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Linux Business

Journal pogson's Journal: Everything Points to GNU/Linux in the New Year.

2007 has seen major shifts in IT:
  • Dell dipped its toe in the GNU/Linux pool again
  • Walmart is selling Everex GNU/Linux boxes
  • ASUS eee PC was designed for the low price range and GNU/Linux
  • NovellSoft has perked up Novell's business a notch
  • SCOG v World is winding down with a humiliating defeat for M$
  • Quad core is taking off although AMD had a hiccough
  • Samba/M$ deal resulted from the EU order against M$
  • Vista flopped, a big enough belly-flop to get everyone in the pool to notice.
  • Migrations to GNU/Linux are happening so frequently they barely make the news anymore.

What this all means is that barriers to entry for GNU/Linux are dropping like the Berlin Wall. A flood has broken through. It is not clear the numbers but it is huge. The Vista flop and the announced intention to kill XP really puts the pressure on IT. The longer IT waits to migrate to Vista, the more its warts become visible and the more choices for GNU/Linux will be made. Education and goverments are looking at .ODF and GNU/Linux fits that nicely. Why sweat a migration to Vista when many have gone to GNU/Linux and reaped the benefits immediately? The magnitude of the Vista flop is huge. Less than half the PCs that have been produced this year went to Vista. That means customers are choosing an obsolete OS from 2001 rather than the best M$ can ship. GNU/Linux is a modern, secure, modular, reliable OS they can use for little cost. It is a temptation many will not resist, especially if they are in the majority needing a fairly basic desktop for word-processing and browsing. With web-apps being so widespread, this makes migration a peach.

Almost as big a wave as the Vista flop, the eee PC is selling out promptly around the world. It is a cute, attractive, useful product based on GNU/Linux. Consumers are demonstrating that they want usability, not products from M$. Pre-installation makes that an easy choice. ASUS plans to sell millions this year. How can other OEMs ignore that? ASUS needed a niche in which to be first and they did a great job. That will ripple through the already heated portable market. It can reach into schools. It will be seen on the street, on public transportation, and in schools where young people are very competitive with their peers. ASUS has made themselves a good head start on the market.

A smaller wave, but very significant for business, is the quad core processors. This makes terminal servers and application servers almost necessary. There is no way the vast majority of desktops can use that kind of power. We have to move to thin clients and terminal servers. That ends the Wintel treadmill. GNU/Linux works well on terminal servers and does not have a per-seat licence. AMD and VIA make fantastic processors for thin clients, the Geode and the Epia. China is ramping up production of thin clients for around $100/seat now. That pushes M$ out of the market unless they cut prices seriously and make a better product for terminal services. Vista will not cut it.

M$ has shown themselves incapable of producing a release on schedule and under budget. How can they respond to these waves in the pool? Lower prices? That will never squeeze Vista into the existing stock of PCs and the new, smaller devices of today. Reviving XP? Where is the revenue? Oops, the money train has derailed and M$ did it mostly on their own.

2007 probably resulted in a doubling of GNU/Linux installations world wide. There is no telling what the eventual market share will be but the monopoly is ended. The head of the dinosaur is just too far from the grassroots to notice yet.

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Everything Points to GNU/Linux in the New Year.

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1 Angstrom: measure of computer anxiety = 1000 nail-bytes