I have been a Linux user on and off for years, but only recently in the last 2 years have I been serious about it. Linspire (when it was Lindows), resparked my interest in Linux. I became an insider and started downloading the betas and testing them. I had a lot of trouble at first getting everything to work. I knew that Linspire, at the time, was new in the game, but I kept downloading the latest builds and trying them.
Eventually it started working well as drivers got better and better. I was addicted. I love the latest Linspire 5.0, but I am not quite to the point yet where I can install it or other flavors of Linux fulltime. There are still some pieces of software on Windows that I need to do my daily work.
That is the point of this post.
Linux, if it really wants to break Microsoft’s monopoly, has to get more of the top software writers to create full featured Linux versions of their software. I know some companies cannot justify the expense to port stuff to an OS that has only a 5-7% market share, but if they do, I think it will benefit them in the long run. Also, once Linux does take a larger market share, they’ll be noted for their committment to the Linux community.
The above statement includes gaming companies, like iD Software and Blizzard. One reason I stay in Windows is to play World of Warcraft when I find the time.
I have currently used up all my machines with server software for client websites. Once I get another spare machine that I can dedicate to Linux then I’m going to start working my way over to it.
I program now in ASP and use MS Access for smaller websites, but I have started translating simple sites over to PHP and MySQL. Actually once I learn MySQL and PHP really well, developmentally, I will be done with ASP, IIS and MS Database software. I can’t wait!
So, bascially, what I am saying in this article. Linux needs to tailor their OS more to consumers to start to get them familiar with the OS. Remember… CEOs, CTOs, etc. are comsumers too, and if they see an viable alternative to Microsoft that will save their companies millions of dollars a year, I’m sure they’ll be likely to look into it.
I know a lot of the things I’ve mentioned are already being done. I hope Linux is successful long-term and the only way to do it is to keep getting the word out there… Tell people about it. Install it on your kid’s computers, your elder’s computer. My grandpa-in-law loves Linspire, even though his printer manufacturer doesn’t support Linux.
Get the word out there. If you’ve never played with Linux, go get a spare machine or spare hard drive and install Linux on it. Check out Distrowatch to read about all the different brands and for download links.
I disagree that programming for Windows can be moved to Linux and convince purchasing people in corporations to specify Linux. Windows achieved its monoply position by entering into restrictive agreements with manufacturers who must pay a license fee for every box they produce, regardless of which operating system is installed. They can't even preload dual booting because of contract limitations. Now, since the US vs. MS trial such contract provisions can't be legally enforced, but still no manufacturer will tick off MS because the monopolists will raise the per-unit license cost of including Windows on the manufacturers other systems. This means it is way too easy to walk into any big box store and see lots of systems all running the same OS and just a few running some other (MacOS, Linux). So Mr. & Mrs. Average assume that the majority OS must be the best OS and buy that one. That junior's Warcraft will run on it really isn't even part of the decision process – It will run Dad's spreadsheet and the same e-mail client that Mom got comfortable with at work. Trying to convincing these people that there are alternatives that will save them $50 may cause them to put off buying today. This is not something that stores will do.
Walmart must think it's a good idea if it's putting Linspire and Xandros on some of its low price computers sold online. Not only do they save on the price of hardware, but also on the price of software. Most software for Linspire only requires a $4.95/mo subscription to their Click'N'Run warehouse. Once you install it, it goes into your private repository and stays there for life. I think even after your subscription expires.
It also not only keeps the system itself up to date like Microsoft does, it even keeps your software installed up to date and lets you know when a new version of, for example, LSongs is released.
Word of mouth is getting around, I am finding more and more people getting word of Linux and their interest has been sparked. Most average consumers read email, surf the web, and write documents, load digital pictures and things like that. Good versions of Linux can do all those things. It's just a matter of time.
I personally think Linux will start expanding when Microsoft puts out near future versions of Windows that will require major hardware purchases. People are either going to stay with 2000/XP or find an alternative. That alternative will be one of the many flavors of Linux. I'm not personally going to upgrade all the computers in my family just to run Microsoft's latest, "greatest", version of Windows. That'll be the point I force myself to Linux fulltime.
I recently read somewhere that Linux has taken a larger market share than Mac. Look at Mac, they are small, but they are becoming quite reputable with Mac OSX. If Linux as a whole is larger, then it should definitely be seriously considered a contender in the OS lineup.
I know Microsoft tho has taken this into consideration and has tricks up it's sleeve. For example, the scaled back, cheap version of XP they put out in Asia I believe to stem the pirating of the full versions of XP. Very much a piece of crap from what I read. Very limited functionality, but still Microsoft I guess.
Only time will tell what happens, but I see Linux as a force to be reckoned with. It is starting to become popular among more than just us computer geeks.