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LinuxPlanet: .comment: If Not Now, When?

May 24, 2001, 04:29 (124 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Dennis E. Powell)

Dennis Powell also takes exception to the notion that it's time write the Linux desktop's obituary. On the other hand, he offers up some points for why things aren't moving so fast: resistance to proprietary hardware support, and resistance to for-pay software among them. This week Dennis reminds us that the best technical solution doesn't always win, and the real task ahead for convincing people to make the switch to a Linux desktop lies in providing a truly compelling reason.

"...I love Linux," my wife said a few minutes ago. "Except when I have to open attachments or do any work. But for playing around, it's great." Exactly. We need a broad range of serious applications. Not applications to scratch some programmer's itch as to how it ought to be done, but programs that bring Linux into the world of how things are done. Returning to theKompany.com, which is producing a nice group of programs for both developers and users, it took them, a commercial outfit that isn't richly funded by VC millions, to revive the perennially moribund Magellan, forking it into Aethera, which is progressing wonderfully. Remember the crap they took when they announced that their personal finance manager, Kapital, would be a pay-for-it, closed-source program? Remember how much of it was from people who had been whining about how they wished Quicken would be ported to Linux? Did they think Intuit was going to give it away?

I'm not for a moment saying that there's no value in the work being done by developers who push the limits, who head off in whatever strange directions that pursuit of their vision requires. What I am saying is that the community often seems to adopt a pseudo-elitist, emacs-is-all-you-need-and-everybody-else-keep-out attitude. I've said it before, over and over -- there's room here for everybody. If you object to closed-source apps, just don't buy them. But don't go around doing your best to queer the deal for everybody else.

The greatest obstacle to Linux on the desktop is the Linux community, or at least that vocal portion that makes life hell for anyone who wants to fix the problem with the VIA chipset, who wants to release video drivers for Linux, who God forbid wants to sell applications that run on Linux without casting the code they paid to develop to the wind."

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