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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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  • Cool. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by AltGrendel (175092) <ag-slashdot@exit0.COMMAus minus punct> on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @02:10PM (#23656097) Homepage
    I'll be checking out the new systems to see if they would make great portable multi-media systems.
    • 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 bennomatic (691188) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @02:23PM (#23656303) Homepage
        And in the mobile phone market, it seems like Google and Apple (Goople?) are playing nice with each other, which will allow iPhone to rule the high end and Android to dominate the middle-to-low-end phone market. I don't know anyone who loves Windows Mobile, but a lot of people are pretty excited about their iPhones and/or the promise of Android.
        • by Mordok-DestroyerOfWo (1000167) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @02:35PM (#23656515)
          Actually I'm pretty pleased with my Treo 750. The ability to SSH, change providers, and easily develop software is what made the decision over an iPhone. I'm not trying to start a flamewar, just saying that there are plenty of people out there that are quite happy with Windows Mobile. That isn't to say however that I wouldn't by an Android capable phone the minute it came out.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            I had an Orange SPV M3100 which is an HTC windows mobile 5 based phone and it was quite honestly the biggest hassle I've ever had with a phone.

            It was glitchy and had issue with displaying jpg backgrounds but only sometimes. It would completely forget it's calibration settings but not on a consistent basis. It'd be fine for months then it would forget them every time I turn it on for a week. It is also the only phone I've ever had that, if it loses the signal for any extended period of time it has to be t
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Gat0r30y (957941)
          Goople? oh dear, I just threw up a little.
        • by Andy Dodd (701) <atd7@NosPaM.cornell.edu> on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @03:09PM (#23657059) Homepage
          Actually I know quite a few people who love Windows Mobile, including myself.

          Many of those people are hardcore Linux users on the desktop, too.

          The iPhone is a toy. It's shiny and cool but it isn't very flexible. My AT&T Tilt blows it out of the water in every aspect except user interface, and the UI of the Tilt is good enough for me, especially considering the significantly better functionality.

          Android looks like it's going to cater to the Lords of Lockdown (carriers).

          It's really sad that the most open mobile phone platform out there is Windows Mobile. Everything else is a nightmare of signed applications and lockdown.

          (Yes, Windows Mobile has application signing, but every WM device I know uses this for warning purposes only, not lockout. In addition, WM will remember when you say "yes, I want to run this unsigned app" and not bother you again.)
        • 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 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.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by MightyYar (622222)
          A++ for the level-headed response. I would have just called him either delusional or a troll :)
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by flanksteak (69032) *

          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 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
            • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

              by niko9 (315647)

              ...Vista's too big, Mobile's too small, but XP may be about right. Personally, I still think XP's on the pudgy side...
              Hey Goldilocks, why don't you slide on over next to me and I'll show you that XP is not the only thing around these parts that is pudgy... ;)
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by amliebsch (724858)
            Excuse me, but Microsoft was clued into the "UMPC" trend back when everyone on Slashdot poo-pooed the idea. It went a slightly different direction than they imagined but they obviously saw it coming for some time now.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by HigH5 (1242290)

          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.

          I think they were caught off guard. Why they would then use an 8 years old and battered OS to fight this new market. Sure, it's proven, and welcomed by the users, but it still doesn't fit so well into the niche as GNU/Linux does. I believe that GNU/Linux will soon dictate the pace in the emerging OS platforms, because it's much more flexible and versatile than Windows. Sure, there's the confusion with hundreds of distros, but who would know which one will catch Microsoft off guard in the next emerging mar

          • 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.
        • by tmcmsail (302707) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @02:55PM (#23656827)
          Microsoft always misses the first bus, but they come back with a vengeance. Remember when they thought the internet was not important? Many times, they let someone else lead the way and step in later to take over the market. I loved Word Perfect, Lotus 123, d-Base, and many others, now I am stuck with a work computer with Word, Excel and Access.

          Back to making money, supporting the MS systems manufactured to break and need IT pros to keep running...
          • by kjkeefe (581605) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @03:18PM (#23657219)

            Remember when they thought the internet was not important?

            Yeah, they still haven't come back from that mistake. That's a big part of the motivation to buy Yahoo. If there is one thing that Microsoft has proven they are good at, it is buying a company and diminishing its value as they try assimilate it.

            Embrace, extend, extinguish...

      • 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!
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward
          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 dave420 (699308) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @05:50PM (#23659731)
            Sure, if you listen to the sensationalist, bandwagon-leaping-on news stories about Vista raping cats and giving people AIDS, then you're going to get a very jaded view of the OS's adoption. I doubt you've read many articles covering people who are very happy with Vista, yet those users (and those stories) are out there. Those folks will probably buy Windows again. Vista has been doing rather well in stores, too. Sales have picked up rapidly, and couple that with the number of companies who are buying Vista VLKs (cue the tried and tested "ooh monopoly/vendor-lock-in/FUD-victims/linux-haters/whatever" response), and non-hardware-bundled Vista sales are doing very well. Those folks will probably buy Windows again, too. It is sustainable growth. You might not think it, if all you read is the aforementioned sensationalism, but that doesn't change reality. Making massive generalisations like "their customers are massively pissed" betrays the tenuous foundations (maybe wishful thinking) your argument is based on.
        • 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.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by compro01 (777531)
          Vista has made a bunch of revenue. Whether that revenue will offset the sizable development cost of vista along with the spreading "I don't like it" sentiment that it has brought upon (both actual and perceived) is the question, which I don't have an answer to.
  • anyone know of an ultra-rugged umpc out there? The sort of thing the military would use, or whatnot?
    • EEEPC (Score:2, Funny)

      by willeyhill (1277478)

      Any UMPC using SSDs is already tougher than the "toughbooks" currently in use. Just buy a EEE PC and silicone some rubber and foam onto it.

      • Re:EEEPC (Score:5, Funny)

        by MightyYar (622222) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @02:34PM (#23656505)
        A man "silicone augmenting" his computer... hmm, pretty soon you'll have something to make into a movie. [imdb.com]
      • Re:EEEPC (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Mordok-DestroyerOfWo (1000167) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @02:36PM (#23656541)
        We use them exclusively in the field, when somebody drops it or somehow breaks it (and people can get very creative about what they do) we're only out a few hundred dollars compared to the over $2,000 we used to spend on toughbooks.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by oodaloop (1229816)
        Uh, no. There are no military-grade UMPCs available. Try that EEE mod then drop from shoulder height on concrete and let me know how it works out for you. Toughbooks get dropped out the back of C130s and survive. The EEE would probabky shatter if it fell off my desk. And that's not even getting into the water, dust, shock, freezing tests.

        Working in the intelligence community, having deployed to Iraq et al, and being a former Marine, I've seen a lot of the systems we use. For rough field use, there'
        • Re:EEEPC (Score:5, Interesting)

          by compro01 (777531) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @03:35PM (#23657469)
          actually, a friend of mine has been working on creating a durable-ized eeepc. Current method he's trying is encasing pretty much the entire outside of the thing in about a 2" layer of modified (mixed with some kind of metallic powder to allow decent thermal qualities, as it would have to be passively cooled.) soft silicone, along with a sealed keyboard, watertight plugs for all the ports, and gasketing around the edge of the screen and keyboard interior, covered in some army surplus untearabillium-infused fabric (same fabric as the older green Canadian combat uniform pants) to protect the silicone from abrasion.

          No idea how well it's going, as I haven't talked to him in a few weeks (He's currently working with the base forces for the summer, but is doing this project on his own time), but it seems like a workable idea. The eeepc is sufficiently cheap that it's almost ideal for this kind of prototyping.
  • Hmmm... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Stanistani (808333) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @02:13PM (#23656123) Homepage Journal
    I wonder, with the surge in this UMPC form factor, if not only efficient OS's are favored, but perhaps new networked games with cross-platform ports (and a smaller footprint).

    I scent a market opportunity for game companies to port more games to Linux...
  • by It doesn't come easy (695416) * on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @02:13PM (#23656131) Journal
    So Microsoft has to keep XP going to slow the adoption of Linux? Yet malware writers are now using Microsoft's patch cycle for XP at least (and can Vista be far behind?) to rapidly create exploits. And of course XP is still rife with security issues. I wonder how long XP can stay afloat with malware on one side and Linux on the other? (especially if Microsoft stops fixing XP security issues)
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by rodgster (671476)
      I haven't checked recently, but I thought MS was going to remove XP from all distribution channels June 30th, 2008.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Lumpy (12016)
      At least that's the press release.

      Real reason? Vista sucks. Almost EVERY business I consult for ask for me to get them copies of XP for any new PC they get that has Vista on it.

      Business and most people DO NOT WANT vista. That is what is keeping XP alive. MSFT refuses to admit it so they use another reason.
    • 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 s31523 (926314) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @02:16PM (#23656175)
    I do not think MS is going to completely spare XP, more likely it is just delaying it's execution. As time goes on, the hardware will be caught up enough to run Vista and MS will have had time to "fine tune" it enough to make people get along with it, then they will kill XP.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jeiler (1106393)
      Or they'll make a "Vista Lite" that will run on the lower capabilities of UMPCs.
    • by TheNarrator (200498) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @03:01PM (#23656923)
      Microsoft was expecting Vista's increased hardware requirements to align with Moore's law. The only problem was that hardware performance is not increasing as quickly as it was in the 90s. Multi-core CPUs are coming out but CPU mhz are not really going anywhere. Thus Microsoft cannot add features like they used to and expect the reduced performance to be acceptable as it once was, due to continuous hardware improvements.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by sayfawa (1099071)
        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 phenomen
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by homer_ca (144738)
      Depends which EOL date you're talking about. XP license availability was supposed to be discontinued 6/30/08, but Microsoft extended that to 1/20/09 for System Builders [microsoft.com] and probably longer than that for UMPCs. XP Home, Pro and MCE are all supported with bugfixes and security updates through 4/8/14 [microsoft.com]. There's another good 6 years left in XP.
  • XP Home Only (Score:5, Interesting)

    by russlar (1122455) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @02:17PM (#23656205)
    OK, so they're extended the life of XP Home Edition until 2010 to capture more of the mini-laptop market. So? Name me one network admin who will use XP Home on an ultra-portable. These things are perfect for someone who needs a small, lightweight laptop to administer a network rack, and XP Home is practically useless for that.

    The target market for XP Home has had Vista pushed on it for the past year and a half, and most of that target market probably doesn't know enough about Windows to care about XP vs. Vista.

    Only extending the life of XP Pro will have any meaning.
  • 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.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Overzeetop (214511)
      If they are, then they are a horrible failure at it. Vista, while useful for simple tasks, is a steaming pile for anyone other than users who don't mind doing it the one way the Vista engineers envisioned and enjoy the sub-par interface included in the package. I run Vista Media Center because it has better hardware support than XP MCE (mostly due to the poor programming in XPMCE and total lack of follow-on support). Yes, it works. No, it is neither intuitive nor useful. Just scroll through The Green Butt
  • 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.
  • Dad company? I thought it was just a hurriedly written, apathetically edited slashdot crud. Turns out the gem was in the original presumably well written article. So the question is who did that "dad" sleep with to spawn Ubuntu?
  • 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@hotmail. c o m> 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!)

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by meringuoid (568297)
      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.

      The market must be different over there. I keep an eye out for Eees wnenever I'm out shopping for kit, and I've only ever seen the Linux ones. I reasoned that it was (a) people familiar with XP on a bigger screen will think the Eee's screen small and cramped, while the custom Lin

  • There's No Surprises (Score:5, Informative)

    by mpapet (761907) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @02:28PM (#23656403) Homepage
    Only complacent management at Microsoft.

    Here's the loong tale of how this stuff happens.

    This is how it works people. Smaller companies hit on a good idea all of the time. Every once in a while, the idea appeals to a very large group of consumers. Big companies just wait. Sometimes for quite a while.

    All big companies, Microsoft included, have one guy running around corporate going "This UMPC thing is going to be big! We need to target it." This guy is completely ignored because there's no market data and Management pretty much ignores him because he's saying stuff like this all of the time.

    Meanwhile, Asus figured out how to deliver the goods on the cheap. Microsoft's Asus rep ignored Asus's info about UMPC's because Microsoft's rep is used to waiting for corporate to deliver the pinata filled with money.

    When Asus gets things rolling, Management panics because their high-priced market research has just come back with a new report saying cheap UMPC's are growing into a huge market. Some ass-kisser in Marketing is then tasked with stomping on the Linux Distro by preparing a pinata filled with money to deliver to Microsoft's Asus rep.

    There's more waiting. More market research. More waiting. Presentations. Approvals. Meetings. More waiting.

    Microsoft corporate delivers pinata to Asus rep. Microsoft's OS is then available as a SKU worldwide ~1-3 years after Asus's product launch.
  • 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 spaceyhackerlady (462530) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @02:41PM (#23656607)

    I feel part of this is a reaction of people to slow, buggy computers that crash all the time: a computer is useless if it doesn't actually work. User don't care how fast the computer is. They don't care how fancy the OS is or how many bells and whistles the applications have. As long as it does what they need it to do, they're happy.

    I've actually met people who are suspicious of Macs. They're too easy. They're too reliable. They're not like other (i.e. Windows) computers. There has to be a catch, somewhere. Us Mac fans just say this is how computers are supposed to work, and it's Windows that has it wrong.

    ...laura

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by evil_aar0n (1001515)
      I'll second that. I ran my own business for five years supporting Windows, primarily, and a custom-app of Linux for one client, though I was into Linux when Linux wasn't cool (circa '94-ish). And, having since become a corporate prostitute - paperwork of running my own business was too much hassle - working on Solaris apps, I've dumped Windows for Mac. The interesting thing, and I noticed this the other day, is that I don't have to be an expert to get the Mac to do what I want. It just does it - except
    • by lophophore (4087)
      There is a catch to Macs. Apple is one of the most proprietary companies making computers today.

      Proprietary == Expensive.

      Do you want to run OS X? You better be prepared to shell out 30 to 50% more on hardware than on an equavalent power "commodity" computer. (Never mind lawsuit-bait Psystar. They won't be around much longer, once Apple's lawyers get their teeth into them.)

      I just bought a new Lenovo Thinkpad with suse linux on it for under $950. An equivalently equipped MacBook is $1300.
  • by OutOnARock (935713) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @02:47PM (#23656693)


    The Year of the Linux UMPC?

    ...ducks... :) ....
  • 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]

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by UnknowingFool (672806)
      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 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?
  • Thanks to Vista, too (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Junior J. Junior III (192702) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @02:54PM (#23656813) Homepage
    If Vista didn't suck so much and wasn't as bloated as a dead whale carcass, Windows XP wouldn't have a reason to stick around. It's not just Linux, give credit where it's due.

    The fact that Vista took 6 years to get here meant that the minimum specs for running Windows.CurrentVersion didn't change for 6 years, which created a market for ultra-cheap subnotebooks that would run like shit if they had to run Vista. Linux wins there, and XP's Microsoft's stopgap to try to compete with it.
  • by EdelFactor19 (732765) <adam.edelstein@a ... u ['m.r' in gap]> on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @04:53PM (#23658831)
    did he really say "dad company"? I know what he meant, and I'm sure plenty of others did but the expression is "Parent Company" this has been the case long before the concept of gender neutral writing and PC-ness were as rampant as they are today.

    and seeing as Ubuntu isn't a company this is only made more inaccurate. Taken straight from the horses mouth: About Ubuntu

    Ubuntu is a community developed and supported project. Since its launch in October 2004, Ubuntu has become one of the most highly regarded Linux distributions with millions of users around the world.

    Ubuntu will always be free to download, free to use and free to distribute to others. With these goals in mind, Ubuntu aims to be the most widely used Linux system, and is the centre of a global open source software ecosystem.
    About Canonical Ltd

    Canonical, the commercial sponsor of Ubuntu, is a global organisation headquartered in Europe committed to the development, distribution and support of open source software products and communities.

    Canonical staff and software have deep roots in the open source community and a proven track record of success in the commercial software industry. Team members include leaders from the Gnome, Linux, Debian and Bazaar open source projects, helping Canonical to stay at the forefront of the rapidly changing open source software world.

    World-class 24x7 commercial support for Ubuntu is delivered through the Canonical Global Support Team and its worldwide network of partners.

    Canonical currently sponsors the development of a number of important technology products. See sponsored projects for further details.
  • by AttillaTheNun (618721) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @06:35PM (#23660531)
    I've been dreading the day when I'd bork my WinXP and I'd have to consider ponying up for Vista. Even with a dual boot WinXP/Linux, I'd become dependent on WinXP out of laziness once I bought Warcraft III and discovered DOTA :)

    Well, it finally happened a few weeks ago. No looking back now - I bit the bullet and reformatted the whole kit and kaboodle and installed Ubuntu 8.04 as my only OS to see how long I could go without Windows. Getting Warcraft/DOTA working on Wine was the point of no return. Boot up time is a fraction of what it used to be without all the usual Windows and antiVirus/spyware overhead crud. Everything else is much snappier and I no longer need to fear the day when I have to deal with Vista.

    Add one more to the converted masses.

  • by nostriluu (138310) on Wednesday June 04, 2008 @06:45PM (#23660683) Homepage
    I've been trying to make this point on gadget blogs for a while. In fact, I would suggest calling MS Vista "MS Gavage," what MS wanted everyone to do is switch to Vista immediately and XP to become a memory, never mind most hardware isn't ready for Vista (and lighter alternatives will always run faster/have better battery life). Yay for open and free operating systems.

    Speaking of which, the new netbooks are nice, more than decent for what most people need, but they mostly have low memory limits, which is strange considering how cheap memory is and how much of a performance boost it can bring. I can understand only including 512MB or a GB, but why not allow more?

    Battery life also sucks, give me a netbook with an option for 7 hour life please, good enough for all day.

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