The closed source software angle
While the deliberation within the hardware world rages on, the world's closed source software vendors have a legitimate reason to be deathly afraid of the open source growth seen worldwide.
How does an industry selling a product compete with another group giving the same thing away for free? It's certainly putting CEOs and marketing departments into an awkward situation.
So how has closed source software such as Microsoft Office and Adobe's Photoshop managed to fend off their open source competition? Perceived value and localized availability.
See, I can go to my local big box store, find the office suite or photo editing software, then opt to purchase it. With the open source alternatives, however, I must have first have heard of them, then understand how to get the software onto my own CD to use it. Not exactly a very smart marketing strategy outside of geek circles.
In my mind, this is and this alone is what is keeping MS Office from being laughed out of many homes and college dorms alike. Imagine seeing Open Office being made available at your local coffee shop or bookstore? Loaded, self-installing and ready to go.
It is perfectly legal to do this, yet much of the open source community went nuts when another company tried something like this just a few years ago.
Choices must be made
So where does the hardware industry and the closed source software industry go from here? Is further Linux/open source software alienation the answer as it has been for many companies out there?
Perhaps these industries can simply wait and hope Linux will just "go away"? As you may have guessed by now, the answer is clearly to adapt or accept a limited market share.
Based on what Ive seen, the hardware industry will adapt long before the closed source software industry. Personally, I opt to take things into my own hands by voting with my checkbook. My feelings on the matter are as follows: provide what I need on the OS I choose to use, and I will happily pay for it. Don't, and I will go elsewhere.
Desktop Linux and to some extent, the open source movement, has yet to burst through the glass ceiling known as the mainstream media. Even when you consider the fantastic power of user generated media on the Internet today, in the end, the mainstream media remains in the driver seat.
Until you see more mainstream entities supporting Linux and open source software alternatives, the world will remain in the dark as to a lower cost alternative to what they are currently being asked to buy today.