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January 15, 2008

Moving to Linux : Why the increased demand?

by @ 4:47 pm. Filed under Dell, General Linux, Linux migrations, Linux News, My Opinion

Linux is gaining. It’s almost impossible to miss, even for non-techies. Not only that, those non-techies are demanding it. Linux interest is spreading, perhaps driven by the dissatisfaction with the latest OS from Redmond. For example, I read recently:

“Demand for Linux systems is such that some retailers are selling out. Last year, for instance, Wal-Mart for a time couldn’t fulfill orders for Everex’s $199 gPC.” source

There have also been a steady increase in the number of news stories about Linux migrations. It gave me great pleasure to write a bit about Western & Southern Financial Group’s Linux Migration last week. Now, we see that there is another migration. This time, Opus Healthcare, a healthcare application vendor has switched over to Linux.

Then there is the whole concept of “supply and demand.” If people don’t want it, no one will sell it. Quite the opposite is happening in the case of Linux-based hardware. Several different hardware vendors such as Dell and Everex are offering Linux on their systems. I found a handful of places that you can get the Asus Eee with Linux preloaded. I can’t believe the number of vendors now that are selling systems with Linux on them. We’ve also heard recently that Lenovo will be offering SUSE-based ThinkPads.

Why is this happening? Well, for one thing, it seems that people are getting weary of M$ products. They’re tired of the viruses, the worms, the trojans, and all the other malware that they have to spend an additional $100 of software to keep out of their systems. On top of that, Vista has gotten bad reviews. All of this seems to indicate Microsoft has seen its peak of glory. They are not going to disappear (soon), but it seems that they aren’t going to regain the monopoly that they once had. Here’s something else I read on the matter:

“What’s behind the growing interest in open source computing, long the preserve of self-styled computer geeks? Linux’s increasing popularity among mainstream PC users may in part reflect a backlash against Microsoft. The company’s new Windows Vista OS has failed to capture users’ hearts and minds, let alone their wallets.”

“In 2007, only about 39% of new computers shipped with Vista on board, compared with the 67% of the new computer market captured by Windows XP in its first full year of availability in 2002, based on data from Microsoft and Gartner.”

“In spurning Vista, some PC buyers have cited concerns about its cost, resource requirements, and incompatibility with their existing applications. Indeed, the Home Premium version of Vista, not including a computer, costs more than Everex’s gPC. It also requires 15 Gbytes of disk space and a hefty processor.” source

15 Gigabytes? I had better be getting a personal spacecraft for that size. We went to the moon with the equivalent of a calculator. Now we need 15 Gigabytes to write documents in Word (*) and send email in Outlook(*)? No thanks.

Additionally, it seems that people are discovering that other viable options exist. Many like to play with things. They like to combine technologies and have the best of all worlds. All the coverage of Google’s Android and the iPhone are indicators of this. They have specific hardware needs, or they want to have some freedom. They want something that provides freedom to allow them to do what they want to or need to do. Linux provides this, and people are noticing.

These days, even the Micro$ofties are running Linux. You have got to love that.

On top of this, there is a younger generation coming up that is more tech-savvy. They also more freedom and options. They want to explore possibilities. Linux offers the ability to do this. Especially as it develops and becomes better.

Additionally, you cannot ignore the obvious draw of the cost. It’s free. You can pay for it to support those who develop it. But you can’t beat free.

Also, It has a history of being a solid server. Many enterprises, especially those that are just starting out, are already using it. What we hear about a lot are the migrations from Windows to Linux. What we don’t hear about are the countless thousands of entities who have always been using Linux.

With its continued growth, maturity, and capabilities, there has never been a better time than now to make the plunge and give Linux a try. For added interest, take a look at the “Intro to Linux” course. It gives you a bunch of reasons why people love Linux. It also provides about 150 examples of major Linux migrations by all kinds of organizations. The course is available from in the right nav.

Anyway, there seems to be more and more great, positive energy building up around Linux and hardware that runs it. If you’ve ever been curious to try it out or it’s been awhile, there’s no time like the present.

(*) – not included

KDE 4.0.0 release rocks the Linux world

by @ 7:01 am. Filed under General Linux, KDE Tips, Linux News

KDE Logo

Imagine for just a moment, if you will, the amount of glee experienced by KDE users everywhere upon hearing the spectacular news last week when KDE 4.0.0 was released.

If you have ever thought about taking KDE for a spin, the time is now.

There are tons of reasons that you would choose to use KDE over all other desktop environments. My big four are:

1) kio-slave. For anyone who doesn’t know what this does, it gives KDE the ability to interact with remote filesystems via FTP, SSH, etc. You can open up a remote filesystem, and drag and drop a text file right onto your Kate icon. Kate will open the file for you to edit it. When you are done editing, just click SAVE and close the file. KDE via kio-slave saves the file back to the remote fileystem (assuming you have the proper privileges). This is the one thing that has the supremest of importance to me. It is possible to have one Konqueror window open and have it split into 16 different panes, each pane connected to a different filesystem or directory, whether local or remote. If you have never done this, you have to try it some time. You can split Kate windows the same way. Before anyone says it, I realize that you can make other desktop environments do this, but KDE just does it right out of the box.

2) It is very configurable. Upon using other desktop environments in Linux, I wasn’t able to tweak things just as I like them. With KDE, I have generally been able to find a setting to adjust what annoys me. To get an idea of all the categories of settings that there are to play around with, let me show you a list of them:

KDE Settings List

Now THAT is what I call a bunch of options.

3) KDE has a huge install base. Do not misunderstand me as saying that it is trendy. Believe me, I am not into ‘trendy’. Having a huge install base gives something staying power in the industry. This is why I recommend one of the main 5 or so Linux distributions to new Linux users. Yes, you could look at something like Sick Interesting Cool Killer Linux Distro that is the best one ever made. However, if only 4 people on the planet have it installed, you are going to have a really hard time finding support for it. You will have no one to whom you will be able to ask questions. There will be no support pages, HOWTOs, forums, etc. where you can go to ask questions and find answers. Being as I am, I like to get answers quick. I like to use things for which I know I will be able to get support. KDE has a lot of support and a large install base. Besides that, Linus recommends it. If you visit my blog page, you will see this quote in the upper, right corner:

“I personally just encourage people to switch to KDE.

This ‘users are idiots, and are confused by functionality’ mentality of Gnome is a disease. If you think your users are idiots, only idiots will use it. I don’t use Gnome, because in striving to be simple, it has long since reached the point where it simply doesn’t do what I need it to do.

Please, just tell people to use KDE.”

Straight from the man himself.

4) I love eyecandy. It is a great thing to be able to switch around window decorations, window themes, mouse themes, icon themes and wallpapers as one wishes. KDE on Compiz Fusion is unbelievably cool. I set up beryl on my laptop awhile back (before beryl re-emerged with compiz), and had a ball with it. Compiz Fusion on OpenSUSE 10.3 is even better than that. I am an eyecandy freak.

KDE 4.0 with all of its improvements looks absolutely cool.

Here is an excerpt from the announcement:

“The KDE 4 Libraries have seen major improvements in almost all areas. The Phonon multimedia framework provides platform independent multimedia support to all KDE applications, the Solid hardware integration framework makes interacting with (removable) devices easier and provides tools for better power management.”

“The KDE 4 Desktop has gained some major new capabilities. The Plasma desktop shell offers a new desktop interface, including panel, menu and widgets on the desktop as well as a dashboard function. KWin, the KDE Window manager, now supports advanced graphical effects to ease interaction with your windows.”

“Lots of KDE Applications have seen improvements as well. Visual updates through vector-based artwork, changes in the underlying libraries, user interface enhancements, new features, even new applications — you name it, KDE 4.0 has it. Okular, the new document viewer and Dolphin, the new file manager are only two applications that leverage KDE 4.0’s new technologies.”

“The Oxygen Artwork team provides a breath of fresh air on the desktop. Nearly all the user-visible parts of the KDE desktop and applications have been given a facelift. Beauty and consistency are two of the basic concepts behind Oxygen.”

Read the entire announcement here.

A review of KDE 4.0.0 by Thom Holwerda can be found here.

Sink your teeth into the new and improved KDE!

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