Linked by Kroc Camen on Sun 9th May 2010 12:34 UTC
Talk, Rumors, X Versus Y "Dear Ubuntu, for the last couple years life has been good. Every time I've shown you to a friend or family member, they've compared you to what they're familiar with--Windows XP or Vista, mostly--and by comparison you've looked brilliant. Yeah, your ugly brown color scheme was a bit off-putting at first, but once people saw how secure, simple, and reliable you were, the response was almost universally positive. But recently, things have changed ..."
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RE[5]: Worthless
by jgagnon on Mon 10th May 2010 12:47 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Worthless"
jgagnon
Member since:
2008-06-24

ubunutu is free. It costs nada, zero, zilch. It is far from perfect, that is for sure. But I find it far more impressive that someone can put out a free alternative, which can suit the needs of a lot of people.


This may be a semantic point, but the cost of Ubuntu is decisively NOT free, the price, however, is.

(The rest of this is not necessarily directly about your comment, but to add to the discussion.)

Besides, comparing the cost (or price) of the two is hardly the point. Since the vast majority of people that have and use Windows (regardless of version) get it with a new computer, it might as well be free to them. They don't "see" the price of Windows in the cost of their machine, they see the whole package. The same goes for the "choice" of OS on a phone or set-top box or other electronic device. Consumers just don't care, for the most part, so long as it does what they need it to do with as little fuss as possible.

Fact is, the majority of us would choose familiarity over improved functionality unless we're forced to make a change. For proof of this, consider how popular Windows XP still is when there have been better alternatives since before it was even conceived. There comes a point when "good enough" is all people want and the holy war over fringe (and often petty) differences becomes irrelevant.

In order for any OS to win the fight against Windows, it has to win the contest of perceived value, which often has little to do with price. Ubuntu, and Linux in general, has a few things going against it on the value front. It does not come pre-installed on the vast majority of computers people have access to. So it must be downloaded, installed, and "tweaked" for a given system. Nearly every other non-technical person I know interprets this as a severe, show-stopping negative. They won't do it, at any price, because they do not find value in it. This same group of people would only ever consider an upgrade if software they have or really want requires it. Again, the "good enough for now" mentality.

And this is what I got from this article. Windows 7 has a much higher inherent value (fewer flaws and better features than XP/Vista) so Ubuntu and other distributions will have a much harder time replacing it than they every had replacing Windows XP or Vista.

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