It has been said many times before, but people do not use Linux because it is not preloaded (in most places). Just about every computer that is purchased is preloaded with some version of Microsoft Windows, or in the case of the Macintosh OS X. The average user is not going to go out of their way to download a CD or DVD image of a Linux distro, burn it, and re-setup their computer. It really doesn't matter how much better it might be, or how much more secure. They're just simply not going to go through all that trouble. If it were the other way around, and Linux was preloaded on the majority of computer being sold than Windows would be in the same boat Linux is in right now (not so much OS X.. Apple is in their own world).
Hardware incompatibility, software not being cross platform, OS polish, and integration all comes second to that one simple fact - Windows is already installed; not to mention they've paid for it.
Chances are all the other issues people have with hardware, and software would be next to non-existent if Linux was the OS of choice, and preloaded on all computers. All of these software titles that people complain about not being available for Linux would have no choice, but to be available. The question is if Linux was at this point today, would we be where we are right now?
Bug #1 isn't "Let's make Linux easier to use" or "Let's improve the interface." The solution is to provide the open source equivalent to Apple.
It would have a lot of the same things Apple has--the ability to try out the computers in the store, hardware and software designed to go together (not just rebranded Asus or Dell laptops), no major hardware regressions in newer versions, a full ecosystem of guaranteed-to-work-together peripherals.
The major thing it would lack that Apple has is lock-in. You could still choose to install Linux on whatever computer you want and work out the issues yourself. But a simple out-of-the-box thoroughly tested and properly marketed physical product would be available to try and purchase.
It wouldn't be a sudden change with droves of users deciding to purchase desktop hardware with Linux as the OS, but slowly Linux would become a real contender in the OS race. Until the OS is being marked as a real option not just a decision for someone to make after purchasing a computer with a preloaded OS, but marked as a complete computer you can go to a store in your local mall, and purchase today it will not gain a notable percent of the market. Apple does this (to an extent), and it still has a relatively small share in the OS market, imagine how much smaller it would be if OS X wasn't preloaded on any system, and Apple tried to market it as an after market option to install after you purchase a computer that for all practical purposes already has an OS (Windows) that pretty much accomplishes word processing, banking, web surfing, etc. Now think of how much larger of a share Apple would have if they opened their OS up to other hardware models (I know they tried clones in the 90s, and it didn't work so well, but this can be managed). Just as Apple would most likely gain a larger % of the market Linux could do this as well if Linux was opened up to all computers (it already is), and preloaded, and sold that way in stores on a mass level while being marketed in a way that keeps up with marketing of other operating systems (which it isn't).
This could totally change the way people buy computers if it is done right (not the "buy Linux on an eMachine in the back of Walmart type campaign). It could change the way the OS market is too, and shift the interest back to hardware if say you didn't have to choose between Apple's EFI Intel boards, and regular BIOS; Linux runs on both, and (hopefully) looks just as good by the time we get to this point as far as the aesthetics of the OS go. Why buy expensive Apple branded (regular hard drive, RAM, etc with an Apple brand on the outside) systems, when you can buy something for less money with the same specs running an OS which is just as good at this point if not better than OS X?
The world as a majority is going to accept whatever is thrown at them so long as it is aesthetically pleasing to look at, easy to use, stable (or lack there of when you look back at the OS timeline), and accomplishes what they need. No one in their right mind (except for those of us here, and on other forums like this) would even think about downloading Linux because as far as they can tell Windows, and MacOS is already getting the job done for them. To truly bring open source to the world it has to be more than just here, and available. It needs to be marketed as complete, and available to the average consumer in a form that they view as being a complete system.
This turned out a lot longer than I expected. I'm not checking for typos because I'm ready to leave my office for the day.
It seems that a key component of competing with any other operating system is our unity or lack of it. We as Linux users of all distros are stronger with all the distros united than we ever will be apart. There must be a way we can have our cake and eat it to, by that I mean have all the different distros and still have one distro to rally around. The general issue of all the different distros and package management systems etc etc is becoming the key element along with financing holding back our progress.
Last edited by beast2k; May 8th, 2010 at 01:53 AM.
People expect to walk into a store and buy a computer, and as long as it runs the majority of programs out there (which Linux does- with Wine, you get more applications than available for Windows since you also have the majority of them). And most people would love to have an OS impervious to viruses, and since it's monetarily free, it wouldn't be so big of a deal to distribute it and have people buy Windows separately if they really need it.
Even though Linux is insanely easy to install these days, and to dual boot with, the majority of normal people have never installed an OS, so they think Linux is hard because it requires that step unless you buy online.
The simple fact is that, installing Ubuntu and most modern Linux distributions is by and far easier and faster than any other OS currently on the market. Not to mention you can run the OS and do stuff while it's installing, something no other OS offers.
As soon as Linux ends up on store shelves, even if it's only on netbooks, even if it's only as Google Chrome, it will start to steal away the market.
Many consumers argue that the reason they buy Windows instead of anything else is that they think Windows computers are the cheapest, so they'll deal with the issues so long as they have an OS of some kind, even if they think it's bad.
So having something that costs less and has less issues would be a big deal for most common users. They just have no idea it's out there. Kids listen to what the TV tells them, sorry to tell you. Not all of us are internet researchers.
The best way to get Linux into the mainstream besides using it and showing it to people in a friendly, non-intrusive manner, is to buy hardware from system76, Zareason, and especially DELL's Ubuntu offerings so they can expand them and advertise them more broadly, as well as any local stores that sell Linux goods.
That way it will be more obvious to manufacturers that it's a viable alternative and deserves just as much consideration as the company that keeps pushing them around, who I will not name.
i think the main reason is that windows & mac os users are actually satisfied with their os. so why bother?
When the seagulls follow the trawler, it is because they think sardines will be thrown into the sea.
Windows users aren't usually satisfied after they're infected with their 42nd virus...
There are 10 different kinds of people:
Those who understand binary numbers
Those who don't
Free/open-source game development kit: http://openblox.sourceforge.net
Why? I don't think Linux cares about popularity. Linux users are happy with it (whatever distro they've settle on) and that's all that counts. I don't proselatize Linux: I use it because it works.
And smile quietly when Windows users whinge about system slow-downs, virus attacks, etc. Been there, done that, got the tattoo.
Linux User #445955
Let's use a little common sense. Of course, that's not all that common.