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Thread: Linux Wasn't Too Popular At GDC 2014

  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by chrisb View Post
    A very simple example of this problem: where can I buy a Red Hat or Ubuntu laptop that is supported (all hardware works, updates don't break etc.)? You can't. You can buy a laptop from a third party, but they have no control over the distribution, Red Hat and Ubuntu won't test new software on that hardware, and updates might break on it. The solution to this problem is to establish store.ubuntu.com and store.redhat.com and sell hardware, and make sure that everything works - tasks like playing mp3s, video, web browsing on popular sites (YouTube, Facebook etc.), it all needs to work without any issues. Test continually, make sure that updates never, ever cause a regression on supported hardware. When customers have issues, fix those issues. Make hardware that your developers are actually going to use - they are the ones who will likely notice any issues first, and the motivation to fix will be much higher when the issue affects them. Don't make crap hardware - make stuff that people actually want to own. (If you sell hardware with your own operating system, but all your developers are using OS X on Macbooks, then you're doing something wrong). When I say make hardware, I don't mean that Red Hat and Canonical need to actually build their own systems, they can subcontract it out, design it themselves or hold a competition, or approve existing hardware, it doesn't matter - what matters is that a user can go to the store, and buy hardware that will work without any issues, and know that it will be supported with working updates and that any problems will get quickly fixed.

    Chrome OS got 21% of US laptop sales last year, so it's not impossible to introduce a new operating system and be a success, even now. If Red Hat or Ubuntu had done the same thing years ago, perhaps we'd be reading now that they had 21% of the market (or likely higher, given that desktop Linux is more functional offline than Chrome OS).
    ChromeOS doesn't suffer as linux does. linux is currently suffering one great sickness, branding competition where linux brand is the last thing on the list of brands they are presenting. sometimes i can't help my self but to think that ubuntu and gnome branding nonsense is nothing but successful MS plot how to combat linux.

  2. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by chrisb View Post
    When I say make hardware, I don't mean that Red Hat and Canonical need to actually build their own systems, they can subcontract it out, design it themselves or hold a competition, or approve existing hardware, it doesn't matter - what matters is that a user can go to the store, and buy hardware that will work without any issues, and know that it will be supported with working updates and that any problems will get quickly fixed.
    The cool/crazy part about this statement is that this is the whole idea behind SteamOS and the Steam Machines. Valve intends to "certify" certain hardware and to have it rated as to how well it will perform.

    And as a reference, people didn't buy computers with Windows on it when it was first released. I don't think people bought computers with Windows pre-installed until Windows 95 came out which was actually version 4 by certain standards. So if you want to do a comparison, the Linux kernel is still in version 3, so we've got some time.

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Robsteady View Post
    And as a reference, people didn't buy computers with Windows on it when it was first released. I don't think people bought computers with Windows pre-installed until Windows 95 came out which was actually version 4 by certain standards.
    I remember buying a computer with Windows 3.1 in 1993, at the time the store was full of Windows 3.1 PCs and nothing else. Apparently it's still used in some legacy embedded systems.

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by chrisb View Post
    A very simple example of this problem: where can I buy a Red Hat or Ubuntu laptop that is supported (all hardware works, updates don't break etc.)? You can't.
    Implying Windows updates never break.

  5. #25
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    Many gamers build their PCs from scratch using carefully chosen components, so the more expensive the PC, the smaller the relative cost of a Windows licence.

    For businesses, the cost of a PC with Windows and Office is generally small compared to the salary of the employee using that computer.

    It's only really people at home buying cheap PCs where the cost of a full Windows and MS Office licence is significant and where OSS could save a significant proportion of the overall cost of the computer. For many of these people, the only thing they know is Windows and MS Office. If they want to play games, chances are they'll have a console, but perhaps this is where the Steam Box could win, to "smuggle" linux into the home?

    I am still sad to think of how Sony stole linux functionality from my PS3.

  6. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by curaga View Post
    Implying Windows updates never break.
    No. I was implying that updates for curated systems, like OS X on a MacBook or Chrome OS on a Chromebook, will break less often than updates of Ubuntu or Red Hat on generic PC hardware. And when something does break on a curated system, it is more likely to be fixed. I don't think either of those claims is particularly controversial.

  7. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by chrisb View Post
    No. I was implying that updates for curated systems, like OS X on a MacBook or Chrome OS on a Chromebook, will break less often than updates of Ubuntu or Red Hat on generic PC hardware. And when something does break on a curated system, it is more likely to be fixed. I don't think either of those claims is particularly controversial.
    Certainly, but those both are limited hardware models. If there was a demand for such, someone would have started to sell those. Especially as many linux users are tinkerers, it's hard to see much of a market for those.

    The value-add of putting it together and testing would be discounted as a "brand tax" by the opinion makers, further making it harder to sell such.

  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by curaga View Post
    Certainly, but those both are limited hardware models. If there was a demand for such, someone would have started to sell those.
    The problem is that this isn't something that a small third party can do effectively. It needs to be done by one of the large, popular distributions to be successful. The market isn't Linux tinkerers, it is normal people, businesses etc. - a similar market to the one that Google is aiming at with Chromebooks. Google producing a custom Linux desktop that runs Chrome apps and taking 21% of the US laptop market in ~24 months is a stong indicator that a similar focus by Red Hat or Canonical could've been successful if it were well executed. To be fair, Canonical's current strategy for mobile does seem to be along those lines. The Linux desktop will not be mainstream until people can buy one at their local store.

    Chromebook laptops outsold Macbooks in the US in 2013. Think about that for a moment. Very few people have acknowledged the significance of a Linux desktop platform, introduced in only 2011, outselling the darling of the laptop industry. It could be a flash in the pan ala netbooks, or it could be the sign of a monumental change to come.

  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by chrisb View Post
    I remember buying a computer with Windows 3.1 in 1993, at the time the store was full of Windows 3.1 PCs and nothing else. Apparently it's still used in some legacy embedded systems.
    Yeah. A LOT of stuff needs the cooperatively multithreaded model that died in Win95. The guaranteed scheduling makes Win 3.1 better for devices with strict deadline requirements. I still work on one at work, for much the same reason [and the cost of doing a SW port in this day and age]

  10. #30
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    If all future UE-based, Source-based, and CryEngine-based games provide Linux versions that will be more than enough for the platform to take off. So I think this GDC was quite good despite being less than what we hope for.

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