Mast Kalandar

bandar's colander of random jamun aur aam

Sat, 06 Aug 2005

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Linux for the desktop


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The original osnews article that this ZdNet article claims to rebut says that one of the things that needs to be done is to have some company come out with good pre-installed systems (with some CD's containing additional software and a support infrastructure thrown in). The OSNews article also says that this is targetted at users who would be willing to learn the new interface if it was "cool enough" and goes on to claim that the current desktop interface is (cool enough). The target users are also those who are attracted to the MacMini but find it too expensive and/or limited in terms of available software.

The ZDNet article nowhere refers to these points---instead the author talks mainly about how Windows users will find it difficult to migrate to a typical GNU/Linux system. The author then concludes that the way to simplify this is to make a Desktop that looks like Windows but is GNU/Linux inside.

This is a very old flaw---like the British Labour Party turning into a clone of Ma Thatcher in order to come to power. Or the communists turning on its head the philosophy of the withering away of the state. The problem with "World Domination" is that you feel the need to go down such a path---becoming like the rival or perhaps even worse.

I think the OSNews article makes a very valid point that some company needs to realise that there is a 5% and very visible market share to be captured by having pre-installs of something like Ubuntu/Mandriva or whatever. The folks at Apple and Sun (note the Java Desktop OS) have realised this but have not been able to keep the costs low---perhaps because they are older corporations with hidden costs. So someone can capture this segment first---world domination can wait.


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