Thursday, October 1, 2009

Linux in 2013: One *Billion* Dollars!

Has the much-anticipated turning point for Linux adoption arrived? Yes, says IDC analyst Al Gillen, who authored a report predicting that global Linux revenues will exceed $1.2 billion by 2013. "The monopoly is failing under its own weight," says blogger Robert Pogson. "If M$ wants to compete on price and features, they cannot continue paying people to use their OS."

It's a rare day on the Linux blogs when comparisons don't get made between Windows and our favorite operating system, but when those comparisons take the form of benchmarks, we can't help but sit up and listen.

Sure enough, following a like comparison earlier this year, the bloggers over at TuxRadar recently put Windows 7, Vista and various versions of Ubuntu through their paces again to see just how they compare.

Bottom line? "There's nothing in Windows 7 that Linux can't do, and in most cases, do it better," the TuxRadar bloggers wrote. "Our machines are quicker and more efficient. Our desktops are more innovative and less static. Our apps are more powerful, cheaper and less partisan, and Linux security has never been better.

"Best of all, we have complete control over the future of Linux, and its success or failure at the hands of Windows 7 is in our hands," they added.

'LINUX = Leave It Now Unless Xpert'

The reaction? Scores of comments on the TuxRadar site, covering all bases between the congratulatory and the outraged.

To wit: "I would have never thought I would read something like this in a Linux publication but you did a great job of comparing Windows 7 to Linux," wrote Anonymous Penguin. "For me I am sticking to XP and Ubuntu, Fedora 11 and AntiX. These run my older hardware the best."

Then again: "LINUX = Leave It Now Unless Xpert," wrote another Anonymous Penguin. "WINDOWS = When IN Doubt Order Windows Seven."

Not to mention: "I've seen more fair and balanced comparisons on Fox News," added Blast Hardcheese.

'No Linux Option Is Suitable on My Laptop'

The fact that "every current Linux distro fails to make 3-D and WiFi work together" makes it tough to take such benchmarks seriously, Dean noted.

"My problem might well be rooted in fglrx, but it's entirely irrelevant since neither replacement of the hardware nor change in my use habits are viable options for me," he said. "The simple fact of the matter is, no Linux option is suitable on my laptop today, and Windows 7 'just works,' including 3-D and WiFi."

Not only that, but "unlike Windows XP or Vista, it does so out of the box," he asserted.

'On the Server'

Linux will almost certainly end up a billion-dollar business "on the SERVER," Slashdot blogger hairyfeet told LinuxInsider.

"On a server you have experienced admins who prefer a text-heavy CLI interface because it saves on resources that could be better used serving clients," he explained. "That is why Windows server 2K8 comes with the ability to just run 'core' and have only that which you need most."

That said, however, "I have found even my most Linux-happy server admin friends keep one or more Windows Domain Controllers on the network," hairyfeet asserted. "Why? Because Linux has yet to come up with a 'top-to-bottom full stack' approach that touches AD+Exchange+Sharepoint+GPO for ease of use."

'It Is More Complex and More Work'

Linux gurus get "paid more for doing the same job because it is more complex and I would argue more work to get the same functionality from Linux that you get from Windows and the 'full stack' approach," added hairyfeet.

"Hell, I could probably teach my 16-year-old in a month or so enough to admin a basic Windows domain setup," he explained. "Everything is, set up in an easy to understand and visualize tree hierarchy, and there is even a nice wizard that will walk you through most of the basic tasks."

The closest approximation in the Linux world is Xandros server, hairyfeet added, and "while it gets a lot of the way towards the Server+Exchange functionality, it isn't nearly as good at GPO as a Winserver is. And I haven't seen a 'Sharepoint killer' or an 'Outlook killer' yet come from the Linux world."

'The Better It Does, the Better I Do'

So, "while I have no doubt that pretty much all the web servers will end up firmly in the Linux domain, everything behind the firewall will most likely stay firmly rooted in Windows," hairyfeet predicted. "Not only because there are still so many mission-critical apps that simply aren't offered in Linux -- from custom apps to CAD and graphics -- but admining a Windows Server is just so much easier than doing the same job in the Linux camp."

Either way, however, there's no denying that increasing success for Linux means the same for those who work with it.

"I certainly hope Linux continues to do well," Montreal consultant and Slashdot blogger Gerhard Mack told LinuxInsider. "Linux is my bread and butter, so the better it does, the better I do."

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