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Linux Developers: Robertson's Lindows Is a "Piece of Crap"
Linux Developers: Robertson's Lindows Is a "Piece of Crap"

(September 19, 2002) - Can "Lindows" - the attempt to create a new computer operating system melding the power of Linux with the popularity of Windows - ever truly offer consumers a credible alternative to escape Microsoft's iron OS grip? This is the question on the lips of developers everywhere as they began examining the latest release of Lindows, Lindows 2.0.0, this week.

Lindows CEO Michael Robertson's original idea was for a new Linux distribution that would eventually run all Windows applications as they would run on Windows 98, NT, and XP. In other words, his aim was not to compete against other Linux distros so much as to compete against Microsoft - no small ambition, but one that's easier to pursue if you've just sold your international entertainment conglomerate (remember to the sprawling French giant Vivendi Universal...and managed to do so before Vivendi's share price went seriously south.

Lindows 2.0.0 claims the ability to browse Windows network shares and map them as you would on a Windows machine. But to date there have been many disappointed users of the 1.0 version, and developers at the discussion site for example have been saying this week that Lindows is nothing more than "a really bad, ugly, poorly conceived, library-lacking Linux distribution" and one goes so far as to suggest Robertson is really doing little more than imitating MS: "Why do work to make a quality product when you can make more money if you spend your R&D budget on marketing your piece of crap?"

Can Lindows be improved? Opinions differ. Open source guru Bruce Perens believes it can and says, "The last few times I've had an issue to bring to Michael Robertson's attention on the community's behalf, he's always fixed the problem, and he's done it promptly," but one Slashdotter rebutted the value of this, and joked: "Saying Michael Robertson is cooperative when Bruce Perens asks him to do something... is like saying the Pope listens to people who happen to be cardinals..."

About Jeremy Geelan
Jeremy Geelan is Chairman & CEO of the 21st Century Internet Group, Inc. and an Executive Academy Member of the International Academy of Digital Arts & Sciences. Formerly he was President & COO at Cloud Expo, Inc. and Conference Chair of the worldwide Cloud Expo series. He appears regularly at conferences and trade shows, speaking to technology audiences across six continents. You can follow him on twitter: @jg21.

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Reader Feedback: Page 1 of 2

will the Lindows OS support my DOS games? & what about that pesky 'registry' error that I recieve when a file looks for that MSWin32OS registry file or some nonsense similar?

>>I want to see linux continue and be successful, because it is the People's operating system.<<

I am interested in the rather well thought out opinions here of reasonable people who can appreciate LINUX but do not rush to merely bash and abuse MS, Windows , and those of us who use it. For that, I say this discussion is more valuable than nearly any other LINUX discussion I have read.

However, I think the comment made by another poster above is a little over the top. LINUX is the OS for a select, small niche group of programmers, computer aficionados and the like. It is nowhere near the people's OS. As others have so plainly put it, LINUX and its cousins have a long way to go before "mom & pop" can use it comfortably.

It is the same hype as the Braves or the Cowboys being America's teams. True, they were some of the first teams whose games were regularly broadcast nationally on cable rather than strictly locally, but, as we all know, they are not America's teams no matter what anyone says.

Just because LINUX allows the user to manipulate code, that user must really be on the ball - only a very small percentage of current PC users are - and thus cannot be viewed as an OS to be taken under the general populace's wing. And to say LINUX is more "of the people" just because it is made more independently and not by some big corporation would be a naive point of view.

This is being released to the public loaded on systems that do not state that the OS is not commercial. Either Lindows is Commercial and they are misleading the insiders or it is not commercial and they are misleading the buyers of these systems. You cannot have it both ways. Where is the word 'Beta' on those Walmart machines?
Maybe Lindows can become a more viable OS for the masses. I don't like this dishonesty. I don't like the way Lindows seems to want to do business any more that the way MS does business.

I heard an interview with Wal-Mart on the radio the other day. They said that sales of the LindowsOS computers had exceeded expectations and they had had very few complaints from those buying them. Just like the techies poked fun at AOL, they went on to rule the masses. LindowsOS seems to be for the average Joe, not just the techie, so I doubt they even read Slashwho?

I have been to the offices of other Linux distribution headquarters, and they were all running Windows on their desktops!

LindowsOS is the first Linux that I can actually use FULL TIME on my desktop. It's simply an easier-to-use Linux. Sure, I know how to install Linux programs, just like I know how to change the oil in my car, but my time is more valuable than that. I'm happy to pay a few bucks to use Click-N-Run to save me hours of messing around with my computer.

I am amazed at how dumb supposedly "smart" geeks can be. The Slashdot crowd need to get out, get a life, and kiss a girl now and then. They live to fiddle with their computers. I don't. And, fortunately for, 95% of the world feels the same way as I do.

If Linux ran all Windows software perfectly, that means MS wins. They can keep peddling their expensive bloatware, like Office, to the world. I don't want to keep paying the big bucks for closed, proprietary, bloated software. I'm very happy that is supporting Linux programs as much as Windows ones, if not more so.

Slashdot is irrelevant. Most who read it have never paid for a product in their lives. I saw a post there when announced the $199 computer, telling others how they shouldn't waste their $199 and should build their own computer. Geez.

The geeks are just jealous that Robertson is doing what Linux hasn't been able to do in 10 years...get the main stream desktop user to use it, oh, and he has a lot less pimples. :-)


As long as companies like sells a computer for $199.00 with Lindows installed, I believe it will sell. Ehe system is adaquate for the average home user surfing the net, e-mailing, simple games etc. Add a $100 for a monitor and you ready to go. Lindows is much easier and faster to install than any Microsoft operating system I have installed. The Click and Run software feature available for a reasonable fee will provide software powerful enough for home and business. No Mr. Geelan, it's NOT a "piece of crap". It's my choice of OS's and I don't work with crap.

For the Linux Community to give any of it's brother distros such a hard time when it is so early in it's life is a shameful thing to say . If you don't like something about Lindows. TELL THEM. Show them where it can be improved. This is the first Linux distro that goes for the pocketbook of MS, stop complaining and start helping. Show Microsoft a unified front just as M$ itself is a unified front.

As much as some people want to talk about how much Lindows sucks, some of us are forgetting that when Lindows was at 1.0 it was not good at all, now they are at 2.0 and the progress is very impressive. Lindows has a staff of programmers that actually make new innovations instead of always just finding what is available and tossing them into a distribution. Lindows is working on the things Linux had been lacking and is continuing to do so. Lindows will continue to get better because they are aiming at the average computer user, and they happen to use windows.

Give Lindows a chance its come a long way in a short time.IT just keeps on getting better and better.

First of all, Lindows is not yet full commercial version. People cannot expect a complete O/S out of a partial one. Secondly, Linux base has a lot more security than any Windows garbage, which is why the Department of Defense often uses it in it's own applications. The fact that advanced users can get in and meddle with certain key files is wonderful for those of us who miss the old DOS days when we (THE OWNERS) had control over our own computers. Windows has dumbed everything down so badly that we cannot do anything to make the system our own. Lastly, Give it a chance, it's a lot cheaper than MicroSoft, if it comes out strong enough, we can eventually flush Windows with the rest of the crap where it belongs.

I've tried various distros of Linux, and found them wanting. Lindows, to me, is a crossover OS.I'm on-line 10 minutes from starting the install. Most people are wanting to browse, e-mail, and play simpler games. Lindows, is by far the easiest and fastest install for a stable easy for the non-linux user. I got, I'll stay with it.

I think the naysayers are the ones that aren't actually using it. I am using it as my desktop system right now, and it works perfectly for me. I am connecting to Windows NT shares on my network, opening documents created by Word and Excel, editing and saving them with SunOffice (free as a Click-N-Run user of Lindows), and I am listening to a CD playing as I write this! Don't knock it until you've used it as your daily system (as I am!)
- Dr. Bill

Since June of 2002, I have been using LindowsOS. Since July 2002, I have had LindowsOS as my main OS. I have never done this. I tried with Mandrake, Redhat. They failed to keep it simple. But LindowsOS has completed that. If my 4 year old Nephew can walk into the room, and know where to click to get online, where to click to play a game. Then I think LindowsOS has a chance.

I agree with this user. I love to program also, and from my opinion, linux does currently lack the support/documentation and easy of configuration to appeal to the masses. Let's be truthful, many folks buy these $1500+ systems to check email, write email or play games. They don't care about security, until someone hacks their computer. There are some things that could be done to linux to polish it up for the masses. One, for example would be to get more vendor support so that more hardware can be supported and easier to configure. Another would be to make more "wizards" to hold inexperienced user's hands. But, then it becomes a question of whether you are bastardizing linux. I want to see linux continue and be successful, because it is the People's operating system.

I am a programmer that LOVES! and relished the idea of OpenSource. Most of the things I use on a day to day basis are OpenSource. Also, sorry for the lack of terseness -- "if you only knew how much I wanted to say and didn't"

I have a feeling that most computers in homes today are not put together by the folks who bought them. In fact, most folks probably go to BestBuy or CompUSA or someother mogul to get their next computer. I have watched people in stores like these when they are looking at computers. Their concerns tend to be UI specific: how does it look and feel, are there good games (or support for games), will it run . Quite a few times questions of space and memory come up -- sometimes I don't know why, because then the next question is "Is that enough for...". I have NEVER! heard anyone talk about security models, data integrity, or any such thing. These are things of concern for those of in the business. For the most part, Billy Bob Joe and his grandma' just expect that those things are going to be there (not consciously usually, since they generally have no idea what data integrity or security model means).

The one thing I see going for Lindows (if they can do it) is simply a less expensive version of Windows that is just as good looking and just as much supported in terms of software that will run on it. If they fail in this, they have failed!

So, what about Linux? I sincerely believe that the only way for it to succeed in the bare market is for Billy Bob Joe and his grandma' to be able to use it. This brings up major issues:
- support (who do they call when something goes wrong -- and don't say download the latest fix, because they won't know what a RedHat package is, or a Debian package, or ...)
- ease of use (severely limit the times they would need to call for service)
- better automation of secret system processes

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