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LinuxGazette: Battle for the Desktop: Why Linux Isn't Winning

Nov 09, 2001, 12:57 (126 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Dennis Field)
"As far as our bookstore is concerned, I do not currently believe Linux to be a viable alternative for any small business. Even if I did, I doubt I could ever convince my manager that "Commercial Linux" is capable of supporting our office network, since they have already demonstrated that they are not capable of supporting an installation into an IBM Thinkpad!

Oddly enough, I still believe that Linux is a good Operating System, and I am continuing my search for a functional distribution. But so far, the only OS that will actually operate in my Thinkpad is Windows. I would rather be running Linux (Indeed, once Windows XP becomes dominant, I will have to either run Linux in my laptop or else throw it away). I believe there are a lot of other business people who would like to run Linux as well. But it's not going to happen until some of the Linux vendors get their act together.

Let me offer an analogy: Suppose you were looking for a car, and you heard about this great new sports car that got 50MPG and only cost $5000! But when you went to buy one, you were told it didn't have any tires, and there was no alternator (so you had to figure out some other way to keep the battery charged) and, oh also, don't drive it too fast because the brakes don't work. And if this car ever breaks, then you'll need to find your own spare parts and try to fix it yourself, because the dealer that sells the cars refuses to work on them. Would you buy that car? More importantly, would you recommend that car to somebody that needs reliable transportation to get to work tomorrow? Does this sound far-fetched? Well, that's exactly what many Linux vendors are telling the people who buy their software. Getting back to my automotive analogy, these same vendors will then loudly complain that Chevrolet is being unfair because they put radios in their cars as standard equipment. Well, maybe people aren't buying Chevys because they have built-in radios. Maybe people are buying Chevys because they have tires and the dealers are willing to fix the cars if they don't work! Likewise, maybe people are also buying Windows because it works out of the box (well, mostly works, anyway), and Microsoft at least tries to offer support when it doesn't work."

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