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
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
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."