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Author: youngsl One star, 50 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 157043  
Subject: Re: MSFT and Government Remedies Date: 4/20/2000 9:46 AM
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Dsheehy -

What exactly do you do for a living? Groundskeeper? Waiter? It can't possibly be in the computer industry, because your complete inability to grasp the business makes it clear that your exposure to the business must be from very far away.

All you idealists out there who think Linux and open source are the answer aren't just missing the boat - you're missing all the possible boats, forever.

Linux is very nice. However, it's not an enduser PC platform, and has at least 5 years of development time ahead of it to get there, if it ever will. The average computer-illiterate consumer can't just buy a copy and slap it on the Gateway they just bought and be off and running (and on the Internet). It's technical and it requires technical know-how at the moment to install and keep running properly.

The thing that created the consumer PC explosion is this country was the demise of DOS. Any Fool can go out and buy a PC, take it home, and have it running and be connected to the 'net in 10 minutes. Contrary to what Linux advocates will tell you, the average consumer isn't getting more PC literate, and they don't =want= to be more PC literate - any more than they want to be more microwave literate. They just want it to work, and they don't want to have to twiddle around in the innards to get there.

And there's a business problem with Linux that nobody ever wants to talk about. Yeah, it's cheap. Yeah, you can do anything you want to it, because the source is there. Of course, if you do that then you're married to the technical people who changed it for you forever. You don't dare ever let them go, you probably can't duplicate your successes easily to other implementations, and the software you've developed for your custom operating system may very well not be functional anywhere else.

Those sound like small problems to a technical person, and in reality, they =are= small problems. Problems that can be overcome with good management, good documentation, and good controls. Of course, in all my years in the business I've never ever once been at a company that had all three, at the same time, in every place they needed it.

On the other hand, using some standard flavor of UNIX or whatever other operating system you buy shrink-wrapped off the shelf guarantees you an endless supply of geeky types who can work with it and develop on it for you. The world is full of AIX gurus and developers - and AIX is AIX is AIX.

Linux isn't going to be a truly viable product until it meets those challenges, because it won't sell to non-techincal consumers and it won't sell to large IS shops as anything other than a curiousity. Those two places are where the money is and where the trends are created.

Steph
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