strangest systems I've sent email from

alexmcwhirter at alexmcwhirter at
Thu Apr 28 09:52:32 CDT 2016

On 2016-04-28 10:44, Liam Proven wrote:
> 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.

We get closer to that analog as time passes. The more Linux becomes the 
next Windows, the more people jump ship (mostly to FreeBSD). Gentoo 
Linux is my distro of choice simply because i can pick, choose, and 
compile everything i want for just about any arch. However, if i could 
choose any OS i would probably go with illumos. Unfortunately The man 
power needed to maintain the software repo is the biggest challenge when 
wanting to go you're own direction. I would say that it's the primary 
reason it seems like we're dining in a world of McDonald's and Steak 
Houses, but nothing in-between.

>>>> 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.

Indeed, but more end users help drive demand for better software. 
Eventually someone will get frustrated a build a better tool or improve 
and existing one.

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