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Who Cares if Linux Beats Windows?

Let's blame Linspire

  • November 8, 2010
  • By Matt Hartley
Must Linux beat Windows on the desktop? Is dumbing down Linux the price of success? Are they even comparable? Matt Hartley thinks that comparing Linux to Windows is an inaccurate comparison and leads Linux development in the wrong direction.

Matt Hartley

How many times have you heard this statement: "It's the year of the Linux desktop." Not recently? Then how about "Linux is making gains on the Windows desktop"? Still leaving a bad taste in your mouth?

Bet I know why.

For years, both the statements above have been over-used to the point that either idea is now completely meaningless. Not due to anything negative with the Linux desktop, mind you, rather due to inherent differences in how Linux is marketed to the world, who its intended audience is and whether mainstream adoption even matters in the first place.

Let's blame Linspire

The idea behind the Linux distribution Linspire (aka Lindows) was to create a competing desktop environment for PC users not inclined to drop everything and move over to the Mac if they had a distaste for Windows. On the surface, it was an interesting idea. Unfortunately, at the time the Linux desktop technology of that era was not ready for the target market Linspire was going after.

With a more mature desktop experience, the Linspire model might have made greater inroads early without as many hurdles. But the fact is that Linspire took a desktop experience that was aimed at those seeking freedom and tried to make a Windows OS alternative out of it.

Linspire was hardly alone in this path of "conquering Windows" with the Linux mindset. Other Linux distributions of the period were also targeting new users. Unfortunately for adopters of these Linux distributions, functionality like Bluetooth, out of the box wireless connectivity, and other important items were simply not there yet on the Linux desktop. Sadly, this didn't stop many made-for-newbie distributions from pitching the idea to people anyway.

Enough with Linux vs. Windows

My switch to Linux wasn't an immediate one. But what was apparent early on during my Linux adoption was my motivation for making the switch in the first place � no longer wanting to use Windows.

This is where I think the confusion begins for most new Linux adopters...Read the rest of Matt Hartley's Linux vs. Windows story at Datamation

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