Could be they want to save licensing fees on the desktop?

Story: Google Confirms Using Ubuntu Linux, Won't Say WhyTotal Replies: 5
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Feb 02, 2006
6:03 AM EDT
One of Google's secrets to profitability has been their use of Linux in their massive server farms. Why wouldn't they want to save on licensing on the desktop as well?

So far none of these speculative articles has even considered that Google might want to use Ubuntu on the desktop because it will lower costs and lead to greater profitability.

It could just be a common sense business decision. Ubuntu may not have all the multimedia bells and whistles some home users want. It doesn't yet have all of the ease of configuration that, say, a Mac does. However, for a business, a simpler desktop makes sense, and Google has the Linux know how to support Linux desktops.

Google is a new company, so change is still easy for them. They don't have decades of records in any given format. They don't have decades old employees who are set in their ways. The only reason Microsoft can seem to come up with to get companies not to switch to Linux runs along the lines of "Its just such a hassle to make any changes, so just keep using our stuff". For a start up like Google, the hassle isn't really there!

Why shouldn't you use Linux desktops too, and save even more money? Heck you're going to have to implement Vista in the next few years. That's going to be a big hassle. You'll have to retrain everyone in a new interface. You'll have to plan a scheme to update all of your old documents to new Window's (R) Office(R) Vista(R) formats. And then in four or five more years, you'll get to do the Windows upgrade dance again, and again, and again!

Why not just pay the price once and switch to Linux? The KDE and Gnome interfaces have been pretty stable for the last few versions. The upgrades in Linux desktops have made things easier, not just made them different like a Windows upgrade does. You'll save a ton in the long run.

Google might just have figured this out already!

Feb 02, 2006
8:40 AM EDT
number6x, Your analysis sounds plausible to me. Some of the greatest hurdles to general consumer adoption of Linux are imho

1) Getting decent hardware support across the board by getting hardware vendors to issue linux drivers as a matter of course rather than as an afterthought.

2) Polishing up gnome or kde so that your average klutz does not start tearing their hair out over routine configuration. I speak from first hand experience.

I can't see Google solving the first without a really substantial investment. The second might be solved longer term with the help of the Ubuntu gang.

Then there is the small matter of opening fire on the richest corporation in the world....

All this sounds like a bit of an over reading of Google to me.

Feb 02, 2006
10:54 AM EDT
Remeber that Google already has hundreds of thousands of server boxes running Linux. They already know what hardware works well, and either have support for it from vendors or in-house. What special drivers are needed for a business desktop?

Generic sound, video, hard drive, cd or dvd drive, standard print servers and file servers. Business machines don't need high end graphics or sound card, but Linux actually has great support for those.

Wireless and win-modems are the only two places Linux is lacking, and neither is of much use in a business desktop.

Polishing down Gnome or KDE (read about Kiosk) is more along the lines of what businesses want for their desktops. A good business desktop should be a simplified offering. Fewer "moving" parts means fewer things to break, and more efficient use of resources, less maintenance and upkeep. KISS principle.

Feb 02, 2006
12:34 PM EDT
Yeah I know I completely agree. Just pointing out the implausibility of this being the start of a Google linux push for consumers.

Feb 02, 2006
2:58 PM EDT
They keep close to the vest on their plans. So, who knows what they're really doing. It's all speculation but hopeful speculation at least.

Don't forget, they have a task master at the helm. I doubt that he will let them stray too far from the core business. What's the verb for searching the internet? Google.

Feb 03, 2006
3:26 AM EDT

The thought that Google could be planning on using Linux as its standard desktop is probably more frightening to Microsoft, than Google releasing a Linux distro.

I mean, whats another Linux distro, give or take? Compare that to " We saved $XXX million dollars by switching. Oh yeah, and that latest worm didn't affect us either".

If Google's stock goes up, more investors will pressure more companies to try Linux too.

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