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LinuxPlanet: The StartX Files: Kick Butt and Take Names, Young Grasshopper

Jun 11, 2001, 15:47 (24 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Brian Proffitt)

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 software.

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 denial.

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.

If we had a sense of mission to begin with."

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