In suspense over Sun's upcoming desktop Linux boxes

We've been talking about the promise of Linux on the Desktop (let's call it LOTD) for almost as long as we've been talking about Linux. Will Sun's new boxes finally pave the way?

We've been talking about the promise of Linux on the Desktop (let's call it LOTD) for almost as long as we've been talking about Linux. But while prospects are better every day, LOTD still a long way from the mainstream.

Yet every once in awhile one of the Big Boys comes along and threatens to push it there. The latest is Sun Microsystems. At Linux World Expo last month, Sun President and CEO Scott McNealy pre-announced a Sun-branded desktop Linux box due to be introduced on September 18 at the Sun Network conference in San Francisco. The announcement is still under wraps, although Don Clark of the Wall Street Journal got a look under the shroud and found what he saw compelling enough to warrant yet another Threat-to-Microsoft story. It ran Thursday on the front page of the Marketplace section, as one of the lead stories. (The link works, but a subscription may be required.)

For clues about where this thing is going to fit, here's the key paragraph from the Journal piece:

In the biggest development, Microsoft archival Sun Microsystems Inc. next week plans to announce its first full-fledged commitment to Linux on desktop PCs. The computer maker, whose server business has been hurt by low-end systems running Microsoft Windows, is determined to counterattack by cutting into Microsoft's cash-cow franchise in desktop-PC software. "We have a chance to be a force for change in the industry," says Jonathan Schwartz, Sun's executive vice president of software.

Since Sun is making a "full-fledged commitment" starting with the Sun Network show, you'd hope to see some Linux stuff in the conference program, right? But when you search the .pdf of the program, the word "Linux" fails to appear, even though Sun already has plenty of Linux-based hardware, inherited from the Cobalt acquisition.

So what is Sun up to here? We get some clues from what Scott McNealy told us at Linux World: that the company plans to use its new Linux desktops as part of its "iWork" program, in which employees no longer have personal offices or workstations, but simply use the first available cubicle (I was going to say "stall", but I'll let Scott Adams take it from here). McNealy said Sun is looking to move from 0.8 employees per office to 1.8 employees per office (suggesting a new PHB metric: EPO).

But there is a serious prevailing ethic here, and it's one where Sun may be ahead of the curve, and that's cost-cutting. The post-Enron world is all about severely bottom-line-oriented management and accounting practices, and it's a matter of time before IT honchos give Linux a second (more likely tenth or hundredth) look, and finally start making the obvious choices.

But will they go for name-brand boxes?

According to John "maddog" Hall of Linux International, the majority of the world's PCs have for years been white boxes. No-name stuff. In the Linux market the ratio is surely even more lopsided. Clearly the IT market, however, wants commodity stuff. And surely they want cheap commodity software to go with their cheap commodity hardware. The OS platform is surely going to be Linux. That leaves the question, Where will the productivity suites come from?

The leading source of that kind of suite is Sun, which surely had something large in mind when it bought StarOffice several years ago.

But Sun is a name brand hardware vendor. It's not in the white box business. Nor are any of Tux's other large corporate friends: Dell, HP and IBM. Yet if you're looking for a serious LOTD offering, the last place you'll find it is on the Web sites of those three companies.

It's even worse than it appears.

Let's say you, as an individual, want to buy a Linux desktop from one of those guys. I just went through that exercise, and here's what I found.

  • Nothing about Linux on Dell's front page (or any of the others), of course. So I went to their search page, typed "Linux" in the little box and hit Go. Six "best bets" came up. The most likely category seemed to be the bottom end: the "Dell Home/Home Office Linux Homepage". I clicked on that and got a 404. Same with "Dell Small Business Linux Homepage". I finally got somewhere at the "Dell Medium & Large Business Home Page". Not exactly talking to the LOTD market, unless it's restricted to M&LBs.

  • Searched HP, and found... nothing. The search seems not to be working right now, for me at least. So I went to Home and Home Office page and clicked on "Match me to a product...", then on "business" and "show all" buttons to get prices for... a bunch of boxes that come with Windows.

  • At IBM a search brought up over 100,000 results. Pretty hard to narrow those down (many lead to stories, help desk items and PR of various kinds). But I did spot a link to NetVista Desktops, which look like LOTD candidates. The A series starts at just $609, sans monitor, but it also comes with various kinds of Windows OSes (of course you can toss those, but that doesn't make them LOTD retail offerings on IBM's part). Want to build your own? the page asks. Sure, but the result is still nothing but Windows. At the Linux Portal, I found a link to Shop the Linux Store, where hardware choices include four kinds of servers and two kinds of storage. No desktops. No laptops.

I had more luck with Google, searching first for "IBM NetVista Linux" and then for "HP x4000 Linux". That took care of IBM and HP. Dell was a little harder. Don Marti helpfully pointed out that their Linux desktops are filed under "Federal Government": <http://www.dell.com/us/en/fed/topics/linux_003_products.htm>

So clearly IBM and HP are offering Linux on higher-end boxes or on manageable Linux clients to be installed in massive quantities. The question is whether or not any of these Big Boys see a broader business in this commodity desktop stuff. I think the answer should be yes. But if it is, who's going to take the lead?

So far the only answer comes from the biggest retailer on the whole planet: Wal-Mart. Look up "Linux" at the Wal-Mart site and... well, nothing happens. But look up "Mandrake" and you get a page with desktops that start at $428. And here's more good news: Jeff Gerhardt of The Linux Show reported last Tuesday that some of these boxes are finding their way onto shelves at Wal-Mart stores in the U.S. If this is happens, America might actually reach parity with China, where mainstream retailers have been selling Linux-equipped desktops for some time.

Still, Wal-Mart alone can't give LOTD enough critical mass to attract lots of independent developers -- both proprietary and non-proprietary -- to the platform. For that we need front-and-center commitments to selling Linux Desktops by the Big Four: Dell, HP, IBM and Sun.

If Sun niches Linux to droneware for corporate cubicle hives, they're not going to be the first to the front. But if the company's "full-fledged commitment" is to creating real market competition for corporate Windows boxes, I think we may finally start see delivery on the LOTD promise.

I'll be talking with Sun folks over the next few days. If you want to give me some questions to ask, put them in the comments below.

email: doc@ssc.com

______________________

Doc Searls is Senior Editor of Linux Journal

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Re: In suspense over Sun's upcoming desktop Linux boxes

Anonymous's picture

Looking for a ready-to-use LINUX machine, equipped with LINUX-supported, hardware. Most of the literature I read is geared toward programmers, or LINUX system administrators. I am not a programmer, or a system administrator. I want to acquire a LINUX system to run as a home PC stand-alone. Home networking capability would be a bonus. I have the interest, but not the time, to become knowledgeable. Accordingly, I would really appreciate advice that might be given to the home, stand-alone PC user. Looking for a 100 percent LINUX-compatible machine provided by a reliable supplier who will stand behind the product it sells, and provide support in the event of problems. If Sun plans to offer such a machine with support, I'm all ears. Tell me more!

Re: In suspense over Sun's upcoming desktop Linux boxes

Anonymous's picture

If IBM can port Linux to work on Mainframe why can't Sun make Linux to run on Sparc ???

Re: In suspense over Sun's upcoming desktop Linux boxes

Anonymous's picture

If IBM and others are so big on linux ,why don't they at least

post on their web sites the reguired information of desktops

which fully support linux ? I love to see someone post a list of

complete systems that fully support linux with everything working the way it should.

New York Times Editorial

Anonymous's picture

September 18, 2002

The New Challenge to Microsoft

As the government's antitrust lawsuit winds down, Microsoft's next battle may be a knock-down, drag-out fight against Linux. Like Microsoft's Windows, Linux is a computer operating system, but written and updated by volunteer programmers in a communitarian spirit, and available for free. If Linux spreads, Microsoft could see the first real challenge to its dominance of the operating-system software market. For consumers, that would be good news.

Microsoft's critics charge that its dominance of the market - more than 90 percent of home computers run on its software - results in high prices and reduced choice. And outside programmers have long complained that Microsoft makes it hard for them to create software compatible with Windows-based computers.

The government's antitrust lawsuit was aimed at solving these problems. If it fails to do that - a ruling on a proposed settlement is expected soon - the best hope may be Linux. Since Linux software is free, hundreds of dollars could be cut off the price of a computer. No less important, since Linux's source code - the intricacies of how it works - is publicly available, programmers don't have to get permission or assistance from anyone.

There are promising signs that Linux, which has been around for years, may finally be taking off. More than two dozen countries - including Germany and China - have begun to encourage governmental agencies to use such "open source" software. In the home market, Wal-Mart has started selling a home computer called Lindows, which runs on Linux. Early reviews have been mixed, but its $199 price tag shows the savings Linux could deliver.

Linux may, still, have a rough road ahead. Its informality could be a liability for the sort of serious governmental and commercial projects for which it is now being considered. And, not surprisingly, Microsoft has been working to blunt the Linux threat.

Government units abroad and in the United States and individual computer users should look for ways to support Linux and Linux-based products. The competition it offers helps everyone.

PR: SUN MICROSYSTEMS INTRODUCES NEW OPEN DESKTOP CLIENT

Anonymous's picture

SAN FRANCISCO -- SunNetwork(sm) 2002 Conference and Pavilion -- September 18, 2002 -- Sun Microsystems, Inc. today announced a new client solution eliminating the expense of traditional desktops while significantly bolstering security and authentication.

"We've been advocating the move to browser-based applications for the past six years - we believe our customers are now ready to take that next step," said Jonathan Schwartz, executive vice president of Software, Sun Microsystems. "Combining world-class Java Card authentication with an open source desktop software stack and off-the-shelf hardware, we can deliver military-grade security with profound savings in acquisition and operational costs. The power, security and economics customers have long enjoyed through Sun's end-to-end architecture are finally coming to the PC desktop. We are disrupting traditional computing economics to benefit our customers while completing our client product line."

Sun plans to extend its reach in the enterprise by initially focusing the new initiative on users in cost and security-sensitive areas such as call-centers, retail banks, and class-rooms where personal computers and their applications are generally underutilized, insecure and costly to administer. In these instances, a client is a computing device on which users handle basic tasks such as word processing and email as well as entering reservations or order entry.

The new client desktop includes hardware, Java Card(tm) technology (the ability to authenticate access using a Java Card), a complete, open desktop software environment as well as a server for identity, portal and messaging capabilities. This approach breaks entirely new ground in the client-side solution category and disrupts the high-cost economics of the traditional enterprise desktop.

The benefits for the enterprise are significant, with savings in acquisition, maintenance, administration and on-going operational support. This is combined with superior security, the absence of viruses and their associated costs, and an alternative to purchasing expensive Microsoft software. Sun will integrate, support and service the open source technologies that it assembles into the full solution.

The new solution brings together off-the-shelf hardware, open-source software and Sun's own industry-leading intellectual property. These include low-cost desktop systems hardware and several open source software efforts, namely Linux, Mozilla, OpenOffice, Evolution and GNOME. This gives desktop users a familiar desktop environment and the ability to interoperate with Microsoft Office documents, presentations and spreadsheet formats. In addition, with Evolution, the user is provided with a Microsoft Outlook-like client which interoperates with Microsoft Exchange while Sun also provides the fully supported StarOffice, the world's most popular open office productivity suite.

"As the leading product lifecycle management (PLM) applications provider, Agile is able to offer our solutions on the integrated Linux desktop from Sun while strengthening our commitment to deliver on Agile's Guaranteed Business results strategy," comments Joe Hage, senior vice president of product development at Agile Software Corporation. "We are able to offer a fully integrated solution while continuing our proven track record of over 850 successful implementations at manufacturing companies in the medical devices, high technology, semiconductor and automotive industries. Many of our customers require a high degree of security to protect their intellectual property and tracking to ensure regulatory compliance. Leveraging Sun's powerful identity and authentication capabilities, through Sun(tm) ONE Identity Server and Java Cards that Sun is incorporating into the platform, enables us to focus on delivering greater business value and improved product lifecycle management processes to our customers."

"This systems approach to the network client marks another milestone in the company's edge computing strategy and was preceded by Sun's recent LX50 server announcement," said Neil Knox, executive vice president of the Volume Systems Group, Sun Microsystems. "Today's announcement builds on Sun's Linux momentum with enterprise-class security and authentication as well as the essential communication, collaboration and desktop services users need in these targeted applications."

With the ability to use Java Card technology for access and authentication to the system, customers can dramatically enhance the security of the upcoming desktop solution. As an open and proven technology Java Card solutions are currently deployed worldwide in industries such as financial services, government and telecommunications.

The total system solution is expected to be available in 2003 with prototype systems available soon at Sun's worldwide iForce centers. "We want customers, ISVs, OEMs and channel partners to have the conversation with us about how much they can save and facilitate their migration to this much needed alternative environment," said Schwartz.

----

Full PR: http://www.sun.com/smi/Press/sunflash/2002-09/sunflash.20020918.2.html

Re: PR: SUN MICROSYSTEMS INTRODUCES NEW OPEN DESKTOP CLIENT

Anonymous's picture

Go Sun!!!

Re: PDA's/Java...

Anonymous's picture

Why can't SUN be a UNIX(Linux)/Java company in the same way MS attempting to become a Window/.NET company. I understand the portablity of Java, but as a customer I don't recognize a Java environment (or desktop), only a Java application. I guess what I'm getting at is that there are PDA's all over the place with Windows CE running a familiar UI or desktop (there's the 'Start' menu). I would like to see a SUN branded environment on a PDA. Pocket StarOffice anyone? I'm also using PDA's or mobile phone's as an example, but I mean a recognized branded SUN desktop on multiple platforms with real Java support. A customer should be able to see SUN OS on a device and know there is a 'Start' menu and Java 'Accessories' like my calculator/notepad/sound recorder/whatever - you get the idea.

J2ME[tm] Devices

Anonymous's picture

Re: PDA's/Java...

Anonymous's picture

Why doesn't Xbox games work on Win-Xp?

Re: PDA's/Java...

Anonymous's picture

I recently purchased a Casio Cassiopeia BE-300 (low cost pda ) because of it's attractive features: price, wireless capability built in mp3 player as well as a non-proprietary flash card slot. Then to get any real usability out of the product I had to spend $50.00 on software that was mediocre at best. A PDA with Java and a synchronizing application to star-office would rock! Outlook is absolute garbage a change to a stable suite with synchronizing capabilities would be a welcome change.

ps. the included mp3 application does not even work with Windows XP, and the pda has Windows CE on it !!

Re: PDA's/Java...

Anonymous's picture

Try Sun servers and workstations!

Re: PDA's/Java...

Anonymous's picture

Take one part Sun LOTD add one part Sharp Zaurus.

Now, Take the best of existing Linux apps,

put them in a standard package (UI).

Solve every day problems. Stay focused.

Try to create ONE Standard learning curve for

the UI. Make it work for the enterprise AND

the general public. Be able to collect images

with a small camera. Have the ability to talk

with cell a network (Verizon?). And of course

wireless internet.

Re: PDA's/Java (& Brands)

Anonymous's picture

>I don't recognize a Java environment (or desktop), only a Java application

Since the app would not execute without the environment, the brand IS the app.

Re: PDA's/Java (& Brands)

Anonymous's picture

It also helps that there is *broad* industry participation in driving this standard/brand.

http://www.jcp.org

Re: In suspense over Sun's upcoming desktop Linux boxes

Anonymous's picture

Sun needs to put Linux (64 bit) on the Blade desktop with Open/Star Office, Mozilla, Java, etc. The box sells now for $999.00 and is Sparc based, it is a good machine and takes up to 2 GIG of commodity memory sticks. (RedHat 6.1 ran on on 64 bit Sparc Ultra 30 real solid and fast). Please, please, please lets do this...

Re: In suspense over Sun's upcoming desktop Linux boxes

Anonymous's picture

Of course you can always roll you own:

wwws.sun.com/software/linux/compatibility/ultralinux/index.html

Even if Sun *wants* Linux, can they make it work... for them?

Anonymous's picture

I don't have time to do this theme justice, so I'll just handwave in the direction of The Innovator's Dilemma and direct your attention to the way Sun has moved 'way up-market away from the desktop market. That's desktop as opposed to high end engineering workstation that happens to sit on a desk. And they're really liking their foray into large machines for even more rarefied heights in the server rooms of large customers; maybe that gets them in the door to talk, but can Sun effectively build a product targeted at a point so far below the bulk of their current range? Maybe they need to find the right company to ingest - that seems to have worked fairly well with Cobalt.

Okay, 'nuff for now. I'm coming to think that Sun really is trying to get with Linux, if only because they can see the consequences of trying to pretend it away. But as Christensen points out, making a success with the disruptive technology that's coming through the floor at you is one of the most difficult things for a large company to do. Especially for a company that's been so succesful in its existing market as Sun.

McNeely lives in interesting times...

Re: Even if Sun *wants* Linux, can they make it work... for them

Anonymous's picture

"Maybe they need to find the right company to ingest"

Ximian would probably taste quite good about now!

Re: Even if Sun *wants* Linux, can they make it work... for them

Anonymous's picture

>ingest

In America it's called CAPITALISM.

Re: Even if Sun *wants* Linux, can they make it work... for them

Anonymous's picture

It so happens that this "disruptive" technology is Unix, which Sun is a master at!

Re: In suspense over Sun's upcoming desktop Linux boxes

Anonymous's picture

Here is the quick and dirty way to get to the main page of the top vendors linux pages:

www.dell.com/linux

www.hp.com/linux

www.ibm.com/linux

www.sun.com/linux

Coincidence?

Re: In suspense over Sun's upcoming desktop Linux boxes

Doc's picture

Indeed.

This is also why it's better to write with a Net than without one.

Thanks!

Desktop *what* Market?

Anonymous's picture

The only desktop Linux systems HP, Dell, IBM, and Compaq have targetted have been high-end workstations for developer, engineering, graphics, etc. markets.

Now the impetus we are now seeing is for corporate desktops--which is a significant development. However, it's still a very different market from the consumer desktop market. The corporate desktop requires the following:

1. Manageability

2. Stability

3. The ability to run:

- An Office Suite (MS Office-compatible)

[OpenOffice works nicely]

- A Groupware Suite

[Evolution might work]

- Browser-based Software

[Netscape works fine]

4. LDAP-compatible Directory Client

[OpenLDAP and PAM works very well]

5. Files/Printers Sharing

[Samba works well]

Other pluses include project management software [Mr. Project works well] and a desktop database system [Linux has no viable alternative for this--Windows has MS Access and others].

But a consumer desktop requires these:

1. Good Games

[Enough might exist but 3D support of

video drivers is often poor]

2. Stability

[Less is required than for corporate

desktops]

3. The ability to run:

- An Office Suite (MS Office-compatible)

[OpenOffice works nicely]

- An eMail application

[KMail, Evolution, + others work]

- A Web Browser

[Many exist, but not enough plugins]

- An FTP client

[Many exist like gFtp]

One key to getting a Consumer desktop Linux system accepted is having a variety of good free games--plus developing games exclusively for Linux. Focusing on migrating Windows games to Linux is a major mistake the Loki developers said they fell into. Just one or two killer games for Linux-only would have done a lot for consumer Linux.

Their is also another market that shouldn't be neglected here--the "Small Business Desktop Market". It's different from the corporate market in that not as much in the way of enterprise features are required such as remote administrability, directory services, or web applications. The small business requirements are more similar to the consumer market except that stability is of greater need.

For medium to large corporations, I completely fail to see a reasonable argument for desktop Linux PCs at all--Linux can provide all corporate-needed applications just as well or better to thin-clients. Not only are thin-clients less costly and more efficient to administer but you can integrate a wider range of application support to them--include the Linux, Windows, and Macintosh applications you might want to use.

Unfortunately, many corporations also like the ability to buy third-party, verticle applications and those are mostly written for Windows. They can be ported from Windows 2000 terminal services but the vendor may not support Windows 2000 terminal services, even if their applications work perfectly on the platform. This is of great concern to the corporates--because when something goes wrong, the vender will then deny responsiblity for fixing it. This is where vendor support really is very needed and crucial.

Matthew C. Tedder

Matthew@tedder.com

Re: Desktop *what* Market?

Anonymous's picture

I am not sure that even MS thinks that games are that important to the consumer desktop, hence the xbox.

Re: In suspense over Sun's upcoming desktop Linux boxes

Anonymous's picture

Doc,

Has anybody at Sun talked to anybody at Sharp ?

What we need here is SYNERGY between Sun's

LOTD and Sharp's Zaurus.

Re: In suspense over Sun's upcoming desktop Linux boxes

Doc's picture

Don't know. I'll ask.

Re: In suspense over Sun's upcoming desktop Linux boxes

Anonymous's picture

"full-fledged commitment" isn't going to win the desktop wars or even cut into it. Who would buy a Sun desktop box when you can get slackware + wallmart pc for much cheaper. Who is going to run Linux on their desktop when apps like Remedy don't exist for linux or BMC Patrol for linux, AutoDESK for Linux? Companies use more than just the standard Office 97/2000 and outlook. Even though those solutions for linux are horible using crossover plug-in. No company is going to invest in buggy software or use abiword/star office that isn't 100% compatible...why do you think word perfect disappeared? On top of that Anything from sun is a slow Piece of crap because they tie everything to java. Ever use Forte?... It's slow as molasses and twice as buggy ditto with Star Office running on a Slackware box. This is just more hype much in the same was as Lindows will rule the desktop or Wine will save the day. Dam I wish I was wrong though....

PS to take over the desktop start with fixing up the fugly fonts and move on from there.

The reason you can't find anything on DELL or HP is that they tried Linux on the desktop and they got burned REAL bad just like all commercial Linux software vendors. Face it already is over 8 years later and linux still hasn't taken over the desktop. Meanwhile Windows is forging ahead with .net while linux (just a dirt cheap linux clone.. which is why sun' s stock nosedived to 3.00 per share) is just copying what windows already is... kde,gnome etc.

Re: In suspense over Sun's upcoming desktop Linux boxes

Anonymous's picture

you little bigoted Son of a B****! How about you look at stability before you bias on the fact that most software is made for windoze. besides, how many viruses are made for Linux? or Spyware? trojans? NONE... thats because they dont exist. And I would assume that when Linux takes over the market, you're gonna be against the next little guy who has something better. and no... i dont pity you for your foolishness, I hope both you and your non-custom-made computer burn in hell!

Re: In suspense over Sun's upcoming desktop Linux boxes

Anonymous's picture

It's clear you know nothing about performance, on the high end of 3 tier client server computing, Sun ruled with the E10K, and now the E15k, its called massive scalability.

Re: In suspense over Sun's upcoming desktop Linux boxes

Anonymous's picture

How do you sleep at night, being an MS troll-whore and all ?

Re: In suspense over Sun's upcoming desktop Linux boxes

Anonymous's picture

>> Who would buy a Sun desktop box when you can get slackware + wallmart pc for much cheaper

the same people who pay dell more, hp even more and IBM the most for desktops they can buy at walmart for $199 like you said.

enough said.

Re: In suspense over Sun's upcoming desktop Linux boxes

Anonymous's picture

They already do invest in Buggy software, what do you think M$ crap is?

Re: In suspense over Sun's upcoming desktop Linux boxes

Anonymous's picture

You are missing the point. This is about the bottom line. You want a fast car? Well a Ferrrari is pretty fast but it is also about 20x the cost of a Kia that will alos get you from A to B. The point is that when it comes to $$$, the value proposition made by Linux cannot be beaten. If Linux was proprietary, closed source, and as expensive as Windows then you're right that this would be a non-issue.

The reality is that Corel had a chance to save WordPerfect by undercutting MS but it chose to remain more expensive than Office while offering no compelling reason for the extra price (it's still priced at $400). Office got to where it is by first undercutting (Office97 was $250), locking in, and then raising it's price gradually (around $450 last time I looked). OpenOffice is essentially free and you can't get much less expensive than that. Reality dictates that price is king. Look at WalMart for what an example of low prices can achieve. This is how MS got the better on IBM in the 80s (PC clones) and how they took Apple's market away.

The reason Windows is difficult to dislodge is because it has exclusionary distribution arrangements with hardware vendors and because of the app X doesn't run on Linux problem. Sadly, the hype of 1998 hurt Linux like you said. I'm sure alot of companies were left with a bad taste in their mouths. It was very premature. Linux was ready for the backend but the desktop offerings were more akin to Windows 3.0 (that's right 3.0, not 3.1). Ironically, if that hype had occurred now, the situation would likely be different since both KDE 3.0 and GNOME 2.0 are very nice desktops when themed. Also, the anti-aliased fonts in KDE 3.0.3 look as good as those under Windows on the same hardware.

Meanwhile, the Linux kernel is a beatiful thing, it runs without missing a beat tasks that bring my W2K box to it's knees. Reality is that desktop Linux is as good, as any current MS-Win offering. If you had a bad experience with Linux before, you owe it to yourself to try the 2.4.19 kernel out with KDE 3.0.3, things have changed a remarkable amount over the past 2 years. I would say compare the change like that from Win95 to WinXP, except for configuration which still needs work. With the upcoming 2.6 kernel and KDE 3.1, Linux will leapfrog WinXP technologically.

Of course, none of this means Linux will suddenly start chopping market share from Redmond, but it will mean that you'll be able to buy that Ferrari for the price of a Kia.

Re: In suspense over Sun's upcoming desktop Linux boxes

Anonymous's picture

Funny how the windows-crowd always seem to regurgitate the same crap! On the defensive perhaps?

Re: regurgitate the same crap

Anonymous's picture

They're just a bunch of FUDers :)

Re: In suspense over Sun's upcoming desktop Linux boxes

Anonymous's picture

>

Re: In suspense over Sun's upcoming desktop Linux boxes

Anonymous's picture

Funny, when I searched for Linux at Walmart.com I got lots of stuff.

Someone must be listening.

And if you searched electronics you get even more.

Re: In suspense over Sun's upcoming desktop Linux boxes

Anonymous's picture

VERY OBVIOUS QUESTION FOR LINUX FRIENDLY IBM:

Why hasn't IBM ported the Lotus office productivity suite

to Linux?!

Re: In suspense over Sun's upcoming desktop Linux boxes

Anonymous's picture

Why hasn't IBM ported the Lotus office productivity suite to Linux?!

Because they canceled it and conceded to Microsoft?

Re: IBM

Anonymous's picture

Because they are too busy porting stuff that:

1) IBM actually developed, not purchased (DB2 etc.).

2) they can actually make money selling (DB2 etc. again).

Re: They did

Anonymous's picture

But they stored the data for the port on their GXP hard drives.

Re: They did

Anonymous's picture

ROTFL!

heh ... *sob*,

Funny - but seriously dude, that was stone-cold!

mikebelasko@lycos.com

Re: In suspense over Sun's upcoming desktop Linux boxes

Anonymous's picture

Why didn't they port it to OS/2?

Re: In suspense over Sun's upcoming desktop Linux boxes

Anonymous's picture

They did.

Re: In suspense over Sun's upcoming desktop Linux boxes

ghostdancer's picture

Yes! Fully agree with you. Sometime, I really have no idea what IBM is doing.

Still remember installing OS/2 Warp to my 486. It was cool...

Re: In suspense over Sun's upcoming desktop Linux boxes

Anonymous's picture

A couple of questions:

When will Sun, as a corporation, acknowledge the Cobalt line of products as a Sun product in the same category as Solaris, Sparc, Java and other "Invented Here" products. I have the impression that Cobalt is inside the Sun family as a kind of "out-of-wedlock" child.

When will Sun finally accept that even though they did not "invent" Linux it is a good product. Something useful, even for their business (capitalistic? - Scott brought that up) objective and go about it more or less the way IBM, Dell or HP go about it. "Hey, we are Linux-lovers and not ashamed of it".

Re: In suspense over Sun's upcoming desktop Linux boxes

Anonymous's picture

>>its "iWork" program, in which employees no longer have personal offices or workstations, but simply use the first available cubicle (I was going to say "stall", but I'll let Scott Adams take it from here).<<

This sounds like server based computing with X-terminals to me. This is the ideal way to market their Sun servers for large office/enterprise users. Even if Sun is talking about Linux desktop PCs, I can't see any conflict with any of their current product lines since they don't sell desktop PCs at the moment. As far as I can see, whether Sun approves of Linux as a server OS or not, they have absolutely no reason not to approve of Linux on the desktop, and plenty of reason to do so.

Re: In suspense over Sun's upcoming desktop Linux boxes

Anonymous's picture

>When will Sun, as a corporation, acknowledge the Cobalt line of products as a Sun product in the same category as Solaris, Sparc, Java and other "Invented Here" products.

When did they ever say something to the contrary?

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Linux Management with Red Hat Satellite: Measuring Business Impact and ROI

Linux has become a key foundation for supporting today's rapidly growing IT environments. Linux is being used to deploy business applications and databases, trading on its reputation as a low-cost operating environment. For many IT organizations, Linux is a mainstay for deploying Web servers and has evolved from handling basic file, print, and utility workloads to running mission-critical applications and databases, physically, virtually, and in the cloud. As Linux grows in importance in terms of value to the business, managing Linux environments to high standards of service quality — availability, security, and performance — becomes an essential requirement for business success.

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Sponsored by Red Hat

White Paper
Private PaaS for the Agile Enterprise

If you already use virtualized infrastructure, you are well on your way to leveraging the power of the cloud. Virtualization offers the promise of limitless resources, but how do you manage that scalability when your DevOps team doesn’t scale? In today’s hypercompetitive markets, fast results can make a difference between leading the pack vs. obsolescence. Organizations need more benefits from cloud computing than just raw resources. They need agility, flexibility, convenience, ROI, and control.

Stackato private Platform-as-a-Service technology from ActiveState extends your private cloud infrastructure by creating a private PaaS to provide on-demand availability, flexibility, control, and ultimately, faster time-to-market for your enterprise.

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Sponsored by ActiveState