Published on June 4th, 2019 | by Sumit Bhowal0
The Huawei ban: Will Linux replace Windows on Huawei laptops
Before starting, I would like to point out that all brands mentioned here are tech giants, and they’ve been dominating the tech world for quite a while now. The evolution of technology over the past couple of years have been mind boggling- no doubt about that! However, a key factor of this success of the tech industry was global union. That is technological advancement was not limited to a certain place- it happened all over the world and it was shared all over the world.
Only recently a controversial decision made by the US government has left the world in shock! USA has banned Huawei from their country. Their reason being that Huawei – with the help of their devices and network – breach user privacy and wrongfully store information. The truth of this situation as of now is not clear but the law has been passed. Since many of the tech giant company are based on the United States- it was no surprise that they responded to this ban in favor of the government. Perhaps, Google’s withdrawing of Android operating system from Huawei was the most shocking of all the responses. This is huge if you think about it! Last year Huawei surpassed Apple in terms of number of units of phones sold. Now imagine a mobile phone manufacturer of such stature being denied access to the most trusted OS in the world.
This was a shocker! Over the course of few days, the price of Huawei phones fell drastically and overall their sales fell by shocking amounts. Huawei was quick to declare that they will be making their own very OS, but that will obviously take a long period of time before the users start accepting. Apart from Google many other smart phone parts providers have withdrawn their partnership with Huawei.
Fortunately for Huawei- they aren’t just a smartphone manufacturer. Huawei is a well-known name in the tech industry- they’ve been big time players way before the smartphone revolution! Huawei’s contribution to the telecommunication industry, computer industry, electrical appliances ETC all have been of great value. They had an estimated revenue of 58 billion USD in 2018 with a net profit of 8.7 billion USD! The fact that they are such a huge and diverse organization is both an advantage and disadvantage for Huawei in this ban scenario.
Laptops such as the MateBook X and MateBook 13 run on Microsoft’s Windows operating system. Like many other US companies that work with Huawei, Microsoft has not made any public statements about its relationship with Huawei since the company was blacklisted. But it did recently remove Huawei’s laptops from its online store.
Intel, a key supplier of chips for Huawei’s laptops, has also told employees that it would not supply Huawei until further notice, according to Bloomberg. Intel’s chips power a variety of Huawei laptops, including the MateBook 13, MateBook X Pro, MateBook X, and MateBook E.
Certain models, such as the MateBook 13 and the MateBook X Pro, also include an option for graphics powered by Nvidia, which is headquartered in Santa Clara, California.
Corning’s Gorilla Glass can also be found on laptop models such as the MateBook X Pro, MateBook 13, MateBook 14, and MateBook X, according to the company.
Now let us get to the main topic: Huawei Laptops. Huawei have been involved in the laptop business for a quite a while now and their laptops are trusted globally for quality and performance! Now like Android most PC’s around the world share a common OS: Microsoft. Microsoft needs no introduction! They’ve been providing us with the most reliable OS for our laptops and PCs for over two decades. OS for laptops is almost synonymous to Microsoft. However, like Google, Microsoft is US based company so there’s a good chance that they’ll withdraw their partnership with Huawei very soon.
So, what’s the fate of Huawei laptop’s OS. To be honest, as of now there are several possibilities as no official statement has been released by Microsoft. So, we can’t be sure about that. If Microsoft does withdraw their OS, will Huawei make their own OS for their laptops. There’s a chance of that happening but what’s more likely is Linux being used instead on Windows.
For those who aren’t familiar with Linux- let me give you a quick introduction. Linux is an open source operating system modelled on UNIX. It was initially developed in Finland but it’s popularity rapidly grew- however- it was always overshadowed by Windows. In terms of popularity Linux is quite popular but Windows has always been the first choice. But since Windows isn’t an option for Huawei, it seems that they’ll most likely use Linux on their laptops.
No matter your stance on Linux and open source, you can’t deny that the majority of the world wants Windows. Well not really, the majority of the world only heard about windows and don’t know alternatives even exist. I always get random people at the university or at cafés asking what’s that running on my pc, or worse, how did I make my “windows” look like that.
Chromium OS might be an option for them too. Chromium is far more open than Android is – there are far fewer missing pieces in the open source release. It’s still missing Flash, DRM stuff, and some video codecs (all for patent/license reasons).
Usually it’s either management software that has decades of historic data input into it and it’s very difficult to migrate, or it’s software that interfaces with expensive medical equipment. Of course, both the legacy software and Windows itself are proprietary. If it were open-source we wouldn’t have this problem. You are right about one thing though, if it weren’t for weird proprietary software, we’d switch most workstations to Linux and be done with it. The end-users wouldn’t care as long as it runs the few programs they need to work and a web browser. This already happened with most of the server infrastructure anyways and is slowly happening in the client-side too.
Most Linux distros are not made for an average user. Most people would just use root as their main account which is very dangerous. Then comes support and stupid questioning. Microsoft and Apple both got support who are there to answer stupid questions and guide people through patience. In linux, there’s no free support other than going through a bunch reddit, forums, etc posts, most people don’t have the patience or know how to formulate the correct questions. Also, if you are into gaming, you’ll have the headache of configuring wine and the drivers which can be easy to hard depending on distro/hardware. There’s Manjiro, never have used it myself, but I’ve heard it’s quite easy to setup yet, I don’t know if it would be proper for an average user.
In conclusion, I would like to say that whether Linux will replace Windows is something that has a very good chance of happening. Mostly because Huawei has been cornered and they really do not have much option- however, Huawei is constantly innovating so ruling out the possibility that they would develop their own OS will be a naïve thing to do.