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Part 1 of Linux; a replacement for Windows, or a Marxist fantasy?


Is Windows “Dumbed Down”?

Many Linux fanatics criticize Windows and Macintosh as been designed for idiots who do not want to learn about their computers, and who are too lazy to do set their computer up. It is more accurate to say that the Macintosh and Windows are designed to be so easy to use that not much training is needed. 

Consider automobiles to understand this concept. The automobiles we have today are much easier to operate than the automobiles of the 1920's. Today we have electric starters, automatic transmissions, power brakes, and automatic chokes. Also, the manual transmissions of today are easier to use, and today's cars require much less maintenance. 

Linux fanatics might complain that automobiles are designed for idiots who do not want to learn anything about their car, and for idiots who are too lazy to perform work on their car. But a more accurate description is that cars have become so advanced that we no longer need to learn much about cars in order to use one. Today, even a child can drive one. 

Young children with no computer skills can turn on a Macintosh and perform useful tasks without much training. Windows is almost as easy to use. However, Linux is so stupid that the users must learn about operating systems and then help Linux function. 

It is easy to create software that requires a lots of training and configuration; it takes talent and lots of effort to produce software that is easy to use. 

Linux is not ready for the public

A computer is just one product in our lives. We also have automobiles, refrigerators, telephones, washing machines, and kitchen appliances. 

A person who is excited by automobiles will gladly spend hours each week learning about his car and performing maintenance on it. A person who enjoys cooking will gladly spend hours with his kitchen appliances. And some people enjoy spending hours each week with Linux. 

However, the common person is no more fascinated by a computer than he is by a refrigerator. Most people merely want to use a refrigerator, not learn how they operate or spend time configuring them. 

To a Linux fanatic, spending an hour downloading a new Linux version and struggling to install it is an hour of entertainment.  To a person who loves automobiles, spending an hour installing a new carburetor is an hour of pleasure. To a person who loves collecting stamps, maintaining a stamp collection for an hour is an hour of recreation. But to most of us, configuring Linux, installing carburetors, and maintaining a stamp collection is as much fun as cleaning the toilet.  Life is short, and most of us prefer to spend our time on something other than configuring our operating system.

Most of us do not want to spend our time making our computer function properly. Rather, we simply want to turn on, use it, and then turn it off. 
The Linux fanatics who cannot grasp these simple concepts, and who insult Windows and Mac users for being lazy and stupid, are giving Linux users a bad image.

How Linux could become a success 

Linux could be a success if the open source people did not have an angry attitude towards commercial software. Many of the open source people are fighting a war against commercial software. The most extreme of them will not tolerate any commercial software. 

The open source movement is full of hypocrisy. They claim to be a movement for freedom, but many of them refuse to provide people with the freedom to purchase commercial software. 

If the open source people would develop applications that the commercial businesses are not developing, such as for niche markets, then the open source people would be contributing valuable software to the world. Or, if the open source people were developing truly superior applications, then the world would benefit. 

However, the exact opposite is happening. The open source people are copycats who watch what the commercial software developers do, and then they try to duplicate it. Their intent is not to make better software for the world; rather, their intent is to avoid purchasing software. The most extreme open source people are trying to drive commercial software developers out of business by duplicating commercial software programs so that people will be able to avoid purchasing commercial software.

The open source people are also like beggars. They beg IBM, Sun Microsystems, Adobe, and other commercial software developers for financial assistance, for applications to be released as open source, and for companies to release their proprietary formats. 

Rather than working with commercial software developers and making the world a nicer place, the open source people are fighting with commercial software developers. The open source people complain that Microsoft is fighting with open source, but I would say the open source people started this fight, and the open source people are continuing it. 

The lack of leadership in the open source movement contributes to this problem because there is nobody providing guidance or advice to any of the people who support open source software. For example, nobody tells the millions of teenage kids to quit the idiotic remarks, such as “Windose Suckx” and “Linux Rulz!”.


Linux; a rapidly falling star


Linux is (or was) hot. Very hot!

For years we have been hearing Linux users boast that Linux is superior to Windows. Many of us have been waiting impatiently for the day when Linux would be ready for the public, at which point we could replace Windows. 

When Borland announced in 1999 that they would develop a compiler for Linux, I expected to convert my Windows software to Linux, perhaps in 2001. I told many people who were complaining about Windows that they needn't worry; that soon Linux will be available. I had never tried Linux; I was merely assuming that Linux fanatics were honest, intelligent, and responsible people who could be trusted

Near the end of 2000 enthusiasm for Linux was at a very high level. Magazines and newspapers occasionally carried a happy articles about how it was growing in popularity, and how it may be the operating system of the future. Even PC Magazine carried an article in November of 2000 which started with: “Linux is hot. Very hot.

Unfortunately, during that same year Linux CDs started to appear in ordinary bookstores and computer stores. This implied that Linux was ready for the common person. I use the word “unfortunately” because Linux is not yet ready for the public. 

Many of the people who purchased those Linux CDs were disappointed. One reason is that Linux does not support as much hardware as Windows, so rather than reduce hardware incompatibility problems, Linux gave them even more problems. Also, there is not much software available for Linux, and almost all of it is inferior to the Windows' versions. Therefore, rather than provide better software which runs better, Linux gave them a lousy selection of inferior software. 

Many of the people who bought Linux CDs ended up deleting Linux after several frustrating weeks. These people then became sources of sad stories about Linux. When they discussed Linux with their friends, they criticized it as inferior to Windows. Some of them wrote newspaper articles, exposing millions of people to these sad stories. Slowly the enthusiasm for Linux diminished. 

By February 2001 it began to appear as if there would soon be so few people interested in Linux that I would have no reason to convert my software to Linux. I felt like complaining to the Linux community, but who do I complain to? There is no Linux organization to accept suggestions or complaints. 

Whose decision was it to release Linux?

Today if we find an article about Linux in the common newspapers and magazines it is likely to be full of criticism and complaints. Some Linux supporters respond to the complaints with insults, but Linux is simply not ready to replace Windows for the public. The decision to put Linux into retail stores in the year 2000 may go down in history as one of the dumbest marketing decisions.

The Linux users have been misrepresenting themselves and Linux for many years. Their incessant boasting that Linux is superior to Windows has given a lot of people false hopes and expectations. If a corporation promoted their products in this manner, it would be considered either a scam or a marketing blunder

Compare Linux to Sun, QNX, and FreeBSD

Sun has a version of Solaris that runs on IBM compatible PCs. Sun could brag that they have a superior replacement to Windows. However, Sun honestly admits that Solaris is lacking drivers for hardware, and they admit that Solaris is lacking in applications. Sun is not so foolish as to put Solaris in retail stores and pretend that they have a superior alternative to Windows for Joe Public.

By comparison, Linux people have the arrogance (or immaturity, or whatever their problem) to release software for sale to the public that would not even qualify as a beta test.

The Linux community is doing a terrible job of managing their project. If an auto company put a car on the market that was as incomplete as Linux, I bet Ralph Nader would file a lawsuit.

Linux people do not know what “Customer Service” means

The Linux community is so convinced of the superiority of Linux that it did not occur to anybody to stand up and yell,
“Wait a minute! We cannot put Linux in retail stores yet! It’s not ready the public! Are you guys crazy? People will get mad at us!”

The Linux community makes insulting remarks about the flaws in Windows and the bad behavior of Microsoft, but they release a version of Linux that is virtually worthless to most people and businesses. The Linux community is behaving worse than the people they ridicule.

Many conversations on Linux newsgroups (and many of their responses to me) are like this:

Eric: “Why do the fonts look so bad?”

Joe: “It is not the fonts, you idiot! If it bothers you so much, I think you can fix it by installing Freetype! It only takes a few hours to download what you need and get it running! Why don't you learn about computers before you try Linux? Go back to Windows!”

Bob: “Windows didn't have anti-aliasing until Win98, you ignorant moron!”

These conversations are analogous to a person purchasing a “LinuxCar” from his local car dealer and then asking:

Eric: “How come the LinuxCar doesn't have an electric starter?”

Joe: “If it bothers you so much I think you can get an electric starter and install it! Why don't you learn about automobiles before you buy one? Go back to the WinCar!”

Bob: “The WinCar didn't have electric starters until the past few years, you ignorant moron!”

Another common conversation:

Eric: “Why doesn't Linux support my monitor?” 

Joe: “The Linux community doesn't make drivers. The graphics card company hasn't bothered to make drivers! Complain to them!”

Eric: “Why are you releasing Linux for sale when the drivers are not ready? At least put a big warning on the front of the box!”

Joe: “Learn about computers before you buy! Are you a helpless baby?”

And the same with cars:

Eric: “Why doesn't the LinuxCar have tires?”

Joe: “Linux doesn't make tires; the tire companies just haven't bothered to make tires for it. Ride on the metal rims for now.”

Eric: “Why are you releasing this car for sale before the tires are ready? At least warn us about the lack of accessories!”

Joe: “Learn about cars before you buy! Are you a helpless baby?”

I am just one of many people complaining about Linux. Do you see this sort of complaining about about Sun Solaris? About QNX? About FreeBSD? Any other operating system? Any other software of any type? No, and the reason is simply that the people who use that other software are not promoting it as a Windows replacement.

Is Linux suppose to be a replacement for Windows?

There is no leadership in the Linux community so everybody is free to be a Linux leader. Not surprisingly, each of them says something different.

In a recent article at zdnet  the author says:

“If you believe what you read on Slashdot, we're rapidly approaching a desktop Linux revolution.” 
However, many Linux users disagree with Slashdot. Most opinions on the purpose of Linux fall into one of the following four categories. I included a few actual quotes as representative of that category.
 1) Linux is for poor people and poor nations
“Linux is not intended to be a replacement for windows. It's developed to give poor college students (and why not others?) a free unix environment.”
 2) Linux is macho GeekWare, not SissyWare
“Actually I don't even wish linux to become an alternative to windows. Windows focuses on user friendliness for users who don't want to learn their system ...”
“But I don't want it to be easy... I want it to set my skills on a hard test.”
 3) Linux is not a replacement for Windows
“ is not Windows clone, and it is not designed to be a replacement. “
“I don't think anyone in the Linux community cares if Linux catches on or not to replace windows or not.”
“Here in Sweden we don't have Linux in the PC-stores.”

“...linux never was supposed to replace Windows among newbies and everyday users. Linux is intended to be used by serious users, not mom and pop who just use it for e-mail and movie listings. When my Mom asked me if she should use linux, I told her "hell no!" regardless of the fact that I'm a dedicated linux user.”

 4) Linux is (or will soon be) a replacement to Windows
“...if there was ever a distribution Linux users could point to and say 'this is the one that can replace Windows,' then this is the one.” (The author is referring to SuSE Linux 7.1 in a Linuxplanet article)

So what is the purpose of Linux? Is it a replacement for Windows? Is it macho GeekWare? Is it only for poor people? Does Torvalds have any idea?

Linux users may not care whether “outsiders” such as myself understand what is going on with Linux, but it gives the Linux community an aura of chaos and confusion. Every other product has a purpose; what is the problem with Linux? Who wants to do business with such a flaky community?

Bob Russo, when he worked at VA Linux, made a remark that many companies do not want to place large orders with VA Linux. Rather, they feel safer with IBM or Dell. (see Linuxgram article) 

I have a feeling that IBM, Dell, and other companies are making more money from Linux than all the Linux companies combined. Will this trend continue? Will Linux companies lay off employees while IBM and Dell bring in large profits from Linux?

Kids without adults supervision

The Linux community believes in anarchy; they want everybody to be free to do as they please. By comparison, IBM and Sun have leadership, and they decide what will said about their products. 

Anybody can self-appoint himself as “Linux Spokeman” and say anything they please about Linux. There is no true leader to tell anybody to shut up. 

The Linux community behaves like a bunch of children in need of adult supervision. The Linux community needs a leader who can decide what Linux is and what its goals are. Is Linux a replacement to Windows? If not, stop fooling the public into thinking it is! If it is a Windows replacement, do not claim it can replace Windows until it actually can!

“Quit blaming us! It aint our fault!”

When I complain about the retail sales of Linux, the lack of drivers, etc, I am told by Linux fanatics that the Linux developers do not sell Linux; it is the distributors of the Linux CDs who do that. I am told to blame the CD distributors, not the Linux community. No matter what I say, the Linux people find a way to shift the blame to somebody else.

Imagine that you decide to start a bakery to provide free bread to the public. You call your bread “LinuxBread”. But your ovens are not finished, so your LinuxBread is raw in the center. However, you allow college kids and anybody else to pick up loaves of bread for free and do whatever they want with them. Imagine some kids put your bread into the back of trucks where the loaves get dirty and wet, while other kids decide that we want butter on our bread so they put butter on for us. The kids then boast that this wonderful LinuxBread is better than other breads, and they sell loaves to the public. After a few months of such abuse, people will be complaining about LinuxBread. Whose fault will it be?

Every manufacturer should review the performance of the retailers of their products. The reputation of a product is partly due to those retailers. Furthermore, when a company allows retailers to distribute an unfinished product, they are asking for trouble. Linux people have no understanding of how to operate a businesses.

Note the quote a few paragraphs above that states: 

“Here in Sweden we don't have Linux in the PC-stores.”
If the guy who emailed that remark to me is correct, the Linux community in Sweden may be more intelligent than the Linux community in America. I suggest the Americans ask themselves why other nations are not selling Linux to the public. 

If Linux eventually becomes a success, I think it will be due mainly to the Europeans. If Linux was an American phenomenon, I think the Americans would have ruined it by now.


You and I can start a Linux company

You and I can download Linux for free and put it on a CD with whatever other software we please. We could then refer to it as “Linux” and sell it. We do not have to get approval or authorization to become a Linux company. We could even add our own buggy software to the CD.

By January 2001, some of the Linux Internet sites were estimating that there were about 100 different variations of Linux available. 

Imagine IBM behaving like this. Imagine that IBM is developing a new operating system, OS2004. OS2004 is expected to be finished in 2004, but you and I can download it for free right now and put it on CDs with any other software we please, and then we can sell the CDs under the name “IBM OS2004”. Imagine IBM not caring what anybody does with their unfinished software.

Can one operating system satisfy everybody?

Some Linux supporters insist that Linux cannot possibly satisfy Windows users because Windows users are lazy idiots who want software to be easy to use, whereas Linux people want “power”. An analogy with cars may help to explain this concept. A car designed for racing will not satisfy the common consumer who is looking for a comfortable, reliable passenger car. It is not possible to design a car that excels as both a race car and a passenger car. 

Likewise, designing software for one purpose means that it will be less ideal for other purposes. However, it is entirely possible to design an operating system to satisfy the majority of people. 

At the core of Linux is a text based, command line operating system. We can put any interface on top of that core. For example, Microsoft could put a Windows-like interface on top of it, making Linux appear to be Windows. The Macintosh developers could put a Mac interface on top of it, making Linux appeared to be a Macintosh. KDE and Gnome could give Linux a still different interface. The macho Linux geeks could avoid all interfaces and use only the command line. 

Note: I received an email with the following technical correction:
“Actually, the core of Linux is just system calls, which are generally interfaced through the C library. The text base command line stuff is optional and are entirely separate programs. Linux distributions could boot into a graphical mode (which is what the modern frame buffer device is) where no command line even exists. But no one has bothered to put together such a beast.”

My point is that a single operating system can satisfy an enormous number of people if it is designed properly. Software has enormous flexibility. As I mention in Part 2 of this document, the people designing KDE, Gnome, and other interfaces could be designing different interfaces for different people rather than fighting with each other to create the “best” interface. 

Unfortunately, providing such flexibility to Linux requires a lot of thinking and planning, but there is no leadership in the Linux community.



Is Linux really free?

When I first wrote this article I complained that Linux is not truly free; that it has a high price to the human race as a whole. The beginning of this article starts off by discussing the retail sales of Linux, so I suppose that some readers were under the impression that I did not realize that Linux was available on the Internet at no cost. They pointed out to me that Linux is truly free if I download it from the Internet. Furthermore, Linux web sites are full of remarks that Linux and Linux software is free of all monetary costs. So I rewrote this to hopefully make this concept more understandable. 

Is television free?

It is not possible to pick out the individual people who pay the costs of television, but we could say that consumers as a group are paying for television when they purchase products. For example, when you purchase an automobile a portion of the price goes to television advertisements. Of the money spent on advertisements, a portion of it pays for the costs of television. 

Thousands of companies advertise on television. When you purchase a product of service from any of those companies, you are helping to support television. 

Television is not free; rather, it is paid for in an indirect manner by advertising. The television companies could eliminate advertising by charging consumers a monthly fee for television. This would actually be less expensive overall because, for one reason, the television companies would no longer need to hire people to manage the advertising. In other words, paying for television directly would be more efficient, resulting in a lower overall cost. It would also eliminate advertising. 

Of course, eliminating advertising requires we create alternative methods for companies to get product information out to the public, but we can easily devise alternative methods if we want to. So why do we continue supporting television through advertising when it is more efficient to send consumers a monthly bill? I think the reason is that the majority of people cannot fully comprehend the concept that television is not free. 

Is Linux any more free than television?

There are many companies that give a portion of their profits to an open source software project. For example, there is a company in Norway (ie, TrollTech) that sells software at a high price. A portion of their profits goes towards supporting the development of the KDE software. Caldera and SuSE also support some KDE work. The KDE software is described by Linux fanatics as “free”, but it is not truly free. While some (or most) of the KDE developers are working on their own time at their own expense, a few are being funded indirectly by customers of TrollTech, SuSE, Caldera, and possibly other companies.

Many Linux people claim that StarOffice from Sun Microsystems is free. Sure, we can get StarOffice for free on the Internet, but the customers of Sun paid for that software indirectly by purchasing products from Sun. Those customers provided Sun with enough profit to allow Sun to purchase StarOffice from another company and develop it further. 

You may think that because you do not buy Sun computers that you are not helping to fund the development of Sun software. But that is incorrect. For example, at the University near me are many Sun computers. Some of those computers were paid for by money that came from government grants. When a Sun computer is purchased from money that comes from a government grant, then every taxpayer is helping to support the development of Sun software. 

Likewise, when IBM releases software for free, the customers of IBM (and their customers, and so on) paid for that software indirectly. NASA and some school teachers provide free software, also, but they are being paid a salary by society. Unless they're creating their software in their spare time, it is not free.

Dell Computer invested $2 million in Andy Hertzfeld's company (Eazel). This means the customers of Dell Computer are helping to support the open source movement. 

You and I are indirectly paying for most Linux related software. This money could be spent on other projects, such as improving other software. We must ask ourselves if Linux is worth the expense. What will we gain by spending this money on Linux? Are we going to get a better operating system and better applications than what we already have?

 The world already has lots of lousy software. Unless Linux is on the path to becoming a superior operating system, the world is foolish to waste money on it. Linux and its applications have a long way to go before they can replace Windows. A lot more time and money must be spent on the development of Linux. Unless the Linux developers are serious about making Linux into a superior replacement for Windows, we should stop funding them

Beggar-ware aint free software

Many open source web sites are begging for donations. These people have the attitude that it is wrong for Microsoft to sell software, but it is OK to offer software for free and then beg for money

If everybody in the world followed the open source concept, we would all get free long as a lot of us routinely donated money to software developers. Would this make a better world compared to what we have now? How does this give us free software?

I bet a lot of Linux supporters will respond:

“The software will be free to the people who cannot afford to donate money; the weathly people will fund the development.”

But where do the weathly people get their money? There are various ways for a person to become weathly, such as: 

  • selling products and services to poor people and poor nations.
  • getting hordes of poor people to work for them at low wages.
  • abusing government laws.
There is only one pot of money in a free enterprise system, and it belongs to all people who work for a living. Free enterprise allows us to grab different amounts of money from that pot, and the USA allows people to grab billions for themselves, but nothing is free in this system. Everybody who works is contributing to everything, directly and indirectly.

Andy Hertzfeld and his company, Eazel

Eazel is an example of how unrealistic the free software concept is. They wanted to join the open source and free software movement, so they raised millions of dollars to fund the development of an open source file manager. But by May of 2001 Eazel was out of money, and they could not find any more investors, so they closed.

It is amusing to consider that Eazel was hoping to charge users a $4 per month fee for their open source software. How is paying a monthy fee better than buying software from Microsoft? 

I suggest the customers, stockholders, and employees of Dell Computer, Sun Microsystems, IBM, etc, ask themselves if the millions of dollars they are putting into open source is doing us any good. Can't we find better ways to spend money? 

Software today is too complex for open source

The open source concept was somewhat practical in 1981. At that time software was so simplistic that one person in his spare time could produce an application. He could easily afford to give it to the world for free. 

Today however, consumers are demanding software that requires tens of thousands of hours of hard work. Nobody can produce such complex applications in their spare time. Rather, consumers must support teams of full-time programmers for several years

By 2010 consumers will be demanding software that is even more complex than what we have today. The $4 per month fee that Eazel dreams of may be enough to fund the development of one application today, but it will not be enough to fund an application of the future. Therefore, Andy will be dreaming of more than $4 per month in 2010.

How is software free when we pay a monthly fee?

The open source fanatics titillate people with offers of free software, but then they beg for donations, and some are dreaming of monthly fees. Most of us use more than one application, so if we paid a monthly fee for each application, we could pay as much or more for the free software as we pay for non-free software. 

There is no way to provide software for free. Software requires a lot of time and effort, and there is no way to get around the issue that those computer programmers must be provided with food, homes, electricity, etc, while they develop the software. Somehow you and I must contribute to the support of those programmers.

Why must I explain that Linux is not free?

Why is it that Linux supporters cannot comprehend this concept that almost nothing in life is free? Why must I explain to them that television is not free, and that KDE is not free?

Initially I assumed that most of the Linux fanatics were teenagers and college students who were simply naive, but many college teachers and other adults are promoting this fallacy that Linux is free. How do we explain those adults? I will explain one possibility later. 

Open source people have an incentive to make lousy software

Some open source advocates solve the money problem by selling their services. For example, Greg Lehey describes himself as “a member of the FreeBSD Core team”. FreeBSD is free, but if you need somebody to help you get FreeBSD working, and if want to hire Greg, his web site states:

“For normal professional work, my rate is US$ 180 per hour or part thereof, plus expenses.”

Open source consultants profit from the difficulty of using BSD and Linux. If the free software was so easy to use that nobody needed consultants, Greg and other consultants would discover they have zero income

However, a few hours with a consultant will waste more money than the free software saved. It is better to purchase software that doesn't need as much maintenance. This is one reason so many companies are spending money on Solaris and AIX rather than struggling with free software.

The complaining by Linux fanatics that Windows is for idiots could be because they are afraid that if Linux becomes as easy to use as Windows, then nobody would hire them at high hourly rates.

Are O'Reilly and Associates hypocrites?

O'Reilly and Associates publishes books, holds conferences, and — until 6 Mar 2001 — they developed software. O'Reilly no longer wants to make software, but they continue to sell the software they already created. 

Tim O'Reilly promotes Linux, free software, and open source software, but take a look at the high prices of their software:

O'Reilly promotes free and open source software for other people. Also, they do not offer books on the Internet for free, nor do they offer paper copies of their books at non-profit rates. If you want to read their books on the Internet you have to pay a minimum monthly fee of $9.95. Isn't this what we call “hypocrisy”? 

Who profits from conventions?

On July 23-27, 2001 there was an “O'Reilly Open Source Convention” that helps people to learn about open source. The fees are complex, but it appears that a person will spend hundreds of dollars per day to learn how to make free software.

Did O'Reilly hold the conference for free or at non-profit rates? If not, why do they get to profit from it while software developers are suppose to work for free?

During the 1970's Reverend Sun Myung Moon formed the Unification Church in which people worked for free while Reverend Moon made lots of money from their efforts. O'Reilly and Associates encourages computer programmers to work for free while O'Reilly sells software, books, and conferences at a profit.

If Linux was so easy to use that nobody need to buy books or go to conventions to learn about it, profits at O'Reilly would drop. They profit from the confusion.

Linux news may soon be expensive is threatening to stop their free service; they want $100 per year from everybody who wants to read their reports. But all they provide are a few extremely biased reports that promote Linux and open source software. Imagine Microsoft charging $100 per year to read a few biased reports that promote Microsoft software!

Does Microsoft overcharge us?

Linux fanatics insist that Microsoft is greedy and is overcharging us. The Linux fanatics promise us free software. An extreme example is an article about Eazel, which states:

It's all about eliminating what Hertzfeld and others call the "operating system tax" now stifling the computer industry. 

If operating systems are eventually free, the billions of dollars currently consumed each year paying for operating systems would be eliminated. Companies will use at least some of that money, and the technical freedom that comes with it, to develop the next generation of software applications that are needed to drive economic growth. 

The Linux people try to create the impression that Microsoft is a greedy parasite sucking money out of our bank accounts, and ruining software and our economy in the process. In reality, Microsoft is successful partly because they provide quality software at the same or lower prices than their competitors. Microsoft may be greedy and dishonest, but Microsoft actually gives consumers a good deal for their money.

Why didn't Apple Computer become popular? I think the reason was that the Apple executives were so greedy that they kept the price too high. A report I saw claimed that the top Apple executive was the highest paid person on the planet in the early 1990's. 

The high prices of Apple computers caused most of us to purchase IBM compatible computers instead. Today Apple Computer is struggling to survive. Did Microsoft ruin Apple Computer? No. The greedy Apple executives are Apple's worst enemy. 

IBM certainly could have sold more copies of OS/2 if they had offered it at the same or lower price as Windows. But they offered it at a significantly higher price.

Can anybody make software for a lower price than Microsoft?

Some nations, such as China, have such low labor rates that they could produce software at a very low price, but nobody can make software for free. The Linux people cannot produce software for free, nor can they produce software for less money than what Microsoft can produce it for. 

If a particular application requires 10,000 hours of programming time, it doesn't matter whether RedHat is paying for that programming time or whether Microsoft is paying for it. The costs will be the same to all companies. The promises from the Linux people that we will get free software are absurd, and it makes them look like idiots.

If Linux were to become a success on the desktop, Microsoft could produce Linux CDs and applications for the same price that the Linux companies produce them. Linux companies cannot produce CDs or software for less money than Microsoft. European companies are in an even worse situation because they must pay European wages, and they must pay European rates for electricity, rent, and other supplies.

A lot of “Linux software” was given to the Linux people

The open source community hasn't created much of anything of value. StarOffice is often held up as a great example of the free software that comes with Linux, but Sun donated that software to the open source people. Sun, SGI, IBM, and other companies donated some of the best software that the open source have. 

If the open source concept worked, the Linux fanatics would be able to produce their own software. Instead we find them behaving like “The Ex-Wives From Hell” who forever need financial support and donations of software, and who are so stupid that they hold up StarOffice and other software as examples of how open source is working. 

A Thrift Store of unwanted software

Take away StarOffice, Netscape, and all the other "Linux software" that was created by conventional corporations and what remains? Mostly junk, that's what. 

Open source software is so crummy that it must be offered for free because nobody would buy it. Even GIMP, which is one of the best open source applications, would not sell against Corel Photo-Paint, Adobe Photoshop, or other conventional applications.

Installing Linux on your computer and then looking thru all the open source software in an attempt to find something useful is as frustrating as sifting thru the junk at a thrift store. The reason is that open source is a failure; it cannot provide the complex applications we want.

Will it be easy to replace Windows with Linux?

We already have Solaris, AIX, QNX, Unix, and other excellent operating systems. Windows is the problem system. So unless Linux becomes better than Windows, we do not need it!

However, replacing Windows is not going to be easy. Switching the world to Linux is not as simple as switching channels on a TV set. Employees have to spend time installing Linux on the hard disk of each computer, and then they would have to spend time installing applications.

After all the new Linux software has been installed, the employees would have to spend some time becoming accustomed to the new software. During this phase, which could stretch to months, they will be less productive. 

Next consider that some data files would need to be converted to a different format, such as accounting records, databases, and documents. A lot of time would have to be spent deciding which files on the hard disks (and backup disks) need to be converted, and then time must be spent figuring out how to convert them, and then time must be spent converting them.

Next consider that most software (especially engineering and industrial) is not yet available for Linux, so time would have to be spent identifying the computers that cannot be converted to Linux. This can be difficult because some software interacts with or uses modules from other companies. And some computers cannot be converted because Linux cannot support all computer hardware.

To summarize this, from the point of view of a business, switching to Linux involves diverting a lot of time and money from productive activities, and many (or most?) computers will have to remain with Windows, creating a mix of Linux and Windows. Why would any company choose to do such a thing? What advantage would Linux provide to compensate for the trouble? Unfortunately, there is no advantage to switching to Linux as of 2001.

Home users will also resist switching to Linux for the same reasons. 

Linux must be superior to Windows

Linux will not replace Windows simply because it is as good as Windows; rather, Linux and Linux applications must have a significant advantage over Windows, and Linux must support more hardware. But as of today, Linux and its applications are inferior as far as most people are concerned, and support for hardware is inferior.

Linux may be superior to Windows in 2002, but Windows will have improved also, and so the end result may be that Linux remains inferior. Linux and Windows are in a race, and Windows is farther ahead. 

If Linux is inferior, why is Linux being installed on Internet servers? Is Linux truly superior to Windows 2000, Unix, QNX, IBM's AIX, FreeBSD, or Solaris? No; rather, Linux is popular merely because: 

1) It is “free”. That is, Linux is popular with companies on a tight budget because it has a lower initial cost than the superior Solaris and AIX. 

2) Many of the people who work with Internet servers are Linux fanatics and are pushing for Linux merely because they want Linux. 

Would anybody use Linux if it was not free, or if everybody selected software only according to its ability to perform the job? I have even seen some Linux supporters admit that FreeBSD is superior to Linux. 


What do we need Linux for?

What do we gain by putting Linux on our Internet server?

If a company selects Linux for their Internet server, what will they gain compared to selecting FreeBSD, Solaris, or AIX? According to the people who have tried to all these different systems, Linux provides no advantage. FreeBSD is just as “free“ as Linux, and some Linux fanatics admit that FreeBSD is better than Linux as an Internet server. And Linux cannot manage the large servers, as can Solaris and AIX. 

So there is no advantage in using Linux. The people who put Linux on servers do so simply because of their personal attraction to Linux, not because they made a wise business decision.

What do we gain by putting a Linux on our desktop computer?

I certainly don't need to tell you that Linux provides no advantage at all on the desktop. Linux is more stable than Windows, but it has so many disadvantages that most of us prefer to avoid it. FreeBSD is also more stable than Windows. (Actually, every operating system is more stable than Windows!)

We don't need Linux

Linux is not providing the world with anything that we do not already have. We already have better operating systems than Linux, and FreeBSD is just as “free” as Linux. Open source software is also failing to provide us with the software we want. 

We could make the excuse that Linux and the open source movement have simply not had enough time to catch up with other software. But then I must bring up the point I made at the beginning of this document, which is: if Linux is not ready, why are they hyping it as a superior operating system? Why is it for sale in retail stores? Why are they not honest with us?

If a conventional company released a product that was inferior to all others while boasting that it is the best, would you have sympathy for them if their business failed? Why should we have sympathy for Linux and open source people?

Linux and open source people are not a true organization. Rather, a bunch of individuals scattered around the world are doing and saying whatever they please. They are creating hundreds of variations of Unix and Linux, and they are deceiving people into believing that their particular variation is superior to other operating systems. Why should we put up with this nonsense or encourage it?

If the Linux people want us to take them seriously, they should shut up for a few years while they finish the development of Linux, and when they truly have a superior operating system they can contact us. But they do not want to keep quiet; they believe they already have a truly superior operating system. They behave like children.

Do not encourage open source

I can accept an open source operating system because operating systems are critical to our world today and Microsoft is not behaving properly. But we should not encourage this open source movement for applications. Rather, we should encourage people to put a lot of time and effort into developing better software, and that requires we provide financial support for computer programmers.