Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 18th Oct 2010 21:54 UTC
Linux Well, it's been a while since we've opened this particular jar (box is not historically accurate) owned by Pandora. Desktop Linux... Yes, that ever elusive readiness of the desktop that is Linux-powered. Some story on ComputerWorld argues that the desktop Linux dream is dead, and apparently, the story is causing some stir on the web. Well, paint me pink and call me a lightbulb, but of course desktop Linux is dead. However - who gives a flying monkey? Linux is being used by more people than ever!
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A lot of it comes down to Windows just isn't that expensive. Very few people pay full price for it, whether they get it through academics, preloaded on their computer, through volume discounts, or pirate it.

For Linux to make any sort of inroads, it has to be perceived as not just on par with Windows or a little better. It has to be dramatically better and well marketed so that people know what it is and seek out computers that have it. (a la Mac)

And just to clarify, it has to be dramatically better in ways mainstream users care about, which does not include that they can get the source code for it.

This really is the key. Being "as good as" something isn't a value proposition, yet it's the constant state that Linux finds itself in on the desktop front. Since app development and hardware development focus first on Windows and, to a lesser extent on Mac, the Linux community is often playing catch-up in an effort to maintain parity.

To get noticed, Linux has to innovate in appreciable ways to users. I'm not saying that it doesn't innovate, but it's innovations simply aren't revolutionary enough to warrant mainstream attention and, subsequently, migration from the status quo. Furthermore, it doesn't have a good vehicle for delivering its innovations. Apple has the Mac hardware to deliver the Mac OS and the iPhone/iPad to deliver the iOS. How well would Apple be doing if it was purely a software company and relied on people upgrading their PCs to run Mac OS or iOS? It's the Apple hardware and overall experience from unboxing to using that attract people to Apple products.

I agree that getting Linux on the desktop really doesn't matter as long as it's being actively used, I think there's a problem with counting Android and other Linux variants as Linux. For one, they don't really espouse the virtues of the Linux philosophy. Android OEMs basically use the open parts to create proprietary products. Having a wide-open marketplace and being able to install any app you want on your phone aren't really the Linux definition of open. Secondly, these Linux variants aren't portable. Just look at all the fragmentation among devices and Android versions. Furthermore, application compatibility issues abound. Each new Android phone really is a new branch on the Android evolutionary tree. Android, PS3, etc. really are good examples of successful implementations or uses cases of Linux, but calling Android phone users or PS3 players as "Linux users" might be a stretch...

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