Art Alexion on 13 Sep 2004 17:13:01 -0000

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Re: [PLUG] More critique of Linux desktop

Howard Bloom wrote:

I drive Windows on my desktop because I use:


And about 20 more products that don't exist in Linux.

This is such a sham argument. Of course there are at least 40 useful programs that run in Windows only as there are probably 40 useful programs that only run on *nix.

The real reason for that is momentum, of course. Commercial developers (and virus writers) reasonably aim to design products that can be run by the most common computers. Before MS cemented its monopoly, software more often tended to be written for more platforms. Now, with 95% of the desktops running Windows, there is a huge disincentive to develop for other platforms. It snowballs. When fewer programs are written for a platform, fewer people choose that platform. And when fewer people choose that platform, fewer programs are written for it.

The only way to reverse that trend is to buck the momentum and create a rich software selection that attracts people to the platform -- until the selection is so rich that it attracts people to the platform. Most desktop users don't care about operating systems, they get one with their hardware, or they [used to] choose one based on the software they needed.

OS/2 failed because IBM couldn't attract developers to write for the platform. Hence, no software. Hence no customers for the platform.

Linux is uniquely situated to buck this phenomenon because of the Open Source culture. People chip in to develop software because they need or want it themselves, regardless of how many copies they will sell. This permits Linux to accumulate a rich selection of software no matter how many desktops are sold.

For many of us Linux is already there. For some, it is getting there eventually. For others, with special needs [that even windows may not be meeting], it will never be there.


Art Alexion
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