Linux or open source?

Linux or open source?

Summary: Once you get the Windows installer, and the Hardy Heron flies, you really need to try those open source applications you're used to in their native habitat.


Ubuntu Hardy Heron in Windows, from Mark ShuttleworthThe name of this blog is "Linux and open source" but the question Microsoft wants you to ask yourself is, simply, Linux or open source?

While Linux is an open source operating system, it's not always free. There is a lot of free open source for Windows. It's quite easy to have both open source and Windows. I do. You probably do, too.

In such an environment, the battle comes down, again, to where will you find the applications you most want and need?

That's the question Linux needs to answer as it, too, becomes just another Windows application. That's not the way Mark Shuttleworth puts it. That's not even the way Matt Asay puts it.

That's just the way it is.

What makes Linux so strong in the server space is the applications which run on it. Web applications, database applications, business management applications -- they all run fast, they all run well, they run together, the IS department is happy.

What makes Windows so strong in the desktop space is the same thing. Windows applications, open source applications, even Mac applications (like iTunes) all generally work.

It's now quite easy to run a Windows box in which the only proprietary program you have is Windows. Open Office, Firefox, Thunderbird, The Gimp, and Google together make for a pretty nice office suite.

So the release of a Windows Installer for Ubuntu LTS 8.04 (Hardy Heron) is more than "very cool." It's a turning point.

Once you get the Windows installer, and the Hardy Heron flies, you really need to try those open source applications you're used to in their native habitat.

That's when the real comparison starts. That's when the market battle begins. When you're no longer running Linux or Windows, or Linux or open source, but Linux and open source.

Topics: Software, Linux, Open Source, Operating Systems, Windows

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  • Build and ecosystem or chase the Windows ecosystem

    [i]In such an environment, the battle comes down, again, to where will you find the applications you most want and need?[/i]

    Need is the key point here. The Linux desktop community has two drawbacks. 1. The software is often cross platform and 2. its creating alternatives to Windows software. The second problem is fine for now but eventually you have to do what MS did and create an ecosystem of good products with added features that only run or run better on Linux.

    But most FOSS projects aren't into this "war" as some on the Linux side and many on the Windows side want to believe. They just want to offer something and enjoy people using it....or get snatched up by a company and make some money out of it. So I imagine Linux will never quite get that desktop ecosystem and Windows could actually benefit from the software. Theres plenty of room in the market for both actually. Linux could flourish in the DIY realm and Windows would have the rest. Obviously the Linux vendors like Red Hat are not harmed by their CentOS DIY counterparts.
  • RE: Linux or open source?

    With the open source applications available for Windows there is no need to install heron or linux. The advantage to staying with Windows is you will not be limited in the applications you use. You will have a choice of open source and proprietary applications. This will increase the amount of software available to you so you can find which ones work best for your needs.
    Loverock Davidson
    • The advantage Linux distros have

      over Windows with regards to open source application software is they all have central repositories built into the system (well, the fact that they are built in isn't as important as the fact that they are on every system).

      But if there were such a thing [url=]on Windows[/url], something that could find the best open source applications out there, take care of dependencies, and even give the user the option to actually use the source to tailor the program to his liking, well that would make your choices on Windows truly limitless.
      Michael Kelly
    • Incorrect

      There are often more open source choices for applications than there are proprietary. Most people don't actually decide based on whats best for their needs but what they are most used to. Had they been using Linux software all along it would probably be the opposite scenario. I for one have found more power in many open source apps and that has allowed me to move to a less troublesome OS.
      • "a less troublesome OS"

        Nicely understated there ...
    • Linux or Open Source?

      Mighty interesting that MS has updated Vista with SP1, only to have security vendor software suddenly have limited functionality. MS seems to be heading down the path of eliminating all nonpaying users of their system. The amount of software available on windows is decreasing as MS acquires software vendors. If memory serves me, MS knocked off Wordperfect, Novel netware, and who knows what else as they pursue the strategy of One Stop Shop.

      Seems few people realize this, but after the fact. For those not purchased by MS, the task of finding a platform on which their product will run and from which they can make a contribution to the computing community, and a living, leads to alternative O/S's.

      Innovative products will present themselves on the Linux, mac platforms due to the inability to compete with MS bundling into the OS, not to mention hidden API's.

      My thoughts turn to the "Cloud" and "mesh" future. Subscription software is a model which is replacing the current standalone software. This future represents a stable income stream to the developer, one with limiting loss from piracy. This changing to internet subscription would seem to foreshadow a diminution of available software as the model is a return to the server dumb terminal of early computing. This coming model would have me with a minimal boot browser client allowing me to log in to the service to which I subscribe. MS of course would not have any other software than MS products or "open source", again a limitation of the choices to find the software that is best or best suited to my needs.

      So long as windows will not interoperate with other software, an MS solution will, in fact, limit the choices I will have. MS chooses not to operate with other systems, by policy, by the statements of the executive hierarchy, and by the vision of the founder.

      It seems strange that Linux and Mac can operate windows applications but that Windows cannot operate *nix software. How would I be able to choose the best software if the MS O/S cannot interoperate? Currently, I must install Linux or Mac to be able to find the best software for my needs.

      Perhaps more to the point, how will I be able to modify MS apps to my needs when the code is not open source? MS offers solutions but they may not be the exact solution to my needs. Can I then recode them to my needs, as I can with open source software? While I am still a point and click jockey, I would enjoy the day when I can contribute to the betterment of the computing community or at least to my own competitive advantage by having the code available to tweak.
  • RE: Linux or open source?

    Ubuntu and Kubuntu are free and my favorite operating system. I play with OpenSUSE and it is free also and all these distros are more robust and work just better than $$$ Microsoft.

    The Mars Rovers run Linux - why ? ;)
  • RE: "a less troublesome OS"

    What actually angers me about Windows XP is it's only disastrously crashed on me once. Having played with MS OS's since 3.11, this just isn't right. A meteorite is going to come out of the sky and hit me or something.

    I doubt registry problems will be any less, and I'm dubious about compatibility issues, particularly on legacy data. One main advantage to Linux is the relative scarcity of hackers thus far, although this is another race that wins only in the perspective of inspiring evolution of a sort. Given a mating pair, we might come up with AI...
  • RE: Linux or open source?

    You grabber to this blog is so misleading that I am not going to respond to the blog but the grabber. "Linux is open source but not always free." (In my judgment that is true). "There is lots of free open source for Windows" ( In my judgment that is true also ). But comparing the "freeness" of Linux as an OS and the "freeness" of Windows is the correct comparison. I have not found one free copy of Windows that is free. I have downloaded for years off the internet free copies of Linux. If the software police raided my place of business today, they would find all of Windows have been paid for and that I pay subscription fees on a voluntary basis to two linux distros for the good services they have provided.
  • $ or free?

    I don't mind spending money for a particulay distro of LINXU. IF....there is a value provided for that cost that the other distributions "don't" provide.
    So far, I haven't found any. I've even found there is a
    way to obtain the RedHat Enterprise version of Linux for
    free if you jump through all of the right hoops.......

    But, that's IF that's what you want.....
  • RE: Linux or open source?

    simply LINUX.
  • RE: Linux or open source?

    simply LINUX.
    Since a long time we've been sucked by MS.
    I wouldn't give another chance to WINDOWS etc if I should be asked for any option.

  • Can MS survive W7?

    As I understand it MS might be cutting loose legacy software in Windows 7. This is a damn if they do, damn if they don't moment.
    Many people are locked into Windows because there is no open source equivalent for it or changing would just require so much work (converting files, learning curve for software, etc.) If old software becomes obsolete on the next version of Windows it will be much easier to switch to a linux distro.
  • Taking SimplyMEPIS & PCBSD for a spin

    I'm excited to take the latest versions of PCBSD and
    SimplyMEPIS Linux for a spin here in East Africa.
    Fortunately, a good pal of mine was flying into Nairobi
    from Canada and I got her to download these apps plus
    some other goodies (Postgresql 8.3, XAMPP & MAMPP for
    Mac OS/X, etc.) on her fast DSL service, which I sooooo
    desperately miss over here. :-)

    Quite frankly, I think people need to move beyond the
    politics of open source or closed source, and just start
    building great apps. Period.

    Let the market decide! Some people want to make a lot of
    money whereas others just want to create apps to share
    with the rest of the world and, perhaps, gain some

    Heck, I think it'd be an honour to be part of an open
    source project like FreeBSD, NetBSD, or some amazing web
    application that would make an impact in people's lives.
    This is the power of open bulid something and
    then let others improve upon it in ways that the developers
    didn't imagine. Ya can't do that with closed source. So
    what's the harm?
  • The Simple fact is

    Windows is redundant for a growing number of people in my town, they now have Linux and Free Open Source Software on their computers.
    tracy anne
  • RE: Linux or open source?

    The only reason Windows even has open source software is because someone developed it for Linux, made the code portable, and then publicly released it. Or in some cases, like Firefox, developed it for everybody.

    If you like to have Windows and Open Source, that's good of you. Just don't credit Microsoft for the fact that Open Source software works on Windows. Credit the developers who went out of their way to make it work on Windows.