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Windows XP Lives, Thanks to Linux 428

Posted by timothy
from the ecosystem-strikes-back dept.
CWmike writes "Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols puts his thumb on what really happened to spur Microsoft's change of mind on sparing Windows XP: The smashing success of Asus and others' Linux-powered UMPCs and mini-notebooks caught Microsoft completely by surprise. It turned out people wanted inexpensive, hard-working Linux laptops rather than overpriced, underpowered Vista PCs. If anyone thought this was a flash in the pan, that Asus just hit it lucky once, they haven't been paying attention. Intel is putting big bucks into its Atom family of processors, which have been designed for UMPCs, or as Intel would have it, MIDs. Intel has encouraged both the computer makers and the Linux companies in its Moblin initiative to run desktop Linux. The Linux companies have picked up on this. Canonical, Ubuntu's dad company, has come up with an UMPC-specific version of Ubuntu 8.04, the latest version of this popular Linux distribution, for Intel Atom UMPCs. At Computex, by my count, more than a dozen new UMPCs were announced both from vendors you've never heard of and from big name companies like Acer and Asus. You can also expect to see Dell releasing its 'mini-Inspiron' with Ubuntu by June's end."
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Windows XP Lives, Thanks to Linux

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  • by Odder (1288958) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @02:14PM (#23656145)

    EEE PC already has enough horsepower to play movies and music as well as anything else. Battery life could be improved and it already is up to 7.5 hours [guardian.co.uk].

    Apple dominates the high end market and GNU/Linux rules the low. Soon the ends will meet and M$ will be squeezed out. Vista is a failure and it has taken M$ down with it.

    The change is permenant. Vendors have revolted, M$ won't be able to come back. Good riddance.

  • by jeiler (1106393) <go,bugger,off&gmail,com> on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @02:19PM (#23656233) Journal
    Or they'll make a "Vista Lite" that will run on the lower capabilities of UMPCs.
  • media-centered (Score:3, Insightful)

    by pha7boy (1242512) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @02:19PM (#23656239)

    well, microsoft had been moving toward a media-centered model for years now, and vista was supposed to deliver just that - a way for users to use their computers not just for computing, but for media applications, home networking, etc. None of the UMPCs would really be able to deliver that, so microsoft never paid much attention to the issue.

    XP really fills that niche for people looking for an ultra-mobile but also not willing to move to a linux OS. Which really is a much larger market then those who would gladly use linux on their mobile machine. I'd be surprised if microsoft will not fight hard to regain control of that market.

  • by arivanov (12034) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @02:20PM (#23656263) Homepage
    So far anything on the market ran either both Windose and Linux or just Windoze.

    IMO what got MSFT really scared is that many of the crop of the new and cheap PCs went as far as not being bothered to be Windows compatible on release. Asus is a prime example - it could not run Windows XP as shipped without MSFT doing some work on it. Half of the UMPCs are on its heels as well.

    This is not something Microsoft has ever experienced in its history since the days of DOS vs CPM - the hottest PC product on the market based on customer demand for the Christmas season to be Windows incompatible.

    It is not the linux market penetration that they are worried about, it is the change of attitude in major OEMs. The entire MSFT business is based around a B&D relationship with OEMs which keeps OEMs doing exactly what MSFT wants. An OEM rebellion is what MSFT is most scared of and it will do anything and give out any candy it can to prevent it.
  • Windows is over. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Odder (1288958) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @02:21PM (#23656283)

    No one is going to spend $400 on an OS so they can run a $450 word processor. The Microsoft era is closed.

  • by Animats (122034) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @02:23PM (#23656297) Homepage

    Those new "little" CPUs coming out aren't so little. They're above 1GHz now, they're going into machines with 1 GB of memory, and some of them are superscalar. They even have GPUs. That's more than enough power for any reasonable portable system. Mail, web browsing, video playing, the occasional PowerPoint presentation - you don't need a quad-core 3 GHZ CPU part for that.

    What you need is battery life. The next frontier may be less CPU power but a full day of operation or more between recharges. Note that phone battery life was a huge issue until it reached a day or two of moderate to heavy use. After that, it stopped being a major factor in buying decisions.

  • Great for linux... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sucker_muts (776572) <sucker_pvn@hotm a i l .com> on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @02:24PM (#23656321) Homepage Journal
    ... but I'm still dissapointed that most of those laptops are promoted with XP on it anyway.

    Here in Belgium I saw an ad voor an asus EEE last week, but with shiny happy 'Windows XP' logo and specification besides it.

    I'm afraid too many users (and stores) over here are too lazy to try something new. It makes sense that supermarkets (the ad was from one) might try to sell XP rather than linux, so they can sell some other software that's needed.
    With linux, a lot needed software is installed by default, and that does not translate in money to earn. :-(

    (The day when proprietary software wil be perfect against piracy will be a day to rejoice: Empty your wallets, or stop being lazy and try something like open source for a while, it's not that bad when you only need basic stuff done!)

  • by an.echte.trilingue (1063180) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @02:28PM (#23656405) Homepage
    Nah. Just because they were caught by surprise doesn't mean that they won't adapt. They don't even have to do anything beyond maintain XP. I am happy that Linux has been able to provide the competitive pressure to keep Microsoft on its toes, but to suggest that MS is going to keep reinforcing failure is a pipe dream. They are already on the OLPC, you can get the EEE with XP if I remember correctly, and so on. I predict that there will soon be a windows "light" based on XP or even NT, and the cycle starts all over again.

    Still, it's nice to see that after 10 years or so of stagnation, the free market in software is finally healthy again and doing its job.
  • by dave420 (699308) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @02:30PM (#23656447)
    Vista is not a failure. I'm not trolling (though many will see it that way) - vista has made MS a bunch of money, and if anything, has given them a great wake-up call to shape up or ship out. It'll only be a failure if they never release another version of Windows, and don't learn from their mistakes. +5, Troll expected - slashdot, don't let me down!
  • by flanksteak (69032) * on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @02:32PM (#23656485) Homepage

    Just because they were caught by surprise doesn't mean that they won't adapt.

    Exactly. Microsoft misses everything. They always have. What makes them who they are is their response. Vista is a big slip, but they have too much money to just fade away.

    The question is, what will be the response to the ultra mini segment? Can Vista be downsized or does Windows Mobile come up? I see Windows Mobile coming up.

  • by dave420 (699308) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @02:33PM (#23656491)
    It's very easy to keep an XP install running. Especially since SP2, now that the firewall is on by default. I've run XP for years without a firewall of its own (just a NAT denying inbound connections), and no anti-virus, and I didn't have virus problems. I'm not suggesting you're spreading some FUD, I'm merely hinting that the reality you've painted isn't reflected in some, if not many people's 'eXPerience'.
  • by boxxertrumps (1124859) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @02:35PM (#23656507)
    Why would that be modded flamebait?

    It's true.
  • The headline (Score:3, Insightful)

    by eebra82 (907996) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @02:35PM (#23656511) Homepage

    Mobile: Windows XP Lives, Thanks to Linux
    I wouldn't say it's [..] thanks to Linux, but rather [..] due to Linux. It's fairly obvious that Microsoft wants people to use Vista rather than XP, so the fact that XP still lives is hardly something Microsoft would thank Linux for.

    I also doubt that Microsoft didn't foresee this since companies like ASUS surely talk to Microsoft about their future. The only part I think they got wrong was to tout Vista as a serious operating system for ultra portables.
  • by MightyYar (622222) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @02:37PM (#23656555)
    I think that they will still sell it for these tiny PCs, since they won't run Vista. For them not to do so would mean forfeiting the market to Linux - something they are not prepared to do.
  • by peragrin (659227) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @02:39PM (#23656579)
    except for the low powered machines. in fact MSFT is trying to put artificial limits on these machines in terms of speed, ram, storage, etc so that they don't eat into the vista hardware.

    While still claiming that XP is done with on june 30th, there are so many exceptions it won't even been funny.

    I fully expect to be able to buy a full spec machine running a new copy of XP in 6 months.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @02:41PM (#23656603)
    Vista has made MS a bunch of money, if you count the people who bought Vista, didn't like it, and then bought XP. MS sold a bunch of site licenses to businesses which allow them to install XP over the Vista that their new computers came with.

    This is not sustainable growth, and their customers are massively pissed. MS is going to have a really hard time ever selling anything to these customers again.
  • by spottedkangaroo (451692) * on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @02:49PM (#23656735) Homepage
    Yeah, seriously. Who compiles it anymore? Gentoo is pretty hardcore. I think regular people can install ubuntu in an hour or so, probably much faster than vista.
  • by zappepcs (820751) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @02:50PM (#23656745) Journal
    Well, let me have a stab at this. For some time now, it 'seems' like MS business decisions might have been made by looking at the chairs scattered in the hallway outside the boardroom like so many tea leaves in the bottom of a cup.

    Whether you like MS or not, clearly Vista was not the big deal it was supposed to be, and has failed to live up to expectations of even many MS fanbois. With users and businesses requesting XP be installed on new machines, and requests for longer lifecycle for XP added to the growth in GNU/Linux marketshare plus GNU/Linux shipping on some big name OEM machines. The trend here is not a positive one for MS. MSN is not making money, Zune is not making money, XBox isn't making any real money, XP is not causing the finance group to be all smiles either. Clearly the bid for Yahoo was a sign to everyone that MS does not plan to innovate it's way out of the maelstrom they find themselves in right now. When you get caught bluffing at poker, your hand is played out.

    MS will have to do something rather extraordinary to turn the current trend around. Trying to do that in the midst of a recession might be difficult. There are very large organizations (whole countries even) that have decided to dump MS Windows products for various reasons. It really doesn't matter how good XP was or is, MS marketshare is leaching away in many areas. Wii helped with that. Ubuntu et al have helped with it. Dell et al helped too. In a recession Free sounds a lot better than 350 bucks, especially when it runs better on your old hardware than Vista does on brand new hardware. Of course there is the whole DRM thing to think of also. Then there is the iPod halo effect bringing more Mac customers.

    There are plenty of reasons for NOT choosing Vista or MS products. Linux is one alternative, and it does deserve some of the lime light in this situation. If Linux wasn't working so good, MS would be making money off of Vista de facto.

    The fact that there is only a very minute chance that you managed to post your message without relying on some version of Linux sort of technically means that Linux *IS* related and germane to a whole lot of things in the world today.
  • by m.ducharme (1082683) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @02:51PM (#23656751)

    vista has made MS a bunch of money
    This is true, but success/failure depends on how much money was made, and whether it was enough to justify the expense and/or unintended consequences.

    [Vista] has given them a great wake-up call to shape up or ship out.
    People usually say this about failures.

    It'll only be a failure if they never release another version of Windows, and don't learn from their mistakes.
    MS will probably release another (newer, as opposed to just updating XP) version of Windows, but it's not obvious that they will learn from their Vista mistakes. Either way, it's certainly too early to tell if it's been a total failure. I think it's safe to say that from a marketing standpoint, it's been a failure.

  • by fluffy99 (870997) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @02:52PM (#23656779)

    From the article

    ...and Vista is looking more and more like Microsoft's stupidest operating system release ever. Yes, even counting Windows ME and MS-DOS 4.0.

    I think that honor belongs to Microsoft Bob http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_Bob [wikipedia.org]

  • by HomerJ (11142) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @02:52PM (#23656785)
    XP does the two things you really want an OS to do well. Run all the software you want, on the hardware you want. But XP is getting long in the tooth.

    The market is going to things like these UMPCs. It's going to tablets and other exotic hardware. Windows is losing one of the two things here. Vista doesn't run at all on them. Microsoft's only answer is keep putting out XP. On these systems, even XP doesn't run on the hardware as well as Linux.

    Next up is software. These aren't gaming PCs. Linux is running the software people want to run. Firefox, Pidgin for IMs, It plays media without hassles. It has an office suite. Toss wine on there, and it will even run Office. Look at all the solutions that mac users use to run a couple Windows programs on OSX. The market is coming around to just using emulation for that last 5% of Windows software they want or need to run.

    If Windows loses the only two reasons people put up with it, why would they continue to run it? OEMs are seeing this as well, and are just putting out Linux machines. Dell is going "If people buying Apple machines will use Parallels to run Windows stuff they can't in OSX, why can't they just use Crossover to run them on Linux"? In a market like PC, that $20 they spend on that Windows license is $20 they can't lower the price to compete with others. That $20 is a difference in someone buying a Dell, and going elsewhere.

    Windows may end up being a niche market, with business that just need native Windows for one reason or another. But considering they are losing the two reasons home users RUN Windows, and then the added headaches associated to running it, why are they going to continue to bother?
  • Yeah right. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by magamiako1 (1026318) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @02:56PM (#23656837)
    Unfortunately this headline is very sensationalist, and provides a very limited scope of the entirety IT industry as a whole.

    Basically, the person who blogged this has been reading too many internet blogs surrounding these products.

    Intel's ATOM CPU was not aimed at the "UMPC" market, though most certainly can be used in this fashion. Intel's Atom is aimed at the ARM market. They targetted it for the mobile phone/handheld device market.

    Sure, your random IT geek bloggers are going to talk about the latest "smallest mobile gadget" and everything like that because that's what they do. That's their job. They're not going to talk up how Dell rolls out a new line of high end laptops because guess what? It doesn't sell their blog. These people are "gadget geeks" and not IT nerds.

    Microsoft's spurred change on XP has a lot to do with the fact that companies rolling out desktops want to continue rolling out desktops that they know will work with their existing infrastructure. Why move to Vista, for example, when all of your servers are running Server 2003?

    Having the option there is certainly not a bad thing, and it's by no means an admittance by Microsoft that "Vista sucks". Software-wise, Vista and Server 2008 are light years beyond the Server 2003/XP combination and continue to grow.

    Where Microsoft is going to grow their market, however, is through a more "peer to peer" "social" computing concept, which they are experimenting with the Live Mesh project.

    The biggest problem facing very large IT environments today is how to find data that you've got stored? You can have Z:\shares\commonshares\departments\finance\finance documents\marys finance documents\2008\march\monthly sheet for April.xls (multiply this by 1000000x and this is what most IT environments have) and be completely unable to find it.

    So they're working on improved searching features, and again, things like Live Mesh are going to help this even more. They're also working on Sharepoint to provide even easier management of such items.

    Microsoft isn't going anywhere, Linux and Apple aren't going to squeeze them out, and the EEE PC is just a fad. As soon as the "average joe" gets his hands on one and realize it won't play his video games, he's going to take it back and that's that.
  • by LehiNephi (695428) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @02:58PM (#23656879) Journal
    I think you may have missed the title of the submission--Vista's too big, Mobile's too small, but XP may be about right. Personally, I still think XP's on the pudgy side, but it's the best fit out of the current microsoft OSes
  • by LWATCDR (28044) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @02:59PM (#23656895) Homepage Journal
    Humm. I wonder. If you take all the Tivos, WAPs, Cellphones, and other embedded devices that come with Linux install on them you might actually beat Vista "Sales"
    You might also beat Vista sales if you only count retail boxes of Vista vs sales of Linux :)

    BTW
    https://shipit.ubuntu.com/ [ubuntu.com]
    They will ship you a Linux CD for free.
    So no download, no compile, and if you really don't want to you don't even have to install it to use it. It will work as a live-CD.
    Should be as easy to install as Vista if not more so.
  • by LehiNephi (695428) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @03:01PM (#23656925) Journal
    I assume you meant to ask "why would [the manufacturers] use [XP]?" The reason is that people will see a line of mini notebooks, see one with a familiar interface, and say "I know how to use that one!" In other words, the manufacturer stands to make a lot more sales if the user thinks it's more familiar or easier to use. And considering the market penetration of Windows, that will apply to a very large potential customer base.
  • Re:I knew it (Score:5, Insightful)

    by meringuoid (568297) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @03:07PM (#23657027)
    Finally this is the year of desktop linux.

    This isn't the desktop. It's the micro-laptop. But it's a beginning.

    We had one of the women from upstairs come down to the IT dungeon a couple of weeks ago. Wanted to get her (personal) laptop set up so she could read email while on the road, which meant configuring it to connect through a 3G USB stick, then bookmarking the company's webmail in the browser.

    She'd bought it, having done without laptops in the past, because it was small and cute and pink and cheap and fit in her handbag. Yep, it's an Eee.

    In case anyone's wondering, yes, they work perfectly, at least with the Vodafone sticks; there's a free download of the necessary software, with a version especially for the Eee that adds an icon in the Internet pane, and Vodafone even run an apt repository for it. I was expecting to get to play the Unix guru, but this was simpler than it is on the bloody Windows boxes!

    So: someone wholly clueless bought this machine because of its size and price and cute factor. She wouldn't know what Linux was if you beat her about the head with a plump contented well-fed penguin. Wouldn't know an operating system from a hole in the ground. But she'd been playing happily with it for days and loving the damn thing. Best of all, the usual question of 'what happens when they try to install [INSERT DUMB USER PROGRAM HERE]' doesn't arise: Eee's got no disk drives :-)

    These machines are going to produce an army of users who are used to Firefox and OpenOffice.org and all the rest of our beloved open-source applications. Once they've found that they can do everything they expect of a computer with these systems... well, Joe Public isn't tech-savvy, but he'll notice the price premium for Windows, remember how their geeky nephew Timmy said it was because those ones go to pay Bill Gates The Richest Man In The World even more money but these don't, and make the obvious decision.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @03:14PM (#23657169)
    The vast majority of the money MS is making from Vista would have been made from XP sales instead. Vista is a failure. There was a huge investment with minimal return. While I agree that MS may learn from mistakes made with Vista, that doesn't mean that Vista isn't a huge failure.
  • by kjkeefe (581605) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @03:19PM (#23657227)
    Funny, they used to say the same thing about IBM...
  • by initdeep (1073290) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @03:20PM (#23657247)
    Have you ever installed Vista?

    i thought not.
  • by jedidiah (1196) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @03:21PM (#23657269) Homepage
    Vista sold on the same number of machines that XP would have sold on otherwise.

    Don't try to confuse anyone into believing that Vista is a real product in it's
    own right. It's just another version of Windows. So what if the latest version of
    MonopolyOS sells as many copies of the latest version of MonopolyOS.

    Even the current version of MacOS selling as many copies as the last wouldn't be
    terribly exciting.

    Pointing out the fact that Vista is the latest iteration of a monopoly that
    stretches back to DOS doesn't alter the fact that alternative(S) are growing.
  • by jedidiah (1196) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @03:25PM (#23657303) Homepage
    ...you mean the same IBM that came back with a vengance as a server company. ...or the same Sun that's still around as one of the dominant server vendors. ...or Netscape which is starting to chip away the monopoly/OEM acquired marketshare of IE?

    Even Novell is doing pretty well by way of SLES.

    AOL is the same sort of dinosaur as Microsoft. Microsoft never eliminated them. The internet
    made them both look foolish. Although AOL was enough of a success based on it's own merits
    before to linger on for awhile anyways.
  • by Poorcku (831174) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @03:26PM (#23657327) Homepage
    Android will have a very hard time against this: Ericsson , Nokia , Panasonic , Samsung , Siemens and Sony Ericsson. And no, they are not using windows mobile. They are all shareholders at Symbian.

    May I remind all of you that windows mobile is a smartphone OS. Not middle to low phone market. It is a "niche" OS. "Everybody else" just landed 18.5m Symbian mobile phones shipped to consumers. That is 73% market share.

    On what phones will Android be shipped? Only on Motorola? If that is the case, Android is dead before it was born.
  • by oakgrove (845019) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @04:09PM (#23658053)
    Yeah, but how long does it take to install all of the software and updated drivers for your various hardware including multiple reboots? And what about your favorite apps? How long does it take to install those what with swapping out the install CDs and such? Sticking in the Vista DVD and waiting the 20 or so minutes to get to a desktop is just the beginning.

    On my Ubuntu box, I just install the OS pull up Add/Remove software, click a few boxes for the stuff I want, hit apply and I'm done.

    Anybody who uses Linux on a regular basis I'm sure can identify with the groan inducing tediousness you prepare yourself to put up with when a friend or family member asks you to help them install Windows.

  • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @04:09PM (#23658065)

    It's a pretty good time to be alive if you're a geek.


    I disagree. Now, it seems like you don't ever "own" any of your devices, your phone is somehow tied into your cell provider, your computer is the *AA's if you don't use Linux, the makers of game consoles constantly try to brick you if you use a modchip, and all your media you haven't pirated or downloaded off of a DRM-Free site is tied to your account. So no, it isn't the greatest time, because now, you don't own a single thing.
  • by UnknowingFool (672806) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @04:12PM (#23658131)
    In terms of strategic planning, Vista was a stupid move. Unlike Bob and ME, MS does not have an alternative for Vista ready for their customers. For Bob, Windows 95 was released 5 months later. For ME, Windows 2k was 6 months earlier and XP was a year later. Vista was released in Jan 2007 and the earliest Windows 7 release is projected for 2010. Strategically, MS has to hope that Windows 7 can convince their customers to stay with them and not use other OS's as companies evaluate upgrades.
  • by oakgrove (845019) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @04:42PM (#23658641)
    This is absolutely true. However, keep in mind, that first of all, it's generally set and forget. You click the boxes, hit apply, then walk away. When you get back all of your software is installed and ready to go. No, next, next, next, etc. like on Windows. There are exceptions, java, VirtualBox, and a few others come to mind where you actually have to do something during the install but not very many apps are like that. Also, on *nix with so many shared libraries, the downloads for a particular piece of software tends to be much smaller than for a comparable piece of software on Windows.
  • by sayfawa (1099071) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @04:57PM (#23658881)
    I'd say the effects of Moore's law are still going strong and hardware is improving steadily. It's just that instead of faster chips, the hardware improvements come in the form of smaller and more efficient. So we are reaping the rewards not in faster and more powerful, but in cheaper, smaller, better battery life, etc. Of course, the result is still the same for MS; like you say, they incorrectly thought that CPUs would be faster by now.

    Which makes me think of another theory as the cause for this phenomenon. People are satisfied with existing software. I think the majority of people would be ok if operating systems and major applications stayed exactly the same as they are. So as technology gets better the only thing about a computer that should change is the hardware. But since it's already good enough to run existing software, then it should just get cheaper and more reliable. I think this is what consumers expect nowadays, not the hardware treadmill of the past.
  • by iamhassi (659463) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @05:21PM (#23659237) Journal
    "Who BUYS a PC with Linux?"

    did you not read the article summary above?

    "It turned out people wanted inexpensive, hard-working Linux laptops"

    The entire story is about XP being kept alive simply because people are BUYING a PC (er, laptop) with Linux. So yes, people are buying Linux PCs, enough so that M$ is scared.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @05:30PM (#23659411)
    And how is it you know that you do not have a virus if you have no indicator telling you otherwise? ;)
  • by mewsenews (251487) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @05:31PM (#23659419) Homepage
    I disagree. Now, it seems like you don't ever "own" any of your devices, your phone is somehow tied into your cell provider, your computer is the *AA's if you don't use Linux, the makers of game consoles constantly try to brick you if you use a modchip, and all your media you haven't pirated or downloaded off of a DRM-Free site is tied to your account. So no, it isn't the greatest time, because now, you don't own a single thing.

    This is total tripe and pessimism! One of the defining characteristics of a geek in this age is that they are able to discern what a load of garbage this stuff is. They use unlocked GSM phones, they avoid DRM like they've been born to do so, and they do all these things with the full knowledge of what makes Quality.

    And this wonderful Internet that lets us discuss this, allows them to share their ideas and feelings with similar-minded people from around the globe!

    How is this not a golden age?!
  • If there's not a critical mass of people avoiding DRM and working with unlocked hardware, it just won't be available any more. That's the point. It'll become a very niche, if still existent, market. The golden age will be when everyone has proper, unencumbered information sharing.
  • by pandrijeczko (588093) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @05:47PM (#23659685)
    In my home office I have four desktop PCs - two run XP and two run Linux.

    Up to two weeks ago, the XP machines had Athlon 64 CPUs in them whilst the Linux machines had Athlon XP CPUs in them.

    Two weeks ago, I bought two new (cheap) Intel Dual Core motherboards to put in the XP machines to get a little more power for gaming. So I put the Intel motherboards in the XP machines and moved the Athlon 64s to the Linux machines.

    After migration, the Linux machines booted absolutely fine - a ten minute kernel recompile on both machines, job done.

    On the XP machines, they wouldn't boot the original XP installations, they blue-screened. I had to reinstall Windows on both and, even though both of my XP licenses are entirely legitimate, I had to ring Microsoft to get different license keys. It took me the best part of a day to reinstall Windows and longer to reinstall all the other games and apps that now wouldn't work because of registry bits missing.

    I've decided that I'm going to change the Linux PCs to run 64-bit Linux. I use Gentoo Linux so I accept I'm probably going to need to do a reinstall using a 64-bit bootdisk and I suspect there will be some headaches getting everything to compile properly as 64-bit Gentoo is a bit less mature than 32-bit Gentoo. But I'll copy off all the config files in home directories and /etc, rebuild and copy all the stuff back and most of it should pretty much work as before. Plus I can build one machine, get it running okay, then just copy everything over to the other and do another simple kernel recompile because the two AMD 64 motherboards are different.

    With Windows, I have to buy two new 64-bit XP licenses or, if I completely lose my sanity, by two Vista licenses. Yes, maybe the included migration tool will do a lot of the hard work for me but ultimately it's another two rebuilds, no chance of just rebuilding one and copying across.

    Oh, and BTW, using all of 4 gigs of ram is simply about how much memory a 32-bit environment can address - 64-bit Linux can address and use 4 gigs of RAM equally as well as (64-bit) Vista.

  • by zeromorph (1009305) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @05:53PM (#23659797)

    I happen to disagree with you both, it's always good time to be a geek. It was when my father brought home a Sharp MZ whatever. It was a good time when he was soldering in his first transistor radio. It was when my grandfather bought his first motorcycle in the 1920s and crossed the Alps with it. It was when one of my ancestors got his first water driven hammer mill. It probably was when the first person was tinkering with steam, gun powder, paper or fire.

Every nonzero finite dimensional inner product space has an orthonormal basis. It makes sense, when you don't think about it.

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