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Linux and Disruptive Technology

By adamba in Technology
Wed May 02, 2001 at 09:30:28 AM EST
Tags: Software (all tags)
Software

Is Linux a "disruptive technology?"

There is no doubt that Linux is disrupting Microsoft's operating system plans. But being anointed "disruptive" is the secret sauce whose recipe everyone is searching for. It means that a technology matches the profile set out in Clayton Christensen's best-selling book, The Innovator's Dilemma. The book explains how upstart companies can focus on technologies that market leaders ignore, then use those technologies to displace the larger companies.

Does the mantle of disruptiveness fit Linux?


It is fashionable to label Linux a disruptive technology, with Windows 2000 playing the part of the soon-to-be-evicted market leader. A Google search for "disruptive technology" together with "Linux" returns over a thousand hits. The reason is obvious: In the disruptive technology script, the market leader cannot adapt, fails miserably, and its Chief Software Architect winds up on the street selling apples -- an ideal scenario for Linux advocates.

Unfortunately, not every exciting new technology is automatically disruptive. According to Christensen, the key attributes of a disruptive technology are that it is in some way slower, smaller, or cheaper, with lower profit margins. The existing companies ignore the new technology because the metrics their customers use to evaluate technologies make the new one seem less appealing, and because the companies are seeking higher profits, not lower ones. But the disruptive technology creates new markets, with new kinds of customers, who have new evaluation metrics -- a combination that Christensen calls a "value network." For example, when Novell was the leading network operating system vendor, speed was one of the main evaluation metrics. Windows NT was not faster, but it was a much better environment for developing server applications. Eventually this became a much more significant metric than speed, creating a new value network that drove Windows NT to overtake Novell.

The "dilemma" of the book's title is the fact that the time-honored management practice of listening and responding to existing customers will inexorably lead the market leaders towards faster, larger, more expensive products. Eventually the new technology becomes "good enough" for most customers (as Windows NT was deemed "fast enough" compared to Novell), and the faster/larger/more expensive products, while increasingly profitable, become a high-end niche market. Thus, best management practices not only do not help the large companies harness disruptive technologies, they actually exacerbate their damaging effect.

The first point about Linux is that it is not that different from Windows 2000, its main competitor. On a basic level, it is still an operating system that manages hardware and provides a platform for applications. This is in contract to most disruptive technologies in The Innovator's Dilemma, which are physically different products (an example is hydraulically- vs. cable-actuated excavators).

In some cases, however, the final product is the same, and only the methodology is different, as in the case of steel minimills vs. integrated mills. But again, the methodology under which Linux is produced is not that different from Windows 2000. Programmers write code, compile it, test it, debug it, package it together with other code, and so on. Of course, after all this work is done, Linux is given away for free while Microsoft charges hundreds or thousands of dollars for Windows 2000. This certainly qualifies it as cheaper, one of the key attributes of a disruptive technology. Part of this cheapness is indeed due to the open source development process, which allows a smoother linking between code that needs to be written and people who want to write it, and also allows easier bug-fixing. You could argue that Linux is disproportionately cheap -- that is, while the open source process may mean that producing Linux only takes (as an example) 80% of the effort that Windows 2000 does, it sells for 0% of the price. This may imply that at some point in the future Linux won't be as cheap, but for the moment we can unquestionably state the obvious, that Linux is much cheaper than Windows 2000.

Furthermore, it certainly may appeal to different customers in a different value network. That is, while Windows 2000 would appeal to customers who value the Microsoft name, Linux appeals to those who care about price and access to source code.

Nonetheless I would argue that Linux does not fit as a disruptive technology relative to Windows 2000.

First of all, it is not a "lower end" product. In the spectrum of operating systems, Linux is more situated towards the reliable, power-user end of things than Windows 2000. Using the language from the book, it is "upmarket" from Windows 2000. But disruptive technology comes from below, with downmarket technology pushing aside upmarket technology. The only "downmarket" aspect of Linux is its price.

Secondly, Microsoft's customers are not leading it away from Linux's features, but towards them. Microsoft may be too dense to notice right now, but what its customers want are what Linux has and Windows 2000 lacks -- reliability, remote management, quicker turnaround on bug fixes, trust in its security, a real shell, and so on. Therefore Christensen's central thesis, that customers will force a company to migrate away from disruptive technology, doesn't apply. Microsoft is ignoring Linux not because of good management, but because of classic bad management: not listening to customers who do web hosting and database management and are defecting from Windows NT/2000 to Linux.

In fact, one could argue that Linux is more likely to be a Microsoft disruptee than disrupter. According to Christensen, value networks severely limit downmarket mobility. Linux has an almost perfect feedback cycle from its "customers," who in many cases are also its developers. But Christensen claims this can be a negative, since those customers will move Linux towards cool features like clustering and 64-bit support rather than focusing on the desktop market. In fact this is true of classical open source software in general; the "developer scratching an itch" method of software design is inevitably going to lead products upmarket, because developers are upmarket customers. This implies that it would be very very difficult for Linux to capture the desktop market, since the natural instinct of customers will push in the opposite direction.

The disruptive cycle would more naturally play out with Windows 2000 gaining the features that Linux has, pushing Linux into a smaller upmarket niche and displacing it in its current markets, as Windows 2000 became "secure enough" and "reliable enough" and so on, and people started worrying about new metrics where Windows 2000 beat Linux (such as better in-the-box driver support from hardware manufacturers).

To take this to an extreme example, at some future date Windows CE might displace both Windows 2000 and Linux, and the Personal Web Server shipped with Windows might displace both Internet Information Server and Apache. This is highly unlikely, but it illustrates the direction in which disruption happens.

This doesn't mean that Linux can't be a disruptive technology, it just points towards which direction it is going to disrupt. The first obvious candidate is Linux on a PC replacing Solaris on proprietary Sun hardware. Further down the road, Linux will be part of a larger trend, already in progress, in which personal computers (including those running Windows) displace minicomputers and mainframes. This is one big reason why Intel and Dell are interested in Linux.

Christensen offers a prescription for preventing disruption, but it might be hard in the case of Linux. The key is to spin off a separate "company" that cares about the downmarket customers, and can get excited about capturing them. So imagine a Linux fork aimed at the desktop. But since Linux does not have financial incentives to dangle in front of its developers, some other reward system would have to be put in place that would generate the proper inducements and peer respect for developers working on that fork. Maybe the legions of secretaries that Linux was going to "save" from Windows could swing by the development lab with a tray of donuts? Hey, whatever works.

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Linux and Disruptive Technology | 53 comments (46 topical, 7 editorial, 0 hidden)
Interesting article (4.33 / 15) (#2)
by onyxruby on Tue May 01, 2001 at 11:07:52 PM EST

I like your article, it's probably one of the better reasoned out pro-Linux anti Microsoft arguements I have read in a long time. I do need to point out a couple of potential things though.

Linux is given away for free while Microsoft charges hundreds or thousands of dollars for Windows 2000. This certainly qualifies it as cheaper

While Linux is certainly cheaper to buy than Windows, this does not neccasarily make it cheaper. To get into cheaper you need to find out what your TCO (total cost of ownership) is. Things like support costs, developers, software that you need to purchase that will run off it, hardware optimization, training, and end user interaction all must be considered in your TCO. Whilst I am not saying that Windows has a lower or higher TCO than Linux, one cannot overlook this important detail.

I think one of the better examples of Linux proving to be a disruptive technology is it's inclusion by IBM on the AS400 and mainframes. That IBM of all companies would be willing to do this gives a great deal of credibility. As for taking market share though, I'm not sure that's it's taking anything away from MS at all. Everything I understand about the market share that Linux is garnering is coming at the expense of Solaris and the other Unix flavors.

Your right about the desktop feature being a hang up though. When I used to walk people through Novell servers vs Microsoft servers it was always easier to do so on the Microsoft server. The technological superiority that Novell may or may not have or MS doesn't mean much to Joe Six pack, he wants something that is easy to learn and use. Once Linux can take care of that issue and get a standard desktop, than you will see it actively taking mind share away from Microsoft. Until that happens though, it's going to pretty much remain restricted to the server and developer market. Remember, just because you use it home with ease doesn't mean that Joe Six pack can.

I use both MS and Linux, and consider them both tools, thus any flames for my viewpoints are not likely to have an impact on me.

The moon is covered with the results of astronomical odds.

Joe Sixpack shouldn't be configuring your servers (4.00 / 2) (#25)
by itsbruce on Wed May 02, 2001 at 07:15:37 PM EST

If he is, you get what you deserve.

Network/server administration isn't a simple task. Microsoft have made a significant sum of money - and spawned a generation of lethally unskilled "administrators" - by peddling the falsehood that NT allows point-and-click desktop skills to be leveraged up into network administration.

Though that says more about their marketing than NT.


--I unfortunately do not know how to turn cheese into gold.
[ Parent ]

Hear hear! (4.00 / 2) (#31)
by kubalaa on Wed May 02, 2001 at 10:35:22 PM EST

I'm convinced that the misconception that Windows is significantly easier to use or simpler or more user-friendly than Linux contributes to 90% of the FUD going both ways. Both have problems, both break down, and both require intelligence and work to maintain well. Both have many quirks. There are Windows power users who are as intimately aquainted with their systems as Linux users, and who know other ways to fix problems than just reinstalling.

The difference is that in Linux, most of the quirks are visible in the source and documented in some HOWTO somewhere, whereas in Microsoft you have to spend thousands on expensive training and books or thousands of man-hours gaining experience. A friend of mine said that Linux forces you to learn your computer; because it requires a level of competence to operate, and the resources are there to gain this competence. Microsoft is based on the idea that you should know what you're doing or be able to figure it out in the GUI, and that doesn't always work.

When it comes down to it, Linux is more accessible, and that's why it's better.

[ Parent ]

Often you have no choice but to let Joe do it (none / 0) (#51)
by GoingWare on Sat May 05, 2001 at 01:55:44 PM EST

While I agree with you that it's a bad idea to let an inexpert user administrate a system like a server, it is very commonly the case that you have no choice in the matter.

In the early days of Unix you could count on a network administrator knowing at least shell programming, and it wasn't uncommon for administrators to write applications in C or even do a little kernel programming.

But with the tremendous growth in the use of computers because of the introduction of the personal computer, there simply had to be more network administrators. Whereas in the past anyone who was going to be using a computer would have the budget to hire a programmer, you have the dual problem that there are just more sites needing administrators, and many of those sites are not the sort of businesses that would interest anyone who actually knew anything of substance about computers.

While Linux or other Unix variants are easily shown to be superior systems in the hands of the competent, just try having someone who doesn't type very well and doesn't have a good mind for memorizing technical things install and administrate a Linux system.

I'm not saying that NT allows one to administer a system really well, it's just that NT allows an inexpert user to administrate the system at all.

The real problem I see with Linux is that nearly all the distributions try to be Unix shell-command compatible. I think the kernel's great, but as long as an installation has to be administrated by editing config files with many different formats and having to modify hard-to-read shell scripts to change the behavior of the system, it will never be accepted on the desktop. It's not a matter of KDE vs. Gnome being accepted as the standard desktop environment or an office suite being made commercially viable.

What I mean is that one should be able to do all the administration of a Linux system using nice GUI tools, tools that edit database files that use a standard format and preferably are kept in a journaled file format so they're robust against corruption.

Just imagine what would happen if some clueless user typed some random text into a shell script that ran at boot time.


I am the K5 user now known as MichaelCrawford. I am not my corporation.


[ Parent ]

Linux has one advantage (4.00 / 9) (#3)
by John Milton on Tue May 01, 2001 at 11:20:29 PM EST

Linux may never be the desktop OS of everyone, but it will never die out. The simple reason is that, unlike other operating systems, linux isn't dependent on a company. If all the distros were to stop making linux tomorrow, linux developers would still be working on it. Another thing is the lock-in nature of the GPL. Even if Redhat decides to quit supporting free software projects, they can't take their sourcecode back. Once it's out there, it's out there.

Linux really is ready for the desktop right now. I never thought linux would be a good desktop OS, but I guess I was wrong. After seeing Mandrake 8.0, I had to eat my words. It's not perfect, but it's getting there. Linux is the snowball effect in action. It's growing faster and faster every day.

One of the reasons linux has had so much trouble becoming a desktop is that free software people don't seem to program very good guis. They're getting better though, and a lot of windows programmers are trying out linux and adding their skill in this area.

The windows market is highly saturated. A programmer who wanted a little bit more glory should head over to linux. If you write a simple configuration program for windows no one will care. There are half a dozen others. On the other hand, linux users will appreciate it, and you will have more visibility in a smaller community.

Linux isn't going anywhere soon.


"When we consider that woman are treated as property, it is degrading to women that we should Treat our children as property to be disposed of as we see fit." -Elizabeth Cady Stanton


Which would be irrelevant (3.00 / 1) (#26)
by stuartf on Wed May 02, 2001 at 07:46:35 PM EST

If all the distros were to stop making linux tomorrow, linux developers would still be working on it

Which would be irrelevant, because noone would be bothered to download it all if it wasn't all bundled up into a distribution. If you took away the distros, you'd take away a great many users.

[ Parent ]
FUD (none / 0) (#36)
by moshez on Thu May 03, 2001 at 05:49:30 AM EST

I think he meant "if all commercial distributors stopped working on it". I can just take Red Hat and enhance it (like Mandrake or KRUD is doing). And Debian would be hard to kill too -- it is being developed by the community. All Debian needs is a couple of machines to set up as download and shared development areas.

[T]he k5 troll HOWTO has been updated ... This update is dedicated to moshez, and other bitter anti-trolls.
[ Parent ]
Which means... (none / 0) (#42)
by stuartf on Thu May 03, 2001 at 04:38:34 PM EST

If you took away the distributions, only those who actively participated in the community would be inclined to download it. All those who buy it in the shops would be gone. The harder it is to get it, the less people will use it.

[ Parent ]
Buying is Just As Easy (none / 0) (#52)
by moshez on Wed May 09, 2001 at 08:40:48 AM EST

I don't need any complicated sales organization to buy distributions. There are enough people who know how to operate CD burners and are willing to download ISOs and burn them. Some do this for a (ridiculous, compared to for-money OSes) cost, some do it if you give them the CD-R yourself, etc. And the thing is, that there are enough advocates to help people -- that's the really important thing. My friends and I always hang around with Debian CDs on us. Whenever someone mentions he is considering to install a Linux, we give him the CDs. People are usually honest enough to return the CDs afterwards.

[T]he k5 troll HOWTO has been updated ... This update is dedicated to moshez, and other bitter anti-trolls.
[ Parent ]
Disruptive it certainly is! (2.66 / 6) (#4)
by decaf_dude on Wed May 02, 2001 at 01:09:30 AM EST

First of all, very nice article!

While the attribute disruptive may not fit Linux in the terms described in the book in question, I can't think of anything else to describe the whole Linux phenomenon (which really exposed the GNU ideals to the public). I have no doubt that Linux will drive Microsoft as we know it into the ground, just like what COMPAQ did to IBM in the 80's (please, don't even try comparing today's IBM to the Big Blue of the days of yore)

In fact, it will (if it already hasn't) upset and tumble the whole software industry, which exists today as created by Bill Gates. We are probably witnessing the birth of a true IT solutions era, where software is built to solve "real" company's problems, using COTS (components of-the-shelf) - most of which will be free/open source.

The biggest barrier to inter-corporate cooperation has been the IT. This is simply due to the fact that we weren't building systems for cooperation - we were simply automating existing legacy processes (and doing a poor job at that). We are now starting to realise that the computing power available to us today can be utilised much better, doing things completely differently. Some industries/companies will adapt and prosper, others will go queitly into the night. I'm sure most of you can name off the top of your head at least 2 industries that have already fallen into the tarpit of technological advancement and are now desperately thrashing, trying to get out but only getting deeper and deeper.

Bill Gates will soon turn around and say: "Steve, I think we're not in Redmond anymore!" Mr. Ballmer, of course, won't hear him because he will no longer be around - he will already have moved into his new offices in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina.


--
http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=89158&cid=7713039


Available code is truly disruptive (4.00 / 10) (#5)
by jasonab on Wed May 02, 2001 at 01:16:04 AM EST

In the end, Linux vs Win2k is just another Novel/OS/2/Mac vs MS debate. Massively available code and massive collaboration are the disruptive ideas here. Linux would be nowhere without GNU, Apache, GNOME/KDE, or any of the other free/open source projects. The concept of a community working together to produce something instead of competing with itself and others will ultimately change the landscape more than any one piece of code the community produces.

It may be, but it's not clear (3.50 / 2) (#8)
by adamba on Wed May 02, 2001 at 03:08:45 AM EST

You bring up an issue I touched on, which is whether open source in general is disruptive relative to traditional development. You could state this as a question:
"Is the bazaar upmarket from the cathedral?"
Now when you say it like that, it seems wrong -- a cathedral seems inherently upmarket from a bazaar. But maybe that means that cathedral and bazaar are the wrong metaphors for discussing the disruptive nature of open source.

There is also a larger question. In the second edition of the book (which came out in 2000 and thus was presumably finished before the dot-com bubble burst), Christensen lists a series of disruptive technologies that have been suggested to him. As you might expect, he lists things like online brokerages displacing full-service brokerages, online retailing displacing bricks-and-mortar, Internet greeting cards displacing printed ones, etc. In hindsight, this brings up another question, which you could frame as:
"Is the Internet economy upmarket from the traditional economy?"
Remember, the upmarket technology is the one that gets disrupted and forced into a niche.

I haven't thought about these much, they just occurred to me while reading comments here, but I thought I would toss them out for discussion. Because although Christensen may go overboard in applying the disruptive label, I think his basic argument about how truly disruptive technologies take over is extremely insightful and fundamentally correct.

[ Parent ]

Excellent article between the lines (2.45 / 20) (#7)
by eLuddite on Wed May 02, 2001 at 02:38:38 AM EST

None of this makes sense. The causation you describe as technologies evolve (assuming it were true) is not in any way evident in the Linux vs Microsoft market. The simple fact of the matter is that Linux is over 10 years old and still a third rate unix kernel. 10 Years ago Microsoft was MSDOS.

First of all, it is not a "lower end" product. In the spectrum of operating systems, Linux is more situated towards the reliable, power-user end of things than Windows 2000. Using the language from the book, it is "upmarket" from Windows 2000.

Sure it is. The Linux kernel is the most upmarket kernel since the last version of the linux kernel and 10 other OS kernels 5+ years ago.

Secondly, Microsoft's customers are not leading it away from Linux's features, but towards them.

Name something in the Linux kernel that Windows 2000 users want. Ptys?

Microsoft may be too dense to notice right now, but what its customers want are what Linux has and Windows 2000 lacks -- reliability, remote management, quicker turnaround on bug fixes, trust in its security, a real shell, and so on.

No, MS customers are looking, in droves, for everything that Linux cannot do as well as Microsoft. That is why they prefer 2000/XP over Linux. The 2000 kernel has all the reliability, remote management, stability and security that the Linux kernel has and then it has several things more for good measure. A real shell? The Linux shell, perhaps? If I wanted bash on my 2000, I'd install it.

Guess what? Linux is a plodding imitation of old unix technology that reasonable people have long since abandoned. They are not asking MS to bring it back.

Microsoft is ignoring Linux not because of good management, but because of classic bad management: not listening to customers who do web hosting and database management and are defecting from Windows NT/2000 to Linux.

What unsupported nonsense. Microsoft has excellent management, Linux has _no_ management. Where is the evidence for Linux significantly spreading beyond the geek community? Who are these customers clamoring for help on Linux business sites that aren't either g**ks or wannabe g**ks?

You want to know why your article makes no sense? Because it does not realistically acccount for the all mighty dollar. If there continues to be no money to be made in Linux, you will forever be playing catchup with the big boys who write useable, shiny software. Why? Because free stuff ends up being of little value to either consumer or producer. That is why Linux is still uncompetitive with NT 4 and about to be lapped, for the 3rd time, with XP.

Actually, no. The very worst thing about Linux is not that it is free, it is that it continues to be used by Linux users continually inventing theories to satisfy its domination sometime next year. And the very best thing about Linux that doesnt involve Microsoft is FreeBSD.

Penultimately, Open Source can be leveraged without Linux just fine. I use open source crap on my W2K machine because Linux just could not cut it. I am legion.

Finally, this is not a troll.

---
God hates human rights.

alternative view (4.20 / 5) (#13)
by smokedjam on Wed May 02, 2001 at 10:35:21 AM EST

Guess what? Linux is a plodding imitation of old unix technology that reasonable people have long since abandoned. They are not asking MS to bring it back.

There are some that think the 'old unix technology' has basically won. All of the available unixes are now running successfully on many more architectures than Microsoft can afford to develop to. Microsoft is dropping processor architectures whereas the unixes are gaining architectures, even to rediculous extents.

The unixes win in the basics. You have much more choice in how much software you use, for instance, you can install everything, or practically nothing. Microsoft is good at building large things that cannot be separated, and since they are profit oriented, they will be bound technically by the need to have digital rights management. Of course, this will make them favorable in the areas that _require_ digital rights management, but on plain old fashion utility, unix still wins. My favorite example is as a simple server. Do I pick NT or w2k? Heck no, I slap a linux on it with apache. Because it is a winner for me. The unixes available now are simply 'good enough', and I don't have to saddle myself with the costs of a Microsoft server, unless compatibility concerns dictate otherwise.

The real question now is, can unix be a 'trusted platform?' Can you effectively run digital rights management on an open source source platform? If there is media and applications that require this, and unix cannot provide this, then there will always be a market for Microsoft.

[ Parent ]

Re: Excellent article between the lines (3.85 / 7) (#16)
by rasilon on Wed May 02, 2001 at 02:08:32 PM EST

None of this makes sense. The causation you describe as technologies evolve (assuming it were true) is not in any way evident in the Linux vs Microsoft market.i
This much is true, the market situation described doesn't seem relevant to Linux vs. MS

The simple fact of the matter is that Linux is over 10 years old and still a third rate unix kernel. 10 Years ago Microsoft was MSDOS.
Kindly define what you condider to be third rate about it. The Linux implementations of fork() and exec() are still much faster than anything else going, with only BSD* coming close and NT/VMS/OS390 lagging quite significantly. The scheduler may not be the best under all circumstances, but it still beats anything that MS have released by a long way.
Some actual facts might be nice here...

Name something in the Linux kernel that Windows 2000 users want. Ptys?
Well, they would be nice for a start, but more important would be a reliable kernel, a proper delimitation between user space and kernel space, an easily addressable object model (rather than hiding it away in filesystem kluges -- you do know that windows has the /devices directory, don't you?), a faster context switch, a lower cost fork and exec, a proper security model (although part of that would come with the user/kernel dlimitaion), a services model that doesn't suck quite so badly, a proper scheduler (one that doesn't wig out at the first sign of load), decent remote management tools, etc.

No, MS customers are looking, in droves, for everything that Linux cannot do as well as Microsoft. That is why they prefer 2000/XP over Linux. The 2000 kernel has all the reliability, remote management, stability and security that the Linux kernel has and then it has several things more for good measure. A real shell? The Linux shell, perhaps? If I wanted bash on my 2000, I'd install it.
No, most MS customers are hoping that Platonic philosophy is real. (Hint, I'm talking about the immovable arrow bit, not the ideal table bit.)
Oh look, some one else trying to persuade me that W2K is stable. I have seen every release of windows, and every one since 1.0 has been promises as the one that will finally bring stability to the MS desktop. Look behind you, the same was promised about NT4 and you know how NT4 looks nowadays. W2K is no better, come the next release, you'll be saying how much more stable than W2K it is having failed miserably to connect the dots. NT remote management is a joke, it's like trying to eat soup with a fork compared to shell access and X. As for security, compare Breakins to Usage. If it is so secure, then how come NT has more breakins than the rest combined but only 20% of the market share?

Guess what? Linux is a plodding imitation of old unix technology that reasonable people have long since abandoned. They are not asking MS to bring it back.
It is however significantly faster than the plodding imitation of VMS that they did bring back, unasked for. Far more people have abandoned that.

Because it does not realistically acccount for the all mighty dollar. If there continues to be no money to be made in Linux, you will forever be playing catchup with the big boys who write useable, shiny software. Why? Because free stuff ends up being of little value to either consumer or producer. That is why Linux is still uncompetitive with NT 4 and about to be lapped, for the 3rd time, with XP.
Having just sucessfully proven that black is while and that reality isn't, don't you have an appointment with a zebra crossing? You fail to notice that most of the big boys use linux -- IBM, HP, Compaq, SGI, etc. By your argument, we are playing catchup with ourselves. If free software has little value, how come it is used by major companies, every day, facilitating billion dollar profits, specifically, most of the big money in the world is transferred by software compiled by gcc. Banks will often claim that they don't use free software, but in reality, their businesses run because of gcc and perl.

Actually, no. The very worst thing about Linux is not that it is free, it is that it continues to be used by Linux users continually inventing theories to satisfy its domination sometime next year.
Marketing is marketing, the world over. For every wild theory about how Linux will come to world domination, there is an equally daft one about how MS makes life better for the average individual.

And the very best thing about Linux that doesnt involve Microsoft is FreeBSD.
If that sentance gets interpreted literally, then you are just plain wrong, however if you take some considerable artistic license with it, you could be referring to something meaningful. Personally I prefer NetBSD to FreeBSD, but I much prefer SysV to BSD, so I'll stick to Solaris and Linux, ta very much.

Penultimately, Open Source can be leveraged without Linux just fine.
Where exactly was this argued otherwise? Linux is just one of the more visible aspects.

I use open source crap on my W2K machine because Linux just could not cut it.
No, you use open source software on your machine because W2K crap just could not cut it. See -- the world makes much more sense if you phrase it correctly.

I am legion.
You should see a psychiatrist about that, you know. (All of you)

Finally, this is not a troll.
Incorrect, you are merely a better class of troll.



[ Parent ]
oh, bite me (2.28 / 7) (#20)
by eLuddite on Wed May 02, 2001 at 03:13:18 PM EST

Linux implementations of fork() and exec() are still much faster than anything else going,

Yes, Linux is King of the null syscall.

[*snip*]

I dont care. I didnt even read the article with any attention; life is too short. The simple fact of the matter is that more people think Linux sucks than dont. Those who are unsure install it and become sure. You can argue forever and day that Linux has this or Linux has that but you cannot contradict the fact that I have all that and more in complete absence of Linux. So what gives?

Open Source has been cool for as long as there were programmers. Linux is pretty much the worst example of unix out there and unix is d-e-a-d dead. Good riddance. Just because you are unfamiliar with what can be done to NT without MS's blessing doesnt mean I have to look upon UNIX as anything other than an inadequate anachronism.

But you know what? You defend your byzantine priesthood because you obviously have decided I know micropenis about unix and have no depth of technological training or experience. Surely I can use a few lessons from l33tsome nerds? Surely.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

Yawn (none / 0) (#37)
by rasilon on Thu May 03, 2001 at 07:05:13 AM EST

While your troll score improved with your original post, you have lost major points for that one. If life is too short and you didn't read the article, how come you wrote a little over 3k on the subject?
You appear rather negative about Linux, but not BSD or other open source programs. Is this because of a specific contemporary incident or were you bitten by a penguin as a child?
You might want to referance this if you think UNIX is dead. And anyway, if UNIX is dead, why do you praise FreeBSD so much? Please, if you are going to troll me, at least try not to contradict yourself.
ITYF that I have no connection whatsoever with the greek orthodox church, and your choice of wording later does once again suggest that you may need counselling. Your writing does indicate that you have low self esteem, the combative tone and complete lack of factual or logical argument also tend to indicate that you know little about that which you discuss. (FSVO) Perhaps you do know what you are talking about, but you show no sign of that here. Assuming that there is only one eLuddite, then you do get some clue bonus for some knowledge of PHP and ruby, but your posts here blew that away long ago.



[ Parent ]
are you are getting sleepy? How insulting. (1.00 / 1) (#45)
by eLuddite on Thu May 03, 2001 at 08:28:45 PM EST

If life is too short and you didn't read the article, how come you wrote a little over 3k on the subject?

I am guided unconciously through my keboard. My hardware speaks of its desire not to suffer Linux through my defenseless fingers. Hold on a sec. Ah, my sound card would like to join the chorus by expressing amusement over how you counted the number of k's in the original message.

You appear rather negative about Linux, but not BSD or other open source programs. Is this because of a specific contemporary incident or were you bitten by a penguin as a child?

I do not wish to talk about the alleged 'Incident With The Penguin.'

You might want to referance this if you think UNIX is dead.

10 sentences of wishful thinking that begin with "Windows 95 is finally out." I am overwhelmed at the depth of technological resources you can rain upon my head.

Please, if you are going to troll me, at least try not to contradict yourself.

The liberal use of contradictions is for people who need an opening. All trolls - WHICH I AM NOT! - use this technique, aka the blinking neon sign, because uberLinuxG**ks are so heavy handedly literal.

and your choice of wording later does once again suggest that you may need counselling

You are hurting my feelings. Mine too!

Assuming that there is only one eLuddite, then you do get some clue bonus for some knowledge of PHP and ruby, but your posts here blew that away long ago.

I was wondering if I wasnt in fact leaking clue bonus.

Arent you taking yourself and your precious Linux a little too seriously? Clearly you are. Rhetorical question: Doesnt that mean that my so called "troll" has been vindicated?

In all seriousness, though, Linux sux.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

Yup, it's Friday afternoon, I'm going home. (none / 0) (#48)
by rasilon on Fri May 04, 2001 at 12:25:30 PM EST

Arent you taking yourself and your precious Linux a little too seriously? Clearly you are. Rhetorical question: Doesnt that mean that my so called "troll" has been vindicated?
Nah, if I was taking Linux too seriously, I'd have stopped talking to you, or become angry. As it was, I was bored and felt like having a minor argument. Trolls are usually good for that sort of thing and you usually set off most troll alarms whether you like it or not.

In all seriousness, though, Linux sux.
Of course it does. All software sucks, all hardware sucks. Linux threads for instance suck very badly. They suck differently to windows threads which suck for implementation reasons rather than design reasons. However, I find Linux to be mildly irritating, Windows bloody aggravating. The thing that finally made me abandon windows was when I was writing drivers and GUI stuff for both '95 and Linux and the Linux driver model and the X model were just so much cleaner and easier to write for than Windows.
Thus, you are both wrong and right at the same time about the same thing, which makes for a good pointless argument. Would you care to continue, I'm sure we can find plenty of things to disagree on?



[ Parent ]

MacOS X (3.12 / 8) (#11)
by mattc on Wed May 02, 2001 at 08:12:08 AM EST

Keep in mind that there are other operating systems out there besides Linux and Windows 2000.

I think MacOS X is the real challenger to Win2k.
* It has the features of Unix in a user-friendly package and is backed by a well-known company.
* Most important for the end user is that it has a consistent interface across all it's applications.
* It has support by commercial software and hardware developers.
* It already has a large user base (mac users who will upgrade).
* Superior hardware platform to the x86.

Who would have ever thought you'd be able to ssh into a Macintosh? hehe. Also, anything that can be compiled under Linux can be compiled under MacOS (afaik).

What are the advantages of open source Unix (*BSD, Linuxes) compared to MacOS X? Few and far between.

Now if they could just add that second mouse button! (sorry couldn't resist)

*BZZZZT* (4.00 / 1) (#22)
by ksandstr on Wed May 02, 2001 at 04:57:10 PM EST

It has the features of Unix in a user-friendly package and is backed by a well-known company.

I'll say! The "one user in /etc/passwd, wherever that may be" feature makes me wonder if the rest of the *BSD-ish features are as thoroughly r^Hviolated as well. I've seen osX and it's pretty sweet on the outside (i.e. the GUI runs pretty smoothly and sure looks purty), but I wouldn't recommend osX for a server box (since there's already jihad-compatible *BSDs for that).

This comment reminded me of the Slashdot post where a tech support person whined about not getting paid as much as a UNIX sysadmin while claiming his basic osX tech-support training would make him a de facto UNIX admin.



Fin.
[ Parent ]
So? (2.00 / 1) (#23)
by costas on Wed May 02, 2001 at 05:25:53 PM EST

OK, so I am a former NeXTStep fan; I'll let my bias show.

Mac OS X (NeXTStep/OpenStep redux) is not just another Unix. It's a very-well engineered effort at a *better* unix, not a bug-compatible, Unix-workalike, like Linux or the FreeBSD family.


memigo is a news weblog run by a robot. It ranks and recommends stories.
[ Parent ]
Re: So? (3.00 / 1) (#29)
by ksandstr on Wed May 02, 2001 at 09:48:31 PM EST

Whatever. I've yet to see how a "look ma, I can point and drool at the same time!" interface on top of a ruthlessly butchered microkernel *BSD makes osX a "better unix". Of course, some would say that the microkernel architecture makes the kernel more flexible and less interdependent, but I can only see one major feature in any microkernel design -- "message passing overhead".

Would you care to elaborate on these "bugs" that you mention, the ones in particular that osX is not supposed to be compatible to?


--
Somebody has to set Imperial America up the bomb.

[ Parent ]
Well, (none / 0) (#34)
by costas on Thu May 03, 2001 at 03:13:47 AM EST

a) OS X is a modified microkernel architecture... it's a compromise between micorkernels and monolithic ones almost as much as Linux is with its kernel modules.

b) I haven't actually used OS X, but I do know its infrastructure well --I was a NeXT sysadmin way back in the day-- so I cannot comment on the GUI. It's a 1.0 GUI from a company that likes/has to/wants to disrupt the status quo to keep its maverick status, so I bet it's not going to be perfect. However, Apple learns, and I am sure in a coupla versions Aqua will rock.

c) As for my "bug compatible" smart-ass comment: it was a smart-ass comment; of course I didn't mean bugs per se. What I meant is that Unix has some fundamental problems, warts --if you want to be pedantic-- rather than bugs. What annoys me (and I am not accusing you of this, mind you) is that the modern Linux zealots oversee what are major architectural issues with Unix in favor of blind Windows bashing.

I don't love Windows, however in the last 2 years or so I've seen MS evolve its OSes (and Apple rebuilding its own) very impressively. Was Linux a factor in that? undoubtedly. But for the Linux community --whatever that is-- to i) ignore the significant progress MS has made with Win2k, and ii) ignore Unix shortcomings is practically long-term suicide.

If I didn't care about Linux and Unix I'd shut up and wait it out; I am not, so I do. But until the Unices start evolving the unix paradigm (whatever that is), I cannot see the 'battle' being won.

PS: Some Unix warts, just for example: library issues (OSX and XP have taken major steps there, Linux has not), inconsistent and incomplete installation, configuration, documentation and introspection mechanisms, lack of a consistent object model or actually lack of any consistent interface for anything more complicatted than a flat text file, etc, etc...


memigo is a news weblog run by a robot. It ranks and recommends stories.
[ Parent ]
Re: Well, (none / 0) (#40)
by ksandstr on Thu May 03, 2001 at 10:14:08 AM EST

PS: Some Unix warts, just for example: library issues (OSX and XP have taken major steps there, Linux has not)

I'm not quite sure what you mean by "library issues" -- the only problem I see is C++ ABI compatibility between compiler versions and vendors, and from what I can tell that's being worked on for the 3.0 GCC release. (but I suppose we'll still have to wait a couple of years before that comes out.)

inconsistent and incomplete installation

Sure, "Unix" could have consistent and complete installation if all of the software came from a single vendor. Currently there is Redhat with their GTK+ installer, Debian with apt & dselect and who-knows-what for the other distributions. OSX has its own, too. You're not installing "Linux" when you're installing Redhat, for example -- you're installing "Debian GNU/Linux" or "Redhat Linux" or "Mandrake" or "Progeny".

configuration, documentation and introspection mechanisms, lack of a consistent object model or actually lack of any consistent interface for anything more complicatted than a flat text file, etc, etc...

I'm not so sure if the inconsistency is such a wart -- choice is good, after all. It's like the Java vs. Perl holy war; "One and only One way to be 100% pure Java" vs "there's always more than one way to do it".

Besides, different configuration formats keep me from getting complacent that the system "just works". Which is nice.



Fin.
[ Parent ]
Re: Well, (none / 0) (#41)
by costas on Thu May 03, 2001 at 01:18:49 PM EST

* Libraries: wouldn't you want the system to deal with and manage libraries better? for example, manage different versions of the same library on the same system, providing the correct one to every program? both OSX and WXP do this (although the OSX way is, IMHO, superior).

* Installation: Com'on, there are 10x more Windows software vendors than there are Unix ones, yet most Windows programs install easily, through a brain-dead wizard. Yes, the Registry can become a mess, but the Registry is scriptable (and in XP versionable)... again, OSX has a much better way to do this --one advantage of being late to the game. Linux has none. It has /etc and /var, and they suck (notice I didn't say Unix: some Unices deal with installation/configuration decently, like AIX, e.g.)

* Consistency: I just started looking into the Windows Scripting Host --contrary to my argument here, I am a Unix guy. Yes, WSH isn't the end-all, be-all but god is it a neat idea... the entire system, from the OS to the applications and registered object libraries are exposed to scripting (and each other, of course, through the Registry). This is my biggest beef with Unix: why cann't one part of the system be aware of another? apt/rpm doesn't cut it I am sorry, because it pretty much ends at installation.

KDE is doing something to this end by providing Python bindings to most of KOffice... now, if this was extended to system configuration and maintenance itself, we may get to have an actual modern OS in our hands...



memigo is a news weblog run by a robot. It ranks and recommends stories.
[ Parent ]
Not that I don't run Linux at work and at home... (3.50 / 10) (#14)
by ttfkam on Wed May 02, 2001 at 12:31:17 PM EST

...but FUD works both ways.

"what Linux has and Windows 2000 lacks -- reliability, remote management, quicker turnaround on bug fixes, trust in its security, a real shell, and so on."

Reliability: Win2K is far more stable than NT and other earlier variants of MSWindows. Whenever people cite the horrible stability of Windows, they always point to NT 4 or Win9x. This is like comparing Win2K to RedHat 5.0 -- far from a fair comparison. On the same note, Win2K doesn't have much of a history from which to work. However it is much more stable.

Remote Management: Once again, out of date. Terminal Server.

Quicker Bugfixes: MS has been doing *much* better recently on this item. It should be noted that Linux/BSD had a lot to do with this though.

Real Shell: Linux/UNIX relies heavily on the command shell for input. It is indeed a powerful metaphor. Windows however has a GUI-centric model that points away from using the command-line. However there is nothing stopping you from using a bash clone or something like 4NT for your command shell. The fact that they are not bundled with the OS is not an effective argument. How many distributions install a secure-from-the-ground-up DNS server by default instead of BIND? Does this make Linux inferior or is it just expected that an alternative is just a download away?

A viable reason to choose Linux over Win2K is rigid standards compliance. For example, if you change your mail server from UWImap to Cyrus Imapd, will your mail clients complain? Probably not. Will they notice the change? Probably not. Will they have to change their mail client? Of course not. They were never required to have anything other than an IMAP4-complaint client in the first place.

Linux and BSD allow for servers to be treated as Legos -- pop this daemon in, pop that daemon out. This is probably the core of the success of Free Software: choice and competition. When you think about it, it is one of the clearer examples of pure capitalism: multiple distributors of relatively equal goods (standards) with competition focusing on quality, ease-of-use, ease of maintenance, performance, and on and on. I'll let others draw a contrast with "embrace and extend" and "undocumented APIs."

It's statements like the ones made in the article that turn me into a Microsoft apologist. Excuse me now while I shower.

If I'm made in God's image then God needs to lay off the corn chips and onion dip. Get some exercise, God! - Tatarigami
But your FUD is worse... (3.75 / 4) (#17)
by BigNachos on Wed May 02, 2001 at 02:25:56 PM EST

Reliability: Win2K is far more stable than NT and other earlier variants of MSWindows.

See above posts for why this is just stupid. I just polished my turd, and look at much shinier it is!

Remote Management: Once again, out of date. Terminal Server.

Over a very high speed connection, perhaps. But, good luck over a 28.8k connection halfway across the planet. I'll take ssh over terminal services any day.

The fact that they are not bundled with the OS is not an effective argument.

So no one cares if they don't bundle the tools necessary for basic system admistration? Right, they should put that stuff in a "Resource Kit" and charge extra.

-Nelson

[ Parent ]

Gut Buster! (2.40 / 5) (#19)
by Mad Hughagi on Wed May 02, 2001 at 03:05:25 PM EST

(In reference to Win2K): I just polished my turd, and look at much shinier it is! - BigNachos

I think this is one of the most hilarious things I've saw on k5 for a while! Quite a sig for sure, good show!

(I'm not going to get into the debate though ;)


HUGHAGI INDUSTRIES

We don't make the products you like, we make you like the products we make.
[ Parent ]

Work on your Windows machine... (2.80 / 5) (#24)
by costas on Wed May 02, 2001 at 05:39:20 PM EST

...as much as on your Linux one...

I for one *like* Win2K and I am a long-time Unix power-user and admin --I remember the time since before Linux was. I don't get all the high and mighty Linux evangelism around here... An out-of-the box Linux (or any Unix) machine has some great CLI tools I love, like vim or zsh or Python but it's sorely lacking on the GUI front, or real apps or any consistency on high-level operations (anything higher than a flat text file).

An out of the box Win2K machine has all those things, but cmd.exe sucks big time. So? as I have my carefully tested and refined .z* and .vimrc for Linux I have (mostly the same) Root.zip file for Win2K that provides me a decent Unix-workalike CLI. And don't go on about me using Unix utilities to be productive on the CLI: the Unix CLI is the best CLI around. But the Windows GUI is the best (or most popular) GUI around: look at the Linux GUI: those little feet and Ks are Start Menus, the WIMP paradigm is Windows-based (as well as Mac).

Oh, and you can too telnet and ftp into a Win2K machine. I develop on NT/2K clients and deploy on Unix servers all the time. You have to know the ropes, and you will get burned once in a while, but the convenience of using the *right tool for the job* is worth it.


memigo is a news weblog run by a robot. It ranks and recommends stories.
[ Parent ]
Huh (3.33 / 3) (#28)
by fluffy grue on Wed May 02, 2001 at 09:34:55 PM EST

And don't go on about me using Unix utilities to be productive on the CLI: the Unix CLI is the best CLI around. But the Windows GUI is the best (or most popular) GUI around: look at the Linux GUI: those little feet and Ks are Start Menus, the WIMP paradigm is Windows-based (as well as Mac).
Did I just understand you right? Did you just mean to imply that Microsoft invented WIMP (courtesy of Xerox) and the start menu (or should I say "Apple menu")?

Just because Linux uses those ideas in its GUI doesn't mean it's copying off of MS Windows...
--
"Is not a quine" is not a quine.
I have a master's degree in science!

[ Hug Your Trikuare ]
[ Parent ]

No, MS didnt invent the WIMP, (3.00 / 1) (#33)
by costas on Thu May 03, 2001 at 02:56:06 AM EST

and Unix didnt invent the CLI. And yes, the modern GUI owes a lot to Apple. But Start Menus, context menus, wizards, hierarchical views, and I dunno what else that doesnt come to mind now, where not. Yes, CDE had the Start Menu a long time before Windows and context menus were not a windows invention. But MS did a *great* job of integrating them together into a consistent interface.

Is Explorer (not IE, the shell) perfect? no, of course not. Is it the best out-of-the-box, widely deployed GUI out there? I think so.

memigo is a news weblog run by a robot. It ranks and recommends stories.
[ Parent ]
Start Menus == Poor version of Apple Menus (3.00 / 1) (#35)
by anonymoushero on Thu May 03, 2001 at 04:59:13 AM EST

And Apple Menus have been around a lot longer.

And are a lot friendlier.

-- Ender, Duke_of_URL

[ Parent ]
Really? (4.00 / 1) (#39)
by costas on Thu May 03, 2001 at 08:37:30 AM EST

You're right, of course the Apple Menu has been around longer, I honestly forgot about it... Last time I checked out a Mac though, to customize the Apple Menu you still had to open a special system folder, and you had to resort to name-mangling to order items the way you want them. Have those issues been fixed?

Admittedly, that's the same behavior as Win95, but the Start Menu for Win2K kicks ass.

I am not going to argue that Apple hasnt been the one innovating on the GUI front (and doing so for far longer than anybody else). It's MS's GUIs though that control the mindshare, both among users and developers alike...

memigo is a news weblog run by a robot. It ranks and recommends stories.
[ Parent ]
Name-Mangling Not Fixed (4.00 / 1) (#53)
by anonymoushero on Wed May 30, 2001 at 03:25:53 AM EST

> to customize the Apple Menu you still had
> to open a special system folder,
   True, but I always put that folder in the Apple Menu itself...

> you had to resort to name-mangling to order
> items the way you want them.
   True in OS9.x. Dunno about OSX however.

> Admittedly, that's the same behavior as Win95,
   That was what I was trying to say :)

> Start Menu for Win2K kicks ass.
   Yeah, but I've had the ability since like, 1984? without the upgrade cycle. I'm not sure I want to change into something that only now is getting something slightly better. That's how many revisions, at what price? Only real good things that've improved are multi-threaded finder (depesperately needed), and the ability to have clippings (but they do eat at block-size on the HD).

-- Ender, Duke_of_URL

[ Parent ]
Windows vs MacOS vs X (4.00 / 1) (#46)
by eLuddite on Thu May 03, 2001 at 09:08:43 PM EST

(This isnt particularly directed at fluffy, especially.)

No, MS did not invent WIMP. If that mattered at all, how much would it matter if you learnt that the X-Consortium was quite explicit in its intent to emulate the then Windows interface?

Just because Linux uses those ideas in its GUI doesn't mean it's copying off of MS Windows...

Well, assuming you run X, you are fudging on the truth, here. At the end of day, what does it matter? X is an app running on top of the Linux kernel and Explorer is an app running on top of the W2K kernel. Neither are necessary. I can entirely assure you that it is possible for me to boot bash on W2K and even go as far as run a environment which does not make a single W32 call. I, of course, have no interest in booting bash because I have no interest in shoehorning the UNIX shell paradigm over a superior W2K kernel. I am not interested in running ports of all the wonderful UNIX software on W2K even though they do exist.

The reason a lot of people here think Linux is so hot is because they are the same people who dont know squat about NT. They are victims of their own incompetence and laziness, not of any deficiencies in the W2K kernel.

So please take your X and your Bash and your pervasively weak permissions and your disorganized development model and your politics and your alpha beta gamma apps and your babylon of libraries and your sluggish window managers and your monolithic kernels and your hero worship and, above all, your tiresome hubris, and shove them. The vast majority of computer users have no interest in revisting what wasnt even best of breed during the 70s.

I look at the way some perfectly good posts raising perfectly good objections have been rated and I cannot help but feel that you are your own worst enemies.

---
God hates human rights.
[ Parent ]

Heh... (2.00 / 1) (#21)
by ksandstr on Wed May 02, 2001 at 04:49:11 PM EST

This is like comparing Win2K to RedHat 5.0 -- far from a fair comparison.

Yeah, I think we all know which of the two would win.



Fin.
[ Parent ]
Hidden Costs, debugging etc (3.00 / 2) (#27)
by stuartf on Wed May 02, 2001 at 08:09:50 PM EST

Part of this cheapness is indeed due to the open source development process, which allows a smoother linking between code that needs to be written and people who want to write it, and also allows easier bug-fixing

Why does an open source development process allow a smooth linking of code - would other non open source software authors not have this? Would they be somehow restrained from seeing their own source code? And do you mean easier bug fixing by the end user? I'm sure Microsoft don't have too many problems with bug fixing their own code - just look at all the service packs.

You could argue that Linux is disproportionately cheap

And you would be right to argue this. It's just that the cost of developing Linux is hidden, as the cost of development is charged back to the consumer. I would estimate the actual cost of development to be pretty considerable, and to attempt to recover that cost would lead to prices probably reasonably similar to Microsofts.

Re: Hidden Costs (none / 0) (#30)
by ksandstr on Wed May 02, 2001 at 09:52:03 PM EST

You're assuming that every commercial user of $OPEN_SOURCE_OS will run into a bug that needs to be fixed right now (preferably by a developer in the same company) instead of the usual submit-bugreport/wait-for-patch cycle. This is inaccurate at best.



Fin.
[ Parent ]
RE: Hidden Costs, debugging etc (none / 0) (#32)
by adamba on Wed May 02, 2001 at 11:04:10 PM EST

Why does an open source development process allow a smooth linking of code - would other non open source software authors not have this?

I didn't mean "linking" as in "linking two object files together." I meant, in a traditional company, you figure out what work needs to be done, then you assign it to people. Now a group as big as the Windows 2000 development team has people with enough variety of experience and interests that you can usually find someone to write any code, but still in some cases people have to write code they aren't thrilled about working on.

Meanwhile with open source, people generally write code because they want or need some feature. So they are a little more motivated, for lack of a better word. That is the efficiency I was referring to. The flip side of this is that the code that the aggregate development team chooses to write tends to be towards the upmarket end of things, since that is what developers are interested in.

And do you mean easier bug fixing by the end user? I'm sure Microsoft don't have too many problems with bug fixing their own code - just look at all the service packs.

I meant that for an end user there might be a faster turnaround on bug fixes. The worst case for open source would probably only be as bad as waiting for a patch from Microsoft.

Also it is sometimes hard to reproduce externally reported bugs in a lab at Microsoft, but because the source code needs to stay hidden, it can be hard to move the debugging process to the location where the bug does reproduce.

[ Parent ]

Elaborate? (none / 0) (#38)
by Matrix on Thu May 03, 2001 at 08:28:04 AM EST

And you would be right to argue this. It's just that the cost of developing Linux is hidden, as the cost of development is charged back to the consumer. I would estimate the actual cost of development to be pretty considerable, and to attempt to recover that cost would lead to prices probably reasonably similar to Microsofts.

And how exactly do you arrive at this figure? How do a bunch of knowledgeble people, very possibly supported by employment outside of the Linux or computer software fields, working on something in their spare time, suddenly create a "hidden cost" which is "charged back to the consumer"? And how would attempting to "recover that cost" lead to prices in the $200-$500/copy range?


Matrix
"...Pulling together is the aim of despotism and tyranny. Free men pull in all kinds of directions. It's the only way to make progress."
- Lord Vetinari, pg 312 of the Truth, a Discworld novel by Terry Pratchett
[ Parent ]

Simple (none / 0) (#43)
by stuartf on Thu May 03, 2001 at 04:41:40 PM EST

And how exactly do you arrive at this figure? How do a bunch of knowledgeble people, very possibly supported by employment outside of the Linux or computer software fields, working on something in their spare time, suddenly create a "hidden cost" which is "charged back to the consumer"? And how would attempting to "recover that cost" lead to prices in the $200-$500/copy range?

It's a guess, but how much is your time worth? Or how much would it cost to develop this commercially?
If I recall, it's not just people working in their spare time. I believe those kernel coders are paid to do it? (as are others who develop certain parts of GNU/Linux)

[ Parent ]
I see your point... (none / 0) (#44)
by sec on Thu May 03, 2001 at 05:24:56 PM EST

but I fail to see how it's relevant.



[ Parent ]

So? (none / 0) (#50)
by Matrix on Sat May 05, 2001 at 09:10:26 AM EST

How much my time is worth has nothing to do with it. I do coding in my spare time for fun, because I enjoy it. How much my time is worth doesn't enter into this - there is no hidden cost. Just as there's no hidden cost if I write a high-quality novel (assume I can) and decide to distribute it over the Internet for free.

If you must consider things in terms of "do this in exchange for...", most Free Software coders seem to code to fix a problem they've encountered or to make the system generally work better. They put in effort, and they get out the satisfaction of a properly-functioning system or of being able to do their other work much easier.


Matrix
"...Pulling together is the aim of despotism and tyranny. Free men pull in all kinds of directions. It's the only way to make progress."
- Lord Vetinari, pg 312 of the Truth, a Discworld novel by Terry Pratchett
[ Parent ]

Misses the point (5.00 / 1) (#47)
by bjrubble on Thu May 03, 2001 at 10:11:21 PM EST

It's not the actual technology in Linux that's disruptive, it's the economic model. Microsoft and all commercial software are based on the idea of "we design and build this, and sell the end product sans source code to the customer." Linux goes against every piece of this -- its development is distributed and open to anyone, and the source code is not only available, it's given away. The core of the disruption is that Microsoft owns Windows, but nobody owns Linux.

And the "hidden" benefit to Linux that escapes Microsoft's value metrics isn't a technical achievement, it's in the network effects. Linux has the potential to become truly universal software, a giant pool of code freely available for anyone to peruse, modify, fix, and use as a base for their own projects. This isn't "more" or "better" than anything Microsoft does, it's fundamentally different from everything that Microsoft does. That's what makes it disruptive.

Disruptive? (3.00 / 1) (#49)
by mindstrm on Fri May 04, 2001 at 03:30:47 PM EST

One of the main things Linux/OSS in general brings to the table is this; things that many programmers can write, without extreme difficulty and huge budgets, become freely available to all, in effect, setting a baseline for commercial software. It means that you can't just come up with some little idea and monopolize it for years; you have to keep inventing.

Also... something many need to realize about commercial software deployment; the fact that unix can run lots of different software without conflict is great. The reason NT is *acceptable* for lots of things, is because you buy a server to run one app. You buy NT to run, say, MiniCAD, because that's wat MiniCAD runs on, and MiniCAD is the package you want. You don't buy NT because ' it's a great os', you buy it because your apps work on it.
Developers, in turn, write for NT because that's what they think the market demands.

I serously think that a great many workstations would easily switch to Linux if the apps they were using requried it. It would be no more painful than implenting new versions of Windows across an enterprise.






Linux and Disruptive Technology | 53 comments (46 topical, 7 editorial, 0 hidden)
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