back to article Linux in 2013: 'Freakishly awesome' – and who needs a fork?

If there was a theme for Day One of the Linux Foundation's seventh annual Linux Collaboration Summit, taking place this week in San Francisco, it was that the Linux community has moved way, way past wondering whether the open source OS will be successful and competitive. "Today I wanted to talk about the state of Linux," Jim …

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  1. Alan Bourke

    And yet, and yet ...

    could I run a business on purely Linux kit?

    (openSUSE user)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: And yet, and yet ...

      No.

      1. ecofeco Silver badge
        Boffin

        Re: And yet, and yet ...

        No? Why not?

        The only thing I can't do on Linux is run a couple of specialized programs like Adobe CS or one or 2 3D programs.

        Excluding very, very specialized software, that's it.

        1. ecofeco Silver badge
          Boffin

          Re: And yet, and yet ...

          Thumb down?

          Curious.

    2. Christian Berger Silver badge

      Re: And yet, and yet ...

      I think Sixt a German car rental company went completely Linux a decade ago. There may always be tiny problems for which you need a very limited number of legacy Windows boxes, but on the whole you can easily run a company on Linux today, even on SuSE.

      1. Christian Berger Silver badge

        Maybe I should elaborate

        Of course _new_ companies, particularly in some Internet related business now start with Linux. There's little point in starting a new company on Windows any more. Granted if you have lots of old crappy VBA code it's hard to go to Linux, but if you start properly there's no problem. After all employees usually don't care what they use as long as it works and is fast enough. (that's why many companies run on AS400 systems these days)

        1. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: Maybe I should elaborate

          >Of course _new_ companies, particularly in some Internet related business now start with Linux. There's little point in starting a new company on Windows any more.

          Ignoring the desktop ie. many of those startups will be using standard Windows desktops and laptops for normal office funcitons, even though the website etc. may be hosted on some other platform.

          There are many startups using "Microsoft" as their product platform; and Microsoft through it's BizSpark program encourages them to do so. Fundamentally, as a business you choose the platform appropriate to your intended market and the skill sets available to you.

    3. Bill the Sys Admin
      Thumb Up

      Re: And yet, and yet ...

      I don’t see why not? Depends what your business is.

      1. Alan Bourke

        Re: And yet, and yet ...

        @Bill The Sys Admin

        One that needs to run ERP and payroll, often integrated with Excel.

        1. JEDIDIAH
          Linux

          Re: And yet, and yet ...

          > One that needs to run ERP and payroll, often integrated with Excel.

          There's nothing about that that requires Windows or Excel.

          ...and if anything, ERP would favor large Unix boxes.

          That's what the E in ERP stands for. It means "something more than a secretary's terminal".

        2. eulampios

          @Alan Bourke

          Depends how much "integrated" it is with excel, or in other words, how much lock-in bloat this integration contains.

      2. Frankee Llonnygog

        Re: And yet, and yet ...

        You can run the online or data centre bits of your business on Linux. Why do discussions about Linux and business always veer to what's on the desktop?

        1. Khaptain Silver badge

          Re: And yet, and yet ...

          Quote : "veer to what's on the desktop"

          Because the desktop is where business gets done !!!!

          1. Frankee Llonnygog

            Re: And yet, and yet ...

            I know of a website that runs on Linux and processes hundreds of million quids worth of sales in a year. OK, the bean counters count those beans on Windows, but it's Linux doing the business

          2. asdf Silver badge

            Re: And yet, and yet ...

            >Because the desktop is where business gets done !!!!

            A whole lot of factories would disagree with you on that. Any business that isn't using a significant amount of automation to get its business done is probably some mom and pop consultant outfit in somebody's basement.

    4. Lars Silver badge
      Linux

      Re: And yet, and yet ...

      I suppose MS Office might be your problem unless you start using Open Office, or run MS Office with Codeweavers CrossOver (using Wine) or running Windows under Linux. It is really more about the guts to do it.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: And yet, and yet ...

      @Alan Bourke

      Yes depending on your needs. An OS is a choice of needs and preference. As long as it does what is needed you can choose what you prefer.

    6. Neil Lewis
      Linux

      Re: And yet, and yet ...

      Yes, of course you can. I've been doing so since 2008 or thereabouts. My business is photography with many associated design activities - not exactly the kinds of thing Linux is best known for - and for sure there were times when it was a little more effort in some areas, but that was then and this is now. Today, I have more power, better features and much better stability at my disposal than my proprietary-OS-using competitors. I tend to view them with a degree of pity, having painted themselves into a single vendor dependent corner with rather limited options.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: And yet, and yet ...

        The question was "[Could] I run a business on purely Linux kit?". And you swan in claiming to do this with your photography business. Yet you don't. Unless, of course, you are claiming that ever server, every PC, every laptop, every mobile, every switch, every camera, every...you get the idea... you use in the course of your business is running Linux. And they probably aren't.

        So the answer remains a simple "No".

        Can you run your business solely on ntoskrnl? No.

        Can you run your business solely on Darwin? No.

        Can you run your business solely on <insert random thing here>? No.

        "No" is, and always has been, the correct answer.

        They whole question is fatuous and rather pathetic.

        The fact that so many freetards on here can't seem to grasp this speaks volumes. Ideology first, eh?

        1. Steven Raith
          FAIL

          Re: And yet, and yet ...

          "They whole question is fatuous and rather pathetic."

          No, that would be your unfunny and rather sad pedantry.

          The rest of us who live in the real world and have communication skills comparable with actual human beings were able to parse the implied meaning from the context in which it was given; that is, is it possible to run a business based around the ecosystem provided by desktops and servers running Linux based distributions?

          Just saying 'can I run a business on Linux' is a tad snappier, and those asking the question and providing a meaningful answer know what it means.

          You are the reason people think anyone who is interested in IT is some kind of antisocial malcontent.

          *slow handclap*

          Steven R

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: And yet, and yet ... @Steven Raith

            "The rest of us who live in the real world and have communication skills comparable with actual human beings were able to parse the implied meaning from the context in which it was given; that is, is it possible to run a business based around the ecosystem provided by desktops and servers running Linux based distributions?"

            Sadly, many Linux fans play that both ways, inferring the meaning to suit whichever defence they choose to use. Problem with a Windows app? "Use Linux!" Riiight. Ignore the whole kernel/app thing. Unwilling to use Linux because the app you want isn't on Linux and you can't find a suitable replacement? "That's not a Linux problem - Linux is just a kernel!" Ahh - we remember when it suits us. Not everyone does it, but sadly it does tend to be the more prolific posters. Snappier is all well and good for marketing types, but relying on inference just seems a lawyery thing to do.

            "You are the reason people think anyone who is interested in IT is some kind of antisocial malcontent."

            Hmm. As long as I've been reading these forums, that would apply more to the FOSS community. Hypocrisy.

            1. Steven Raith

              Re: And yet, and yet ... @Steven Raith

              "Sadly, many Linux fans play that both ways, inferring the meaning to suit whichever defence they choose to use. Problem with a Windows app? "Use Linux!" Riiight. Ignore the whole kernel/app thing. Unwilling to use Linux because the app you want isn't on Linux and you can't find a suitable replacement? "That's not a Linux problem - Linux is just a kernel!" Ahh - we remember when it suits us. Not everyone does it, but sadly it does tend to be the more prolific posters. Snappier is all well and good for marketing types, but relying on inference just seems a lawyery thing to do."

              I'm too idle and drunk to respond to all your points - maybe one day, eh? - but I agree that the sort of people who use that argument are sad bastards who really need to get a fucking grip.

              Sometimes Liux fits. Sometimes OS X fits. Sometimes Windows fits. Sometimes a fecking notepad fits.

              Pick your tool to suit the job or GTFO is my motto, frankly. Anything else is pathetic, and tragic on multiple levels, professionalism being No1.

              I'd never employ a fanboy of any description - too blinkered.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: And yet, and yet ...

            "is it possible to run a business based around the ecosystem provided by desktops and servers running Linux based distributions?"

            No.

            I would elaborate on why, but pointing out the truth of matters seems to ruffle feathers around here.

            1. John Hughes

              Re: And yet, and yet ...

              How can you elaborate on "why" when so many of us *are* running our businesses on Linux.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: And yet, and yet ...

          > Unless, of course, you are claiming that ever server, every PC, every laptop, every mobile, every switch, every camera, every...you get the idea... you use in the course of your business is running Linux.

          For me, they are.

          My firewall: Cisco RV220 - embedded linux

          NAS(es) - Various Seagates - embedded linux

          Switches - Various Netgear - embedded linux

          Mobile phones - Android - linux

          8 Camera CCTV box - Embedded linux

          Even the coffee vending machine runs embedded linux.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: And yet, and yet ...

          "Unless, of course, you are claiming that ever server, every PC, every laptop, every mobile, every switch, every camera, every...you get the idea..."

          The funny thing is that probably everyone of those might be running Linux. My laptop, desktop, mobile and camera certainly do. Some switches do too.

          It's probably easier to tick all those items on Linux than anything else.

      2. csumpi
        Stop

        Re: And yet, and yet ...

        "I've been doing so since 2008 or thereabouts. My business is photography with many associated design activities..."

        Bullshit. You are either one of those leach "photographers" who take crappy headshots of my kids at school than (attempt to) charge and arm and a leg, in which case you are not in the business of photography, just a scam artist. Or you are lying.

        No way you are running a photography/design business without Adobe products. Yeah, I know there is gimp, but it's not even close to being in the same league.

        1. Obvious Robert
          FAIL

          Re: And yet, and yet ...

          "No way you are running a photography/design business without Adobe products."

          Umm... in what way is running an Adobe product incompatible with exclusively running Linux? I happily run Photoshop on Linux (via Wine of course) and incidentally have tested MS Office on there which also appears to work perfectly well. Nobody asked if you can run a business entirely using FOSS software, and irrespective of whether or not the OP is exclusively using FOSS, he didn't claim to.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: And yet, and yet ...

            Also, Photoshop may be a "nice to have" for photographers, but it's not essential as a hundred years of photography shows. Take a good picture with the camera in the first place and post-production can be almost eliminated for a large proportion of the average photographer's output.

            Layout is actually much more Adobe's stonghold than photography.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: And yet, and yet ...

          Lots of people do design stuff without adobes virus-laden and rather crippled shitware. Didn't you know that's what "CS" means?

          Bring an adobe fanatic to tears. Show them that Gimp can do as much, faster, with less resources, and you don't have to waste a ton of cash to get it.

        3. Fibbles

          Re: And yet, and yet ...

          ""I've been doing so since 2008 or thereabouts. My business is photography with many associated design activities..."

          Bullshit. You are either one of those leach "photographers" who take crappy headshots of my kids at school than (attempt to) charge and arm and a leg, in which case you are not in the business of photography, just a scam artist. Or you are lying.

          No way you are running a photography/design business without Adobe products. Yeah, I know there is gimp, but it's not even close to being in the same league."

          You have a point, there really isn't any OSS that matches Adobe's Creative Suite. The likes of GIMP and Inkscape are improving constantly but they're still a fair way from matching the amount of features in Adobe's software.

          That's why I'm currently running my design business atop Xubuntu with Wine handling Adobe CS software. Installation wasn't as smooth as it could be (I actually had to copy some of the files from an installation on Windows,) but the software itself runs very smoothly. They only major niggle I had was that Wine for reasons known only to the developers does not currently support pressure sensitivity from any graphic tablet (even though Linux itself does). There is a patch some generous soul has made available that enables this feature but it meant I had to compile my own patched version of Wine.

          I doubt we'll ever see a native version of Adobe CS on Linux but once the Wine team sorts out the installation problems I'll have no qualms about recommending it.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: And yet, and yet ...

            "The likes of GIMP and Inkscape are improving constantly but they're still a fair way from matching the amount of features in Adobe's software."

            This is true but there's a bell-curve here and a hell of a lot of those features are aimed at the very thinest ends of that curve. GIMP and Inkscape cover the important stuff that gets most people what they need. If you're out on that end of the needs curve then Adobe are the go-to supplier. But you're probably not (even if you think you are).

      3. Jan Hargreaves
        WTF?

        Re: And yet, and yet ...

        Do you not do any re-touching in your business at all?

        I would be surprised at any design business that doesn't have at least one program from Adobe.

        1. J 3
          Joke

          Re: And yet, and yet ...

          If you need that kind of power, you are a crappy photographer. The icon should be a half-joke one, actually.

    7. Fehu
      Linux

      Re: And yet, and yet ...

      Yep. You could. But you would have a problem with all the people in the winders world that would not have an idea of how to deal with the plain text documents you'd send them.

      1) when I click on it, Word doesn't start.

      2) when I get this file open in a word processor, it looks funny.

      That kind of stuff.

      I currently work at a fortune 100 company that has a strong investment in Linux. Been here for six years. Previous six years at a different company that ran the majority of its business on Linux. The myth that Linux is not ready for the enterprise is very weak. Please, find a different one.

      1. John F***ing Stepp
        Happy

        Re: And yet, and yet ...

        Since various models of Microsoft Word are incompatible with one another I send documents in RTF.

        RTF can be handled by Word, StarOffice, OpenOffice, LibraOffice, even WordPerfect (someone here still uses that) and WordStar (somewhere around here we have the 5.25 disks for that.)

        Text files I reserve for readmes and other fluff.

        Linux is nice and grown up now, much more stable than say Win8 (dealing with a customer problem on that today) but I recently migrated my laptop from Debian to FreeBSD just because it was harder to use and I am getting older and need the aggravation to keep my mind alive.

        1. bazza Silver badge

          Re: And yet, and yet ...

          @john f***ing stepp

          "Since various models of Microsoft Word are incompatible with one another"

          Well, MS do supply a free plugin for Office 2000 onwards that allows them to open and save newer Office documents. Been using it for ages, works very well. They can't be accused of screwing their customers on that particular score. Ok so newer features don't get replicated in older versions but that's almost always not a problem; it's rare for a user to stretch even 10% of office 2k...

          It's a much better than sending RTFs around the place. Have you seen how big RTFs can get when you start including pictures?

          My view is that the anarchist nature of Linux's desktops makes it hard to roll it out across a corporation. Got a bunch of people using Gnome2 and want to upgrade to he latest distro version? Then there's a lot of work or training to be done. Even MS have forgotten that corporate customers don't like change of that sort; no one is buying into Win8 for that reason. Only Apple so far seems to have retained the view that desktop is desktop and mobile is different. If that situation persists then their corporate penetration may start increasing.

          1. Chemist

            Re: And yet, and yet ...

            "Have you seen how big RTFs can get when you start including pictures?"

            Have you seen how big anything can get when you start including pictures? - fixed.

            What's different about rtf+pics and Word documents+pics ?

            1. bazza Silver badge

              Re: And yet, and yet ...

              @Chemist,

              "What's different about rtf+pics and Word documents+pics ?

              Rtf writers tend to store pictures as hexadecimal text representations (the default, though binary is theoretically supported) of some underlying supported picture type, and quite often they default to uncompressed windows bitmaps. And they often throw in a metafile copy of the original. So you can find that a 500k jpeg can turn into tens of megabytes of text. It depends on the program one is using, but for maximum compatibility with other programs the file size gets pretty bloaty. Office doesn't have to do that, so it can minimise picture storage space.

              Ok so it's not a big deal with storage so cheap, but it can be a right pain in the arse if you're doing something old fashioned like emailing the file to someone.

          2. John F***ing Stepp

            Re: And yet, and yet ...

            @bazza

            I should have been clearer on one thing, our business depends on Windows servers.

            This is because of a very obscure glitch in post that is not handled by Apache*.

            So, Windows.

            But client side we don't really care what operating system or browser they use.

            As a lot of our back and forth communications are done with pdf, and huge bloated exel spread sheets we are not really concerned with file size.

            Except the final product.

            *or windows without a dll hack.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: And yet, and yet ...

        That's why you would create a word doc in libretto office, peener breath.

    8. Mr Templedene

      Re: And yet, and yet ...

      Every computer in my business runs Linux, and only Linux on every desktop.

      So yes, it's possible.

    9. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: And yet, and yet ...

      Having seen a lot of what Linux can do, from the desktop, all the way up to farms of clusters, I'd say yes. Desktop is hardest though, especially if you're dependent on MS Office and have been for a long time. A startup could easily consider Linux though, either with one of the regular Office alternatives or even using <cough>Google Docs</cough>. A big, established outfit is likely to have a great deal of intellectual capital stored in MS format (probably with many useful macros developed over the years), so the effort of moving may not be worth it.

    10. Anonymous Coward
      Linux

      Linux in Business ...

      List of Linux adopters

    11. C-N
      Trollface

      Re: And yet, and yet ...

      I don't know. What's Gartner have to say about it?

    12. trog-oz

      Re: And yet, and yet ...

      Yes, I used to be the systems administrator for an etailer and there was no M$ products at all in use. Everything ran on Debian machines, both servers and desktops.

    13. El Andy

      Re: And yet, and yet ...

      Of course you can. You can also run a delivery business using nothing but a clapped out Ford Anglia. Whether it makes sense to do so is largely dependent on your specific circumstances.

      1. hplasm Silver badge
        Windows

        Re: And yet, and yet ...

        "...nothing but a clapped out Ford Anglia..."

        The thread is not about Windows.

    14. Joe K

      Re: And yet, and yet ...

      Mint KDE, with the Search & Launch desktop is far nicer and easier to use than Win7.

      Probably not Win 8, but then thats never going in an office.

      Who are we kidding, MS will never get displaced out the office because they have influence, money and PR-style brashness to hound any barely-capable IT purse-string holder into thinking that they will always SAVE companies more money than anything else.

      Try not to laugh.

    15. John Hughes
      Thumb Up

      Re: And yet, and yet ...

      "could I run a business on purely Linux kit?"

      Yes.

      Next question?

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