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osOpinion: Linux for the Desktop -- Way to Go?

Aug 28, 2000, 11:38 (14 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Mark Summerfield)

[ Thanks to Kelly McNeill for this link. ]

"When someone goes to their computer shop to buy a new PC, in almost every case they will take away a machine with some version of Windows installed. Judging by the success of Microsoft in terms of revenue and good reviews in the mainstream press, it would seem that those customers are perfectly happy with what they've got."

"Some of us with technical backgrounds, especially those of us who are committed to open source, may find this disappointing, after all, surely Linux et al are all better than Windows "under the hood", making them more secure and more reliable. Unfortunately for most consumers what's under the hood (software-wise) doesn't matter a damn. What does matter is that the machine is easy to use and will run the applications they want."

"Focusing on the applications side first, what kind of applications are we talking about? If we look on the shelves of a software retailer there is (at least where I live) a small section for business type applications, usually MS Office in various forms, plus some personal finance packages as well as form and label printing software. There're usually some task-specific database programs, e.g. for CD/DVD collections, plus clip art and fonts. But the vast majority of shelf space is taken up by games. Taking up less space than the games but certainly a lot more space than the business applications are the self-education programs. Programs aimed at both children and adults, some tied to specific tests or exams, others for general education and interest. If you want to learn a foreign language, read up on some history or perhaps get help with your exams, there's at least one software package designed to meet that need. And all of this software runs only under Windows."

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