Novell beats desktop Linux drum hard

Novell beats desktop Linux drum hard

Summary: According to News.com's Stephen Shankland: Linux on desktop computers will begin taking off in mainstream markets in the next 12 to 18 months, Novell President Ron Hovsepian has predicted.

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TOPICS: Software
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According to News.com's Stephen Shankland:

Linux on desktop computers will begin taking off in mainstream markets in the next 12 to 18 months, Novell President Ron Hovsepian has predicted.

This rang a bell but I couldn't remember from when. Then I realized Novell was at CeBit more than a month ago saying the same thing.  So, this is no longer a passing comment.  It's a campaign.  Now that a month has passed, does that make it 11 to 17 months (and counting)?  In response to the CeBit bit and of Linux's chances on enterprise desktops (as opposed to others) I wrote:

  • Desktop Linux in the enterprise faces several uphill battles.  The first of these is software support.  There are some software packages for which a Linux version exists.  For the ones that don't, there may be a Linux substitute.   But moving to such substitutes is easier said than done.  At the very least, they involve retraining of end users.  At the worst, there may be a legacy of data that has to be converted (or is better off being converted than not).  At the very worst, there is no substitute and the Windows version doesn't work in WINE (a Windows emulator for Linux)
  • The other problem Desktop Linux has is that in the bigger picture of the total cost of ownership of a desktop or notebook system, the differences aren't that significant between Linux and Windows.
  • Lack of a big Linux talent pool is also a problem.  Corporations are filled with experts who know every nook and cranny of Windows.  The number of these people who are also skilled in providing customer service to in-house users for Linux pales in comparison to the skilled desktop support teams for Windows. 
I haven't changed my mind.  Oh, and before you race to judge, please read all of what I wrote. 

Topic: Software

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7 comments
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  • Yea but...

    Good points. But there are a lot of computers in businesses that are used only for 1) Word processing and 2) Web Browser and 3) Email. Any company that can achieve the same functionality at 1/10th the price will do it - that is if they even realize that such an option exists.
    cmorris_z
    • It's already happened here

      We've switched all our kit to SuSE except one Windows PC for odd-ball stuff and compatibility testing.

      No problems so far, Word processing, email and web browsing took about 15 minutes per machine to switch over and the user retraining was easy enough.
      bportlock
  • Maybe

    "The first of these is software support."

    Agreed. This is the issue holding back any competitor to
    windows on the enterprise desktop. But you'll also notice that
    Novell is pitching Linux desktop for simple user requirements
    not as a suititue for all desktops (well not yet;-)

    "total cost of ownership of a desktop or notebook system, the
    differences aren't that significant between Linux and Windows"

    Completely disagree. The licensing cost for Linux is slightly in
    its favour, but the operating costs of a simple locked down
    Linux desktop is way in its favour. Security is the #1 cost for
    windows. It is a constant battle and it's not going to disappear
    anytime soon. This battle costs a fortune, and really destructive
    malware isn't even in the wild.

    "Lack of a big Linux talent pool is also a problem. Corporations
    are filled with experts who know every nook and cranny of
    Windows."

    And yet the costs of supporting windows desktops isn't
    declining. The main advantage of the Linux desktop is that one
    talented admin can support many more machines.

    Novell believes it has a compelling desktop alternative with SLED
    10. Novell continues to encourage ISVs to develop Linux
    versions of their desktop application. As windows security
    continues to frustrate they might be in with a chance, only time
    will tell.
    Richard Flude
  • When is someday going to come?

    Desktop Linux has been discussed for at least 3 years in earnest, but it still remains in the shadows compared to Windows. I want desktop Linux - but something that doesn't require me to have full knowledge of Linux right off the bat. It's like choosing between a kit car and a car off the lot. Yeah, the kit car is very cool in its finished state, but it isn't much fun to build if you have to learn how to put together a drive train, how to weld, etc. The car off the lot is functional right from the get go, and then you can start to play with the various systems and maintain them or modify them as you feel comfortable. I'm hoping someone comes out with a version of desktop Linux that lets us dip our toes in, like a car off the lot. When that comes out - please let us know. I'm sure there will be plenty of people interested in it.
    ejhonda
    • Really?

      If you want something like that try Linspire its a linux version with lots of training wheels. Personally I use SuSE and have not had a problem with it. It runs right out of the box on my laptops/desktops. What specific problems are you having that you need to be an "expert" at?
      <br><a href="http://www.ingsoft.net">HOIATL</a></br>
      hoiatl
    • Well said -

      I and many others share your opinion.

      It isn't that Linux doesn't shine a bright enough light... it's just not focused well.

      They could penetrate the desktop of smaller businesses with a neat little package that looked and responded like Windows and could fill those three main criteria.
      Who would choose to pay M$ about $1000 if a basic office set up with minimal retraining was there in one neat package virtually free?

      Someone needs to target the efforts of the community on couple of crucial areas where penetration can realistically be made.
      Probably 50% or more of office desktops could function perfectly well on the above.
      Castanet
  • TCO for windows and linux the same?

    What were you smoking to say something as uninformed (Im being kind here) as that? Or maybe, seriously, you were listening to the M$ marketing machine?
    <br><a href="http://www.insoft.net">HOIATL</a></br>
    hoiatl