How to Create a Desktop Linux Monopoly: Page 2

Posted February 12, 2008

Matt Hartley

Matt Hartley

(Page 2 of 2)

Locking the doors behind them.

Once solid user support, consistent peripheral/hardware availability, along with media options like legal mainstream MP3 downloads are put into place, it’s time to lock the users in for life.

To prevent these Linux users from leaving the distribution for another, the following must now be implemented:

• Let's stop the continuous cycle of "beta" seen throughout the desktop Linux world and get a working release that is not filled with "hacks and bugs" out into the community. This should become Job One.

• Provide desktop Linux supported by a company offering subscription based on one-time training videos for their users. The company that does this will discover immediate loyalty from their user-base.

For X dollars per month, the user is then able to learn how to be proficient in software provided by this distribution rather than spending their time trying to remove malware from Microsoft Windows.

• Make it attractive for PC repair techs to provide this particular Linux distribution's support exclusively, while leaving other distros out in the cold. This has been attempted in the past, however these companies’ results have been largely lackluster due to previous issues not being addressed first.

With enough residual (subscription) revenue tossed at PC techs, we would see both clients and repair techs working together in an ongoing basis. In other words, the PC repair techs not only become certified with this specific distribution of Linux, they also becomes a sales force for the distro's subscription how-to offerings as well.

Adding the deadbolt of loyalty with hardware vendors.

Once you begin the slow process of winning Windows converts over, it’s time to begin hammering away on the hardware vendors.

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Assuming the company distributing their Linux distribution has all of the previous tactics in check, the subscription services and user support services should be the bulk of the company's revenue. At this point, the desktop Linux company would want to take some of the revenue and pay some open source developers to create Linux-friendly solutions for hardware that might have not been so Linux friendly in the past.

Start off by locating frequently requested extras such as webcams, multi-function printers, mice and keyboards. Approach the companies that design the devices and offer to develop Linux-friendly versions of the software already provided for Windows and OS X users. If you have two or three peripheral companies well supported, you will then have new items to add to the previously mentioned "Linux store" where users of this supported distribution can purchase specially packaged versions of this hardware.

The five-year plan.

Let's recap. We give everything above a full five years. Given that this idea was well funded from the get-go, the mission was Linux exclusively without any interest or fall back on Windows sales whatsoever. You would have what amounts to a desktop Linux monopoly. Let's review how it happened and why:

1. Start off with a strong distribution. None of this beta nonsense or filing bug after bug.

2. Support what people are asking for. MP3s, DVDs and an online store that sells them created just for these Linux users. Think branding.

3. Using peripherals and hardware that is already well supported, along with other services. Then reinvest those profits into providing non-supported hardware free development options that, once successful, will then be specially packaged and added to the previously mentioned Linux store.

4. Software education and how-to subscriptions, not days at the forums wasting time with things that should have worked in the first place.

5. Build out a base of PC repair techs and make sure to share the profits of this distribution's subscription services are readily available to them.

By following those five steps above, no other Linux distribution on Earth would have a prayer of competing on a level playing field.

Understand that I am not advocating we create such a thing. Rather, I offer this to demonstrate that, with desktop Linux, it’s not the operating system that’s holding things back. Rather, it is a small group of people who have made this a crusade rather than a tool to power their computers.

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