2016: "You're watching the Linux Channel."

2016: "You're watching the Linux Channel."

Summary: In 2016, once they perfected the technology for use in corporations, the next step was to shut down the office entirely and send just about everyone home.

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thelinuxchannel.jpgJuly 24th, 2016.

Josef Konsumer, a home-based employee and portfolio manager for ICBC/CiticorpChase, a Chinese-owned multinational investment bank, wakes up to hear his alarm clock go off at 8am, and gets out of bed, his 47-year old body aching from an aggressive personal trainer session from the day before.

His morning double espresso with frothed skim milk and mocha is already waiting for him, thanks to his new Korean-made LG RoboCafe, which brews and extracts a perfect crema every time using pre-portioned, mess-free nitrogen-sealed pods imported from Brazil. He considers nudging his wife, Mindy, to get up and make him breakfast, but decides to leave her alone. Best not to wake sleeping dragons.

Josef walks downstairs to the kitchen to grab his coffee. "12 pods left in the magazine" he mutters, as he notices the SUPPLIES ORDERED indicator on the status display.

"Thank God for Amazon and that thing's wireless connection or I'd be done for. The new Indonesian flavor should be here by Friday."

After finishing his coffee, Josef moves into his home office to start the day. He's been a home-based employee for several years now, since Citigroup and JPMorganChase merged with the folks out in Shanghai and they had to downsize.

To cut costs, Josef lost his nice office in midtown Manhattan on Park Avenue and has to use a group admin based out of Bangalore, but he doesn't mind. When he's at home, he gets to see his family all the time, and no more horrible and expensive commute from Edgewater to New York City, even with today's super-efficient electric vehicles.

Who wants to pay 20 bucks in tolls and 60 bucks in municipal parking each day anyway? "F@#$ing city occupancy tax."

Josef waves his hand in front of his Linksys N2 wireless ThinTerm, and the first of his 3 energy-efficient HD 1080p OLED display units comes to life.

ACCESSING REMOTE DESKTOP: 300Mbps, 32-bit color, SolidICE 5.0. CONNECTED. DEFAULT SESSION: Ubuntu 16.04, 128-bit. VMID 0x01EF3FF0x001. BIOMETRIC LOGIN, AUTHENTICATED.

Gotta love that 5 second commute. "Need to buy more CSCO."

Josef turned off his terminal last night before he went to bed, but it doesn't matter because all his windows, browsers, and net-based applications are running, just the way he left them.

He could have just turned on the HDTV in his bedroom, and issued the login voice command to the high-end Motorola-Sony PS5 DVR/entertainment set-top, but that probably would have pissed Mindy off with that thing's loud Led Zeppelin splash screen music.

Oh well. Time to look the portfolio. "MSFT at $12.25? Crap, Time to dump."

Josef remembers what it was like before FIOS 2.0 and the subscriber Ubuntu NetDesktop service. He had to boot his machine up every morning, which always took forever, because Windows always kept getting more and more bloated. And all the viruses and spyware… and installing and upgrading applications… yuck.

OpenOffice 6.2 does everything he wants, and what better browser is there than Firefox 8, anyway? People really had to buy a new PC every 3 years and go through porting all their data and email each time? Worrying about filling their hard drives up? Personal data backups? Hard drive crashes? What a huge hassle.

"Oh that reminds me… How's my EMC stock doing? $72.81, after a 3-way stock split. Excellent."

Oh sure, Josef could subscribe to the "Premium" service for Windows 7 Subscriber Edition, or  get a Apple TV with remote Mac OS XI Bobcat on Mobile Me Corporate Edition, but why pay the extra $400-$600 a year for the base OS image plus expensive metered software licenses for the productivity apps?

He'd rather download the latest direct-to-video Batman movie using On-Demand Pay-Per-View, although admittedly Christian Bale is really starting to look like an old fart.

With his basic $120 monthly fee, Josef gets his super clear VOIP service, 200 channels of HDTV programming, and all his computing needs using Open Source software. Besides, all his important line of business SOA-based J2EE apps are provided over secure VPN connection from the Verizon virtual cluster using web services. Personal data? His 50GB GMail account alone dates back to 2004.

"What are those guys in their green data centers in the flyover states using these days, anyway? IBM Z15s? Hyper-V? Parallels Server 4 or SLES 17.0 128-bit on IBM iDataPlex with POWER12? HP Integrity? Niagara 4? Who cares. It just works."

Yes, it just works. Of course, years ago, people thought this was science fiction. But by 2012, a lot of stuff changed to make this a reality. Corporations wanted to dodge the "Vista and Windows 7 Bullet" by waiting as long as possible to do major desktop upgrades, and started to move more and more desktops into virtual infrastructure using software like Qumranet, Sun Secure Global Desktop, Microsoft Citrix XenDesktop and VMWare VDI.

In 2014, Linux finally caught up on the desktop for corporate use and more apps went on web servers. Green datacenters with various hypervisor and containerization technologies on mainframes, mid-range Linux superservers and lower-power x86 processors on blade clusters made it all possible.

Downsizing of corporate IT also meant less people to do PC support, and it was cheaper to outfit each desk with a $200 solid-state Cisco ThinTERM 5000 with an effective service lifetime of 10 years running on 10GigE over Cat-6 or 2gigabit multi-mode encrypted Wi-Fi, which could be swapped out by building services instead of a trained PC technician.

And in 2016, once they perfected the technology for use in corporations, the next step was to shut down the office entirely and send just about everyone home, once FIOS and high-speed 50 megabit DSL was finally rolled out to everyone.

"Yeah, those lower level executives who travel like maniacs and earn frequent flyer miles with their solid state SUSE LINUX laptops, iPhones and WiMAX 6G can freakin' keep them.

PCs! I can't believe they didn't toss those stupid things earlier."

Will you still be using PCs in 2016? Talk Back and let me know.

The postings and opinions on this blog are my own and don’t necessarily represent IBM’s positions, strategies or opinions.

Topics: Operating Systems, Data Centers, Hardware, Linux, Open Source, Software, Storage, Windows

About

Jason Perlow, Sr. Technology Editor at ZDNet, is a technologist with over two decades of experience integrating large heterogeneous multi-vendor computing environments in Fortune 500 companies. Jason is currently a Partner Technology Strategist with Microsoft Corp. His expressed views do not necessarily represent those of his employer.

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.

Talkback

128 comments
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  • Journalism?

    What kind of journalism is this?

    "Let's imagine a future where Linux is amazing and Windows/Apple are terrible because... well, just because"

    I don't really understand where this article fits into a website such as zdnet.

    Edit:

    Also just to point out, people upgrade their computers every 3 years to take advantage of applications that take advantage of newer hardware, allowing them to perform greater things. Games is the most obvious example of this.
    louiswu
    • Chill

      Its a blog. All bets are off...
      Real World
      • Expecting better

        I just expect better from this industry "veteran" who to be honest has written this article with little semblance of intelligence.

        He includes as much MS and Apple slander as he can get away with whilst making no real reasoned points about what the future is likely to be like.

        Infact the whole post seems more like a cover than a discussion on cloud computing, he's more intent on pointing out that people will be using Linux, or that Windows and OSX are expensive, than the fact that NONE OF THIS IS REALLY RELEVENT TO CLOUD COMPUTING.

        I find it very difficult to take bias individuals such as this seriously.

        As for chilling out, it's been a long day at work, and I need to vent :).
        louiswu
        • .....

          If you work at a job that enrages you to the point that you have to vent... might be time to look for another job. ]:)
          Linux User 147560
          • Probably true.

            Probably true.
            louiswu
      • "Its a blog.." so everthing on ZDnet should be taken with a grain of salt??

        NT
        iPad-awan
    • Funny, I thought this was a blog?

      Question, replace Linux with a nimble and world dominant MS offering, that ok?

      [B]Also just to point out, people upgrade their computers every 3 years to take advantage of applications that take advantage of newer hardware,[/B]

      People purchase new hardware because 3 years is the useful limit of an XP machine in terms of bit rot and just terrible performance. Most users don't know that a re-install restores to new performance, so they replace it to get a better machine.

      Aside: It truly is remarkable that people think a computer slows down. It isn't like an engine losing compression, the RAM isn't "getting tired", etc. Hardware typically works or not. Honestly, how the world has sold the average person that slowing down is natural amazes me. I know how it happened, the entire MS enabled ecosystem hides these facts because they want the churn.

      Officianado's upgrade their hardware for the latest games, it is hardly the majority.

      TripleII
      TripleII-21189418044173169409978279405827
      • .....

        And it's this ignorance of the masses perpetuated by the corporations that creates the 3 year upgrade cycle. LOL I still laugh at all the times I upgraded peoples older systems with a little more RAM and Linux, how they were amazed that their computer was still fast.

        I stopped trying to explain it and just showed them. ]:)
        Linux User 147560
      • Me too

        Ok, let's put aside "special" cases such as gaming.

        [b]People purchase new hardware because 3 years is the useful limit of an XP machine in terms of bit rot and just terrible performance. Most users don't know that a re-install restores to new performance, so they replace it to get a better machine.[/b]

        Ok, you're arguing two things here.

        [b]A.) XP gets 'bit rot' after 3 years.[/b]

        XP is as effective as the applications that are installed on it, if the user decides to install applications that take up large amount of resources or are invasive in anyway, then this is no reflection on XP as an operating system, it is simply the application venders, or the users fault.

        Same argument can be applied to linux, if I installed a ton of crap on there and got a load of it start up on boot time, I'm pretty sure I'd experiance the same results.

        [b]B.) Most users don't know how to re-install their operating system.[/b]

        Ok, so now you're saying people are too stupid to uninstall bad software / clean up their system.

        Great, please hang on a moment while I delve into console, to build or make something because one of the many package installers the software is designed to run with, simply isn't compatible with my distrubution of many choices, and now I have to work out, or research all the niggling commands to get it to build properly.

        Never mind then uninstalling said application, or configuring it to what needs to be done.

        Linux requires a higher "computing" ability than Windows in order to achieve by and large the same tasks, and therefore given my earlier bad application scenario, a windows user would have a much better chance of getting out of it.

        The argument that the same windows system has to have new hardware purchased for it every 3 years is both defunct and ignorant.

        And you put your point accross so elegantly aswell.

        I'd finally like to note, that I've been using open suse and ubuntu for the last couple of years or so, and do not particularly adhere to any operating system. I could give you many arguments about things wrong with windows, but the stupidity of users is not a valid one.

        Apologises for any typos, for some reason open office isn't loading. (how ironic).

        Edit:

        Sorry, final final point, I'd just like to say I'm not specifically trying to disolve this into a windows vs linux argument, just sort of naturally flowed that direct part way into typing.
        louiswu
        • A few rebuttals

          [B]XP is as effective as the applications that are installed on it, if the user decides to install applications that take up large amount of resources or are invasive in anyway, then this is no reflection on XP as an operating system,[/B]

          That simply isn't true. XP is NOT designed to uninstall apps cleanly. It is far too dangerous. If you take a clean install, then install an application, then uninstall it, you have orphaned registry entries, orphaned libraries, and some garbage files on your hard drive. It is simply too dangerous to remove from the registry, it is safer to leave the garbage in.

          [B]Same argument can be applied to linux, if I installed a ton of crap on there and got a load of it start up on boot time, I'm pretty sure I'd experiance the same results.[/B]

          No, Linux is a true multitasking OS, XP never was. From the time my desktop shows up I can start applications, while Amarok is starting, wireless is connecting, KoPete is connecting and Karumba is starting. Another point, even with all that started as SOP, my CPU run 1% when idle. That is a Windows application problem, all the widgets use constant CPU.

          [B]Ok, so now you're saying people are too stupid to uninstall bad software / clean up their system.[/B]

          No, I said most users are unable to re-install their OS and don't know they should. Uninstalling software does NOT clean up bit rot, it adds to it. After 3 years of installing and uninstalling, even if you uninstall back to the original software suite, your registry is 10X the original, you have many many orphaned libraries, your HD is hugely fragmented and you have gigabytes of crap directories of orphaned files left behind my unclean install.

          Now, take a linux machine. Install 100% of the apps in the repository. Uninstall them, 100% clean. (not including from . directories in /home). The system is designed to be absolutely modular from an install/uninstall level.

          [B]Great, please hang on a moment while I delve into console, to build or make something because one of the many package installers the software is designed to run with, simply isn't compatible with my distrubution[/B]

          I have not compiled an application or not found it in the repository in 5 years, Linux 100% of the time, 11 years. I have NEVER compiled a kernel. Even fluent with bash and the command line, I never use it. None of my users (lol, they wouldn't know a command line if it popped up somehow). People don't use developer alpha's mainstream.

          [B]Linux requires a higher "computing" ability than Windows in order to achieve by and large the same tasks,[/B]

          I have 30+ computer illiterate friends and family who have no trouble (and little ability) to maintain and run a computer. OEMed, Linux beats Windows hands down (especially in ongoing maintenance. With automatic updates, there is none to do).

          I think you probably mean the main install and configuration. That's too much for most users, of course, installing Windows would be too much for users. I wonder if a fully OEMed Linux machine would be easy to use and just work? Eee, MSI Wind, Dell's Ubuntu, Lenovo's SLED. :D

          [B]The argument that the same windows system has to have new hardware purchased for it every 3 years is both defunct and ignorant.[/B]

          That was not my argument, my argument was that mainstream consumers don't know, nor can they do, the complete re-install to restore the computer to it's ORIGINAL speed. That's my point, they have come to believe that computers (hardware) slows down over time, it doesn't, it works or not, the slowdowns is the bit rot in Windows. Nothing perks up a machine better than a re-install of XP. That is step one (if the CDs are available) in my dual booting of newbies, clean install of XP, install Linux

          The bottom line is, all that hardware is still good, the OS can be re-installed and performance restored, but the industry doesn't want that to happen.

          TripleII
          TripleII-21189418044173169409978279405827
      • Upgrades from a Child's Eyes

        I personally believe you are way off-base with your view on upgrades. There have been enough advance in computing power every three years that more powerful applications are developed and there is a noticeable difference in machine speed.

        I work with 3D renderings and the software I use now will barely run on the hardware that was available 3 years ago. Some of the computers can be upgraded on a component basis, but it still suffers degraded performance and a complete computer replacement is the better option.

        Now, what really tells me the difference is examining a child's reaction without ever telling them machine A is faster than machine B or machine C. I have four children (ages 5 to 11) and they know without question which machine is fastest...they fight over it. No matter how much I have reformatted, trimmed down, and upgraded computer C, they refuse to use it unless it is the absolute last resort. Sometimes they just flat out refuse to use computer C (it is about 5 years old). Machine B (about 3 years old) gets more love, but it is the runner up to machine A (less than a year, dual-core, 4GB RAM, 712MB video). What do they use the computer for? Playing on the Internet - Webkins, Kidzui, Disney, etc. All the computers have Firefox. Two computers are XP (newest and oldest) and one is Ubuntu (middle). We also have a Mac that is about a year old, but the newest XP, my gaming rig, gets the attention. Children can tell, and they could care less about OSes, RAM, or Ghz.
        Paradigm_Shift
      • Wear and tear

        But time certainly does take a toll in hardware. Disk sectors fail, dust prevents efficient thermal regulation, fans stop working as they did, etc. It may be not as catastrophic as the "mass sentiment" suggests (I've had computers that last more than 7 years, and even with windows updates they keep running at acceptable speeds), but in a sense a computer does get slower over time.
        And then there's the problem of software evolution. Even linux apps raise their requirement levels from time to time. Games take it to the extreme because the next blockbuster FPS will always need 10 times more power than your current graphic card can handle. Even when people decide to stick with a version of all apps and OS, the software will eventually evolve, add killer features too tempting to refuse, and force the consumer to upgrade his/her hardware. In this way, computers also get slower over time.
        dimonWar
        • .....

          Ironically though again the slow down, perceived or real only seems to happen with Windows based machines. I had an AMD Duron 1.2GHz system that I ran for 7 years before I finally replaced it with a new dual core system. Point is that Duron ran that same for me over that 7 years while running Linux and actually on a couple of upgrades, perceptibly faster.

          So my experience and the experiences of many other Linux users don't support the slow down is normal theory. Platters spin at 7200RPM +/- 100RPM. Bits and bytes still travel at the speed of the tron they are riding.

          Electronics do not slow down, electrical components don't slow down. They work or they don't. It's not like your car engine that does lose power over time due to valve spring wear, valve seat wear, ring wear, cylinder wear, cooling system calcification or corrosion if you will. These are all mechanical things. That wear and they wear together. SO the gradual lost of efficiency and power is really not noticed.

          The only things that could possibly replicate that would be the platters of a hard drive slowing a bit.... but that is still not enough to be significant.

          The bottom line, which has been pointed out, bit rot from a poorly designed system are the causes for Windows computers to slow down. Linux just doesn't suffer that problem. And sorry buy I think 10 years of use on a variety of hardware, that aforementioned Duron being my primary desktop for 7 years... that experience doesn't support your assertions. ]:)
          Linux User 147560
          • speed

            So far, my experience on a dual core AMD 2.0 GHz, 2 gb of ram and 128 mb ati radeon X1200, has been that linux and windows loads about the same and run various similar applications the same. That's with linux running x64 and vista running x32. Same speeds, still not a huge amount of robust elegant code written to truly take advantage of the x64 architecture - at least on linux, I can't speak for vista x64 never used it.

            "Electronics do not slow down, electrical components don't slow down."

            Let's delve into physics. The more that an electrical system is used and run the more electrical resistance develops in the conduits due to the heat stress changing structure of the electronic system. Wires and electronics still work but they don't work as efficiently, this is most likely taken into account when developed. Hard drives start to spin slower - they spin, the spindle starts to be a little tougher to spin.
            Now I'll eat my hat if you can bring up so direct research from physicist stating that electrical systems don't lose efficiency over time. I doubt you'll find something like that - entropy increases as time passes. As the system gets older it becomes less efficient. It's not a perpetual motion system.
            whitetigersx
          • .....

            Efficiency and velocity are not the same. While resistance does build, it doesn't reduce velocity but demands more power to maintain flow. So no electronics do not slow down they consume more power over time and eventually stop. ]:)
            Linux User 147560
          • Actually

            moderate heat CURES the minor crystal lattice defects which are present in semiconductors at the end of the manufacturing process. (Especially from particle beam epitaxial injection methods, in which dopants are put into the semiconductor using particle accelerator, and literally shot into defect-free crystal, thus creating a defect around each and every dopant atom -- in contrast, coat-and-diffuse methods of creating semiconductors have fewer crystal lattice defects at the end of manufacture..but BOTH methods have defects which are slowly cured with the mild heating of normal usage within manufacturer specs).

            This is why the time to failure graph for any particular chip design and manufacturing process exhibits a small spike within the first few months (incurably large defects cause local overheating, and the defects grow), followed by an EXTREMELY low failure rate for years... which is then dependant only upon the cooling to power ratio. (and before someone mentions overclocking... higher frequencies = more power -- that's basic 1st semester circuit analysis).
            akulkis
        • Yes, but didn't want to get into percentages.

          HDs and seek times will increase for the reasons listed, but it isn't that significant. Both you and another poster are correct, software updates do add features and slow things down, but for mainstream users (not us, I use VMWare workstation, Netbeans, etc, I need horsepower because new it isn't fast enough, lol), computers are

          pictures
          MP3s
          YouTube
          Email
          Facebook/Myspace
          Online banking
          IM
          Web surfing

          If they were happy with their computer performance 3 years ago, I submit that a clean install and then updates, they will be surprised and pleased that their computer was made fast again.

          TripleII
          TripleII-21189418044173169409978279405827
      • New Life for Old Computers

        [i]People purchase new hardware because 3 years is the useful limit of an XP machine in terms of bit rot and just terrible performance. Most users don't know that a re-install restores to new performance, so they replace it to get a better machine.[/i]

        Just yesterday, I unearthed my old Dell Dimension L700 desktop (700MHz Celeron, 20GB hard drive, 192MB RAM upgradable all the way to 512MB). It shipped with WinMe, so apparently I bought it about eight years ago. It seems that the last thing I'd done before mothballing it was a fresh XP install, and guess how it performed? A little slow compared to my dual-core notebook, but not too shabby. I'm sure I can find a school, library, or homeless shelter that would be glad to have a machine like that.

        [i]Honestly, how the world has sold the average person that slowing down is natural amazes me. [/i]
        I'd imagine that they're comparing their old computer to the hot new model their friend bought, or to the new workstations they got at the office. Their computer isn't any slower, their expectations have changed. Consider our definition of a "slow connection" these days. Gosh, ten seconds to load a JPG? What's wrong with this stupid thing?
        MaddJoka
    • hmmm....

      I would need to buy a new computer even though I bought mine 2 1/2 years ago since the processor CANNOT play the games I want to play!
      marcfinnwilson
    • It's called Futurology

      ... Futurology is the science, art and practice of postulating possible, probable, and preferable futures and the worldviews and myths that underlie them (Wikipedia)

      This obviously illiterate type of response to the article reminds of the fact that "Ideas drive technology" and not the other way around. This article is thought experiment, in the context of the OS strife. But, the fact of the matter is that what he describes is already implemented in some way, as Toffler already projected (perhaps before you were born) in a 1972 film, Future shock. (Flintstones' time for PC's, they were then thought experiments). http://youtube.com/watch?v=6Ghzomm15yE&feature=related

      More modern is his work "The Third Wave", where what we have today in the environment of technology was already projected by him in the early 80's. Read: http://www.amazon.com/Third-Wave-Alvin-Toffler/dp/0553246984/ref=pd_bbs_sr_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1217232909&sr=8-2

      Dump the M$ vs. Uni(xes) teen playground game. Proponents of such infantile feuds should grow up and channel their energy to develop ideas beyond the limits of present OS's.
      Dreiel