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GNU is Not Unix Microsoft Open Source News Linux

Bashing MS 'Like Kicking a Puppy,' Says Jim Zemlin 648

Posted by timothy
from the audacity-of-hope dept.
jbrodkin writes "Two decades after Linus Torvalds developed his famous operating system kernel, the battle between Linux and Microsoft is over and Linux has won, says Linux Foundation Executive Director Jim Zemlin. With the one glaring exception of the desktop computer, Linux has outpaced Microsoft in nearly every market, including server-side computing and mobile, Zemlin claims. 'I think we just don't care that much [about Microsoft] anymore,' Zemlin said. 'They used to be our big rival, but now it's kind of like kicking a puppy.' From Android and the Amazon Kindle to embedded devices, consumer electronics and the world's largest websites and supercomputers, 'Linux has come to dominate almost every category of computing, with the exception of the desktop,' Zemlin argues as Linux approaches its 20th anniversary."
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Bashing MS 'Like Kicking a Puppy,' Says Jim Zemlin

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  • Not quite done yet (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Sarten-X (1102295) on Tuesday April 05, 2011 @06:54PM (#35726816) Homepage

    So 2011 will be the year of the Linux desktop, right?

    Linux has gained recognition. It's something that IT managers won't usually dismiss immediately. Sure, that's important, but the average user out there still doesn't know that Linux exists, let alone what it is. There's a long road ahead of us, even longer than the path we've just traveled. Wear good shoes.

  • by Ynot_82 (1023749) on Tuesday April 05, 2011 @06:58PM (#35726862)

    You're assuming the one goal of Linux (and by that, I mean the community around Linux and other FOSS projects) is to beat MS

    While some may wish to see Linux raise above Windows in market dominance, others (and I wager, most) do not see this as important, and only wish to produce a better suite of software than MS

    In this, Linux has most definitely won
    and it won many years ago

  • Not only that (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Tuesday April 05, 2011 @06:58PM (#35726868)

    But MS is still really big in the server market. Yes, Linux is big in webserver market. However that isn't the only server market out there.

    Where MS is really big server (and desktop) wise is enterprise servers. Active Directory really works well and a lot of companies use it. No, OpenLDAP is NOT "just as good" or any of that jazz. I'm not saying AD is the One True Way(tm) but it is good and there's a reason a lot of companies like it.

    This "Linux has beaten MS," crap is just that: crap. Linux is doing well and that is wonderful. However it hasn't "won" by any measure. Rather they are finding different markets. Linux is not popular on the desktop and it does not seem to be headed there. However embedded it has really found its niche and has become extremely popular.

    Neither has won, neither has lost, they both continue to exist alongside one another.

  • Idiotic Statement (Score:4, Insightful)

    by 192_kbps (601500) on Tuesday April 05, 2011 @06:59PM (#35726874)
    'Linux has come to dominate almost every category of computing, with the exception of the desktop' The desktop still dominates every other category of computing combined. Zemlin's statement that Linux has won is disingenuous.
  • by codepunk (167897) on Tuesday April 05, 2011 @06:59PM (#35726892)

    The desktop does not matter it is only a device on which to run a web browser. The average user spends most of his online time running pages served from linux. Then he goes and sits in front of his tv powered by linux, plays with his phone powered by linux, scrolling through his dvr running linux.

  • by oboylet (660310) on Tuesday April 05, 2011 @07:00PM (#35726900)
    The XBOX 360 begs to differ. Where exactly is the open source video game console that is dominating the home market? Linux and FOSS more broadly has done some incredible things, but let's be real.
  • by jbplou (732414) on Tuesday April 05, 2011 @07:01PM (#35726908)

    Windows Server may not be as dominate as Linux but it certainly is not dead. They compete in every server category and have decent market share while it is not dominate like desktops it is still a multi-billion dollar business that is certainly successful. Active Directory, SQL Server, ASP.Net, IIS these are all major products that run on WIndows Server, you can find thousands of jobs on any major job search engine. I think it is a mistake to say MS only has desktop operating systems, it is clearly still a player in the server market.

  • by Narcocide (102829) on Tuesday April 05, 2011 @07:02PM (#35726922) Homepage

    Kicking Microsoft is more like kicking the snake that just bit you.

  • by hawguy (1600213) on Tuesday April 05, 2011 @07:07PM (#35727006)

    The problem with giving the desktop market to Microsoft means that corporations are stuck with a Microsoft-heavy server environment too and it's hard to move to other server platforms.

    Once you include Active Directory, print servers, fileservers, sharepoint, system center, exchange, sql server and other support servers to run it all, a mid-sized company might have 20 or more servers just to run their Microsoft infrastructure. (many of those applications *could* run on Linux, but MS products integrate together and have interdependencies that make it hard to break loose)

    So since they are already paying for Windows Admins to run their Windows infrastructure, when it comes time to add a web or application server, the easy choice is to go with MS -- licensing doesn't cost much more on top of their existing MS licensing costs and they already have Windows expertise in house.

  • Hidden linux (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Dan East (318230) on Tuesday April 05, 2011 @07:12PM (#35727068) Homepage Journal

    It seems that where Linux has succeeded is where Linux is completely hidden behind the scenes, as far as the consumer is concerned. Even in the case of Android, with a stock device, it would be utterly impossible to know it was running Linux. In fact, there's an entire Java layer between the user and Linux. My point is that Linux, the brand, has failed when it comes to the masses. In other words, Linux has done well where companies can take their time and make an informed decision about which OS they wish to embed in their hardware. That is where Linux has succeeded, and a big part of that is simply that Linux is stable, supports ubiquitous hardware, and is free. But as far as end consumers choosing Linux, that hasn't happened yet.

  • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Tuesday April 05, 2011 @07:15PM (#35727100)
    Embedded systems dominate the desktop, at least in terms of deployment. There are far more embedded systems in use right now than desktops -- orders of magnitude more, in fact. Now, this is not to say that the statement about Linux dominance is any more correct, since most embedded systems do not actually run Linux. If anything, TRON derivatives dominate that category.
  • by SomePgmr (2021234) on Tuesday April 05, 2011 @07:17PM (#35727124) Homepage
    Well put. They're dominant on the desktop and they own office productivity. They're strong in the server market and they're strong in the gaming market. I'd guess they're not doing too shabby with set-top devices (all uverse devices is quite big in itself). And let's be realistic, you can't count them out of the 10,000 other markets they have their fingers in. They have a certain history of throwing money at some things until they win (xbox, anyone?).

    That's hardly a sad-little-puppy situation.
  • by dhavleak (912889) on Tuesday April 05, 2011 @07:19PM (#35727148)

    This is just an absurd conversation that has gone on far too long.

    The way of measuring your own success should not be dependant on somebody else's market share, or even relative to it. It should be based on your own mission and your own goals. There's plenty of market for everyone in the world to be successful if they want it badly enough. Linux is certainly doing well, and revenues and profits at Microsoft seem healthy as well -- so I don't get this obession with MS.

    I don't get the obsession with stamping out proprietary software either. It's a choice that some companies make for their business model, and a choice that some customers make for their software (not choosing proprietary so much as choosing software that is proprietary because it meets their needs). It's a proven and successful business model too -- just like FOSS. You can have failures/successes in FOSS and you can have that with proprietary software as well. People just seem to be on the lookout for something to get inflamed about all the time. Absolutely nothing of interesting here.

  • by Ynot_82 (1023749) on Tuesday April 05, 2011 @07:24PM (#35727210)

    I've never used Windows 7 (nor Vista, nor XP post service-release 1), so I can't draw any comparisons, but most people are technically illiterate and will simply use what's given to them
    This says nothing about which is technically "better" than the other
    MS stays dominant on the desktop through inertia only

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 05, 2011 @07:25PM (#35727212)

    You guys bitch and moan when some Microsoft shill pumps up Microsoft; well, this is some Linux shill pumping up Linux. I don't give this guy any more credence then I would Steve Ballmer.

  • by uberjack (1311219) on Tuesday April 05, 2011 @07:26PM (#35727226)
    It has very little to do with the distro; the problem is largely with hardware support and software availability. Even Ubuntu, arguably the most user-friendly distro has problems with sound playback on modern, commonly available sound hardware. Maybe I don't mind running 'sudo killall pulseaudio' every now and then when there's no sound playback - try explaining that to the common user. Then there's the software, of course. I love the open desktop, but Linux is nowhere near the point where it can compete with Windows on that front - even if it has gone quite a ways since its humble beginnings.
  • by decora (1710862) on Tuesday April 05, 2011 @07:27PM (#35727242) Journal

    linux has not won. imagine every business using linux being successfully sued for patent infringement by microsoft.

    I know you think 'but that doesnt make any sense'. i hate to inform you that the US justice system also doesn't make any sense. Even if you have judges that are not corrupt, those judges only follow what the law tells them to do. And the law is made by congress. And congress is elected by campaign contributions. Campaign contributions are given by ... Microsoft. And Oracle. And Amazon. And the hedge fund people whose cocaine and hooker money is tied up in patent litigation securities or whatever they call the new 'financial products' built around slicing and dicing IP the way mortgages were in 05/06.

    Linux is not on top of the mountain, it is headed for the end of the fucking waterfall, about to go straight down and be dashed on the rocks of capitalist reality. You think a trillion dollar industry like proprietary software is just going to sit back and die? You think all the investors sitting on hundreds of billions of dollars of debt of companies like Microsoft and Cisco are going to sit back and watch those bonds go to 0?

    Look what happened when mortgage bonds died; the criminals all got bailed out, ordinary people got fucked out of their houses. Tack on a $2500 fee for no reason, declare the payment late, foreclose on the house, send an locksmith to change the locks while you are inside the fucking place. Was that fair? Hell no. Did it violate the fundamental principles of private property? Hell yes.

    You thought HB Gary was some tiny flea sucking the teat of the federal government? More like a little piggy of a gigantic piggy army, a massive field of suckling oinkers, like pod blobs in some Matrix, sucking the blood of the real humans dry. What happens when you awaken ten thousand sleeping, pulsating blood bigs? Hint: They don't go "oh, bummer, guess I'll go get a real job".

    They attack. They attack anything disturbing their way of life. They attack anyone attacking them; "the enemy". You thought it was bad when Team Themis (HB Gary, Berico Technologies, and Palantir Technologies) teamed up to try to 'neutralize' a couple of reporters, at the behest of the Department of Justice in collusion with Bank of America? Whose side do you think the government is on?

    That is the tip of the iceberg. The tip of the fucking iceberg.

    Linux is about to get whacked. A big time, world wide whacking. The hedge funds, the bond holders, the pension fund managers, the sovereign wealth funds, a cotiere of ideological capitalist zealots, vast minions of IT 'professionals' whose lifeblood depends on the inefficiency, stupidity, and corruption of large proprietary IT contracts, the milquetoast bureaucrats whose only joy in life are the kickbacks they get from their vendors, and the thrill they feel as they decide to use a shitty IT system over the protests of ten thousand users? These forces they will all come together against their common enemy.


    And your freedom.

  • by SplashMyBandit (1543257) on Tuesday April 05, 2011 @07:35PM (#35727302)
    The community has long memories and it will take a very long time (if ever) for the community to forgive or forget the anti-social behavior of Microsoft (I won't detail all the things it has done, but there is no shortage, eg subvert ISO etc etc). This is a somewhat of a shame since there appear to be a great many dedicated, talented and generous individuals (we remember the nice cake for Firefox too) who wrestle with their own corporate idiocy and avaricious management.

    I hope this is a lesson for all companies and individuals in power (although it's not like they're enlightened enough to read Slashdot) that it is far harder to unwind the damage you do than to compete hard but operate ethically in the first place.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 05, 2011 @07:48PM (#35727448)

    Linux has no such goals

    Yep, that's why every year for the last fifteen years has been the "year of Linux on the desktop". This sounds like a whole lot to do about nothing, except for Linux advocates privately ceding the desktop wars to Microsoft and Apple and publicly declaring themselves victors because they didn't get thoroughly annihilated in the process.

  • by man_of_mr_e (217855) on Tuesday April 05, 2011 @08:06PM (#35727642)

    I'm glad you have no issues with your recent versions of Ubuntu, a quick perusal of the Ubuntu support forums tells a different story though.

    Just because it works for you, doesn't mean it works for everyone. This seems to be the most common reaction to problems with Linux. One user says such and such is broken, another user it works fine and they call him a liar.

  • by quickOnTheUptake (1450889) on Tuesday April 05, 2011 @08:24PM (#35727846)
    My gut reaction is the same, but at the end of the day, linux users' lives would be a lot easier if we have 10-30% market share on the desktop.
    Why? Just because at that point we would have decent hardware support, games would be ported, Netflix would run on linux, and people would be aware to not use proprietary formats to exchange data.
    But I agree, my gut reaction is that if it works for me, I don't care what other people use. And I'm sure as hell not going to make the mistake of evangelizing for OSS and then get stuck supporting it indefinitely.
  • Re:Not only that (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hey! (33014) on Tuesday April 05, 2011 @08:30PM (#35727906) Homepage Journal

    Well, speaking of what's in Microsoft's "DNA", it is traditionally a company that sells to people who select technology that other people will use. That's where Microsoft is successful. The places where they succeed with consumers are where consumer choices are constrained by other things. People buy Office because they have to exchange documents with people who can only use Office formats. They buy Windows because that's what the IT department lets them buy.

    MS actually did pretty well in the smartphone arena because Windows Mobile was very friendly to hardware companies who were eager to cripple their products to suit the carriers' attempts to milk revenue out of bogus services. You can take pictures, but the only way to get them off is with our special Picture EMail Service. You can play music you buy though *our* music store. Apple put an end to that BS because they had the clout to give AT&T a Hobson's Choice: take it or leave it. Of course Apple had it's own version of the walled garden, but at least they didn't nickel and dime you to death by tarting up simple uses of bandwidth as some kind of special "service".

    Even the XBox is a consumer device where consumer choices are driven by game titles. The games are technically impressive, so I suppose they do a good job supporting developers, but the the hardware and end-user support is pathetic.

    A lot of the contempt for Microsoft's products come from our experiences as users, but making users happy just isn't what Microsoft does. They don't have a history of success through making users happy with which they could build that kind of organizational culture.

  • Uh huh. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) on Tuesday April 05, 2011 @08:39PM (#35727988)

    "With the one glaring exception of the desktop computer, Linux has outpaced Microsoft in nearly every market, including server-side computing and mobile, Zemlin claims. 'I think we just don't care that much [about Microsoft] anymore,' Zemlin said. 'They used to be our big rival, but now it's kind of like kicking a puppy.'", says Linux Foundation Executive Director Jim Zemlin.

    I'm sorry, but I like Linux and hate Microsoft, yet I still can't stomach this marketing'esque spew of BS. If Microsoft said the reverse of this this topic would hit 500+ comments.

  • Re:Hidden linux (Score:4, Insightful)

    by AJWM (19027) on Tuesday April 05, 2011 @08:45PM (#35728034) Homepage

    So I guess the desktop never really was a good product for the consumer market.

    Not really, no. How many people outside of the slashdot crowd really want a general-purpose computer? They want appliances: a messaging appliance, a game appliance, a web-browsing appliance, a Facebook appliance ...etc. A tablet is just a polymorphic appliance that can convert from one to the other at a touch of a (virtual) button, if need by downloading the necessary from the app(liance) store.

  • by Anthony Mouse (1927662) on Tuesday April 05, 2011 @09:24PM (#35728324)

    I'm glad you have no issues with your recent versions of Ubuntu, a quick perusal of the Ubuntu support forums tells a different story though.

    You say that as though Windows support forums are barren of users with issues.

  • by mysidia (191772) on Tuesday April 05, 2011 @09:41PM (#35728498)

    More like kicking a feisty terrier. Oh, by the way... a Linux user saying FreeBSD sucks is like a miniature poodle kicking a rottweiler.

    The problem about the desktop being the only place Linux hasn't had success is...... the desktop is (still) a huge market. There are a hell of a lot more desktops than servers or mainframes.

    The places where Linux is thriving is behind the scenes.

    It's thriving on mobile devices, only because it's behind the scenes, e.g. Android is a great stack, but the user is never exposed to Linux.

    In these cases, Linux gets selected because of its flexibility and low cost, for technical reasons..... but for the most part, the user is none the wiser.

  • by MurukeshM (1901690) on Tuesday April 05, 2011 @10:22PM (#35728850)
    Aw, c'mon. Any user who has only used Linux systems will call the Windows method weird. At least the Linux FIlesystem Heirarchy is logical. Compare that to Windows were you can install suff anywhere, the help could be located anywhere, the config files could be located anywhere. And Synaptic does show a list of installed files. Ctrl-C and Ctrl-V do work on Ubuntu, but the Linux versions Shift-Insert and Ctrl-Insert, are of course, better supported. Hell, support for Windows style shortcuts is better in Ubuntu than in OS X, for all the 'just work'-ability of OS X. You do know that disk/partition images need to be mounted or opened as an archive so that you can see what's inside for any OS, don't you? You can't expect to adopt an OS which by it's very character implies a different lifestyle and expect not to relearn stuff. Just because MS does some things the way it does, should everyone else do that? Or because you are used to stuff one way, that should be the only way? There is *no* right way. Variety is the spice of life, friend, and you should have some. And while I'm batting around idioms, when in Rome, do as the Romans do.
  • Re:Not only that (Score:4, Insightful)

    by grasshoppa (657393) < minus berry> on Tuesday April 05, 2011 @11:53PM (#35729490) Homepage

    Sometimes I'm a bit biased towards OSS stuff, samba in particular. For me, it's a 5 minute operation to get samba up and running, joined to an AD domain and get shares going. However, I have been doing that for almost a decade now. You have to keep in mind all the funkiness that goes in to getting winbind stable, setting up permission shares correctly, working with file security differences, ect...

    To say nothing about when the inevitable problem DOES occur. Troubleshooting window file shares is a far simpler affair than a samba shares. Not to mention the frequency of said issues. This may run counter intuitive, but I've had fewer file sharing problems with windows over the past 10 years than with samba. I attribute this to samba being an attempt by an outside vendor to work with proprietary technology.

    I am a lazy admin. I want to set things up to work, and they "just work". I will use whatever technology I need to get that done. In some cases, that's linux. In some cases, that's windows. I don't hold ideologies about technology; it either "just works" when set up correctly ( and the set up has to be relatively simple ), or I keep looking for a solution that does.

  • by westlake (615356) on Wednesday April 06, 2011 @01:30AM (#35730004)

    The desktop does not matter it is only a device on which to run a web browser. The average user spends most of his online time running pages served from linux. Then he goes and sits in front of his tv powered by linux, plays with his phone powered by linux, scrolling through his dvr running linux.

    The DVR that will record and play H.264 video without complaint.

    The HDTV which runs a suite of Internet apps over which the geek has no control whatever. Facebook. Netflix. OnLive Gaming. Pandora. Skype. Rhapsody....

    It's a whole new ball game.

    In which the btowser gets shoved into the background and with it all the openess and "standards" on which the FOSS zealot has built his house of cards.

    The server may be Linux - but who the hell cares when the content it streams is defined by the "walled gardens" of the home appliances, video game consoles, set top boxes, OSX, iOS and Windows devices it serves?

  • by johncandale (1430587) on Wednesday April 06, 2011 @01:38AM (#35730048)

    The desktop is a device mainly used by the general public to run a web browser

    Keep telling yourself that. Most desktops are at the office, where we use word processing, and industry specific tools,and accounting software and email all run on windows all linked through Microsoft server software. Then we go home to our hobbies, video games, itunes, email again, tax software, adobe, and we all choose to run it on windows because it's easier. One of the worst things you can do in a competition is lie to yourself about how well it is going. Or get too involved in your own world. Of course everyone around you is using linux, and you try not to think about those other people too much. It's some form of confirmation bias. He is disregarding facts to the contrary, while he keeps reminding himself of the facts that don't disagree with his views. This is not productive

The secret of success is sincerity. Once you can fake that, you've got it made. -- Jean Giraudoux