Friday, May 15, 2009

Is Linux best under the hood, or over it?

Serdar Yegulalp wrote an InformationWeek piece that stated his view that a future successful Linux-based implementation won't actually trumpet the word "Linux." One of his assertions read as follows:

Apple doesn't proudly trumpet how Mac OS X is a derivative of BSD blah blah free software yadda yadda, because the only people who care about such things are the ones who, well, care about such things, and can find out about them for themselves. It's not a selling point for people who are interested in the work they can get done with a PC, and it never will be. It's a distraction from the main issue, which is: Can I do what I've been doing with my PC before?

While Yegulalp is correct in noting that Linux is not a destination in itself, that's almost like saying that it's sunny in California, because people aren't treating Linux like a destination. In the same way that people talk about "Vista" and "OS X," they are talking about specific Linux distributions, such as "Red Hat Enterprise Linux" or "HyperSpace." Jake Kuramoto wrote an entire post regarding an attempt to upgrade from Intrepid to Jaunty, and Rich Manalang recommended the use of Crunchbang instead. I've been researching Jaunty (a/k/a Ubuntu 9.04) as well as Ubuntu Netbook Remix. Each of these distributions offers a specific set of features, applications, and support options, all of which are integral to the specific offering.

The biggest difference between the Microsoft, Apple, and various Linux offerings is that there are a ton of Linux offerings (e.g. 182 Intel-compatible English-language Linux distributions), due to the way in which things emerged in that market. Go here to access lists of the myriad ways in which you can get Linux. Compare that with the approximately half-dozen versions of Windows that are generally available, plus however few Apple operating systems are out there.

And each of them (well, some of them, anyway) is competing for your dollar or euro or whatever.
blog comments powered by Disqus