Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 8th Dec 2009 00:48 UTC, submitted by Yama
Hardware, Embedded Systems We've seen a lot of reports going back and forth about whether or not Linux is doing well in the netbook space. As it turns out, research firm ABI Research as well as Dell say about one third of their machines ship with Linux pre-installed - which is pretty darn impressive.
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“Isn't an application or service supposed to run on the platforms on which customers may wish to run it?”

Not really. It is supposed to provide the functionality that the customer needs or wants. The platform is largely irrelevant except in so far as it facilitates providing that functionality. The two naturally have overlap. For example, I may need some kind of internal site which uses NIS authentication. Well, the extent to which the platform works with NIS may influence how useful it is to me, but at the end of the day it is still the functionality of the site that I want, not the platform. Or, perhaps I have many servers of a certain type, and I need another server to do perform a new task. Introducing a new, unrelated OS to my network may raise the costs to provide that new functionality so much that it is less attractive than it otherwise would be, so I may prefer it to have it run on my existing platform. I may even pay someone to make it run on my platform if I find that more efficient than maintaining the two platforms side by side. Again, it isn’t the platform that I care about; it is about providing the functionality I want in the most effective manner.

Taking your argument that it is “supposed” to run where customers “may wish to run it” to its conclusion, doesn’t that mean that all software must run on all OSs and all architectures, and the cross product of the two? And at that not just all OSs, but all versions of all OSs that any person might conceivably wish to use? If the application I want to use does not run on Haiku and Windows 7, for example, that is the application maker’s fault, and it is a bad application, because I, as a customer, may like to use it both places?

“How is it acceptable to allow Microsoft to tie the purchase of one product (Office) to the purchase of another (Windows)? Isn't that product tying?”

I suppose if one admits as a condition of acceptableness that every application must run everywhere, then it would be unacceptable. If it is OK that an application is able to run only on a subset of everywhere, then it may very well be acceptable. If your complaint is narrow, and that the problem is software that only runs on a single “where” (eg, only on Windows), it does not even apply to your example, as Office runs on at least two: Windows and Mac. Some people do argue it runs better on Windows than Mac, but if that is an objection, you’ve made the “everywhere” argument even stronger than simply running everywhere. Now, to be acceptable, software must not only run everywhere, but provide an equal experience everywhere that it runs.

Following these criteria strictly, I think you will have a very difficult time finding “acceptable” software.

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