06.13.20

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The Economy ‘Reopens’ the Day After Tomorrow and Here’s Why GNU/Linux Growth Will Persist

Posted in Europe, Free/Libre Software, GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Windows at 8:01 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

As Britain is poised to open ‘non-essential’ services and stores not much will change; the encouraging current trend will persist

Reopened store

Summary: It seems reasonable to assert that at this stage the growing domination of GNU/Linux is unstoppable and underhanded tactics will be exploited to purposely hijack the movement, in effect taking control of one’s competitors

AFTER nearly 3 months of lock-down (in Britain at least, we’re always at the UK’s second-largest city in terms of productivity) things might change informally. Informally only. Because people still lack confidence to leave their homes for noncritical purchases, such as food (some people don’t even leave the home to buy food anymore). So the day after tomorrow we open up… to the Second Wave. I am not particularly excited, knowing people will ‘mingle’ as they enter stores, potentially passing around not only germs but also one particularly lethal virus (to which we still lack a solution other than isolation that limits/contains its spread). We just need some computer equipment to replace what stopped working during lock-down (two mice, one screen). My wife and I are both working from home, so we depend heavily on technology.

“This will boost the morale of many GNU/Linux and Free software developers.”Seeing that for several consecutive months GNU/Linux market share rose, apparently by quite a bit (I don’t trust the Microsoft-connected firms, including Net Applications), it’s not surprising that Dell, Lenovo and several other OEMs — both large and small — massively advertise laptops with GNU/Linux preloaded. This is undoubtedly better than those OEMs offering no option other than Windows (even if we dislike some of these OEMs). This will boost the morale of many GNU/Linux and Free software developers. It will increase the number of users who are exposed to and favour Free-as-in-freedom software.

“Despite the ordeals and the endless legal attacks on it, a large community of developers and users — a growing community in fact — made SCO’s and Microsoft’s strategy unbearable and unsustainable.”When it comes to GNU/Linux I’ve long been an optimist, despite being a pessimist by nature (our contributor figosdev is a lot more pessimistic than me). I’ve advocated GNU/Linux since I was a teenager, more so since my early twenties. Back then I was really genuinely concerned that GNU/Linux might go the way of the dodo, seeing some of the attacks that predated the Novell deal. There was a lot to be worried about back then. I could not always play videos on S.u.S.E., my Web browser kind of sucked (an old version of Mozilla browser, well before Firefox), and lots of software and games could not at all be used, not even with WINE. Back then I used Konqueror at times; many sites were MSIE-only. Nowadays I use Konqueror as my secondary if not primary browser and always it’ll render pages correctly (except perhaps 1% of cases, especially hostile sites that I don’t care about anyway).

I don’t consider the maturity of GNU/Linux to be a matter of luck. Despite the ordeals and the endless legal attacks on it, a large community of developers and users — a growing community in fact — made SCO’s and Microsoft’s strategy unbearable and unsustainable. Microsoft bled as it fought GNU/Linux (it still does, but differently). At this point GNU/Linux is unstoppable, but the shape of it remains to be determined. Whether it has DRM, whether it’s just another ramp for proprietary games (like Steam), whether we have a modular UNIX-like system or just Microsoft-hosted systemd…

“So people are going to download loads of Free software — browsers included — and eventually it might lead them to GNU/Linux, knowing they get a lot of stuff done over the Web browser anyway.”A lot of people still work from home and will continue to work from home… for the foreseeable future. Many still get more freedom and choice when it comes to their operating environment because they own the computers and it’s harder to police what they install (they’re ‘offsite’ so to speak). So people are going to download loads of Free software — browsers included — and eventually it might lead them to GNU/Linux, knowing they get a lot of stuff done over the Web browser anyway. The tightening of domestic budgets will have families gravitating towards GNU/Linux at the very least for cost-saving reasons. The tightening of corporate budgets will have a similar effect.

The press sort of ‘missed’ the true story (it wrote some fluff about “HEY HI” instead), but Microsoft imposed a hiring freeze and then started laying off employees. Sales aren’t going well (some of the biggest clients are large workplaces that overpay for crap they don’t even need) and the hype about “cloud” going up is false; it’s fake, but ZDNet is happy to promote all the lies Microsoft tells its shareholders. If you rebrand a product called “A” as “B” and “B” is classified as “cloud”, does that mean massive growth? No, only a fool would believe that. Even the chief of ZDNet started to have some questions about that

“Watch out as Hamburg and Munich (and other parts of Germany) join China, South Korea and several other countries (with a particularly strong economy) that gradually move everything away from Windows.”Every country around the world (bar few) will soon ‘reopen’ the so-called ‘economy’ (they define that as stuff like centralised, shared offices and stores with a fancy floorplan). Some already have. Did that stop GNU/Linux from growing? Evidence does not suggest so.

Almost 5 years after the “Microsoft loves Linux” media tour and WSL (EEE) the numbers are still pathetic and I hardly come across anyone who uses Azure. We work with many clients and not a single one of them uses Azure in any shape or form whatsoever. Not even one. Ignore the hype and the fake numbers. Microsoft will get more aggressive and will lay off more workers in months to come (even if the media fails to report these layoffs). GNU/Linux will continue to grow gradually; but let’s make sure it’s not being monopolised by Amazon/AWS or IBM. Canonical is still a laughing stock and the same is true for SUSE. They act as if they need Microsoft to succeed. Hardly a new thing…

Watch out as Hamburg and Munich (and other parts of Germany) join China, South Korea and several other countries (with a particularly strong economy) that gradually move everything away from Windows. The media may not say much about it, but that’s alright; there’s no money in it. Instead the media will try to help Microsoft et al decapitate the movement, leaving power vacuums for G[I]AFAM to fill. Don’t let them… having run out of options, this is all they have left. Buying GitHub, buying NPM, bribing officials (still)…

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