Sorry, there's something I do not buy.

Story: How Microsoft's Enterprise Desktop Stifles Linux and How to Fix itTotal Replies: 12
Author Content
piecewise

Nov 13, 2005
9:50 AM EST
So, given what has happened the past couple of years in spreading gossip, I'll respectively decline to mention any company by which I am currently employed. That said, I wanted to say that I highly doubt Apple effectively said, "No thanks, we don't want this Exchange port because we're selling so many iPods."

That simply makes no sense whatsoever. The amount of innovation going on at Apple is staggering, and I can say that's especially true for core group working on OS X Server.

No I don't doubt that they said no, but your failure to garner a deal is not to be blamed on the iPod. It simply doesn't work that way and it's an absurd notion. There we undoubtedly other reasons why several companies and groups had little interest in your product. And what do you mean, you couldn't find anyone to evaluate your code and that's the real reason why the Sun/Austin Ventures deal fell through? Sorry, but if VC is headed my way, I MAKE it happen. There's no acceptable alternative.

Lastly, one other criticism: you mentioned that Linux has a superior user experience over Microsoft. The difference is negligable at best. In my experiences, Linux has a confusing and technical interface. Until the OSS community realizes the value of user experience, and until they learn not to stand still with the current UI and UE, Linux will always remain behind. Microsoft may not be innovative, but it's not terrible either. And you need more than "less terrible" to get people listening when it takes gobs of money to make these changes. OSS concepts are winning, but OSS products are not -- and this is bad news for everyone.
tadelste

Nov 13, 2005
10:17 AM EST
You're welcome to have a skeptical point of view and doubt my assertions. But, I was there and I negotiated with the people involved. Part of the problem had to do with insiders who had an inflated expectation of the value of the software and didn't understand the busines model.

Secondly, you represent the kind of people I ran into in the Silicon jungle; arrogant with an inability to go beyond their bias, prejudices and beliefs. Many people exist that won't investigate anything. They already know everything, so why look any deeper to find out the truth. And since I know who you are, I can tell you that you don't know what frosted widgets exist that you haven't seen or heard about.

As far as Apple, I can put you in touch with the people there who know the situation. The original lead in the enterprise effort can verify how his funding went away and how management had abandoned the enterprise initiative and started to focus on iPod. Fact, proveable.

If you bother to look at the links in the article, you will see a pretty significant statement from IBM.

Quoting:In my experiences, Linux has a confusing and technical interface. Until the OSS community realizes the value of user experience, and until they learn not to stand still with the current UI and UE, Linux will always remain behind.


I can see that you value your opinion more than anything else.

Quoting:Sorry, but if VC is headed my way, I MAKE it happen. There's no acceptable alternative.


Well, it's refreshing to know that you are such an incredible rainmaker as well as a jerk. Those things are usually mutually exclusive. You simply do not know about what you are talking.

Thanks for your comment and for tiping your hand.
helios

Nov 13, 2005
11:34 AM EST
"The difference is negligable at best. In my experiences, Linux has a confusing and technical interface. Until the OSS community realizes the value of user experience, and until they learn not to stand still with the current UI and UE, Linux will always remain behind."

You are kidding...right? As a Linux Advocate group, Lobby4Linux has been ultra-active in the spread and use of Linux. We have 11 and 12 year old children not to mention several 80+ year old grandmothers using PCLinuxOS for the first time and using it like they were born to it. No instructions, no manuals...just click-and-discover use. Are you speaking of Gentoo or Slackware...? There are a handful of five-star user-friendly distros availiable and so very easy for the new Linux User. Now if you consider PCLinuxOS to have a "confusing and technical interface", I know several Jr. high kids and some great grandmothers that would gladly spend some time with you in helping you to figure it out. they are not real "techies", but I'm sure they wouldn't mind giving you a hand.

helios

helios
tuxchick

Nov 13, 2005
11:37 AM EST
pf, the real test is the grandfathers. :) Grannies run rings around the old boys.

A couple years ago I gave some classes to the local quilting group, which was all 60+ women. Them girls are sharp. Maybe quilting makes you smarter, but now they're blogging, putting up family photo albums online, and doing all kinds of fun stuff.

On Linux.
helios

Nov 13, 2005
12:12 PM EST
TC...who do you think us grandfathers GO TO when we have a computer problem???

Quilting doesn't make them smarter...thinking for their husbands makes them smarter.

(you're not going to wear THAT out in public are you...?)

;-)

helios
tadelste

Nov 13, 2005
12:20 PM EST
Exactly.
tuxchick

Nov 13, 2005
1:18 PM EST
"In my experiences, Linux has a confusing and technical interface. Until the OSS community realizes the value of user experience, and until they learn not to stand still with the current UI and UE, Linux will always remain behind."

I have to agree with this, up to a point. The FOSS world has always valued freedom and unfettered access to source code as the foundation of usability. But a lot of developers, when it comes to that last 5% of polish that would elevate an app from "pretty cool and powerful" to "cool, powerful, and easy and fun to use" simply don't bother. That last 5% takes a lot of work, so I can understand why it isn't a priority. A lot of Linux apps are like homegrown hotrods, with awesome powerplants and ph34rsumly great handling, but the seat is a crate bolted to the frame, and the owner's manual is a couple of illegible notes scrawled on a napkin.

But that certainly is not universally true. Despite my bitching about Gnome, it runs rings around the Windows desktop. The most minimalist Linux desktop runs rings around Windows. KDE has all the gloss and polish anyone could want. I've been coaching unsophisticated users for years, and they do fine with Linux. All they really need is a menu with the apps that they use, and away they go. This holds true for both home and business users.

These two paragraphs sum up MS's inexplicable grip on the market:

"As I study the changes in the market, words from an interview with two DEC executives keep running through my mind: "By capturing the lines of communication in the enterprise, (one) could control the enterprise". By controlling the perception which depends on communication, Microsoft made Windows - fumbling, stumbling Windows - the de facto standard for desktops in the minds of executives in the business world. Microsoft owned the consumer marketplace with Windows 95. Now, they own the corporate world with NT technology.

"Among Microsoft's many achievements, they have convinced people with the barest of technical knowledge that Exchange should be their choice in messaging. This has to stand as one of the greatest feats of manipulating perception in modern times. One might even suggest that penetrating the enterprise must rank with Microsoft's garnering the PC market by selling IBM on DOS, fifteen years earlier."

Targeting non-technical managers and decision-makers is Microsoft's great stroke of genius. They have also captured a sizable technically-savvy segment, which baffles me, but humans are not logical, and business people are not necessarily smart.

Another factor is a lot of folks love a winner, no matter how venal or corrupt. Whatever else Microsoft may be, they're undeniably one of the most successful businesses of all time. (As long as you measure success only in terms of dollars and market share, and ignore things like quality products and good corporate citizenship.)
tadelste

Nov 13, 2005
2:38 PM EST
tuxchick: that leaves us with the original slander of pricewise. Essentially asserting that something's wrong. That's one of the gemstones of disinformation technology. It's a classical technique use to bend perception.

Essentially, one attacks the person's credibility without facts. Then changes the subject. So, you're left with "something's wrong" which is never substantiated and switched to a topic with which people can argue. It leaves the original premise in tact. So, I'm now arguing and I'm left with an embedded command (subliminal) that something out of my control is wrong. This causes a high level of cognitive dissonance.

I have some agility with disinformation which is why I back my assertions up with empirial data.

So, an inferior product promulgates desktops. Having programmed gdi.exe and glib, I can attest to the technical superiority of the current Linux desktops. If you take a look at the Vista desktops you will find a combination of Gnome, Looking Glass (java) and Aqua. The OSX toolbar can sit anywhere on Vista. It's a visual trick.

Gnome has done extensive useability testing and has beaten the sox off Windows. Those tests are avilable from Sun.

But the real kicker and something that strategists at Microsoft don't want to get into the media has to do with Outlook-Exchange. Without that combination, Microsoft offers nothing else to compel enterprises to use their products. Once, it was price. Now, it's vendor lock-in.

I should write a disinformation piece some time to give everyone a feel for the power of the techniques. Then I could come back and point out the phrases that make your stomach turn to knots. We call those incantations.

The crazy-making part of the pricewise arguements invoke early times when someone looked you in the eyes and lied to you. You know that feeling in your gut.

I even know the next wave of material that should hit this thread. But, we can wait and then I'll explain the come back strategy used to evoke further doubt once a disinformation technqiue is exposed.

Of course this is just link rot not a conspiracy to rewrite history eh.
adrianphicks

Nov 13, 2005
4:27 PM EST
Enough arguning.

Tadelste; in your piece you stated that your Exchange & Outlook replacements were open source.

"I offered a free, open source Outlook clone"

and

"I orchestrated the building of an open source replacement for Exchange server that would run on IBM mainframes running Linux"

I'm interested in taking a look at your open source Exchange & Outlook replacements.

Where can I download them?

Thanks.

Adrian Hicks
tadelste

Nov 13, 2005
4:41 PM EST
Adrian: Click on my handle and send me a message.

And, it's arguing unless arguning is a verb I haven't come across.

Also, we're discussing not arguing. However, I did make an argument in my article.

In any case, this is what we do on open source news sites, we go on the Argun river and argue, I mean discuss.

Maybe the dry sense of humor doesn't come across, but then we live in semi-arrid conditions similar to the area where argun runs.

BTW, I'll be happy to lead you to the code.

mezzo

Nov 13, 2005
5:33 PM EST
Tom,

What were the main reasons OOo said no? I can see ego, but surely they knew of the complexity of going from near zero. In the tradition of their father product StarOffice and how they begun to shape that, they could have taken your product where it needed to go.
tadelste

Nov 13, 2005
6:10 PM EST
mezzo: I gave them the source code and they said it had to be cross platform. So, one of their developers got it running on Windows as well as Linux and Solaris after I explained how. Shortly after that Jeffrey Stedfast from Ximian came in lobbying for Evolution. So, they had two solutions from which to choose. The project manager, a French chap who called me dear all the time, was puzzled and unable to understand the differences between the two code bases.

Jeffrey's trolling after our developers is legendary and ultimately was a deciding factor with me in not working with Nat and Miguel. I knew at the time that Evolution wouldn't fit the OOo project and that Ximian wouldn't provide the Exchange adapters, which they didn't.

The final excuse was resources. Sun wouldn't fund a mail client or server so that left OOo with only volunteers for that part of the project. As you know, nothing came of the OOo mail client project.

That's just one of many snafu's along the way.

RJCorfield

Nov 14, 2005
10:58 PM EST
Confusing technical interface? You mean "Not like Windows - that which we are familliar with and have learned to get around the foibles in".

Linux has a simple, modular, well designed technical interface. It's file system is actually quite well designed. So much so that I notice Windows is migrating towards a similar structure. The separation of concerns between application, system, window manager, shell is so much better defined. Windows has come from a DOS background where there was no separation of concerns and it shows.

The Windows system is a tangle of complex interdependant components. Linux is better layered. COM is a plus point on Windows, or at least the basic idea of discoverable interfaces, but it's complex and has problems.

A user starting from scratch can become productive very quickly and easily on Linux, and can explore deeper as needed. I see a lot of Windows users still struggling and phoning up for help.

Windows users are starting to see the benefit of all user data in one place where it can be backed up easily (rather than scattered all over C:Program Files). All they need is tmpfs and things may be becoming easier. With Dot-Net, windows is getting a /lib, only its called C:WindowsAssembly and is a bit more complex in layout. Windows users are even getting text based config files, though they're XML based generally which isn't so user friendly. At least they can be backed up, copied around, version controlled, ...

Windows is a mess. Yes the front end is pretty, but third party vendors have to do a lot of work to make things work. The complexity of what I'm working on, trying to get a minimum privilage web service system going, is really quite bad. Under the covers Windows is pretty awful. Had any fun in regedit recently? Had to fix a broken or misbehaving Windows system?

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