Obvious titles that might be missing for Linux would be MS Office and maybe, for some users, Photoshop. Generally speaking though, the software available for Linux users is fantastic. Browsing, email, office suite, file syncing and more are all available with a few clicks of the mouse.
Usually what happens is when a legacy title such as MS Office or Photoshop isn't available, that platform is then demonized as having "a lack of good software titles available" which is obviously overstating the fact. For most people, the software available in today's Linux software repositories is ample. I live and work within a Linux environment full-time, I can't think of a single thing I'm missing from my software library.
The takeaway? Just because you're missing a legacy software title doesn't mean that Linux on the desktop is somehow holding its users back with a lack of software titles. Nothing could be further from the truth. There are hundreds of great software titles to choose from on today's Linux distributions. Anything not available by default, is usually available in the software repositories.
In this article, I debunked the "Linux is too difficult" myth, along with related myths surrounding hardware and software. Understanding this, one may find themselves asking: why isn't Linux more common?
Well the short answer is that the numbers being spouted out by various tech publications are using skewed data. Because Linux is in countless devices, helps to run Android, plus it's not sold as a desktop operating system, it makes tracking almost impossible. And yet, the same old "researched" numbers appear over and over, despite any accuracy in these numbers being completely impossible. This number is usually under 2 percent. In reality, Linux on the desktop is exploding internationally. China and India – two of the biggest growth markets – are mysteriously missing from the conversation, despite both countries seeing huge Linux growth on the desktop.
We (sometimes) believe the data we're provided by our common news sources. And because of this, I think we have a cult of personality with Apple and Microsoft. We, as consumers, are never told that there is a third option and because of this lack of demand, brick and mortar stores don't carry Linux computers.
In 2008, Best Buy and Canonical began selling Ubuntu boxed sets. They were sold at $20 USD, were difficult to find in the store and had no education offered whatsoever. See, I happen to own one of these boxed sets and let me be the first to say, the marketing effort was non-existent.
The packaging company, ValuSoft, did a great job in making the box easy to read, with a flap that opens up and offers great information. The problem was, this boxed set was sold on a ground level shelf BEHIND a Microsoft Windows end-cap. So it was hidden, and no one in the store even realized what it was when I purchased it. That's right – the employees were not trained whatsoever on the product.
Until someone actually works to educate computer users about what desktop Linux is and why they care, simply putting a boxed set onto a store shelf isn't going to make any difference at all. Linux on the desktop requires hands-on demonstrations at county fairs, kiosks and in big box stores. Obviously the proprietary software "cabal" isn't going to allow this to happen anytime soon, so we find ourselves looking to one company to get people using Linux – Google.
Hate it or love it, Google has people using the Linux kernel under their own software underpinnings with great success. Their Chromebooks are top sellers and the new desktop machines rolling off the assembly line also look like they could become best sellers.
The painful downside to this of course is that all of the great software that makes desktop Linux so amazing is completely missing from the Chrome experience. Popular titles like LibreOffice, Firefox, or GIMP won't be found on these machines. Luckily for geeks out there, this is something that can be remedied with a little work. However for the masses, the ChromeOS will forever be the closest many folks will ever get to a true Linux desktop.
To be honest, the only way I see the market share of visibility gaining traction in the physical marketplace is for existing PC repair techs to take up Linux support and begin recommending it to their clients. I know of a few who have already begun doing this and each of them has tripled their income for their efforts. Will this be a trend that not only boosts adoption, but also helps to dispel Linux myths? Only time will tell, but I remain bullishly optimistic.