How Linux Could Dominate the Operating System Industry

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http://linux.bihlman.com – How Linux Could Dominate the Operating System Industry By Mort Greenwood It is interesting now. If you do a search for Linux and “not ready for prime time” you get a few people (presumably Linux fans) who will even question the term “prime time.” Rather than address valid concerns in the Linux community (by non-Linux users), they question what does “ready for prime time actually mean?” So, if you read no further, my answer is “No, it is not ready for prime time.” Following are two reasons why I think Linux is not ready yet. Recently I bought an HP laptop with 3GB of RAM and 250GB harddrive. I was vacillating between whether or not to install Linux as the main operating system on it. I was practicing on my seven-year-old personal computer (Dell) that was currently on my desk but wasn’t really successful in installing it. I had looked at Linux Mint and Ubuntu 9.04 Linux distributions. Here are a few observations I found when trying to install it on my desktop PC (the old one, 1GB RAM, 30GB hard drive). All of the directions I viewed said that it was easy to install. Perhaps it was me and my ignorance of the word “easy,” but I didn’t find that to be true. First, the file that you download is an “.iso” file. Windows-world users get .exe files and maybe zipped files. Downloading another program to package with the .iso file so that the file can be read is not intuitive. Again, I understand .exe files. My grandmother can understand a “click on this .exe file.” command. “Package it together with an ISO reader and then your PC should pick it up” is not easy; it’s convoluted. Secondly, can’t we all just get along? Take a look at distrowatch and you’ll find the number of Linux distributions already on the open source market. When you think of Microsoft you think of Windows (7, Vista, XP, ME, 98SE, and 95 – all Windows and emphasized one at a time). When you think of Apple, you think of Macintosh or OSX. Now, what do you think of when you think of Linux? Let’s see there’s Linux Mint, Ubuntu (and all its varieties), SuSe, Fedora, Debian, Mandriva, Puppy, Arch, BSD, Red Hat, etc. Need I continue? But you say, “that’s the beauty of it.” How many operating systems is Microsoft featuring at any one time, or perhaps a better way to look at it is, which OS is being packaged with hardware products at any given time? Currently, everything is all transitioning to Windows 7. Most recently it was Vista, and for a long time it was XP. Microsoft, for all its faults, knows how to focus on marketing one operating system at a time. Do the other OS have a share currently? Absolutely. But only one Microsoft product is featured. The Linux open source community would do well to focus on one or two distributions by pooling all of its intellectual resources together to come up with a fantastic product. I think it has a good product (possibly even great) now but they need to make it easy enough for grandmothers to install. Make it even easier than Windows! Like it or not, that’s the standard. Fixing these two problems alone would make installing Linux a treat. Mort is a business writer by trade and an entrepreneur through blood sweat and tears. You can read more of his work at Velcro Dots or the velcro dots defined page on that site. (General)