My previous weblog about my first look at Linux ignited a firestorm of sorts from Linux fans, who complained I wasn’t giving the operating system its due, claiming that Linux was clearly superior to Windows.
So I thought I’d write a follow-up, further explaining why I think Windows will continue to be the dominant OS for the desktop, and Linux won’t make a dent into Microsoft’s desktop market share.
First, consider the entire universe of computer users. Most don’t want to have to be bothered with installing a new operating system and all the problems that causes. They already have an operating system on their PCs - Windows - and they’d have to have an extremely compelling reason to go through the pain of installing a new one.
Linux, as I previously outlined, doesn’t give them that compelling reason. The applications written for Linux don’t give them that compelling reason, either. And most people wouldn’t even be able to install a new operating system, even if they did want to switch.
The ready availability of applications makes Windows superior as well. Go into your local computer store, or visit an online retailer. How much software do you see being sold for Windows? How much for Linux? An operating system is only as good as the software that runs on top of it. There’s so little easily available software (the key here is “easily”) for Linux that it doesn’t measure up to Windows.
As for downloadable software, with Windows, when you download a piece of software, installation is generally straightforward. With Linux, you might be stuck with having to compile the code. Very few computer users are willing to do that.
The upshot? For the desktop, Windows is here to stay. Severs are another matter, and there are certainly compelling reasons for using Linux there. But on the desktop, Windows will continue to rule, warts and all.
Where do you stand on the Linux versus Windows war? Let me know.