Linux! You cannot just wish Microsoft away.

I have observed in several Linux related forums, a certain denial of reality by most Linux enthusiasts. They tend to have the notion that the demise of Microsoft is just around the corner and that Linux is about to have its time. Well all I can say is that such a world can only be in the imagination of people. 
If anything at all, Microsoft, come this October, will only consolidate its hold on the OS market unless pragmatic steps are taken by major Linux vendors like Canonical to stave off the massive tide that Windows 7 is set to have in its wake, if their distros are to stand a chance of sustaining the growth and success attained on the back of the spectacular failure of Vista. Microsoft is a company that cannot just be easily overtaken by a competitor, not by the currently fragmented and seemingly disorganised Linux world. 
The influence and control Microsoft has on the market goes beyond its core business of OS and extends to what I believe to be the computing culture of the world. A whole generation of people have grown up knowing no other OS other than Windows. You have millions of people that use the terms Windows and computer synonymously. An entire world of IT ecosystem is built around Microsoft and its products. Such people are not going to just dump Windows and migrate to Linux en mass just because Windows is not good relative to Linux. 
We keep hearing, for twenty years now, how every other year will be the year of Linux, and still this Linux has less than five percent of the entire desktop OS market. Why?! It seems to me that most Linux enthusiasts and vendors alike tend to think that the popular Open Source mantra of FREE is in itself going to do the magic of making Linux and for that matter other Open Source apps the prefered choice of users. No it won’t. And I mean, again, won’t, unless Linux vendors and enthusiasts alike wake from their current slumber and make up their minds as to whether they want Linux to remain just a hobbyist OS or they want to transform this wonderful piece of software into a formidable competitor to Microsoft’s Windows.

I believe Linux can actually take on Windows, but no in this current status quo where most people concerned just sit and wish for things to happen. Linux enthusiasts and vendors have a lot of work to do and the earlier they set to work, the better. I use Ubuntu Linux, in fact it’s the only OS I have on any computer I own, and have gotten some friends hooked to it. But I am not blind to the realities on the ground, that Microsoft, and for that matter Windows, are too powerful forces to be just wished away by living in an utopia of our own minds.

Microsoft is not going anywhere any time soon and as such Linux must work hard to get noticed by the over one billion computer users out there. Enthusiasts and vendors alike must wake up to reality and stop the wishful thinking.

9 Replies to “Linux! You cannot just wish Microsoft away.”

  1. Linux can compete, there is no doubt in my mind. I have converted a few people very successfully (by me making them aware of a choice), the main problem however is that 95% of Windows users do not even know what Linux is. They are not even aware that options exist and when you mention Linux the inevitable question is, "what is that". So, leave them to their world and we will have ours…

  2. @joe i used the name Linux to represent the entire open source os ecosystem including the users, that's why i personified it. @anonymous I wish we could just leave such Windows users to be, but such a move will simply mean the eternal stagnation of this wonderful OS. We must evangelize Linux in practical and strategic ways to those Windows users who have not yet seen the light.

  3. @Anonymous

    Most people don't even know that they run Windows or if they do, what version. I can ask someone over the phone, some will say I don't know, some say Dell OS and some say What!?


  4. One of the big problems is that you aren't just fighting Microsoft. You are fighting Microsoft and ignorance. Both are powerful forces, and each strengthens the hold of the other.

  5. @Anonymous no3
    That's exactly what I have been trying to point out. Unfortunately, I don't see any serious effort on the part of the Linux world to tackle this double sided problem of fighting the MS giant and ignorance on the part of people.

  6. Many people want MS to go away, but plenty of other GNU/Linux users just want to use their OS and could care less if MS exists or not. I think a lot of us (including me) fall somewhere in the middle — we want MS to go away but as long as we can use our own software on our own hardware, we're pretty happy.

    The problem with that approach is that, as technology changes and DRM comes and goes and comes and goes again, we're always in danger of being locked out of something if we don't keep up with the moving goalposts. If nothing else however, the number of GNU/Linux users is growing and we're getting an increasingly large number of people onto Free Software and off from the treadmill that is software upgrades. Now we just need to keep that number growing, and keep working towards those goalposts so that we don't get left behind.

    The Free Software desktops have some of the best software, but the technology behind the scenes is where we are in danger of falling short.

  7. @lefty.crupps,
    Why do you want Microsoft to go away?

    No one is stopping you, or anyone else, from using linux.

    This blind hatred of Microsoft is unfounded and, in reality, it is getting in the way of linux' potential success.

    If you want to challenge them in their world, the commercial world, then stand up and do it. Slandering them will get you nowhere.

    Linux is a good system, it doesn't need Microsoft to go away for it to win. It does need to change it's way of thinking and amalgamate it's ideas and present itself to the public in a unified approach.

    Think about it, Microsoft have hundreds of the worlds top computer guys, all in one room, working on one concept so that they can present it to the public after a very expensive and well directed advertising campaign that has everyone waiting with baited breath to spend hundreds of dollars on it.

    Linux has hundreds of the worlds top computer guys working in hundreds of locations on thousands of concepts that they never actually present to the public and they have no money to advertise so no one knows of it's existence even though it's free.

    Which one do you think might be a formula for success?

    That's why linux is struggling to get above 1% of the desktop.

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