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staf0048
February 24th, 2009, 06:19 AM
I've been using GNU/Linux off and on for a while as a desktop OS, but didn't feel it was up to snub (so to speak) to really fulfill my needs and replace Windows. It was more of a fun toy, but not all that functional. Well, I'm happy to say that today I only run GNU/Linux (Ubuntu) and am getting my 2 year old acquainted with Linpus for its "dumbed down" interface.

Now, lets get something clear. I'm a business person. I work for a large national bank and am getting my MBA. I believe in capitalism and free markets. I agree with Bill Gates' point of view when he wrote "an open letter to hobbyists."

That said, GNU/Linux is turning out to be a huge success, in spite of all the barriers its had to overcome. From a business perspective, this is really interesting because by all standard measures, it should have failed. Microsoft has such dominance and persuasion in the market that a computer hobbyist from Finland and a group of hackers from gnu (Richard Stallman, Stephen Fry, Eric Raymond, etc) really should never be considered a serious threat.

Yet, today, GNU/Linux is a serious threat. Not only does it run extermely popular websites such as Google and Facebook, but also the NYSE, the Motorola Razor and countless other mobile phones, plus it was the system of choice for Hollywood films such as 300 and Shrek just to name a couple (I think they used Cinepaint? mainly).

So this has brought me to think "Why is this?" Why, despite what conventional wisdom tells us, is GNU/Linux a serious threat to Microsoft, which is a classic case of business success. The only thing I can come up with is the community and persistence. Microsoft is a business, and like all businesses they have to answer to investors who only care about the return on their monetary investment. Because of this, they must always grow their business, find new markets to gain new revenue streams. However, sometimes companies make bad investments (Vista?) or the economy goes to H*ll and investors pull out. My point is that businesses (eventually) fail. They have a finite life cycle.

So in this regard GNU/Linux has a huge competitive advantage in that it is not a business. It is a community. Communities rarely fail - rather they evolve. GNU/Linux will never have to file for bankruptcy, cut funding to R&D, or otherwise worry about its bottom line, because its a community - not a business. GNU/Linux is then, by all business measures, invincible. Its products are free, its R&D is free (for the most part), and they have the best word of mouth advertising money can buy - for free. Competitors can only attack its customer base, but any gains they may make can only last as long as the business is around. GNU/Linux is persistent. It literally doesn't know the meaning of the word "quit." No matter how long it takes, no matter how much work needs to be done, it will do it and it will do it better than the next guy.

For those reasons, GNU/Linux will eventually win. Maybe not in its present form, but someday it will beat out all the competition, even Microsoft. It is this work ethic, this never give up attitude, that I think is so important that I even want my 2 year old to be a part of it.

Npl
February 24th, 2009, 06:33 AM
its already a strong player when it comes to servers, I dont see that changing any time. You gotta ask why it got that far though - and its the money invested in it, its not done by hoobiest its done by companies which base their services on it.

You dont have the same thing on the desktop side. There could be an angle for content creation tools, but for most apps you cant stick a business on top of it.

Without funding we wont see any FOSS applications that can compete with propietary counterparts. And I dont see that happen anytime.

uprooted
February 24th, 2009, 06:37 AM
linux is the unsung hero of a lot of systems that we use every day, the reason it is not widely accepted is because windows for the past however many years has made it easier and easier for people to use its os, causing them to have a false sense of comfort knowing that whatever they wish to do is just a click away even though it may mean viruses, spyware and other great stuff. linux will win when the general populous is willing to actually use their mind and learn something different.

sambita
February 24th, 2009, 06:39 AM
Having read many rants about linux not being ready and those kind of things today, this post comes as a breeze of fresh air, your buisness-like approach to the value of our community is somewhat inspiring, thank you very much for this post.

(I seem to have gotten rather emotional here hehe)

Klaz168
February 24th, 2009, 07:05 AM
Totally agreed, Linux is winning by time, its a fact!

But I personally think, its going to take a long while. The reason for having Linux running on (SOME) major companies is that, these companies appreciate what Linux is capable of, stability, security etc etc. But for an average user, security/stability etc doesnt really matter. Windows can run their fav. programs/games so its perfect.

phrostbyte
February 24th, 2009, 08:25 AM
dbl post

phrostbyte
February 24th, 2009, 08:27 AM
I agree with you. But I'd like to add that the software business is very strange and different, not just FOSS but Microsoft itself. There are certain feedback loops that are in place that don't exist in normal business.

Like for instance this very nasty positive feedback loop:

(Step 1) Windows marketshare is strong ->
(Step 2) Apps get developed for Windows ->
(Step 3) Windows marketshare is made stronger (and goes back to Step 1)

This is the CRUX of Microsoft's business vitality and competitive advantage. It's the genius of Microsoft's business model. And it's very very (VERY!) hard to break. But if it gets broken there is a strong negative feedback loop that can hurt Microsoft quickly:

(Step 1) Windows loses marketshare ->
(Step 2) Microsoft makes less money and can put less to development ->
(Step 3) The quality of Windows suffers (continue to Step 1)

That feedback loop would probably exist if the first one is broken. So it's not like all the cards are stacked against the competition, it's all a matter of figuring out the secret sauce to the break the first feedback loop.

pmlxuser
February 24th, 2009, 08:37 AM
Without funding we wont see any FOSS applications that can compete with propietary counterparts. And I dont see that happen anytime.

I choose to differ the lack of funding seems to be making people very innovative... And I do foresee exactly the opposite..

Hilko
February 24th, 2009, 10:57 AM
No matter how much I hope Linux will 'win' some day. I am quite sure this is not gonna happen any time soon, if at all.
Click here to see why. (http://ubuntuforums.org/showthread.php?t=1076238)

I've been reading a lot about this topic lately, here on the forum and on brainstorm, and from all the responses one can see that the general consensus is: People don't care.
They don't care if Ubuntu get's more users or not, the community is fine the way it is. Linux is not gonna 'win', unless that attitude changes some day.

But thanks for the post. It's nice to read something positive and to see a different perspective.

andrewpmk
February 24th, 2009, 11:07 AM
One thing that could really hurt Microsoft: WINE. It is getting better and better, and sooner or later it will be basically 100% compatible with Windows XP, which is what most Windows apps are written for since it is still very widely used.

Also, the recession will only hurt Microsoft. As businesses especially will want to save on Windows licensing costs. WINE will help them in this regard.

deepclutch
February 24th, 2009, 11:11 AM
Ubuntu will win GNU/Linux as Desktop Operating System for us :D .
--
Marketing problem;agreed.if somehow to limit the number of GNU/Linux distributions to 1 or 2 numbers ,then the support and level of awareness sure grows.but FOSS demands freedom and no. of forks are too much to confuse a newbie.

blueturtl
February 24th, 2009, 12:14 PM
I agree with the original poster but would also like to point out that staying power is not the only thing that Linux has going for it.

The quality of the end-products in the open-source development model tends to be higher (debatable, of course) than their commercial counterparts. This is because open source / free software is developed directly to address user needs whereas commercial software design is hindered by profit and other less important interests.

For example, can we really expect an Anti-Virus company such as McAfee, Norton or F-Secure to come up with a product that will make Windows completely free of viruses? The day they do, they would all be out of business.

Free software on the other hand just keeps getting better all the time because there are no artificial boundaries on development. The future belongs to free software.

staf0048
February 24th, 2009, 04:51 PM
if somehow to limit the number of GNU/Linux distributions to 1 or 2 numbers ,then the support and level of awareness sure grows.but FOSS demands freedom and no. of forks are too much to confuse a newbie.

I can see your point, but I view the countless distributions as a virture of the system rather than a hinderence. If we are to beleive in the idea of free markets, the abundunce of choice is a good thing. It means people are trying different things, experimenting, and filling niche markets. The cream will rise to the top, which in GNU/Linux you can easily see if you visit distrowatch.

Users needs are different and trying to force a standardized distribution will alienate people rather than bring them together. In just my example, I love Ubuntu, but my 2 year old doesn't quite understand how things are organized. For her, Linpus is much easier since it's so visual. But it doesn't fill all my needs, so we need two different systems . . . for now.

That's just one example. Some people have really powerful computers, some don't. Some people haven't upgraded in years, some do it every 6 months. Some like a stripped down version. Some want all the bells and whistles. Some want to compile everything from source, some just want the damned thing to work out of the box.

So I see this as a good thing and as more and more users get turned on to Linux the support industry around it will grow. When that will happen, no one knows. It could be next year, it could be next millenium, but it will happen.

kahlil88
February 24th, 2009, 04:59 PM
Microsoft has such dominance and persuasion in the market that a computer hobbyist from Finland and a group of hackers from gnu (Richard Stallman, Stephen Fry, Eric Raymond, etc) really should never be considered a serious threat.
This is a bit off-topic, but while Stephen Fry voices support for the Free Software Community, he isn't a hacker.

sydbat
February 24th, 2009, 05:34 PM
@staf0048 - A very Star Trek philosophy in your posts!

Icehuck
February 24th, 2009, 05:38 PM
I choose to differ the lack of funding seems to be making people very innovative.

What exactly is innovative ? Every time I see some new thing it was always done by some other company first and then OSS developers make their version.

staf0048
February 24th, 2009, 05:56 PM
@staf0048 - A very Star Trek philosophy in your posts!

That's funny. I'm not quite sure what you mean though. I never got "in" to Star Trek.

mamamia88
February 24th, 2009, 06:00 PM
my it text book says linux will take over by 2007 lol. i just had to write about why business should use linux.

sydbat
February 24th, 2009, 06:06 PM
That's funny. I'm not quite sure what you mean though. I never got "in" to Star Trek.Basically, at some future moment, we begin to realize that community is more important than money and share our ideas freely with each other in order to facilitate a more caring and thoughtful existence.

Then we send out an intergalactic space-**** who (supposedly) is "searching out new life and new civilizations", but in reality shoots first and rarely asks questions! :p (and I'm a huge Star Trek fan!!)

HermanAB
February 24th, 2009, 07:40 PM
You guys are so negative. Linux already won. There are more than 2.2 billion devices running Linux and every year another 300 million are added. That is 3 or 4 times more than the total number of Windows devices.

GNU/Linux is the most popular OS ever. Nothing else comes close.

Cheers,

Herman

MasterNetra
February 24th, 2009, 07:52 PM
One thing that could really hurt Microsoft: WINE. It is getting better and better, and sooner or later it will be basically 100% compatible with Windows XP, which is what most Windows apps are written for since it is still very widely used.

Also, the recession will only hurt Microsoft. As businesses especially will want to save on Windows licensing costs. WINE will help them in this regard.

Prehaps but by the time wine is 100% compatible with XP windows 9 will probably be out. Wine needs more help to keep up with windows.

But in regards to Linux overtaking windows something, I'm sure it will its community and adaptability will ensure that :)

alexandari
February 24th, 2009, 07:57 PM
I`ve had it with those "why is linux not so good" threads. What are you trying to prove? That winblows is better??! yea right...Linux is taking over the world :twisted::twisted:

staf0048
February 24th, 2009, 08:21 PM
You guys are so negative. Linux already won. There are more than 2.2 billion devices running Linux and every year another 300 million are added. That is 3 or 4 times more than the total number of Windows devices.

GNU/Linux is the most popular OS ever. Nothing else comes close.


Those are interesting statistics. Where did you find them?

koenn
February 24th, 2009, 10:19 PM
So this has brought me to think "Why is this?" Why, despite what conventional wisdom tells us, is GNU/Linux a serious threat to Microsoft, which is a classic case of business success. The only thing I can come up with is the community and persistence.

Try this;

Windows is about 40-50 million lines of source code. A Linux distro is probably something similar, or more ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Source_lines_of_code ).

In a classic develpment methode, say Windows style, to develop and maintain such a body of code is hard: you need lots of people, organization, communication between members of a team and between teams, etc. As the code base grows (it always does), you need increasingly more developers, which causes increasinly larger overhead in terms of coordination, communication, resource management, ... In the long run, this is untenable.

The open source development model solves this problem : apparently, the way the open source community works, allows for a a huge and still increasing number of developers to collaborate on a huge and still increasing volume of source code without causing the corresponding increase in organizational overhead.

Therefore, one might assume that windows development will stagnate and collapse before OS development does. So Open SOurce (but not necessarily Linux) will win in the long run.

Read E. S. Raymond, "The Cathedral and the Bazaar" for a more elaborate explanation.