strangest systems I've sent email from

Liam Proven lproven at
Thu Apr 28 09:44:04 CDT 2016

On 28 April 2016 at 16:35, Mouse <mouse at> wrote:
>>> But the marketing men got to it and ruined its security and
>>> elegance, to produce the lipstick-and-high-heels Windows XP.  That
>>> version, insecure and flakey with its terrible bodged-in browser,
>>> that, of course, was the one that sold.
>>       ā??Consistent mediocrity, delivered on a large scale, is much
>>       more profitable than anything on a small scale, no matter how
>>       efficient it might be.ā??
> Indeed.  Ask any junk-food chain.
> The depressing (to me) part is that there seems to be a place for
> decent-quality restaurants in the same restaurant-food ecosystem that
> contains junk-food chains...but there doesn't seem to be the analog in
> the computer operating system ecosystem.

Absolutely! This is *the* key question, really.

>>> Linux got nowhere until it copied the XP model.
> Only for corporate values of "nowhere".  Considering it to be a failure
> because it wasn't grabbing "market" share, or because there weren't
> large companies involved, is to buy into the problem, defining success
> in monetary (or near-monetary) terms.
> I don't know what Linus's original vision for Linux was, so I don't
> know when (if ever) it was his idea of a success.  But I would have
> called it a success much earlier, and, indeed, I would be tempted to
> say it failed _when_ it "copied the XP model" and "got somewhere",
> because that's when it lost the benefits early versions brought.

OK, a very fair point. Linux was indeed popular and widely-used in the
FOSS world, and among Unix types.

But it still took many years for Canonical's Bug #0 to be closed.

I'd argue 2 things helped achieve that.

First, Ubuntu made Debian usable by mortals. I ran SuSE before Warty
Warthog, but I wasn't that happy with it. It was merely the
least-worst option since Caldera self-immolated.

Ubuntu achieved its goal, which, reading between the lines, was
basically "a Linux distro simple enough that the average Windows power
user will be able to install it and get useful work done using it,
without extras or tweaking".

AIUI Ubuntu today is a bit over half of Linux desktop usage, as best
as anyone can estimate this. I suspect that means that actually,
Ubuntu has (probably quite a lot more than) doubled desktop Linux
usage, and it's forced all the other distros to up their game.
(Actually it's forced a lot of them out of the game, which is sad, but
probably inevitable.)

I also gather that it is now strongly dominant in cloud/VM deployments.

Secondly, Android. Android is probably something like 99% of
non-server/embedded Linux usage. In terms of Linuxes that ordinary
people actually directly interact with -- excluding washing machines,
ATMs, whatever -- Android is, I strongly suspect, *it* and everything
else is a rounding error.

> I can't help wondering how many people use Linux because "Open Source"
> but have never once even tried to build anything from source.

Some, certainly.

> Personally, it doesn't run on my machines unless I personally built it
> from source; my only use for a binary distribution is the first install
> on a new architecture, and even that not always - sometimes I can
> cross-build or some such.
> Yours in curmudgeonicity,

I confess that I have never been that hardcore, or determined, or --
probably -- skilled.

Liam Proven • Profile:
Email: lproven at • GMail/G+/Twitter/Flickr/Facebook: lproven
MSN: lproven at • Skype/AIM/Yahoo/LinkedIn: liamproven
Cell/Mobiles: +44 7939-087884 (UK) • +420 702 829 053 (ČR)

More information about the cctalk mailing list