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Last post Author Topic: Why 2012 may finally be The Year of the Linux Desktop (courtesy of Microsoft)  (Read 9868 times)

40hz

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No...it's not because Microsoft has decided to become best of friends with the Linux community.

It's because of what they plan on borrowing from Apple: a walled-garden app store.

This in from OSNews.com (link to full article here):

Quote
Metro Applications Restricted to Windows Store
posted by Thom Holwerda on Tue 20th Sep 2011 22:30 UTC



Why, would you look at this. All this time we were expecting Apple to be the first one to flip the switch and limit desktop users to Mac App Store applications and turn Mac OS X into a walled garden, but in fact, Microsoft will be the first to flip this switch. As it turns out, Metro applications can only be installed through the Windows Store - with sideloading only for enterprises and developers (this doesn't apply to legacy applications).

I hadn't yet thought about all this yet, what, with the massive shift from the desktop to Metro in Windows 8. However, as MSDN explains, Metro applications in Windows 8 can only be installed through the Windows Store. Sideloading will only be enabled for enterprises and developers. I'm also fairly sure the relevant registry key will be easily toggled for us geeks.

"All roads, as the saying goes, lead to the Windows Store," Microsoft writes, "For Metro style apps, that is, the Windows Store is the only means of general distribution (enterprise customers and developers can bypass the store to side-load apps)."

Microsoft mentions the usual benefits, and I'm sure those are all pretty valid. The company does take a 30% cut here, similar to what Apple takes for iOS and Mac OS X. Still, the idea that a vanilla installation of a desktop operating system - without any, probably warranty-voiding registry editing - will be restricted to Microsoft-approved applications doesn't sit well with me.

Some of you may recall Bill Gates mentioning some years back that he felt everyone who developed for the Microsoft platform should be subject to some sort of licensing and royalty fee. Because everything that runs on Windows, of necessity, makes use of systems services which are made up of millions of lines of proprietary code developed by Microsoft. And with the advent of the  .Net framework it now goes beyond just system services.

In some respects this is very similar to the "bad old days" of locked-in operating systems and overpriced programs. Those who go back to the days of mainframe and minicomputers will remember what that used to be like. You want software? You have to get it from the guy who built your machine. And prices? How about: $5000 for an OS license up front plus $500 per month to keep it there.  Basic productivity applications starting at $2500 each. Clunky language compilers that cost thousands. It was something the the era of personal computing was supposed to have freed us from once and for all.

But it looks like the bad days are coming back. Especially now that Apple and Microsoft have both effectively declared war on the entire notion of "personal" computing with their restricted platform plans.

I can only hope there's a massive revolt on the part of PC users worldwide.

Because if there isn't, that pretty much leaves GNU/Linux (and BSD) as the last unencumbered personal computing platforms available. And probably the only two with sufficient momentum and support to be a viable alternative.

***

It's been considered 'hip' of late to blast Richard Stallman for his "reactionary" and "unyielding" stance opposing proprietary computing platforms. He's been labelled everything from "anarchist" to "hippy" - with stops along the way to toss "un-American," "anti-business," and "communist" into the mix .

If Microsoft goes through with its plans - and there's no reason to think they won't - these critics can add one more label to Richard Stallman's name.

The label is: prescient.

 8)

« Last Edit: September 21, 2011, 12:02:32 PM by 40hz »

urlwolf

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Quote
I can only hope there's a massive revolt on the part of PC users worldwide.
Well, now is the time to start organizing one. DC contains people able to understand this threat. But the rest of the world, the 'normals' will not see it coming. What can we do from here? Funny that DC could turn into an activist site...

mouser

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This just confirms my Microsoft Conspiracy Theory that I have been peddling for the last 5 years or so, which is that:

  • The only rational explanation for some of the decisions Microsoft makes is that it has been deeply penetrated to its core by rogue elements work extremely hard every day to bring about the collapse of the company from within.

Carol Haynes

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Does this mean Windows 8 won't let you install any 3rd party software unless it comes via the Windows Store - or is it just the Metro apps (which I would guess most desktop users won't be bothered with).

If it applies to all installations Windows 7 will be the last version many people use!

I think my friends first reaction to the look of Metro - "It looks like a shop" - is right - it is all about money and about locking people in.

Trouble is whilst Apple have their religion no such religious feeling exists for Microsoft. Personally I think if they go down the Apple route they won't succeed and just push many people to Linux.

Hell if developers are suddenly going to get stung for developing for Windows it is probably going to be the biggest shift to Open Source ever. Hopefully hardware manufacturers will follow suit with drivers.

40hz

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^AFAIK the app store requirement ONLY applies to Metro apps. At least last I heard.

The "desktop" mode should continue to function as before. Or until such time as Microsoft decides not enough users care any more. in that respect I don't think the threat is immediate. But five years down the road...who can tell? T'was a time when nobody believed people would be willing to use web apps to store and access their passwords and personal financial data. Then along came LastPass and Mint.

And the upcoming generation will have cut their teeth on smartphones and tablets so maybe the whole notion of desktop computing may become increasingly irrelevant to an ever growing body of users...

Hope not! 8)





Jimdoria

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"Developers! Developers, developers, developers, developers, developers...

Actually, just developers, developers, developers. The rest of you guys can go pound sand. Go on, get out! SECURITY!"
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rgdot

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There is no way MS can close app installations like Apple. The only way they can do that is to force people into Metro with no 'desktop' access. Even Ballmer is not that dumb.

superboyac

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Question: in the Linux world, is there a website or something that is a single, central place for all things Linux that a completely novice user can understand?  Because that is going to be a big deal.  Let's say you don't want to use Windows or Mac anymore because you just can't afford it.  So you turn to Linux.  But you're not a geek, so you don't know how to install, you don't understand the differences between an OS, distro, program, driver, etc., all those terms.  How would get started with Linux in that case?

40hz

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@SB:

For raw beginners, start them off with the standard Gnome version of LinuxMint. I'd recommend the latest release (Release-11 "Katya"). Katya is one slick and very polished release that comes with a very familiar looking desktop. And a start menu that provides all the power of Gnome with only half the culture shock.

Good friendly community support too. Maybe not quite on par with the folks at DoCo - but that's what makes DoCo what it is so whaddya want?

Hint: The best way to introduce Linux it is to put a Windows user in front of it and simply say "Hey! Check this out. It works just like Windows!"

Then let them have at it...

Most people pick up on it fairly quickly. Especially if you don't say it's Linux or make a big deal out of it. I've even been guilty of telling less knowledgeable users it's an advance copy of Microsoft's newest top-secret version of Windows that will be coming out sometime next year. (Whenever I presented it to them that way almost every one of them LOVED it.)

For apps, Mint has a pretty version of apt called the Software Manager.

SoftMan.pngWhy 2012 may finally be The Year of the Linux Desktop (courtesy of Microsoft)

You can browse, search, read comments and recommendations, and add or remove applications with it. It's easy enough that a novice can use it. And everything in it has been tweaked and tuned for Mint in particular - so anything found there is as stable as it gets.

For readable and solid info on the various distributions, check out Distrowatch.com

Distrowatch is the granddaddy of sites tracking the current state of Linux distros. Also stays on top of the major packages so there's some info on apps - although it's more journeyman than novice level in that regard.

For the Linux version of Snapfiles.com I'd go to the Gnomefiles.org website. If it's Gnome, it's probably there.

Some people might get a little put off by some of the obviously college-level engineering and mathematical apps you'll see there. If they bug you, just ignore them. That's what I do when I see something I don't understand that doesn't really interest me anyway.

Other good sites are:

LXer
Ubuntu Sharing (Mint is based on Ubuntu - so most of what you'll find there applies to Mint)
Ars Technica's OpenEnded

For the more advanced Windows user that's looking for serious tutorials and hands-on guidance in Linux, it doesn't get much better than HowtoForge. Probably more suited to pro and semi-pro Nixers, but there's also enough semi-beginner stuff that there's something for everyone.

linux-penguin.jpgWhy 2012 may finally be The Year of the Linux Desktop (courtesy of Microsoft)

There's tons more. But that should be enough to get somebody started. :) :Thmbsup:
« Last Edit: September 21, 2011, 05:36:57 PM by 40hz »

rgdot

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^ Post of the year, thanks from me as well

Quote
advance copy of Microsoft's newest top-secret version

 ;D

superboyac

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Re: Why 2012 may finally be The Year of the Linux Desktop (courtesy of Microsoft)
« Reply #10 on: September 21, 2011, 05:48:46 PM »
Thanks 40!  Always a wealth of information.
It's useful because more and more of my family and friends are moving towards computing with their mobile devices vs. their laptops and desktops.  And they aren't computer people, so the Windows way is becoming stranger and stranger to them.  However, they do need certain Windows things every now and then usually related to backup issues, or working with their pictures and videos of kids, etc.  You can't do that on the phones, so they turn to Windows, which means I get a phone call.  In these cases, I'd like to have something prepared and say, hey, from now on, just use this if you need to use a real computer.  But it needs to be easy.  And with the software, I'd like to be able to have all the basics on there from the get go.  Just like a Mac, where the basic tools are all there, you don't really need additional software unless you have specific needs.

So yes, your post is very helpful for that.

mahesh2k

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Re: Why 2012 may finally be The Year of the Linux Desktop (courtesy of Microsoft)
« Reply #11 on: September 21, 2011, 09:11:49 PM »
I'll switch to linux completely when MS and Apple move to Cloud. :P Seriously, linux needs some apps for the folks who are stuck with apple and windows like photoshop, autocad, matlab etc. Alternatives wont' change a thing for them because they don't want to use any app other than industry hyped apps.

tomos

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Re: Why 2012 may finally be The Year of the Linux Desktop (courtesy of Microsoft)
« Reply #12 on: September 22, 2011, 02:48:52 AM »

... so this is what the predictions for 2012 were all about :o
Tom

urlwolf

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Re: Why 2012 may finally be The Year of the Linux Desktop (courtesy of Microsoft)
« Reply #13 on: September 22, 2011, 03:51:27 AM »
Ah, but linux is not the solution for the 'normals'.
They are way behind on things like touch interfaces, battery life, etc.
I love linux and used it as my main desktop for the last 2-3 years. But recently I switched back to win. It was too much work to get a stable, polished experience.

And the trend towards app stores is in linux too, at least in ubuntu and sabayon.

Carol Haynes

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Re: Why 2012 may finally be The Year of the Linux Desktop (courtesy of Microsoft)
« Reply #14 on: September 22, 2011, 03:57:05 AM »
I agree - when widespread hardware support for Linux appears (that is as feature rich and easily installed as in Windows now) and big software companies such as Adobe start to port porfessional products to Linux I think there would be a potential for a mass move.

Hell hardware manufacturers would welcome the move with open arms to get away from MS OEM licensing.

At the moment the problem isn't lack of under4standing (most Linux is one click install pretty much) - it is the lack of pro software tools and lack of manufacturer based hardware support.

I have tried Linux so many times now and I have yet to find anything other than a basic CUPS driver to work my printer. CUPS is a great idea but it doesn't seem to support anything other than plain printing - and even then WYSINWYG generally. General support for WiFi cards - or persuading manufacturers to produce drivers - is also needed.

Hardware manufacturers are getting more savvy and some provide Linux drivers but until it becomes the rule the average user doesn't want the hassle.

I also think there is a huge need to reduce the breadth of distro choices and to agree on some standards to make it easier for developers to develop for a wide range of distros.

mahesh2k

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Re: Why 2012 may finally be The Year of the Linux Desktop (courtesy of Microsoft)
« Reply #15 on: September 22, 2011, 05:18:04 AM »
If i'm not wrong then with QT, Mono and Ironpython any linux based program can run between multiple window managers or distros. So it doesn't matter what type of distro people are running. Centralization of distros will put linux in same queue as that of apple and windows. There will be more people unsatisfied with the choices made by council before final OS release, take example of ubuntu unity window manger move or monthly release move. So my view is that it doesn't matter which distro user is running on desktop. They need apps to get their work done. Non-developers are concerned about getting work done and developers are interested in platform stability and ease of development. Linux has ability to balance this need without losing any popularity factor.

AFAIK, most of the tablets around me are linux based so i can't say that there is not much of support for touch interface. I do agree there should be more hardware support ( drivers and apps). I have no idea about battery life so i can't comment on that.

40hz

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Re: Why 2012 may finally be The Year of the Linux Desktop (courtesy of Microsoft)
« Reply #16 on: September 22, 2011, 06:48:39 AM »
Hell hardware manufacturers would welcome the move with open arms to get away from MS OEM licensing.

At the moment the problem isn't lack of under4standing (most Linux is one click install pretty much) - it is the lack of pro software tools and lack of manufacturer based hardware support.

Carol raises a very important point.

Drivers are no more difficult to write for Linux than they are for any other operating system. But hardware support will always remain a problem as long as the hardware manufacturers continue to be afraid of offending Microsoft.

And with something like an average of 600,000 Windows 7 licenses being sold daily since it's release, that's not something most hardware manufacturers are willing to risk. Especially with Microsoft's ongoing patent FUD campaign - and the IP cross-licensing deals its signed with certain major Linux players.

One simply does not squeeze the udders of Sacred Cows. Especially if that same cow provides your daily cheese.


superboyac

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Re: Why 2012 may finally be The Year of the Linux Desktop (courtesy of Microsoft)
« Reply #17 on: September 22, 2011, 09:01:35 AM »
600,000 Windows 7 licenses being sold daily since it's release


Carol Haynes

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Re: Why 2012 may finally be The Year of the Linux Desktop (courtesy of Microsoft)
« Reply #18 on: September 22, 2011, 09:28:53 AM »
Drivers are no more difficult to write for Linux than they are for any other operating system. But hardware support will always remain a problem as long as the hardware manufacturers continue to be afraid of offending Microsoft.

I don't think that's the issue - many manufacturers already produce Mac drivers and some produce Linux drivers too.

I think the biggest problem is return on investment - while Linux is seen as a niche market there is no incentive for most manufacturers to bother.

Linux is big in the webserver market but hardly registers on the desktop market.

Its all about bottom line - and when users start to leave MS in droves the Linux driver market will begin to be established.

There is also a huge inertia in the software market. How many professional products (such as photo/graphics or video editing,  or a decent word processor/DTP) are available for Linux? And who writes games for Linux?

Until corporate users and power users can use some of their past investment in a Linux environment they are going to be more than reluctant to move. If you have worked for years with Qurk as your publishing package and can no longer even open Quark files why would you consider changing to Linux. Mac maybe since Windows/Mac both have compatible product catalogues (MS Office, Adobe, Quark etc.)

It is all a bit chicken and egg. No one will write games for Linux until AMD and nVidia start writing full blown driver packages for Linux. OK you can get most cards working to some degree but it is far removed from current game support in Windows (same problem to a large extent with the Mac games market). Similarly no one will start porting large scale publishing products (Photo or Print) until the printer drivers on Linux can match the output quality of Windows and Mac.

Also no company will write drivers or software for an OS that is so disparate - how can they possibly produce hundreds of different pre-compiled build for the hundreds (or possibly thousands) of distros out there? It is all very well saying they can be compiled at the user end, or by the distro writers but I can't see Adobe, AMD or nVidia handing out source code to be locally compiled any time soon.
« Last Edit: September 22, 2011, 09:34:27 AM by Carol Haynes »

40hz

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Re: Why 2012 may finally be The Year of the Linux Desktop (courtesy of Microsoft)
« Reply #19 on: September 23, 2011, 10:13:34 AM »
Also no company will write drivers or software for an OS that is so disparate - how can they possibly produce hundreds of different pre-compiled build for the hundreds (or possibly thousands) of distros out there? It is all very well saying they can be compiled at the user end, or by the distro writers but I can't see Adobe, AMD or nVidia handing out source code to be locally compiled any time soon.

Um...yes, if that were the case. But the video subsystem in Linux is modular, and not affected by the distribution since it's common to all distros. So a hardware driver written for one distribution should work with all of them. I've never run into a driver that was binary-specific to one particular flavor of Linux. The only reason I could think of why a driver wouldn't be universally available is if it were because of the vendor putting a license restriction on it.

Don't know which distros you're most familiar with, but virtually all the big names (and those based on them)  auto-recognize video hardware and notify you when there's a third-party or proprietary driver available for it. A simple click (and your password to authenticate it) and it's downloaded and installed.  

I've been told by an acquaintance who writes hardware drivers for a living that it's easier for him to write them for Linux because the underlying OS is open. So when something goes wrong they can just go to the source or documentation to quickly figure out exactly what needs fixing. He said with Microsoft you're often only told "just enough" for you to fix something. Otherwise it's blackbox.

 :)

As far as compiling drivers locally, it's just not gonna happen. Ever. Because in order to allow you to do that, the manufacturer would have to release source code. And that's not something they are not willing to do. If it were, they'd be part of the open source world...and the script stops right there.



« Last Edit: September 23, 2011, 10:21:46 AM by 40hz »

Eóin

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Re: Why 2012 may finally be The Year of the Linux Desktop (courtesy of Microsoft)
« Reply #20 on: September 23, 2011, 10:30:54 AM »
If find it hard to believe MS will be able to get away with this legally speaking, considering that the EU forced them to offer a browser choice, they will surely also be forced to offer an App Store/Marketplace choice too.

40hz

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Re: Why 2012 may finally be The Year of the Linux Desktop (courtesy of Microsoft)
« Reply #21 on: September 23, 2011, 10:41:52 AM »
^ If that's the case, why aren't they already doing the same with Apple?

rgdot

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Re: Why 2012 may finally be The Year of the Linux Desktop (courtesy of Microsoft)
« Reply #22 on: September 23, 2011, 10:46:09 AM »
MS were sued because they were in a dominant position in the market, they couldn't sue Apple because a few percentage share of the market does not justify anti trust or similar. This may be possible now if you want to classify tablets/smartphones alone (not computers in general) as a market segment.

40hz

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Re: Why 2012 may finally be The Year of the Linux Desktop (courtesy of Microsoft)
« Reply #23 on: September 23, 2011, 10:49:47 AM »
^Well...hopefully they will. Because Apple pretty much owns 99% of the tablet market. And if their EU patent lawsuits hold up, the same will soon be said for Smartphones.

Carol Haynes

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Re: Why 2012 may finally be The Year of the Linux Desktop (courtesy of Microsoft)
« Reply #24 on: September 23, 2011, 10:53:42 AM »
It's also because Apple hardware/apps are tied together. MS apps will need to be available to a number of manufacturers and if they exclude them from the apps market they are behaving anticompetitively.

It would be interesting to see what would happen if manufacturers refused to pre-install Win 8 with a locked app store - MS would lose it ability to sell Windows altogether so I don't think they are in a terribly strong position on this.