View Full Version : The Future of Linux

April 27th, 2009, 03:00 AM
Here are my thoughts on the future of Linux in relation to the information/technology industry and American government:

Linux is the democracy of the computer world. It is free, open-source, and it has a tremendous amount of community involvement. It is capitalistic in the sense that it allows for competition between distributions. Distributions act as both political parties and private enterprises, competing for popularity and being held in check by each other. Users are able to easily move from one distribution to the other, and developers are able to write programs that work on all distributions with relatively little tweaking between distros.

Windows is the Dictatorships of the computing world. It is closed-source, lacks community involvement, costs unreasonable amounts of money, and is less stable and less secure than Linux. Plus, the cost of Windows is not even the full price of a Windows system: there are the closed-source, pricey office applications and anti-virus programs that can more than double the cost - not to mention slow down the system.

Times are changing. With the (relatively) recent release of Vista, Windows failed to be a satisfactory operating system, while Mac and Linux both proved to be rapidly improving. As information becomes more widely available and more easily distributed, people are less willing to pay for it. There is far more supply than demand. In fact, there has even been debate over whether file-sharing of copyrighted material should be legalized.

As the future approaches, businesses are discovering that they are more successful in selling support and maintenance to their products, and less successful in selling the actual products. A well-documented, well-supported product will be more popular and more useful with a product that focuses only on features and not on support - for example, Canonical makes its big bucks from Ubuntu by selling support to its largest customers.

Why is more of the tech-minded population not using Linux? The answer is both simple and complex: in short, people simply do not know about Linux. Sure, they know it exists. But most people do not realize how user-friendly it is rapidly becoming under distributions like Ubuntu and Fedora Core or how it is completely free. Before I had actually researched Linux myself, I always thought that Linux was a geeky operating system that was only for people that needed to program. This may have been true in the past, but it is becoming less true with each new release.

The long answer is that Windows has a monopoly. Most universities, individuals, and businesses use Windows, and as a result, developers know they will make the most money by developing only for Windows. Because an Operating System is like an infrastructure in that it benefits when everybody is using the some thing, it can be very difficult to use Linux when everybody else is using Windows. The bright side is that there are remedies for this. OpenOffice, for example, allows Linux users to save in a Windows Format, and open Windows Files.

The government could greatly benefit from using Linux rather than windows as it is more secure, faster, and most importantly - free. This means that it would save tax-dollars in the long run. It may be too early for large-scale conversion, but local governments would find it easy to begin. There are already numerous schools that have saved money by using Linux. If the entire US government switched to using Linux, not only would this save a lot of federal money, but it would greatly increase the funds that back Linux development, increasing its quality.

The most important argument for government switchover of all, however, is that the American government is and always has been one of the leading advocates of democracy. If the government really wants to show not only in its words but in its actions that it is transparent and democratic, it would use Linux. Barack Obama, being the most tech-minded president yet, would be a great candidate to raise awareness of the possibilities that Linux might have if put to use in government positions.

What are your thoughts?

April 27th, 2009, 03:10 AM
1. Peer-reviewed source-code vs. non-peer-reviewed closed source source-code.
2. Unrestricted freedom of choice.
3. Adaptability and efficient modularity.
4. Promotion of the rights of the user.
5. No closed-ended, commercially- or politically-inspired agenda which contravenes #1 - #4.

These are the real, fundamental reasons why people should logically choose Linux over really any closed-source, commercial OS product, even Mac OS X, but particularly Windows. Now, mind you, I say this as a long-time Mac user, but the handwriting is on the wall vis a vis the attack on personal sovereignty and liberties through the technological means of computer software. Linux is really the only effective defence we have against the onslaught. I love Mac OS X, but at the end of the day, Apple can be manipulated by the powers-that-be simply due to the fact that they are a major commercial interest which has signed numerous licenses with other companies or agencies and can be forced to live within the framework of what big business or even the Federal Government wants.

Any more, and especially in recent times, I think that's a liability just waiting to be fully exploited.