A new global survey was published yesterday by IBM entitledLinux Desktop Easier to Deploy Than Expected. This announcement follows another one on the same day entitledGruppo Amadori to Roll out Linux-based Desktops with IBM Software to Cut Costs. Intel has also recently made a strong push toward Linux for its Moblin 2.0 operating system for netbooks, a thin version of Linux with a special desktop designed to make using the mobile device easy. (By the way, Geek.com will have a review of Moblin 2.0 out soon.)
Since the early part of this decade, there have been some unprecedented advances in the Linux operating system, driven primarily by the advancements of its graphical user interface and long-term benefits seen from the cumulative open-source endeavors. That community may not always get it right straight off, or be their first straight off, but they are FAR, FAR faster to adapt once the train is moving than any other large corporations I’ve seen, such as Microsoft and its Windows operating systems.
In addition, Microsoft has shown some unprecedented behavior this year with the early wide-beta and release candidate issuance of its Windows 7 operating system, which is still ongoing and will continue through June without numerical limit or license key restrictions — though these versions will only work for one year.
Linux is a much lighter operating system than Windows. When it boots up, there is more free memory, it uses less disk space for installation, and its applications are also smaller. It also doesn’t use the same kind of registry as Windows — something in my opinion is the worst design ever for software management, and something that slow down all of our PCs immeasurably, requiring install/uninstall operations to move software from computer to computer, rather than just copying the programs over. As such, Linux programs are easier to install, uninstall, and they launch and close faster as well. And in Ubuntu Linux, it has the Debian-based package manager, which, like the iPhone app store, provides download-list access to its 30,000+ software titles from everything from Bible Study to advanced semiconductor circuit layout, 3D design, audio, video and office apps.
And ever since VMware released their VMware Server product for free for Linux, with its ability to run Windows (and any other OS) from inside of Linux, there’s no longer any need for a person to use Windows as their primary or daily operating system. Linux can be booted into, used for nearly all apps, and for that residue Windows requirement which remains, VMware Server provide the gateway to launch Windows as a desktop application, including full-screen mode, sound, USB, hard drive, optical drive access, etc., which enables it to appear as a full Windows system, but within the Linux desktop.
There are so many advantages to Linux these days, including a massive, open-source software developer base that it seems companies can no longer deny. The significance of closed-source efforts, like Windows, Internet Explorer, Windows Media Player, .NET, ASP, and pretty much everything else Microsoft is involved with, are not playing out. It was recently reported by Dell thatWindows 7 will cost more than Vista. How is that helping businesses and consumers? The answer is obvious: It’s not.
The time for the switch to Linux, and in my personal opinion — having now used Ubuntu 9.04 intently for some time — has never been more ripe. And it appears the global companies are in agreement with these pronounced nods toward Linux, and new products written for Linux, and the available source code and software base which rounds out the Linux operating system to such a degree.
By way of example, I use a Verizon Wireless PCMCIA broadband card for mobile Internet access. I had been fearful in switching over to Ubuntu Linux on my notebook because I need that card to function. However, I found out that Linux has a built-in CDMA driver which operates that card. And, for all intents and purposes, I see a better network response in Linux than I do in Vista with Verizon’s dedicated VZAccess Manager software.
The cues pushing people toward Linux are growing. I would not be surprised if the future of computing is not x86/Microsoft based, but rather ARM/Linux based, as both of those platforms (the ARM CPU and Linux flavors in general, but specifically Ubuntu) show significant long-term advantages over their competition.
What will the future hold? It’s up to us to decide. Are we willing to continue feeding the Intel/Microsoft machine when both companies have been found guilty of antitrust and anti-competitive behaviors, being fined well over $1 billion each?
The time to assess our future is now. And the appeal of Linux has never been stronger. I urge everyone to think about what it is they’re looking to get out of their computer and how best to go about getting it
As a side point:
I’ve been watching the operating system industry for well over a decade with much interest. In the late 1990s I set out to write my own 32-bit operating system because I was so fed up with Windows and even Linux. The result was a kernel of less than 256KB written entirely in assembly for 80386 and later computers. It expands easily to 64-bit support, utilizes virtualization, boots in 2 seconds, and requires less than 4MB of RAM total for its core. Video display drivers increase memory needs to around 64MB total, leaving the rest of memory for applications.
While I have been one man, working in x86 assembly on this endeavor, it functions and I may soon be releasing it open-source with no license agreement — meaning it’s completely free for anyone to use for any purpose.