Desktop Linux or Windows 7?: Page 2

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Now understand that I am not getting into the argument of which platform is more secure. Rather, I’m pointing out which platform is a moving target for exploits and which one will allow the end user a much less frustrating experience, properly configured.

Big box stores will, as expected, stick to the platforms that make them the most money. And sadly, this is simply not going to be Linux as it lacks value-added services such as application stores, security suites and other software purchases available for a making quick buck.

Clearly adoption is not going to happen there. It must happen with us and through word of mouth. You know, sort of like we have seen take place with Google and its search engine. But even with all of us doing our part to point out this Windows 7 alternative, are most people willing to step far enough out of their comfort zones to give Linux a real shot?

Motivation enough to change

It's interesting when I find myself presented with an opportunity to show off what my own Linux powered notebook can do. Even those who are quite happy with their Windows or OS X solutions are quick to point out that they know people personally that would love this "Linux thing."

The applications most people need are preinstalled. Hassles with security software and junk attachments coming through email are not a problem for the end user on this platform. Clearly, we have a winner here.

Yet during the same conversation, I ask these people if they are interested in making the switch to Linux, only to find out that they feel that they "need" to wait for Windows 7 to be released instead of changing to a new platform.

Why? Because despite what I have shown them, they feel "safer" using a Windows OS from a software availability standpoint.

This is a fair point. So to provide a stronger counter-argument, I then showed the individual that I was speaking with my own minimized iTunes application running in the background providing a USB connected backup of my iPhone.

When asked how, I simply pointed out that I was running XP in VirtualBox in seamless mode. Once they picked their jaw up off the ground, they simply stated that maybe they need to look into this a bit closer. Needless to say, the excuses to wait for Windows 7 were becoming thinner by the minute.

Lessons learned

During my experiences learning what drives people to use one platform over another, I discovered the following.

  • Windows wins on availability. It's impossible to miss.
  • Support is everywhere. Again, there is no way you will hear someone exclaim that they are unable to find someone for hire to help them with their Windows PC.
  • Brick and mortar PC retail businesses see little reason to change what is working for their bottom line.
  • Change is scary and for those not frightened, they are simply disinterested in change.

As you can plainly see, the motivation to opt for the more expensive Windows 7 is a self-inflicted ailment as far as I am concerned. Call it people falling victim to happenstance or simply refusing to accept that there are more cost effective alternatives out there. One thing is very clear – we need a single event using desktop Linux to point to in which some of the support/familiarity concerns will be addressed.

Does this mean that we should be looking to Google's Chrome OS for the answers? Perhaps, but I still see little evidence of anything being done that demonstrates real "boots on the ground" support. The type of support that Joe Average is going to find assistance like they would if they just stuck with Windows.

In 2007, I outlined step by step how a company might put s Linux solution to this problem in place.

Sadly, I have seen zero evidence that Google or any other company looking to take on Microsoft directly actually "gets it." Someone out there needs to remind folks that there is much more to the success of the Linux desktop than pushing everything into cloud computing.

Because it quickly becomes meaningless when the end user is suddenly faced with being unable to connect to the Internet in the first place.


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Tags: open source, Linux, Windows, Linux desktop


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