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The NY Times looks at Linux

Discussion in 'Linux / Unix Discussion' started by ffreeloader, Oct 4, 2007.

  1. ffreeloader

    ffreeloader Terabyte Poster

    The following is an excerpt from a New York Times article on Linux.

    You can read the rest of the article here.
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  2. tripwire45
    Honorary Member

    tripwire45 Zettabyte Poster

    For a second, I thought that the New York Times as an organization was considering switching from Windows to Linux. If it did, this would be a great achievement for Linux on the desktop. Linux has long been a leader in the server market space, especially with web servers (think Apache). Breaking into the home user desktop space is difficult because the average home user just wants their PC to "work" and doesn't want to have to do any tweaking. Linux, at least historically, has a reputation for needed to be tweaked while most folks consider Windows pretty much "plug and play" from the word "go".

    The Linux desktop in the enterprise is another story. Both Red Hat and Novell have hung their hats on being able to penetrate the Windows stranglehold on the business desktop. Novell has "gotten in bed" with Microsoft so-to-speak in an apparent attempt to operationalize the saying "if you can't beat them...join them". Red Hat has remained defiant and forged ahead without any sort of deals with MS.

    The problem with a place like the New York Times switching to the Linux desktop is that the standard tools of the large-scale publishing business are all based on Microsoft applications. I know this because, although I routinely use Linux for my home desktop, when writing books and coursework, I have to use Word and other applications to get the job done (OpenOffice Writer never has been able to handle the various template I need to work with adequately and the formatting has always ended up goofy). Frankly, it's just easier for me to keep on Windows machine around in order to continue to work with editors and publishers. The likelihood of the publishing industry moving to Linux on the desktop is directly related to FOSS applications being able to seamlessly interoperate with MS Office products.

    The other key to the enterprise moving to desktop Linux is not only interoperability to Microsoft operating system and application software but support. While you can coax Debian, Fedora, and a number of other distros into being good desktop choices for home and small business, the enterprise environment needs full-scale professional support. That leaves Novell and Red Hat at the forefront and maybe HP and Dell/Ubuntu. Certainly, the cost of support would be less and even with licensing, Linux would represent a significant savings for any company's IT desktop budget.

    The final trick is to overcome the perception (as with the home user) that Linux on the desktop is hard to work with and won't work and play well with Windows (after all, your partners, customers, and competition will likely still be using Microsoft products, even if you switch your business over to Linux). The fact the the NYT even printed such an article is reassuring, but I don't know if 2008, 2009 or even 2010 will be the "Year of the Linux Desktop". I rather imagine that the commercialization of Linux will continue to develop as time goes by and it will eventually emerge as a player in the desktop game along with Microsoft and Apple.
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