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GNU is Not Unix Microsoft

Ellison: Linux Will Soon Decimate MS Windows 786

cioxx writes "Speaking to a few-hundred ISVs at an Oracle-sponsored event in New York, Larry Ellison made a bold prediction , also covered in Infoworld, stating: "(Microsoft has) already been killed by one open-source product. Slaughtered, wiped out, taken from market dominance to irrelevance [...]", referring to Apache's displacement of MS IIS server. He continues on with a claim that battle for datacenter dominance is looming with a clear advantage on the side of Open-Source platforms, and desktop would follow once Star Office becomes completely "usable" to compete with MS Office. "And it's going to happen to them again on Linux." Newsforge also has a related article on Oracles ongoing linux efforts.
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Ellison: Linux Will Soon Decimate MS Windows

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  • by PHAEDRU5 ( 213667 ) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .deercsatsni.> on Thursday April 03, 2003 @08:11AM (#5651554) Homepage
    ...and she's a marketer.

    She does so to get a little street credibility with geeks.

    My point? If the marketers are going to software like this to get a marketing edge, then there is a chance Ellison is right.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 03, 2003 @08:12AM (#5651558)
    Decimate means "reduce by 10%".
    It does NOT mean:
    "Slaughtered, wiped out, taken from market dominance to irrelevance"

    chrisd, Get a dictionary.
    • well I guess he must have meant we can expect Linux to take 10% of MS' market share. Hey that's quite plausible!
    • by LordLucless ( 582312 ) on Thursday April 03, 2003 @08:24AM (#5651612)
      You should study language a little more. Definitions change, and the real meanings of words are defined by their usage. Meaning is defined by language, not the other way around.

      Just as an example, the word car is no longer used to describe a two-wheeled Celtic chariot. That doesn't mean you go around sneering up your nose at all those people who oh-so-incorrectly use car instead of automobile.
      • by jamesots ( 214246 ) on Thursday April 03, 2003 @08:37AM (#5651679) Homepage

        Exactly. And here is the Chambers 21st Century Dictionary definition of decimate:

        decimate verb ( decimated, decimating ) to reduce greatly in number; to destroy a large part or number of something. decimation noun. decimator noun.

        ETYMOLOGY: 17c in this sense; 16c in historical sense 'to select by lot and execute one in every ten': from Latin decimare to take a tenth person or thing, from decem ten.

      • by salamander_sjv ( 619309 ) on Thursday April 03, 2003 @08:52AM (#5651748)
        True, definitions change, but it's still reasonable to encourage people to use a more appropriate word instead of morphing the meaning of a similar but different word. An example is the American adoption of the word "momentarily" to mean "in a moment" when it really mans "for a moment". When an American Airlines hostess announces that "we will be landing momentarily" I always picture us doing a touch-and-go!
        • But there comes a time when you have to give up. "Momentarily" is such a case, I think. An even better example is "healthy," which is only supposed to be used to describe the health of a living thing. "Healthful" is the correct term for something that is good for you, but I'm not sure I've ever heard someone use that in everyday speech.

          "Decimate" goes far beyond the above two examples, because it hasn't even been used to mean "reduce by 10%" in living memory (indeed, once the tradition of killing every

  • 2 questions (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TopShelf ( 92521 ) on Thursday April 03, 2003 @08:12AM (#5651560) Homepage Journal
    Apache's displacement of IIS? I thought it had always had a competitive, if not dominating market share compared to MS.

    I think it will be quite a while before StarOffice becomes completely compatible with MS Office - it's in MS's own best interest to keep Office separate just to keep the installed base in place...

    • Yup, exactly; even the displacement link shows that Apache has had dominance since early-mid '96 where it displaced NCSA HTTP server.
    • Re:2 questions (Score:5, Informative)

      by khakipuce ( 625944 ) on Thursday April 03, 2003 @08:26AM (#5651621) Homepage Journal
      I am currently working in a large UK company and we have websites on both IIS and Apache, but guess what? No Linux, No open source databases, no PHP/Perl/Python.

      The point is that Apache domiantes the server world becuase it comes with all commercial Unix boxes. And large companies are happy that this piece of open source that came bundled with AIX or HPUX or Solaris has some kind of formal support and backing (if the Apache project ever looked like folding, HP/Sun/IBM would keep it going).

      Only recently are we seeing the real dominace of Linux in ISPs, and that again is partly becuase of IBM and Sun (Cobalt, etc). So I don't think there is any linkage between the uptake of Apache and the corporate uptake of Open Source in general, either on the server or the client.

  • by Chanc_Gorkon ( 94133 ) <gorkon@[ ] ['gma' in gap]> on Thursday April 03, 2003 @08:12AM (#5651562)
    IIS never had a chance. IIS came late. Everyone wanted a web site so they learned/ran Apache. IIS was never and has never been dominant. I do agree that Open source will take over for alot of things and Microsoft will be relegated to either another Linux distro or a application and hardware only company.
    • by Arcady13 ( 656165 ) on Thursday April 03, 2003 @08:21AM (#5651604) Homepage
      However, IIS is still dominant is security holes and crashes.
      • by SN74S181 ( 581549 ) on Thursday April 03, 2003 @09:05AM (#5651800)
        Actually, where IIS is dominant is in Workgroup servers on Intranets. Companies have departmental websites, and the administrative secretary and team leaders can open up the web pages with Microsoft Office if they're served on IIS. It cleanly prompts them for a password when they choose 'save' in Word and the web page is updated.

        It's kinda one of the things that Netscape was hoping to use their proprietary Server/Client features for before Microsoft drove them out of that market. And it's a big revenue area for Web Servers, unlike where Apache does well. Apache excels in the lose-money sector, where Internet sites are scrambling to find a revenue stream to back up their content.

        I know, I know, this sounds like Microsoft marketing boilerplate, but it's how things are.
        • by bfree ( 113420 ) on Thursday April 03, 2003 @10:08AM (#5652127)
          And the difference between the above and an apache box which also serves up its content by samba is? Each "site" has a samba share with appropriate permissions and then your apps can edit the content and save it back up. Best thing is no passwords prompts once you are logged in properly.
          • by ViGe ( 49356 ) on Thursday April 03, 2003 @12:22PM (#5653112) Homepage

            And the difference between the above and an apache box which also serves up its content by samba is? Each "site" has a samba share with appropriate permissions and then your apps can edit the content and save it back up. Best thing is no passwords prompts once you are logged in properly.

            Actually, you have a wrong question. The correct one is: "What is the difference between the above and an apache box running moddav?"

            Dav allows website editing directly with Microsoft Office, and it also allows website editing directly with just about anything. It is actually created for that purpose. And it is a lot easier to set up and use than samba.

          • IIS is point and click.

            Sounds silly, but when all you've ever known is the Windows GUI, the idea of editing a text file to make things run sounds scary, no, make that IS scary.

            I've long wished that Apache had a credible GUI for Windows, but so far have yet to see one.

          • I'm migrating the IIS setup to Apache and I see a few differences.

            With samba shares, it's almost as easy to open a site for editing (\\server\site) but not as intuitive as FrontPage extensions (http://server/site).

            Samba shares aren't accessible over the Internet without a VPN. People like editing sites at home the same way as at work.

            Previewing in FrontPage works great since you're editing the same place you're browsing. With Samba, the relationship is broken and you must manually preview everything in
    • by Mattygfunk1 ( 596840 ) on Thursday April 03, 2003 @08:36AM (#5651672)
      There will always be room for MS and any other company to do what they do - make software. I consider myself a fairly big open source fan and agree that it will make a major impact down the line, but it wont take over everything software related.

      CowboyNeal has no association with Cheap web site hosting [] and probably never will.

    • by YeeHaW_Jelte ( 451855 ) on Thursday April 03, 2003 @08:57AM (#5651770) Homepage
      Following your argument, microsoft hadn't a chance when they (finally) got into the internet hype and launched Internet Explorer. They were very late to acknoledge the importance of internet, and netscape had by then achieved a pretty dominant position. However, they did succeed in displacing Netscape, and didn't succeed in displacing Apache. Obviously, there are other reasons why IIS never really got any foothold, Apache being open source and a really good product being the most import one, I think.

      • by garcia ( 6573 ) on Thursday April 03, 2003 @11:20AM (#5652639)
        yeah but that's a different genre of software. IE did very well because they sunk tons of development time and effort into it and because MS basically forced you to use it by including it in every version of Windows AND then "integrating" it into the OS itself.

        IIS isn't something that EVERYONE is going to use. It also isn't something that should or could be "integrated" and thus forced on you.
    • Interesting how lots people predict that Apple will be relegated to obsolescence and should shift their business model to software-only (OS X on x86 and the like) and yet people think that MS should be relegated to.. hardware?

      IIS had about a good a chance as anyone. Sure, Apache was early to the market, but MS has billions to pour into pushing it. And, frankly, IIS *did* have sizeable marketshare, although nowhere near what it has on the desktop.
  • strangely quiet (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Sad Loser ( 625938 ) on Thursday April 03, 2003 @08:13AM (#5651563)
    on PostgreSQL and MySQL.
    why should the market forces that apply to MS not apply to Oracle?
    Build those yachts while the sun shines, Larry!
    • > why should the market forces that apply to MS not apply to Oracle?

      Well, if I remember correctly, Larry Ellison said something like the following. Database cannot be compromised. It has to be secure and reliable. That's one software that businesses depend on, so database is the last software threatened by opensource such as MySQL and PostgreSQL.

      Despite how he views database market, speech and QA were pretty funny (broadcasted at I read a couple of those articles a
      • Re:strangely quiet (Score:3, Interesting)

        by richieb ( 3277 )
        Well, if I remember correctly, Larry Ellison said something like the following. Database cannot be compromised. It has to be secure and reliable. That's one software that businesses depend on, so database is the last software threatened by opensource such as MySQL and PostgreSQL.

        Like an operating system is not a piece of software on which a business depends on?

        Larry should go and read "The Innovator's Dilemma".

    • Re:strangely quiet (Score:5, Insightful)

      by sql*kitten ( 1359 ) on Thursday April 03, 2003 @08:33AM (#5651653)
      on PostgreSQL and MySQL.why should the market forces that apply to MS not apply to Oracle? Build those yachts while the sun shines, Larry!

      At a conservative estimate, MySQL is 25 years behind the state of the art. No, I'm not even kidding or trolling, it's a fact - compare the state of relational databases in the late 70s to where MySQL is now. According to the press release [], MySQL last week got features like relational integrity, row level locking, transactions and caching that products like Oracle and DB2 have had, quite literally, for decades. MySQL still does not have subqueries, stored procedures, or procedural constraints. And neither Oracle nor DB2 are standing still, they are continually adding new features. Larry has no need to lose any sleep over MySQL.
      • Re:strangely quiet (Score:5, Insightful)

        by danheskett ( 178529 ) <> on Thursday April 03, 2003 @08:37AM (#5651680)
        Larry has no need to lose any sleep over MySQL.

        MySQL Is about 20 years behind the state of the art, but then again, so are *most applications* and *most developers*.

        Meaning? Oracle has a lot to lose. I've been in a lot of situations where the *default* choice was Oracle. Database project? Use Oracle. Don't care, just use it. Okay, that's great, but I've literally taken projects that ran fine off *flat files* and ported them to run off a $10k database.

        Those are the situations Ellision/Oracle will need to be fearful of. Many many many applications *do not* require the featureset that Oracle provides, and therefore, you will start to see (as has already happened) projects getting picked off by the lowest end databases.
        • Re:strangely quiet (Score:3, Interesting)

          by richieb ( 3277 )
          Those are the situations Ellision/Oracle will need to be fearful of. Many many many applications *do not* require the featureset that Oracle provides, and therefore, you will start to see (as has already happened) projects getting picked off by the lowest end databases.

          I agree with you. Oracle is the "main frame" of databases. These days you can start developing and deploying with MySQL or Postgres and if the system really needs it you can move to Oracle. Cost savings can be astounding.

        • Re:strangely quiet (Score:5, Informative)

          by gmack ( 197796 ) <> on Thursday April 03, 2003 @10:15AM (#5652179) Homepage Journal
          " Those are the situations Ellision/Oracle will need to be fearful of. Many many many applications *do not* require the featureset that Oracle provides, and therefore, you will start to see (as has already happened) projects getting picked off by the lowest end databases."

          Yes and the result is that Oracle doesn't even attempt to play in the low end anymore.

          Oracle will live a lot longer because while weve gotten the OS down and most of the server software the OSS folks aren't even close to high end in the SQL department.

          Mysql is pretty sweet for the low end but chokes all over itself once you start putting it under even moderate write load.

          PostgreSQL is better under load but lacks needed features such as mirroring.

          Took out the low end? yep! But now when you max out the OSS options your so deep into oracle land it's scarey. My last boss almost had a heart attack when he realised he had grown from needeing the free MySQL to $30 000 oracle.
        • Not to pun, but you've hit the nail on the head.

          When I need to build a house, I'll use a nail gun. Why? Efficiency.

          When I need to hang a picture, I'll use a hammer. Why? Simplicity.

          The Oracle pundits would have you believe that you need a nail gun for all nailing purposes. The realists know that you use the right tool for the job at hand. Buy a nail gun when you need it.
      • Re:strangely quiet (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ianezz ( 31449 )
        MySQL is 25 years behind the state of the art.

        Agreed. OTOH, you should ask yourself in how many places you really need nothing less than the state of the art. Probably less than the 50% of the total.

        My guess is that such percentual is going to shrink as more people become aware of free RDBMS (I'm thinking more about PostgreSQL or SAP DB than MySQL), but Ellison has nothing to worry, since absolute numbers of RDBMS users will go up as well, and some of them are going to need Oracle sooner or later.

        In o

      • > At a conservative estimate, MySQL is 25 years behind the state of the art.

        But state of the art isn't what's important with OSS. OSS is about the commodity market and relational databases *are* a commodity now. True, not all the features you need are in both of these databases and it's easy to come up with a feature list where Oracle looks great. That's not the point. When you need a database for a project odds are one of these two (PostgreSQL or MySQL) will give you what you need. A lot of progra
      • I attended a presentation yesterday for one of my Master's colleagues. Her thesis topic is implementing a buffer optimising technique in PostgreSQL. She claims that although there is extensive theoretical backing for the algorithm, it has never been implemented.

        Clearly this will be a major boon for PostgreSQL. Why did she choose that as her platform? Because she can't get access to the source of other DBMSs, of course! (Actually her research group has close enough ties to IBM that she probably could have g
    • On the theme of strangely quiet...

      I notice that the Infoworld article is 3 days old, but has not once been linked to from the start page. However, reviews of Microsoft products are, minus any critique of DRM- or Software-as-subscription- issues. Likewise for ZDNet and other sites. BYTE, perhaps, was getting a little too independent in its columns and is no longer available online.

      Even with primo product placement and censored product reviews, we're still heading towards a tipping effect where Micr

  • by jraf ( 652354 ) on Thursday April 03, 2003 @08:13AM (#5651564) Homepage
    So how does that explain the chaos from Code Red?
    • by gmajor ( 514414 ) on Thursday April 03, 2003 @08:31AM (#5651646) Journal
      At the shop I worked at, IIS was enabled by default on some Windows 2K installations (maybe all?), although IIS was never used. I don't think anyone even cared what IIS was, until Code Red hit.
    • by Balinares ( 316703 ) on Thursday April 03, 2003 @08:45AM (#5651718)
      Certain MS products REQUIRE an installation of some MS Web packages. For exemple, MSVC++.NET (even the standalone version!) installs some Web foo (up to and including those damn Frontpage extensions) before it will even install. Even if you don't give a flying fuck about Web services, MS does, and since your computer belongs to them, they'd be stupid not to capitalize on it when given the opportunity. And they are not stupid.

      For the records, yes, you can uninstall that crap, and MSVC++ will keep working the same, but 95% of people won't bother. And won't even notice when they're hit by the next MS worm.

      What can I say. When you can't gain market share through technical superiority...
    • Code Red and Nimbda wiped-put IIS. ;)

      Seriously, I know several companies who relied a lot on IIS. After the Nimbda incident, they thought of migrating evrything from IIS to Apache. Today, most of their apps rin under Apache.
  • Future (Score:5, Funny)

    by dale@shiraz ( 70141 ) on Thursday April 03, 2003 @08:14AM (#5651566)
    Future NEWS: Oracle wiped out by open source database systems.
    • Re:Future (Score:5, Interesting)

      by axxackall ( 579006 ) on Thursday April 03, 2003 @08:44AM (#5651711) Homepage Journal
      I don't think so.

      Is IBM wiped out by Linux? No. Instead, IBM invests #1B to Linux and IBM wants to get rid from AIX in a favor of Linux to be installed on all delivered IBM hardware platforms.

      Oracle is already moving from "just DBMS selling" business to selling application and framework suites. So, at some point they will realize that PostgreSQL is much superior than Oracle RDBMS in terms of programmability and in terms of future development (Oracle DBA and developers know know what I am talking about - Oracle RDBMS is in its deadend and it must re-written in order to fix many currently-constantly-regressive bugs).

      So, what's gonna happen is Oracle will adapt PostgreSQL as its new-generation ORDBMS (remember RedHat Database?). I saw leaked documens from IBM - they consider same thing regarding DB/2.

      Don't worry about replication and other "missed enterprise features" - it's not hard to add them to PostgreSQL and it is not done only because many advanced enterprise users prefer to do it by themself on teir own using their own approach. We did.

      Conclusion: Oracle will finilize its shifting from RDBMS production to DB-system/application/framework/IDE production. Larry has already planned it for awhile and it's a matter of time, of a convinient market moment, to announce it.

    • Re:Future (Score:4, Interesting)

      by yoz ( 3735 ) on Thursday April 03, 2003 @08:46AM (#5651726) Homepage
      That's just what I was thinking. A friend of mine is the CTO of a large datacentric website that threw Oracle salespeople out the door after he asked them what a £50,000 Oracle license could do for them that MySQL couldn't. (The salespeople replied, "Our database does multimedia!")

      Admittedly, Oracle is big enough and has enough support to be a whole application platform on its own, so it's not going anywhere soon, but then, the same applies to MS. In the meantime, the likes of Firebird/Interbase (which my employer is basing its new enterprise product on), PostgreSQL and SAP DB (already equivalent in functionality to Oracle 7.3, apparently) are all making big strides - let's see if Larry's still banging on about Open Source when three-quarters of his salespeople are coming back with the same story.

      -- Yoz
  • by M.M.M. ( 147031 ) on Thursday April 03, 2003 @08:14AM (#5651569) Homepage
    ... and the PC will be made obsolete by thin
    clients, stupid boxes without a hard disk (predicted by Mr. Oracle from way back).

    Does anybody remember those days?
    • by zmooc ( 33175 )
      Those are the days of xterminals. They've been around forever and will be forever. It's just MS's stupid licensing scheme that causes you not to see them a lot anymore. They'll come back. Along with Linux or any other unix. Especially when we get sound integrated into X. You really don't want to know how much company-money can be saved by ditching windows, office and way too powerfull desktops and replacing them with a xserver/xterminal-setup in which the admin only has to admin a single box.
  • by JamesSharman ( 91225 ) on Thursday April 03, 2003 @08:16AM (#5651576)

    Microsoft says windows will destroy linux,
    Oracle says linux will destroy windows
    Baath party says republican-guard will crush allies
    Washington says guard will be crushed

    What's going on? It's almost as if there is some kind of weighting to what people are saying based on the outcome they favour. I just don't understand it.

  • But will one new company try to take advantge in the vacuum left by MS's downfall. Maybe companies are left having closed except that they build a following for having stable, well-developed software. OLr maybe some OSS with charging for support, setup/maintainance. Whatever happens, some reactionary people who do nothing to contribute to anything will always have something to say, and call them evil.

    MS is after all things, a survivor. Maybe they will embrace and extend an open model, or just give windows
  • by ghum ( 109642 ) <freedomxx3@19@ghum.spamgourmet@com> on Thursday April 03, 2003 @08:18AM (#5651583)

    it is great news to read Larry Ellison telling nice words about Open Source Software

    I had to deal only remotely with Oracles licensing habbits. Seemed even more complicated than "open license" from MS.

    I had to deal closer with Oracles interpretation of SQL-Standards "we don't obey them, we set them"

    I had to deal with Oracles "bundled utilities" - documentation-files running across 400 screen pages. Comments like "if you want to change a tipped command, just simply erase it and type it new (decades after GNU readline)

    Where is the big difference in the companies attitude to Microsoft? Am I to blind to see?

    • I think the difference is that a high-end database monopoly is unlikely to be leveraged into dominance of large portions of the computing industry. Futhermore, if someone wrote a better database, Oracle would rapidly lose their market position.

      In contrast, through bundling and other anti-competitive practices, Microsoft has been able to exploit their desktop OS monopoly to control several other sectors. People have written arguably better operating systems, but Microsoft has managed to set things up such

  • by justin_speers ( 631757 ) <<ten.tsacmoc> <ta> <sreepsaj>> on Thursday April 03, 2003 @08:18AM (#5651585)
    Larry Ellison gets his name in the papers!

    Sorry if I sound underwhelmed, but I think this is just another example of him doing a good job at getting some publicity.

    Yeah Apache's winning, on the server side, Linux is winning... but the desktop, if it ever happens, is waaaay into the future.

    Microsoft isn't stupid, they won't go down that easy. And Ellison is THAT good at self-promotion.
  • Hence the XBox (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MrMickS ( 568778 ) on Thursday April 03, 2003 @08:19AM (#5651588) Homepage Journal
    Seriously I think that even MS sees that the need for a univeral mass market desktop operating system has a finite lifespan. We are already seeing the emergence of consumer focussed appliances that deliver what the majority of people use a computer for. MS can't miss this market if they want to keep in business for a long time so the XBox. An appliance computer with a specific function that can serve as the basis for future devices to deliver computing power to the average home. This will be the 'network computer' that Ellison tried to establish in the late 90's.

    MS wants to get people used to having a MS badged device in their home. One that just works, doesn't bluescreen etc, so that people are comfortable with it. They can then lever other services onto the platform; TiVo like capabilites, email, web browsing etc. This XBox follow up will be the hub of a home network.

    Sony are aiming for a similar thing with the Playstation line. So far they have a head start on consumer trust.

  • IIS slaughtered? (Score:5, Informative)

    by aurelian ( 551052 ) on Thursday April 03, 2003 @08:19AM (#5651590)
    Looking at the figures [] it doesn't look to me like IIS has gone from market leader to irrelevance. For the last 5 years - since IIS appeared - Apache has maintained a market share roughly twice that of IIS. But both shares have grown.
    • On the other hand IIS has lost a big part if its market share the last year. IIS has lost nearly 1 in 5. Which seam to have gone towards Apache - probably because of the inroads Linux has made in the serrver market but also because of Red Code Worm and Nimba that hit many IIS users hard.

      In the last 12 months Apacha has 2 miljon more sites while IIS only have 1 miljon more sites.
      So even though Micsosoft has a large part of the server market - people do not use them as web server. With Linux ever increasing
  • ...Larry Ellison made a bold prediction...

    Again? Last time he predicted anything, it was the diskless "network computer", that will decimate traditional pc's. That was supposed to happen around 1997. Now that was a bold prediction. Probably as valuable as this one.
  • Needs some friends (Score:3, Insightful)

    by salesgeek ( 263995 ) on Thursday April 03, 2003 @08:21AM (#5651601) Homepage
    I think Mr. Ellison has found his latest trendy technology crusade... Let's hope his predictions fo Linux are better than for instance:

    * Network Computers
    * Netscape
    * Sun One
    * Java (it's a success, but not so large as Ellison wanted)

    Don't get me wrong, I appreciate his support for Linux BUT this guy will say anything to make a buck.

  • "Only Oracle Makes Linux Fast, Reliable, Unbreakable" is right on time on the Oracle home page [].

    They say here []:

    Everyone knows Linux costs less; Oracle makes it faster and more reliable too. Oracle has been committed to Linux from the very beginning--releasing the first commercial Linux database in August, 1999. Today, Oracle remains the only database vendor to collaborate with Red Hat, UnitedLinux, and other Linux experts in testing, tuning, and improving the Linux kernel to make Linux Unbreakable.

  • by SlashdotLemming ( 640272 ) on Thursday April 03, 2003 @08:24AM (#5651615)
    Its not trying to be an IIS clone.
    Other OS products are trying to implement tomorrow what Microsoft did yesterday. You can't beat someone in a race if you're trying to follow in their footsteps.
  • "Open" not "Star" (Score:5, Informative)

    by the_pooh_experience ( 596177 ) on Thursday April 03, 2003 @08:26AM (#5651620)

    According to the infoworld article and the computerworld article:

    Ellison deemed the Sun Microsystems Inc.-backed suite "almost usable,"
    not staroffice, as the /. summary indicates. Is someone jonesing for their old staroffice?
  • I think Open Source projects are certainly displacing the sale of Microsoft products.

    I don't have all that much direct evidence, but I do know that my organization is moving to Apache for new web servers. So instead of making new services available through IIS, we're using Apache.

    However, we're not tearing down IIS servers proactively. If they're running and reliable and performing a useful service, we're not messing with them. It's just more economical to leave things at status quo when possible.

  • by AstroMage ( 566990 ) on Thursday April 03, 2003 @08:26AM (#5651626)
    Q.: What's the difference between God and Larry Ellison?
    A: God doesn't think he's Larry Ellison

    Lets face it- Allison likes to needle MS and make outrageous claim. He can afford to, since he is one of the richest men on Earth. But before we all stand and cheer "MS is dead! Long live Linux!", let's remember that Apache is one of very few open-source projects which can compete with MS products in terms of market share. And you can bet your pants that in any of those areas, including web servers, MS is doing all it can to reverse that situation.
    So don't applaud Ellison's high words- they may do your ego good, but what the open-source world needs is better software, better marketing and less fragmentation. We are still a long long way from beating MS, so don't rest on your laurels just yet...

    Just my 2 cents worth...
  • I would like to agree with Ellison in that Apache will decimiate IIS and take control of the market. I like Apache. It works and does its job well. However there will always be one corner of the market that just wants a nice GUI where things just work.

    Apart from Comanche I've never seen a GUI for Apache that can offer a good balance of ease of use/functionality. I'm sure there is one out there and if so prehaps Apache should bundle it so they can take on all market

  • context (Score:3, Insightful)

    by pizza_milkshake ( 580452 ) on Thursday April 03, 2003 @08:34AM (#5651660)
    i'm not going to disagree with Mr. Ellison, because personally I'd like to see how Microsoft reacts to competition -- hopefully by making better products, though likely it'll be lawsuits, speeches and talk of growth in other areas.

    remember that Larry Ellison has always made these kind of claims -- but I've yet to see Database-based filesystems or Sun's "dumb-terminal-esque" network computers take off in the mainstream. though supposedly Microsoft is working on the former.

  • Not what he claimed (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Galvatron ( 115029 ) on Thursday April 03, 2003 @08:35AM (#5651664)
    Ellison did NOT claim that Linux would win on the desktop. He merely claimed that Linux would win in the datacenter, and that StarOffice would force Microsoft to compete on the desktop. I think he may be right. I don't claim to be an expert on datacenters though.

    I do believe that Microsoft's power will fade, due in large part to Office competitors. I can't see how Microsoft can maintain their Office monopoly when they keep rachetting up the price. Even the OEM version, bundled with a new PC, is several hundred dollars. So many people will turn to alternatives, like MS Works. Once many people are running scaled back versions like Works, then some people will start realizing that StarOffice (and others) are better, and even cheaper. Not everyone will switch, but all you need is a critical mass, which will give competitors enough money to reinvest in improving their office suites, allowing them to compete head to head with the full version of Office. Microsoft will have to cut prices for an indefinite period, which will lower profits. Lower profits in the Office division will reduce or eliminate their ability to absorb losses in other divisions, forcing a retreat from other markets. Sure, they have large cash reserves, but you'd be amazed how fast you can blow through billions of dollars when you're forced to compete for the first time in years.

    The only thing that's needed, as I see it, is a competitor to Windows. I would love for someone to make Linux into something the average computer user would be comfortable using, but I just don't think it'll ever happen. I'd love for OS X to run on commodity hardware, but I don't think that'll happen either. So I'm not sure that Microsoft will ever lose the desktop OS monopoly. I can always hope though.

  • by Da Fokka ( 94074 ) on Thursday April 03, 2003 @08:36AM (#5651670) Homepage
    you can't extrapolate the success of Apache to the desktop market. Webservers have no problems with incompatibility and user-friendliness is less of a concern since the users usually are computer technicians.

    The desktop market is a whole different ballgame; Microsoft software is abundant and currently the only competitor in terms of ease of use is Apple and not the Open Source movement.
  • by EpsCylonB ( 307640 ) <{moc.bnolycspe} {ta} {spe}> on Thursday April 03, 2003 @08:37AM (#5651677) Homepage
    I have limited experience (managed to install and set up RH 8.0 as a router for my home network) with linux but here are a few thoughts.

    Linux is not ready for the dsesktop. The recent discussion about mozilla incorporating smooth scrolling illustrates a fundamental problem within the linux community. Most *nix users who want to see linux replace windows on the desktop aren't willing to compete with MS in the areas which really matter to a non techie user. Many people here laughed and scorned the screenshots of the recent longhorn builds where you had lots of new UI features, admittedly most of them will probably not amount to anything but the UI does matter.

    For a non techie user the choice at the moment is windows which is very easy to use but is prone to crashes amnd viruses, alternatively they have linux which is very difficult to get the hang of when coming from a windows background. Reliability means nothing if the user can't get anything done with linux. I'm no MS fanboy but I do beleive that they have gone in the right direction with the XP interface, and I also don't think you can really argue with the fact that games, multimedia and simple office apps are all easier to use for a non techie user on a windows platform.

    Now whether MS dominace is down to a genuinely more instinctive UI or whether people are just more familiar with it (and hence more productive) is down to debate. I'm sure many linux advocates will dismiss the idea that MS's windows UI is "better" that any of linux distos but they are reeally missing the point.

    If you want linux on the desktop then linux developers need to compete with MS. This includes making sure there is support for all types of multimedia, improving choice of games, improving window responsiveness, and all the other little MS UI elements that most *nix users would probably consider frivolous.
    • There are two types of desktop. There's the desktop in business, where "all types of multimedia" and games are not important. In fact on the business desktop, I think Linux's lack of games will be seen as an advantage by the suits. There's also the home desktop, where of course Microsoft will continue to hold sway for now. But to understand what is happening in business, you have to see that much of what makes Windows attractive on the home market is anathema to the desktop market.
    • by The Ape With No Name ( 213531 ) on Thursday April 03, 2003 @09:07AM (#5651815) Homepage
      This is non-sense to the point of being a wonderfully crafted troll.

      Let's take RedHat8.0. My mom, who is an e-mailer of Proustian proportions, comes to visit. "Can I check my mail?" So I added an account for her on my workstation. She said "So this is Linux?" I got distracted for a second and by time I got back to being instructive she had Mozilla opened and was looking at some silly ass powerpoint some friend sent along in OO. This is a person who calls all technical matters "thingies."

      Of course, that's not the majority of users, isn't scientific, yada, yada.... Let's not even get on to Mandrake, which is, by far, the easiest OS install ever. Sure if you have some odd ball hardware, it can get hairy, but it is so much better than a vanilla XP on a Dell laptop.
    • by f0rt0r ( 636600 ) on Thursday April 03, 2003 @10:19AM (#5652210)
      A contraire, Linux IS ready for the desktop, I started my study of a Linux as replacement for MS Windows XP last year ( August ) and haven't gone back to Windows since. You have easy to use GUI, the installation detected and supported all of my devices ( printer, scanner, sound card , etc ) and which help files and community support galore.

      The feature list of Linux systems IMHO outdoes Windows XP by far, I especially like the ability to access my home system via my work computer ( Windows XP ) using putty and Cygwin. The stability is profound, the options it give you ( shell, GUI file system, etc. ) stuff Windows into a garbage can. And if you are ( like me ) and are forced to use MS IE at work with no other browsers allowed, its great to have the ability ( as I mentioned earlier in this post ) to be able to run it remotely from my home linux box.

      I could go on for hours about what Linux has that Windows XP wish it had ( MPLayer, anyone ? ), but then I would be late for work,

      Oopps, time to go, I hope I didn't make any major typos. Enjoy the post, and one more thing, for Gaming use WINE/WINEX. Nuff said.

    • I have limited experience (managed to install and set up RH 8.0 as a router for my home network) with linux but here are a few thoughts. Linux is not ready for the dsesktop.
      If you want linux on the desktop then linux developers need to compete with MS.

      My rule of thumb when I don't agree with what is being said is to go to the very beginning, and look for the root assumption being made. Usually the entire argument is being made from one or more basic assumptions.

      In this case, I think the assum

    • Linux is not ready for the dsesktop.

      And neither is windows. People have just learned to put up with it.

      I'm entirely serious, and this is not a cheap shot at windows. The interface is horrible - if you doubt that, find someone who has no prior experience with computers, sit them down in front of a windows machine, give them zero instructions, and ask them for a few simple tasks ("write an e-mail to this address", "play the metallica .mp3 from this CD").
      Been there, done that. Original commentary from my mu
  • by Ed Avis ( 5917 ) <> on Thursday April 03, 2003 @08:46AM (#5651720) Homepage
    'Decimate' means to reduce by one-tenth. It originates from the punishment for mutiny given to a whole Roman legion: killing every tenth man. So if you think that Windows installations are 10% less than they would have been if Linux didn't exist, then Linux has already decimated Windows, at least on the server.

    It's the remaining 90% that is at stake :-).
  • What's not usable? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rknop ( 240417 ) on Thursday April 03, 2003 @08:54AM (#5651753) Homepage
    What's not usable about now?

    The one steady complaint I hear is "doesn't do a perfect job of opening Microsoft Office formats". THat complaint is, even if true, ridiculous. If is to replace MS Office, sure, the path to getting there is easier of people don't have to notice, but eventually the proprietary MS formats would become irrelevant. This isn't a real criticism. Might as well criticise Word for not being able to open all those legacy LaTeX files that scientists and mathemticians have all over the places, huh?

    (Not that I consider anything legacy about LaTeX myself... I still think that is definitely the right way to do large and technical documents.)

    The only realy complaint that I've got about OOo is the support for animations in Impress. It seems to crash on Flash animations even on computers where I've got the Flash plugin installed... and it seems to depend on the Flash plugin from mozilla, rather than from itself. First, I'd much rather there were an open vector animation format out there for OOo to use, but that's not necessarily OOo's fault; if there is one, it doesn't have widespread acceptance and prominence. But, even beyond that, I haven't figured out how to embed MPEG or similar animations into OOo presentations, nor have I figured out how to get OOo to put its screen to the back so that if I hack in mplayer via a command line script (not the best interface for most people using Impress, but one that works for me), the full screen animation can even be seen.

    As far as I'm concerned, solve that issue in Impress, and OOo is way more than anything I'd want out of an office suite like that.

    Well, OK, and the equation editor is severely limited. (Only 8 colours?) Plus it's a pain... I speak TeX equations, and am resisting learning a new one. Right now, I usually use TeX and ImageMagick to put equations in my Impress presentations as transparent PNG images.

    What are the things that people like Larry Ellison think are missing that make it only "almost" usable?

    • by arvindn ( 542080 ) on Thursday April 03, 2003 @09:46AM (#5651996) Homepage Journal
      What's not usable about now?

      Takes 30 seconds to start up on my machine. Does that count?

    • by praedor ( 218403 ) on Thursday April 03, 2003 @09:58AM (#5652055) Homepage

      My only real complaint/problem with OO/SO is as a researcher, I cannot use it. I need to make heavy use of citations and references. OO/SO doesn't do bibliographies and references the way that Lyx can (linux-side) or the way Wordperfect and M$ Word can on the Mac/Doze side (via 3rd party apps like EndNote).

      I have been finishing up my dissertation. I HAD to use Lyx because I exclusively use linux and nothing else can handle the references.

      If you are a researcher you need to be able to easily navigate your bibliography database(s) to find the references you need and then insert them into your text. At the end, when you produce the printed copy, those references have to be formatted into any of a half-dozen or more styles (ie, "text text text (Thomas and Eckes 1992). text text" or numeric in the order cited OR alphabetically). The reference pages need to be autogenerated to match the style required (journals and thesis offices all have different requirements) by your target. This is simple with Lyx w/bibtex and a bibliography frontend like the excellent pybliographic or using Word with EndNote. This is not really doable with OO/SO.

      When/if it becomes possible to do this with OO/SO then I will happily use it instead of Lyx which, while powerful, is a bit too complex and unintuitive for my taste (I LIKE to see what my output will look like BEFORE I generate it in some form. I like seeing how it is formatted as I am working on it, not after the fact).

      Other than this critical (for me and any other researcher of any type) shortcoming, OO/SO is quite good...just slow to get up and running. Note to Sun and the OO developers: the modularity that users called for wasn't so much so that they could only install this or that package, ie the wordprocessor OR the spreadsheet, etc, it was in the hopes of speeding the whole thing up. The original monolithic StarOffice was fine with all its components but the problem was that to start just the wordprocessor EVERYTHING else was loaded up too leading to a very slow startup. I don't see that the speed of starting has changed much (if at all) since the components have been "separated".

  • by HBI ( 604924 ) on Thursday April 03, 2003 @09:03AM (#5651792) Journal
    Larry Ellison has about zero credibility. Remember "Network Computers" and how they were going to take over the world? Sure, Larry. There have been many other examples over the years. His crystal ball is more tarnished and cracked than Miss Cleo's.

    Larry is just being a cheerleader because he sees economic benefit in the vision of a Microsoft-less future. He'd also like to see Bill Gates take a hit. That's it. No facts here, move along.

    You people _really_ lack historical perspective, by and large.
  • I think it'd be interesting to see the number of times Ellison has come up and claimed 'this or that will kill Microsoft' over the last few years.

    I seem to remember something about network computers. As far as I can tell that was the biggest bit of vapor hardware ever. I've never seen anything like that in the enterprise.

    Were there any others?

    But not to say that I don't think that LInux has a chance. From where I sit I see lots of 4 Way Xeon MP servers coming along that are being at least tested against a Sun box. I've seen them save some companies over $2.0M a year in just hardware maintenance costs alone. So it can be done. However, they're moving Sun out of the datacenter with these, not Microsoft. Mainly because Microsoft was never in that space (yet).

  • And besides that... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Pope Raymond Lama ( 57277 ) <gwidion@mpc.c[ ]br ['om.' in gap]> on Thursday April 03, 2003 @09:52AM (#5652021) Homepage

    I just checked today these 10 top selling books [] in IT in one of the largest bookstores here in Brazil.

    As you can see, not much for window~1 in there; people are buying books on Java, Linux, Operating Systens. And just one in 10 titles is specic to a M$ product - Excel.

    • by TeknoHog ( 164938 )
      Of course, the reason is that Windows and other MS programs are so intuitive and easy to use that you never need any books or courses to use them to their fullest extent! ;-)

      But what do I know, I haven't used their products for years. I'm sure they have only improved during these years!

  • by mattdm ( 1931 ) on Thursday April 03, 2003 @10:02AM (#5652080) Homepage
    Quote from the article:

    "[Microsoft has] already been killed by one open-source product. Slaughtered, wiped out, taken from market dominance to irrelevance," Ellison said, speaking of the Apache Web server's displacement of Microsoft's Internet Information Services (IIS) technology. "They had a virtual monopoly on Web servers, and then they were wiped off the face of the earth. And it's going to happen to them again on Linux."

    As anyone can clearly see at Netcraft [], IIS never even came *close* to beating Apache, let alone did they have a "virtual monopoly". Back in 1997 when Microsoft and Netscape (now SunONE) were struggling for 10% shares, Apache was already at 40% -- and it only went up from there.
  • Wishful thinking (Score:3, Interesting)

    by johnburton ( 21870 ) <> on Thursday April 03, 2003 @10:44AM (#5652347) Homepage
    He would say that wouldn't he.
    Frankly I think it's Oracle that's likely to be decimated. I see plenty of signs that linux is widely used and accepted but no signs at all that it is going to displace windows at all.
  • by elluzion ( 537796 ) on Thursday April 03, 2003 @11:49AM (#5652838) Homepage
    I think, in order to really get Linux moving on the desktop, there will need to be some fairly major and widespread use of desktop security holes in Windows. I think the problems with IIS security and stability are the main factors pushing MS out of that area. We know there are security problems with Windows desktops, but there are usually not very many widespread attacks on them. Which is good, but it's not bringing the matter into the light like it did with IIS.
  • by aquarian ( 134728 ) on Thursday April 03, 2003 @04:15PM (#5655192)
    I bet ol' Larry will change his tune then!

Thus spake the master programmer: "When a program is being tested, it is too late to make design changes." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"