Desktop Dominance Is Still Not the Holy Grail for Linux

by Ostatic Staff - Oct. 06, 2010

In a post yesterday, I wondered whether current efforts by the Canonical community to woo Windows XP users over to the Ubuntu platform (now that Microsoft is ending support for XP) would succeed. I argued that it's more likely that Windows users might begin to use Linux in conjunction with Windows--as I do--than switch. One big reason for that is that Windows 7 is Microsoft's first really successful operating system in years, and it is a solid operating system. In this blog post, which recounts seven months of user experience with Windows 7, there are some distinct advantages to the new version of Windows cited, as compared to Linux. Linux has its advantages, too, though, and here are some more reasons why Linux and other operating systems can win together.

The fewt blog post notes this:

"So, what is it about Windows that makes it as good as, or better than Desktop Linux?  To start, and probably most importantly; it doesn’t crash.  I mean that, seriously.  I reboot my netbook where I have Windows installed once or twice a month based on updates to software that I am using or if a patch needs to restart to finish applying, and when it isn’t in use I simply close the lid and the machine goes to sleep.  It works exactly as I would expect it to work. Second, it hasn’t slowed down over time.  That seems to be a popular myth among Linux proponents that is simply untrue."

Indeed, Microsoft fixed many of the long-standing "crapification" problems within Windows with the latest release, where Windows would tend to degrade in performance over time as registry and other problems proliferated. If you don't like previous versions of Windows but haven't tried Windows 7, it is much improved.

That said, though, I still find Linux to have many advantages that cause me to use it in conjunction with Windows. For one thing, there are many applications for Linux that have no match on the Windows or Mac platforms. Also, I never worry about security when using Linux, simply because it's not targeted by hackers on the mass scale and with the level of ingenuity that Windows is. On my Windows 7 machine, I have collected and had to remove unwanted spyware and the like. I never worry about that kind of thing on Linux.

Finally, I am emotionally and intellectually attached to computing platforms, and the open, free ecosystem that surrounds Linux is not a footnote to me.  Just look at Linux-based creations like Android--now flourishing in the mobile market. Or, look at the many kinds of success Linux has had in the embedded and server markets. Who doesn't want to be fluent with Linux as these kinds of wins keep arriving, even if they don't extend directly from what we know as desktop Linux?

My conclusion remains the same: Efforts to get people who are committed to the Windows and Mac platforms to switch only to Linux face an uphill battle. However, especially as platforms such as Ubuntu improve, the arguments for using Linux and those other operating systems grow and grow.