"Nobody Uses Linux" is Not a Good Enough Answer

I spent some of my weekend with the ladies of the Mom 2.0 Summit, a new conference targeted at women who do business online. All indications are that the event, organized by my good friends Carrie Pacini and Marla Trevino of opmom.com as well as some other awesome local women, was a smashing success and will likely become an annual event.

Among the products and services showcased, Eye-Fi caught my eye in particular. As a geek who is also married to a geek, gadgets, cameras and other toys are fixtures in my house, and while I have read about the availability of memory cards with built-in Wi-Fi capability for a while, I had not yet played with one. Obviously, a girl like me will gravitate toward the person in the room with the coolest toys, so I struck up a conversation with Ziv Gillat of Eye-Fi. I had witnessed the wonders of Eye-Fi the night before at the big Mom 2.0 conference party where he captured me in a moment of stealthy iPhone photography, and yes I did have a Burger King bag on my head and a pink feather boa. It's how I roll.

Katherine the Webmistress with feather boa and bag on head (possibly trashed?)

The party photos were instantly uploaded to Flickr, and projected on the wall, which is a pretty cute party trick.

When I ran into him the following day and could properly interrogate him about his product after a nights' rest, I asked him how it all worked. The story got pretty good when he told me stories of all the cool Linux geeks working behind the scenes over at Eye-Fi, but sort of took a turn for the worse when I found out the SD cards require a software client that only runs on Mac or Windows. When asked the obvious question of "Why not offer a Linux client?" the answer was sadly, "No one uses Linux." But... but... I do!

I understand where companies like Eye-Fi are coming from. There is a long tradition of knee-jerk answers of "That's not our target market" or "our people don't use Linux." Ultimately these companies conclude that the Linux market will not help their bottom line, and while Eye-Fi seems to have a pretty great product, the shortsighted exclusion of a growing market segment can't possibly be the right answer.

I am increasingly aware of more and more "regular" people using Linux. They bought a netbook, their son or daughter installed "this thing called Ubuntu" on their aging hardware, or maybe they just thought they'd try something new. There is indeed a quiet, but sizable group of Linux users out there who want to buy consumer products that "just work" with Linux. Frankly, I am one of them. I would be ecstatic to use the Eye-Fi card with my Acer Aspire One on the road, but someone thought I was not a viable part of the consumer market.

What say you, Linux Journal readers? We have many camera geeks among us, do we not? I have met so many of you in person, so I know you are there in massive numbers. I bet you'd really enjoy an Eye-Fi card too.

Incidentally, there are people out there trying to make this work with Linux, but if this were my company I think I'd prefer the Linux community have a positive experience with a product completely of my own creation rather than trying to make do with a hack.


Katherine Druckman is webmistress at LinuxJournal.com. You might find her chatting on the IRC channel or on Twitter.


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And the quality and maturity

Anonymous's picture

And the quality and maturity of the OpenSource ATI driver clearly shows what one can expect from Kroah-Hartman and the other "willing but not so capabel" programmers .


Webmistress's picture

According to this post on Slashdot, a programmer named Jeff Tchang has developed a standalone server in python that will allow users to use the Eye-Fi card without the official Eye-Fi Manager software. A commenter to Tchang's blog indicated success in Ubuntu, so this looks promising. Now I just may have to get one!

Katherine Druckman is webmistress at LinuxJournal.com. You might find her on Twitter or at the Southwest Drupal Summit


Bernhard Schulte's picture

You can send the Cluetrain to a companies headquarters, but you can't make the company take delivery.

Let's pity EyeFi for their shortsightedness.

In the nineties Mac was the minority OS. Motorola, who then made nice bucks selling CPUs to Apple, refused to ship their mobile phones with an interface to the Mac. Nokia OTOH developed an infrared/serial driver and gave it away. Hence every Mac since OS 7.6 shipped with the Nokia drivers pre-installed.

Remember who went on to dominate the mobile phone market?

Totally different situation

Anonymous's picture

Totally different situation since at that time IRDA was installed in basically everything remotely a computer (including some laser printers) and was NOT limited to the MAC. And unlike LINUX the Mac:

+ Has a rather wealthy customer base
+ Has/Had a considerably larger customer base back in the OS7.x days than LINUX ever had

Back then the desktop race was not yet won by MS, that took a few more years until W2K and XP.

Sideshows and minorities don't count

Anonymous's picture

Linux (just like SOLARIS, xBSD...) is a very small segment of the desktop market. And one with a lot of "poor" customers (Students, Pupils etc.) So it is a rather uninteresting market segment if compared to the necessary effort. And with the recent ATI drivers problems (After a year of "we have the specs" they are STILL not as good as the rather so-so closed source one) the community claim of "Give us the Specs and the Hardware and we do the software" doesn't hold much water.

Nobody uses Linux?

stoobie's picture

I switched to using Linux exclusively on all my home computers early in 2003, (not unusual for me to have 2 or 3 of them running at the same time for different reasons). In the past 5 years, I have aided about a dozen others in their migration to the Linux operating system. The interesting point about that is that 7 of those migrations occurred in the past month!
If I had a product that only ran on proprietary operating systems, I would certainly encourage and support those who wanted to make it run on a Free OS. If they're willing to do the work, it's hard to see how it will render anything but at least a few extra beans in my bowl, and it never hurts to have happy people using your product.

I don't buy gear that's not Linux-friendly

Sum Yung Gai's picture

I know very well how to deal with gear from companies who don't either support Linux or make it feasible (read: NDA-free programming documentation) to support the gear on Linux. I simply don't buy that gear.

Furthermore, any drivers for said gear need to be under a Free Software license that is compatible with the license used for Linux--namely, the GPLv2. If the driver ain't compatible with the GPLv2, then it ain't goin' on my system.

That's why I stay the heck away from nVidious video cards. I will not buy them. Same for any wireless crap made by Broadcom. Yes, there's a GPL'd driver now, but Broadcom still won't allow mere distribution of the firmwares without huge payola. So, I buy other wireless cards (Ralink's great, they just work) and other video cards (ATI, Intel).

And there's no way in hell I will ever buy an iBlob. I don't care how iCool the Cult of Mac says it is. NO WAY. Sandisk Sansa Clip all the way, baby! Plays Ogg Vorbis, WAV, and FLAC. Firmware easily updatable from GNU/Linux. Great quality sound.

There are plenty of other examples, too. Bottom line: no Linux-friendliness, no money from me.


Let me guess you don't need

Anonymous's picture

Let me guess you don't need high speed/high quality grafics and even less 3D graphics. Because the OpenSource drivers for ATI still can't deliver that more than a year after ATI has released the documentation. And the Intel cards are not designed for that anyway. Same with tons of other hardware, some of them quite special.

Two years ago a customer asked if Linux could do a certain job in process automation (The bosses 16year old freakazoid was babbling about it's coolness) and I got in touch with some old friends at the manufacturer of the specialised hardware. The answer was quite telling:

+ To small a customer base
+ Better/well established alternatives with the same costs for the customer (i.e Solaris/x86) exist
+ Too much hassel to develop and maintain the drivers due to the ever changing and unstabel kernel design
+ Too complex a driver to develop out of house (has been tried)
+ Too critical a component to risk with the unstabel development process in the GNU environment

That, much to the customers delight, killed a penguin faster than it drops after overflown by a helicopter. SOLARIS does the job just fine OTOH.

Solaris? Really? I know

Anonymous's picture

Solaris? Really? I know linux does not have the desktop market but neither does Solaris. But you wanna know what linux does have... The server market. And Sun can't even give away Solaris.

Well, quite a few of us use linux

Anonymous's picture

In my class I advise my students to try and use Linux - and it helps, they are very interested, and they are all very tired of the closed box (coffin?) that Windows puts them in.

Used to be in that closed box

Sum Yung Gai's picture

I used to be one of them. I used to think nothing was better than Windows NT on the desktop. Drank nearly all the MS Kool-Aid. Not any more.

Your students are better off for your efforts, I assure you. If only there were more open minded teachers like you!


Are they? And why? Basically

Anonymous's picture

Are they? And why?

Basically every useful program on the Linux quicksand is availabel in a Version for Windows. Be be StarOffice/OpenOffice, NetBeans, Eclipse, all Apache Tools, JBOSS, ... so using Linux is no benefit

Everything Linux can do other systems can do at least as well, often better. AND at the same time they show proper development and design procedures, proper release concepts and long term stability.

And teaching UNIX does not need Linux either. Actually due to the "Ever Mutating OS" problem it is made more complicated by using Linux with it's lack of fully implemented standards.

Showing more than one OS can be useful for some types of students (Engineering types mostly) but even there Linux is easily the WORST option.

Everything Linux can do

Anonymous's picture

Everything Linux can do Windows can do better? Ever built a 128 node diskless Beowulf cluster from windows machines and then proceed to use it for doing high energy physics simulations? And I did that back in 2002. Take a look at the top 500 fastest machines in the world and tell me what you see. Last I looked it was dominated by Linux and each year more and more of the top 500 are Linux.

I am Nobody

No Body's picture

I am Nobody. And I use Linux.

Hey, Where is that "I am Linux" site! I just had in idea!

I think you are beautiful

Anonymous's picture

I think you are beautiful and a mighty fine writer who really knows her business! That person is only rude because you are clearly 1,000 times smarter and they can't figure out what you're talking about! I look forward to reading more of your work.

Lay off the Burger King;

Anonymous's picture

Lay off the Burger King; geekdom is no protection against type 2 diabetes.

Another anonymous person that

Anonymous's picture

Another anonymous person that agrees with anonymous. She's unhealthy.

Wow some people are big jerks!!!

Christopher's picture

It never ceases to amaze me how people never grow up and never mature. You know some people are just big anal orifices! This is Christopher again. I would encourage the person who left the nasty mean comment to quite frankly get a life!!

Need help?

Shawn Powers's picture

Your pickup lines suck. Let me help you:

1) If you can't afford to even take a girl to Burger King, I would avoid mentioning it when you try to pick up chicks.

2) Disease discussion, including but not limited to diabetes, cancer, genital warts, chronic diarrhea, and halitosis, is generally discouraged while attempting to woo a woman.

3) Chicks don't dig guys named Anonymous. I mean, unless that really is your name, which is cool, but still not a chick magnet.

4) Note the wedding ring. It generally signifies there is a dork-squashing husband waiting for a reason to brag to his buddies he had to get bailed out of jail.

5) I know Katherine. She's way out of your league.

Shawn is Associate Editor here at Linux Journal, and has been around Linux since the beginning. He has a passion for open source, and he loves to teach. He also drinks too much coffee, which often shows in his writing.

Need help?

Geri Druckman's picture

Shawn, I just loved your comment and had to respond.

Dear anonymous commenter,
I am the "dork-squashing" husband, and as an Israeli and former military all I can say is "You don't mess with the Zohan"...

Geri Druckman is a technology evangelist, you can follow him on twitter at www.twitter.com/gdruckman or just google him - gdruckman

I think...

Christopher's picture

You're beautiful just the way you are. Don't sweat it!

Mean people suck!!! Those

Donna's picture

Mean people suck!!! Those who are overweight can always lose a few pounds but petty little dorks will continue to live their bitter lives until they grow old and die alone. It's unfortunate Katherine that this dingle-berry happened on your site and had some venom to spew! This "anonymous" person who was so brave to talk this trash, that they didn't even leave their name, is probably a bean pole with the metabolism of a 6 year old hyper child. Their day will come!


Anonymous's picture

wait where did you get the idea that I thought she was overweight? and geri come on man.. do you say stuff like that to every potential Ultimate Fighting Championship champion and Israeli secret service chief that someone accuses of trying to hit on your wife? I mean she makes a dead sexy poster girl for corporate hegemony but what do I know? I'm a gay warrior for freedom who would prefer that people not contribute to pointless advertising and dubious management practices by purchasing arterial-clogging deadbeast conglomerations and then providing free advertising by wandering around at trade shows with bags on their heads.

That being said, I do have a genuine concern for the physical wellbeing of people. This includes both those who explicitly support my agenda of liberating the human race from its own stupidity and short-sighted greed, and those who would unwittingly advance the cause, as well as their own cognitive functionality, by simply following a more healthy diet. It's to this end that I from time to time put my unusually large amount of desirability to use to sleep with well-known fashion models and actresses in order to influence them towards vegetarianism.

By the way, in case anybody else is considering threatening me, i should let you know in advance that my potential identity incorporates something that trumps whatever you thought of to threaten me with.

It's all about market share

Dan Kegel's picture

the product manager for Adobe Photoshop said in his blog,
"The question is, and always has been, whether Adobe could achieve meaningful revenue growth by offering a third version of Photoshop. Would porting to Linux bring in tens of thousands of new users (those who aren't already using PS on Mac or Windows), or would it simply shift part of the existing user base to a different OS?"

So: it's the old chicken and egg problem. Once Linux has enough
market share, vendors will target it. Until then it's not worth
their while.

(That's what Wine is for - to catalyse the transition to Linux.
Doesn't help most hardware-specific apps, though.)


Anonymous's picture

Well, I stopped using many Adobe products because they do not run under Fedora, or they run slowly. For example, I no longer use Photoshop, but took my time to learn Gimp and is now using Gimp instead.

Therefore, yes, Adobe has lost some customers because of their inability to produce a portable version of their software.

market research

intuited's picture

well, that's one. but as Dan mentions, they probably won't do it until they consider it to be profitable. which means that market research has to indicate that the amount of profit, ie profit per purchased copy of the program * new users, that they would gain by investing in a linux port has to at least equal to the cost of the development work to do that port. I'd be interested in finding out how this market research is carried out, and if it has a bias towards proprietary operating systems.

I would buy it

Troberg's picture

I would buy Eye-Fi immediately for all five of my cameras (if they make it in SD and CF format) if it had support for Linux. I've been waiting for a product like this for a long time, it's the perfect companion for studio photography. The ability to immediately see a shot on a big, high quality screen is priceless.

I do all my photo work on Linux, and having to switch back and forth is simply not worth the trouble.

Food for thought

Alan 's picture

Supporting Linux may or may not give a big ROI, but consider this:
- If your product is cool and appealing to geeks, and you DON'T make a Linux version, the FOSS community is going to start working on a free replacement. Chances are, the free replacement will not only work on Linux, but on windows and OSX as well.
- If your product is cool and appealing to the masses, chances are Microsoft will make its own version and start competing with you, or just include the functionality in the next version of Windows. The MS version may or may not be a better product, but it almost certainly won't support Linux or OSX, so you would at least have a leg up there.

Both of those are a bit tongue-in-cheek, but such things have happened nevertheless.

reality check

Anonymous's picture

are you sure? when has the microsoft version ever been better? i mean before they drove the competitors out of business by including their version in the operating system?


some guy's picture

It's been proven that selling Linux and OSS products is a successful venture. The internet itself would not be as large, fast, or controllable without Linux. Bet that will get some responses.

Anyway, to the Eye-Fi. I have wanted one since I saw it on the Photojojo site last year. But no Linux client has kept me away from the purchase. We hear about this all the time. That companies use Linux in their development shops, but push for the $ in proprietary systems first. Why? If you are developing the product, develop it across the OS spectrum. You can still have the same sales goal[s] is mind, i.e.; getting that Apple & MSoft contract. At the same time release code to the Linux community, and your Linux development costs you nothing. How? The community will pick it up, and help bring the project to fruition. In the mean time you have a the big boys contracts signed and you are making $, with no threat from the Linux version.

As a "camera guy", I have a need for this product. But I have to suffer because I enjoy using Open Source tools to do my work, hobbies, etc. Two of my cameras run the Canon Hacker's Development Kit (CHDK)that expands the functions of those camera. Guess what? Canon supports that project because it causes no harm to their business model.

In the end, I hope that the community picks up the Eye-Fi and makes it better than it was intended to be. Which is usually the case. The "nobody runs Linux" statement is classic. It's based more in the "only really hip people use Macs", and "Windows PWNS games" class system that exists in the new business world. "Linux isn't commercial, so it isn't worth the effort", is what they should have said. At least it would have been more on point.

-some guy (driver development/test engineer with IBM)


John McKown's picture

Maybe some vendors think that they are more likely to get a higher profit from a Windows user than a Linux user. I use Linux for a number of reasons, one of which is economy. Vendors may think that if they produce a Linux version, it would need to be less expensive than a Windows version or Linux people (who are frugal, not cheap) won't buy it. But that would reduce the price (and profit) of the Windows version. Not having any firm number about the number of actual Linux users out there, they may just figure that it is not worth worrying about.

Just my stupid thoughts.


Getting Management to Understand

Tim's picture

I am in the interesting situation where our company has decided that Linux is the best OS for their product, but only has one person who even uses Linux on a day to day bases. And as result their life and work is a lot harder than it needs to be. It funny but sad as they simulate the operation of their linux device on windows, because they have not installed linux on their pc.

Linux is not hard, and the junior people who not that computer literate have no problem. But getting managers to use Linux so they at least understand the philosophy behind Linux is impossible.

Needless to day I am looking for another embedded Linux job.

You nailed it.

JP's picture

Absolutely correct. Vendors that do not support Linux are missing out on a large and fast-growing market. Linux users run the gamut, but the largest market is geeks like yourself who know what they want and simply move on when a product does not support Linux - never to come around again.

If companies such as Eye-fi want to exist in this economy they need to open their minds and embrace everything possible. Eye-fi will most likely be struggling soon as the economy forces a shift in thinking and Linux is starting to lead the way. Those not on-board will be left behind.

People have to update the situation

Matias's picture

I know why "nobody is using Linux". It was scary and almost horrible gamble to make Linux working in your pc in late 1990's and early 2000's (Red Hat with KDE interface). And there were hardly any good applications (office, phote designg etc.) for them. Thats why i didn't want to hear about Linux - until my Windows OS once again crashed in early 2008. I've never managed to keep my Windows OS clean and stabile longer than 2+ years.

I was amazed when i try Ubuntu year ago and found that installation was easy and i learnt basics things in 2-3 days. Yes, it works 100 times better than Xp. It's stabile, it's fine, no problems with TomTom navigators, Canon S100 standard ink printer, cameras, other devices. I thank God and developers for great software they have made and USB-devices. I'm not gonna come back to Windows, nor my children. My wife hardly noticed that she wasn't using Windows - and believe me - it's all the same to her.

it's fine, no problems with

J's picture

it's fine, no problems with TomTom navigators ...

Say what? It works with Ubuntu? I have avoided buying one because of bad desktop Linux support and didn't want to buy one just to try if it works. They use Linux on their navigators but don't want to sell those to the desktop Linux users? Of course, the same goes with almost every navigator manufacturer. I know, Garmin works with Asus to get navigator software on Asus' new phone. And Telmap has ported their nav software to Moblin. But those are coming products, not current.

Linux not good enough

Anonymous's picture

Linux are such a diverse crowd. Linux users need visibility. If all the Linux users of the world would put their names in a Linux ad in a promonent newspaper, that should catch somebody's eye (and probably give a heart attack to a certain Redmond CEO). Focus, like a laser beam to cut through the FUD, ignorance and disinformation. Hint, hint!!

Now that's a good idea...

Dom Delimar's picture

Now that's a good idea for that "I'm Linux" campaign, or at least LF's next campaign because I know they went for videos this time.

Just think about gathering so many real Linux users' names so that when they run an ad in the newspaper across the whole page, you obviously can't read any of the names because there's so much of them you just can't make all of them readable on newsletter size page.

Of course, at the bottom, there would have to be a bit of clear space with normal size text explaining "We tried really hard but couldn't gather *all* Linux users in the world. Here's just a handful of them. Sorry you can't read anything but it was hard to squeeze all of them in here."

OK, I'm not a marketing expert but someone may be able to take it off from here...

Me Too, I'd buy one

Chris Everest's picture

Funny, because I ignored the title of your post and assumed that you were going to tell me that Eye-Fi worked on Linux. Before you even told me I couldn't have one, I was convinced I wanted one. Very great idea.

Here's the solution. Poo on you Eye-Fi. You don't have to make the software for us, but you could make available your protocol. One of us would develop and maintain the software client for you. But you must be so afraid that your hardware (without it's protocol secrets) would be obsolete had you given away it's special sauce.

Thanks, but no thanks.

By the way, good for you ladies. I like to see you hamming it up. We need more nerdy ladies to even the markets for all of us sausages.

Sorry to get your hopes up

Webmistress's picture

That was certainly not my intent.

It is a very cool product IMHO, and my intent with this post was not to gang up on them, but to show that Linux users are a desirable demographic. I think we simply need to speak up if we want vendors to listen to our wants and needs.

Katherine Druckman is webmistress at LinuxJournal.com. You might find her on Twitter or at the Southwest Drupal Summit

Sell Linux Compatible Hardware - and say so!

Shannon VanWagner's picture

Here's my machine - I'm loving it!!


When I go out to look for new hardware, I'm looking for "Linux compatible" hardware. Advertise a webcam that says "Linux compatible" - I'll buy it. Just like I bought Ubuntu from Dell(or System76.com, or HP.com)!!

Shannon VanWagner

It's about value

Justin Ryan's picture

First off, great hat Katherine. The next time you're at a conference, be sure to pick me up one - I have a few social occasions coming up that it would be perfect for.

On to business: I love a lot of things about Open Source software - I love that it's Free as in Freedom, I love that it's developed by a community of users focused on the needs of users, and I love that more often than not, it's a superior product - just to name a few. Being somewhat financially responsible, I also like that it's free, as in cost - why would I want to pay for something when there is something better that is free, especially when it's also Free?

Still, I have needs that must be met. I don't believe in doing without a proper tool because there isn't a free (or Free) alternative, nor do I believe in accepting a product that doesn't meet my needs just because it comes without cost. If I snatched up everything that was offered for free, I'd have a house full of DayGlo pens, a refrigerator full of government cheese, and a hard-drive full of programs I never use.

It's not just personal needs I have to consider, though: I also have business needs - business needs I, as often as I can, fill with Open Source solutions. To put it bluntly, I won't be in business long if I let things go undone because I'm unwilling to pay for the tools to do them. When I have a need - whether that be hardware, software, office supplies, clothing, food, whatever - I'm more than willing to pay for it to be met, if the best way to meet it involves a price. The key is that it meets my need.

Would I buy Eye-Fi's products if they were compatible with Linux? I very well might, if I had a need it would meet. I'll be quite honest and say that at the moment, I don't have a lot of need for a WiFi-capable memory card. However, if I had the need - indeed, if I ever have the need - I will give Eye-Fi's (Linux compatible) products every bit the same consideration that I would give to any other company's (Linux compatible) products. All things being equal, I'll give first priority to the Open Source option every time, but in absence of that, I will pick the best solution, period.

At the end of the day, the most open product in the world is useless to me if it just doesn't meet my needs.

Justin Ryan is a Contributing Editor for Linux Journal.

Recognize!! Major OEMs are now selling GNU/Linux machines!!

Shannon VanWagner's picture

Major OEMs are now selling GNU/Linux machines and people are buying them up.

Netbooks being front and center, these machines deserve recognition from peripheral makers!!!

All of this GNU/Linux machine selling is creating a niche market for the hardware seller that offers products with "Works With Linux" on their packaging.

In fact, where's the webshop that says shopping4linux.com?? Anyone??

Test and Sell peripherals that are proven to work with Linux. Where is it!!
For instance, sell the first Web cam that "Works with Linux" (as said on the packaging. Hint: make it cheap too.

Keep buying your pre-loaded Linux machines... the rest will follow.

Shannon VanWagner
GNU/Linux - Tearing down the Monopoly!!

Wouldn't buy one

Alejandro Zárate's picture

I'm a linux-using photo geek, but I wouldn't buy one. Reasons:

1) Not free-as-in-freedom. I seldom use any nonfree apps (notable exceptions being Google Earty and Flash Player). Proprietary drivers I can live with.

1a) By the way, I don't like having to install clients for my hardware. I never touched my camera's CDs, as I just transfer files via SD card. (Raw files? When I shoot raw, I use Rawstudio + GIMP to process my files)

2) I believe Eye-Fi requires paying a monthly service cost. Not cool. If I buy hardware, I don't want to be tied to a service account. It's not about being cheap (I spend tons of money on hardware, both computer parts and photo gear - not just a DSLR, but lenses, filters, tripods, heads, cards, etc.). I've also spent a lot of money on Linux books, which is considerably more than what I used to spend on pirated copies of Windows.

3) In the end, uploading all my photos would be pointless - I take a lot of time editing and culling worthless shots.

So, no. Maybe I'm too serious a photographer to use Eye-Fi, but it's just not my thing. Seems neat, though.

There aren't any monthly

FreeRange's picture

There aren't any monthly service costs. You can pay for annual upgrades on the lower end model to have the features of the higher end but i you just bought the higher end you'd have those services without any fees.

Difficult to support Linux?

EarlyMorningHours's picture

It really isn't that difficult to support Linux. Just hand over the specs and let the community take over from there. I'm sure these companies have a fistful of patents to protect their "intellectual" property.

There are more people using

Byte's picture

There are more people using Linux because of cost or ideological reasons than there are people using it because Windows doesn't do what they want. And this dominant "free-as-in-speech/free-as-in-beer" community often proudly proclaims their unwillingness to pay for anything (i.e. "do more with less!"). A noble goal: but hard for companies to build a business around.

If I was running a business, I would seek out people used to the idea of paying real money for the value I provide. People like Windows and Mac users: a large group of people that have become used to paying for almost everything.

There is a lot of money around Linux: primarily in the mid-tier and enterprise markets where people that spend a large amount of time with spreadsheets can show that the money they pay for Linux services, licenses, maintenance agreements and support contracts delivers real financial value at the end of the day. But this is a different market than the group of people who want to throw money at an Eye-Fi.

So, I agree that "Nobody Uses Linux" is not a good answer. A better one would be "it's so hard to get money from the relatively small Linux community that I'm better off investing in the Windows and Mac markets".

This is not software.

C. Whitman's picture

Windows users are not "a large group of people that have become used to paying for almost everything" any more than Linux users are except by being a larger group of people. Most Windows users would not be willing to pay full price for an operating system by itself. They would buy a new computer first, or use a copy of Windows from a friend. I have probably bought more Windows operating systems separately than most Windows users, and I am in Linux most of the time (at home, anyway). Windows users are used to paying for hardware, services, games, and, to one degree or another, productivity software, but not for operating systems.

Most Linux users are as used to paying for hardware and services as anybody else, and the Eye-Fi is hardware and a service. (Generally they seem a bit more willing to pay for games than other software as well, but that is beside the point.) So market size may be a valid concern, but Linux users being 'cheap' is not one.

To me, my photos going directly to a web server belonging to someone else as I snap them does not appeal, although some type of variation that involved them automatically uploading to a computer of my own might be more interesting.

I love these Windows users

Anonymous's picture

Yes, you and all the Redmond worshippers are correct. No one uses Linux. So why is MS so terrified of something no one uses anyway?

Have you ever searched for something on the Web? Guess what, you have used Linux!

Ever set up a Gmail account? Ever used Google maps? You have used Linux.

Ever bought something from Amazon? Sorry you have used Linux!!

Ever played with those neat little game machines or those little gambling terminals you find in casinos and bars? Then my friend, you have used Linux!

Ever watched an inline flight movie on these screens that are in the rear of the seats? Then you have used Linux.

Ever bought and/or used a Motorolla phone? Chances are you were using Linux.

Nearly 60% of all Web Servers hosting actual sites, are running Linux. So unless you limit yourself to MSN.com, you are using Linux. If you actually wished to do a full path domain search path using traceroute, you are going to find that the servers that got you to that MS web site are using Linux.

Even though MS would never admit it, some of their own internal facing Web Servers are using Linux! Go to Netcraft, do a search for all MS domains, and you will find some are hosted on Linux and BSD!

So while MS continues to tell you no one uses Linux, Linux just keeps eating away at MS' market share and potential market share. It's Ok if you want to deny it and pretend it isn't so, really does not matter. Why should anyone trust actual statistics when those that support your own suppositions are so much better?

The less than 1% fable is just that, a fable. Web servers, embedded devices, automobiles, cable boxes, etc. are all running Linux. In fact Linux beats MS' in Web Server counts, embedded devices count, and special terminal services counts (like the game machines per above, touch screen sales terminals, etc).

Linux is surely running on more than 1% of desktops. I have 10 machines all of which came pre-loaded with Windows. However only one of the 9 are running Windows. and even this one runs Linux 60% of the time. So much for MS counting all my machines as running Windows. They do count them, but they are not running Windows. Wanna bet I am not the only one?

Linux support is a nightmare

Josh's picture

Vendors would be much more likely to support Linux if it weren't such a nightmare. If you support "Linux," then you end up supporting multiple distros, each with its own idea of how things should work. And then, of course, when you leave out a distro, you get hate-mail from its supporters. Even if you DO support Linux, then you'll get hate-mail for being closed source, and then someone will try to reverse-engineer your IP and then complain to you when it doesn't work correctly.

No, I wouldn't consider Linux support if I were in their position. When Linux developers decide to standardize and learn to play nicely with proprietary platforms, then I would push for Linux support. Until then, I can't do it with a straight face. There's simply no ROI to justify it.

It is not a distro issue...

David Lane's picture

I disagree that the issue with supporting hardware is a distribution issue. Most of the time it is a KERNEL issue, and that is pretty standardized. Distributions are more a matter of package management and init script model (System V vs ...I am drawing a blank - sorry it has been a long day).

Only occasionally do you have to support a specific function in a distribution. I have been stopped by hardware drivers not being in a distribution but when they have been available for Linux in the kernel, I have always been able to roll them in by compilation.

If the drivers are not available, then there is a problem.

I would like one too by the way! I have several embedded systems that would benefit from them.

David Lane, KG4GIY is a member of Linux Journal's Editorial Advisory Panel and the Control Op for Linux Journal's Virtual Ham Shack