrenched in the enterprise space.

Windows is inherently a consumer operating system. It has a developer mythology that the dream Windows development is to make that one product that you can sell and make millions with. It's got a rich set of services developers can use to build consumer products, and it treats a product like a product, a property that can be bought, traded, and rented. You've got a well documented set of graphics and sound APIs, a halfway decent networking stack, and a bunch of tools that are frankly geared towards producing consumer products and these things support a healthy consumer market. Consumers, to some degree, actually like to spend money, so that Windows is non-free actually enhances its perceived value in the consumer space. If you receive something or buy something that doesn't work in Windows, its not something that you try and sort out and fix, its time to move on to another product. Everything is a black box good that you pay for, it either works or it doesn't, and that's what people on the consumer level want.

On the other hand, Linux is a total corporate and government system. It has a developer mythology that "welcome to the basement of megacorp, I've got a jar skittles.. we're both cogs.. here's your cube." Thus, the economic prospect that in the Linux world, your work product is worthless in the market sense, but, your boss gets to use the economic benefit of it over and over again, and, if you can get to keep working on it for a bit, that's pretty interesting and you get a paycheck for it. If you want to get rich with Linux, it won't be by making an application. You'd have to make a consumer black box out of it by hosting a web site using it. But all the development and other tools of Linux have a certain corporate basement feel. Nothing is really a consumer level product, but, everything has all sorts of rich nooks and crannies to do a bunch of different corporate tasks. Consumers don't need to replace social security numbers in a giant database with some new form of proprietary identifier, but Linux developers do, and that's where the strength of Linux tools lie.

Do you really want Linux to be a consumer system anyway? To some extent, that means getting rid of an awful lot that is lovable about Linux. It means polishing out (getting rid of), that barely documented switch to a command where an author left a note saying "uh, this piece of code I put in and got to work for this one thing that I was doing but I'm not really maintaining it", or, to not have that feature at all, or, even worse, have the feature, but not the warning. In any case, there's nothing about Windows that reminds me of the guy in the basement offering some skittles in the basement of the power company, but Linux has that in spades, and I like skittles.

For Linux to be a consumer system, we have to have a world where we take art seriously. That means no copying of images, or songs, worrying about who owns what, and, in a corporate world, all of that is a pain in the rear. If we made Linux into a consumer system and had a consumer culture with it, there's no way you could, from your basement, tell the next bit of bits in your desk to get in line, just like all the other bits. We're all just corporate cogs, hey, here's some skittles.

Me thinks that rather than charging to get consumers to adopt Linux, it should be to drive Windows out of the corporation.

Origins (2, Informative)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 5 years ago | (#28401949)

The first "netbook" that started all the craze was the XO... everyone wanted one, even paying twice, donating one to schools to get one of those. And run Linux. The first next ones (asus, msi, etc) consolidated the trend, and run linux too. Till last year, most if not all netbooks had Linux as alternate (if not main) OS. And a bunch of distros/interfaces of linux specialised in netbooks started to show up (eeebuntu and similar, ubuntu netbook remix, moblin, android, etc)

Then the campaing started. Microsoft using a chainsaw to manage to show XP in an XO. Then saying that Linux netbook returns were 4 times higher than Windows ones (at least what an msi exec said [ostatic.com] , an asus one denied that [ostatic.com] ). Some vendors giving lesser options/specs for Linux netbooks than for Windows ones. And linux offers and showings in netbooks starting to fade

The next incoming market for Linux in small pcs are arm based net/smart books. Started with linux in general, then Android, but recently started a push to say that the right OS for that platform is another Microsoft one, Windows CE [osnews.com] .

Clearly this is not a smoking gun... the room of Neo's "guns, lots of guns" is tiny compared with the amount of weapons Microsoft is using in all fronts to try to stop the flood. Will it succeed? I only hope that not.

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