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The year of LINUX with a twist.

 
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Larry



Joined: Tue Aug 23, 2011 6:16 am
Posts: 18

PostPosted: Sat Feb 23, 2013 4:57 am    Post subject: The year of LINUX with a twist. Reply with quote

"The year of LINUX", I know this has been predicted before, but hear me out. Even after Miguel de Icaza has thrown in the towel, I think I've put my finger on a very plausible solution for the marketing of our favorite O.S. to the general public.

I've been a LINUX user since fedora core 2, and a LINUX format reader for the same amount of time. After all that time, the following sequence occurs year after year. Each holiday, there has been at least one brave retailer willing to trot out a unit with LINUX preinstalled. I race to the store only to find it, like all of the other computers, generating random shapes in screen saver mode. Playing dumb, I ask a sales associate to show me what this computer can do. That's when I realize they aren't - playing dumb that is. After repeating this painful scenario for several years, one reality has finally sunk in. If a LINUX box is to be sold, it must do its own dog and pony show. Hence I propose the LINUX screen saver project.

Imagine a black screen. Slowly the current, "Worlds Fastest Scientific Computer", dissolves into view, only to fade to another and another. The question is finally asked, what do all of these world class computers have in common? The scene then dissolves to a word processor composing a letter. The letter then morphs into a news print page complete with photos. A spread sheet appears. Formulas are added, and recognizable calculations begin to run. A new window opens with colorful graphs depicting the spread sheet results. Finally, superimposed over this scene, a message in large type appears, “All this can be done with the software included on this computer”. The sequence can end here, or continue with GIMP photo editing, and Blender 3D animations to knock their socks off. The point is, this software is all included free, while the proprietary crowd keeps digging in your wallet. The scene sequence ends with the words:

“You can buy a computer your child plays games on,
or you can invest in a computer that will take them into the 22nd century”.

After this series replays several times, even the sales personal will begin to get curious.

For years, we in the open source community, have felt that our inability to easily play popular games was a major stumbling block to wide acceptance by the public. However, when viewed from the perspective of parents, the people who actually buy the hardware, the inability to easily play games could be viewed as a real plus. What parents do with their computers could be purely recreational, but paradoxically they expect their children to be working on their homework.

In any event, I think I've set a framework for discussion. Let's discuss this thing a bit and see if a consensus emerges. We already know what doesn't work. We've been living that for decades. Let's try and think what will.
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guy
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Joined: Thu Apr 07, 2005 1:07 pm
Posts: 1070
Location: Worcestershire

PostPosted: Sat Feb 23, 2013 12:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The real issue has never been about the best platform, it has been about the most effective business tactics. Time and again, Linux products have been launched, only to be outsmarted by other players with a more forceful (aka less ethical) approach to doing business. How many of us remember Corel Linux or Lindows? Do you really think the Asus netbook revolution died because the Linux versions sucked?
Why do you suppose the leading proprietary Office suite vendor made occasional forays onto competing platforms but always half-hearted and never longer-term than the heat of battle demanded? Or why did they chase Western pirates for licenses but not (until very recently) the Chinese? Surely it couldn't have been an astute move to get around China's cavalier attitude to licensing by pursuing volume to chase off Linux before eventually monetising the market? Oh, come to think of it, that's exactly what they said it was at the time.

No, what Linux needs is a whole new ballgame, a world in which we don't want fat clients and stultifyingly familiar desktops any more because we have moved on. One where it can innovate and compete on a level playing field. How about maybe mobile data, digital convergence, cloud services, HTML5, .... Heck, it doesn't even matter if we call it something else - Android maybe, or ChromeOS or WebOS or Firefox OS or whatever. Some folks will no doubt be reinventing the old GNU/Linux environment alongside those reinventing the even older Windows (TM) environment - possibly with about as much success, we shall see (Unity anybody?).

Currently around 80% of computing devices sold into the new mobile world run one flavour of Linux or another - mostly Android. ISTR that represents around 60% of the total (fixed plus mobile) market. The Year of Linux was 2012.

This year we get to rub salt in the wound. Twisted Evil

[Update] And I think Valve may have a view on how best to do that. Smile
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Larry



Joined: Tue Aug 23, 2011 6:16 am
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2013 4:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Guy:

Good to hear from you again. I completely agree regarding the mobile market. Currently, we are in a dominant position there. Still, I think we continue to be in a position to dominate on the desktop as well. It's a matter of automating our sales pitch so that we don't have to rely on store sales personal.

As a case in point, I was recently forced to go shopping with the wife for a new portable computer. Yes, she emphatically wants one preloaded with the O.S. from the dark side, and yes it was painful for me. As a key point of sale, I insisted that it must have secure boot bypass. Most of these people pretended but, simply did not know what I was talking about. Eventually they would get the service department involved. The the service person would then explain to the floor personal what I was talking about. Talk about on the job training!

Regarding Ubuntu, I think that a small short term service plan should be hidden into the purchase price of a preinstalled package. A new user would be better persuaded to extend that agreement if they were first exposed to the value of one. The closed source suppliers do this as normal course of business. Some time ago, I did buy a Dell netbook with Ubuntu preinstalled. Regarding a simple question involving setup, Dell quickly informed me that I would have to contact Ubuntu support for a service agreement, or rely on the Ubuntu community for an answer. I've been down this road before, but for a new user this may be the deals breaking point. Comparing this to Android, what do you think would have happened to the mobile market if the new phone user was given the same answer Dell gave me with the netbook? Michael Dell Wake Up! You have a sleeping giant on your hands. You just need to give your marketing department a kick in the head.
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guy
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Joined: Thu Apr 07, 2005 1:07 pm
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Location: Worcestershire

PostPosted: Wed Feb 27, 2013 9:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Except, there are rumours of a Microsoft buyout of Dell.

I get the impression that PC manufacturers are edging more into the perceived future thin-client-cloud area and and cutting their old ties to the fat-client model. Since that is the only consumer market Windows can boot on, they are getting desperate enough to try Google's tactic of hardware ownership. Surface bombed out because, in MS's view, the hardware guys didn't play by the Stone Tablet rule book but <shock, horror> made up their own. Hence the interest in Dell.

Meanwhile the next revolution in fat clients is looking suspiciously like a Valve-sanctioned Linux gaming PC. Faster, with more up to date games and cheaper than its Windows sibling, it's not going to need anything more than a Valve logo to shift it by the shelfload. And it'll be great as a SOHO workstation when you're not gaming - probably also more compatible with the Cloud service where your business tablet or Chromebook stashes all its stuff, too.

Still, can't do any harm for the screen to offer, "Tomorrow's PC today: faster gaming than yesterday's Windows 8 (TM), more compatible with your old Office files than yesterday's Windows 8 (TM), more compatible with your new Office files than yesterday's Windows 8 (TM), lower cost than yesterday's Windows 8 (TM)" Wink
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