Linux to take over the world?

I recently read an interesting article here. It talks about recent market trends and how Linux is actually making significant headway.

Of course lots of people always rush to poor scorn on the Linux on the desktop stories. But recently some brand new things have happened.

The biggest thing is the arrival of systems from renown manufacturers with Linux preinstalled. That just did not happen 12 months ago. And now Dell are doing it, Asus are doing it, and Walmart too (‘ll have to get down to Asda and see what they are up to).

Its hard to work out how much of the Vista negativity is just that so many people are chipping in, or if it really is that bad. I have never used it, and have no current plans to, so I can’t comment.

I’m looking forward to seeing how things pan out in the next 12 months, if a few more manufacturers release Linux systems things could really take off. And with Windows XP being retired (ie: no longer available for sale or pre-installed) in 6 months time (extended from Jan 2008 till June) Linux could get a major boost.

Add to that that OpenOffice seems to be investing more in VBA than Microsoft, and the incompatible UI in Office 2007 and its easy to imagine a future with more OpenOffice Calc on Linux and less MS Office on Vista.

And of course we haven’t even touched on the Apple phenomenon. (OpenOffice is the only office suite that runs on all three o/s’s).

My main t’internet machine is now a Linux box, anyone else actively using Linux (or a Mac)?

cheers

Simon

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14 Responses to “Linux to take over the world?”

  1. Stephane Rodriguez Says:

    “Add to that that OpenOffice seems to be investing more in VBA than Microsoft, and the incompatible UI in Office 2007 and its easy to imagine a future with more OpenOffice Calc on Linux and less MS Office on Vista.”

    Add to this the lack of 64-bit edition of Microsoft Office. I’ve just finished an article about it :

    http://ooxmlisdefectivebydesign.blogspot.com/2008/02/truth-about-microsoft-office.html

  2. Darko Says:

    I’m using Ubuntu as my main machine at work. It is great improvement over Windows XP. I’m happy that I migrated before Vista nightmare hit me.

  3. Johan Nordberg Says:

    I wouldn’t be too surpriced if the next version of Open Office uses ribbons just as Microsoft Office. They’ve ripped most features and the UI from MS Office, so why wouldn’t they continue?

    But I think you have a valid point. Maybe not for corporations, atleast not in the next few years, but I’m sure home users would actually consider OpenOffice and maybe Linux too.

    Open Office seem to have support for Java as a programming environment. For me, that would be much more interesting than the VBA support. And I acutally think that their file format is better than Microsoft Open XML. In ODF there is actually markup for headings and nested bullets, but in OpenXML everything is paragraphs with different styles, and the style might or might not have an outline level. ODF is more like semantic HTML.

    It’s like a browser war for desktop office application. Yikes…

  4. Alan Lord (The Open Sourcerer) Says:

    Hi Simon,

    Just thought I’d drop by and say hello.

    We run our business entirely on OSS and Linux as the OS. Ubuntu for Desktops, Debian and some custom build Linux for servers…

    Did you know you can get PCs from TESCOs!!! With Linux on? Check them out here: http://direct.tesco.com/q/N.1999739/Nr.99.aspx.

    Recently I’ve commented on how I believe Linux is ready for “prime-time” – here: http://www.theopensourcerer.com/2008/01/27/linux-is-2008-the-year-of-the-desktop/

    Also some more interesting articles have cropped up recently. Take it easy and have fun:-)

    Alan

    PS – Where do you hang out then?

  5. Anthony Lawrence Says:

    I use both Mac and Linux (and BSD too).

    I’m seeing that the general public is becoming more agreeable to “something else”. Most seem to realize that Vista sucks and that XP is not o great.. they are ready for a change.

  6. G David Lewis Says:

    I have been using linux as my primary (and only) platform of choice for almost a decade now. I use it for everything from surfing the internet, online shopping, writing, doing my taxes, coding, watching movies, listening to music, playing games, etc. In no way do I ever find myself missing Windows. In the extremely rare circumstance that I find myself absolutely needed to run an application that only runs on Windows and has no viable alternative for Linux, then I either run it via Wine under Linux or else in a virtualized Windows install running in Qemu. By using Linux, I experience stable, safe, fast and consistent computing. Windows and all its hassles simply has no place in my computing life, and probably never will.

  7. Harlan Grove Says:

    @Johan, and Microsoft ripped off their basic GUIs of old from Apple, which appropriated them from Xerox PARC.

    Anyway, check the [ef]Fluent UI’s licensing terms. OOo couldn’t use it without risking a lawsuit.

    Besides, the OOo developers are smart enough to spot a loser of a UI when they see it.

  8. Harlan Grove Says:

    My office home office machine dual boots Windows XP and Ubuntu. There’s no doubt whatsoever that Linux is much better at making older hardware seem to perform as well as newer hardware. I still have a 10-year-old box that runs Xubuntu reasonably that wouldn’t be able to boot XP, much less Vista.

    As for applications, OOo Calc is a lot closer to Excel than it had been, I found out recently. Maybe not in terms of VBA/programmability, but in terms of what can be done using formulas in worksheets. OTOH, OOo Base isn’t close to Access yet.

    The interesting question to me involves custom legacy applications. A lot of people working near my office use some ancient Clipper applications that still run under XP. There’s a chance some of them might not under Vista, but probably could under DOS emulation under Linux. If Linux does a better job of way-back backwards compatibility than Windows, there could be more business up-take of Linux.

  9. Ross Says:

    >>If Linux does a better job of way-back backwards compatibility than Windows, there could be more business up-take of Linux.

    Narrr, you think? I cant see any OS be successful because it runs Clipper type programs, and surly the 0.0001% of people running these could get some from of enmu for windows X – no? Do you see a lot of people running apps like this Harlan?

    I just got a new Lappy with Vista (Home Perineum (sic)) on it – it sucks! I think I might wipe it and run XP with VM 2007 and vista – but i might just not bother, VM2007 wont even run on Home Per, which to be fair i can understand, what home user needs a VM.

    If i didn’t develop for windows PCs, I would be running Linux, I think I might bung it on my desk top and use the lappy and my main dev PC.

  10. Simon Says:

    Johan
    C’mon you must have a short or selective memory.
    That whole WIMP interface was around long before Microsoft:
    http://www.cc.gatech.edu/classes/cs6751_97_winter/Topics/dialog-wimp/

    And if you think the ribbon adds/changes or improves any of that I’d be interested to hear, to me its just a fat clumsy toolbar with no additional worthwhile functionality, and a ton of important stuff blocked ‘for our own safety ™’. (I’m with Harlan in the ‘its a loser UI’ camp)(in case anyone didn’t realise ;-)

    Good point on the browser wars. I’ve always avoided Java, but am now beginning to think I maybe should reconsider that, although I don’t think Java/COM is a thing of beauty.

    Interesting responses, I think things were a lot different even 12m ago.

    Stephane thx for 64 bit link, a few people have suggested the current lack of 64 bit Office is the main reason MS havent pushed 64 Windows.

    Alan thx for those links, Tescos is just what I’m on about, full pc for 180 quid + monitor. (thats less than some Vista licences!)

    GDL – fair enough, its an uphill battle to fully switch for a Excel/VB dev like me though. Now they killed VB and Excel though they’ve kinda forced my hand.

  11. Harlan Grove Says:

    @Ross, I see roughly half the people who work nearby using mostly (yes, MOSTLY) 15 to 20-year-old character mode applications. Welcome to the high tech world of the financial services back office.

    The tangent I’ll go off on is speculating whether Linux or Vista would do a better job of providing DOS emulation. Do most PC users need it? No. Do most large banks, insurance companies and (this may be a US-only industry) medical claims processing and administration companies still use dBase-like systems? Yes, far too many still do. Some code was written well enough it does have a useful lifetime measured in decades.

  12. Simon Says:

    I know a large insurance company that still runs cobol training courses every month.

  13. Richard Schollar Says:

    @Ross

    Virtual PC 2007 works just fine on Vista Home Premium, whether Microsoft states so or not on their website is another matter…

    Richard

  14. Ross Says:

    Thanks Harlan, interesting.

    Thanks Richard, I might try and force it hand then – don’t think I’ll be losing a lot either way, I’m about don’t with VISTA!

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