According to Canonical head honcho Mark Shuttleworth, Windows 7 presents the ideal opportunity for Linux to gain significant inroads into the desktop market. He said so in an interview with InternetNews. While I certainly do hope so, an eerie sense of deja vu creeps up on me: isn’t this like the 923298th opportunity where Linux is supposed to make inroads into the desktop market?
Shuttleworth explains that the big opportunity for Ubuntu (and Linux in general) comes with Windows 7 and netbooks. “Windows 7 for us is a level playing field where we’ll be competing with a new version of Windows that can play on netbooks, which has a price attached to it,” Shuttleworth explained, “We think we can deliver a very compelling value proposition up against that.”
So, let me get this straight. Linux was supposed to make inroads into the desktop market when Windows Vista proved to be a flop. Linux failed. Linux was supposed to make inroads when the netbook market emerged. Linux failed. Linux was supposed to make inroads once KDE4 came onto the scene. Linux failed. Linux failed to compete with an operating system from 2001, and it failed to compete with an operating system with a reputation about as bad as it can get.
And now, Shuttleworth believes Linux can compete favourably with an operating system of which the beta release has been met with nothing but universal praise? I use Linux myself, and I enjoy it very much, but I find this a very odd train of thought, and I can’t help but be extremely cynical about it.
Shuttleworth further states that there is another opportunity for Linux to gain inroads, thanks to the changing focus of desktop users. “The next billion PC users won’t be as interested in compatibility with Microsoft Office as they are in connecting to Twitter and staying connected to their social network through the Web,” Shuttleworth said, “The business models are changing and it means that the growth of the PC industry is going to be strongly attracted to alternative to Windows – that’s my belief.”
I’m sure some in the comments section will start pointing fingers towards Microsoft, OEMs, websites, whatever – but maybe it’s time for the Linux community to engage in some introspection, and start looking where it can improve itself. The world isn’t hell-bent on obstructing Linux, as the interest by so many OEMs clearly shows. I think the problem lies within the community itself, but where, how, and what – I really have no idea.
I sure do hope the community figures this one out.