Paul, Paul,Paul, you poor, misguided little soul.

Story: Rant Mode Equals One: Linux on the Door StopTotal Replies: 39
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Jan 06, 2011
3:05 PM EDT
Before I say anything else, let me congratulate you for finally stepping out of that dark dank basement and graduating to displays that can handle color and more than EGA resoluton.

Good for you!

But, have you really moved forward just because you now sit on the patio at Mi Java es Su Java sipping a triple-shot half-caf/half-decaf soy-milk hold the whip frapacaloric bombast as you run your now-arthritic fingers over the cold smooth screen of your Droid?

Don't get me wrong, Droid's are great. Wish I had one. Heck -- wish I could see all that cool stuff on the teensy-weensy screen or that my fat and fumbly fingers could work the silly thing smoothly, but...

Linux on the desktop (or notebook) irrelevant?

About as irrelevant as Apple was ten years ago, I guess. BTW, have you noticed that, lost in all the noise over iPods, iPhones, iPads, iOUs, etc, that the venerable Mac is also making a resurgence? A Mac that is, ahem, a nice layer of very sweet UI over a solid Unix foundation? Oh wait...Unix. I forgot. We're talking about Linux. We all know that it's nothing like Unix and coudln't possibly form the basis for a solid desktop or a mobile phone or anything like that, could it?

That's probably why Linksys never built a Linux-based router or Tivo a Linux-based DVR. Unless I've got my facts wrong, of course.

Desktops aren't going anywhere anytime soon, if only because some of us like big keyboards, big screens, and the ability to have terabytes of storage without begging for a mortgage. They may look different as we go along, may even become a box that you set your mobile in, like notebook docks, but they'll be around for some time because they're handy to have, especially in offices and libraries and places where power and/or bang for the buck matter more than portability.

I could be wrong, but what are the chances of that? Let me ask you a simple little question: How many people do you know who have ditched their computer for a smartphone? I'll bet most of the casualties were other phones, not computers.


Jan 06, 2011
3:26 PM EDT
Let me ask you a simple little question: How many people do you know who have ditched their computer for an smartphone?

*an* smartphone?

If your going too phrase questions too me you should at least get the grammar write.

You illiterate hackers are all alike.

You crouch in the dust of your half-run-down trailers, nothing but the glow of radioactive TV tubes and the smell from old typewriter ribbon and half-rotted copies of Highlights magazine to guide your way. I come here and expose my soul, make some crazy predictions and what do you do? You insult my intellect with half-baked questions -- questions that seem altogether very familiar -- it was meant to be funny. It was meant to illustrate a point. Your problem is obviously illiteracy -- do you read me? .... Of course you dont!

You're too busy, pounding out angry messages on your old IBM selectric, passing them to your office manager to be reposted (and hopefully grammar/spelling corrected along the way). She probably faxes copies to Iron Mountain so they won't be lost, or maybe you have her keying them onto old punch cards. Then she uses the antiquated desktop (probably running an old copy of Windows Me, knowing you), to sign onto LXer, and post this insulting drivel.

But it won't always be this way for you and your kind -- someday soon (*SOON*) that old Winchester drive at the heart of your operation will give up the ghost, and not even Norton Ghost will be able to revive it. THEN we'll see what kind of time you have to respond. BTW -- your post here is a little bit over the top, my man -- you need to study some books on diplomacy, you ask me. It also seems a little too paranoid.

FWIW, Apple was irrelevant 10 years ago. And I guess they made a comeback, so maybe you do have a point there. Again, the proper hat-wear will likely be able to cover it up (this is a reused insult, but I digress).

But I suspect before Microsoft is able to come back, they're going to have to fundamentally change. They're going to have to give up the idea of desktop monopoly as a core value. I don't think they're there yet.

Probably we need to take this fight elsewhere. Maybe Penguin-counter-penguin needs to return.

If your office manager and antiquated desktop technology can keep up with things, that is.

Jan 06, 2011
3:33 PM EDT
> You illiterate hackers are all alike.

Hey! Dino and I are NOTHING alike! We hate each other's gusts!

Jan 06, 2011
3:47 PM EDT
Nice to see you around, Paul. Don't be a stranger. :)

Jan 06, 2011
3:53 PM EDT
Some days there is so much smoke it is difficult to tell the pot from the kettle.

Jan 06, 2011
3:54 PM EDT
jdixon: Thanks!

I've made a new years resolution. This post was part of fulfilling it.

I've been in lurk mode on LXer for quite some time, just have so little time. I'm going to take some more time to be more involved.


Jan 06, 2011
4:01 PM EDT
What Bob said...

And ---

The IBM Selectric was great technology. You still can't get a laser printer that will give you that classy imprinted feel that a Selectric could punch into a page.

Which may be part of a larger point -- hatwear or no -- one that the old basement you might have gotten, but this new 21st century coffeeDroid has probably forgotten.

Technology moves, but it don't always fall forward.

I once worked at a law firm when deposition software was still pretty new stuff. Lawyers were wowed by it -- you could search on a word, grab hunks to put in pleadings, etc, etc.

It was going to save them a bunch of money, not to mention allow them to increase billings.

Then I asked two simple questions:

No 1:

Have you ever read through a deposition and gone "Ah ha!!!" because you found something you didn't expect to see? The answer, btw, is yes, because that almost always happens, even if you were the deposing attorney. It's easy to forget and it's easy not to notice relationships when you are also directing the deposition.

No 2:

How do you write a query for something you don't expect to find, something you have no idea is lurking in all of those words? Something that only shows up when you see it in context?

Or how about this:

When the shuttle was slated for end-of-life, NASA's next state of the art manned exploration program was -- drum roll, please -- Apollo, the sequel. They even sent engineers to museums to photograph and measure Apollo era hardware that wasn't available anywher else. For that matter, the new commercial oriented push is more or less a return to the old ways, with Spacex's Dragon taking the role of Apollo command module.

It's easy to get so caught up in nifty newness that we forget about nifty oldness. Things die when they don't make sense, not when something else seems shinier.

You, my touchscreen-toting fad-following friend, are an exception to the rule. I expect you to not make sense for years to come.

PS: Don't you be talking trash about my Grammar. She came within 2 months of making 100, and had less gray hair than I do when she died.

Jan 06, 2011
4:02 PM EDT
Take this fight elsewhere? This is just getting good..




Jan 06, 2011
4:03 PM EDT
@Scott --

Don't worry. We don't pay any attention to you.

That's probably a grievous error on our part...

Jan 06, 2011
4:19 PM EDT
Dino: speak for yourself. My guess is that paying attention == "not reading" which aligns very well with Scott's expectations :P

Scott: We still have the icons for penguin-counter-penguin around somewhere? Just making sure.

Jan 06, 2011
4:32 PM EDT
Dino / Paul:

It's what trendwatchers like me (Yes, I've been promoted, thank you for congratulations!) call "hybrid future".

Microsoft with Novell thought it would mean Linux and Windows nicely co-existing and interoperating. Cough.

Of course, three years later Microsoft figured out it meant ditching Intel where it makes sense (low power), and Intel figured out it meant ditching Microsoft where it makes sense (GoogleTV).

Of course, RA Trip in some other _serious_ thread already pointed out to me how the desktop is not dying because people like him (and some other ones?) still need it. For playing nifty games picturing them escaping from the police with real time raytracing, black hole mass calculations, nuclear applejuice-fusion-reactor simulations, rendering the 18 Terapixel 4D panorama view they took from within their cookie jar, simulating the total financial meltdown after the WikiLeaks/BoA release this January and their influence on their Barbados-and-Antigua-shares and calculating on which day their birthday will be in 4545. Me of course uses that fat high-margin Intel plant which besides computing also powers the whole suburb and causes a tropical climate in whole Brabant this winter to do some Bayesian calculations on who's going to win this Dino vs. PaulFerris battle (though computer says NO).

So that's when I thought of the "average need" vs. "peak" problem: Most people buy desktops and cars based on their 'peak'-needs.

If you can figure out some way to serve their needs by means of selling them a cheap small car with a voucher to hire a big car for two weeks a year as a bonus, or some other scheme like that for a phone (rent a renderfarm when you're Photoshopping), I think you have a business model.

BTW The Apollo mission almost went wrong because some guy forgot a minus sign in their 30kb of code. It was discovered by coincidence, lucky astro's. Which in my opinion is the proof software just isn't advanced enough to do space travel with more than 1MB of memory, so I think it's better if NASA revives some Commodores. Ask Bob though, he's an expert on the topic!

Jan 06, 2011
4:45 PM EDT
Hey Hans --

The Apollo command module's onboard computer was a real whiz-bang workhorse, with 4k of Ram and a clock speed of nearly 100khz.

Put that in your pipe and smoke it, pal!

Jan 06, 2011
4:47 PM EDT
Oh darn, the suit on Pauls picture went poof while I was F5'ing!

Guess somebody put a gun to his head and asked him 'should I sift the phone or the suit?" I feel sorry for the suit, though I'm sure the inside will receive more sun now.

Jan 06, 2011
4:50 PM EDT

Don't worry about the suit. Paul just changed pictures because he thinks this one makes him look taller.

Y'know -- I think he's right.

Jan 06, 2011
5:12 PM EDT
I see my stature is still being challenged. When will there be the proper legislation through congress to prevent discrimination for those of us that are vertically challenged?!?!

I know, right after they cut their own pay.

Anywho, the picture was 5 years old -- it was supposed to go live with the one you see.

In it, I'm 6ft tall, but you can't tell from here.

Jan 06, 2011
5:14 PM EDT
Yes, Paul, we know.

The question is: whose feet?

Jan 06, 2011
6:21 PM EDT
That's what it showed in the police mugshot.

Jan 06, 2011
6:41 PM EDT
Hi Paul,

Nice article !. It takes courage to express your future vision to the public. As you seem to by quite capable to foreseen a near future you should also foreseen that there will be always someone trying to be smarter than you and insult you like in this case Dino did. So do not take this personally! I also do not like people who are not capable of writing their own article but if someone does, they criticize and insult the author to try everyone convince how smart they are. Although, Dino made some good points he should rephrase his post in less insulting manner since this kind of posts will never contribute to anything. You expressed your opinion and that is good enough to me and now its up to me to craft my own from your post!

I have couple questions:

1) I'm new to Android and I'm just wondering how an android is going to contribute to a GNU/Linux society or to be more specific to a Linux Desktop ( if it ever will )? I know it uses a modified Linux Kernel but that is all. I'm failing to see an android as a Linux !

2) Now about Linux Desktop. We have hundreds of Linux distributions. I have this feeling that this is what slows down a Linux to be a successful candidate as a desktop operating system of choice. Don't you guys think that this freedom of everyone having a its own Linux distribution is decentralizing a focus and effort of a Linux community. I believe that Ubuntu has tried to solve this problem but yet again we have one more distribution to think about.

thank you

PS: PAUL: > You illiterate hackers are all alike. Sorry for my English too. However, you guys sometimes forget that not everyone was born with English book in their hands. Although, I'm doing what I can, English is my third foreign language ( not counting my native tongue ) I learned in my life and believe me you do not get much English grammar from configuring an apache web server or writing a bash script.



Jan 06, 2011
6:49 PM EDT
@linuxer --

Paul and I are old friends, going back into the last millennium, when Linux was new and shiny and fortunes were being made and lost faster than either of us could run our mouths -- and that's pretty darned fast!

We started doing these back and forths back then, when Paul was an editor for Linux Today, and still try to get one in now and then.

Paul doesn't make it easy, though, as he really does tend to know what he's talking about. Darn him.

Jan 06, 2011
7:01 PM EDT
linuxer: The "feud" between Dino and I goes back well over a decade. We're dear friends in real life (we've drank beer together on a few occasions).

The duel you see here is a complete mock-up of real-life trolling, complete with over-the-top paranoia, pointless insults and completely pointless weaknesses on both of our parts. One of my rules when I respond to Dino is to find the most pointless thing he said, zero in on it, and begin the offensive :-)

So it's all in fun. You're not the first person to be fooled by it, so please accept mine (and Dino's) apology. The fun is all in the written wrangling.

On the subject of Android -- the code is open source, and you're correct to notice that it's not exactly Linux (in a similar way, Apple's BSD is not exactly any other BSD).

But it is far more open than either Windows or Apples operating system. It's already spurring a healthy development community that will (my prediction here) eventually overwhelm any competitor in terms of speed of evolution. Time will tell.

This, despite fragmentation -- a non issue in my opinion.

Linux's "fragmentation" has not held it back (again, my opinion). The wealth of different distributions is no where near as confusing as switching from any other OS to Linux.

That said, I think the main thing holding back Linux has been a lack of a primary company driving the development of desktop applications. People have tried -- they've mostly failed. The jury is still out as to whether Canonical can do this.

In a similar light, for an opposite experience, RedHat has done a splendid job of doing this for the server space.

I suspect that they were successful because the demand for a solid Linux server product and a company that would support it was high -- and let's not forget that they had the model of other Unix vendors to follow when it came to interfacing with customers and meeting their demands for support.

The hundreds of distributions cater to groups of people that are trying to solve specific problems. Ubuntu is doing a great job solving the desktop problem and might one day be sought after by the buying public instead of Windows -- but my main point is that as of now, it's far less important than it was a couple of years ago. The computing landscape is fragmented into a lot of different players and the solution market hinges on the Internet more than it does the desktop -- it's got a nice side benefit -- most people can choose Linux for their home computer and get quite a bit more done than they used to.

Right now that's mostly geeky types if you're in the US (I know that some countries are using Linux far more than in the US). It's still nice to have things work so nicely. My wife runs Ubuntu -- she even does her own upgrades and security updates. She doesn't need me at all (and she's not a geek -- she's the person in my life who keeps me sane).

As for your English -- my "insult" to Dino was purely satire -- don't take it personally at all. I'm happy to see LXer have a broad audience and didn't mean to hurt anyone with our typical "food fight" type of exchanges ;)

All the best wishes, --Paul

Jan 06, 2011
7:19 PM EDT
@Paul --

Oh yeah.

NOW you get all gracious, trying to make me look bad.

Well guess what, you not-so-distant-past-basement-lurker, I can do that without you!


Jan 06, 2011
10:16 PM EDT
@ Paul and Dino.......Paul, please don't leave it too long before another of your terrific articles hits LXer. And Dino (and Paul), may your wrangling afterwards always be present....Laughter is always the best medicine and I thoroughly enjoyed both the article and the "fight".

Jan 06, 2011
11:16 PM EDT
Linuxer, they used to be married. Probably they still should be.

Jan 07, 2011
12:35 AM EDT
Paul and Dino:

> So it's all in fun. You're not the first person to be fooled by it. You got me there ! :-) I'm allergic to that kind of talk so you guys should make it clear before you start your wrangling match ! :-)

Linux's "fragmentation": It certainly has its advantages ! However, I would rather give a credit for a Linux development success to a license by which a Linux is distributed with.

>That said, I think the main thing holding back Linux has been a lack of a primary company driving the development of desktop applications.

I completely agree with you on that one. However, in my opinion part of the failure of establishing a primary ( or any ) company for a development of a Linux desktop application is due to Linux's "fragmentation".

Example: Company decides to make some state of art software. Should we port this software to Linux? Let's see ! Linux Desktop share for all desktops world wide is now somewhere between 0.9 to 1.05%.

Even though the company decides to go forward to port this new application to Linux they face another problem. Most of the Linux distributions come with different versions of kernel, packages and licences. Which means that the chance that you install a working application with a single click is very low so additional effort would have to be made to make this possible.

Now the company says .. Ok, so let's stick with a single distribution. But if they do this they realize that the market share value for a Linux desktops suddenly dropped down to something like 0.5% ( example guess ).

Then the company boss says: Linux users are clever people they have wine and crossover so there is no need to port to Linux as they will do it by them selfs. More importantly due to this fact the Linux Desktop share for us is now 0.6% without any effort !

As you have pointed out the development of new applications is holding a Linux back and my point is that Linux's "fragmentation" holds the Linux Desktop application development back.

Less applications means less popularity which consequently leads to lack of development which again means less applications and so on ....

I'm not saying that Linux is behind but perhaps it could be better off if the effort of a Linux community is concentrated to a single distribution. The centralized effort is apart of a profit one thing what could possibly keep Microsoft alive until now. It may be that we are now spending huge effort by reinventing a wheel.



Jan 07, 2011
1:56 AM EDT
Quoting:As you have pointed out the development of new applications is holding a Linux back and my point is that Linux's "fragmentation" holds the Linux Desktop application development back.

I don't believe that to be true. ID software can ship binaries that work on all Linuxes. So can StarOffice, the Dutch IRS, VirtualBox (commercial version), Maya and many others. Stick to POSIX, XDG and statically link everything else.

Oh, and Linux desktop penetration is far higher that 1%. I'd say it's between 5% and 10%. About on par with OSX.

Jan 07, 2011
2:12 AM EDT
Sander, for sure there are companies that have solved this for the most part, but ....

I deal in the enterprise space on the server side -- a lot of stuff works on both SLES and RHEL but I do see some of what linuxer is talking about -- they make what appear to be minor choices that make code portability a bit painful.

It's only the process-intense stuff that ends up being problematic -- and in those cases they make binary libraries that get invoked at process startup that are different for different distributions.

Similar stuff goes on in the Windows space for XP/Vista/7.

But I think what you're saying here is really important -- the general makers of software have to do a lot of testing across several distributions. It would be much easier if they didn't have to do this.

I think it's a cost of doing business thing, though, at the end of the day. Unlike Windows, Linux is "fragmented" out of control of one entity. And then there are the different processor architectures.

In contrast, though, I'd argue that the software quality of the top 3 or so desktop contenders is much higher.

Hopefully there will emerge a more computing diverse development environment (Java is close here, but tends to be a bit sluggish -- but something like that would work). Maybe something Mozilla or Chrome oriented.

Given the amount of web functionality though, a lot of people's computing needs are met with a web browser. Each year this situation gets better.

Jan 07, 2011
2:16 AM EDT
Quoting:Linuxer, they used to be married. Probably they still should be.

Dino rejected my marriage proposal -- I couldn't find a valid GPL-compliant marriage license that was good enough for him.

It's the lawyer in him.

Jan 07, 2011
4:48 AM EDT
Sander: I have to disagree, even though I would like what you said to be true. But I'm afraid it's only wishful thinking.

Dutch IRS packages had has some problems (for example for me it failed to connect to the internet), and they're blamed for their autopackage version. Because as one of the only ones out there, they tried to develop a cross-distro solution, with autopackage But people said: "Autopackage stinks, it's the worst package manager out there and problems are not solved. Hey, you should have let the community make gazillion different native versions for every distro!" Right, like I'm going to trust distro developers with handling my income data... Also serves as a great example to future cross distro distributors: Try to make something which works across distro's and a part of the community (the most vocal part BTW) will tell you chose the worst stinking solution. What a great way to invite developers! They'll also say you should trust _their_ community with _your_ software.

Take European patents for example. Rigth now a company has to translate them to over fifteen languages and pay for it. Different countries might have different rules what's patentable and not. Too expensive for lots of companies, and too clumsy because different rules. If only Enlish, German and French remain as required languages, I'd say more companies will apply for patens, and the market-share of EU-patents as a whole (compared to US/Japanese etc patents) will almost certainly rise. So, politicians and companies saw the drawbacks of fragmentation, saw how this led to the European patents not being competetive enough compared to the competition, and they took action to reduce fragmentation and make applying for EU-patents more attractive.

If even EU-countries can agree on reducing fragmentation (except for Italy and Spain of course, though they would have agreed on "Enlish only"), then why can't Linux distro's? Are they even more entrenched than EU-nations?

In my opinion, linuxer is right. There are many people developing for Android because they can earn some bucks, but also because Google ships their software "as is" without altering it, and because with one package they can reach +80% of the Linux-on-phone users out there. If there was a Linux app-store with software workin for all distro's, I think lots more developers would develop for Linux and moreover 50% of the reasons for having distributions at all (duplicating package management efforts done by other distro's already) would have been gone.

And 5-10% sounds fun, but based on what? AT internet institute shows great number of people use Firefox and IE declined by 10% last year in the EU (from 60 to 50 percent), so we can't blame them for doing Microsoft-advertizing.

At the very same time since they started their surveys, there have been NO growth in Linux market share at all. So if 5-10% of the people use Linux, then why doesn't it show in over a billion pagehits?

1% might be off, but I can't believe it's 5-10% but doesn't show in surveys.

So I'm pretty sure Android is doing something right which the distro's have been doing wrong for years, even apart from corporate backing.

Jan 07, 2011
8:06 AM EDT
Paul --

Yeah, it was the license.

Jan 07, 2011
9:23 AM EDT
Quoting:Yeah, it was the license
Oh, you;re gonna bring up the tall sexy brunette thing again. It was a passing thing and that was so 1986. If you had married me I would have considered cutting it off -- maybe reducing my involvement with her to just nights and weekends, but you're so hard to compromise with.

Probably still upset about the incident with the gun. How many times do I have to say it: "It was supposed to be funny! I didn't know the gun was loaded! I wasn't really aiming at your head!?!?


Jan 07, 2011
9:33 AM EDT
hkwint: A lot of valid points. Possibly google will even make some inroads if ChromeOS makes a sizable dent and is extensible enough that those of us that know what to do are able to enjoy using it.

Like, say you could load it on a PC and it's stripped down but you just build it back up to something like debian with some basic apt-gets.

The whining from the community will likely be deafening for a while. Long term though, if that results in some desktop adoption it's worth it IMHO.

And even after that there would still be the 250 plus distros ;) Just like now, with very little desktop share. I do think the market share is not as small as is being reported, but that's just an intuitive guess, but the perception is as you describe and that really does matter.

Jan 07, 2011
10:10 AM EDT
Paul: Ah, now we know why Dino is making all those braindead comments since his return!

And Dino: Going back to the last millenium? I think you meant paleogene! As that's when dino's lived.

I think Ubuntu/Fedora/Suse on a Chrome-laptop/netbook (assuming ChormeOS runs on the Linux kernel) would probably give better results than on the common Windows laptop. Maybe one could even keep the kernel! Bonus is, when buying pre-installed ChromeOS one probably only has to pay for MS-patents (like with HTC/Android) and not for their copyright (like with Windows) anymore.

Something interesting to add to the mix:

That's the ARM-laptops Microsoft-partner NuFront wants to bundle with Windows 8. And Ubuntu already runs on it! So Ubuntu is probably way ahead of Windows, unless Windows already runs on it smoothly.

Jan 07, 2011
10:14 AM EDT
@paul and @hans --

Interesting on this fragmentation thing and lack of leadership, etc. It may be the ultimate Achilles heel of free software: Developers rule and developers don't like to listen to ANYBODY unless you make them do it.


Great if you want a play toy to show off your slick new recursive algorithm to display rotating maps of American Samoa in time to the Polysics version of My Sharona, displayed PIP in the corner, all implemented in 3 lines of ruby...

Not so great if you're in search of world domination.

Jan 07, 2011
4:40 PM EDT
Quoting:Developers rule and developers don't like to listen to ANYBODY unless

...a monetary reward for doing so is involved?

Jan 08, 2011
3:09 AM EDT
Hans -

Quoting:...a monetary reward for doing so is involved?

That would be the ticket.

It's why the big bad corporate folks can get things done that the free software world can't seem to fathom. If you need something uninteresting done, you've got to pay somebody.

Jan 08, 2011
5:55 PM EDT
> That would be the ticket.

Yep. Now we need to find a way to do it. The methods tried so far don't seem to have been particularly successful.

Jan 10, 2011
12:20 PM EDT
I'd say couple IdeaStorm / Brainstorm to Flattr!

Jan 10, 2011
12:57 PM EDT
Isn't there a "bounty" site somewhere, where someone posts something they want, then when the developer finishes a program to do it, or fixes the problem, etc, they get whatever has been donated to that bounty?

Like, "I'd give $50 for K3b-Trinity to correctly eject/load the media for verification instead of choking".

Jan 10, 2011
2:52 PM EDT
Bob - I believe there is.

I don't recall it having the power of contract (which is what you need -- imagine being a developer and not knowing if somebody else is going to beat you to the bounty) or if it ever amassed sums sufficient for serious development work.

Jan 12, 2011
7:17 PM EDT
Bob & Dino: see or or

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