Mailinglist Archive: opensuse-factory (602 mails)

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Re: [opensuse-factory] Re: [PLEASE SPEAK UP] Disabling legacy file systems by default?
On 2/5/19 10:29 PM, Michal Kubecek wrote:
From your e-mails, both here and in the recent discussion about bogus
Phoronix benchmarks, it seems that you believe the goal of openSUSE is
(or at least should be) attracting as many users as possible which
mostly means adapting the distribution to meet the expectations of
people who don't want to think, learn or work. I don't agree with such
goal because it would mean way too many sacrifices which would make the
distribution less attractive for me.

That is nearly as inaccurate a representation of what I am saying as

I am not saying that at all.

What I am saying is this:

* The Linux market is very competitive. Different distros have different
strengths and weaknesses. It is fatally short-sighted to ignore what
other distros and other companies are doing, for any reason, whether the
reason is "Not Invented Here" syndrome, or because $DISTRO is not seen
as a real competitor, or because of tradition.

If a company wants to survive, it has to attract new customers.
Capitalism mandates growth.

(This may be good or bad but that is an entirely different discussion.)

To thrive, Linux distros have to attract users from other Linux distros.
If you only get income from your existing customers, then you are going
to die, because sometimes your customers will die. They will fail, or go
bankrupt, or get bought out, or switch providers, or something.

This is a law of the market.

It is _necessary_ for any company and any distro that wants to remain
competitive and to remain viable to attract users from its rivals.

Therefore, it must offer _benefits_ over those rivals. It must offer a
better value proposition. That means it needs to strive to be at least
as good in every way, and better in some ways.

If you ignore your rivals, that means you will let them get ahead of you
in some way. By ignoring them, you don't know what they're doing, and
everyone is trying to advance.

So if you let them advance, they will end up with an advantage over you
and you won't know about it.

It is _necessary_ to continuously monitor them and keep pace with them.

The only exceptions to this are when someone has some massive advantage,
such as, say, being the industry standard with which all 3rd parties
_must_ work (e.g. Microsoft), or offering products which are so
massively better than the competitions' products that people will come
to you and pay a premium for them (e.g. almost any luxury premium
manufacturer, from Ferrari to Apple).

Linux vendors don't get this privilege. We're all working from the same
code. It's all GPL. We _have_ to share.

So we _have_ to keep up with the competition or we will die.

That means working out if the competition has a particular edge in
certain areas, and playing catch-up.

Ubuntu decided on a fairly simple play. Pick a free distro with, at the
time, the best packaging tool -- i.e. Debian, circa 2002-2003 or so --
and put a really nice easy desktop on it, with a complete set of
integrated apps, and an easy installation program, and give it away for
nothing. This was so the sponsor could give something back to the FOSS
community that made him a billionaire (or near enough).

This has made Ubuntu the #1 end-user desktop distro.

Many people argue with this and it's very hard to prove, but in terms of
mindshare, press coverage, etc., I think it's obviously the case.

Now, a decade and a half later, that means that there are hundreds of
thousands of Linux folk who learned on Ubuntu first and know it best,
and because of that, Ubuntu is what they choose to deploy on their
servers and in their VMs and clouds.

They don't care if it's approved or supported for expensive enterprise
software that they've never heard of. They know it because it's a better
desktop and that's all that matters.

It *still* has the edge as a desktop.

Some graduated on to Debian, the upstream. It's weaker as a desktop, but
a good solid stable base for servers, and Ubuntu knowledge transfers well.

So that means that openSUSE _must_ keep pace with Ubuntu's developments.

Not copy it slavishly, not duplicate everything, but it sets a baseline
in terms of ease of installation and ease of use which all other distros
must attempt to equal.

Fedora deliberately hobbles itself in several ways:
* it doesn't include non-FOSS components
* it doesn't have stable/LTS versions, as they are rival products
(CentOS / RHEL)
* it has a split personality because it also has a role as the tech
testbed for those stable relatives.

So it's not a direct threat. However, RH is the 800lb gorilla of the
Linux market and always has been, partly because the Internet is
predominantly English-based and English is the default language of North
America, which dominates English culture. In that geographical area, RH
is the main Linux player.

So whereas SUSE has always been strong in the DACH countries, and
Mandrake was in Francophone ones, and Connectiva was in Latin America,
and so on, those are smaller markets.

SUSE doesn't have to keep up with RH. It is at parity. RH and SUSE are
the 2 dominant paid enterprise distros.

But although they're both a decade+ older than Ubuntu, in that decade,
Ubuntu has stolen a lot of users from both of them.

That's a problem and it needs to be addressed.

Trying to not discuss it, or ignore it, will be a very expensive mistake.

Servers are where the money is, yes. But servers need server admins.
Those are not born. They learn as they grow up. People tend to get into
Linux by playing with it, because it's free. "Just for fun" is a motto
of the entire FOSS movement.

And one of the main places they learn from is playing with desktops on
old kit.

So for your enterprise distro to thrive, you _must_ have a good desktop,
and that means competitive with Ubuntu, Mint, Debian and Fedora.

I think we've got Debian and Fedora covered. So it's Ubuntu and Mint
that matter.

It's like beer advertising in Scandinavia.

All the big breweries make a "lettøl", a light beer, and they all
advertise it heavily.

Nobody much drinks light beer.

(Like nobody much makes money from desktop Linux.)

But you're not allowed to advertise "starkøl", strong beer, although
that is what sells and that is what makes the money.

(Like enterprise server Linux.)

So the breweries put their ad money into light beer that nobody drinks,
because that's what tempts people into your bar, and when they're in
your bar, you sell them the strong, profitable stuff.

We have to tempt users in with the desktop, in order to get them into
our camp and then sell them the enterprise distro.

Liam Proven - Technical Writer, SUSE Linux s.r.o.
Corso II, Křižíkova 148/34, 186-00 Praha 8 - Karlín, Czechia
Email: lproven@xxxxxxxx - Office telephone: +420 284 241 084

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