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Android on the Rise, While .Net Takes a Blow

By Katherine Noyes LinuxInsider ECT News Network
Oct 15, 2009 4:00 AM PT

This week, Linux Girl is *not* going to cover the Great Sexism Debate again -- despite the fact that it's flared up anew on Slashdot following a fresh post on the topic from Bruce Byfield at Linux Magazine.

Android on the Rise, While .Net Takes a Blow

No, rather than stoke that fire and make tempers even hotter in the process, how about a little good news instead?

Several cheery items have appeared on the Linux blogs in recent days, so let's accentuate the positive for a change!

iPhone in the Dust

First up: Android will be the No. 2 smartphone OS by 2012, according to Gartner analyst Ken Dulaney!

This fall's march of the Androids notwithstanding, the open OS now accounts for less than 2 percent of all smartphones, according to a recent report. In three years, however, it will make up more than 14 percent, beating Apple, Microsoft and RIM and second only to Symbian, Gartner predicted.

Beating the iPhone?! Now that's something to smile about.

'Only Loosely Tied to Linux'

Of course, "Android is not first and foremost a Linux phone, although it has certainly been marketed this way," Slashdot blogger drinkypoo told LinuxInsider. "Android is first a *Java* phone, since all Android applications are Java apps, even when using the Android NDK to reuse C or C++ code."

Android is thus "only loosely tied to Linux," he explained, "since only code which compiles under the NDK is eligible to accompany the Java portion of an Android app."

Linux does, however, have natural advantages that have long been recognized by the embedded community, drinkypoo noted, "which effectively guarantees its eventual mainstream acceptance in smartphones and other small consumer devices."

'A Windfall of Cachet'

Not only that, but it's "hard to imagine Android's potential success not providing a windfall of cachet to Linux," he added.

Others remain skeptical, however -- not so much of Android or Linux, but of Gartner.

"If wishes were fishes? I hope it's true, but past experience has shown Gartner to be slightly less accurate than the average mall fortune teller," Montreal consultant and Slashdot blogger Gerhard Mack warned. "Keep in mind that these people are the ones who predicted Itanium would dominate the server industry."

Yes, well, moving right along: on to more good news!

The London Stock Exchange

Back in July, reports surfaced that the London Stock Exchange had decided to abandon its Windows-based TradElect system after suffering a debilitating software crash the previous fall.

TradElect is a custom set of C# and .Net programs created by Microsoft and Accenture.

Instead, news came out last week that the LSE will switch to the GNU/Linux-based MillenniumIT system, even going so far as to purchase its developer in the process!

One sweet side benefit? Annual cost savings of at least Pounds 10 million starting in 2011/2012. Who could argue with that?!

'You Cannot Polish a Turd'

Indeed, nearly 500 enthusiastic comments appeared on Slashdot in short order, along with more than 600 Diggs and 100 comments on that site.

"MS showed that you cannot polish a turd," wrote gbjbaanb on Slashdot, for example. "The moral is that you don't want to use the simple-to-code MS platform when you can get a best-of-breed system, based on Linux and good engineering for a lot less."

Indeed, "that a major stock exchange was ever backed by Windows is rather terrifying," wrote Digg blogger carbonetc.

'Some Very Famous Failures'

Ever eager to spread the joy far and wide, Linux Girl took to the streets of the blogosphere for some more reactions.

"This is less about the LSE rejecting .Net than it is the LSE rejecting Accenture as a solutions provider," Mack asserted. "Large consulting firms are just not cut out for tasks that require niche skills, and stock exchanges are very much a niche skill -- every second counts, and reliability is everything, and that's completely unlike every other large business application."

The project's history of "some very famous failures" caused some of the LSE's customers to use other stock exchanges instead, Mack added, "so the LSE is now doing the smart thing."

'It Is a No-Brainer'

The cost of "doing things Microsoft's way may be reasonable for a few PCs, but for larger organizations, when the license fees exceed the cost of obtaining the functionality by other means, that makes no sense," blogger Robert Pogson told LinuxInsider. "All the burdens M$ puts on PCs reduce performance. Business does not need that, and with FLOSS, businesses can afford to customize GNU/Linux to suit their needs."

It's become a familiar scenario, Pogson added: "Sun bought the capabilities of StarOffice; Munich migrated 300 business applications; the French national police migrated to FLOSS applications and then GNU/Linux.

"It is a no-brainer," he said. "No matter the official line, the short time LSE spent with M$ is evidence they found it wanting."

No More 'Monopolistic Prices'

Smaller organizations can do the same, Pogson noted.

"They can use GNU/Linux for the client PCs and most services; all they need that other OS for are a few applications they can run on terminal servers," he explained. "It makes no sense to run that other OS on everything."

In short, "2009 has really focused minds on cost of IT," he concluded. "M$ can no longer force monopolistic prices on wary customers."

'You Really Can't Beat VB'

Even more interesting than the LSE decision's effect on Linux is "what this does to MSFT," Slashdot blogger hairyfeet told LinuxInsider.

"For quite "2009 has really focused minds on cost of IT," he concluded. "M$ can no longer force monopolistic prices on wary customers."a while now, they have been pushing .Net, not only as the successor to VB but as its own powerful solution in its own right," hairyfeet explained. "Yet with the exception of a few weird places -- like the ATI driver requiring .Net for some reason -- I just haven't been seeing .Net take the world by storm like VB did."

Why not? "I'm sure there are programmers that will cringe to read this, but there is a REASON why VB is STILL, even after all the effort MSFT spent trying to kill it, the No. 3 business language," hairyfeet asserted. "It is because, as a RAD platform for cranking out GUIs for databases -- which is the job that VB did so well -- you really can't beat VB even to this day."

'Linux Has the Better Platform'

Despite its best efforts, Microsoft "just hasn't seemed to get anywhere near the same kind of traction for either .Net or Silverlight VS Flash," noted hairyfeet. "This is an area that I think the FLOSS crowd has a real shot at, as more and more of our lives are being built around the Web, while MSFT still seems to be stuck in that rich desktop mindset."

When it comes to reliable appliances that require a lot of interconnectivity, "Linux just has the better platform," he added. "Linux rules the server, and MSFT the desktop."

More and more of people's lives are also spent dealing with devices other than the desktop, and "MSFT has never been great with mobile or the Web," hairyfeet pointed out. "I mean, here they are facing iPhone and Android and WebOS, and the best they can come up with is WinMO 6.5? Blech!"

'Microsoft Has Truly Lost Its Way'

The LSE story, then, "shows that MSFT has truly lost its way, and instead of focusing on its core businesses, which of course [are] desktops, business OSes and Office, they have simply spread themselves too thin trying to be the master of all and ending up just a mess," hairyfeet concluded.

"From VB to Vista, from the Zune to the RROD fiasco, MSFT seems to just go from one blunder to the next," he added. "And now this slap in the face to .Net will I'm sure make many corporations, who have always been a cash cow for MSFT, start to wonder if .Net is right for their company or not."

Indeed, Microsoft had better "hope that Windows 7 is the greatest seller since Windows 95," he predicted, "or they may be in serious trouble."

Linux's Place is Assured

That, of course, is just what we Linux folk like to hear!

Regardless of how Windows 7 does -- in fact, regardless of the desktop in general, for now -- the outlook for Linux looks pretty darn good to Linux Girl.

Between the rapidly expanding mobile world and the ever-continuing need for customized, large-scale solutions, Linux's place in IT departments and in consumers' Web-connected hands is all but assured. In the long run, will any other contexts really even matter?


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