I read an article earlier this week saying that Linux sees a Windows Free world. Well if that’s true, I would have to wonder what people would go to, because Linux is not it. At least, not now.
Now before you chastise, remember – Linux is at 2% market share and although annalists say its growing, it’s doing it very slowly. Also, Linux took a blow from programs like OLPC when they moved to Microsoft because Linux was “too confusing”. The worst comes from those who want to use it, but end up going back to Microsoft.
I have heard a few stories from non-techie friends that say they installed Linux (a flavor of Ubuntu to be exact), but then found it to be too confusing and un-installed it. I agree with them – there are too many items that you have to install after the fact to make it run. A good example is the network card. If it supports your card then there is no problem. However, if it doesn’t – plan to spend some time getting it installed.
It doesn’t make sense. A free OS should mean more users, right? Not always. While it may be free, if you can’t figure it out, it will be more of a hindrance then a help. And there is no support – at least non-conventional support. I think people want to have that Helpdesk number so they can complain if things don’t work.
I really want to see Linux become a rival to Microsoft and Apple. Make Microsoft realize that they can’t put out Operating Systems that have a major disapproval rating and make Apple realize that being proprietary is not as profitable.
Even with IT professionals, a lot of them don’t even touch the OS. After all, if you live in a Microsoft world, and don’t use Linux, then why learn about it?
This can all change with future releases of the OS. A system that can accept and adjust to your hardware is key in giving the user a warm environment to work in. Linux will have the same “32 to 64 bit” growing pain that Microsoft has. If that transition is smoother on Linux, people will realize it and gravitate.
I also think putting a $25 tag and offering help through a phone number might just sway people in their direction. It would still be affordable and they would get someone to work with them in getting the system going.
Only time will tell who is on top in 5 or 10 years. I really do hope Linux can make a dent in the war, but they really have a lot of work to do to accomplish that. For now, it’s still a Microsoft world.