Did Microsoft kill Windows by buying Nokia?
Today in Open Source: The Nokia deal may have killed Windows. Plus: The $45 CuBox-i Mini-PC runs Android and Linux, and should games be ported to Linux via Wine?
Did Microsoft Kill Windows By Buying Nokia?
Slate has an interesting analysis of Microsoft's decision to buy Nokia, and it's not a positive prognosis for the future of Windows as we've known it. In short, Microsoft is moving to the Apple model of vertical integration.
That’s why the Nokia purchase signals the end of Windows as a standalone business. There are now only two ways to sell software. Like Apple, you can make devices that integrate software and hardware together and hope to sell a single, unified, highly profitable product. Or, like Google, you can make software that you give away in the hopes of creating a huge platform from which you can make money in some other way (through ads, in Google’s case).
But you can’t do what Windows did—you can’t make profitable software on other companies’ commodity hardware. Thanks to Android, code is now a commodity, and Windows is dead.
I tend to agree with Slate's take on this, but it shouldn't shock any of us that Microsoft is having to change their business model. For far too long they've coasted on the old one, with Windows and Office being their main cash-cows. Those two products will still generate significant amounts of money going forward, probably for a long time.
But the growth is in mobile, not in desktop computers. And that is where Microsoft's current strategy with Windows phone has utterly failed. Just making the software and then licensing it out isn't enough when you factor in Android's no-cost option for mobile hardware vendors; and Apple's design expertise, bulging app store, and devoted fan base.
The real shame in all of this is not that Microsoft is changing, it's that it took them so long to figure out that they had to do it in the first place. I suppose we can chalk this up to Steve Ballmer's cluelessness, or perhaps it was just general arrogance on the part of the company as a whole. They've been so steeped in the past, that they missed the fact that the world was changing all around them.
Regardless of what caused it, change is coming to Windows. The old model doesn't work any more, and it's time for Microsoft to move on if it wants to survive in the years ahead. Windows will still be with us, for a long time. But it will never again be what it was back in the days of Bill Gates, and thank goodness for that.
The $45 CuBox-i Mini-PC
Linux Gizmos takes a look at SolidRun's neat little mini-PCs that run Android and Linux. For $45 you can snag one of these cute, little suckers for yourself.
SolidRun refreshed its line of tiny 2 x 2 x 2-inch mini-PCs with four new community-backed models based on 1.2GHz multi-core Freescale i.MX6 SoCs. The CuBox-i devices run Android 4.2.2 and Linux, offer HDMI, S/PDIF, IR, eSATA, GbE, USB, WiFi, and Bluetooth interfaces (depending on model)...
Limited pre-orders are now available with shipments due by the end of November. Prices, listed here in both special and standard amounts, includes: CuBox-i1 ($45/$50), CuBox-i2 ($70/$75), CuBox-i2Ultra ($95/$105), CuBox-i4Pro ($120/$130); shipping costs range from $18 to $38. More information and direct sales are available at CuBox-i.com.
Image Courtesy of Linux Gizmos
What neat little gadgets! Apparently they run various Linux distributions, as well as Android. So you've got a range of choices in terms of what you run on them.
Should Games Be Ported to Linux Via Wine?
Gaming On Linux has an editorial that looks at the validity of porting games to Linux via Wine. Is this a good thing or a bad thing for Linux gamers?
To me there is a time when a Wine port is better than no port at all, take System Shock 2 for example they no longer have the source code for it (it's not exactly a new game), so rather than us buying a version marked for windows and then manually setting it up in Wine we have a chance to show the sale is for Linux, this gives another developer some Linux sales stats to look at, better than just seeing Windows sale right?
On the whole, I'd rather skip Wine ports altogether. Given that Valve is revving up Linux game development via Steam, who wants to mess around with Wine to get Windows games to run?
If a game developer won't support a native Linux version, then no problem. I don't need to buy their game. Let them stick with Windows, and I'll keep my money. Am I being too much of a purist here? I don't think so.
The bad old days when Linux wasn't even an afterthought for game developers are over. Linux is becoming a very viable gaming platform, and we ought to expect to be treated like first class citizens, and not some desperate second or third class platform.
What's your take on all this? Tell me in the comments.