Linked by Eugenia Loli on Sun 16th Dec 2007 00:02 UTC
In the News Apple and Linux are engaged in battle a battle to win over disgruntled Windows users. But who will win, and what will the consequences be for the loser? The most commonly held belief amongst Apple and Linux fanboys is that both factions are engaged in some kind of a war with Microsoft. The truth is that if you look at the market share figure for Windows, Mac and Linux, both Mac OS and all the Linux distros that have ever been released are dwarfed by Windows.
Thread beginning with comment 291242
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
The problem with Linux and the real world
by siraf72 on Sun 16th Dec 2007 10:39 UTC
Member since:

My view on why linux isn't growing as fast as it could. IMHO:

1. Linux offers WAY too much choice. Customers DON"T WANT too much choice. Ask any successful sales person! Steve Jobs culled the apple line to four machines to actually remove choice: Two pro two consumer, one OS. Linux by contrast has enough distros to fill a very large , erm, warehouse.

2. customers don't want cheap. In the history of capitalism / consumerism its never been about cheap its always been about perceived value. They pay what they think its worth. If an OS is free and people aren't using it then the problem is one of two things: a) people don't know about it. b) people don't think its worth the price tag.

3. What is linux's value proposition to consumers. Consumers don't care about openness, they don't know what that means. Apple is very clear about communicating its strengths to the public. Linux by distro or as a collective don't communicate to the public at all.

In a nutshell its all about the marketing. The only distro that seemed to be on the right track was Lindows. I can't remember what they are called now (again a sad state of affairs). Its not about technology or about openness its only about good ol fashion selling.

I have nothing against linux. technically its amazing. But that's not the point. I recall a line from Pirates of Silicon Valley:

Steve: we're better than you are
Bill: It doesn't matter

Reply Score: 4

drynwhyl Member since:

> 1. Linux offers WAY too much choice. Customers DON"T WANT too much choice.

There are _LOADS_ more of software for Windows than for Linux. According to your logic, people should stop using windows, because there is too much softwre available for it.

> 2. customers don't want cheap.

Thats why nobody is buying those "cheap" Eees nowadays. You dont know what youre talking about.

> 3. Consumers don't care about openness, they don't know what that means.

That is true. But openness is the primary reason Linux, Free Software and Open Source get created at all, and you cant resent their enthusiasm about it. Its the disributors job to advertize the qualities of the products for Average Joe, and I fail to see how, for example, Ubuntu, doesnt do that.

> Apple is very clear about communicating its strengths
> to the public.

And concealing their weaknesses (high end prices, hardware dongle). And even, while successful doing that, it in all these years didnt manage to do better than Linux.

Reply Parent Score: 3

siraf72 Member since:

I think you missed the point(s).

1. I was referring to the number of os veriations not software titles. Linux basically has too many distro's for average joe to make a decision (granted, Ubuntu is starting to change that).

2. Look up supply and demand for homogenous vs. non-homogenous goods. Then look at where PC's, Macs, Windows, OS X , and linux fit into that. its really not that complicated, people are always willing to pay what they perceive something is worth. In reality, a diamond is an almost worthless (and common) rock.

3. I'm all for Open source software. its great, so what.

you fail to see how ubuntu doesn't do that. Do a random survey of people on a street and see how many people have heard of Ubuntu.

"and concealing their weakness" - its called marketing.

PS: Just because you don't agree or don't understand doesn't mean the other person doesn't know what they're talking about.

Reply Parent Score: 1

prayforwind Member since:

So what you're saying is that consumers are too stupid and apathetic to understand or to give a darn about "openness"... the freedom GNU/Linux offers; we're so brainwashed by "brand bullies" that we've given up thinking for ourselves and no longer want "choice"? I pray you're wrong!

Reply Parent Score: 1

siraf72 Member since:

over all, that is what i'm saying. People will often try to arm themselves with knowledge before they buy something. But lets face it, when it comes to software, average joe doesn't get it.

Most people who walk into a store to buy a computer want the salesmen/saleswoman to make the decision for them because they don't feel informed enough to make a decision. The same is true for other goods!

Techies I believe are inherently more likely to look into the technical merits of anything they buy. Don't assume other people behave like that! I research the hell out of everything a buy but when a buy a suit (for example) I find myself looking to the salesperson to help me reach a decision! ;)

Reply Parent Score: 2