Bonum Certa Men Certa

Don't Let the Corporate Press Portray GNU/Linux as a Loser

Summary: Recent news items which demonstrate just how big and influential a platform GNU/Linux has become

A few days ago, albeit not for the first time, the Linux Foundation, essentially an advocacy group that allocates some wages, did some rather effective marketing, demonstrating to many that it has become inane to joke at Linux and dismiss it as a hobbyists' project [1-4] (there is an OpenDaylight Summit at the moment [5-7]). Sure, this won't prevent IDG, CBS and other corporate press (with payments from Microsoft) from belittling Linux, charactering it as an underdog in this age of Android domination. Good sites like Phoronix, LXer, Linux Foundation and others provide a news stream that contradicts the stigma, but bait-loving marketing companies like QuinStreet will continue to use "Linux"-named domains to delete old articled by the truckload. Other sites like LinuxPlanet and Datamation, a former employer of mine (before it was acquired), may carry on provoking and then spying on visitors to help drive sales (QuinStreet, a marketing company, bought "IT Business Edge, Datamation, Small Business Computing, Internet News, Server Watch, InfoStor, Enterprise Storage Forum, Enterprise Networking Planet, Enterprise Apps Today, CIO Update, Database Journal, eSecurity Planet, Webopedia and Linux Today"). It's all business to them.



It's just too easy to grow cynical and sceptical of the press when its top priority is to make money (by agenda, advertising, etc.) and we are still seeing some GNU/Linux FUD which is not hinged on facts, such as the fact that Chrome OS is a GNU/Linux distribution.

An article titled "What will drive mainstream desktop Linux?" [8] has come out from Red Hat and it mentions Chromebooks, which play a major role in making GNU/Linux mainstream on desktops and laptops. People should not feel like "zealots" or "deluded" when they say that GNU/Linux on many desktops and laptops is already a reality. Just go to a store and watch how many computers there have Chrome OS preinstalled. One of our readers sent us a message about his observations some days ago. He said: "I was in an appliance store today and noticed that none of the notebook computers mentioned OS either on the case or on the signage. There were none of the Windows stickers on the machines, most of which ran Vista8. There were CPU stickers though. Then the signs next to each machine with the price and some of the technical specifications mentioned just about everything except OS. There were two Chromebooks hidden in all that.

"Two things might be happening and they are not mutually exclusive. One is that the name Windows is becoming a liability like the name Microsoft has become. The other is that they are trying to hide the Chromebooksby adopting the Chromebooks' lack of stickers.

"The corresponding ad in the paper show off the Chromebooks but make it look like just another version of Vista. "anti-virus included" The two Chromebooks were snappy and responsive, even the ARM model.

"If only the Chromebooks lacked OS stickers, they would stand out and, worse, let people know that there are better non-MS options out there. By taking the OS stickers off their Vista8 machines, they are able to hide the Chromebooks in the crowd of other unlabeled machines."

Chrome OS widely deployed now [9,10,11], it's hardly an underdog anymore. And it's not just Chrome OS, it's other GNU/Linux distributions also [12], demonstrating that it pays to sell GNU/Linux hardware [13]. Sometimes GNU is omitted. For instance, Dell is working on Android PCs on a HDMI sticks [14], showing that combined Android and GNU/Linux will probably continue to surge in Web usage [15] (many such surveys come from US-based companies that are biased and receive payments from Apple, Microsoft, or both).

Sites like ZDNet (CBS) will continue to present a false choice between "Windows XP and Windows 8" [16], whereas other sites may dare to suggest that "Windows XP home users should upgrade to Linux -- not Windows 8.1" [17]. It has become apparent that there's an information war being fought; those who don't want to see GNU/Linux succeeding will continue to deny the reality of Free software renaissance.

Related/contextual items from the news:


  1. Who’s Writing Linux?
    About once a year, the Linux Foundation analyzes the online repository that holds the source code of the kernel, or core, of the Linux operating system. As well as tracking the increasing complexity of the ever-evolving kernel over a series of releases from versions 3.0 to 3.10, the report also reveals who is contributing code, and the dominant role corporations now play in what began as an all-volunteer project in 1991.


  2. Who actually develops Linux? The answer might surprise you
    To begin with, take a look at the chart above (which was compiled by IEEE Spectrum, incidentally). The graph shows the breakdown of all patches contributed to the Linux kernel, between versions 3.0 and 3.10. You can clearly see that over 80% of all contributions are from developers who are paid by a large, commercial company. The report says that the number of unpaid developers contributing to the Linux kernel has been slowly declining for many years, now sitting at just 13.6% (it was 14.6% in the last report).


  3. Foundation report looks at the who-and-what behind Linux
    "Who writes Linux? Corporations, more than ever," said InfoWorld's story headline on Monday. Out of all the highlights of the Linux Foundation's latest Linux Kernel Development report, the corporate angle sang out as noteworthy, dispelling an old notion that Linux, the historic shining star of open source endeavor, is brought to you courtesy of impoverished programmers in post-midnight dens cranking out development work for free, and for the mere spirit of it all. The report, fully titled "Linux Kernel Development: How Fast It is Going, Who is Doing It, What They are Doing, and Who is Sponsoring It," is the fifth update of this ongoing development story, which has been published since 2008. An increasing number of companies are working toward the improvement of the kernel.


  4. A closer look at who is responsible for developing Linux


  5. OpenDaylight, open-source, software-defined networking, gets real with first release
    Santa Clara, CA: When the Linux Foundation announced that it had gotten ever-warring networking vendors to agree to work together on the open-source software-defined network (SDN) project, OpenDaylight, the haters spoke loud and clear. The "OpenDaylight Project will likely delay the adoption of enterprise software-defined networking solutions and stifle innovation," said Gartner.


  6. OpenDaylight Hydrogen SDN Platform Arrives


  7. OpenDaylight Summit: SDN Needs Open Source and Open Standards
    "A world without open source would be a pretty grim world," Zemlin said. "85 percent of the world's stock exchanges would shut down, you wouldn't have any friends - Facebook runs on Linux, and you'd have to go the bookstore to buy books, since Amazon runs on Linux."


  8. What will drive mainstream desktop Linux?


    There are a couple significant reasons why Linux is a distant third, which I've covered elsewhere. However, one important area that needs to be addressed, which I haven't covered before, is product development. I'm going to pretend that I am a NFL analyst assessing each Linux distro's product and explaining what each distro needs to improve on to be appealing enough for the average consumer. Now when I go through this analysis, I need to assess each distro as if I am buying a branded PC with that distro. Why? Because that's how most consumers expect to purchase a PC. The difficult part with a lot of the Linux distros is that there is not that "appliance" that "works out of the box" perception that consumers get when they use it. After all, many people are used to using Windows PCs, Macs, and tablets that just work, including apps that came with each device. They expect that same kind of reliability when they use any PC. So let's start the analysis with the latest device that comes very close to that, which is the Chromebook.


  9. ASUS Chromebox: Fanless Haswell in a NUC-like Form Factor, Starting at $179


  10. Asus mini-PC breaks Chrome OS price barrier
    When Asus jumps into the increasingly hot Chrome OS market by shipping its $179 Asus Chromebox in March, it will likely be the new price leader among computers that run Google’s Linux-based Chrome Operating System. It’s $20 cheaper than the hot-selling, $199 Acer C720 Chromebook, although it lacks the latter’s screen and keyboard. You get the same 4th Generation (“Haswell”) dual-core Intel Celeron 2955U, clocked at 1.4GHz, as you do with the C720, complete with integrated Intel HD graphics. Later this year, there will also be a Core i3-4010U version, as well as a Core i7 model that will not be offered in the U.S.


  11. Lenovo announces ThinkPad 11e laptops, Chromebooks for education market
    Dubbed the ThinkPad 11e family, it comprises four models: two traditional notebooks, and a pair of Yoga convertible systems that can function as either laptop or tablet. A Chromebook version of either form factor will be available. (Dell announced a education Chromebook last month.)


  12. CompuLab Utilite: A Tiny, Low-Power, Low-Cost, ARM Linux Desktop
    When it comes to Linux-friendly hardware vendors one of my favorite companies to deal with at Phoronix is CompuLab. The Israeli PC vendor isn't just rebadging some OEM systems and slapping on a Tux sticker nor are they assembling some x86 systems that individuals could easily build at a lower cost. We have reviewed several interesting low-power Linux PCs from them in the past and today may be one of their most interesting products yet, the Freescale i.MX6-based Utilite. In this review is a look at the Utilite Pro, which is my new favorite pre-assembled ARM Linux desktop.


  13. It Pays To Sell GNU/Linux
    For years I have watched the web-stats for GNU/Linux languish in Mexico. No longer. In the summer of 2013, retailers, Dell, HP, Lenovo, Acer and Canonical got together in Mexico and sold PCs.It does pay to have actual salespeople and retail shelf-space. Obviously the PCs are selling. I hope other countries get going on this, mine, for instance…


  14. Dell cooks up an Android PC on a HDMI stick


  15. In 2014, Android/Linux Will Be The Big Dog In Client OS Page-views


  16. Windows XP and Windows 8: The worst possible combination for Microsoft
    But the old certainties are being swept away. PCs are no longer the automatic choice for business, thanks to the rise of the tablet. Neither is Windows, with Android desktops and Chromebooks also on an upward trajectory. And, thanks to BYOD, most firms are already used to staff turning up with iPads and Kindle Fire tablets; Microsoft's desktop dominance is already fraying around the edges.


  17. Windows XP home users should upgrade to Linux -- not Windows 8.1
    Yes, Linux is far less intensive than the arguably bloated Windows. And so, if a user wants a supported operating system that should work well on their existing, but aging hardware, a Linux-based OS may be the best choice. The problem is, what distribution should a user choose? What software is available? No worries, I'm here to help.


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