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back to article Shuttleworth on Ubuntu: It ain't about the money

In the wake of the launch of Ubuntu 8.10, Mark Shuttleworth - the founder of the Ubuntu project and the chief executive officer of Canonical, the commercial entity behind Ubuntu - hosted a conference call with the press and analyst community. And in that call, Shuttleworth, who is not afraid to shell out money for a good cause …

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Anonymous Coward

They could try advertising

and it doesn't have to be through the general channels.

You can go viral easily with something like Ubuntu, the trick is to make sure everyone has access to your marketing material, and you do a fast response to what is free advertising.

So, you have a small marketing department made up of 2 developers and 3 designers, their job is to make ads for both online and offline. You secure the university lot, hire some pretty girls with tight fitting Ubuntu T-Shirts and daisy duke cut off shorts and you tour around in the Ubuntu bus during freshers week, slap the lappies out, hold a few competitions.

Organise some events pitting operating systems against each other. Get in contact with film and TV show makers, and offer to help with the production work when computers are shown on screen, as long as at some point the Ubuntu name is mentioned.

And you churn a load of advertisement online, but use people with blogs and sites to help spread the word. Ubuntu is quite a strong brand, they just have to work it a bit.

If support is their revenue stream they need to make that really obvious, make it simple for people to understand the support and see the value in it, and it never hurts to have a pretty girl with great jugs promoing the product.

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Silver badge

Hahahaha

I always get a kick out of this guy. He's managed to lose more than $75 million of personal wealth in three years on his hairbrained open sores feel good software projects.

I guess he likes giving his money away. He sure isn't making any.

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Alert

Just another ...

... millionaire distorting the market for his own amusement.

While Shuttleworth has millions to burn on his hobby, I'd guess that the rest of us who read The register have to work for a living. I, for one, work in IT.

How can any IT professional support this immoral behaviour? Giving away software for free simply puts paid IT workers out of work. Just ask any former SUN employees.

Free software distorts the market because it means that some companies choose "free" over "purchased". Need I remind you, "purchased" is keeping you and your colleagues in employment. It's a race to the bottom, and Shuttleworth proudly boasts that he makes no money, doesn't see any scenario where desktop Linux will ever make money, and will "happily" do this for many more years. For those who still don't get it - an industry that makes no money can't employ IT professionals. An industry that makes no money eventually dies. (Yes, even Shuttleworth will run out of money, eventually).

Thank goodness I moved out of programming about a decade ago. It seems that is rapidly becoming an un-paid hobby.

Ironically, the biggest fans of FOSS are those who profess to be IT professionals.

Oh yeah, don't try that "the money is in the support" arguement (although it does help explain why Linux *needs* so much support). Why not simply pay the programmers for thier work, and leave the Amway marketing model alone!

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wim
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full systems ?

I am trying to buy a linux laptop that is not overpriced and with that I mean it has to be at a lower price than a similar windows laptop and that comes with some decent hardware.

but it is still a very tedious project. Maybe Ubuntu could talk to some Asian vendors to release a Ubuntu laptop / desktop ?

I would be willing to pay the same price of a windows laptop if I could get some decent support from Ubuntu with that laptop.

So here I am hoping that some shops will start selling decent linux systems.

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He has a a much better idea on numbers

He has a very good idea on how many customer he has from the apt server logs. Compared to ubuntu, redhat, mandriva, suse are still quite often updated by hand or from local repositories especially in corporate environments. That is usually not the case for Ubuntu.

Ubuntu, as any Debian derivative is installed and security-updated nearly exclusively over the net. Granted, the server logs are somewhat offset and distorted by proxies and you have users that never update. All this can be taken into account and if he wants to come up with numbers he can come up with pretty good numbers.

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Linux

I'm still unconvinced...

...that selling support services will raise enough revenue to keep Canonical staff employed. Games houses and the big names in proprietary software make most of their income through selling licenses.

I can't see the business case for employing the staff to maintain a FKN HUGE project like Ubuntu and only receiving income from customer support contracts. I'm happy to use the fruits of their labour for free (as in beer), but I've never understood how FOSS could ever be a realistic business model, keeping real people in full-time employment.

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Linux

wasteful use of his money

While I admire his generosity which certainly has helped to make Linux more popular, I believe it would have been a more efficient investment if he had bought out Mandriva in 2004/5 and therefore invested his money into further improving a distro which was already and still is the best Linux desktop distribution by far, but unfortunately had cashflow problems due to the mentioned difficulty to make money with desktop Linux.

With his choice of creating Ubuntu he has instead weakened Mandriva by drawing away attention from it and wasted money/resources by having to start another distro from scratch.

Choice in the Linux world is good, but in this case investing in Mandriva would have helped the Linux desktop cause much more.

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You can't take it with you when you go

And you're just as dead as a billionaire as someone without a penny.

So why NOT spend it? He can stop when he's out of money and sell some of his things to live on comfortably the rest of his life.

So why hoard it? It doesn't make you live longer and you'd hope your children will make their own money and make you proud. You gave them advantages growing up (best schools, etc) so after you're gone, there's no need to give them a huge wodge: they should already have made their own wodge.

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Happy

@ Solomon Grundy, AC and Toastan Buttar

What is so hard to understand about services as a business model? How many people are kept employed supporting Windows boxes? They do not make money selling Windows, but in the current IT world knowledge of the systems installed on computers is worth cold, hard cash to many people.

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Linux

@ Andy

"it would have been a more efficient investment if he had bought out Mandriva in 2004/5 and therefore invested his money into further improving a distro which was already and still is the best Linux desktop distribution by far"

---

Excuse this unworthy Linux newbie, but - in comparison to Mandriva - is Debian such a bad distro?

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@Solomon Grundy

And how is this different from what venture capitalists do? The shell out huge amounts of money, sometimes for several years, knowing that it is entirely possible that they may never see any return on their investment. You may not think that it makes sense, but many start-up companies depend on it.

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Go

@Solomon Grundy

Pfft. You made me snigger. I cannot wait to see how Open Source evolves and consolidates over the next few years.

Linux already exceeds Windows in many ways (I use both), but the variety of flavours can be intimidating to the new user. Although there are efforts on-going to resolve this as the one thing the Open Source community does well is standards and standards enforcement.

(Ye reading this you M$ lackeys? STANDARDS*!)

*And no, your Office XML crap does not count.

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Linux

Same trolls, new day

I'd rather have one Mark Shuttleworth than a marinaful of oligarchs. The man wants to give something back to his country, if not his continent, if not more; and all I read is guff about "immoral behaviour" and "open sores"?

"Giving away software for free simply puts paid IT workers out of work." Actually AC, you're right in a funny way. In my case I saw Knoppix, and that was the end of my slack-jawed subservience to the proprietary-hardware-MSCE-yearly-re-accreditation model. I got out of IT support before the merry-go-round broke down. Perhaps you should think about the sustainability of that model - after all, you can be replaced by someone somewhere else, with lower training and re-accreditation costs...

There are people out there in the real world who don't worship money. I see Linux as one of the great social movements of our time, connecting users and programmers across the world, and promoting the human in humanity, rather than chasing money for it's own sake. Ain't I a cynic...

Mark Shuttleworth is one of the good guys. The world needs more good guys, people with something positive to say and do, not just hide under AC bridges and throw rocks.

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Linux

Ubuntu rocks

I'm a South African, software developer using Ubuntu as a desktop and the company that I do contract work for uses it on their servers.

Mark Shuttleworth is not a greedy little nerd like all the Microsoft developers/stakeholders seem to be. I think the M$ world is scared of Open Source because it totally exposes them as the inept coders and rip-offs that they are.

There is a paradigm shift here that will take most of the overpricing, bug ridden, proprietary software world a long time to comprehend and embrace. Let him give his money away, it's his money to give away as he pleases. At least he is creating jobs, and he is creating means for developers like me to make money. (i don't want to spend money on software to create other software)

Ubuntu rocks!

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Rob
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Something for Free

People don't trust free, they won't place any trust in it, but by offering a full blown support service and marketing it in such a way should help shore up that defence. Although there are a number of basic home users out there that will ask why something for free needs so much support.

It still has an image problem of being an OS purely for techies/geeks by the general public that have even heard of it. Prehaps instead of Free he just aims for incredibly cheap.

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Wow...Ubuntu is about love, and community

This thread proves rather obviously, the converse is also true, being anti-ubuntu is about hate. Frankly AC, if your software skills are that weak, then yes, you should be afraid of FOSS. in an Open world, your code would be know far and wide as sub-standard. Myself, I'm learning python and PHP.

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@Andrew

If Ubuntu support was a sound business model, Canonical would already be self-sufficient. It isn't anywhere close to being self-sufficient, so I remain skeptical. Note that I'd LOVE to be able to say I'm wrong.

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Coat

@ske1fr

"There are people out there in the real world who don't worship money."

And there are people who have a mortgage and family and would like to be paid an honest full-time wage for programming, configuration, documentation, etc. Without Shuttleworth's bottomless well of money, can Canonical survive as an independent employer of honest, hard-working computer professionals who just want to make a decent living in their chosen career ?

The numbers still don't add up as far as I can tell.

Min'e s the one with Mark Shuttleworth's big fat wallet in the pocket.

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Flame

So let me get this straight.

Total installed base, best estimate by Ubuntu themselves, 8 million.

Server share of market, as reckoned by IDC, 3%.

In completely unrelated news, Windows reckons to have hit 1 billion installs ....

To listen to the Ubuntuans you'd have expected something like a 20% footprint by now. That's an absolutely pathetic market share after 4 years of starry-eyed unquestioning puff pieces on El Reg and every other technology channel, and just shows how those who shout loudest get the most column inches.

Go away Mr Shuttleworth, play with your rich-man's-plaything hobby operating system, and only come back and bother us again when you've got something useful to announce - like a cricket match on your own private ground maybe.

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Happy

King of freetards have spoken

Reading freetards brag about standards is soooo funny. They can't even agree on a standardized package format. Fix your own shit before telling others what to do.

" Giving away software for free simply puts paid IT workers out of work."

Don't worry dude. That only happens if what you're doing is even crappier than what freetards are doing. That is a hard feat, and if that happens, you probably deserve to be out of business.

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Anonymous Coward

Free Nelson Mandela . . .with every copy

>i don't want to spend money on software to create other software

And there, I feel, lies the problem.

A metaphorical example – imagine you hire a builder and he turns up with inadequate tools, but charges you for his labour time. Would you be happy?

Even if he charges you by the job, not by the hour, the fact that it takes him 3 days to do a 1 day job means he HAS to charge more than his more productive peers for the same job.

Now a lot of the best tools are also free and open tools, but any developer / software house should always be prepared to invest in productivity – saving an hour a week in lost time becomes a week of chargeable time in a year, which means a lot of tools pay for themselves. Developers are way more expensive than hardware or software.

(Of course, the DIY enthusiast is different – they’re never going to get a payoff from free tools, and minimising the barrier to entry is a great thing).

I do also have some doubts that the ‘support revenue only’ model will ever be able to fund significant development beyond the core operating system - i.e. beyond areas where users feel they need support. No one has, for instance, made a model out of selling support on a web browser.

Stallman seems to understand this well – his interest is in software freedom, and he doesn’t make any claims for the open source business model. In fact he suggests that proprietary software is likely to remain functionally richer and better ‘finished’ so long as customers continue to reward proprietary software on those criteria. He’s suggested in the past that what is actually needed is for end users of free software to fund development of the features they want.

The issue there is that the end users don’t really grasp that. They don’t understand that the functionality and usability gap between Quark and Scribus could be closed if the end users (publishing firms) would pay $200 per seat for Scribus. Why pay when they can have it for free?

A related thought is that the support-driven and sales-driven models of software development have a very different effect on software direction.

Oh, and I don't believe in the idea that FOSS developers write superior code by nature - it's supposed to be the process (many eyes) that does that, not the technical superiority of those involved.

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Paris Hilton

Well, thanks, Mark

Umbongo's nice, it works. It has knocked a few of the rougher edges off the presentation of Debian, and allowed you to sidestep some of the Debian project's spottier fanboys. The net result is that you get something approximating the best of both worlds. I have some Sun boxes, some *BSD, 'doze, Mac etc., and I have to say that the Umbongo boxes are the least hassle of all of them. Stable and usable- and free. At this point, even when someone is offering to pay for commercial OSsen, Umbongo or maybe Debian will be my first port of call for everything except odd specialist tasks like Photoshop/audio production.

It's unlikely that I'd ever need to pay for support, so I get exactly the same amount of free support I get for windows- none.. However, I wish Canonical and by extension, Mark Shuttleworth luck. I like his distro, it works. Hope he does well. Proof of the pudding's in the eating.

Paris, 'cos she doesn't give it away, give it away, give it away now.

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Linux

Feeding the Trolls

The idea behind open source is that "users" (in a very broad sense) collaborate in writing the software themselves so they don't have to pay a supplier for the software. The software still has to be written and programmers paid, but the wheel doesn't have to be re-invented and "super-normal" (shareholder) profit has been removed.

IT is a support function. It enables people to do their real jobs more efficiently. I would much rather companies spend money on producing real stuff than on spending it on business support costs. Money isn't "not spent" its just spent on something other than license costs. Hopefully, its spent on a high-priced contractor :)

The broad support for FLOSS within the IT community is not based on it being free of license costs, but on the fact that it makes the IT support job easier to do. Its better software because it was written be people who were "scratching [their own] itch" and your own itch is a more powerful motivator than someone else's.

There is also huge scope for more selling software with features than those ubuntu provides.

Besides, open source is not the killer of jobs it looks to be. MS released IE for free to kill Netscape without making it open-source, just to prevent Netscape from becoming a viable alternative platform to Windows.

Tux, cos penguins know life is better when you work together.

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Gates Halo

no money to be made on the desktop

Correct. Stay on servers, I don't care. There's no *nix that I can use as a desktop at home. When they decide they want to increase market share, come talk to me and I'll tell them the very few things they need to do.

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Go

Shuttleworth, Gent.

Shuttleworth in person comes across as a fully paid up member of the Good Guys. His rationale is simple; he says it would have been impossible for him to get Thawte off the ground and then grow it without all that Linux/Free Software goodness to run it on. Since he has substantially benefitted financially, he feels that he owes that community.

So Ubuntu is a way of repaying that debt, though one wih the possibility that it might in the long term be profitable. He also sees it as a potential vehicle for Africa as a whole to take control of its IT destiny.

In short, unless you are the kind of cripple that reckons accumulation of money is the only aim of a human existance, his actions are 100% laudable and the outward manifestation of a Real Gentleman. Blessings be upon him.

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@AC

"A metaphorical example – imagine you hire a builder and he turns up with inadequate tools, but charges you for his labour time. Would you be happy?"

No, but how does that apply here? Imagine if there were a big toolhouse where people could borrow tools so that they could work like Bob Vila. They don't own the equipment, they all clubbed together to pay for lots of things they may not need often enough to pay for a whole one for, but renting means someone had to make money not off the equipment but off the fact that you can't justify buying one, even though it would be cheaper in the long term.

The tools are looked after because each user knows and works as if it were their kit (better, since others will see how you left the tools after using it and word of your sloppy workmanship would get about and you'd be banned from the toolshed and find new work drying up). They turn up to build your boat.

But because they didn't have to buy the "making a keel for a boat" router bit just for your one boat, they could charge much less than another builder who either can't afford to buy the router or charges you for its rental (plus markup).

Would you be happy?

Hell yes.

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Anonymous Coward

Interesting article from the Damn Small Linux people

http://www.damnsmalllinux.org/income-guide/

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@millionaire distorting the market for

> How can any IT professional support this immoral behaviour? Giving away software for free

> simply puts paid IT workers out of work.

... or allows us to work on things that are actually useful, rather than writing the same old, same old year in and year out. It's a bit like liberating us from the drudgery of "subsistence programming" to allow us to work on new ideas. The parallels with the Industrial Revolution are intriguing - surely a lot of craftsmen (potters, handweavers and so forth) got burned, but the net result was that talented hands and brains were freed from the relentless drudgery and start specialising and thinking more deeply about productivity. The Industrial Revolution put paid workers out of work, too: but ultimately produced the largest increase in per capita wealth in history, with an attendant increase in leisure and prosperity across all social levels. Not without turmoil, of course, but would you go back to hoeing your row in grinding poverty, and starving to death every time the frost comes early?

It's somewhat melodramatic to suggest that Open Source can give us another Industrial Revolution, but if there are bits of software that can be commoditised and freed they certainly should be - otherwise all those paid IT workers you are worried about are actually parasites feeding on society by simply repeating the same work as is being done by others, and which only needs to be done once (or perhaps a small number of times, but certainly not once per business/web site/netbook model/smartphone etc).

The "free" thing is key to avoiding this needless repetition. Not free as in "hey, look, I can download Ubuntu for nothing" but free as in "hey, look, I can get all this stuff and improve it or use it as a starting point for my own stuff, and share the results with others".

I am a professional developer. I do most of my work on the Microsoft platform, but also spend quite a bit of time each week working on Linux-based systems. When it comes to Linux, I'm a self-confessed Ubuntard, but I try not to be bigoted about it. I have released some rather unimportant little bits of software under the GPL; much, much less than I have received by "apt-get install": but as developers become able to contribute their stuff back to the free software pool, EVERY developer gets much more out than they put in. And we can let non-developers benefit too! Mark Shuttleworth is in a position to make (by sponsoring) a much bigger contribution than most of us - to which I say, more power to him. Imagine the result if every software multi-multi-millionaire had the same level of vision.

I've been developing software for money for 16 years, and in that time my skill set has been totally obsoleted at least four times. Others who've been in the game for longer will have even more extreme examples of this. If you're in IT and you expect to get paid for churning out the same old stuff year after year, you should probably expect to get your (free) lunch eaten by Open Source pretty soon. If you're always willing to adopt new advances and keep pushing back the new frontiers, somehow there will always be room for you on the payroll.

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xjy
Paris Hilton

"comprehend and embrace"

"There is a paradigm shift here that will take most of the overpricing, bug ridden, proprietary software world a long time to comprehend and embrace." AC/Ubuntu rocks

Galileo. Marx. Darwin. Ether. Phlogiston. Einstein. Tesla.

The visionaries are always spat on by reactionary idiots. Like the various popes and preachers, and entrenched Jobsworth academics and so on and so forth.

Bugger the lot of em. New people will comprehend and embrace Open Source while the crabbed bitching wintards dissolve in their own bile.

(Paris cos she isn't bound and gagged by Gatesy or Barmy.)

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Flame

@Gordon

Open Source, like Closed Source, is not one entity. *nix packages are not compatible across all current *nix flavours, but why should they be? You cannot use a Windows package on a Mac either. They are (duh!) *different* OSs, with different kernels, different APIs etc. some doing highly specialised jobs, others more "general" use.

Maybe one day we'll have a universal API for the various OSs in a given hardware class (I doubt it though), but you can bet M$ will do it's best to piss on that parade should it ever try to come to pass.

At least with Open Source you get the code and, if absolutely required, you can compile the thing on your own systems (only really done but IT professionals, not Joe Public end-user).

After install, you can also be damn sure the executing Open Source software will be more likely to support a standard format/language/protocol/whatever than any M$ stuff. Which is a real shame as M$ do (shocker) make some quite nifty stuff. But in their zeal to poison standards the stifle development and innovation.

Finally; Open Source tends to open its wares from the start and you get to see the development of the new "thing" exposed to the world. It is no wonder that they may well be schisms for a time as the "thing" (and "related-things") evolve, but this is no different to Close Source (you just don't get to see it there).

So keep your ignorance if you like, true professionals will do their best to choose "best of breed" for the given task; be that Closed or Open Source.

@Bill Gould

Last year I would have agreed with you. Not this year though. For the skilled user (power user, or whatever the jargon du jour is) the major Linus distros are fine (bar Slackware, but that makes no bones about what it is and is not).

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J
Gates Horns

Whiners?

I'm not sure, but it sound there's always a bunch of whiners coming out of the woodwork every time FOSS is mentioned... So you'll lose you job and starve, really? I doubt it.

I've read somewhere that a very small proportion of software written is actually written to be sold, something like less than 10%, all the rest is internal projects that were never meant released -- unfortunately, I don't have real data to back that up, if someone does, that'd be nice. But anyway, if that's right, it would mean that more than 90% of the software "industry" is not affected by FOSS at all.

Do you whiners work for Microsoft, is that it then?

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Happy

@Generic Freetard

" *nix packages are not compatible across all current *nix flavours, but why should they be? "

You are right. Who cares about making your OS actually usable if you can have awesome fun recompiling the same packages every 6 months? Talk about productivity!

Enjoy your fragmented, chaotic, crappy, non-working open system. The rest of the world will keep ignoring it... and you will keep crying it's all Microsoft's fault. Same as ever.

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Go

Ubuntu DOES pay

Since the release of Ubuntu 8.04 I have personally installed 85 machines with Ubuntu.

I was asked to, and many people who asked OFFERED cash for me to do so.

Why? MMmmm lets start: Better performance, far,far, far fewer virus and spyware issues, and what that means in the REAL world is that the computer users I have helped do not fret about losing the personal treasures found on any PC: music and photos.

To those of you who wine on about Ubuntu not paying: start learning. It really is that simple.

Microsoft has helped me earn money by creating Vista, which is driving them to pay people to install Ubuntu.

And yes, I do have a family to feed, and for the next few years I suspect we wont be going hungry.

End Of!

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Silver badge
Linux

Free OS does not prevent paid-for software

Just because the OS is free, this does not mean that a software house cannot charge for its wares that run on that OS.

The various public licenses have clauses that state that you cannot incorporate free code in charged for software, but they normally also allow you to compile against libraries from systems, and also to use the command sets in software.

So, if you have an idea which can result in a software package, it is perfectly possible to charge for that software. You don't have to contribute it back to the Open Community unless you have taken GPL or similar code and incorporated it into your package (and some of the licenses also allow a degree of that). But you can use GCC, Perl, PHP etc. to create the software including the libraries. I have wanted a HMRC certified small business payroll for Linux for ages, and would be prepared to pay the same for a Linux package as I would for a Windows package.

It is only where there is an already available good free package that you would have difficulty in selling your software. If you can sell a good DVD creation or audio editing package on Windows, you can do the same on Linux. Where is the difference? It is only people who do not understand the licensing model who think everything on Linux has to be provided free. Has the availability of Audacity on Windows stopped people selling audio editors on Windows? No,

I would agree that the proliferation of packaging tools is a problem, but you should really treat each distro as a separate OS, at least until a common packaging tool is agreed on. Until that time I will continue making the suggestion that Ubuntu is as good a candidate for the dominant distro as any.

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Anonymous Coward

Title.

"While Shuttleworth has millions to burn on his hobby, I'd guess that the rest of us who read The register have to work for a living. I, for one, work in IT.

How can any IT professional support this immoral behaviour? Giving away software for free simply puts paid IT workers out of work. Just ask any former SUN employees."

I'll bite.

This won't put the servicedesk techs or management out of a job, because they are needed regardless of which platform we ran on. 2nd and 3rd line techs are pretty safe again what with them being needed to repair hardware faults and the like. I guess networks are still going to have a job, and we will still need bespoke systems made so software dev seems fairly safe.

So, that leaves approximately 0 people in my organisation at risk of losing their job. We do not benefit from paying massive license fees to another company such as Microsoft or Sun and our jobs do not rely on those license fees being paid. Heck, devils advocate. Even if we were running Ubuntu and they were offering free support then we would still be needed for dealing with the good old user problems, hardware failures and the fact that the company does not run on windows, it runs on applications that happen to run on windows. The applications are the important bit and what we spend most of our time supporting.

You don't happen to work for a large OS vendor do you?

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@Gordon

I use Fedora and Ubuntu pretty extensively, and I can't recall the last time I compiled anything other than my own code.

The Linux approach to software installation is superior to the Window's approach. Having all programs available through the system's installer means that users can't be duped into installing random trojan packages. It also means it's pretty easy to bring up a complete system as opposed to hunting the web for necessary but not provided programs and plugins.

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Happy

@angstiness

Where's the aggression coming from? The *nix world is fragmented, and the world largely ignores it. The popularity problems are partly Microsoft's fault. I don't care. My ubuntu systems work great :)

Maybe I'm missing the point, or maybe everyone else is, but I've always felt there's a big misunderstanding around the OSS mentality. Programming freetards aren't trying to take over the world. It's just an effort to have systems that run well. It's not entirely unlike an academic community publishing things just so the world can better understand maths and such.

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Happy

@Glen

"I use Fedora and Ubuntu pretty extensively, and I can't recall the last time I compiled anything other than my own code."

It doesn't surprise me, but you still don't understand. I'm not talking about end users. I'm talking about developers. Their too busy recompiling packages time and again like trained monkeys to actually develop something useful.

"Having all programs available through the system's installer means that users can't be duped into installing random trojan packages"

No, it means ever upgrading your system so you can have new applications because there is no defined platform. And it means no ISV can target your system and take it seriously.

Educate yourself: read the Autopackage FAQ. It was the only thing those guys got right.

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@Gordon

Once again, you miss the point entirely. Would you expect Windows compiled code to run on a Mac? On a Nokia? On an OS/390? No, of course not.

Would you expect Windows based code to run on any version of Windows? Only if you're an idiot. There are differences between XP, Server and Vista (and we all remember what a hash Vista made of things).

Why are you setting the bar higher for Open Source than you are for Closed Source? As I said in my previous message, there are many, many flavours of *nix and they often do radically different jobs on different hardware. Most set-top boxes run a flavour of *nix, do you expect to be able to install whatever you want on them? That's a bit like expecting your Windows Mobile Device to run IIS....good luck!

I use Windows and Ubuntu, so I am hardly a dyed-in-the-wool freetard; I simply pick the best tool for the job. Sometimes it is Open Source, sometimes Closed Source. Increasingly though, I am finding myself selecting more and more Open Source as "best of breed". Your knowledge of *nix clearly stems from the early 90s (assuming you even have any). If you are an IT professional, then that's a sad indictment of your knowledge level.

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Boffin

To the anti FOSS trolls

Nobody owes you a living.

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Happy

Whatever

No. I expect my OS to last at least a couple of years. And I expect it to be a platform that third parties can actually target. You know, that little thing called a software platform. That thing that freetards can't actually get through their heads. Thus, well deserved 1% market share.

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@Gordon

Err, mate, best stop talking unless you want to make an even bigger fool of yourself. I *am* a developer (primarily Java, but I do dotNet as well) and I spend about as much time re-compiling stuff on Ubuntu as I do on Windows. Which, barring my own work, isn't an awful lot.

"No, it means ever upgrading your system so you can have new applications because there is no defined platform. And it means no ISV can target your system and take it seriously."

There is no single defined platform in the Closed Source world either. I guess that's why no ISV takes it seriously. Sheesh.

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Linux

Good luck, Mark Shuttleworth!

Years ago, Bill Gates changed the world of office applications by creating Windows. No-one can surely deny that was a major revolution in the office environment . I remember (trying) to use a VAX 730 for business applications, and the cry around our small office was "PRINTING IN C-TOS!!" which meant no-one else could, else it'd crash. Eventually, we used one of our staffers' "Garfield" dolls as a token. If you had it, you were allowed to print. No-one else was.

Then, we installed (IIRC) Windows 2.? Peace at last. No shouting.

But, MS tools killed off our (micro)VAX cross-compiler business, which was a serious earner. Why pay 5000 quid for a VAX-based tool when a PC-based tool cost 500? Killed (micro)VAX, too, IMHO.

I digress slightly.

Now the problem Canonical has is that the support for "Joe Public" for Ubuntu comes usually from a bloke down the pub - me - who uses it, and knows it. It's too simple for its own good. I've installed it dozens of times, and never, ever had someone want to go back. Admittedly, most times on the family's second, older computer, but...

At the weekend, I visited my girlfriends sister's family, who asked me about a lappie she had. Win-2000, which had become very corrupt. (As she has two teenage boys, I guessed why...)

Anyway, stuff Ubuntu on it, sweet as a nut. She (the sister) uses it only for browsing, letters and g-mail.

But that's the business model's problem. I got it and installed it, all for nowt - even tho' I was offered money for it.

Canonical has an uphill struggle. But so did Sir Edmund Hilary, and he made it.

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@Gordon

"I expect my OS to last at least a couple of years."

Well, you can't be using Windows then. It needs constant security updates to remain viable and uninfected. There are also standards changes which require updates as well. So there is no real difference here (barring the security updates though) between Windows and (say) Ubuntu.

"I expect it to be a platform that third parties can actually target."

And many do (IBM, Sun, EMC, FileNet, Oracle...)

"Thus, well deserved 1% market share."

Define this market. OS, server, client, all IT systems (inc. set-top boxes etc.), all software (you do know that the most popular web server is Apache don't you? 75% share). What about Closed Source stuff which makes use of Open Source technology (Apache Ant, log4net and Java to name but three); how do you count that?

Open Source is everywhere. Get over it.

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@Gordon

Which platform is that?

.NET 1.0? .NET 1.1? .NET 2.0?

XP?

Vista?

64-bit or 32?

Basic, premium, ultimate, embedded, business, server, SBS, cluster, HA version?

No SP, SP1, SP2, SP3..?

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Keep your head on the sand, it's warm there.

"There is no single defined platform in the Closed Source world either. I guess that's why no ISV takes it seriously. Sheesh."

Sure. That's why you can install Firefox 3 on Windows 2000. Click, click. Try the same on any Linux distribution around that year. Good luck with that.

"Open Source is everywhere. "

Not on my desktop. It's not on the desktop of 99% of computing world, actually. And the rest are zealots and religious nuts who hate Microsoft so much they simply can't see how shitty and useless desktop Linux is.

Freetards will never learn. Even when commenting on an article on which their beloved Ubuntu leader candidly admits he has no chance in hell to make money with the shit he produces. At least he has his feet on the ground: you can't make money on something so lousy nobody wants for free.

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Ubuntu is the best upgrade path from XP

No, seriously, it uses all that lovely 3d graphics power and doesn't disappear for 10 seconds every time you try to start a program. I've been using Wubi for a long time now and hate going back to windows. Microsoft force me to do this because they made it damn near impossible for non MS clients to talk to the later versions of Exchange and the simple web client is rubbish for creating rules and things like that.

I make my living writing software in Ruby, which is mostly software as a service and internal systems that were very quick and cheap to develop. I agree that sometimes you have to buy a tool if it makes you more productive. For example a lot of the Macen use TextMate (personally can't stand it) - it costs 20 euros. Similarly I just got an iPhone (yeah, well). The most expensive thing I've bought for that is about £5.

Happy to pay a non-insane price for things, free is fine, but if Ubuntu was about $20 for unlimited personal installs I'd be happy. If it was $100 for a "corporate" install no-one would blink.

Apple's equivalent of Office is about a tenth of the price (I think). People don't mind paying, just fed up being ripped off. Ubuntu has to be free because of the politics around Linux. I still recon people would use it even if it were paid for as long as the price was less than $25.

I've got a desktop that looks and behaves like a Mac for about a quarter of the price. The downside is you have to mess with it sometimes to make it go. Macs "just work" - that's what you pay for. I think that's also why people get so pissed of with MS - their stuff has the hassle factor *and* the high price.

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Forgot - another free OS

MS-DOS was pirated to death too, don't forget. Microsoft built their dominance by allowing the cheap PC clone manufacturers to pirate the old versions of DOS. They built their monopoly on giving it away.

It's maybe the last 7-8 years they started getting fussy because they wanted to turn their monopoly into cash.

Have to remember that.

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@Gordon (again!)

"That's why you can install Firefox 3 on Windows 2000. Click, click. Try the same on any Linux distribution around that year. Good luck with that."

Two things:

1) FireFox is Open Source (so Open Source it *is* on your desktop!)

2) Windows 200 came out in 1997, seems like I was bang on the money with my hunch about you.

See that petard? That's yours that is.

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@Gordon

And keep your head up your arse.

You can install Firefox IN EXACTLY THE SAME WAY on Linux.

This is because the developers of FireFox aren't writing for "Windows XP SP3" but *for other OS's you may wish to use FireFox on*.

Not windows doing it, the FF developers. If it were windows' work, you wouldn't be able to do it the same way on other OS's.

That 99% figure hasn't been true for over a decade. Windows only has an 80% (give or take a couple of %) desktop penetration. Many people dual boot, so the total of Windows and Linux is greater than 100%, so your implication that Linux isn't on 99% of desktops would be incorrect in any case.

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