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The HeliOS Project is now.....
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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Bob Sutor - Here are your "Dead Ends"

The head Linux guy for IBM, Bob Sutor fairly well showed the poker hand of most Enterprise Linux entities.

Briefly, he said: Linux on the Desktop isn't worth pursuing. He called it a Dead End.


Is that right?

I mean, that isn't news to me. Your guy at the 2008 Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit said as much when addressing my concern for the lack of Linux marketing.

And trust me...I got immense satisfaction from posing my question. It made the panel extremely uncomfortable.

I doubt if I will ever be invited back. Given what I heard, that's perfectly fine with me.

It brought out the truth as you see it.

Linux isn't a solution, it is a "device".

A "device" you and your corporation have used, as well as using community developers, our developers, to enrich yourselves. Sure you've contributed code...but who benefited primarily from that contribution?

You did.

But hey...that's cool. I am fully down with long as it remains non-predatory....and it remembers that there are those out here who need some help.

And that you remember there are those out there who wouldn't even have a computer if it wasn't for Desktop Linux.

Hey...slip off that 1000 dollar suit Bob and change into jeans and a t-shirt, swap out those Gucci loafers for a pair of 25 dollar sneakers and spend some time with me. I'm going to show you why Linux on the Desktop is anything but a dead end.

Meet just a few of those that would call you "disconnected" for your statements.

Ken, We all wanted to let you know how much we appreciate what you do, not just for us, but for all the kids in Austin who need it. Simon and Sawyer love their computer you set up for us...they're having fun and learning at the same time. I am so grateful that their educational playing field has been leveled and that they are no longer in danger of falling behind due to a lack of technology and resource. You brought something to them that every child should have available to them, but unfortunately aren't always able to get no matter how hard their parents work. People like you are so special, and we're glad to have met you and had our lives touched by your generosity. Your dedication and hard work, coming over and giving your time to set everything up, help us with the system and to teach us new things, it's a rare thing. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts! Janna, Brad, Simon, & Sawyer

And Bob...that's only the beginning...the tip of the iceberg as it were...

Meet Joe Patrano and his family.

Bob, Joe works two jobs. He does so because he wants his wife to stay home and care for their children...Yes I, uh..."traditional". Joe and I talked at length about the Hispanic community and their needs. See, here's the problem Bob. Most of these people have choices to make when it comes to their finances.

"Do I pay for my child's shoes and school clothing or buy a computer?" "Do I pay the car insurance or buy a computer?" "Do I pay for my child's Parent-paid school field trips for the next three months or buy a computer?

Meet Nadja and Leora LaPoint...Children of Julie LaPoint. Bob, don't these two girls deserve the chance at an even shot? They got one of our computers and they live in Dallas....four hours from me and that's without traffic.

You tell them no Bob...I don't have it in me to do so.

You seein' the problem here Bob? If I did not put Linux on the 973 computers we've built and given out, there would be 973 Austin kids without computers today.

And Bob...501 of them are still disconnected from the Internet because they cannot afford it. I've talked to Time Warner about this. They not so politely told me to go piss up a rope.

Pretty much just like you did.

So Bob, I could flood this blog with pictures and stories, from all races and creeds but somehow I get the impression that you will never slip off those Gucci loafers and put on jeans and a tshirt. You are so well insulated from the real world that it would be way outside your comfort zone to do so.

Oh, and you need to know that there is a community devoted to helping us do what we do. And yeah Bob...they too have decisions to make. "Do I help The HeliOS Project or take the bus for a few weeks to work..."

Wake up man...Desktop Linux IS important and just can't make any money from it. So a rag-tag bunch of people who care do the work, at least part of it, that you should be doing. In my opinion anyway.

Hey! I have an idea! Why don't you guys take some of that profit (fully tax deductable of course) and help me get these 500 + computers connected to the Internet so those kids can compete and grow.

Oh never mind...I forgot who I was talking to for a second...

Silly me.

All-Righty Then


Xetheriel said...

I think this Bob guy misses the point.

"Convincing people to use it is hard, so don't bother, just give up."

Thats basically what he's saying. To which I respond:

To hell with that!

Developing clean, renewable, inexpensive energy sources is hard, so don't bother, just give up.

Solving the world hunger crisis is hard, so don't bother, just give us.

Getting a good education, a good job, raising a family, buying a house, finding that perfect mate. All those things are hard, so don't bother, just give up.

Sound ridiculous?

Convincing people to switch away from Windows and try Linux is hard. DON'T GIVE UP.

First they ignore you,
Then they laugh at you,
Then they fight you,
Then you win.


the tentmaker said...

Let IBM pursue the enterprise market. The GNU/Linux is very much alive. Debian rocks.

Will said...

Helios, just so you know, it was those IBM Linux TV commercials with that little kid that were my first introduction to Linux. I had never heard of it before that. I think that was back in 2003, give or take a year. Could be slightly off on that. Within a year after seeing that, I had turned my laptop into a dual-boot machine. By 2008, I was using Linux as my primary desktop. The time period in between those two events was due to me having to learn Linux and due to Linux steadily improving in user-friendliness over that time. Mandrake 10.0 wasn't even in the same ballpark as Ubuntu 8.04 or Linux Mint 6/7 in terms of friendliness. A new user today would have a much easier, faster learning curve. Back in 2003-2004, I didn't feel that Linux was "ready for the desktop". What a difference four years and a commitment to desktop usability by distros like Ubuntu and Mint can make. Having also used a Mac for a little while, it's also my opinion that, as an OS, a good modern desktop Linux setup is on par with OSX, only lacking maybe a very superficial layer of "shiny" in the default theme setups of many distros--which can be added in and customized by the user in about 10 minutes or less. I'm now convinced that marketing is the last big hurdle for Linux. Your radio ads were wonderful and needed, and I've already passed them on to several people.

There's something else, though, that I've been realizing over the years. I really would like to be wrong on this, but I'm becoming convinced that it is exactly as you say. The big companies aren't going to be much help. Sure, they love to take advantage of Linux for their own purposes, but they aren't going to do much to help it the way they will for Windows or OSX. You see this very clearly in the consumer products that run on some sort of embedded Linux, yet the vendors don't provide a Linux desktop client for their customer to sync the device with their Linux boxes. (car navigation devices, etc.). Not to mention big tech companies where Linux is the heart of their entire infrastructure, yet when they release software or new features to existing services, the Windows and OSX versions come out on day 1 while the Linux version comes out years later, if at all. You don't have to search far to see this; one particular household name comes to mind quickly here.

I think we may all have to face the fact that the big companies, while they may contribute here and there, will never make any moves to bring Linux to the masses in an identifiable form. Just as Linux began as a grassroots, community effort, so will Linux marketing have to begin. And, as usual, you have once again risen to the challenge to lead the way.

Thank you.

Thank you for boldly leading the charge for all the rest of us that do what we can where we can in a quiet yet persistent manner.

ka1axy said...

Doing my little bit to publicize Linux on the desktop. I added a signature to my email:

"Why not give Ubuntu Linux a try? It's cheaper than Windows and needs no anti-virus!"

Van' said...

It is unsurprising Bob, from IBM, doesn't see desktop Linux as being viable or profitable. Why well lets look break it down a bit:

IBM's hard drive division is now owned by Hitatchi.

IBM's line of laptops and desktops is now owned by Lenovo, the "ThinkPad" branding being licensed to them for X number of years.

The only thing IBM actually make hardware wise is servers and processors (POWER and derivatives). Traditionally very mid to high end 'big iron' that traditionally ran AIX. Now it runs Linux, to a degree.

Internally IBM tried to enforce a 100% use of SmartSuite instead of Office for years. It never happened. Sure you'd get the occasional .wps file but even internally most people used Office and sent .doc, .xls and .pps files to each other.

I have no doubt that the recent news/fluff they posted about mandating a use of thier OOo clone will also... fail quite abysmally.

Same for desktop Linux. Pretty much every machine deployed to staff runs Windows, either 2000 or XP when I was there. Linux was an "install it yourself and face the wrath of your manager" option sure and it could be made to work... but wasn't worth loosing your job over.

So companies which internally are pretty much Microsoft shops and only really sell server hardware; no real surprises they don't see the motivation for linux on the desktop.

David Lasky said...

Here's a interesting inside story:

My in-laws work at IBM, in one of fabs. My mother in law works the cpu line, and my father in law fixes the machines.

They changed the computers that the people use in the factory to linux. I don't know details, I know my in-laws HATE it with a fiery passion. The computers are slow, and they have to fight with them anytime they want to do anything.

So, while my father in law would greatly benefit from using Linux (although he is stuck with dial-up at home due to location), I will probably never be able to convince him to really try it out.

I know the other employees all feel the same way. I don't know if the issue is NFS, old comps, misconfiguration, but I do know that thanks to IBM, my in laws will never use linux.

E of E said...

While I agree with the points made and like the 'Thank You' letters and testimonials, might I suggest that your attack on Mr Sutor is a bit excessive? It reminds me somewhat of your initial handling of the Teacher/Student/Linux incident, this time with a name.

Anonymous said...

Massive advertising is a bit of an outdated tool to begin with. You can rarely buy your way into the mainstream anymore and to do so costs so much that it's not worth the expense.

What the Helios project is doing, quite effectively, is helping Linux "grow" into the mainstream.

An entire generation of kids will grow up comfortable with Linux and virtually immune to Microsoft's FUD tactics. That's far more powerful than any advertising campaign.

There is already a lot of passive marketing happening on the periphery anyways. YouTube is flooded with videos of people showing off their Linux desktops, flashy effects and how they can play Windows games on Linux. Read the comments on those videos and for every person who say "This is teh stoopid, Windoz roolz" there's a person saying "Wow, that's cool. I'm going to check Linux out!"

It's happening. We don't need, nor should we want, the deep pockets and 20th century marketing tactics of major corporate players. Smaller, community driven efforts will pay off far better over the long haul.

Keep up the great work!

Michelle Minkin - Seattle said...

@ EofE

Starks did not attack anyone. Sutor said that Linux on the Desktop was irrelevant and Starks showed him where he was wrong and even invited him to come see for himself.

Helios isn't afraid to be direct when he is right. He did not attack IBM, he confronted the "main Linux Guy" at IBM for taking the enterprise line and pushing Linux as a desktop to the rear.

Timidity accomplishes nothing but getting you shoved to the back of the line.

And if IBM is an ally, I would be interested in knowing the posters definition of a parasite.


Robert Pogson said...

IBM, Red Hat and others have all pointed out that it is hard to make money on the GNU/Linux desktop but they manage. Both IBM and Red Hat are helping customers deploy GNU/Linux desktops in the thousands. It is not their main business but their customers are demanding lower costs for IT and both are giving virtualized desktops on thin clients combined with web applications. Red Hat charges money per seat per annum and IBM makes some very large corporations happy.

Both IBM and Red Hat have made huge contributions to GNU/Linux on the server and desktop and they have received considerable return on investment. Neither of them is into retail business where advertising and customer support and guarantees to the great masses of non-technical people who get most of their information from their friends and relatives is a challenge for businesses.

Outrage is better directed at ASUS and Novel and OEMs who sold out to M$ putting XP on netbooks. They are much closer to the end-user and could help hundreds of millions obtain affordable computing but are caught in the headlights of "average selling prices" and other sacred cows.

The small operations who are not in bed with M$ and who distribute netbooks via ISPs and banks in China and India do more than the big guys can. The big guys, even though they innovate, are locked-in by the bottom line.

Thousands of businesses are demanding GNU/Linux. That will move Red Hat and IBM more than our criticisms. Businesses have been evaluating GNU/Linux since Vista and will do until they decide whether to migrate to "7". GNU/Linux is mainstream now and lower-cost options are available world-wide. Netbooks, thin clients, notebooks and desktops all will get their share of GNU/Linux opportunities whether Wintel or IBM like it.

Reece Dunn said...

I switched to using Linux on my home machines several years ago. Has it been easy? No. Does everything work? No. Am I happy with my choice? YES!

Bob's comment is like saying "I am not going to climb Mt Everest because it is too big."

Think: did Netscape when they went bankrupt go "well, Internet Explorer has 98% of the browser market share and a lot more money and clout behind it [it is tied to Windows, like Windows is currently tied to OEM computers for the most part], so we'll just give up." No. And now we have a richer browser market with Firefox, Opera, Chrome, Safari and others.

With Linux-based platforms like Android, Moblin and others, as well as Ubuntu/Debian and other distros (not to mention *BSD and OpenSolaris), just think where the OS market will be in 10-15 years.

Anonymous said...

"You seein' the problem here Bob? If I did not put Linux on the 973 computers we've built and given out, there would be 973 Austin kids without computers today."

I think the commenters that are focusing on any "attack" on this Bob guy is missing the point. The above sentence is teh key to the entire blog. What part about that do you not understand?

Henaway said...

I kind of wish people would stop mis-quoting Sutor. He did NOT call LINUX a dead-end. He said trying to make linux a drop-in replacement for Windows is A DEAD-END STRATEGY!!! HUGE mountain of difference.

As mis-quoted, it's simply an incorrect statement. As ACTUALLY stated, he's not so far from wrong. When you live your life perpetually chasing Microsoft's bumper, you're going to die a horrible, painful death. Get ahead of them by doing something they haven't thought of, or can't innovate/buy their way into, you've got 'em beat.

Sutor was simply saying quit chasing the car, and start driving the future of computing.

Unknown said...

Small point of order.
Assuming the article located here is correct - , then the following quote should clear a few things up (my bolding
These remarks on their own were broad enough not to raise eyebrows, but Sutor's next statement did: "I think making it a complete drop-in replacement is a dead-end strategy," he said, referring to Linux as a Windows replacement.
What was not picked up as much in the media was his next sentence: "we need to make something better."
Sutor did not seem to be advocating the end of the Linux desktop, but rather was making a call to the desktop community to stop following Windows and OS X and begin a unique line of innovation.
If this were done, Linux on the desktop would be a viable contender for this segment of IT, Sutor maintained.


So maybe the FULL remarks should be viewed, and not just the censored remarks. Not putting any blame on Ken here, but it seem's most of the "tech" media have not reported the WHOLE conversation...

Gavin said...

@ Henaway

You are correct in your quotation of Sutor, but you must remember that everything needs context. Otherwise we are unable to divine the true intent of the message. The context in this case could even conceivably come from Sutor himself:

His keynote was titled Regarding Clouds, Mainframes, and Desktops ... and Linux. It is 24 slides long, 6 of which prominently feature IBM-specific products or services (not including the reference and legal fine print slides), 18 of which show or discuss enterprise-only topics such as clouds and virtualization (not including the reference and legal fine print slides), and 0 of which touch on the topic of Linux for use beyond a business environment. He just completely ignored it.

Oh wait, except for a couple little pieces at the end, when he discussed past 2008 predictions (whose?) of Linux.

Slide 19, referring to "2008 Prediction 2" which stated "Linux will not be replaced", bullet point #2:

"Linux will be introduced to thousands more users via implementations in mobile phones, though users may not know it."

Great... users will not even know they are using Linux. In which case, can it really be said that any introductions take place? What exactly is the point of stating that Linux will power such mobile devices? Shareholders? I cannot for the life of me think of any other reason why such knowledge would be useful, beyond the warm fuzzy feelings that FOSS contributors must be experiencing. If they get all tingly from knowing that people will be using Linux when they "text" their friend network, that is.

Slide 20, referring to "2008 Prediction 3" which stated "Linux mindshare will be less x86 focused", bullet point #2:

"From a device perspective, users will think less of operating systems and chips, but more of user interfaces, media, connectivity, applications, app stores, and coolness."

This one is touchy because the implications here are endless. I daresay that a similar point to this has passed across a presentation screen or two deep inside M$ headquarters within the last decade. And what about the parallels to the iPod? Mobile phones again? Might as well pull the iPhone into the fray, too. And "app stores"? Really? So again, the tie-in to sales and selling and making money? Well why not? The media, connectivity, and app stores industry already has an entire generation of teens hooked on proprietary technologies, so why not perpetuate it? And they can build such things on top of a free OS, so bonuses all around! Then they can make trite presentations that say they are using Linux to power their devices, thus introducing customers to the wonderful world of FOSS! Except that users will think less of operating systems and more about coolness... Wait, where is the good news for Linux desktop users at home, then? Could someone explain that to me? And how does IBM's strategy tie-in to what Ken is doing? I must be dense here because I am not seeing the connections.

And what about the part where Linux will be less focused on x86? Is that because Linux can run on every computational architecture ever conceived in the last 40 years? Or because mobile devices used to hook teens tend to be ARM-based? Or perhaps it is because IBM's System z mainframes use POWER/PowerPC CPUs. Hmmm...

You are correct. Sutor's comment has been incompletely quoted. He did not only say that making Linux a drop-in replacement for Windows is a dead-end. He also said that we need to make something better (which we have, if he would simply open his eyes!). But what was he thinking after that? My guess is that he continued in his mind with, "so we can charge money for it like everything else."

- Gavin

Gavin said...

@ Mark Unwin

That is indeed what Sutor said and meant. If that is the case, then Sutor needs to spend some time with Ubuntu instead of merely learning the name of a major Linux distro. Unless Sutor actually thinks that M$ Windows and Mac OS X can do many of the things that Linux has been doing for years?

Grab a Knoppix CD, boot into a live distro on a friend's computer, surf the internet for a few hours, insert a 2GB USB flash drive, download the ISO files for the latest Mint and Fedora distros, disconnect the flash drive from your friend's computer and plug it into your laptop with Ubuntu on it, burn two CDs each of the Mint and Fedora distros you downloaded, continue to surf the internet on your friend's computer while you wait, shutdown your friend's computer and remove the Knoppix CD, let your friend surf the internet on your Ubuntu laptop while you install both Mint and Fedora on his/her computer alongside the current OS, show your friend how you sync your iPod on your Ubuntu laptop while the installs finish, show your friend how to configure Compiz and burn ISO files, tell your friend to burn 15 copies of Mint and take them to work, go home and backup your virtualized Slackware web server running on Xen to your headless fileserver box with both NFS and Samba shares, create a new vm using Mandriva just for fun, install a new hard drive into your fileserver box and expand the RAID volume to use it, play a Windows game on wine for a bit, go to bed and rest after a long evening with Linux.

EULAs violated: 0.
Laws broken: 0.
Repeat with any version(s) of M$ Windows and any version(s) of Mac OS X and try to get the same results. (I am a member of M$ TechNet and have access to Apple computers and Mac OS X 10.4/10.5/10.6 if anyone wants to compare notes.)

Stop following Windows and OS X indeed! Unique innovation needed indeed! Mr. Sutor needs to spend some time with Ken, or with me, or with any of a number of other Linux home users! If he truly believes that Linux is playing catch-up or being a copy-cat, then he does not know Linux...

- Gavin

Anonymous said...


It is always good to read the originals, and not to rely on quotes.

This is from Bob Sutor's blog:

"Of course I added a few spoken comments, but be certain of one thing: the Linux desktop is not to be discounted and, as I list as the fith possibility, it could end up with sizable marketshare:

1. It goes away.
2. We stop using desktops, so who cares?
3. The Linux desktop becomes a tactic instead of a strategy.
4. One Linux desktop distribution ends up with 90% marketshare among those using Linux desktops.
5. One Linux desktop distribution ends up with 90% marketshare among all desktops.
6. We reach 33% / 33% / 33% parity with Microsoft® Windows® / Apple® Mac OS® / Linux, plus or minus.
7. We stop pretending that it will be a drop-in replacement for the dominant desktop operating system, and make it something better.
8. The enterprise sweet spot for Linux desktops is virtualized Linux desktops.
9. We focus on usability, stability, security, reliability, performance, with some cool thrown in.
10. It’s the browser, stupid.

The whole presentation can be found here:

And you might better about IBM after you read the blog post about Linux in Africa:


Reece Dunn said...

There are various UI conventions and ideas (buttons, edit fields, clipboard, drag & drop) that are used as tools for interacting with the computer. Each platform (Gnome, KDE, MacOSX, Windows 95-2000, XP, Vista and Windows 7; even the web and games) all have their own look and behaviour for each of these.

To that extent, there is a shared convention about look and feel, and expected behaviour.

With the emergence of multi-touch devices, to ignore this just because Microsoft or Apple have done it on their platforms is wrong. But then, the Linux community should do it *better*.

With the application store, Apple have iTunes and Microsoft have plans for their own. Linux already has this with the package managers and Add/Remove programs. However, many people don't realise this.

Linux should definitely not just be seen as a Microsoft or Apple clone. But if it goes too far from established conventions, it risks alienating users even further.

It will be interesting to see where things like the Gnome shell and Moblin UI go.

Anonymous said...

Deliberately missing the point seems to be a virtue of a great many Linux users:

"Most people say, 'I don't want to be bothered. It just works. I want to do the other parts of my job, and I want to go home,'" said Sutor. "So this, I think, is going to be a major, major portion that determines possibly some of those futures. What are we really trying to do with this thing? I think making it a complete drop-in replacement is a dead-end strategy.

"They've got a little more money," Sutor said about Microsoft and Apple. "But even more important than that, they've got the market share and the mindshare. We need lots of different attacks on this problem through lots of different technologies. I think the Linux desktop is critical to that, but it has to find its niche of what it does really well, at what price point, and which people. You shouldn't be thinking of it as one great desktop for everyone. I really feel that way. You have to do what we call 'market segmentation.'"

tracyanne said...

quote::What was not picked up as much in the media was his next sentence: "we need to make something better."

Actually the something "better" that Bob Suter wants is Linux tethered to a Corporate owned Cloud Computing "solution".

In other words one where IBM is in control not you the computer's "owner".

Suter deserve all the stick Ken can dish, and in point of fact he was very mild.

They the, so called, "Linux Community" that make up the likes of the Linux Foundation are only interested in creating their vertical markets, their walled gardens, and a Free Desktop is not part of their vision. The only way a Free Desktop will ever gain market share is when we the little people, the real Linux Community, the people who don't matter in the eyes of the Corporate community, make it happen. Ken has shown a way.

James said...

I'm glad Mark Unwin already picked you up on this. My understanding was he did not say "linux desktop a dead end" he said pursuing Windows was. That what really mattered was something better or niches or just other things.

Anonymous said...

I think attacking Mr. Sutor is irresponsible in that he's the wrong guy. You're just pointing at someone already in the media and I understand that tact. Sure.

Linux is no drop-in replacement for Windows, it's far and away a better solution. It's computing, not chasing the pretty bouncing ball.

I think everybody understands what the Open Source (Linux being its greatest project) community is up against but we're all trying to take it down by playing their game. Lol, Microsoft is the BEST at what it does - FUD because it's entrenched, buys legislation, etc., etc., etc. trying to compete against that with logic or sob stories or feel-good stories is a waste of time.

Trying to show how Windows is garbage just makes us all look like little kids in a school-yard to the simple people tolerating Windows, because their God says so...

Giving computers to people is righteous. I do it, too, many of us do. It's fundamental and it beats hell out of advertising. Getting that kid comfortable with GNU/Linux on his own terms is truth; no convert, no "win" just another that can see with his/her own eyes.

Too few of us can.

We're trying to compete with idiot 12 year old kids with vehement attitudes, terrible mouths and manners, and more savvy online than we (collectively) do. They have Microsoft behind them (honestly I can't fathom why anyone defends Microsoft), they have momentum, they have history. Sure, it's all BS, but they have it anyway.

When a body has an impression it's earth-shaking to introduce another that may be more beneficial. Pfft -- almost impossible.

Mr. Sutor is in his separate world, sure - like the politicians that make our rules and squander our planet for a buck -- try talking to one of them. Lol - dumb as dirt and singularly minded as to how (s)he can get off more at our expense or how to get a free pool or ensure his buddie's business stays in the black. Or rape a region to employ 3400 when another less costly manner exists...

The kids in my neighborhood are like any other kid anywhere - they listen to whomever they perceive as cool. Since I'm the "bike-guy" and I hang with the local crowd here sometimes they think I'm cool. For an old guy. Their parents think I'm pretty cool, too - but not as wealthy or powerful as Microsoft so I must not know anything. My advice or experience isn't worth a damn to them.

Kids follow the cool and adults follow the money.

It's so simple -- hawk GNU/Linux on late-night TV infomercials wearing fancy Gucci loafers and thousand dollar suits. This way those drone parents get the impression that they are getting something righteous because they are BUYING.

Soon enough the coolest kid in the neighborhood is running Linux. Shortly thereafter all the wannabes are, too.

But some would argue that this method is weak - too fragile. Lol -- yeah -- smart people avoid the media and pop-culture but it hasn't stopped that monster from controlling our lives. So -- tell me how weak this is again.

The Open Source community has a lot of warts to offer, too. Immature and anti-social misfit coders, demanding coders that tell folks - you want it, fix it yourself. Releasing programs to the public at version 0.7 - yep folks, there may be bugs but that's OK because we have already programmed you to accept software with bugs.

The public hears about Microsoft buying some company or squashing some company but they don't care at all because next year they get a fabulous new "Microsoft Tweaked" feature to pay for. Whether they want it or not...whether it works or not.

I gotta stop. Both sides in this ridiculous "war" are simply prolonging a thing to their benefit. It's asinine but it's the way we allow things to go on...we like the entertainment and some of you get off on hearing that misfit 12 year old spout venom in their secret 12 year old web language.

All righty then, indeed....

Anonymous said...


Exactly. But, while the strategy is being worked out, Ken's tactics is working wonderfully.

Just a small note: a query went out on the company intranet, asking for experience in large-scale desktop migration from Windows to Linux. They mention 30 to 40 % of 100 000 desktops, in Germany. Oh, and the main system used is written in Java and most probably a drop-in on Linux. /me is delighted!

bob_sutor said...

It's very odd that I spoke about 10 different possible futures, including one where I said that Linux on the desktop could potentially get 90% of all desktop share (presumably something you would like), yet you focused on the more negative ones. Readers who want to see the full list can do so for themselves at

Unknown said...

Nice try Stanley....

Now either go get a job or make sure your mommy or daddy know you are on the computer.


Kevin (Whizard72) said...


The ideals of open-source and Linux are, as you stated being imbedded in today's youth as we speak. Those kids are going to go on to college and get degrees in computer science. These kids are the future of everything. They eventually will control the industry and government. Having been raised on Linux instead of the competitor, Guess what they're going to be sympathetic too?

How many times are we seeing examples where people are using/developing for/supporting windows because they don't know there's a real choice out there.

About 9 months ago, me and my wife went to get an ultrasound done on my unborn son (now 5 months old) and the ultrasound machine was one of those portable wheelie kind of deals made by GE. It was running Windows XP Embedded. The only reason I know this is because they had to reboot the damn thing before it would work properly. It made me frown that GE would use XP Embedded, pay extortion fees to MS and pass the cost onto the health industry who then has to charge ridiculous prices to your insurance company who then has to raise your premiums.

We're paying MS a lot more money than we think we are even after we switch to desktop Linux.

Anonymous said...

I love linux and the purpose she serves, but ffs you guys are more dramatic than the mac crowd -- to a damn near sociopathic degree.

Kinda less eager to raise my penguin flag after reading through some of this.

David Meyers said...

I'm not sure helios qualifies as an "fsf guy...maybe some of the commenters are but helios has had his run-ins with those that demand free software purity.

But that's fine. When one falls with the flag, there are tens to hundreds of thousands behind him to pick it up.

Dave M.

Anonymous said...

You might want to read the original presentation of Bob Sutor. See his blog:

Or the extract Helios mentioned:

"Of course I added a few spoken comments, but be certain of one thing: the Linux desktop is not to be discounted and, as I list as the fifth possibility, it could end up with sizable marketshare:

1. It goes away.
2. We stop using desktops, so who cares?
3. The Linux desktop becomes a tactic instead of a strategy.
4. One Linux desktop distribution ends up with 90% marketshare among those using Linux desktops.
5. One Linux desktop distribution ends up with 90% marketshare among all desktops.
6. We reach 33% / 33% / 33% parity with Microsoft® Windows® / Apple® Mac OS® / Linux, plus or minus.
7. We stop pretending that it will be a drop-in replacement for the dominant desktop operating system, and make it something better.
8. The enterprise sweet spot for Linux desktops is virtualized Linux desktops.
9. We focus on usability, stability, security, reliability, performance, with some cool thrown in.
10. It’s the browser, stupid."

Places everything in a completely different perspective.


Anonymous said...

I quite clearly remember that the UNIX philosophy is something like "using the right tool for the job". Well then, has it ever occurred to some here, that the right tools aren't always available on Linux? Switching to Linux ultimately means that I willingly cripple myself. The inconvenient truth is: most Linux software that aims to replicate/replace commercial or free (not open source) software, is sub-par. Freedom ain't worth a dime if I can't do my job. Just good enough doesn't always cut it. This no-matter-what stance here is seriously disturbing.

I have also just yesterday installed Windows 7 which I got for free through MSDNAA. I recently bought Snow Leopard for my Mac. Should I now feel guilty? No way. The Linux of today can't offer me a single incentive that would make me switch, even despite the fact that both Windows and Mac OS X have their shortcomings. But for me they're better systems than Linux. And people like you seemingly can't accept the fact that there are people who willingly choose Windows and/or Mac OS X over Linux, despite it coming at no cost.

Are they or am I therefore any less free? Not in my opinion. I have two systems that don't get in my way, have never restricted me in any way and provide the tools that I need to get my work done. If another system can't do the same, then I'm not free. And right now, for *me*, Linux still can't do this.

Unknown said...

Winter, yes it does, but it does not negate the prevailing attitude, as seen in the clip I linked, that Linux isn't a solution, it is a device. Even Jim Zemlin of LF said the same thing to Tom King and me.

Their attitude, in private chambers and boardrooms is that Linux is a tool they can kids however do not enter into the equation.


Anonymous said...

I am self employed in the computer service/support business. Heres my take.

I try to offer Linux to as many people as I can. While Linux has improved a lot in the past few years we have lost some versions that were offering my customers the best chance at making the switch without problems. Those versions were targeted by Microsoft with their (oooooh ahhhh) secret patents routine. Xandros for instance.

Since then I have seen steady improvement in Ubuntu/Kubuntu but they are not where they need to be for me to not suffer "blowback" from problems that arise after the system is in the customers hands.

Don't get me wrong,

Ubuntu/Kubuntu is well done and on track. I see these issues on my own systems. Yesterdays example was one of my systems deciding it no longer had a keyboard in KDE. After digging around the net I discovered that "slow keys" had been activated. I hadn't enabled this so your guess is as good as mine why this occurred. This kind of issue is a make/break for people trying to move customers from Windows to Linux.

So I agree that Linux in general is now improving steadily these kinds of issues are make/break for guys at the face to face customer level. Yes, Linux is better than Windows in many areas but if just a few of these kinds of problems are allowed into production releases guys like me risk losing our good reps with customers because WE stuck our necks out for Linux by "selling" the customer the idea of moving to Linux and WE face those customers directly.

So Bob Sutor is right in his complete statements...."we need to make something better."

On another note here's a simple strategy for Linux advocates to help move people to Linux.

Microsoft has for years colluded with computer manufacturers to increase sales of Windows through some pretty rude methods. One such method is to get the manufacturers to not include disks with sale's of computer systems. Instead, they place a copy of the customers software on the hard drive and claim the customer can restore the system using a built in utility. Obviously this can fail in any number of ways leaving the customer high and dry with no option but to purchase another copy of Windows to revive their perfectly good hardware or buy another Windows system.

WE are that option.

If you are a person doing this for a living try this the next time you see this scenario.

A customer comes in with a trashed Windows system requiring reload. They have no disks. The manufacturers hard drive restore does not work.

If you are the typical greedy Microsoft shop you could keep your mouth shut counting your shekels in advance of an impending sale.


If you want to really offer the customer options that include Linux you could offer the following..

1. I can provide you with a legal copy of Windows for your system at $x.xx plus install/setup time.

2. You can provide me a legal copy of Windows for your system at whatever it costs you plus my install/setup time.

3. I can provide you with a completely free copy of Linux, including disk (imagine that!) plus my install/setup time.

As we all know installing and setting up Linux generally takes less time than Windows. Number 3 will likely be the cheapest route for the customer.

Take time to explain what Linux is. Don't sugar coat what the customer might be facing when making this kind of move. Ask questions. Evaluate whether this will be a viable option for them. If they give you signals that it won't work take the #3 off the table. Tell them why so they leave informed of the issues locking them into Microsoft.

Now going back to what I was saying at the beginning of this post. Make future versions of Linux, such as Ubuntu/Kubuntu, so they don't come back to bite me in the butt with problems like "slow keys" turning on out of nowhere. Using strategies like I describe I can steadily increase Linux users by using Microsoft corrupt practices against themselves.

"we need to make something better."

Unknown said...

then Mr. Sutor and I have indeed found common ground.


Unknown said...

@ Bob Sutor...

Bob, my point is that NOW the Linux Desktop is good enough to pull ghetto kids off the streets and into their homes to do their homework assignments...I've seen it, and even helped with it hundreds of times.

Look, I know I have an acid-dipped quill at times but I am a on-focus advocate that can show you hundreds of kids that use linux just fine right now.

This very moment...

It doesn't HAVE to be better now...when they have no alternative to an expensive or buggy MS machine, then The Linux Desktop in its current form is a dead-on drop-in.


Robert Pogson said...

I have introduced thousands to GNU/Linux. None of them suggested they could not do their jobs in GNU/Linux. A few clung to that other OS because they had their file-system locked in. Surveys of businesses find that around 80% of tasks can be done using GNU/Linux. Users who work on those tasks can migrate easily.

Certainly, for the home user, only some games are a consideration. Gamers are a small niche.

Anonymous said...

aside from not catering to the small gaming niche as described above, variety of 3rd party applications available for (yes, very niche specific needs) is another issue. I for one always find a niche need, but even the mainstream nix-equivalency apps out there I just don't like the clunky interfaces we're stuck with. I strictly use Linux for network/security specific needs where it remains unsurpassed.

Anonymous said...

You can all do this "feel good" work with a Windows or Mac machine. Why does it have to be Linux? Children would be more productive.

Michelle Minkin - Seattle said...

"You can all do this "feel good" work with a Windows or Mac machine. Why does it have to be Linux? Children would be more productive."

Either you are totally ignorant of the tech field and associated costs or you are a troll..

Even a 14 year old can figure out there are licensing costs and software costs involved in both of your "solutions".

It's Linux because it is free to distribute and free to alter.

What a dolt...

But I mean that in a warm and supporting way.


Unknown said...

Chelle, don't beat up the trolls...I enjoy disassembling them myself.

So you want me to give these kids a system that will make them spend their time with patches, viruses, cpu-clogging antivirus software?

You are asking me to give them a two legged pony.

Chelle was kind in calling you a dolt...I personally had moron in mind but hey...who am I to judge.


Anonymous said...

Hey I for one like that "Linux is a component" comment. The OS (my apologies to RMS, merely quoting here) is a "component"... I'll slap that in the face of the next OEM's support people going through their ready-made checklist of counterarguments, when I call them to get a refund on the MS license I don't plan on using. "Nope, the OS isn't an integral part of that notebook of yours that I've just purchased, it's a COMPONENT". Hehe...

Sarcasm aside, and given the recently announced joint effort of IBM and Canonical for Africa, I wonder if the Linux desktop comments aren't simply poorly worded, or rather, unconsciously abstracted from their context: Mr Sutor might have had the local US retailer channels in mind, and spoke inadvertently in broad terms (or phrased it so the audience would think as much).

Quite like the much touted "proven 1% market share" that was all the rage a few weeks ago... Read the fine print and the data is taken from North American web surfing statistics (erm Canada isn't included though eh?), collected from one agency.

Anonymous said...

What a loosers.

Why they think someone will take care for their toy Linux desktop when they even cannot/wont not to fix its errors?

Anonymous said...

What a loosers.

Why they think someone will take care for their toy Linux desktop when they even cannot/wont not to fix its errors?

You mean like your English?

I'm just sayin'...