Linux is the world’s best alternative to Microsoft Windows. It has everything that Windows has always dreamed of having. However, it is a big wonder why after being around for close to 20 years, Linux still has less than 5% of the desktop market share. The solution, I strongly believe, lies in overcoming five simple but often overlooked barriers which when tackled by all concerned parties, will go a long way to push Linux to the mainstream everyday computer user.
Step 1- Language
Linux is too full of technical jargon that just puts off the average Joe from even attempting to learn more about it. Though a lot has been achieved in breaking the Linux language barrier in modern distros like Ubuntu and Fedora, there still is a long way to go to make it more appreciable by everyday users. Much should be done to reduce the use of technical jargon to the barest minimum. The “sudo apt-get” type of language must be eliminated. Linux should use the language of everyday people than that of geeks if it is to reach the wider user base and make a meaningful thrust into Windows’ domain.
Step 2- Publicity
There does not seem to be any kind of active publicity going on anywhere- at least from where I stand- that is aimed at creating an awareness about Linux. There are hundreds of millions of people out there who simply have not heard about Linux before. That is a vast market waiting to be tapped. But without the proper publicity by the main Linus distros, such a market lies untapped. Lots of people are fed up with Windows and want an alternative, but how do they get to switch to something they have not even heard of before? It seems to me, frankly, that the few people that use Linux as their OS are doing more to advertise Linux than the distro vendors themselves. The internet is a very great tool that can be used to push Linux to the limelight.
The Linux world is simply too fragmented. There are hundreds of distros out there all seemingly competing against themselves instead of against Microsoft. There does not seem to be any kind of cohesion or coordination in the release of the major distros, at least in my view. This has given Linux the very bad image of looking more like some kind of child’s play OS. The fact that the Linux source code is a public property does not necessarily mean there should be no cohesion in the Linux world. I strongly believe that a certain measure of cohesion or control would go a long way to make Linux look more professional in the eyes more and more people especially those in the enterprise market.
Step 4- Support
There should be more and more vendor support for the various Linux distros. It is not enough to just refer people to the fora for help. There should be some form of vendor support aside the community support available. This will give Linux a double advantage over Windows given the fact that the Linux community support is generally very helpful. A distro like Ubuntu has recently started offering such a support service and should be commended. More of such much needed initiatives will only go a long way to improve the popular adoption of Linux as an alternative to Windows.
Step 5- Reference manuals
More and more Linux manuals need to be published and promoted by the Linux community at large. More people may consider Linux if they know there is some kind of reference manual available to them- there are more people out there that still view Linux as something from outside of this Earth. There are some really good ones out there, but there is more room to go. More Linux bookshops need to be setup and promoted by the community at large. Some very good Linux reference manuals can be found in this store.
These are 5 simple points that I believe can help increase the wider adoption of Linux by everyday users across the world. What other ways do you think can help make Linux the OS of choice for more and more people? Share your thoughts. Talkback.