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posted by janrinok on Monday March 24 2014, @06:11PM   Printer-friendly
from the linux-is-the-boss dept.

prospectacle writes about another possible shift from Win XP to Linux:

"With Microsoft ceasing to support Windows XP, the Tamil Nadu state government has advised its departments to switch to Bharat Operating System Solutions, also known as BOSS Linux.

BOSS Linux is developed by India's "National Resource Centre for Free/Open Source Software", which is financed by their Ministry of Communication and Information Technology. BOSS supports national languages including Bengali, Telugu, and Tamil.

Why would you develop your own entire operating system when you can just buy the newest version from Microsoft?"

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Linux Mint as Mainstream Replacement for XP 118 comments

prospectacle writes:

How to best replace Windows XP has become interesting to a much wider group of people, due to the end of official support for the product. (a previous story mentioned an Indian state government that urged its departments to use India's home-grown linux distro "BOSS Linux").

Some people may be using XP because it came with their computer and they never gave it a second thought, but there are probably plenty of others who don't want to spend the money, don't like the look of Windows 8, have older hardware, or are just used to the XP interface.

To these people, ZDNet humbly offers Linux Mint as a suggestion to replace XP.

They provide fairly compelling arguments to their target audience like:
- You can make it look almost exactly like XP
- It's free
- You can boot the live CD to try before you "buy".
- Decent, free alternatives exist for email, office, book-keeping and web-browsing.
- Virtually no need for any anti-virus for home users.
- Installation is quite easy these days.
- Works on fairly modest hardwar

Ending free support for a 12 year old product seems like a sensible policy for a for-profit entity like microsoft. In the past they've been able to count on people upgrading from old microsoft products to new microsoft products, and so any measure that would encourage (or pressure) people to upgrade would increase their sales.

Seems like a winning formula.

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  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by e_armadillo on Monday March 24 2014, @06:18PM

    by e_armadillo (3695) on Monday March 24 2014, @06:18PM (#20407)

    Why would you develop your own entire operating system when you can just buy the newest version from Microsoft?"

    Have you tried to use Windows 8.1?

    --
    "How are we gonna get out of here?" ... "We'll dig our way out!" ... "No, no, dig UP stupid!"
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 24 2014, @10:29PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 24 2014, @10:29PM (#20612)

      The world has tried Windows 8 and are wondering why this Linux thing is so foreign. Next stop: The year of Desktop Linux

    • (Score: 1, Redundant) by Snotnose on Monday March 24 2014, @11:45PM

      by Snotnose (1623) on Monday March 24 2014, @11:45PM (#20639)

      Once you spend several hours figuring out how to get around Metro (install a real start button, boot to desktop, change associations away from Metro apps, etc) it's a very nice OS. Rock solid and fast. And now that I've done it once I could get a new laptop de-Metro'd in a couple hours.

      People equate Metro with Win8.1. Metro is a steaming pile of crap sitting on top of a nice shiney object. Clean the crap off it and you have a nice shiney object.

      --
      In this month in 1958 Project Snot was started. This has upset many people and is widely considered a bad idea.
      • (Score: 1) by e_armadillo on Tuesday March 25 2014, @12:10AM

        by e_armadillo (3695) on Tuesday March 25 2014, @12:10AM (#20647)

        I will take your word for it, but I am not willing to shell out several hours to retool the interface of an operating system that I paid for. I did plenty of that in years gone by playing with "enlightenment" on my old Linux Boxes. I just want an OS I can use and not have to fuss with it. I guess I am getting old . . .

        --
        "How are we gonna get out of here?" ... "We'll dig our way out!" ... "No, no, dig UP stupid!"
        • (Score: 2) by Snotnose on Tuesday March 25 2014, @12:29AM

          by Snotnose (1623) on Tuesday March 25 2014, @12:29AM (#20652)

          It took me several hours because A) I decided to try the kool-aid; and B) I had to figure out what to do. So...

          1) Don't try to like Metro. It sucks.

          2) Install classic shell.

          3) Configure it to boot to desktop.

          4) Install the programs you like (Irfanview, Vim, etc)

          5) Change file associations to use your programs, instead of the apps.

          That's it. Be prepared to get hit with a Metro app every once in a while (yesterday I discovered it was still configured to use a Metro app for a .gif file), but it's a few seconds work to fix.

          --
          In this month in 1958 Project Snot was started. This has upset many people and is widely considered a bad idea.
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 25 2014, @04:14AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 25 2014, @04:14AM (#20776)

        Take take a subject who has only used Windoze 7.
        Define a task e.g. access a web page, locate a paragraph of text, insert that into a document and save it.
        Have him do this on Tiles8 and time it.
        Repeat with the same subject using Linux Mint or ZorinOS.
        Compare numbers.
        Any guesstimates on the outcome?

        -- gewg_

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by egcagrac0 on Monday March 24 2014, @06:18PM

    by egcagrac0 (2705) on Monday March 24 2014, @06:18PM (#20409)

    Why would you develop your own entire operating system when you can just buy the newest version from Microsoft?

    It's not a from-scratch developed operating system; it's a customized Debian based Linux.

    The real question should be "Since we have to switch, do we want to buy something that doesn't quite do what we want, or do we want to build something that meets our needs perfectly?"

    • (Score: 1) by e_armadillo on Monday March 24 2014, @06:21PM

      by e_armadillo (3695) on Monday March 24 2014, @06:21PM (#20413)

      amen

      --
      "How are we gonna get out of here?" ... "We'll dig our way out!" ... "No, no, dig UP stupid!"
  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Taibhsear on Monday March 24 2014, @06:19PM

    by Taibhsear (1464) on Monday March 24 2014, @06:19PM (#20411)

    Why would you develop your own entire operating system when you can just buy the newest version from Microsoft?

    Really? Because then you wouldn't have to pay Microsoft and deal with their shitty non-secure software.

    • (Score: 2) by Vanderhoth on Monday March 24 2014, @06:29PM

      by Vanderhoth (61) on Monday March 24 2014, @06:29PM (#20418)

      I'm replying to undo a moderation. I marked this as insightful, but I guess my finger twitched or something and it got switched to Redundant. I try to only give out positive moderation so sorry to the others who lost the mods I gave.

      --
      "Now we know", "And knowing is half the battle". -G.I. Joooooe
      • (Score: 2) by egcagrac0 on Monday March 24 2014, @09:06PM

        by egcagrac0 (2705) on Monday March 24 2014, @09:06PM (#20554)

        Using the arrows to scroll seems to do that. The context remains the pull-down selector, rather than the page, at least until you get to the bottom of the selector..

        Try clicking in the border before you use the arrow keys (or pageup/pagedown) to scroll (or just click "moderate" right away).

  • (Score: 2) by dotdotdot on Monday March 24 2014, @06:29PM

    by dotdotdot (858) on Monday March 24 2014, @06:29PM (#20419)

    Am I the only one that read that as Borat [wikipedia.org] Operating System Solutions?

  • (Score: 2, Informative) by hendrikboom on Monday March 24 2014, @06:30PM

    by hendrikboom (1125) Subscriber Badge on Monday March 24 2014, @06:30PM (#20420) Homepage Journal

    Because you don't have to write a whole OS if you use Linux. All you have to do is make a distro, and, maybe, do some natural-language translations for messages and such. Doesn't Debian already have the packages you use to wrap everything up as install disks, live CD's and the like? And you can probably even go on using the same hardware. The only things that might get hard is using DRM'd things.

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by Sir Garlon on Monday March 24 2014, @07:00PM

      by Sir Garlon (1264) on Monday March 24 2014, @07:00PM (#20440)

      All you said is true. I think you forgot to account for the labor costs to actually re-image the machines, the cost of data migration and training. Those are real costs, but they are costs you would incur to some extent to upgrade to a new Windows version anyway. TFA is not very long or in depth, but it does address those migration costs.

      it's likely that the government will find itself faced with a substantial hit to their productivity when the new tech goes out as thousands of employees will struggle to pick up the new operating system. In the long run, however, the positive effects of the switch could outweigh the short term harms...

      It's hard to tell if that is just the reporter veering off into speculation, or if the state of Tamil Nadu has done the math. I do think it's smart to consider the alternative of cutting that dependency on Windows licenses. How that works out, balancing short-term costs vs. long-term savings, is a tricky question. An Indian state government may very well come up with a different answer to that question than an American state government would.

      Another thought that just occurred to me -- if the government has a lot of older machines, they might not be able to just upgrade to Windows 7 or 8.

      --
      [Sir Garlon] is the marvellest knight that is now living, for he destroyeth many good knights, for he goeth invisible.
      • (Score: 2) by Nerdfest on Monday March 24 2014, @09:09PM

        by Nerdfest (80) on Monday March 24 2014, @09:09PM (#20555)

        You need to re-image, and even re-train to a degree when switching from XP to Win7, and especially Win8.

    • (Score: 2) by marcello_dl on Monday March 24 2014, @07:49PM

      by marcello_dl (2685) on Monday March 24 2014, @07:49PM (#20474)

      Yes, debian has already an infrastructure for custom installation, and one for livecd. Quickstart with the custom live images [live-systems.org] that can deliver localized collections of packages into a isohybrid image ready for optical disks or usb keys or a netboot one.

      In fact given the problem of migrating off of XP as a home user, I'd just boot from a live debian to do interwebz stuff that require an updated system, and keep all old apps offline on the old XP partition. And learn to do everything with FOSS multiplatform software, and try putting GNU userland everywhere, instead of dealing with half assed android apps that can't even http PUT files reliably or walled gardens.

      Another customized online builder is by porteus [porteus.org].

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 25 2014, @04:24AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 25 2014, @04:24AM (#20783)

        debian

        I don't hang out at the Debian site, so I don't know if it's the same there...

        has already an infrastructure for custom installation, and one for livecd

        ...but at the forum for antiX (pronounced "Antiques"), a hot topic lately is persistence which takes live media a step further.
        Imagine finishing your computing for the day and putting your OS in your pocket (on a thumbdrive) with everything you have done stored on that.
        Imagine being able to pick up where you left off at ANY machine (where boot precedence isn't locked down) using your favorite distro, all your tweaks, and all your apps.

        Doing that with EULAware? I don't think so.

        -- gewg_

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by SuddenOutbreak on Monday March 24 2014, @06:54PM

    by SuddenOutbreak (3961) on Monday March 24 2014, @06:54PM (#20432)

    The wiki page says they've got a population of over 70 million. A quick envelope calculation says that if they've got one police officer for every 668 people, they've got over 100K police alone. This might hint at the total size of government. (The US has just under a million people authorized to make an arrest, so ~1:400 for us.)

    If they've got a large enough employee base, then developing in-house makes quite a bit more sense. Newer versions of Windows would give them a training cost that they'd have to spend with Linux anyway, and the hardware upgrade that newer Windows seats require would probably not make it worth it to go to Win7 or Win8.

  • (Score: 4, Insightful) by bucc5062 on Monday March 24 2014, @07:00PM

    by bucc5062 (699) on Monday March 24 2014, @07:00PM (#20439)

    "Why would you develop your own entire operating system when you can just buy the newest version from Microsoft?"

    perhaps for this reason?

    "BOSS supports national languages including Bengali, Telugu, and Tamil.". Also you are not so dependent on a company changing the interface at whim (looking at you /.), pulling games with licensing, and charging $$$ for support?

    That's why and a few more.

    --
    The more things change, the more they look the same
    • (Score: 3, Funny) by DECbot on Monday March 24 2014, @09:15PM

      by DECbot (832) on Monday March 24 2014, @09:15PM (#20563) Journal

      But the call to Microsoft tech support would be local.

      --
      cats~$ sudo chown -R us /home/base
  • (Score: 2, Funny) by hamsterdan on Monday March 24 2014, @07:10PM

    by hamsterdan (2829) on Monday March 24 2014, @07:10PM (#20447)

    An Indian made distro... Where the heck are they gonna outsource their call centers???

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 25 2014, @01:36AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 25 2014, @01:36AM (#20672)

      America.

      And am I the only one who sees the article's last line as carefully wrapped irony?

  • (Score: 2) by tangomargarine on Monday March 24 2014, @07:10PM

    by tangomargarine (667) on Monday March 24 2014, @07:10PM (#20448)

    Alternate headline: India Switches From Microsoft Like A BOSS

    This is like a triple punchline here...I love it.

    1) This is a ignificant portion of India we're talking about here, so a large population.
    2) They're switching away from Microsoft *to Linux* (I think most of us can celebrate that).
    3) The Linux distro is called BOSS.

    You can't make up stuff like this :-)

    --
    "Is that really true?" "I just spent the last hour telling you to think for yourself! Didn't you hear anything I said?"
  • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 24 2014, @10:12PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 24 2014, @10:12PM (#20602)

    Claim you're switching to Linux until MS gives you the discount you want. We've seen this enough times before.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 25 2014, @04:34AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 25 2014, @04:34AM (#20789)

      You might have a point *if* BOSS didn't cost $0 (or Rs0, if you will).[1]
      Tamil Nadu started with Linux in 2007. [google.com]
      BOSS evolved a couple of years later and its use has been growing steadily.

      With a now-obsolete M$ OS, why export yet more money to Redmond to get software that will become obsolete and require yet another round of expenditures down the road?
      ...not to mention new hardware to run the latest version of Windoze.
      Why not keep all that money in your own region?
      Why not nurture the expertise in your region and grow your own tech sector?

      Linux adoption, where there is commitment, is like a rising tide.
      Wanna see how that goes?

      Take a look at the autonomous Spanish region of Extremadura. [google.com]
      After a few years using FOSS apps on state-owned machines, they switched 80,000 boxes to Linux in one weekend.

      Take a look at Munich. Over 95 percent of the city's machines run Linux.
      They've already saved over 10 million Euros.
      ...and it appears they are still looking to get rid of any software for which they don't have the source code.

      [1] ...and, of course, there's all the silly restrictions about how you can use "your" software with EULAware.

      -- gewg_

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by prospectacle on Monday March 24 2014, @10:16PM

    by prospectacle (3422) on Monday March 24 2014, @10:16PM (#20606) Journal

    I agree with the reasons people have given for rolling your own OS.

    One important factor which I don't think has been mentioned yet is the building of local skills and expertise.

    Imagine for the sake of argument that the total costs worked out to be the same either way.

    In one case you end up with a product that's off the shelf that you can use.

    In the other case, you end up with a product that's customised to your needs, and a whole lot of people who know how to develop and maintain operating systems. These skills are transferrable, too, both to other flavours of linux, and to any number of other software-development tasks.

    It's like importing food vs growing it. Whether it's cheaper or the same price or more expensive in the medium term is not really the point. Long term wealth is the ability to produce and acquire things you want or need, and you get that through knowledge, skills and habits. Money is just an intermediary.

    If this habit of governments developing their own free software becomes standard around the world. Who can possibly lose?

    --
    If a plan isn't flexible it isn't realistic