My last blog entry, Why Linux Will Never Take Over the Desktop, got a lot of pushback from Linux folks. Now I’m back with more reasons why Linux will never overtake Windows.
One big reason Linux will never outdo Windows is that when it comes to Linux, there’s simply too many distributions to choose from. An ordinary consumer has no clue which distrubution to use…and then having to decide between free and unsupported, or for-pay and supported, if those versions are both available for a given distribution. Debian, Knoppix, Ubuntu, Red Hat…the list could go on for a long time. (For the record, I use Ubuntu, after first using Knoppix.)
Too much choice, in fact, is a bad thing. Studies of consumer behavior have shown that when people are confronted with too many choices of products, they freeze, and buy nothing at all. When their choice is limited to three or four, on the other hand, they take the leap.
The lack of a retail and online retail infrastructure for Linux and Linux applications hurts as well. Go to any store or online merchant, and you won’t find much Linux-related on sale. But you’ll find plenty of Windows-related software.
Then there’s the issue of marketing muscle. The dollars simply aren’t there for driving demand for Linux. As for Windows….well, just turn on your TV or open a magazine. You’ll see hundreds of millions of Microsoft dollars at work.
Just because Linux won’t take over the desktop doesn’t mean it’s not a worthy operating system. It just means that it will remain a niche player, except on servers.