This week's StartX Files takes a lesson from noted moral
authority James T. Kirk: If the fight isn't going your way, change
the rules. In this case, rather than rushing into pitched battle
for "the desktop" and attempting to engage that market on every
front, forget the overwhelming variety of home user "greeting card"
software and aim for the business market, where GNU/Linux may still
be incomplete, but stronger.
" Home users are the real key to all of the arguments
against GNU/Linux's adoption. These are the users that use a very
wide variety of esoteric software that my colleague Lou Grinzo has
termed "greeting card software." This is the software that home
users think they have to have on their PCs: encyclopedia software,
mapping and GPS software, and--of course--actual greeting card
GNU/Linux doesn't have this kind of stuff and why should it?
There have been some attempts: like the recent porting of
MusicMatch's audio jukebox to GNU/Linux. But these are just small
bites out of the huge market that home PC users form. The variety
and sheer number of applications available for the home user is
huge. And GNU/Linux is supposed to catch up with that?
Well, forget it. It's not going to happen anytime soon. Not
until there's a huge shift in user interest (read: money) into X
application development. Anyone who thinks differently is in
And yet, this is the very standard the other pundits hold X and
its applications to when they start spouting off about the "lack of
Linux applications." This is the very standard we find ourselves
arguing for time after time, as volleys of FUD are launched at our
side of the OS fence--volleys that surely as the sun rises in the
East, we will collectively rise up our invective and righteous
anger and discuss new and interesting ways to try to humiliate some
Microsoft executive. Little realizing that while we buzz around
like angry hornets we are getting a lot less work done and are
losing our sense of mission.