Why the Linux Myths Continue

by Ostatic Staff - Sep. 10, 2010

What will it take for Linux to lose the stigma that surrounds it in the eyes of IT administrators? While platforms based on Linux--such as Android--are experienceing barnstorming success, there are still a lot of misconceptions about Linux, especially in enterprises. PC World recently tackled the Top 8 Linux Myths, and a look at the myths shows that many of them lie in areas that are very sensitive for IT administrators. If those particular myths could be undone, Linux adoption in businesses might benefit enormously. So what makes the myths continue?

Just check out these myths that PC World cites, and see if they sound like IT administrators might give a hoot about them: "Linux isn't compatible," "there is no support," "it's less secure," and "it's not reliable." That's only half the myths cited!

One thing that jumps out as I read through the Linux myths is that people neglect to remember that Linux is a moving target, and a special and unusual type of moving target. Open source developers have profoundly improved things like reliability and compatibility over the years, to the point where a person who hasn't tried , say, Ubuntu in over two years has very little right to pronounce judgment on it.

That said, we've recently covered a number of the challenges that lie ahead if there is to be more business adoption of Linux, especially on the desktop. In this OStatic post, Joe Brockmeier made the excellent post that Linux needs better marketing and messaging, especially in the area of unified messaging--the kind that might actually affect IT administrators. He wrote: 

"If you took the marketing budgets of all the Linux vendors combined, and then doubled that figure, and then added a zero, you might start approaching what Microsoft spends on marketing Windows. Maybe. The ad councils for various industries have the right idea -- it's a good idea to pool your money to grow the market when you're jointly competing with another industry."

That's right. Smart marketing could make a difference too. Just consider the huge impact that one television ad--the one in 1984 from Apple where the female athlete threw the sledgehammer toward a Borg-like figure resembling Big Blue--had for Apple. For Linux, the myths propogate and continue because there is no unified message designed to challenge the myths, no coordinated spending on such messaging. The myths don't propogate because of shortcomings in Linux itself.