Selling Linux to Windows Users

Dotan Cohen dotancohen at
Wed Dec 10 14:55:56 UTC 2008

2008/12/10 Michael Haney <thezorch at>:
> It disturbs me to see such comments from Linux Advocates.  It really
> does and it worries me.

I know, the truth hurts. I have installed Fedora and Ubuntu on over 20
peoples' computers. I help people move thier Windows systems to Linux.
However, it is not for everybody. I only install Linux for people that
_asked_ me to after seeing my own computer. I then tell them that they
can't have it because it is not 'ready'. Only after they convince me
that Linux is ready for them to I do the install.

I do believe that Ubuntu will be ready. But not yet.

> I like to think of myself as a "Linux Evangelist", spreading the truth
> to the users of the world that Windows is not their PC and that there
> is a better user experience out there.  Also, using Windows supports a
> company which has been known for and got into legal trouble in the
> past and still does engage in illegal and unethical business practices
> to maintain their monopoly.  Getting users to switch to Linux or even
> Mac lowers Microsoft's market share a little bit over time, but that
> can add up as those new users spread the wonders of Linux to others
> and get them to switch.
> No OS is perfect, but some are better than others.

No OS is perfect, but some are less perfect than others :)

> The fact that
> Ubuntu can't play MP3s and DVDs after being first installed isn't the
> fault of Linux but is the fault of unethical business practices in
> Hollywood and draconian approaches to intellectual Property Law which
> was put into place after Hollywood lobbied Congress for such laws to
> help prop up their failing business models.

Congress? Hollywood? I don't live in America, sorry, and if American
policies restrict American citizens then so be it. I am using a South
African Linux distro in Israel, neither nation which forbibs the use
of MP3 codecs.

> Laws which in my opinion
> have helped contribute in some way to the downturn of our economy and
> an increase in unethical (or criminal) abuses of IP law (ie; DMCA
> Takedown notices to stifle competition, to quiet critics of a company,
> etc).

Those acronyms sound very active in politics. I bet that they wrote to
their representatives. Tell me, did _you_ write to your representative
and let him know how you feel?

> Saying that its a company's job to lock you into a product is
> the wrong kind of mindset to have.  Doing so under Anti-Trust laws is
> illegal, and accepting such a practice as something that is "just how
> things are" is unacceptable and a Defeatist attitude.

I do not accept it, I am aware of the fact that _other_ people accept it.

> I've witnessed first hand many of Microsoft's business practices in
> the corporate world.  Their reps tell the higher ups in charge, execs
> whose computer knowledge usually doesn't extend beyond turning the
> machine on, thing in flowery language that just aren't entirely true.
> They tell them that they'll save money with Windows and can do more
> with Windows, but this isn't true.  The saving money part is
> definitely not true.  Google shaved an estimated $100 million dollars
> from their IT budget by switching to Linux from Windows, and
> shaved an estimated $30-60 million from switching to Linux.

And Godaddy saved $$$ dollars switching _to_ Windows. So what?

>  Some pundits will say switching to Linux will cost money.  What they
> don't tell you is switching to "any" new platform costs money.

Then don't say that people will save money switching from Windows to Linux.

> Whether that platform is a free OS or something like Mac it is going
> to cost a certain amount to migrate but the total cost of migration
> can be kept to a minimum with free software.
> I agree that saying "viruses aren't an issue in Linux" can be a double
> edged sword, but there is truth behind that.  Most viruses, Trojans,
> Worms, etc. are designed to specifically target Windows or exploit
> features only found in Windows (ie; Active X).

This is one of the only valid pro-Linux arguments I've seen in this thread.

> Javascript viruses on
> web pages can still effect Linux, but most of those download a Trojan
> Downloader to infect a PC ... a Windows PC, thus 99% of the time they
> aren't that big a deal for Linux users.  Linux viruses are so rare in
> the wild that the average Linux user has a greater chance of being hit
> by lightning than they have of ever running into one on the Internet.
> What is true is the fact that the number of Linux viruses will
> increase as more and more people begin using it enough that the Script
> Kiddies (Hackers don't create viruses) have an incentive to start
> writing for that platform.  Linux can be hacked, but unlike Windows
> far more proactive measures can be implemented in Linux to make the OS
> far more secure.  Linux doesn't have perfect security, but because the
> entire OS can be modified from the kernel level on up the options for
> keeping it safe are infinitely more accessible.  The same thing also
> means that security patches and updates come more frequently and fewer
> security holes get left behind like they do in Windows which have yet
> to fixed.  In all honesty the corporate world has much more to worry
> about someone hacking into their Linux server than the average Linux
> user does.
> On the subject of drivers, this isn't the fault of Linux either but
> the fault of companies that either don't write drivers for Linux or
> write them as an afterthought.

I do not care who's fault it is. Users need drivers. Have you written
to Lexmark and Brother and requested Linux drivers? I have.

> Thus, many projects to create open
> source drivers for certain devices has emerged.  Linux hardware
> support has really improved in recent years, and the efforts of
> companies like Dell is who sell PCs pre-installed with Ubuntu are a
> good step in the right direction.  The more large PC manufacturers
> support Linux the more hardware manufacturers will have an incentive
> to develop drivers for the OS.  Ubuntu already has outstanding driver
> support in many areas, some are better than others, and certain areas
> could do with improvement.  WiFi driver support is one area Linux is
> getting better at.
> It all ultimately comes down to what the average Jane/Joe PC user
> wants to do with their computer.  If all they want to do is chat
> online, watch Youtube videos, do some word processing, play casual
> Flash games online and browse the web than Linux is a better choice
> for the better security and immunity to 99% of the most common viruses
> & malware which only target Windows and specially Microsoft branded
> software (ie; Internet Explorer, Outlook, Active X).  If they are hard
> core gamers then sticking to Windows is a better choice for them, but
> they could benefit from dual-booting Windows and Linux, using a second
> PC with Linux or running Linux in a virtual machine.
> One area where this could be of great benefit is when the gamer is an
> MMORPG player.  Let me give you some background info to help you
> undstand where I'm going with this.  Recently RMT (Real Money
> Transfer, aka Gold Sellers) has grown from a group of users in a game
> farming virtual currency and items to sell on ebay for real money to a
> multi-million dollar industry.  IGE is the company that started it
> all, but recently the company has become a shadow of its former self.
> The bulk of RMT is done now in China and other parts of Southeast Asia
> by several smaller companies were people play MMORPGs in large
> sweatshops farming virtual currency and items to sell online.  Game
> companies have been taking proactive approaches to stop RMT, which
> wreaks havock on in-game economies and diminishes the enjoyment of
> game play due to the number of farmers monopolizing Notorious Monsters
> or NMs, ordinary monsters called mobs, and the flooding of in-game
> markets with excessively cheat to buy high-level items making it
> nearly impossible for regular players to make money from crafting
> items or selling items they collected from farming in the game for
> virtual currency.  Activision/Blizzard, SquareEnix, Sony Online
> Entertainment and etc. have been working hard to stop RMT.
> You now ask me, how can Linux possibly help?
> In recently months, due to increased Anti-RMT activity by many MMO
> operators some RMT groups have begun resorting to illegal activity to
> gather virtual currency and items by hacking user's game accounts.
> They steal personal information and credit card numbers (on rare
> occasions) from accounts, steal virtual currency and items, and hijack
> the accounts to use them for RMT activities.  They do this by hacking
> websites frequented by MMO gamers.  These are forums and wikis devoted
> to their specific game (World Warcraft, Final Fantasy XI, Everquest
> II, etc.). These hacks install keyloggers which record user's account
> login information allowing RMT hackers to break into their game
> accounts and hijack them.  These keyloggers ONLY run on Windows.
> This is where Linux can come to the rescue.  Gamers can either browse
> their favorite game related sites in a virtual machine running Ubuntu
> or any other Linux distro of their choice or have a second machine
> they can use for that purpose running Linux.  Not visiting these sites
> with the computer they play the games with prevents this form of
> hacking or at least can significantly minimize it.

In a VM? Ha! Write to the game devs and request Linux ports. I have
written to Blizzard, EA, and all the other large distributors. Have
you? Should I give you their addresses?

> Some could argue that they could easily use Windows in a virtual
> machine or second PC, but they don't tell you that this can cost you.
> Because of WGA and Windows Activation you cannot install Windows on a
> second PC or run it in a virtual machine without buying the full
> install which is upwards of $300.  Yes, you could run it without
> activating it but doing so runs a heavy risk of leaving many security
> holes open that have since been patched.  You're also limited to using
> an unactivated install for a short period of time requiring you to
> reinstall the virtual machine or second PC rather often.  Linux
> however is free to download and can be installed on as many PCs or
> virtual machines as you like.  Virtual machine software like Virtual
> Box or the older VirtualPC is free, thus killing the argument that
> virtual machine software costs money.  A second machine could cost
> money, but its also pretty easy to keep an eye out for a free used PC
> and monitor on Craigslist or one of the Yahoo FreeCycle Groups for
> your town or the town closest to you.  This is a case were using Linux
> for this purpose is far more practical than Windows.
> This is just one example, and why I promote the user of Linux instead
> of Windows with every opportunity I get.  No, Linux isn't perfect, its
> not the Jesus/Mohammad/Buddha of Operating Systems.  Point me to an OS
> that's 100% perfect and I'll switch to it.  However, there is an OS
> that is in many aspects better than Windows in many critical ways and
> that OS is Linux.

I never said that Linux was worse than Windows. I said that it is different.

Dotan Cohen


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