Linux's Prospects

Linux's Prospects

Post by Monica La » Sun, 31 Dec 1899 09:00:00



Hi!
I am a student who is doing a little independent study on Linux.  I just
want to get an overview of what people think about Linux's prospects for
attaining a major share of the PC OS market.  Any comments are welcome and
would be nice.

Thank you,

Monica Lau

 
 
 

Linux's Prospects

Post by Slug » Sun, 31 Dec 1899 09:00:00


Hi,
   You should get some accurate info at
 www.news.com
www.techweb.com
www.planetit.com
www.linux.org

I remember reading some very good articles on Linux's prospects at these
sites ............

Slug


Quote:>Hi!
>I am a student who is doing a little independent study on Linux.  I just
>want to get an overview of what people think about Linux's prospects for
>attaining a major share of the PC OS market.  Any comments are welcome and
>would be nice.

>Thank you,

>Monica Lau


 
 
 

Linux's Prospects

Post by Bloody Vikin » Sun, 31 Dec 1899 09:00:00


: I am a student who is doing a little independent study on Linux.  I just
: want to get an overview of what people think about Linux's prospects for
: attaining a major share of the PC OS market.  Any comments are welcome and
: would be nice.

For most end users, Linux probably won't catch on. For the amateur
programmer, it probably will, as people get exposed to UNIX due to the
Internet. I got turned onto Linux when I had a UNIX shell account on an
ISP. I still use UNIX shell accounts to this day and a terminal proggie.
(Minicom)

People who are prone to getting under the Windows to DOS are going to like
UNIX as it's mainly a command-line interface. (CLI) Yes, there is a GUI
thing for Linux, but it's not the main "selling point". I'm one of those
wierdos who LIKES a command line! :) This is a result of my past where I
had a Commodore 64 which had as a shell a BASIC interpreter. When I first
got a PC, I played around with Windows until I found DOS and QBASIC. I was
"home" again.

When I used the Commodore, I was on a very low budget, so I began coding
up stuff for my own use. I soon learned the best computer game was
programming itself. Back in '94, I found out that Linux existed. The idea
of a mainframe-style OS for a personally owned computer appealed to me as
the amateur programmer type hobbyist. Even better was the fact that it was
freeware. My wallet was definitely talking! Before I first lit off a Linux
box, I had a UNIX Shell Account on an ISP. (I use shell accounts to this
day) I was already playing with Procmail and shell scripts before Jul 10,
Y2K-6 (1994)

July 10, Y2K-6 was the day when I first successfully lit off a Linux box.
Since then, I gradually migrated from DOS to UNIX, and now I almost
exclusively use Linux. (Note that I often use "Linux" and "UNIX"
interchangably.) My favourite distribution is Slackware, while Red Hat
would be better for most people doing their first install. I use Windows
only when I'm messing with graphics. Otherwise, my computer runs on Linux.

Yes, Linux does have a GUI, the X Window system. I had it working before,
but it stopped working. All I'd need a GUI for is the occasional use of a
GUI web browser or for a "paint shop" proggie. I normally use Lynx the
text-only browser. You can see how the Lynx user sees the web by looking
at my web page as it's 100 percent Lynx-compliant.

The fact that Linux is primarily a command-line type of thing, it would
appeal to former DOS fans and amateur programmers. Until the GUI is
reliably made to install with a Linux install, it will be an OS for the
hacker types. (No, I don't mean the evil "cracker" type *wits.)

One area in which Linux really shines is low cost. Saddam Hussein could
buy ONE Linux album and build his own Internet legally. Linux would make a
perfect solution for the Third World precicely becuse it's freeware. The
Third World will be attracted to Linux becuse it makes the cost of a
mainframe so cheap it's ridiculous. You could pay less than a grand for a
mainframe as powerful as the earliest Cray supercomputers NOW, thanks to
Linux. And Crays run on a UNIX, albeit their own version. This brings up
another thing. You can code up a proggie on a Cray and run it on Linux,
provided only that there's no hardware-specific routines.

My mail bot was originally hacked up on my Linux box then uploaded to my
ISP, which runs another UNIX. I find more variation between different UNIX
systems than I do between different versions of UNIX itself. The box's
exact config makes a much bigger difference than the flavour of UNIX
itself. Needless to say, I have my Linux boxes configured funny, due in
part to partial lack of knowledge and my finding alternative methods. (I
consider it standard practice to rename /usr/bin/pico /usr/bin/vi to set
the default text editor.)

A legacy thing with me is how I use the C Shell. Linux defaults to the
Bourne Again Shell. Becuse I first got turned on to UNIX on an ISP that
defaulted to the C Shell, I merely kept the tradition. I admit that this
is one of my UNIX-related "superstitions".

The above helps explain how I got into Linux, and given the history,
probably explains why it probably won't be a hit for the clueless Joe
Average. The average Joe Average is not going to want to learn even a
little programming. Understandably, they want a computer that lights off
when you plug it in and mash the start button. Most people want a computer
that is easy to operate like a car. Linux, so far, can't offer this.

Think about it. If you know how to drive, you can pretty much jump onboard
a rent-a-car and blast off on your merry way. The controls are pretty much
the same. This is unlike computers, and Linux. However, a car is
"intuitive" only becuse the controls are similar from one to the next.
Going from Windows to Linux is in a vehicular analogy like going from an
automatic transmission car to a truck with a stick. I can't drive a Stick.
If a semi had an automatic, I'd be able to drive it theoretically. (Funny,
but I drive forklifts and manlifts. Manlifts are really fun to use.)

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Linux's Prospects

Post by David Steube » Sun, 31 Dec 1899 09:00:00


First the server.
Then the desktop.

The prospects look good.  And we can thank Microsoft for their lack of
concern for their customers.

--
David Steuber
http://www.david-steuber.com
s/trashcan/david/ to reply by mail

SYSTEM ALERT: /dev/null is full.  Please delete any unnecessary files.

 
 
 

Linux's Prospects

Post by Bloody Vikin » Sun, 31 Dec 1899 09:00:00


: First the server.
: Then the desktop.

: The prospects look good.  And we can thank Microsoft for their lack of
: concern for their customers.

Microsoft is only helping Linux. :) The servers are a perfect choice for
Linux becuse the people who admin a server are going to be knowledgable
anyways.

The desktop is another matter. Linux will only appeal to a small group of
knowledgable computer owners. This does not preclude the Joe 6-Pack types,
however. But it does preclude unknowledgable people.

You have to know a little UNIX to appreciate Linux. The Internet exposes
people to UNIX. This is a Good Thing(tm) as exposure to UNIX gets people
to think in terms of an OS besides Microshit. I got hooked on UNIX from
shell accounts. When I first got on the Internet, I was perplexed by
filenames which ended in .html - 4 letters, not 3 letters! I then found
that UNIX made it possible. Then, I used a shell account, learned
Procmail, shell scripting, and how to compile a C proggie. I'll never turn
back! A fun note is that for automatically executed stuff, I still use
.bat endings for shell scripts and .exe for compiled executables.

Younger people will be more willing to switch to Linux than die-hard
Microsoft fans. The path of Linux into the home will be from *agers
turning their parents on to Linux. If my mother bought a computer
tomorrow, she'd most likely use Windows even after I told her about Linux.
She's not going to be interested in DIY programming like I am. So, Linux
will catch on in the home, but slowly.

Microshit can't stop the spread, but can sure accellerate it. Consider the
proliferation of cell phones. Where I work, about half the people tote
cell phones becuse the pay phone half the time doesn't work. So, people
use a cell phone. Problem solved. People don't complain about the pay
phone, they just pull out the cell phone!

Linux is in the position of being a choice when the other OS doesn't work.
Instead of complaining about DOS, people just light off Linux. Sure,
MS-Bashing(tm) occurs, but jokes about that pay phone are found where I
work with my fellow cell phone users.

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Linux's Prospects

Post by Brian Hu » Sun, 31 Dec 1899 09:00:00



>For most end users, Linux probably won't catch on.

Here I disagree.  And it hinges on what "most end users" are like.  I'll
agree that at end of the spectrum you have the hacker-programmer-sysadmin
types, and at the other end the PHB.  But the majority of computer users
are using their computers in a managed environment- i.e. at work, with a
professional IS department to do installs, maintainance, and other
system administration.  The weak spot of Linux is that it requires a
professional admin (or someone capable of being one) to administer- but
in a work environment this is not a problem.

Linux won't penetrate the home (much)- I'd say the iMac or other NC
would dominate there.  But the coporate desktop?  Linux has a very good
shot.

Brian

 
 
 

Linux's Prospects

Post by Jim Richards » Sun, 31 Dec 1899 09:00:00


On Mon, 18 Jan 1999 01:01:09 GMT,
 Brian Hurt  


>>For most end users, Linux probably won't catch on.

>Here I disagree.  And it hinges on what "most end users" are like.  I'll
>agree that at end of the spectrum you have the hacker-programmer-sysadmin
>types, and at the other end the PHB.  But the majority of computer users
>are using their computers in a managed environment- i.e. at work, with a
>professional IS department to do installs, maintainance, and other
>system administration.  The weak spot of Linux is that it requires a
>professional admin (or someone capable of being one) to administer- but
>in a work environment this is not a problem.

>Linux won't penetrate the home (much)- I'd say the iMac or other NC
>would dominate there.  But the coporate desktop?  Linux has a very good
>shot.

This is  a very good point. I have infiltrated linux onto an old '486
at work, which I use for keeping notes, and documenting design issues
on the current project. I was tired of people (marketroids, although most
of them are _nice_ marketroids :) comming and bugging me every day with
requests for updates on whatever was their hot spot de jour. So I set up
apache (I hadn't actually realized it was there until I started to
look for the rpm on rufus, and realized that RH had installed  it
during install, wasn't paying attention I guess.) Anyway, the next time
one of the marketroids wanted status, I told him to point NS at the server,
and read it there... Pandemonium erupted as _my_ boss wanted to know how
much money I had spent on a webserver. :)
(now, linux is on 3 machines at work, although one of them is my laptop,
and we are looking into a cobal qube for mail/web serving to outside. )

--
Jim Richardson
        Anarchist, pagan and proud of it
WWW.eskimo.com/~warlock
        Linux, because life's too short for a buggy OS.

 
 
 

Linux's Prospects

Post by r.e.ball.. » Sun, 31 Dec 1899 09:00:00


In article <77rg6n$7d...@hirame.wwa.com>,
  Bloody Viking <nos...@tekka.wwa.com> wrote:

> Monica Lau <ml...@ucdavis.edu> wrote:

> : I am a student who is doing a little independent study on Linux.  I just
> : want to get an overview of what people think about Linux's prospects for
> : attaining a major share of the PC OS market.  Any comments are welcome and
> : would be nice.

> For most end users, Linux probably won't catch on. For the amateur
> programmer, it probably will, as people get exposed to UNIX due to the
> Internet. I got turned onto Linux when I had a UNIX shell account on an
> ISP. I still use UNIX shell accounts to this day and a terminal proggie.
> (Minicom)

There is a key distinction here.  Microsoft's strength is that it makes
systems and applications that are easy to use.  To this extent they are
useful.  A Microsoft user can take Microsoft Access, and, knowing nothing
about Star Schemas, 3rd Normal Form, or any of that other DBA stuff, can
whip up a customer contact database that can rival those of Seibol and ACT!

The flip side is that this usefulness is limited to data generated for, and
used by, the PC users for his personal and private use.  The Microsoft
user can summarize his database into an excel spreadsheet using counts
and summary fields, he can use the spreadsheet to create a chart, and use
the chart in a Microsoft Word document which will be sent as part of a report
to his manager.  The manager will then have to take that document, slice
and dice the numbers of the subordinates, and come up with a composite
report for the departement, which he will forward to his VP.  The VP
will slice-and-dice to create a report for the president, and the President
will slice-and-dice to create a report for the CEO, the SEC, and the
investors.  This entire process can take weeks, even months.  Often, a CEO
who relies entirely on a Microsoft based information system won't know
until days before the annual report is issued how the numbers will finally
"churn up".  By the time he gets those "hard numbers", there is neither the
time nor the ability to "drill down" to details that push the numbers above
or below expectations.  The CEO must then announce corrective actions to
appease dissappointed investors, or announce qualifiers to appease suspicious
SEC regulators.  In summary, the same features that made this system easy to
use, makes it less useful in terms of the actual goals of the business (having
an accurate reflection of business activity based on current and detailed
information).

Linux is less easy to use, but was designed to encourage the structured
sharing of information.  I can create CGI forms which allow customers to
purchase or order products via the web, the sales clerks can use similar
forms.  The orders can be processed using PERL scripts which can not only
post inserts to a database, but can also send update information to other
real-time monitoring systems.  If someone orders 49 PCs, purchasing can order
(or adjust their order) for 50 video cards, 25 more cases (we have 25 in
stock), 10 more motherboards (we have 45 but we get discounts for qty 10),
and 100 CD-ROMs (we have 40 in stock, but order qty 100).

The time to find out that we're short is when the order is placed, rather
than waiting until tomorrow until the orders are posted, then waiting until
the next day to compare inventory on hand to orders, and the third day to
format a pretty "this is what we should order" report.  Which now means that
the customer must wait 7 days instead of 48 hours for his computer.

> People who are prone to getting under the Windows to DOS are going to like
> UNIX as it's mainly a command-line interface. (CLI)
> Yes, there is a GUI
> thing for Linux, but it's not the main "selling point".

Have you seen ANY Linux retail packages?  Have you seen ANY Print publications
on Linux?  Have you read ANY copies of Linux World in print?  Have you had
any experience with commercial distributions of Red Hat, SuSE, or Caldera?

Saying that Linux doesn't have a GUI is like saying that a Cadellac doesn't
have a transmission (because you don't have to shift).

Linux has the advantage of being able to function as BOTH a Workstation
and a Server.  Furthermore, scripting gives Linux a great deal more power
than the "GUI-ONLY" paradigm of Microsoft Windows.  NT supports scripting
languages such as PERL, TCL, and Java, but it's main focus is on it's
GUI oriented use and administration.  Linux provides flexible GUI interfaces
to standard GUI applications that can be supplemented by scripted capabilities
which can then be interfaced to GUIs including Web Browsers, Java, and Python.

With Linux, the total value is greater than the sum of it's parts.

> I'm one of those wierdos who LIKES a command line! :)

I have mixed feelings on this issue.  Too often, I have had to spend days
or weeks learning how to "point and click" my way through some third party
application that did little more than a PERL script, had restrictions which
limited it's functionality, and then - when put under pre-production
stress-testing, crumbled into BSODs, lockouts, and race-conditions that
wiped out multiple applications.

> This is a result of my past where I
> had a Commodore 64 which had as a shell a BASIC interpreter. When I first
> got a PC, I played around with Windows until I found DOS and QBASIC. I was
> "home" again.

I go back to the days of flipping rows of DIP switches to program my 8080
or using a hex keypad to program my COSMAC ELF.  I even remember the days
of writting programs using DEBUG or FORTH.  These are useful skills when
you have a system that is failing at 3:00 A.M. and you have no network
access, and you have to get a community college drop-out to toggle in
a binary patch to get the system operation again.  Thank god those days
are over.  With Windows, I have no source code, with Linux I have a network
and remote access capabilities.

> When I used the Commodore, I was on a very low budget, so I began coding
> up stuff for my own use.

You were on a low budget!  Try paying $65 for a computer that only ran with
2Kbytes of RAM, a hex key-pad, and an EPROM that let you do a 32bit x 32 bit
display (nonproportional of course) through a video modulator (an extra $20)
using NTSC composite video.  That was my 3rd computer :-).

> I soon learned the best computer game was programming itself.

Some of us feel that way.  I remember playing "adventure" on a CP/M
system and then getting onto a UNIX system.  The "adventure" game gave
text descriptions of monsters and treasure, and a few commands to help
you kill the monsters and get the treasure.

The UNIX box had REAL treasure!  It had man pages and doc files that
described mysterious new commands like grep, and sed, and awk, and lex, and
yacc.  As I learned each "spell", I would exeriment by using it on code that
I had been asked to modify and enhance.  In a few weeks, work that was taking
days under a text editor were being done is minutes with ed scripts, sed
scripts, and awk scripts.  In fact, using these new "spells" I discovered
that nearly 90% of the code was essentially the same 10% cloned and modified
9 times. In a matter of a few weeks, I had reduced 500,000 lines of PDP-11
Assembler to 10,000 lines of C.  The whole time I was working shoulder to
shoulder with P.H.D.s and M.S.E.Es  from MIT, Berkely, and Stanford.  To keep
up I'd spend 8-10 hours/day learning their new "magic".  In about 18 months,
I was officially recognized as a "Wizard" and assigned to a project where I
was writing a 911 emergency services dispatch system in UNIX.  The same
project that had taken 200 staff-year to ENHANCE using PDP-11 assembler,
RT-11 (similar to MS-DOS), and custom code was completed in less than 2 staff
years, (6 people for 4 months) using UNIX components, C, and UNIX languages.

Forms were created using CURSES, reports were formatted using NROFF (from
the database directly to "tbl|nroff|lpr" script.  The original budget for
this spooler was 1 year.  We did the entire system, including beautification,
in 3 weeks.

> Back in '94, I found out that Linux existed. The idea
> of a mainframe-style OS for a personally owned computer appealed to me as
> the amateur programmer type hobbyist. Even better was the fact that it was
> freeware. My wallet was definitely talking! Before I first lit off a Linux
> box, I had a UNIX Shell Account on an ISP. (I use shell accounts to this
> day) I was already playing with Procmail and shell scripts before Jul 10,
> Y2K-6 (1994)

I first tried Linux in 1992.  It was a good functional UNIX, comparable to
AT&T System 5 Release 1.  It had no graphics, no networking, ran on VGA,
ran text-mode only, and came with a GCC compiler and linker.  I ended up
doing a consulting gig porting X11/R5 to IBM's AIX for ESA.  Meanwhile,
some folks at MIT were porting X11/R5 to Linux.

By February 1993, Linux not only had X11/R5, it also had Open Look,
the OLVWM window manager, and a pretty impressive set of GUI applications.
It was almost like being on a Sun Workstation.  What was really cool was
that I also had access to an HP/9000 and a Sun SPArc-20 and using Linux
I could use them both from my little 80386 PC.  Eventually, I installed
Slackware Linux onto a Pentium-90 and I thought I was in heaven.  I have
since switched to Red Hat and SuSE.

[snip - including that X11 broke on him]

> The fact that Linux is primarily a command-line type of thing, it would
> appeal to former DOS fans and amateur programmers. Until the GUI is
> reliably made to install with a Linux install, it will be an OS for the
> hacker types. (No, I don't mean the evil "cracker" type fuckwits.)

Actually, all that's really required is to have the Linux system preinstalled
with X11 properly configured.  Even then it's a "power user's" box.  The
person who is perfectly content with Microsoft "Works" and IE 4.0 on
Windows-95 probably won't appreciate the full power of Linux.  They would
...

read more »

 
 
 

Linux's Prospects

Post by Stephen R. Savitz » Sun, 31 Dec 1899 09:00:00




> >For most end users, Linux probably won't catch on.
> Here I disagree.  And it hinges on what "most end users" are like.

I also disagree, but for a different reason: Linux is inherently more
stable and easier to administer on a day-to-day basis than Windows NT.
If it is pre-installed by the vendor, perhaps during an on-site visit,
it will stay up and keep on going indefinitely.

Office machine vendors already do this for things like copiers.  When
your new copier comes in the door, you wait for the vendor's technician
to arrive and unpack it for you.  In some localities (e.g. Japan, where
people are willing to pay extra for superlative service) the copier even
orders its own supplies, _before_ it runs out of them.

Quote:> I'll agree that at end of the spectrum you have the
> hacker-programmer-sysadmin types, and at the other end the PHB.  But
> the majority of computer users are using their computers in a managed
> environment- i.e. at work, with a professional IS department to do
> installs, maintainance, and other system administration.  The weak
> spot of Linux is that it requires a professional admin (or someone
> capable of being one) to administer- but in a work environment this is
> not a problem.

A small organization is not going to want (or be able) to hire a
professional administrator, but Linux doesn't need one any more than NT
does.  Somewhat less, in fact.  A single administrator can handle more
Linux (and Unix in general) machines than NT machines, to the point that
administering a single Linux-based server is significantly less than a
full-time job.  

What that means is that small organizations and even individuals will
contract out their Linux system administration, just as they now
contract out their phone wiring, copier servicing, and automobile
repair.  In fact, most future system administration will probably follow
a similar model, with a service contract that covers whatever work is
needed.

Day-to-day tasks like adding users and network clients are easily done
using a GUI or Web interface like RedHat's control-panel or Webmin.
Given the fact that Linux is easily serviced remotely (as long as it's
still bootable), most ``service calls'' will end up being phone calls or
(for directly-connected machines) telnet sessions.

Quote:> Linux won't penetrate the home (much)- I'd say the iMac or other NC
> would dominate there.  But the coporate desktop?  Linux has a very good
> shot.

I think that Linux has _enormous_ potential in the home, as soon as its
market share increases to the point where the major game companies get
interested.  Along with game consoles, Linux will be used in routers,
firewalls, and file servers as well as general purpose systems.  

But that's a subject for another post.
--
 /   Steve Savitzky   \ 1997 Pegasus Award winner: best science song--+  \

\  hacker/songwriter:   \   http://www.starport.com/people/steve/Doc/Songs/
 \_ Kids' page: MOVED ---> http://www.starport.com/places/forKids/ ______/

 
 
 

1. LinkSys betrayed us! Poor prospects for Linux.

LinkSys betrayed us!
I bought a LinkSys LNE100TX ethernet card because it had the box label
"Linux Tested".
It came with a driver floppy disk, but it had no driver for Linux.  The
floppy disk had instructions for installing an old copy of tulip onto RedHat
5.0, which used kernel 2.0; I have RedHat 7.0 w/ kernel 2.2.16.  I have one
of the later versions of LinkSys LNE100TX, version 4.1, and this needs the
latest tulip driver.
LinkSys should have given us a working binary files with detailed
step-by-step installation instructions.  LinkSys wants us to *download* the
necessary files/drivers, but without the drivers, I can't get on the
internet to download them.  The old catch 22; without experience, can't get
a job, but without a job, can't get experience.

I went to the tulip web site http://www.scyld.com/network/updates.html , but
the instructions there were so poor and ambiguous that an average user could
never follow.  The web site leaves you wondering if there are multiple ways
of installing the driver, or one way, but different steps.
Do I do either "Using the Source RPM Package" or "Installing the Individual
Drivers", or do I do both?  What does it mean to install "individual"
drivers?  I have *one* card, which needs *one* driver!  What do you mean by
individual?!
There's also the section, "Building updated drivers into the kernel".  Do I
do this in addition to the above instrucitons, or is this something
separate?!
I went to the web site http://www.scyld.com/network/tulip.html , but this
web site also has poor instructions, and refers you to somewhere else to
learn how to install modules.

Linux has a long way to go before it can become a common platform, if at
all.  Linux is for hobbiest who have time to tinker with their computers.
There are no simple ways to click-and-drag to get things working.
Everything is a struggle; you have to learn something new for every petty
task.  Imagine if you had to know how the car's engine transferred power via
the transmission system before you can drive your car,...  Few of us know
how a calculator works, and we take it for granted and use it as a fuctional
tool.  That's what a computer should be; a functional tool to increase
productivity.  Too much time/effort is required to use Linux.  However,
Win2K is just as stable, but easy and user-friendly.  How much is my time
worth?  How much is Win2K?  Win2K starts to seem pretty attractive,...

-----

2. Problem with CDRDAO

3. Software lemon law... scary prospect for all???

4. task cpu affinity syscalls for 2.4

5. how are the job prospects in unix?

6. Ooops - how do I restore corect keyboard map in X (suse7)?

7. Lead Generation - postal, email & tel - your prospects

8. frustrating ftp problem !

9. Any prospect for Aureal Vortex2 support?

10. Prospects

11. How To Reach Hundreds Of Prospects Every Month

12. The 'Linux Chicken' and 'the Linux Egg'