Monday, November 23, 2009

Has the market rejected The Linux Desktop?

That seems to be the premise for the following article:
Here is my point by point response:

It’s still too much of a pain:
Compatibility should be the vendor's realm. To pass the buck to the OS then the device spec should be open. For some vendors this would be unconscionable.

The divide and fail strategy:
First: Linux is not an OS, it's a kernel. Second: The problem is trying to measure success based on proprietary goals. The goal of FLOSS is to be Free. There are actually many other contexts in life where being free is more of a hassle but we still prefer it. e.g. uniforms eliminate the "need" to think what you are going to wear. Does that make them better for everyone?

Not enough innovation:
"The primary value proposition for Linux is that it’s just as good as Windows"
Wrong premise. The primary value proposition of a FLOSS operating system is its Freedom.

There is innovation although it happens in bits and pieces and components that you don't really see. They are transparent to the user. Here are some examples
- Software repositories
- The free desktop specification
- The compiz desktop
- Desktop folders on KDE (easy to access most used folders)
- Print to PDF from any application

I agree that there are many people doing the Windows copycat. Why do they do it? because they can. It's their freedom and their right. There is no right answer. Sometimes true innovation causes confusion as people tend to resist change.

Businesses want someone to blame:
With Linux they can, there is RedHat, Novel, Mandriva, Canonical and many other vendors that will stand up for the FLOSS OS they sell. Many FLOSS software has professional support, actually that's usually the business model for free software. There is a real drive to provide support as no one is ever "captive client" as it happens with proprietary software.

Summary: The market hasn't "rejected it" it doesn't know the benefits as people keep trying to put the benefits in terms of proprietary software. I guess the problem is not with the product but with the "marketing".

In the end "FLOSS" is a counterbalance to proprietary software and formats. A way to free users from vendor and format lock in. That's what, in my view, makes it better. Once users understand that the current lock-ins don't have to be "normal" they'll realize that there are alternatives.


Charles said...

The market hasn't "rejected it" it doesn't know the benefits as people keep trying to put the benefits in terms of proprietary software. I guess the problem is not with the product but with the "marketing".

I couldn't agree more Raul. At TWC's CR we do both Windows and Linux and we prefer to support Linux. Linux is easier for us to support and because we're working with a lot of older Pentium III and IV systems almost everything we work with is supported.

We're doing a lot more Linux, not a lot less. More people are coming in asking for Linux, and if not Linux, some solution to a proprietary piece of software. Most people are thrilled to learn that there's a piece of FLOSS that will do what they'd normally have to pay for.

Unknown said...

I think you can take Ryanair as a good case-in-point, whereby some people still want great customer service after paying peanuts. For people who are more realistic, it’s worth paying that little bit more for a better experience. After all, our time and how we feel, are the most important things for many people.

work from home

Raul Suarez said...

Exactly, you want to carry your own bags and do your check in. You have the option. You want someone else to do it for you, you have the option. The nice thing of FLOSS is that the option to pay for service is there while there is always the option for "self service".