Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 26th Jul 2007 16:01 UTC, submitted by SEJeff
Linux After years of being relegated to server racks and the desktops of ultrageeks, Linux is finally making some headway as a viable alternative to Windows on the consumer desktop. That's the optimistic message delivered by a newly energized contingent of Linux proponents. By employing the same consumer-friendly marketing techniques practiced by Microsoft, and by taking advantage of the rising popularity of web-based applications, Linux vendors are getting ready for what they say will be a wave of consumer interest in the free operating system.
Thread beginning with comment 258355
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
This again?
by WorknMan on Thu 26th Jul 2007 17:03 UTC
WorknMan
Member since:
2005-11-13

After years of being relegated to server racks and the desktops of ultrageeks, Linux is finally making some headway as a viable alternative to Windows on the consumer desktop.

They've been saying this since color text installs in Slackware were considered to be a luxury item. I'm pretty sure I'll know when Linux has arrived when the following happens:

1. When I buy a new piece of hardware, there'll be drivers and a quick start guide in there for Linux, as there is for Windows and Mac.

2. My co-workers start talking about Linux, as they do now days about Myspace, dvd ripping, P2P, etc. So far, I've only heard one mention about Linux, and that came from a guy who doesn't even use it.

So far, I would say that beating the 'Linux is ready for the masses' drum before it really is has probably caused more harm than good. A lot of folks out there who tried Linux in the past now have a bad taste in their mouth, thinking that to use Linux means you still have to spend days trying to set it up and installing apps means you have to compile them from source. (Eg - see the post right above mine as an example.)

Edited 2007-07-26 17:06

Reply Score: 5

RE: This again?
by archiesteel on Thu 26th Jul 2007 17:06 in reply to "This again?"
archiesteel Member since:
2005-07-02

When I buy a new piece of hardware, there'll be drivers and a quick start guide in there for Linux, as there is for Windows and Mac.


Unless, you know, the drivers are already included in the kernel by default, as is the case with most hardware these days...

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[2]: This again?
by WorknMan on Thu 26th Jul 2007 17:08 in reply to "RE: This again?"
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

Unless, you know, the drivers are already included in the kernel by default, as is the case with most hardware these days...

And how the hell is Joe Sixpack supposed to know that? Unless vendors start putting a 'works with Linux' logo on the box, which I guess is the same thing as providing drivers and a quick start guide ;)

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE: This again?
by wirespot on Thu 26th Jul 2007 18:01 in reply to "This again?"
wirespot Member since:
2006-06-21

So far, I would say that beating the 'Linux is ready for the masses' drum before it really is has probably caused more harm than good.


Not necessarily, because advocacy and adoption are not the same thing. You need to advocate Linux, because otherwise people would end up brainwashed by the likes of Microsoft into thinking there's no alternative. You know that many already think that. Gotta keep making noise and pointing out things like DRM, lock-in, alternatives and unfair practices.

As long as people are aware of choice, someday they get curious and try it. Some may get a bad taste, but they'll try again someday. Evil corporate types stay the same, free software always gets better. Just make sure people get the info, they'll change sides if they want to, in their own time.

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[2]: This again?
by WorknMan on Thu 26th Jul 2007 21:21 in reply to "RE: This again?"
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

As long as people are aware of choice, someday they get curious and try it. Some may get a bad taste, but they'll try again someday.

Or at least you hope they will ...

Evil corporate types stay the same, free software always gets better. Just make sure people get the info, they'll change sides if they want to, in their own time.

Corporations are not inherently evil. Whether they are good or evil depends on what will make them the most money. Take Apple for example - they're 'the good guys' when it comes to desktop computers, but they rule portable media space with an iron fist. (Otherwise, why can't I play wma files on an iPod?)
And corporations do change when they start losing money. Take Nintendo for example - compare them to how they were in the past (when everyone hated them) compared to how they are now. IBM, the same way. Anyone remember Apple's '1984' commercial?

Edited 2007-07-26 21:22

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: This again?
by butters on Fri 27th Jul 2007 02:52 in reply to "This again?"
butters Member since:
2005-07-08

I'll know when Linux has arrived when there'll be drivers and a quick start guide in there for Linux and My co-workers start talking about Linux

I agree. So how will these conditions come about? Should the Linux community self-impose (somehow) a moratorium on Linux advocacy in order to lower expectations? Or should we take every opportunity we have to inject the word "Linux" into the public consciousness? Somewhere in between?

I agree with maddog that volume is the central impediment to desktop Linux. So we should turn up the volume, right? OK, not the same kind of volume, but if the average Linux user is "louder" than the average Windows user, then maybe ISVs and IHVs will perceive more volume.

All we can do is keep developing the software and keep telling people about it. Everything else is out of our control. Eventually a few key players will jump on board, and while there may never be a proverbial "year of desktop Linux," there will be a point where most of the industry begins to support Linux as a first-class platform.

Somehow, I don't think that subtlety will work in our favor. I'm sure that some people have had bad experiences with Linux in the past. But a lot more people are having good experiences today, and every time we make a positive impression, we gain one more person that tells their skeptical friends that Linux is easy, useful, and fun.

We're not going to change minds by keeping people away from Linux. We can only move public opinion by exposing people to Linux.

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[2]: This again?
by WorknMan on Fri 27th Jul 2007 15:32 in reply to "RE: This again?"
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

I agree. So how will these conditions come about? Should the Linux community self-impose (somehow) a moratorium on Linux advocacy in order to lower expectations? Or should we take every opportunity we have to inject the word "Linux" into the public consciousness? Somewhere in between?

I'm not saying that you shouldn't talk about it, but I am saying that the Linux community as a whole need to make more of a concerted effort to be honest about it's strengths, as well as its weaknesses.
For the time being, people who are making the switch need to know about the benefits, but also need to be told that most likely, the switch at this time won't be an easy one and there will be some amount of pain involved in switching. While some will be honest about this, others will tell that it's so easy to use, even your grandma could set it up. This is not the kind of expectation you want to give a user considering making the switch. While it might tip the balance in favor of the person actually trying Linux, it also sets them up for disappointment when they start running into problems they originally did not anticipate.

Reply Parent Score: 3