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[P]
Lindows Linux - Examining the facts

By eviltwin in Op-Ed
Wed Mar 27, 2002 at 08:44:01 PM EST
Tags: Technology (all tags)
Technology

Lindows has become something of cause celebre on Linux sites and discussion boards yet it seems very few people have actually met anyone who has seen it in real life.

This coupled with a pay-for-play beta agreement with a comprehensive non-disclosure clause must inevitably pose the question - are these guys for real?

In this article I will attempt to examine the facts and conjecture and attempt to come up with an answer approximating the truth


Lindows is, in case you have been living under a rock, the Linux distribution of the moment -- a Linux with built in WINE capabilities and being hailed as the answer to 'getting Linux on the desktop'. Oh I almost forgot, they are also being sued by Microsoft for trademark violation (more on that later).

The company has garnered more than few column inches in the open source press portraying itself as David fighting Microsoft's Goliath, in itself perhaps a noble pursuit.

However, at this moment Lindows itself has failed to deliver anything but hype and an examination of the facts poses some interesting questions.

To understand the concept of Lindows it is a good idea to have a quick look at the desktop Linux movement. There is a schism between 2 groups. On the one side, we have the hard core of Linux coders and tech users who revel in the power and sheer complexity of Linux. On the other side, there are the Windows-replacement factions who are looking for a replacement product for the desktop to attempt to break the Microsoft hegemony.

There are thousands of Linux distributions with varying degrees of complexity and user bases but the biggest fish in the OSS sea at the moment are :

  • Red Hat - Corporate vision and respectability with a technical support and certification model somewhat based on Microsoft's - the acceptable corporate Linux.
  • Debian - More of a collective approach to development Debian is the result of a collaborative group of programmers and comes with a large range of software - considered an excellent OS if you're looking for advanced features but still ease of use (Disclaimer - I use Debian myself on some systems)
  • Mandrake - Continues to grow in popularity this OS has an easy to use installer and comes with K office and a pile of common applications - many recommend this to beginners
  • Slackware - Powerful and technical and one of the most difficult to learn with - this is the hardcore technical choice and is very popular in web and programming circles
  • Suse - An interesting OS and one many people describe as a newbie's OS - excellent to install and very useable - a popular OS amongst newbie's (NOTE - Suse no longer offer downloadable X86 ISO's and finding the product for sale outside the US can be hard if not impossible
It should be noted that these are only some of hundreds of choices in the open source OS market, which also includes non-Linux systems like the *BSD variants.

So into this market comes Lindows with the holy grail of a Windows-compatible desktop and the ability to run Windows software. Until now this has required installation if WINE, something a beginner user or a complete novice won't find easy. Lindows made an immediate splash for a number of reasons: the CEO is ex-MP3.com-headman Michael Robertson; the hype surrounding the product made it sound like the second coming; the name itself, Lindows. All of these had many members of open source frothing at the mouth. A V1.0 release was promised First Quarter 2002.

That's now. And where is it?

The Reviews

In fact on the entire web (I searched using Google, Altavista and Lycos) I can only find one actual comprehensive indpependant (sort of) review of the product, on Newsforge. The review Lindows OS sneak preview -- it's not vaporware after all -- is Short and the reviewer seems to have trouble getting Windows applications to run and complains about font issues. The review itself raises some questions about the OS and its mission.

Linux users will find this preview fun to play with, but Lindows OS appears to be hampered without a Windows partition, which defeats the implied purpose of Lindows: to be able to freely run all Windows apps on Linux with no need for Windows.

This seems to be the key argument - it appears users will require a Windows license to use the product in the way in which it is being advertised -- which is understandable for users wanting Windows apps but poses a whole raft of licensing and EULA issues.

But maybe there's more than that - and the desktop might be a good reason so lets look at some screenshots.

The Screenshots

Umm well - there's 2 - and they are both on Lindows.com site. The screenshots are impressive but there's been some questions raised about them and I will leave it up to you to look and examine -- in themselves they look a little too perfect to many.

Now it's true that 2 screenshots are better than none, but this is an OS that is due to be released End First Quarter (note the Lindows Website now says later in 2002).
Note : there are 3 screenshots attached to the Newsforge Article but only one shows a word article running and there is no indication that they are actually Lindows -- they may be but the screenshots look like at least 4 other Linux distributions and offer none of the earth-shaking perfection that the official ones do, but they may be indeed Lindows so I must add them here.

Another thing to note is that Lindows is 'powered' by Xandros the company who have taken over the mantle of Corel Linux and who themselves have an OS in beta.

But surely with Beta Testers there must be more screenshots out there. In fact there is none -- every site on the web appears to link back to that same Lindows page or have a copy of those same 2 screenshots. It's a very tight beta which brings us to that subject

The Beta or "Preview" Program

Lindows has hit on an interesting beta concept for open source software: pay for play. The Lindows.Com site sums it up on the Insiders Section. Basically the concept is simple; in the company's own words :

What do we ask of you? A $99 fee for a one year membership in the Lindows.com Insiders program and your commitment to take time to share your feedback about our plans, our products and our future direction. Agree to a non-disclosure agreement, keeping the program itself and those things you learn as a Lindows.com Insider confidential, just as any Lindows.com employee would.
Interesting. An open source company developing software on a GPL license requiring a payment for beta testing and a non-disclosure agreement. Whilst I do not believe this to be a breach of the actual GPL surely it goes against the spirit of it?

What do you get for your $99? Well...

Anytime we have news to share - you'll be among the first to know. At times, you'll have the opportunity to view our technical and business information that most companies don't normally share with outsiders.
But you don't get a guarantee of actually seeing the OS :
Although certain Insiders may be called upon to review and/or test the OS as it develops, joining the Lindows.com Insiders program does not guarantee this.
The good side is that you get your money back if not happy according to the company.

And that's it -- a comprehensive web search fails to find any information on the numbers of Lindows 'insiders' (something most companies would publish surely) and not one copy of the NDA (on the web that's incredible!) In fact the only news and press information on the site are puff pieces and links to stories on the lawsuit.

The lawsuit

In case you have missed the news Microsoft sued Lindows over the name of the product and violation of its trademark in late 2001. The suit alleges that the name is a trademark violation of the windows copyright.

It is not my intention to get into the issue in this article; there's lots of information available and some articles to read can be found on Inforworld, The New York Times and others. It appears that the company has had a victory in court with a statement that Microsoft may not own the windows trademark... But the fact is a quick search would have found that Microsoft failed to obtain a trademark in 1990 on the name.

Thus there are a few questions here. Lindows almost certainly knew that Microsoft didn't hold a patent or trademark on the `Windows' Name (note this is different to `Microsoft Windows'); lets face it NO company would fail to check it in advance if the name of it's product was copyrighted... but they also knew in my opinion that Microsoft would file suit to protect the value of its name and the consumer recognition therein. There's also the question of possible EULA violations of Windows (licensing would require a user to own licenses of Windows and all the software he wants to use in Wine) as well. So why choose Lindows as a name in the certain case you would end up in court?

Lycoris -- formerly Redmond Linux -- are aiming for a similar market and are based in Microsoft's home town yet they have avoided any lawsuit issues, so why have Lindows it seems sought it out ?

Why would a small under funded startup seek out a lawsuit with the biggest software giant on the planet? The truth is they are not such a small underfunded company. In fact, it being a private company, finding information on the investors in Lindows.Com Inc is very hard. The company was set up by ex-MP3.com-CEO Michael Robertson after he resigned from the company on the eve of their sale to Vivendi (having lost a copyright violation lawsuit -- something the Lindows.com Corporate profile fails to mention). In fact, Robertson's company became something of a magnet for lawsuits which cost it over US$130 Million in the end. Information on Robertson's personal fortune is impossible to find it seems but one would suspect $4.5 million to be a small part of it after Vivendi paid $372 million US for MP3.com, a company in which he had a substantial shareholding.

The Lindows corporate team looks like a friends club, President Kevin Carmody (ex MP3.com Project Director) worked at Franklin Covey on Ascend, which was developed by Lindows Technology VP Thomas C Welch. The VP of marketing John Bromhead has the interesting distinction of having worked for Stac, who successfully sued Microsoft over patent violations in 1994. Certainly a powerful team with excellent tech credentials and one you would think with the skills to avoid a lawsuit and certainly one with the ability to think up an excellent name which would avoid and lawsuit issues.

So why would a company burn up venture capital money in a lawsuit.

The author's suspicion is that by being engaged in a lawsuit with Microsoft the publicity is invaluable; Microsoft is a slow moving target fighting the Monopoly tag leveled at it and at the moment it appears to be fashionable to be involved in legal action with them and any company doing so automatically appears to gain the underdog status against the Microsoft giant regardless of the factual details of any lawsuit.

Lindows garners the support of the free software and open source community and becomes a visible name very quickly, gaining market recognition. They can use the open source VS Microsoft the Monopoly line to build awareness of the product and increase sales and possibly even attract venture capital. They may actually win the case (a doubtful outcome in my opinion as Microsoft can still pull out prior-art cases and show that the Windows Trademark is recognizably theirs and the appeals could drag on, will drag on for years), but win or lose, Lindows has brought priceless publicity well worth the cost of a lawsuit which at worst will force them to pay costs and change the name (as they have no released product to charge a copyright violation fee for). Which will garner more publicity?

A case in point was the massive flurry of support garnered in January when Microsoft were successful in obtaining a subpoena to obtain the Lindows subscriber mailing lists which prompted posts from Mr. Robertson to a number of sites including Slashdot. Now on the surface of it this might be understandably worrying but it is a normal process in a lawsuit on trademark and copyright violation; something Mr. Robertson should have been well aware of with his experience in lawsuit terms (it is impossible for him to claim he has no experience in litigation)but the very suggestion of such a move spun in the way it was (evil Microsoft wants your private details) could be seen by some as a cynical attempt to gain more open source support and credibility. Certainly its easier than releasing an actual product.

The above is of course only one conclusion that can be drawn but the facts on Lindows pose a number of questions for answer and must raise the suspicion that, so far, the company has nothing to show for its actions but a few screenshots and a lawsuit.

The Questions and Conclusion

Lindows has a lot of promise to deliver on. It certainly claims to be an excellent OS for windows users looking to change but there are a number of points in the available information that need to be raised

  1. How many Insiders does Lindows have?
  2. How many of those are actively beta testing the OS?
  3. What connection do Xandros actually have with Lindows?
  4. Why have there been no comprehensive reviews of the product? (the Newsforge is a short and not very deep piece)
  5. Why have there not been more Independent screenshots of the product released?
  6. If the product is open source then why the Non Disclosure agreement?
  7. Is the product intended to be sold only with no downloadable free copies?
  8. If the above is to be the case what are the GPL source code issues?
  9. Why charge for a Beta Test?
  10. What investigation has been done into the licensing issues with Windows Software?
  11. Will a user require a license of a Windows OS to use windows applications?
  12. What is the release date of the product?
Until some of these questions are answered and a comprehensive review of a running Lindows OS with screenshots verified as independent is published the questions about the actual existence of the OS will remain.

Further Resources

Lycoris
A freely downloadable and working desktop OS designed for beginners - it has Wine installed and appears to work - worth a look
Wine
The homepage of the wine (windows compatibility layer software) it is freely downloadable and if you have patience can be run on any Linux OS
Lawsuit Documents
This page is run by Lindows but has full text of the judges rulings and lawsuit documents.

Please comment your thoughts but note that the author is not making a comment on Linux as a whole but on a single Linux product - the author is not anti-Linux.

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Poll
I think Lindows is
o The next big thing in Operating Systems 2%
o Looking Like a good OS 2%
o Just another Linux Distribution 22%
o Vapourware 27%
o A cynical attempt to make money from open source 38%
o I am not sure 3%
o No opinion 2%

Votes: 76
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o Slashdot
o Google
o Lindows
o Red Hat
o Debian
o Mandrake
o Slackware
o Suse
o Lindows OS sneak preview -- it's not vaporware after all
o Lindows.com site
o Xandros
o Insiders Section
o Inforworld
o The New York Times
o Lycoris
o Lindows.co m Corporate profile
o sued Microsoft over patent violations
o Slashdot [2]
o Lycoris [2]
o Wine
o Lawsuit Documents
o Also by eviltwin


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Lindows Linux - Examining the facts | 45 comments (38 topical, 7 editorial, 0 hidden)
Your level of bias is appropriate, but.. (4.00 / 4) (#3)
by Weezul on Wed Mar 27, 2002 at 06:31:59 PM EST

..I have a hard time caring about yet another Wine distribution or yet another attempt to make money off open source. The trade mark situation is not that interesting either, unless they can really get Microsoft to admit that Windows should not be trade markable. I can see the case going either way for perfectly legitimate reasons. Still, it's not *that* interesting as we have all seen the news dozens of times before.

btw> I think Lindows would have an air tight case if their Microsoft Windows compatibility was not a major selling point, i.e. if Lindows means Xwindows on Linux. It's unclear in this situation that Lindows is not actually a derivative of the real trade mark "Microsoft Windows" which should actually represent the APIs in addition to Windowing. Highly questionable both ways.

"Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of state and corporate power." - Benito Mussolini
Short rant (4.07 / 13) (#5)
by DranoK 420 on Wed Mar 27, 2002 at 06:42:56 PM EST

Why would anyone want to use linux as a windows box? I mean, I suppose I can understand some reasons for productivity software for people who don't like TeX... ;) But, really, I've never had any ideological problems with Microsoft. I mean, sure, Microsoft does some legally questionable things to defend their monopoly and eliminate competition, but on the other had if I were in charge of Microsoft I'd do the exact same friggin' thing. Money is a good thing.

And before I get rated down for spewing this off-topic rant, I *did* read the article. I just don't really have any interesting opinions on it. I do on Lindows, tho ;)

In my magnificantly humble opinion, if you desire to use Windows applications then for Fnord's sake use Windows. There are native UNIX alternatives for much of the productivity software you need on Windows. But if you don't like StarOffice and do like MS Office, then use MS Office. Why try to emulate MS Office off of linux?

I'm sounding strangely pro-windows here, but I guarantee you I am not. I'm a complete linux advocate. I prefer UNIX to anything else, and Linux over Solaris. At work I maintain a large farm of linux and solaris boxes, and at home I have 5 linux boxen and two windows boxes. When I first started using Linux I used to get hardons over it. For a time I had this insane tux fetish and searched (without luck) for Tux pr0n. I truely and honestly believe that Linux is vastly superior to Windows.

So what are those two win2k boxes doing in my home network? They're the most powerful boxes I have (both Athlon XP 1900+ GeForce3 1GB SDRAM each in their own $300 aluminum case) and they run stupid apps, like Return To Castle Wolfenstein, Warcraft III Beta, and other miscleneous games I happen to be playing. I also primarily browse the web with these boxes, and use them to access my 250GB media archive. Now, why did I bite the bullet and run this software on Windows?

Sure, there are Linux binaries for RTCW. I could certainly use Mozilla instead of IE. And xine would let me play any media content I like. But why, *why* would I waste the power of linux on such pathetic ambitions such as entertainment?!

Linux is a fully-fledged multi-tasking OS. This means I can run 100 processes in the background and the kernel seamlessly allocates CPU time between them, based on a number of factors including priority. Two of the linux boxes even run X so I can have my ten desktops full of Eterms. These are the machines I work from home with (heh, and I love working from home, just wish my boss did a bit more), compile software, code, and otherwise spend my day. When I want to play RTCW I use windows.

Reasons. 1) Driver support for Windows is better. 2) DirectX. 'Nuff said. Actually, I hate DirectX, but that's beyond the point. 3) I don't want to think to play a game. Just like simple math is easier than complex math (but complex math is far more useful), a brain-dead OS like Windows is far easier to use than Linux. I don't want to *work* to install and play a bloody game.

Plus, like I said, linux is multi-tasking. This is a good thing. If I started playing RTCW on Linux I would expect my apache daemon to be unaffected. When I play RTCW, however, I would be far happier for *all* my system resources to go into it. And Windows does this happily for me. Windows should *not* be multitasking. I want my game to run well.

And when that game crashes, it generally takes the OS with it. This usually is a bad thing, but think about it. Windows gives any executable basically root access to your system. (I know I could set win2k up to use a permission scheme but fuck that). This means that companies can easily unleash raw hardware power without worrying about the OS not allowing it. This would be silly and stupid for linux to do.

To make my point short (too late, I know) I don't see why people want linux to do all the things windows does. Do you *really* want $5000 vacuum-sealed .000001 miligram accurate digital scale to be used to weigh your latest quarter-bag of pot? Of course not. That's what toy scales are for.

Why, then, try to make a tool which is designed for server abilities and development environments (esp when your developers are like mine and need a few gigs of ram per project) when there is already a tool which perfectly does this? And God help Linus and his new slave-boy if they ever decreases kernel performance so a web browser can be integrated in...*shudder*

I'm sorry, but if you're playing games, watching TV, browsing the web, using Excell, using Word, or playing in any other way, use Windows. It might not be the best piece of software but at least it was designed for what you're trying to do.

If you need a powerful server to develop code on, run remote-session X apps, run daemons, give you full control over your system -- basically, anything other than playing around -- then use UNIX.

I'll never understand why people want Linux on the desktop, unless they're developers, or companies seeking cheap servers for secerataries, etc. But for a home user? Fuck. If you aren't planning on running any type of server applications, then use Windows.

End rant.

DranoK


Poetry is simply a convenient excuse for incoherence.


hmm (4.20 / 5) (#6)
by The Littlest Hobo on Wed Mar 27, 2002 at 06:56:42 PM EST

I play RTCW, however, I would be far happier for *all* my system resources to go into it. And Windows does this happily for me.

Are you implying that if you start up a game in Windows, all other processes are paused? Sounds to me like somebody has been living in the dark for a few years.



[ Parent ]
Btw, I have a question (2.83 / 6) (#8)
by The Littlest Hobo on Wed Mar 27, 2002 at 07:00:28 PM EST

When does Linux plan to add real threads?

[ Parent ]
I see you've been reading... (4.00 / 2) (#19)
by DranoK 420 on Wed Mar 27, 2002 at 10:27:25 PM EST

excerpts from kernel mailing lists without reading everything. Short answer: there are two competing thread ideologies which could possibly be merged soon into the next series kernel. Short answer #2: Your every-day Joe Blow ain't gonna notice a difference. Developers probably will, tho.

Not that I'd call Windows 'real threads' either. And Solaris has some real problems with large semaphores between threads. *shrug*.

DranoK


Poetry is simply a convenient excuse for incoherence.


[ Parent ]
Oh I assure you (1.00 / 1) (#38)
by The Littlest Hobo on Fri Mar 29, 2002 at 08:27:42 PM EST

I have indeed noticed the difference. Java runs like ass under Linux, and it's not Sun's fault, it's a combination of Linux's shitty threading model, and the equally shitty X-Windows system.

Linus should really get his act together. It's embarassing watching his OS, which he doesn't get paid for, slipping farther and farther into obsolescence.

[ Parent ]
Idiot (5.00 / 1) (#41)
by DranoK 420 on Sun Mar 31, 2002 at 08:45:05 PM EST

What does X have to do with anything? And what makes you think it has anything to do with Linux?

You don't have the slightest fucking clue what you're talking about, do you?

DranoK


Poetry is simply a convenient excuse for incoherence.


[ Parent ]
Linux uses X for graphics (3.00 / 2) (#43)
by Ken Pompadour on Tue Apr 02, 2002 at 06:46:25 PM EST

Correct?

...The target is countrymen, friends and family... they have to die too. - candid trhurler
[ Parent ]
If you want it to (none / 0) (#44)
by DranoK 420 on Tue Apr 02, 2002 at 11:37:09 PM EST

You can also do things framebuffer (at least one window manager uses that) or you can run your system without graphics at all. But you know what? X isn't a part of X. *slap* *slap*

You can run X on BSD, or Solaris, or whatever. It has nothing to do with linux. Linux is just a kernel you pathetic fuckhead.

Grow up and read a book someday.

DranoK


Poetry is simply a convenient excuse for incoherence.


[ Parent ]
Windows can claim all it wants (4.50 / 2) (#18)
by DranoK 420 on Wed Mar 27, 2002 at 10:24:39 PM EST

I did my own multitasking tests with povray. In win2k, if two povrays are running the exact same script, one finishes more than four times earlier than the other. In linux, both finish right around the same time.

DranoK


Poetry is simply a convenient excuse for incoherence.


[ Parent ]
Foreground application boost (5.00 / 1) (#30)
by nusuth on Thu Mar 28, 2002 at 12:02:44 PM EST

There is a setting which asks something along the lines whether you like your computer be enhanced for desktop or server, that is the setting to change if you don't like default behavior. If you start both povrays and switch to a light-on-resources third application (like minesweeper), you should see that both finishes same time. That should also happen if you lower their priority from "Normal" setting.

The idea is making the program user is interacting with more responsive. You can change the setting if you want to do so. So this time it really is a feature, not a bug.

[ Parent ]

resources (5.00 / 4) (#10)
by vadim on Wed Mar 27, 2002 at 07:14:53 PM EST

I would be far happier for *all* my system resources to go into it.

That's strange, in that case what you want for gaming is Linux! Think about it, it lets you customize everything. What is stopping you from booting with init=/bin/ash? If you need X, you can start it without a window manager. This is much closer to giving all the resources to the task than Windows where you will still have a quite heavy GUI to support and lots of stuff in your systray unless you bothered to close it first.

BTW, I tried a Windows game that was ported to Linux with SDL (Docking Station) and it runs noticeably better. It's quite heavy and being able to play it in a really minimum envoronment can be very helpful.
--
<@chani> I *cannot* remember names. but I did memorize 214 digits of pi once.
[ Parent ]

Bleh (4.33 / 3) (#17)
by DranoK 420 on Wed Mar 27, 2002 at 10:23:22 PM EST

True enough. I hate it when other people are right.

DranoK


Poetry is simply a convenient excuse for incoherence.


[ Parent ]
Basic misunderstanding of Windows (4.14 / 7) (#11)
by Sethamin on Wed Mar 27, 2002 at 07:19:48 PM EST

Plus, like I said, linux is multi-tasking. This is a good thing. If I started playing RTCW on Linux I would expect my apache daemon to be unaffected. When I play RTCW, however, I would be far happier for *all* my system resources to go into it. And Windows does this happily for me. Windows should *not* be multitasking. I want my game to run well.

And when that game crashes, it generally takes the OS with it. This usually is a bad thing, but think about it. Windows gives any executable basically root access to your system. (I know I could set win2k up to use a permission scheme but fuck that).

Okay, you have a fundamental misunderstanding of the Windows OS there. Windows is most definitely a multi-tasking environment. In fact, even Windows 3.1 was a "multitasking OS", although it was non-preemptive. Windows 95-Me were definitely preemptive multitasking OSs, but still had lots of old legacy code in them. In those a bad program could definitely bring the system down b/c portions of the kernel address space could be written over by user mode programs. But even in those, running a game would not take all your system resources with it. Things could still be running in the background.

Now the NT line, as in Windows NT 3.5, 4.0, Win2K, and WinXP are all most definitely fully preemptive multitasking OS with real user mode protection. Running a program in them will not give you "root" access to the system (unless you are already root...duh), nor will they devote all system resources to one program. You cannot crash the system with a user program (in theory; of course with all the bugs that's not true for all of them except maybe Windows XP).

I'm not trying to flame you here (really!), but you can't overgeneralize the points you're making to "all" of Windows. The only "OS" that your comments really hold true to are Windows 3.1. I know that these things may "appear" that way to you from your user experiences, but I assure you that they are not the case.

A society should not be judged by its output of junk, but by what it thinks is significant. -Neil Postman
[ Parent ]

See my comment below about win2k's 'multitasking' (4.50 / 2) (#20)
by DranoK 420 on Wed Mar 27, 2002 at 10:34:03 PM EST

Also, I've never had a windows box up for more than a month. I've had linux boxes up nearing 365 days now, a few of them with constant load averages of 4 (cheap employer bastards =).

I really don't give a shit what MS says. I don't care what "independant reviewers" say. Unless I look at the code I won't believe in the quality of it. And until I can get a Windows box to stay up for more than 30 days I wouldn't waste my time looking at the code.

Windows is a mess not because bad coders, bad ideas, but because it *has* to be. It has to have backwards compatibility. It has to allow hardware companies *easilly* make their devices work. It has to allow for everyone from VB shareware coders to ID software to code very easily. Because Windows wants to be so seamless and fully integrated, it *can't* be stable. Not unless they want to deny 2nd-rate hardware vendors to make hardware which probably won't even be supported under linux to easily install in windows. I mean, there's plenty of horrid device drivers for linux, but I can trace a ton of windows crashes due to third-party drivers. *shudder*

DranoK


Poetry is simply a convenient excuse for incoherence.


[ Parent ]
I hate to break it to you... (5.00 / 3) (#28)
by DeadBaby on Thu Mar 28, 2002 at 10:33:08 AM EST

What you're saying about Windows is true, there are trade offs but you know what.... that's what consumers demand. Computer software/hardware is a big investment for people still, they need some assurance that their software and hardware will actually work.

All the things you're saying about Windows are also being emulated now, very closely, in Linux. Redhat, Mandrake and SuSE are all starting to have very serious Windows like issues. Dependencies are a nightmare, performence is a joke with GNOME and KDE, GUI configuration tools are hidding more and more from the user, older Linux apps are quite hard to get working on a modern distro unless you want to spend a few hours on rpmfind.net. Random software bugs are popping up more and more and, from my own experience, Linux systems are mortally wounding themselves more and more through stupid GUI config tools and compatibility issues.

I don't know about anyone else, but I've seen *alot* of very badly broken Linux systems over the last year. The horror stories havefrom "I can't get my mouse working" to "why does koffice segfault?" "why does installing a gnome app break png support in KDE applications?" - "Why can't I run app version -3 in Mandrake 8?" -- "Why does Mandrake 8.2 break <app>" - "Why does KDE take 4 minuts to load on my celeron 400?"






"Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity -- in all this vastness -- there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. It is up to us." - Carl Sagan
[ Parent ]
Solution (none / 0) (#32)
by Cro Magnon on Thu Mar 28, 2002 at 02:19:22 PM EST

All the things you're saying about Windows are also being emulated now, very closely, in Linux. Redhat, Mandrake and SuSE are all starting to have very serious Windows like issues. Dependencies are a nightmare, performence is a joke with GNOME and KDE, GUI configuration tools are hidding more and more from the user, older Linux apps are quite hard to get working on a modern distro unless you want to spend a few hours on rpmfind.net. Random software bugs are popping up more and more and, from my own experience, Linux systems are mortally wounding themselves more and more through stupid GUI config tools and compatibility issues.
I have no such problems, perhaps because I use Slackware. I just install whatever software I need, either from Slack packages, or directly from source. Upgrading something like KDE is slower and more effort than with RH, but I haven't broke anything yet. My favorite desktop (KDE2) is quite slow on my K6 450 with 64M RAM, but my 2nd favorite (Xfce) zips along pretty fast, and these days I use it more than I do KDE. Linux doesn't have to duplicate Windows faults!
Information wants to be beer.
[ Parent ]
My linux box (4.00 / 1) (#34)
by DranoK 420 on Thu Mar 28, 2002 at 08:00:40 PM EST

XFree4 w/ WindowMaker. Fuck Gnome. Fuck KDE. I hate them both. If I wanted a god-damned windows-like OS I'd use Windows. Give me NextStep any day.

And in any case, all X + WindowMaker is used for is to give me 10 desktops with 4 Eterms each. Screw GUIS. I wish I had links on hand, but studies show people learn CLI faster than a GUI. It's true where I work too. I can teach people to use simple menu-based systems and commands to control listserv far faster than I could teach them to use the web-based interface.

*Sigh* But I guess I'm a dying breed. I type twice as fast as I can talk and often times faster than I can read (which explains why my posts/emails are so bloody long), I use a mouse just fine for games, but, sorry, Moving a pointer up to File, then clicking on Save, then clicking on Confirm is so much slwoer than :w it's not even funny.

DranoK


Poetry is simply a convenient excuse for incoherence.


[ Parent ]
Ever heard of Windows XP? (none / 0) (#31)
by Sethamin on Thu Mar 28, 2002 at 01:36:24 PM EST

Because Windows wants to be so seamless and fully integrated, it *can't* be stable.
Have you ever used Windows XP? It's really stable. I mean really stable. I've run it for months without even so much as a glitch.

A society should not be judged by its output of junk, but by what it thinks is significant. -Neil Postman
[ Parent ]

Because... (none / 0) (#29)
by DeadBaby on Thu Mar 28, 2002 at 10:34:40 AM EST

It will take you 5x longer to install it and get it working for 1.1x-2x performence increases vs. Windows. The math just doesn't work out.


"Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity -- in all this vastness -- there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. It is up to us." - Carl Sagan
[ Parent ]
Small correction about SuSE (5.00 / 1) (#24)
by maxmars on Thu Mar 28, 2002 at 05:12:35 AM EST

Just a correction: finding SuSE outside of the US is not that hard: it's a best-seller in Europe (the distro is localised in several European languages). And, SuSE it's actually an European company.

Don't know about other continents though.
-- Max
[ Parent ]
+1 FP (2.33 / 6) (#9)
by vadim on Wed Mar 27, 2002 at 07:01:43 PM EST

Great comment, very well written.
I don't really care, though. IMHO the windows GUI is crap compared to KDE. I'm using the 3.0 rc3 now, and although it's not perfect, it already behaves better than Windows.
--
<@chani> I *cannot* remember names. but I did memorize 214 digits of pi once.
What has the GPL got to do with it? (4.50 / 8) (#14)
by DoubleEdd on Wed Mar 27, 2002 at 07:56:16 PM EST

Interesting - An open source company developing software on a GPL license requiring a payment for beta testing and a non disclosure agreement. Whilst I do not believe this to be a breach of the actual GPL surely it goes against the spirit of it?

The company is perfectly within its rights to include proprietary programs with the system. There isn't anything that means they have to release all the components of their distribution under the GPL. Indeed, several boxed distributions include non-GPL software.

Basically, I don't see why this is an open-source company. Sure, any changes they make to the kernel, KDE, X or anything like that has to be made available under the GPL, as does any change to wine I expect (haven't checked the license for that) but there's nothing stopping them from having important Windows compatibility stuff under a completely closed license.

The Wine they used is not *GPL (4.60 / 5) (#16)
by binaryalchemy on Wed Mar 27, 2002 at 08:47:37 PM EST

the Wine license changed to LGPL just a few months ago, the previous one was a BSD style license.
------
Defending the GPL from a commercial perspective is like defending the Microsft EULA from a moral perspective. - quartz
[ Parent ]
Distribution of the moment? (4.75 / 4) (#21)
by 8ctavIan on Thu Mar 28, 2002 at 02:06:38 AM EST

Lindows is, in case you have been living under a rock, the Linux distribution of the moment

According to who? It may have been talked about for about a week, when Microsoft filed suit against them. That was a couple of months ago.

The jury is still out to whether Lindows classify as vaporware or not.


Injustice is relatively easy to bear; what stings is justice. -- H.L. Mencken

SuSE Is Easily Available (none / 0) (#22)
by the trinidad kid on Thu Mar 28, 2002 at 04:20:02 AM EST

SuSE is easy to get in the UK (easier than Red Hat) and in Germany and most of Europe.

SuSE copyright their ISO image so you can't just copy the disks, but they do also back it up with an evaluation image (single CD) which boots and runs off the CD for each of their releases. This CD is freely copyable. The evaluation version often appear on the covers of UK computer magazines

Sufe but (4.00 / 1) (#23)
by eviltwin on Thu Mar 28, 2002 at 04:25:07 AM EST

The evaluation version is crippled and you cannot buy the cd's for love nor money - the Suse distributors in Australia have no version for x86 later than 6.0 (if i recall) for sale at all and im not paying US or Euro prices plus freight to get it.

You can always connect up to the ftp server provided i want to put the effort into attempting to get my cable connection to run that way, but as the Xu8 directory is 7gb i would not be trusting them (i have a daily cap of some 700mb in download traffic)

If Suse want to go the sell the sofwtare market i am cool, i normally pay for the stuff anyway but the software has to be available in the country first.

All generalisations are false, including this one.
[ Parent ]
Lindows trademark status (5.00 / 3) (#25)
by Trepalium on Thu Mar 28, 2002 at 05:35:16 AM EST

I believe that Lindows likely has a stronger case than it might initially appear. The term "window" has been used for years, even well before Microsoft Windows to refer to a particular GUI element. However, the amusing thing is, that the entire Lindows name is using Microsoft's checkered history of trademark enforcement against them. In order to keep a trademark, you have to enforce it, and Microsoft has been ignoring it for products that run on their platform. Because of this same reason, Microsoft couldn't ignore Lindows. Ironically, Microsoft is now in legitimate danger of losing their trademark on Windows because of this history.

And about those screenshots. They exhibit all the same graphical flaws that those same applications have when running under a generic WINE session. Look at the Internet Explorer "Go" button, for example.

They wont lose the trademark in any case (none / 0) (#26)
by eviltwin on Thu Mar 28, 2002 at 05:57:05 AM EST

As they don't own it

They own a trademark on 'Microsoft Windows' but not the generic windows name. They were denied a patent on it in 1990

The argument legally is a lot more complex than it might first appear, this is an area where very little is cut and dried.





All generalisations are false, including this one.
[ Parent ]
MS did eventually get a trademark on "Windows (none / 0) (#42)
by Trepalium on Mon Apr 01, 2002 at 01:45:12 AM EST

They were rejected several times, but eventually did manage to get a trademark application on just "Windows" accepted. Microsoft, themselves refer to it as "Microsoft® Windows®".

BTW, you're right, they don't have a patent on it, they have a trademark. (I hate when people write patent or copyright when they mean trademark.)

[ Parent ]

please stop whacking that horse (3.00 / 3) (#27)
by erp6502 on Thu Mar 28, 2002 at 09:14:40 AM EST

Aw, c'mon. I've been running Win4Lin for nearly 3 years now, with the same registry file and file system from the initial installation, although the underlying hardware and Linux version have both changed several times. It required a genuine Windows 98 CAB fileset and license key to install a copy of Windows, neatly sidestepping the controversy that's gotten Lindows so much mileage.

Why run Win4Lin? To use the microcontroller IDEs and CAD/EDA systems that are still lagging in Linux ports. Just about everything else has a reasonable (and often, superior) Linux alternative.

If I want to game, I just boot a native Windows installation. Of course, every time I start Windows there are more "Critical Updates" to install, new versions of the Media Player, and updates to DirectX (or whatever it's called these days) that cause driver conflicts and result in a great deal of yak shaving.

After a few hours of that nonsense, the urge to game has abated to the point where I don't go back to native Windows for a few months. Perfect. Life's too short.

To promote the myth that Lindows is interesting is IMHO irresponsible at best. The media have it right this time -- the only thing worth watching here is the trademark battle.

interesting (1.60 / 5) (#33)
by regeya on Thu Mar 28, 2002 at 04:35:07 PM EST

the average hatred of Linux amongst kuro5hin users (Linux-hate is, after all, anti-Slashdot) is high enough to get this drivel on the front page.

You offer nothing other than conspiracy theories and rants about Linux.

Do you have any damned proof of any wrongdoing to bring to the table?

Also, if you're a bit computer-savvy, give Libranet Linux a look. It's Debian, yeah, and it's based on Potato currently, which is crusty. But it brings newer kernel && system, along with current, non-broken KDE packages, and hardware detection to boot. Not the friendliest distribution out there, and the legality of their distribution methods are questionable (especially their GPLed Xadminmenu whose source is only available on CD for $50 or so) but it's a nice, solid distribution and it's clear that they've thought issues like, "How will we make money?" through.

In the meantime, stop obsessing over companies who're clearly going to fail within a year. ;-)

[ yokelpunk | kuro5hin diary ]

Hated of Linux? (none / 0) (#35)
by xtremex on Thu Mar 28, 2002 at 08:41:41 PM EST

On this site? What does everyone here prefer? The BSD's?? Certainly not Windows!

[ Parent ]
wow (1.00 / 1) (#36)
by regeya on Thu Mar 28, 2002 at 08:54:29 PM EST

If you read comments here, people are waiting with breathless expectation for MS to save them from mediocrity through .net on the most perfect platform, WinXP.

Or they're waiting with breathless expectation for Steve Jobs to announce a change to OS X to make it even more perfect.

And of course, FreeBSD Ports is the most perfect form of Free Software distribution.

[ yokelpunk | kuro5hin diary ]
[ Parent ]

Sorry but how exactly does this story show hate (5.00 / 3) (#37)
by eviltwin on Fri Mar 29, 2002 at 02:14:06 AM EST

Where did i say i hate linux?

Linux hate is anti slashdot - what planet are you on - slashdot is to linux what osama bin laden is to islam - a pimple on the arse.

Slashdot readers and posters abuse anyone who disagrees with their narrow point of view and stifles dicsussion outside very narrow boundaries. An intelligent comment on microsoft would never make it there and neither would this story as i would be seen as trolling of inviting flamebait.

Linux is NOT slashdot. Making people think that slashdot is representative of the linux community is the best way to kill linux known to man. This after all is the linux pro community that basically had 400 posts telling Mandrake to get fucked when someone had the temerity to suggest that subscribing to them might keep them in business, the company that stood by thumping its chest whilst Loki went under. If your choice of open source advocacy is what ever Rob Malda posts on the front page then god help you, and of course lets not forget slashdot is part of a FOR PROFIT company these days and have we ever seen a story on there critical of VA linux?

I was doing a story on a company that happened to chose linux as a product not a story on how linux sucks.

Im an OS agnostic - i dont hate anything.

I have used debian and i like it and one of my machines here is running potato, 2 run WIn XP and the other one Runs lycoris.

So how do i hate it?

Please show me the rant about linux in this story ?
(got me on the conspiracy theory - i happen to think that this company has nothing to do with software and gives not one fuck about open source - they are out to make money and what they will do is get some wins, make some noise and sell out to someone else)

No but i dont allege wrongdoing i simply (and i stated it) put forward a theory to encourage discussion.

Do you have any proof im wrong ?

After all no-one has seen the product running, you can't download it, there are no independant screenshots and the beta testers pay for the provelege.

If you can prove me wrong then do it.

K5 is not slashdot or other sites where you can shout down someone - you actually have to develop an argument and use proof and reason - otherwise you are just shooting you mouth off. If you dislike this then return to slashdot.


All generalisations are false, including this one.
[ Parent ]
bah. (none / 0) (#39)
by regeya on Sat Mar 30, 2002 at 11:29:13 PM EST

I read your story.

The bias is apparent--it's not apparent to you because you wrote it.

[ yokelpunk | kuro5hin diary ]
[ Parent ]

No its not apparent to anyone (5.00 / 1) (#40)
by eviltwin on Sun Mar 31, 2002 at 02:19:39 AM EST

Give reasons not a one line throw away.

this isn't slashdot we actually are community that believes in intelligent comment bot 'cause i said so'

my bias in the story is that Lindows is a steaming big pile of bullshit. Lindows and Linux as a whole have nothing in common.

Lycoris is doing it better right now and for free.

Prove me wrong, prove my lies and anti linux bias or stop commenting on my story.

Otherwise your'e just another troll.

All generalisations are false, including this one.
[ Parent ]
I considered writing a book on lindows (none / 0) (#45)
by Smaug195 on Sat Apr 06, 2002 at 12:16:51 AM EST

As such, I tried to talk to the founders into actually getting me more then a vague guarantee and a restrictive NDA(so I can share my book with my editors). I would have to say my experience was very negative. I emailed their PR person and it took me 2 months to get a response out of her, I finally called her and talked to her, off course she said yes, everything will be taken care off, and nothing was done. Finally I tried to reach someone else but they all kept redirecting me to her and she kept stonewalling. Now what I have been wondering is why? My pet theory, their product is nowhere near finished, it is vaporware at the moment and there is no way they are releasing it in Q2, best of luck to them but it is really beggining to look like lindows won't come out for a while, maybe even never.

Lindows Linux - Examining the facts | 45 comments (38 topical, 7 editorial, 0 hidden)
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