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 Post subject: MS decision may give new hope to Desktop Linux
PostPosted: Fri Sep 03, 2004 6:36 pm 
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http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1759,1642464,00.asp

While Linux has its doubters, I disdain to doubt and have a resounding optimism. Interesting read, by the way, and it does make good points.

I think that MS decision to neuter Longhorn down to an XP upgrade will most likely put Longhorn in the back of the line. WinFS and Avalon - which are evolutionary MS upgrades - are being cut from the Longhorn features. So Linux vendors and analysts say that this turn for the worse for Microsoft may spell success to the Linux community. I can see where they're coming from, and here's why:

1) if Desktop Linux can deliver a good set of features (not to mention standardized libraries), Linux desktop can certainly be successful. I think that Linux kernel 2.6.8 is good step, since its inclusion of more device drivers, better performance, and whatnot.


2) Project Evil: yes, this is a FreeBSD project, but it has to get ported to Linux. Why? It will increase the number of devices that Linux is able to run. Why? Project Evil is a wrapper/insulator for the .sys, .inf Windows driver files and fools them to thinking that it's running on a Windows box. Hence, Linux functionality for devices without a total driver re-write and with little manufacturer support.

3) I can't emphasize the need for a standardized desktop API. Qt, GTK, GTK2, etc.. There are far too many API's, we need a centralized solution with backwards compatibility. I think that if they put forward this idea, they can really move towards Desktop Linux. Make development easier, fix Xlibs (xlibs suck), and definitely move away from an uncommon desktop API to a more centralized one.

4) Longhorn-like features. Though this might seem stupid, but yes, GNOME has in works a new filesystem, etc. I think that if they all collectively worked on features that Longhorn couldn't deliver, I can see Desktop Linux as successful.

However, we are far from there, so let the OSS cross our fingers and hope that the Linux community doesn't screw this one over.


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 Post subject: Re: MS decision may give new hope to Desktop Linux
PostPosted: Fri Sep 03, 2004 10:53 pm 
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DJSPIN80 wrote:

I think that MS decision to neuter Longhorn down to an XP upgrade will most likely put Longhorn in the back of the line. WinFS and Avalon - which are evolutionary MS upgrades - are being cut from the Longhorn features.


From what I have read Avalon isn't getting the axe but WinFS is.

DJSPIN80 wrote:
So Linux vendors and analysts say that this turn for the worse for Microsoft may spell success to the Linux community.


I believe that the rate of OSS advancement will ultimately bring success to Linux on the desktop. On one hand you have Microsoft that releases new software on a timescale measured in years, on the other hand you have the components that make up a Linux distribution that are updated constantly. For instance: Mandrake has turned out seven versions since the release of Windows XP in 2001.

DJSPIN80 wrote:
3) I can't emphasize the need for a standardized desktop API. Qt, GTK, GTK2, etc.. There are far too many API's, we need a centralized solution with backwards compatibility. I think that if they put forward this idea, they can really move towards Desktop Linux. Make development easier, fix Xlibs (xlibs suck), and definitely move away from an uncommon desktop API to a more centralized one.


Competition is important in all areas of development. If everything is too centralized we'll end with a stagnant monoculture. I like that fact that we have QT and GTK to choose from (although I would like to see LessTiff/Motif die a horrible death). And the KDE and GNOME teams are working together to provide better Interoperability. For example: colors schemes are appliable across both environments as are dock applets.

DJSPIN80 wrote:
4) Longhorn-like features. Though this might seem stupid, but yes, GNOME has in works a new filesystem, etc. I think that if they all collectively worked on features that Longhorn couldn't deliver, I can see Desktop Linux as successful.


As the article stated the next version of KDE will include Google-like filesystem search capabilities. And reiser4 already includes search engine and database functionality.


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 Post subject: Re: MS decision may give new hope to Desktop Linux
PostPosted: Sun Sep 05, 2004 3:27 am 
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Damn it. Firefox just crashed, which is very rare these days, still though. Argh. Why does a browser always crash at the end of writing a long post? sob.

It isn't that a Linux desktop cannot be built, but that a business model to support a linux desktop has not been identified (assuming that one exists). Redhat splintering off Fedora is a good example of the difficulty involved in creating a Linux desktop. Several others have also given up or failed to develop successful businesses around the desktop - Caldera and Corel among others. And before somone says it, I know that Debian and other volunteer based distros have been around for a long time and offer a good desktop, however, they haven't made much, if any, inroads into MS's marketshare. I don't see why this will change going forward. Linspire (or whatever they're called now) and Sun have interesting licensing models, Novell might surprise us too.


DJSPIN80 wrote:
I think that MS decision to neuter Longhorn down to an XP upgrade will most likely put Longhorn in the back of the line. WinFS and Avalon - which are evolutionary MS upgrades - are being cut from the Longhorn features.

AFAIK, Avalon is still a go. This has certainly been an intersting time period for MS. IMO, they're screwing up at an alarming rate with the sp2 rollout and now having to cut back on Longhorn, which was suppose to be this new great thing and is sort of turning into just barely a thing at all. Anyways, the business model is very important and hard to break. People are resistant to change.


DJSPIN80 wrote:
2) Project Evil: yes, this is a FreeBSD project, but it has to get ported to Linux. Why? It will increase the number of devices that Linux is able to run.

Project Evil only works for wireless nics, and even then not all of them, eg. usb nics don't work, so we're back to convincing vendors to open their hardware or support Linux. You are right though. Any os that hopes to displace Windows will need excellent device support since the world has grown accustomed to having everything just plug in and work.



DJSPIN80 wrote:
3) I can't emphasize the need for a standardized desktop API. Qt, GTK, GTK2, etc.. There are far too many API's, we need a centralized solution with backwards compatibility.


Yeah, well.... you know.

I was thinking about something similiar to this earlier today. With .NET and Java, the applications can be removed from both the OS and desktop (window manager), so it may be possible to have something like.....

java >> looking glass >> solaris
.net >> window maker >> os x (the mac crowd: "pfft! Aqua!")

There are some pretty huge issues to overcome, but I think it is an interesting idea. When I have more time....


DJSPIN80 wrote:
4) Longhorn-like features. Though this might seem stupid, but yes, GNOME has in works a new filesystem, etc. I think that if they all collectively worked on features that Longhorn couldn't deliver, I can see Desktop Linux as successful.

Two quick points......

First, there are some intersting cutting-edge open source projects like Looking Glass. However, many of these projects are never adopted because they sprung forth from a company, which 50% of the OSS community isn't going to like for a million lame reaons, and doesn't use license xyz or language abc, or some other damn thing gets in the way, and eventually anyone who asks why is greeted with....

OMG WTF, RU EV1L? We would never include that inferior shit in our distro.

Sometimes OSS biggest enemy is OSS.

Second, I think that whoever wrote the Halloween document, MS or ESR, got it partially right with 'OSS follows in the tail lights'. OSS is very suitable for older, well established, things... compilers, good - games, bad. There are several reasons and quite a few exceptions, but I think this is a pretty good rule of thumb.

Prior to Linux, you could even argue that OSS doesn't do operating systems very well (bare with me). After all, Linux is a bit of a fluke. Most other OSS os'es have mostly failed, and the 3BSD's were based off of the AT&T source code, and while they are entirely OSS now, the design is still based and influenced by the old BSD. Who knows, but would FreeBSD have been successful without the AT&T template?

I'll add something on MS and the software lifecycle later.


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 Post subject: Re: MS decision may give new hope to Desktop Linux
PostPosted: Sun Sep 05, 2004 8:50 am 
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Gadget wrote:
First, there are some intersting cutting-edge open source projects like Looking Glass.


Whoa, that looks pretty cool. I'd like to try it out.


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 Post subject: Re: MS decision may give new hope to Desktop Linux
PostPosted: Sun Sep 05, 2004 9:16 am 
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Skeksis wrote:
I believe that the rate of OSS advancement will ultimately bring success to Linux on the desktop. On one hand you have Microsoft that releases new software on a timescale measured in years, on the other hand you have the components that make up a Linux distribution that are updated constantly. For instance: Mandrake has turned out seven versions since the release of Windows XP in 2001.


That's not exactly a fair comparison. XP has had continuous patching and two Service Packs, which could be comparable to Mandrake's releases IF they both had the same release and versioning schema.

Mandrake takes groups of patches and updates and calls them a new release (usually a dot release) -- a new standard for installing the distribution. If there have been enough major changes, they will release a new "version", not just a new dot release.

Since Windows doesn't have nearly all of the components of a standard linux distribution and also has their own versioning scheme, they don't have to do this as often with their own patches, but they do release "rollup" patches and eventually service packs (which I think would be similar to a version number increase in the linux world).

XP Released:
October 25, 2001

SP1 Released:
September 9, 2002

SP2 Released:
August 10, 2004

(No way am I going to list all of the rollups and other releases, but all of their dates are available)

Mandrake 8.1 Released (8.0 was in April):
September 27, 2001

Mandrake 8.2 Released:
March 18, 2002

Mandrake 9.0 Released:
September 25, 2002

Mandrake 9.1 Released:
February 25, 2003

Mandrake 9.2 Released:
October 14, 2003

Mandrake 10.0 Released:
March 4, 2004

I'd still say Mandrake releases "ahead" of Windows XP, but I don't think they are directly comparable at all. Plus, most Linux distributions that version like Mandrake and the old RedHat are notorious for bugs in their .0 releases (not to say anything of Windows bugs ;)).


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 Post subject: Re: MS decision may give new hope to Desktop Linux
PostPosted: Sun Sep 05, 2004 11:07 am 
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colby wrote:
I'd still say Mandrake releases "ahead" of Windows XP, but I don't think they are directly comparable at all.


I believe they are absolutely comparable. We are talking about rate of advancement, not just the quantity of releases (although more frequent releases allow users to benefit from the advancements sooner). Just looking at the "XP era", 2001 to present, there is significant more progress between Mandrake 8.1 and 10 compared to XP initial release and SP2.


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 Post subject: Re: MS decision may give new hope to Desktop Linux
PostPosted: Sun Sep 05, 2004 6:05 pm 
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Skeksis wrote:
colby wrote:
I'd still say Mandrake releases "ahead" of Windows XP, but I don't think they are directly comparable at all.


I believe they are absolutely comparable. We are talking about rate of advancement, not just the quantity of releases (although more frequent releases allow users to benefit from the advancements sooner). Just looking at the "XP era", 2001 to present, there is significant more progress between Mandrake 8.1 and 10 compared to XP initial release and SP2.


You're comparing Windows with an entire Linux distribution, which is significantly larger in scope. Why not compare all of the software that MS releases for Windows, or just the Linux kernel vs Windows? Mandrake has more releases partially because they have a few thousand more apps in their distro than Windows.

As for 'rate of advancement', you didn't list anything specifically, but I think if you were to make a list of all the advances made over the past three years, you would find that nearly all of them fall into one of two catagories. Many are actually old technologies that are donated to the OSS community by companies after the products have served a useful life. A recent example of this is IBM's donation of Cloudspace (thank you IBM - I have a little project planned now :)). This often relieves a company from the products maintenance costs, which are often still pretty high, at that point in the lifecycle when it is generating the least profit (near the end). Many of the file systems available for Linux are also donated code from older operating systems that have been donated for a variety of reasons.

The other catagory is software that is sponsored by outside companies that essentially copies, sometimes very expensive, prorprietary software allowing these companies to enter a market. JBoss is an example of this, and Apache before it. Before JBoss, if you wanted a Java application server, you were going to pay some serious money to either BEA, IBM, Sun or Oracle for the licenses. But don't fall into the trap of thinking that just because it is OSS it is better. At this stage at least, JBoss is alive and well because it is cheap, not better. OSS is a slow broad army, not a blietzkrieg.


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 Post subject: Re: MS decision may give new hope to Desktop Linux
PostPosted: Sun Sep 05, 2004 6:06 pm 
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TWBalls wrote:
Gadget wrote:
First, there are some intersting cutting-edge open source projects like Looking Glass.


Whoa, that looks pretty cool. I'd like to try it out.


It is on my to do list too. :)


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 Post subject: Re: MS decision may give new hope to Desktop Linux
PostPosted: Sun Sep 05, 2004 7:35 pm 
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Gadget wrote:
You're comparing Windows with an entire Linux distribution, which is significantly larger in scope.
Mandrake has more releases partially because they have a few thousand more apps in their distro than Windows.


Yes. I am comparing the cumulative assembly of software known as Windows XP with the Linux equivalent called a "distribution". Just because one solution has more software/features/options than the other does not rule it out for comparison. In fact if everything were equal there wouldn't be a reason to make a comparison.

Gadget wrote:
Why not compare all of the software that MS releases for Windows, or just the Linux kernel vs Windows?


Certainly I could have, but I didn't. I chose (what I thought to be obvious) equivalent offerings of both solutions. I think it would be silly to compare a kernel to an entire operating system.

Gadget wrote:
As for 'rate of advancement', you didn't list anything specifically, but I think if you were to make a list of all the advances made over the past three years, you would find that nearly all of them fall into one of two catagories. Many are actually old technologies that are donated to the OSS community...

The other catagory is software that is sponsored by outside companies that essentially copies...


I would certainly argue against those assertions but there is no point. As long as there isn't a copyright violation it doesn't matter how the code got there. That is the essence of Open Source development: collaboration: a collective body of works contributed by individuals around the world.


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 Post subject: Re: MS decision may give new hope to Desktop Linux
PostPosted: Sun Sep 05, 2004 8:56 pm 
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Skeksis wrote:
Gadget wrote:
You're comparing Windows with an entire Linux distribution, which is significantly larger in scope.
Mandrake has more releases partially because they have a few thousand more apps in their distro than Windows.


Yes. I am comparing the cumulative assembly of software known as Windows XP with the Linux equivalent called a "distribution". Just because one solution has more software/features/options than the other does not rule it out for comparison. In fact if everything were equal there wouldn't be a reason to make a comparison.


Under certain conditions you are correct, but you should not compare items of different scope when the basis of the comparison is ambiguous and cannot be applied equally to the items being compared. In a nutshell, you are essentially saying that Mandrake is better because it is advancing faster. But the majority of the things that are advancing are not included in Windows XP, so what is the point?

If we take one segment, say games, we can see that the games that come with Mandrake are indeed better. However, the comparison is useless and misleading because Windows XP is an operating system and doesn't include a bunch of games. It isn't even trying to compete in this area, yet you are using this as part of the basis for your comparison. Cars don't fly, so why compare them to a plane. It is also misleading since the quality of games available for the Windows operating system are better than those available for Linux.



Skeksis wrote:
I think it would be silly to compare a kernel to an entire operating system.


I think it is silly to compare a distro an operating system on the basis of some intentionally ambigous terminology like 'rate of advancement' and then try to provide further support for the ambigous position with inconsistent pleas to the 'obvious' and further unsubstantiated claims (next quote). Just my opinion.


Skeksis wrote:
I would certainly argue against those assertions but there is no point.


Whatever. My new OSS motto.....

Just shutup and code.
And if you don't code, please, just shutup.


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 Post subject: Re: MS decision may give new hope to Desktop Linux
PostPosted: Sun Sep 05, 2004 10:14 pm 
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Gadget wrote:
Under certain conditions you are correct, but you should not compare items of different scope when the basis of the comparison is ambiguous and cannot be applied equally to the items being compared. In a nutshell, you are essentially saying that Mandrake is better because it is advancing faster. But the majority of the things that are advancing are not included in Windows XP, so what is the point?

If we take one segment, say games, we can see that the games that come with Mandrake are indeed better. However, the comparison is useless and misleading because Windows XP is an operating system and doesn't include a bunch of games. It isn't even trying to compete in this area, yet you are using this as part of the basis for your comparison. Cars don't fly, so why compare them to a plane. It is also misleading since the quality of games available for the Windows operating system are better than those available for Linux.


I'm a little fuzzy on your position. Are you saying that Linux as an operating system can never be compared to Windows as an operating system because that don't have the same quantity of equivalent software? I think you are getting way too literal.

I would certainly count the inclusion of options and features above and beyond the competition as advancement.

Gadget wrote:
I think it is silly to compare a distro an operating system on the basis of some intentionally ambigous terminology like 'rate of advancement' and then try to provide further support for the ambigous position with inconsistent pleas to the 'obvious' and further unsubstantiated claims (next quote). Just my opinion.


Yes it is your opinion, and you are certainly entitled to it.

Gadget wrote:
Whatever.


As if... :)


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 Post subject: Re: MS decision may give new hope to Desktop Linux
PostPosted: Sun Sep 05, 2004 11:26 pm 
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Skeksis wrote:
Gadget wrote:
Under certain conditions you are correct, but you should not compare items of different scope when the basis of the comparison is ambiguous and cannot be applied equally to the items being compared. In a nutshell, you are essentially saying that Mandrake is better because it is advancing faster. But the majority of the things that are advancing are not included in Windows XP, so what is the point?

If we take one segment, say games, we can see that the games that come with Mandrake are indeed better. However, the comparison is useless and misleading because Windows XP is an operating system and doesn't include a bunch of games. It isn't even trying to compete in this area, yet you are using this as part of the basis for your comparison. Cars don't fly, so why compare them to a plane. It is also misleading since the quality of games available for the Windows operating system are better than those available for Linux.


I'm a little fuzzy on your position. Are you saying that Linux as an operating system can never be compared to Windows as an operating system because that don't have the same quantity of equivalent software? I think you are getting way too literal.

I would certainly count the inclusion of options and features above and beyond the competition as advancement.


I stated my position quite clearly. All you are attempting to do is confuse people.


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 Post subject: Re: MS decision may give new hope to Desktop Linux
PostPosted: Mon Sep 06, 2004 5:01 am 
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Gadget wrote:
I stated my position quite clearly.


If that is as clear as you get then my conversation with you on this topic is finished.


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 Post subject: Re: MS decision may give new hope to Desktop Linux
PostPosted: Mon Sep 06, 2004 2:49 pm 
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Skeksis wrote:
Gadget wrote:
I stated my position quite clearly.


If that is as clear as you get then my conversation with you on this topic is finished.


Fine by me. I'll consider this an advancement in my life.


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 Post subject: Re: MS decision may give new hope to Desktop Linux
PostPosted: Tue Sep 07, 2004 1:31 am 
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Skeksis wrote:
Gadget wrote:
Under certain conditions you are correct, but you should not compare items of different scope when the basis of the comparison is ambiguous and cannot be applied equally to the items being compared. In a nutshell, you are essentially saying that Mandrake is better because it is advancing faster. But the majority of the things that are advancing are not included in Windows XP, so what is the point?

If we take one segment, say games, we can see that the games that come with Mandrake are indeed better. However, the comparison is useless and misleading because Windows XP is an operating system and doesn't include a bunch of games. It isn't even trying to compete in this area, yet you are using this as part of the basis for your comparison. Cars don't fly, so why compare them to a plane. It is also misleading since the quality of games available for the Windows operating system are better than those available for Linux.


I'm a little fuzzy on your position. Are you saying that Linux as an operating system can never be compared to Windows as an operating system because that don't have the same quantity of equivalent software? I think you are getting way too literal.


I know that I am going to regret this, but I'll try again anyways. I am absolutely not saying that you cannot, or should not, compare linux and windows. I don't think you should compare dissimiliar things based on criteria that is relevant to one item and not the other.

Example. I want to compare DirectX support in Linux and Windows. Obviously, Windows has better DirectX support. What do you think about that? It is stupid, right? Do you see what I am saying now? Linux isn't inferior because it doesn't support DirectX as well as Windows. It just doesn't try to support it at all.

This thing you're calling 'advancement' is very ambigous and cannot be applied to both items in a sensible manner. If you were to compare a linux distro against windows and all the equivalent apps needed to do a valid comparison, fine. You would certainly befefit by showing that the equivalent software costs an enourmous amount. You could also promote software packages like Moz, xchat, etc which are just as good, if not better, than the windows equivalents.

However, I really feel you are better going in the other direction and comparing the scheduler or memory manager or some other technology versus the equivalent in Windows. One of the benefits of OSS is that you actually know what the hell is running on your computer, or you can easily find out, which isn't always true of CSS.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Sep 07, 2004 10:51 pm 
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We obviously have two entirely different spheres of thought on this subject. I think at this point we are going to have to agree to disagree.


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 Post subject: Re: MS decision may give new hope to Desktop Linux
PostPosted: Wed Sep 08, 2004 8:57 am 
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Gadget wrote:
Whatever. My new OSS motto.....

Just shutup and code.
And if you don't code, please, just shutup.


Amen brotha! :D


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