Archive of UserLand's first discussion group, started October 5, 1998.
Re: Win What?
Author: Karl Fast Posted: 6/28/1999; 3:45:36 PM Topic: Win What? Msg #: 7877 (In response to 7872) Prev/Next: 7876 / 7878In this case, if the appliance has been implemented correctly, the consumer will never know that they've "been had."
You bet, although I'm not sure I agree with the phrase "been had". In fact, I'm increasingly of the opinion that many people don't need to be exposed to a Windows or GNOME or KDE desktop any more than they need to open up the case and change an IRQ on their old ISA modem. All my mom needs is a machine to browse the web, send and receive email (which for her needs can now be done through the web), and write her family christmas letter. She shouldn't need 450Mhz, DVD, a 500 page manual, and a 2 week training course to do that.
In other words, the OS is increasingly irrelevant to the consumer. It is increasingly important to the developer. They need an OS that is reliable, cheap, flexible (from both a programming and a licensing perspective), and adaptable to a wide range of hardware.
Linux meets or beats NT in every respect here. NT is designed around the current incarnation of computing: WIMP interfaces, big monitors, and bulky boxes with power hungry CPU's. This hardware is not the future.
To me, the empeg car player and, to a lesser extent, the Cobalt Cube, represent the next generation of computing. Those products would not be possible with NT or most other commercial OS's for the reasons listed above. The great thing about Linux is not that it scale up (which in truth, it doesn't do very well above 4 processors), but that it scales down.
The Linux advocacy in this case is aimed at the developers of the appliance. "Why should you build on top of Linux." The respect of product engineers and engineering management may be harder to gain and keep in the face of a Linux/MS Slug fest.
Does it really matter? For every company that ignores Linux, be it because of a slug fest or fears of open source or whatever, there will be ten more startups lining up to build a new appliance around Linux. We've seen this before with the PC revolution and Microsoft, Apple, and friends displacing IBM and it's ilk from the throne.
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