Sorry Linux but the chicken came first

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.

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,