OT: Siemens sees Linux desktops at 20% of market by 2008 --recommends GNOME over KDE

Stephan Maciej stephanm at muc.de
Sat Aug 16 14:34:05 BST 2003


On Saturday 16 August 2003 02:23, George Staikos wrote:
> >    "Siemens has no 'religious' attachment to a particular distro
> >     or desktop environment. Before settling on Ximian, Siemens
> >     evaluated plain vanilla Gnome and KDE as well. Siemens found
> >     KDE to be more 'Windows-like' than Gnome, but that lead to
> >     problems when non-technical users expected a more Windows-like
> >     experience. Gnome, particularly Ximian's version, was 'different
> >     enough" to set user expectations that the experience would be
> >     less like Windows, which led to fewer adoption problems.'"

Here lies the problem. Let's start like this once again: "What would happen 
when Microsoft produced cars?"

Say someone managed to create a free car foundation and starts working on open 
cars (eh, not cabriolets) in his free time. The project evolves and becomes 
almost as good or even better than Microsoft cars.

Then a big company conducts tests with unexperienced drivers and finds them 
saying: "I was confused when I didn't find the air condition power switch 
above the radio's station control button". Or: "I was confused when I saw the 
car had 5 gears instead of just 4".

I think people are flexible enough to get used to these little details. What 
is more important is that something - let it be cars or let it be computers - 
remains stable over time or changes only lightweight and slowly. Consider 
what is going to happen when the car industry decides to exchange the 
function of two pedals.

KDE is in a pretty good shape right now, so is gnome and so is the GNU/Linux 
platform. Changes that matter are not those Windows <-> { Gnome, KDE, 
whatever } changes, it's more like the pedal thing. A cp <-> mv or a 
mkreiserfs <-> ext2fsck change would be a lot worse for productivity than the 

As long as KDE's developers don't do any drastic changes in useability, look 
or functionality, KDE (is and) will be a serious threat for Microsoft - and a 
very good alternative.

>    It sounds to me like this guy doesn't "get it".  Linux is about freedom
> and choice.  OSS is a process, not a product.  He's falling into the "Linux
> the Product" trap.  With those views, in the end someone at Seimens is
> going to be disappointed.

Would not be the first time that this happens =)

But anyway, for the end user it does not matter if he is using open source 
software or some commercial stuff from whoever. That's probably more 
interesting for idealistic IT guys. For those who decide, money will continue 
to matter. What a pity.

>    They should let their users decide what they wish to use.  Furthermore,
> there is no benefit to "announcing" something like this unless they are
> trying to market one over the other.

See above. A secretary that is too stupid to type a letter in OpenOffice or 
KOffice, but can do so under Microsoft Office is stupid or she's payed by 
Gates in secret.


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