Category Archives: Blog

Both Sides Play Dirty. Linux and Microsoft.

My favorite FUD recipe, it’s delicious:

1) Create a completely misleading title.

2) Make a mountain out of a molehill.

3) Proclaim insider knowledge not possessed by more experienced individuals.

4) Carefully craft statements based on false premisses.

5) Spread the FUD around and bake @ 350.

And whatever you do, DO NOT ADD FACTS, Facts, facts!

Typical Linux FUD Campaign towards Microsoft.

An Exercise for the Reader: Take a look at any of the major Linux friendly sites around the net and see if you can spot a pattern.

The typical day revolves around crying wolf, proclaiming Linux the winner of every battle, and screaming FUD at anything and everything Microsoft does.

It’s almost like watching under-developed, spoiled children running around, screaming, constantly trying to evoke attention and reassurance within their group.

Paris Hilton (and friends) come to mind here.

Lets take a look at the current round of FUD [Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt]…

Tactic #1.

Virtualize Windows on Linux? Microsoft Says No Way!

Create a completely misleading title.

Microsoft made no such statements…

“We haven’t seen significant demand [from enterprise-level customers] for Linux applications on the desktop or for desktop virtualization on top of Linux,” — Sam Ramji, Director Platform Technology Strategy, Microsoft

Little to no demand for Windows virtualization under Linux from enterprise-level customers does not translate to anything remotely close to what the author will have you believe.

Tactic #2.

However, one has to wonder why Microsoft is blowing off the enthusiast community…

Make a mountain out of a non-existent molehill.

The referred to community is not the sort that goes out purchasing copies of Windows to run under Linux. They either violate the EULA terms of existing copies or revert to their roots: stealing a fresh (virus and backdoor infected) copy of Windows from The Pirate Bay.

Microsoft is in business to make money, and will allocate resources to the market segment where there are profits to be made. Pleasing a community that never buys anything, that spits on them, that provides no benefit, and drains resources *does nothing* and efforts are better focused elsewhere.

Tactic #3.

I think the decision to refuse to support virtualized Vista and XP on Linux will hurt Microsoft in both the short and long term.

Proclamation of knowledge not possessed by others.

Microsoft is not run by morons. Talent is everywhere, and not just at Google.

Again, the author does not clarify what “support” is referring to exactly, but if there was a decision made, you can be sure that more knowledgeable and experienced individuals have worked it out.

Tactic #4.

I like Windows Vista (and XP), but I want to use Linux, too. And, I want to run the operating systems I prefer the way I want to. Microsoft’s decision to refuse to support virtualization on Linux makes it harder for me to do things the way I want – and I’m not happy. By refusing to support virtualization on Linux, Microsoft is basically telling users, “it’s our way or the highway.”

Carefully craft statements based on false premisses… Leaving just enough room to backpedal out of certain assertions in the future.

You can run just about any version of Windows as a guest OS under a Linux or Debain based host with VMWare, Xen, QEMU, etc. Paid customers are provided support from the VM vendor.

Tactic #5.

Somebody needs to remind Microsoft that it’s no longer alone on the desktop – and it can’t bully users like it used to. Somebody (namely me) just did. Is anybody in Redmond listening?

Pretend you have fallen, and can’t get up. Your target has pushed you down the stairs. Threaten to sue!

Please clarify what exactly it is that you believe Microsoft owes you?

It’s not enough that you get to steal their products, but now they also need to provide support for you to run Windows under Linux.

Remember what I said about the problems of having to cater to the vocal sub-category of the Linux home user-base? They never stop complaining, no matter what you do. Ubuntu comes to mind here.

The OS is a tool to be used, not a way of life.

The More Dell Lies, the More Ubuntu Community Embraces Dell

Having priced similar Dell Ubuntu and Vista systems in the past, at a real difference of 10 dollars, I was curious to check in again and see if Dell has implemented anything the users of IdeaStorm have asked for.

One particular thread caught my attention:
Ubuntu Dell is $50 Less Than Windows Dell — Implemented.

Lets take The Flavor Challenge and build two same-spec 1420 Notebooks:

Note “Jet Black [Included in Price]” on 1420 Ubuntu
Downgrade to “Jet Black [subtract $20]” on 1420 Vista

Note “FREE! 2GB Shared Dual Channel DDR2 at 667MHz [Included in Price]” on 1420 Vista
Upgrade to “2GB Shared Dual Channel DDR2 at 667MHz [add $150]” on 1420 Ubuntu

Note “FREE! 160GB SATA Hard Drive (5400RPM) [Included in Price]” on 1420 Vista
Upgrade to “Size: 160GB SATA Hard Drive (5400RPM) [add $125]” on 1420 Ubuntu

Note “Intel 3945 802.11a/g Mini-card [Included in Price]” on 1420 Ubuntu
Upgrade to “Intel 3945 802.11a/g Mini-card [add $25]” on 1420 Vista

Total:

Inspiron 1420 [Vista] $824
Inspiron 1420N [Ubuntu] $1,049

The people asked, and Dell delivered! And only at $225 more for the Ubuntu laptop!

Say this with me: Dell has no intention of selling non-Windows consumer and commodity PCs/Notebooks. They simply can’t as the net profit on a Dell system is derived directly from the Windows OS via “Desktop Real Estate” and any Microsoft leads and co-marketing funds [kickbacks] provided — and not from the base hardware.

The Linux community is being used to generate free publicity and in turn sell Windows Licenses.

A bit ironic, don’t you think so?

Update 07/11/07:

The given components and prices on the 1420 Notebook have been updated. The price difference is now $25 [assuming no change in Wireless NIC], in favor of the Ubuntu system.

Among frequent price and component discrepancies, price fluctuations, and Windows favored promotions, I’m not sure if Dell is serious about selling “open-source” [as Dell calls them] systems, rather than generating publicity.

Considering that expected sales are at 1% of total systems shipped, and that Microsoft could break Dell in half by decreasing the received Windows License discounts and co-marketing funds, I have no choice but to assume the latter.

Update 04/30/10:

Seems like its back to $200 again.

Microsoft Thanks Ubuntu For Increasing XP and Vista Sales

It’s great that Linux is finally getting the exposure it deserves, thanks to Dell, but the question still remains: how is Dell profiting from its Ubuntu offering?

We know that the net margin for Dell, as a whole, is around 5% [the true profit made on revenue]. While we can compare this number to the industry standard, it does not tell us anything about the margins Dell pockets on its commodity PC and Notebook lines.

Per system, it is rumored to be around 2% or less and to be razor-thin and ever decreasing.

Considering that Dell pays $25-$45 per OEM volume XP/Vista license and profits $45+ from the “Desktop Real Estate” provided by Windows, where is the profit made when a Ubuntu system is priced less than it’s Windows counterpart?

Surely not with the upgrades that are either lacking or similarly priced [that sometimes cost more].

Publicity.

The profits made on selling Ubuntu systems at cost, or even at a loss, is with the free publicity Dell is generating for itself via major news and social network sites around the net regurgitating on this deal literally every few days. This in turn generates traffic and sales on profitable items, such as the Windows systems, for Dell.

Breaking News: Wal-Mart to Sell Linux Laptops at Below $400, and PCs For Less Than $300

WalMart Linux Laptop: $398

Just don’t get too excited, because this is old news [circa 2004]. And something that is currently being rehashed as new on Digg, Slashdot, and Linux sites…

I’m sure you have seen it too: the news along the lines of “[insert random OEM here] releasing incredible Linux offers”, quickly followed by naive comments proclaiming the end of Microsoft.

The fact is, OEMs and companies like Wal-Mart have been attempting to sell Linux based PCs and Laptops/Notebooks for years. Take a look:

Unfortunately, most of these attempts have resulted in complete failure or extremely small volume [Wal-Mart couldn't even sell 1000 of those Laptops]. And every few years, the waters are tested again, with the same exact outcome.

Lets face the truth: Linux does not work for the average consumer, it never has, as “choice” is not something that consumers are looking for. Familiarity, function, and eye candy are the determining factors here.

As “Linux” is not synonymous with “Wal-Mart”; it neither is with “Desktop.”

See more for yourself at the Google News Archives and here.

It’s Not a Bug, It’s a Feature… No, It Really Is. Microsoft vs. Linux

Make an HTML form with a text field and two submit buttons. Load Firefox and IE, bring the text field into view, and press the enter key.

When you have a form with one or more buttons, hitting enter under Firefox will POST the value of the 1st form button. On the other hand, with IE, unless a specific button was selected, no button values will POST.

At this point, I know a lot of people would start claiming that Microsoft is sloppy, IE is brain dead, Firefox is so much better, and more similar tripe… But think about it, how should the browser know which button is “first”? Should it be the 1st one in the HTML code? Should the “tabindex” value affect the situation? Could something be manipulating the button visibility or placement under CSS or JavaScript? Can the true human-interpreted layout even be determined by code?

And what about the question of whether the ‘enter’ key signifies “submit form”, or “submit form and the 1st button value”?

Windows has been deployed on hundreds of millions of systems, if not more. The user-base is very diverse: with different cultures, languages, and processes. If you want to cater to that user-base, you cannot make assumptions. IE is absolutely correct in not POSTing the value of an unselected form button on an ‘enter’ key press.

And this does not even touch on the fact that when you have 100s of millions of users, you also absolutely have to consider backward compatibility. Who knows how this used to work in the past, or what assumptions coders have made.

As is turns out, this really is a feature after all. And chances are, the rest of what the Linux fan-base complains about with Microsoft falls exactly along these lines. I’m all for GNU/Linux, just not mindless accusations and false claims.

submit.php

<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01//EN"
	"http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/strict.dtd">
<html>
<head>
<title>It's not a bug, it's a feature!</title>
</head>
<body>
<form action="submit.php" method="post" name="form" id="form">

<p><?php
if (isset($_POST['action'])) {
	if (isset($_POST['submit_1'])) echo $_POST['submit_1'] . '<br/>';
	if (isset($_POST['submit_2'])) echo $_POST['submit_2'] . '<br/>';
}
?></p>

<div>
	<input type="text" name="text" id="text" tabindex="1" value="" /><br/>

	<input type="submit" name="submit_1" id="submit_1" tabindex="2" value="Button 1 Clicked" />
	<input type="submit" name="submit_2" id="submit_2" tabindex="3" value="Button 2 Clicked" />

	<input type="hidden" name="action" value="submitted" />
</div>
</form>
</body>
</html>

Smartest Linux Move Ever? And Why Ubuntu will Fail

Linspire, Microsoft in Linux-related deal

Linspire Inc. has announced an agreement to license voice-enabled instant messaging, Windows Media 10 CODECs, and TrueType font technologies from Microsoft for its Linux distribution.

Shuttleworth Denies Ubuntu-Microsoft Deal

The head of Ubuntu says his company isn’t interested in forming a deal with Microsoft along the lines of those recently reached by Linspire, Xandros, and Novell.

I’ve always said that for Linux to have a chance on the desktop it must be turned into Windows. I know how that might sound to most, but that statement is completely true for one reason: people like what they know, familiarity is comfortable.

So what reason is there to switch away from Windows, something known and used, to Linux, a complete unknown?… Because it’s free and Microsoft is an evil monopoly!?… I think we have to do better than that. We have to give the people what they “want”, and not what we think they “need”, all while making the transition completely seamless.

The average desktop user just wants to power on, browse the internet, visit a few social sites, send email, do some IM, watch videos, and nothing more. And this task needs to function and look exactly like it does on Windows.

Yes, I know you can track down Codecs and TrueType fonts, and install them, but this is beyond what 95% of the desktop market is willing to do. It has to be already provided and look exactly like it does on Windows. If this task takes a single click, it’s already one click too many.

Every year since 2000 it was the year Linux was going to displace Windows. And every year it has failed miserably on the desktop. Linux is by the developer, for the developer. It works best server-side. The desktop/UI is horrible and always makes you do things differently, for no reason at all but “to be different.” And its type of “difference” is not the cool type, it’s downright scary.

Why learn from Microsoft’s mistakes and success, taking what works, when you can spend time and effort re-inventing the wheel. And until this gets fixed, Linux will alway turn away the desktop market.

Another huge problem I see is with providing the user with too many choices… You give someone multiple distributions, all with their own ways of doing things, with multiple applications that have the same function, with too many different options and ways of performing tasks, and the user becomes confused and disoriented. He begins to distrust the product. Time is waisted.

The majority of the desktop user-base want their hand held and told that everything is okay. And Linux slaps them right across the face. Very little is standardized or uniform. This type of “choice”, in this context, is not a strength, but rather a weakness.

While this move *is* the smartest move ever, it never the less is too little and too late — or to put it more correctly: completely and utterly pointless. Why you might ask? Because it’s not free, you pay $60 for Linspire. I can get Windows cheaper than that, even for free, and have no problems doing more with it as a Desktop.

Drupal, is it the Right CMS for You?

There are two CMS provided under the Web-Developer Server Suite: Drupal and Joomla. But which do you use? This is the question that has been asked on our forums since the inclusion of a CMS webapp group into the Suite.

My usual response goes along the lines of “Joomla is easier to use; Drupal is more powerful.”

While the above statement is completely true, it does no justice differentiating the provided choices in a real way. Especially if you require something a little more custom in nature.

How Drupal Will Save The World really drives it home. Though I’m not referring to the article itself, but rather the comment section.

Simply put: Drupal is more powerful, but the learning curve is quite steep considering that good documentation is almost non-existent. I’m sure in the future this will be corrected, but for the time being, you better know your PHP and have a good head on your shoulders if you want to get into the more advanced capabilities of this CMS.

For anyone starting out with Drupal I recommend getting a copy of Pro Drupal Development as the first step.

And for anyone that just wants something simple, consider CMS Made Simple.

HowTo: Change VMWare Player Guest OS Display Resolution

Here is one useful bit for anyone running, or thinking of running, a local test/development environment under VMWare Player version 2.0 with a guest OS Linux install.

I’ll assume you have installed VMWare Player and a VMWare Appliance similar to CentOS v5. After which, by default, the resolution will be limited to modes “800×600″ and “640×480″.

Here is how you fix that problem…

Step 1: Install X and GNOME, if not already present.
yum groupinstall "X Window System" "GNOME Desktop Environment"
[Note: to install KDE, substitute the "GNOME..." string with "KDE (K Desktop Environment)"]

Step 2: Edit /etc/X11/xorg.conf

You should already have…

Section "Device"
Identifier "Videocard0"
Driver "vmware"
EndSection

Add the following “monitor” section…

Section "Monitor"
Identifier "Monitor0"
HorizSync 1.0 - 10000.0
VertRefresh 1.0 - 10000.0
EndSection

Modify the existing “Screen” section…
Note to replace the following “1600×1200″ string with the highest resolution your monitor can handle.

Section "Screen"
Identifier "Screen0"
Device "Videocard0"
Monitor "Monitor0"
DefaultDepth 24
SubSection "Display"
Viewport 0 0
Depth 24
Modes "1600x1200" "800x600" "640x480"
EndSubSection
EndSection

Step 3: Start X
startx