Linked by Howard Fosdick on Fri 30th Mar 2012 20:33 UTC
Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu Two years ago, Linux guru Caitlyn Martin argued that "Ubuntu is a Poor Standard Bearer for Linux" due to reliability issues. She said that "Other distributions have problematic releases but other major distributions do not have significant problems in nearly every release. Ubuntu does." In her follow-up piece "How Canonical Can Do Ubuntu Right: It Isn't a Technical Problem," she explained how "...the problem I am describing is probably rooted in policy or business decisions that have been made..." and she offered specific ideas on how Canoncial could address the situation. Are these criticisms valid today? Does Ubuntu offer good reliability? Does it deserve its mindshare as the representative of PC Linux?
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RE[5]: Ubuntu works great for me
by Alfman on Tue 3rd Apr 2012 04:12 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Ubuntu works great for me"
Alfman
Member since:
2011-01-28

rjamorim,

"Indeeeed, they should explore that large untapped market: Linux retail software sales, right?"

I realize you couldn't resist the urge to use sarcasm, but in fairness I explicitly placed the figure at around 1%, I never said it was a "large market".

I do happen to think the linux market for commercial software is largely untapped. Even for myself I buy -windows- tax software to do my own taxes since I cannot find any well maintained linux equivalent for my state to do the same thing. Annoyingly the software doesn't even work under wine. I would happily buy a linux version or better yet open source version if I could.

What we have is a catch-22, where virtually 100% of the tax accounting firms target the 97% of the market who predominantly use windows and neglect the remaining 3% because they're too insigificant to care about (figures are illustrative only). It's a strong negative reinforcing cycle.

And I think the untapped market goes well beyond tax software. I spent money on a few turnkey video editing hardware/software packages for windows because I couldn't find what I needed for linux. This is untapped commercial potential.

So, yes there are definitely opportunities, but the key is cracking down the barriers to entry and getting those products in front of actual customers. The metro app store, with it's exclusive distribution model and 30% fees, is going to make metro users much less profitable to vendors. More opportunistic business leaders will want to cater towards the smaller yet more profitable alternative OS crowd. So I do expect linux to see decent growth. Whether it reaches critical mass or not remains to be seen, but all I can say is that would be nice to finally see microsoft forced to compete on merit instead of abusing it's monopoly power.

Reply Parent Score: 2

ilovebeer Member since:
2011-08-08

What we have is a catch-22, where virtually 100% of the tax accounting firms target the 97% of the market who predominantly use windows and neglect the remaining 3% because they're too insigificant to care about (figures are illustrative only). It's a strong negative reinforcing cycle.

You said it yourself, that remaining 3% is too insignificant. When there just isn't enough money in it, there just isn't enough money in it.

And I think the untapped market goes well beyond tax software. I spent money on a few turnkey video editing hardware/software packages for windows because I couldn't find what I needed for linux. This is untapped commercial potential.

So, yes there are definitely opportunities, but the key is cracking down the barriers to entry and getting those products in front of actual customers. The metro app store, with it's exclusive distribution model and 30% fees, is going to make metro users much less profitable to vendors. More opportunistic business leaders will want to cater towards the smaller yet more profitable alternative OS crowd. So I do expect linux to see decent growth. Whether it reaches critical mass or not remains to be seen, but all I can say is that would be nice to finally see microsoft forced to compete on merit instead of abusing it's monopoly power.

First, because an untapped market may technically exist, it doesn't mean there's any real profit potential there. By comparison, why would a company invest their resources into something with an extremely limited pool of customers rather than the much much much larger pool? Linux itself is a terrible platform in many ways when providing commercial products.

There's a reason why Linux has never gotten its feet under itself as even a remotely serious desktop OS contender. This exact conversation has been had a million times before and will be had a million more times... And in the end, Linux will still struggle & flounder as a desktop OS.

Reply Parent Score: 2

Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

ilovebeer,

"First, because an untapped market may technically exist, it doesn't mean there's any real profit potential there."

To reword that into something I'm more comfortable with: there's real profit potential, but not necessarily any real profit.

"By comparison, why would a company invest their resources into something with an extremely limited pool of customers rather than the much much much larger pool?"

Not having a concrete example to work with, I cannot say anything too meaningful. But here are some plausible reasons:

For one, there's less competition for commercial products on linux than on windows. So the net profit and effort to capture 1/100th of the a windows market, or 70/100ths of a linux market may not be so different.

For another, vendors may calculate that in the long term, they'd be more profitable investing in linux now than in a locked in platform where they know sales are going to be subject to heavy fee structures.

Thirdly, it may be better to invest in the linux market today when it's small rather than try being a "me-too" vendor playing catch up. (if one believes linux is going to grow)


"Linux itself is a terrible platform in many ways when providing commercial products."

Is this technical? Would you clarify what you mean?

Reply Parent Score: 2