Sorry Linux but the chicken came first

Sorry Linux but the chicken came first

Summary: In our association we operate as a consortium, like the open source consortium. They want to promote open source and Linux. But if you begin from the PC you are afraid of Microsoft. They try to go to the smart phone or PDA to start again.

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In the old question of which came first, the chicken or the egg, I got the answer this week, at least as it relates to computing.

The chicken came first.

I started my day on a hunt for Linux, preferably desktop Linux. 

It was depressing. It's not just Asus and MSI who have gone Windows in Taiwan, it's everyone. The Microsoft booth dominates in a corner of the show floor. Instead of bragging on what they have done, they are pushing embedded systems for games and home servers. They are pushing outward, not defending their turf but attacking.

I visited the SUSE Linux booth, the only obvious Linux presence on the main floor. Where is my penguin, I asked. Where is the gear running Linux?

Intel has some, I was told. So I went to the Intel booth. After some shrugs and shaken heads, I was taken to a bank of three monitors showing network applications, under Linux. All were behind glass. You could look but you better not touch.

I wandered over to AMD. AMD dressed girls in high boots and short skirts. They are still showing what is known here as “fighting spirit.” Certainly they would be fighting for the penguin.

Where is Linux, I asked. I was pointed to a corner of the booth, where an AMD embedded system was shown, naked, running Ubuntu. But not for the office. This is an OEM product, I was told. Next to it stood the application. A slot machine, apparently developed for the Macau market.

Later, at a press conference sponsored by TAITRA, the Taiwan trade authority, I asked executive director Walter Yeh (third from left in this picture) about where the Linux went.

He passed the question to Li Chang (to the right in the picture), vice president of the Taipei Computer Association.

Chang mentioned a press conference yesterday where Google announced an Android phone to be made by Acer. But then he put it to me straight.

"In our association we operate as a consortium, like the open source consortium. They want to promote open source and Linux. But if you begin from the PC you are afraid of Microsoft. They try to go to the smart phone or PDA to start again."

Taiwanese OEMs would love an alternative to Windows, but the sale comes first, before production. The chicken comes first. And since the chicken belongs to Microsoft, the penguin is helpless here.

After the press conference I wandered over to the Acer booth. I was looking for that smart phone. They have smart phones in the Acer booth. All of them run Windows mobile. The Google smart phone is not yet available for display. (I took this picture before I learned the phone shown is Windows.)

I don't know if my response could be translated.

"Cluck," I said,

Topics: Software, Hardware, Linux, Mobility, Open Source, Operating Systems, Smartphones

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  • Try Hall 2.

    There are three Linux booths there.
    ShadeTree
  • Not unassailable

    MS has defeated multiple monopolies in the past. Word Perfect, Lotus 123, Dbase II-IV, and yes, Netscape. Also Linux on netbooks. :)

    I might also mention the mighty Sony, the PS2 which roundly trounced both XBox and Nintendo the first round has a pitiful replacement in the PS3 which XBox 360 triumphed over, also the Wii is now leading the pack handily--a come from third place win. :)

    So no, monopolies are not unassailable. It's just MS knew how and apparently no one else has twigged to the trick yet--except maybe Nintendo.

    Certainly not the penguin, that's for certain.
    wolf_z
    • Uh-huh...

      [i]MS has defeated multiple monopolies in the past. Word Perfect, Lotus 123, Dbase II-IV, and yes, Netscape.[/i]

      And incurred the Department Of Justice to look at that.

      Looks like that may be happening again. :)

      [i]I might also mention the mighty Sony, the PS2 which roundly trounced both XBox and Nintendo the first round has a pitiful replacement in the PS3 which XBox 360 triumphed over, also the Wii is now leading the pack handily--a come from third place win.[/i]

      Xbox is a piece of junk. Fortunately I don't game but I know plenty of people who do and they say to stay away from it. Xbox is a 'success' for fools.

      [i]So no, monopolies are not unassailable. It's just MS knew how and apparently no one else has twigged to the trick yet--except maybe Nintendo.[/i]

      Sure. Exclusionary agreements, threats to withhold supplies, deep legal pockets... With those kinds of resources, I'd be in first place, too.
      Wintel BSOD
      • PS3 trumps Xbox 360

        Xbox 360 does have a nice online interaction
        enviroment called xbox live, but that costs
        extra.

        PS3 online play is FREE!!.

        PS3 hardware kicks azz, built in Blue ray,
        great processors kicking out better graphic
        resolution than Xbox 360.

        PS3 support WPA2, Xbox 360 wireless adapter,
        (which costs $99 extra) only WEP and WPA1,
        which are both crackable and unsecure
        standards.

        Original PS3 not 2nd gen ps3 fully backwards compatible with PS2 and PS1 games, except for
        maybe guitar hero 1 and 2.

        Large Hard Drive Standard, HDMI Standard in the
        PS3. These features are only standard in the
        elite version of Xbox 360.

        The Xbox 360 is inferior in most cases across
        the board, except for maybe the upcoming natal
        project.

        I play many games on both platforms. You could
        probably talk me out of my xbox 360, but you
        would be prying my PS3 from my death grip.
        xXSpeedzXx
        • PC trumps PS3 and Xbox 360

          Use a pc.
          dougbeer
        • Except where it matters

          Which is units sold, profits made, and so on. The bottom line, you know?

          For whatever reason the 360 sells more games, makes more money, and has lots more units out there.

          Sony lost this round. Badly. In fact Sony's had a rather bad year as a whole.

          Empires die for any number of reasons. The point being no monopoly is invulnerable.
          wolf_z
      • So you're saying...

        "Sure. Exclusionary agreements, threats to withhold supplies, deep legal pockets... With those kinds of resources, I'd be in first place, too."

        This applies to the netbook marketplace how? MS can't make exclusionary agreements any more, it's pure volume discounts only.

        What threats to withold supplies? MS had *0* market presence! Not to mention they couldn't touch normal OS supplies without alerting their compliance watchdog.

        Linux lost because people don't buy OSs. They buy computers to run the stuff they already have. That's why Linux lost the netbook market.

        Not shady MS tricks.
        wolf_z
        • I'm saying I have no reason to doubt....

          ...they aren't continuing with their shady practices of the past.

          The Bush Administration practically ignored them the last eight years, since they encouraged this kind of monopolistic behavior. In their eyes, unaccountable monopolies are considered "free enterprise"

          [i]This applies to the netbook marketplace how? MS can't make exclusionary agreements any more, it's pure volume discounts only.[/i]

          The same way they've always done it. Do you really think they would come out and tell us?

          lol... :D

          [i]What threats to withold supplies? MS had *0* market presence! Not to mention they couldn't touch normal OS supplies without alerting their compliance watchdog.[/i]

          They have a history of anti-competitive behavior. I have no reason to doubt that's changed.

          http://www.albion.com/microsoft/findings.html

          http://www.ecis.eu/documents/Finalversion_Consumerchoicepaper.pdf

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_litigation

          None, whatsoever.

          With the government no longer longer looking over their shoulder, it's back to business as usual.

          [i]Linux lost because people don't buy OSs. They buy computers to run the stuff they already have. That's why Linux lost the netbook market.[/i]

          Linux lost because nobody's heard of it and in their desperate rush to shut Linux out, M$ took XP out of mothballs and is giving it away for free on new netbooks.

          No, it's time the government looked behind all this once and for all. If M$ doesn't have anything to hide, then they'll appreciate a Government investigation.
          Wintel BSOD
          • Well said!

            I might add this link as well: http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20090421111327711
            914four
          • I'm saying I have no reason to doubt....

            You state your opinion well and I agree with one exception. The government should not be used to allow people to be lazy. People, at some point, need to actually decide that they want to try something else and then they have to have to perseverance to live with the consequences of their decision.
            That is the problem. Those who "try" Linux just because of cost are the same that want it to look, act, install, and manage exactly the same as the Redmond software. Then they become the armchair critics; blaming prices and talking how inadequate *NIX is as a replacement.
            There are plenty of law firms that still "believe" in and use Corel's WordPerfect. That's the dedication that is necessary. You have to believe in a system and accept its shortcomings. People do it with Microsoft everyday!
            It won't be until PEOPLE decide that they WANT to use another OS that they will actually do it. Linux marketing could be better, but, it still comes down to people and personal choice. That's freedom, regardless of the complaints, facts, and flame wars out there.
            icetnet
        • Look at the machines

          Go in to Best Buy, look at a Windows machine next to a Lin...

          Go into Wal-Mart and comp...

          See the point? MS doesn't have to threaten the OEM with with-holding products when they can control the stores. Linux boxes are made, people want them. People have to go online to purchase them from the OEM because those machines aren't stocked at stores.

          Maybe Linux users should all unite. The best way to prove just how good Linux can be is by taking our machines, setting up outside Best Buy and Wal-Mart and whatever other stores you know of that sell computers, letting people try Linux for themselves. Tell them, instead of purchasing that new machine since their old one is so bad, go in, buy a blank CD or DVD, we'll burn them a copy of our OS after they've tried it, they take it home and try it out. We can even show them how to install it through a VM so they won't even have that problem.

          The best way to advertise Linux and fight the death grip MS has on hardware, go open source with it.
          tmsbrdrs
    • MS bought exclusive rights for a lot of popular games

      and that does NOT mean that it had better hardware or, better performance than the PS3.
      marcfinnwilson
      • What is true is

        the hardware was easier to develop for than the ps3. It was also much less expensive and had better games.
        ITLeader
    • Not Analogous

      [i]MS has defeated multiple monopolies in the past. Word Perfect, Lotus 123, Dbase II-IV, and yes, Netscape. Also Linux on netbooks.[/i]

      Monopolies are not about market share; they are about leverage. These products all pretty much dominated in market share at one time, but none of them had that much leverage. The operating system is something you can leverage, and that makes it matter more than any of these products did. In fact, the only reason that Microsoft had success in wresting the major portion of the market from these products is because they leveraged their position in the operating system market. Before Windows 3.1, they couldn't compete against these companies at all, and Windows 95 was what they leveraged to take over completely. (Of course, the "Linux on Netbooks" remark is a joke because clearly Linux never had a monopoly on x86 compatible hardware, which is what Atom based netbooks are.)

      [i]I might also mention the mighty Sony, the PS2 which roundly trounced both XBox and Nintendo the first round has a pitiful replacement in the PS3 which XBox 360 triumphed over, also the Wii is now leading the pack handily--a come from third place win.[/i]

      The order in which video game consoles have been the closest to being monopolies is (if you don't count handheld systems) 1)Atari 2600, 2)Nintendo Entertainment System. Really though, the video game console market is nearly impossible to monopolize because the next generation evens the playing field. These companies have nothing to leverage to get you to buy their next system (which is why they are not really monopolies). Anyone with enough resources to bring a competent system to market has a chance. This market is more about having new good games available and/or happening to correctly identify the next fad technology.

      [i]So no, monopolies are not unassailable. It's just MS knew how and apparently no one else has twigged to the trick yet--except maybe Nintendo.[/i]

      Microsoft never successfully assailed an application platform monopoly, because none existed before Windows 3.1. They only successfully assailed application 'monopolies' by leveraging their own application platform monopoly. Microsoft's history at assailing deeply entrenched technologies that they can't leverage their application platform monopoly against has not been very successful.
      CFWhitman
    • Monopolies...

      [b]MS has defeated multiple monopolies in the past. Word Perfect, Lotus 123, Dbase II-IV, and yes, Netscape. Also Linux on netbooks. [/b]

      WordPerfect took themselves out of the running. WordPerfect may have ruled the DOS era, but in all fairness, their Windows based products sucked rotten eggs. I had WP for Windows 6.1 on Windows 3.11 and it barely worked. It took 20 minutes to compile a single, 1 page document for printing - a page full of business cards. Granted, it was on a fairly old 486 box with 16 MB of RAM, but seriously... Word managed the same task in 1/3 the time.

      dBase never really had much of a monopoly, per se. dBase was only one of a number of database formats and while it was probably better known than most of the others, it didn't quite have that complete monopoly. It was more along the lines of a standard (think more like HTML) given there were also dBase compatible utilities - FoxBase/FoxPro, Clipper and such - that could open and use dBase files without too much in the way of grief.

      dBase, for what it's worth, died when the entire database paradigm shifted towards the SQL model - and there are a plethora of SQL flavors out there from a plethora of vendors.

      Netscape... Ah... Yes.. Netscape... They, like WordPerfect - shot themselves in the head. Netscape 3.x was pretty good - for it's day. But Netscape 4.x was utter and complete junk. The number of crashes - the fact that it took forever to print off a simple page with a few graphics was inexcusable. IE 4, took about 30 seconds to print off a Mapquest page while Netscape took 30 minutes to render the SAME page, to the same printer. I couldn't ever figure out quite why it had to download each and every graphic a 2nd time.

      But no, monopolies aren't forever. It just takes someone to build a better mousetrap. And that is what Linux needs to be - and thus far, it just isn't quite there. It may get there one day. Or it may not. Hard to say...
      Wolfie2K3
      • MS vs. Sony vs. Linux...

        A couple of points,

        Sony shot themsleves with their PS3 price point, although they did not know a major recession was coming, they took the $$ too high and parents were less willing to spend that on their kids (hence the victor is Nintendo for the first time since SNES)

        If a new competitor wants to jump in against the big three in video games, all they have to do is make a console running on Linux, they will get tons of companies who would be more than happy to make compatible games. might need a proprietary format for the file system or the DVDs to keep them from running on regular systems, but that would be the fastest and easiest way in the door.

        as for Linux in the market on PCs, some enterprising person/company should start buying up computers on ebay and reselling them on ebay with Linux pre-installed. as for the direct fromthe OEM system, they are all watered down systems and linux is not offered on the high end workstations or gaming systems from any OEM.

        If linux does not want to get shut out of the retail market, people need to start working harder. go buy a cell phone and get linux installed on it and write an app that allows it to still work on the carriers network. then start selling them, for the same price as the carrier sells them. (that last statement might not be entirely legal, I recommend consulting a lawyer before proceeding down that path). someone needs to start providing the choice of getting the same exact hardware with linux already installed, and offer great support and customer service on the product. I'll do it, if someone wants to supply the funds, or if I win the lottery.
        aiellenon
  • That's ridiculous ...

    In 1981, Apple was the king of home computing. (Sure there were other guys but they were selling "kits" for geeks.)

    Microsoft was a piddly little company that sold a Basic interpreter to Apple.

    IBM found them, they didn't find IBM - and that was a 'happy accident' because the maker of CP/M was not home when IBM showed up and he never called them back!

    Bill Gates didn't even have an OS when IBM called on him. But he knew where he could buy one. In the end, it was Bill Gates who beat IBM at their own game. (Though IBM is still the biggest computer company in te world, they have no PC presence in large part because Bill gates was smart enough not to enter into an exclusive agreement with IBM. Bu to your point ...

    Since 1981, many dozens of software and hardware vendors have come and gone. Of those, only HP and Dell have survived as mainstream hardware vendors and very few of those software vendors are still around. Most of those early market leaders were abosorbed by companies trying to compete with Microsoft.

    Sooner or later, someone will invent a better mousetrap than Microsoft has and they will come ot the top of the heap.

    Inertia can be overcome once those with the will to do so decide to fight for leadership. Today, there is no one willing to compete head-to=head with Microsoft in the commodity desktop marketplace. Not Apple, not any Linux vendor. No one. But that could change very quickly if any of the Linux vendors decided to take a run at Microsoft.
    M Wagner
    • Us old-timers remember nobody lasts forever...

      I agree. I too remember the days when Apple owned the desktop and people laughed at IBM trying to take a swing at Apple's extreme dominance with an ugly beige box. I also remember NetScape publicly laughing at the idea that Microsoft would ever make a dent in their absolute browser dominance. I remember CP/M people laughing at the idea that DOS would ever replace their OS on the desktop. I remember Wang word processors being replaced by PCs and then WordPerfect later laughing at the threat of MS Word. I remember IBM not taking the mail-order PC threat of Dell and Gateway seriously. The list of toppled arrogant leaders is nearly endless.

      Desktop computer history is a graveyard FILLED with the graves of companies who had a 90%+ market share at one point and lost it completely to a product which met the needs and desires of customers better. I hate to point out the obvious, but if any alternative were actually significantly better from the consumers' point of view, it would have already knocked DOS/Windows off its lofty perch long ago. History shows this to be true. Yet, Linux has been trying since '91 and the Mac has been trying since '84. After a quarter of a century of trying, the Mac is only now getting close to a 10% share of sales (not installed base). After 18 years of trying, Linux is still stuck around 1% on the desktop despite being FREE and getting tons of media attention with Ubuntu in recent years. Yeah, reality sucks.

      The fact is, consumers don't see enough of an improvement or difference for them to switch, so they stick with what they know. They don't see more features they actually need. They don't see more functionality they want. They don't see any additional benefits to their daily life. They only see the big things they would be giving up, like software/hardware compatibility, availability and variety of commercial software, or ease of transition between all the computers they use daily. In the mind of the consumer, those major drawbacks outweigh the constantly shrinking technical advantages of other OSes.

      When somebody gives them a truly, significantly, and obviously better choice which meets more needs with little or no drawbacks, you can bet Windows will be added to the graveyard of computer history. Windows will become nothing but a memory to old-timers much like the Apple II+, Kaypro, and Osborne are now.

      I'm not talking about giving customers a choice which is technically better. Technically better already exists and it hasn't made customers switch in masses during the past two decades of trying, has it? Ninety-nine percent of people don't give a crap about what's going on "under the hood." They want to see the product and think, "wow, this does everything I already do plus more things I wanted to do, and I could switch without any drawbacks." That's when they'll switch.

      I get sick of hearing fanboys blaming the Windows consumer for not trying to change their needs to better match OS X, Linux, BSD, or whatever. That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard. The customer is ALWAYS right people. In other words, the person with the money dictates what they want, not you. They shouldn't HAVE to change. The customer doesn't change to meet the restrictions of your product, you change your product to match their needs. If you offer them a product which meets their needs better than what they are using without causing them headaches, they will absolutely switch. They will buy it. They'll show all their friends and those friends will buy it, too. It's a fact.

      So I guess I'm giving a reality check to all the people trying to convert Windows users to something else. Just "put up or shut up." If you really want them to use your favorite product, stop trying to get the customers to change, and instead focus on altering your product to meet their needs better. That's the way it has always worked and will continue to work. Reality sucks but dealing inside reality will get you further, faster than trying to pull others into your private fantasies.

      Give us a truly viable alternative with no real drawbacks. I'll be first in line with my wallet in my hand.
      BillDem
      • This old-timer doesn't think Apple dominated the desktop ... ever

        During the period of Apple II's heyday, it was purchased in good quantities, but it certainly was not considered "dominant", especially to the degree that IBM compatibles have become dominant.

        If anything, Commodore became dominant at the time, due to its far more palatable price range and less proprietary approach. Not just Commodore VIC-20 and then the 64, but also the PET and to a lesser degree, the Amiga.

        Meanwhile, Apple came out with the utterly ridiculously-priced Lisa, which was more or less a failure. By the time Macintosh came out, IBM machines were already steaming ahead.

        I can see how from an Apple-owner's perspective they might have felt that their machine was "the best" and "dominant", because people tend to see what is immediately around them, but I don't think that accurately describes the state of the industry at the time.

        Regardless, I appreciate your comments and basically agree with your sentiment about the user always being right.
        Speednet
        • @Speednet

          Apple dominated pre-C64. The C64 was released in 1982 and the Apple II in 1977. The C64 only dominated between 83-86 and the Apple II & IIe between 77-82.
          Axsimulate