[Dclug] Where is the free software dividend?
larry.howe at comjet.com
Sun Dec 3 09:41:57 EST 2006
On Saturday 02 December 2006 12:32, Adam Morey wrote:
> Ubuntu gets better and better with every release? It will take years at
> its current snails pace to reach the capabilities of Vista.
There is a problem with trying to compare software based on features. Say you
try to do the same thing with animals, say, a grizzly bear, and a human.
Height: 10 ft. 6ft
Weight: 900 lb 200 lb
Claws: 4" 0.2"
Teeth: 3" 0.3"
So the analysis says, if you put these up against each other, the bear will
win, and that is true in the 1-on-1 case. But as we know, that is not true
for the species-on-species case. You could say that the human wins because he
can control the environment.
Likewise with software, the environment is a huge factor. Here is where linux
has the advantage. As far as I can tell, every MS product has a dependency on
at least one other MS product. For many companies, who have already drunk the
kool-aid, taking one more drink of it doesn't hurt. But I think a lot of
companies are starting to ask the question, why should my choice of web
server impact my choice of database or web browser?
The other thing that I think people are slowly catching up on, is most of the
"new features" are primarily hype. Good example would be the "ribbon" in a
recent release of Office. This was hyped as some huge leap in GUI design.
Well, MS took some metrics, through some kind of built-in spyware feature, on
who was actually using the ribbon, and it turns out the number of people who
actually used it in the way it was intended (i.e. customized it) was: 0.3%.
So much for a major leap!
Other features that are hyped have existed in Linux for years. Example, when
XP came out, the MS website listed the Top Ten Reasons to Switch to XP, and
one of them was Remote Desktop. This is hilarious to a Linux user since not
only has X Windows been giving us remote desktop since the 1980s, but it was
originally conceived as a remote system, and was only later adopted to run
In other areas, MS is definitely playing catch-up to Linux. Two that come to
mind are tabbed browsing, and the use of peer-to-peer correspondence as the
primary support mechanism.
After you've been around the block a few times, you start to see that most of
the stuff that's hyped as "new", really isn't new, or might just be
unnecessary. And eventually (I hope), people and companies will start to ask
themselves why they should be paying for that.
Linux isn't perfect. MS isn't perfect. They have a healthy competition going,
although not perhaps on a perfectly level playing field. It will be
interesting to see what the outcome is.
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