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  1. #16
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    What about Linux? Go for it!

    As #5 says, Linux needs to be considered.

    It suffers from not having a single promoter (MS, Apple, Google etc.) and a variety of versions that can be confusing, but:
    - It is robust and used by many employers on their servers
    - Installation is no more difficult than installing Windows
    - It has an ecosystem of applications
    - Maintenance is as easy as Windows
    - And purchase cost of the OS and the applications is £0

    When will a major hardware supplier start shipping PCs with a mainstream Linux distribution? Netbooks aside (remember them?) it's not happened and the distribution shipped with many was cut-down (sort of Linux RT).

    My old netbook is now very happily running full Ubuntu 14.04. And I have Lubuntu really running on my old XP machine. Then on Virtual Box ( www.virtualbox.org running under Windows) I have played with numerous other varieties and desktops ( http://virtualboxes.org/images/ ) and Lubuntu may even bring my old Windows 98 machine back from the dead.

    The lack of a single promoter means that getting into Linux seems a bit daunting. However, with a lot of old XP hardware around a lot of people have suitable hardware with which to experiment. Much of the variety is for Geeks, so just find a mainstream distribution that suits.

    So download a distribution and experiment:

    - any *ubuntu ( http://www.ubuntu.com/desktop , http://lubuntu.net/ , http://www.kubuntu.org/ , https://www.edubuntu.org/ )
    Version 14.04 LTS is deemed a "long term support version" to be supported for at least two years - when there will be an easy upgrade to the next LTS version. My netbook started on 10.04 LTS, moved to 12.04 LTS and is now on 14.04 (the 14 refers to 2014 and the .04 refers to April)

    - or try any Mint ( http://www.linuxmint.com/download.php - any of Cinnamon/MATE/KDE/xcfe - which are varieties of desktop)
    Version 17 is the current LTS version.

    All should run on XP compatible hardware - to most the main difference is cosmetic differences on how the "Start menu" equivalent etc. works. Personal recommendation from all this variety? Lubuntu - which should feel familiar to Windows Users.

    If frightened by the download buy a linux magazine with a "Live CD" on the cover! ('struth you may end up paying £5!)

  2. #17
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    Microsfot

    I knew this long ago. Started to use APPLE for first time since 1983 in Nov of 2012. Please keep up with APPLE and Google we need all the information.
    Great article, and yes I think if Microsoft does not get the message, you need to send this to the new CEO it is a must read. Microsoft needs to know, I use Apple for Business and Personal, and phone and IPAD. They Microsfot had me for nearly 30 years and I made the switch, just could not stand all the issues. Now everyone has a good reason to change, and maybe some BIG companies will get the message. Apple is doing a deal with IBM, watch out Microsoft.

    Bill
    Last edited by billvista; 2014-07-17 at 11:17. Reason: spelling

  3. #18
    New Lounger Glitch's Avatar
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    This discussion brings me back to the 1980's when we debated clones vrs "real" PC's, Token ring vrs Ethernet, Microsoft pairing with IBM on OS-2, microchannel architecture, and "Nobody was ever fired for buying IBM".

    Made IBM what it is today --- a [profitable] boutique supplier to big business.

    .../Glitch

  4. #19
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    After reading your article about Microsoft becoming irrelevant, I agree with the crux of your article. I also read many of the comments posted so far and none touch on the one thought I had during my read. A new market was born and inarguably filled the hole between hose who could run Windows apps and those who could not. The percentage of consumers wanted something "easier" to use for email, messaging, games, etc. and phones were becoming available to fill those needs. At that point, a niche market emerged and now the market has gobbled up a big piece of what could have been Microsoft's market share. Now, even diehard Windows users want to experience the simpler technology. Unless Microsoft successfully markets their own devices that meet or beat the emerging competition, they will be constrained to an ever shrinking market of "smart" consumers who like more options than the "easier" market provides.

  5. #20
    Lounger d1hartman's Avatar
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    MS Office has some serious challengers with the various flavors of "open" office applications. I don't use MS Office at home anymore, I've been using an "open" version for years. And I hate that damn ribbon.

  6. #21
    3 Star Lounger Backspacer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Comedian View Post
    My computing includes much financial "stuff" that I wouldn't want in the cloud...I actually WORK on my computer, and don't just want to use it as an Internet social connection device.
    Bingo!

    The descent of computers into consumerism and the complete and total focus of the industry on that sector appalls me. Even this article mentions the dire, grim future of Windows as "the operating system of corporate drones and the platform for aged software." How foolish. I am not a corporate drone, but a small business owner and the "aged software" that I use allows me to keep GAAP legal books (not silly Quicken books) and to run my bricks-and-mortar quality Point of Sale software, etc. While it may be possible to buy similar applications for Linux (it was not possible the last time I looked, just a couple of years ago) I doubt that it will ever be possible to buy software that I would actually find usable for tablet operating systems. Not within my professional lifetime anyway.

    People who are growing up now will probably adapt tablets or their successors to the tasks I use Windows computers for, but they will be kludgy tools for the job. It will be like the kids who own those little buzzy compact cars but who cannot haul a load of lumber or even the bed they sleep on. Sure, they can go rent a moving van for occasional use, but if they are going to haul stuff every day they are going to have to buy a truck. PCs are the light trucks of the computer world and there will be a need for them for the foreseeable future. But nothing is forever and we cannot imagine what we will be using farther into the future. The way things are going we will all someday work for giant corporations or be destitute and living under bridges. Who knows what the computing world will be like then. We'll all probably have implants with Google or Apple programming our every purchase.

  7. #22
    3 Star Lounger Backspacer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by turnercat View Post
    Now, even diehard Windows users want to experience the simpler technology.
    I don't think so. Remember the howling outrage over Windows 8? It's the simple "consumers" who want simpler technology. The diehards want more power. I just built my first computer since 1993 (when I used to built huge corporate computers) so I could get power and so I would have control over my own future. Someone will always be supplying parts - at least within my lifetime. Full sized PCs may become more and more of a niche market, but I think they'll be around for a while yet. If Windows quits supplying an OS for them we will have to convert to Linux. I cannot find decent applications for my bookkeeping and POS needs in the Linux world, but if Windows abandons the PC market, then they will appear. I've already talked to my POS supplier and they are studying the possibility of a Linux version.

  8. #23
    3 Star Lounger Backspacer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dsf View Post
    As #5 says, Linux needs to be considered.
    - It has an ecosystem of applications
    I spent a lot of time in 2012 trying to find a useable GAAP-compatible bookkeeping application and a bricks-and-mortar quality Point of Sale application for Linux and met with complete failure on both. I think if I wanted to spend on the order of 10x what my current products cost and more on an application engineer to make them actually work, then I could have done it, but it wasn't worth it. Most Linux applications are written by hobbyists in their spare time. They have big feature lists, but usually lack the basic understanding of how real workers actually use the software and so they just aren't very usable. They are often gimmicky and inelegant. The amount of work and cost and training that it would take to convert our POS system to any other package - Windows, Linux or otherwise - is immense and that's if the new system actually works well. To switch to the quality of software I was able to find in 2012 would be totally unacceptable. And I doubt that much has improved in just a year and a half.

  9. #24
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    The More Things Change …….

    Woody recently commented on the changes to the computer world brought about by companies such as Google, Apple and others using devices powered by Android, IOS etal. His comments were centered around Microsoft and its ability to cope with the apparent power shift in the application market. Being a computer industry dinosaur, I have had the dubious privilege seeing the shift of fortunes in the industry since the mid 60s to now.

    Back “in the day”, the computer industry was driven by the hardware. Applications were developed to suit the platform. The machines were huge, power hungry and very expensive. I worked for Control Data Corporation. They built the most powerful computers in the world that were bought and used by the government and academic scientific institutions. IBM built large computers for business use. Other companies such as Univac and Honeywell competed for the business. In the late 1970s something happened that within a very short time sent most of the major players in the business to the dumpster. IBM did something very uncharacteristic for them. They introduced the personal computer over which they had little control. They built the hardware, a fledgling company calling itself Microsoft provided the operating system and the applications were left to programmers at large to develop. Very few of us saw the handwriting on the wall.

    The rise of the internet, the development of UNIX, the explosion of applications for the personal computer, the advances in microcomputer technology and associated components changed everything. Computing was much cheaper. Hardware no longer ruled. Software was the new game. This drove many of the major computer industry players into bankruptcy. Control Data, a worldwide company with 36,000 employees was taken apart from about 1986 to 1992. In 1986 I was part of a small group of 13 people that developed “third party” peripheral equipment for the IBM Series-1 computer primarily used as a collection and distribution point for point of sale terminals. Our group was sold to Cambex Corporation. Even DEC, a manufacturer of UNIX based computers could not survive

    So, here we are nearly 30 years later. I am retired but still love watching the ‘game”. Microsoft has had it their way all these years. I see them possibly facing the same fate as they were partly (or wholly) responsible for so many years ago. The sheer bulk of the corporation may be the undoing. Big corporations don’t seem to see what they don’t want to see. If they are slow to respond, they may begin to thrash. The new sheriff in town may be able to fix things but cultures are hard to change. Stay tuned.

  10. #25
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    Windows May Have to Move Over but it will also Move Forward

    I see a couple thoughts on your analysis and presentation.

    First is you seem to lead the reader to believe with those sales figures for apps at Apple and Google that Microsoft has no sales at all which totally ignores the sales for Office 365 that completely dwarf the "stupid cat picture" apps that get sold to Android and Apple (and Windows) phone users to create those numbers. Not many of these are sustainable income sources. Good apps have a hard time making it on any of those platforms because the market seems to be for "short time consumable" applications. Look at your own phone, how many of the apps you have loaded are purchased and how many do you use more than once a week after 30 days. On the other hand O365/OneDrive/etc will have customers returning based on a value proposition. It will be interesting to see if that becomes a "churn" business like TV cable is now.

    I was surprised you passed on the CURIOUS choice of words in the Nadella quote:
    " I'm going to say... any thinking consumer should consider Microsoft because guess what, you're not just a consumer." In my opinion this is troublesome mostly because thinking consumers is a really small part of the devices market and Microsoft may already have a large part of them. Most people do not buy phones or any consumer computing device after going thru a deep thoughtful purchase decision. More often than not it seems the decision is based on emotional appeal and marketing 'cool'. Those kinds of thinking decisions rarely seem to happen out side the enterprise.

    Finally from where I sit it seems like Windows may have to move over some but more importantly I think it will also move forward. I don't believe the Windows market has shrunk as much as is commonly assumed and now MS is moving to new markets with the Windows brand where it does not have a dominant position. They never really got to the vision of a PC in every home and now they are adding a device in every hand buying Microsoft services. That is the point, Windows no longer is the Windows of version 3.11 we cut our teeth on. It too is more of a brand than a single OS/user interface these days. I find my self wondering if there will be a product/solution in the future, like Windows was then, that will bring sanity to the chaos of computing on the web... you remember... we had a different printer driver for every app, a different set of CRTL keys to learn for every app, nothing worked together well, data transfers were difficult (lotus to dbase and back or word to displaywrite) Fast forward 30 years and the problems have all been re-invented - its like the days of DOS, OS/2, UNIX, WordPerfect, DBase, and Lotus only now it is the WWW and not SNEAKER NET. Microsoft moved into that PC world with Windows and became the dominant player, is Nadella trying to do the same on a new platform called the internet?
    Last edited by hrboyce; 2014-07-17 at 14:35.

  11. #26
    Silver Lounger mrjimphelps's Avatar
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    For me, a keyboard / mouse / monitor will always be essential. It is a lot easier to do all of the tasks I do on a full-size keyboard than on a touchscreen virtual keyboard.

    What would work for me would be a tablet device which had USB and video ports, so that I could plug it in and make it like a desktop computer while at my desk, and then unplug it and carry it with me when I am away.

    There is no way I would want to do Facebook, email, or other daily activities on a small touchscreen and a touchscreen virtual keyboard. People are being sold a bill of goods when they are told that they MUST depend on the tiny virtual keyboard and tiny smartphone monitor.

  12. #27
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    Hi Woody:

    Your recent article regarding the future of Microsoft vis Google and Apple brings up an interesting question that doesn't seem to be discussed much. This is the question of how will these nifty apps that run on tablets and smart phones be created. What most people need are not "personal computers" but "personal communicators". When PC's (personal computers; e.g. the IBM PC, Apple Mac) came out and were soon adopted en mass by many people, there were no alternatives. These PC's were used mostly for e-mail, photo and music sharing, etc. Few people used them to "compute". In those early days of the PC, real computing was being done on mainframes, scientific workstations (remember Sun, Silicon Graphics, Apollo, even the old HP?), or supercomputers (Cray). Even some applications for PC's were developed on workstations.

    As PC's became more and more powerful, however, it became clear that most of the work done on expensive workstations could be done on cheap (due to mass sales to a wide customer base) PC's. So went Sun, Silicon Graphics, etc.

    Then came the iPod, iPhone, iPad, and their equivalents. Nobody needs big, bulky PC's to do e-mail or share photos and music any more. Thus the recent decline in PC sales and the fortunes of Microsoft. But the question is what will be the hardware/software environment for creating the nifty apps that run on these personal communicators. Will we be back to the old days of expensive (because of the limited market size) workstations? Who will make them? Apple certainly seems to be easing itself out of that market. Their latest Mac Pro is likely to be their last. HP is struggling; so, it seems, is Dell. Who will put a "PC"/workstation on my desk five years from now, and for how much?

  13. #28
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    Great article. I have been Windows user since 3.1 and a Windows hater since Windows 95. 95 was such a complete POS. By the time 98 came out I figured Microsoft owed me several thousand hours of lost time between the blue screen of death, and seeing 'you have installed windows for the very first time' for the zillionth time :-). When I heard that XP was going to be limited to one install per PC and maybe even limited upgrades to the PC it had been put on, I turned to Linux for my home PC. However, it was always necessary to keep a copy of Windows so I could dual boot in order to use proprietary software only available in Windows, and of course, I was stuck with whatever the IT department at work mandated for my work desktop.
    I tried a Mac at home for a while, and found it no better than Windows for other reasons, I had my Mac when Apple was concentrating on developing their I pods and I phones, and it seemed that nobody cared about Mac software anymore, or just assumed that because you had a Mac you loved paying silly prices and doing everything Steve's way.
    The thing that never ceased to amaze me was how Microsoft always gets it wrong, they were behind the curve on the internet, network security, mobile devices and phones, and yet they still dominate the business world, mostly because IT departments who can't even bother to learn the latest version of Windows let alone a new system.
    When corporate finally moves everything into the cloud, along with browser - cloud based apps such as Google Office, the next thing that will happen is that employees will be 'allowed' to bring their own PCs to work, which will soon devolve into will be required to, much the way businesses are allowing/requiring employees to supply their own cell phones, which immediately resulted in the switch from Blackberrys to Iphones. A clever manufacturer who paid attention to the cell phone wars will develop the 'cool' but business capable user friendly office PC for the worker paying for it, and Windows will go the way of the wind up phonograph.

    So long Windows, and the never ending updates (you couldn't get right the first time?), the mandatory re-boots, the click everything three times, including 'are you sure?', and finding there is yet another must click box hidden away somewhere, good bye scammers and malware, false alarms for legitimate stuff with an expired 'certificate', Microsoft DRM gestapo, etc., I won't miss you when you are finally gone .
    Last edited by everiman; 2014-07-17 at 16:11.

  14. #29
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    I read no mention of Linux. I understand Ubuntu is aiming at the tablet/phone with a phone being able to dock and become a full strength operating system. I'm looking forward to that idea. I just hope they hurry as I'm already 75.

  15. #30
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    Tablets/phones can have the same computing power as my old XP machine did. If Ubuntu is first out with a device that easily docks to screen/keyboard/mouse (something that doesn't need any particular operating system), they will get a jump on everyone else who should have realized what the revolt over Windows 8 was all about. It wasn't about resistance to advancement, it was about loss of productivity instead of a gain, it was about a technical solution to a problem that didn't exist, something forced on users that wasn't useful.

    Things make sense where they make sense, and nowhere else. Touch screens have their uses, where nothing else will do, and it's not on the desktop. There is no increase in productivity to be gained from it, and then there is the fingerprint issue.

    When it comes to the direction of computer tech, it's like the music business: I am not the consumer they have in mind. Maybe I am a curmudgeon.

    My private and business data is not going to be stored in 'the cloud'. Unless I put it there, encrypted. Otherwise my terabyte-size drives will hold primary and backup data.

    My multi-core multi-GHz multi-GB machine is not a dumb terminal and I will not use it as one for office applications, or any other application. What are they thinking?

    My office applications will not default to storing files across any network, and will be actively prevented from doing so unless there is a reason for it.

    I won't type onto a touchscreen, particularly a ridiculously tiny one, unless I have no other option.

    Email access on a phone or tablet is fine -- for reading. Web on a small screen is torture for old curmudgeon eyes.

    I need to be able to run legacy Windows applications. Right now, XP runs inside VMWare, either on Win 7 or Linux. That way I can lock XP away from the internet. I prefer Linux for security reasons. Security through obscurity is not a security approach, but it helps.

    I haven't seen one word about security. Windows is a lost cause for security, Android is even worse. Linux is great for getting a false sense of security. The opportunities for exploits start in the hardware, in the design approach for firmware, and spin out of control from bad to worse from there. I will be an early adopter if ever some thought is given to security at the hardware level and basing a kernel on that. UEFI made the problem worse, not better.

    I won't insult Apple products, I support a few machines and find them about the same as Linux machines to support, but I'm not an expert because I won't pay the premium to get locked out of all my special software.

    Whatever happens to Windows, they won't be making their products with me in mind anyway. But I expect to be able to keep supplementing my income undoing their UI changes, removing annoyances, blocking useless functionality, patching, firewalling, monitoring, and otherwise restoring the functionality people need that was there in Windows 98 and making it as easy to get at as it was in Windows 98. Not that there haven't been improvements since then, but ... nothing much to improve productivity.

    Since I'm on a rant, I might as well state that I am still running some applications that actually ran in Windows 98. Trying to find replacements, one runs into a wall of websites with "Enterprise", "Paradigm", "Cloud", "Extensible" and other such noise blinking away in Flash and Silverlight, with multi-thousand dollar price tags or monthly rent. No way. Not to do the simple tasks I need it for.

    Thanks for letting me unload.

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