Linked by Eugenia Loli on Tue 12th Apr 2005 16:15 UTC
Editorial Being the best doesn't always mean being the most popular. We all know of many inferior products that are immensely, sometimes perplexingly, popular. However, this does not mean that one must forsake the pursuit of excellence when pursuing a broad market share. As proponents of open source software, it should not be beneath us to pursue popularity or to look to proprietary developers as examples. And by following the right examples, we can help spread the usage of open source software without sacrificing the goal of software excellence, says NewsForge.
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marketing and piracy
by rain on Wed 13th Apr 2005 01:49 UTC

I don't really get the point of this article. It's already happening. The past years a lot of open source projects have been focusing on making their software more attractive for a wider audience. Many of them have graphics artists and UI designers on their teams, something that was a rare find five years ago.
The only Windows users I've heard complaining over the Gnome desktop for example are experienced users who are used to having things a certain way and refuse to change. Most avarage users that sit in front of my Ubuntu box has never had a problem using it, and some even wanted to switch because they think it looks so clean and consistant compared to Windows.
For the people who only use pre-installed software, a good linux distro can be very attractive. For more advanced users it still has a long way to go in my opinion.

The only thing that is keeping opensource software from gaining much popularity is marketing and piracy in my opinion. To most people word processing is equal with MS Word, image editing = Photoshop, audio recording = Cubase or ProTools, PC = Windows etc. These are names that has been around forever, and such names takes a lot of marketing and time to wipe away. It can be done though, how many young people know about Word Perfect these days for example?
But the opensource world just doesn't have the money for that kind of marketing.

However, a lot of open source software or lesser known proprietary software for that matter would have been more popular if it wasn't for piracy.
People rather use a pirated version of MS Word to write a simple letter than to download OOo or AbiWord, they prefer to use Photoshop CS over Gimp 2.0 to scale down their family photos etc. It's not because it's better, but because it's more comfortable. Comfortable to know that they are using a professional grade software, comfortable because they don't have to learn anything new. And they don't need to pay anything either way.

These are the main issues in my opinion. But they aren't impossible to overcome. It takes time however, a lot of time.