"In the Open Source ethos, there is a tendency to a) eschew
commercial-software developers and b) assume that the Open Source
community can work together to create software that is just as good
as commercial-software offerings."
"I won't go into why a) is true (free beer! free beer! free
beer!), but I will try and explain here why b) is a dangerous
assumption -- one that could truly threaten the future of Linux and
Open Source, especially when it comes to Linux as a desktop
"This is going to be heresy to many readers, but there's nothing
in the Linux world that works as well as Microsoft Word when it
comes to corporate-level word processing. WordPerfect comes close,
though both the native Linux version and the version running under
WINE are a little too flaky and pokey for my tastes, and there's a
lot to like about the word processor within Applixware Office.
(Note, however, that a Linux version and an Open Source version are
two different things, and that neither Applixware Office nor
WordPerfect are Open Source products.) Heck, I'd even settle for
something that's the equivalent of the original XyWrite. There's
nothing in Open Source software that works as well as these
"This, I would argue, is why Linux is still largely a failure as
a desktop operating system. Yes, as an OS, Linux is more stable
than Windows 98/2000, and it's just about as easy to use as the
Macintosh. But applications drive the market, and until there's a
compelling reason to use Linux on the desktop, it will remain a
fringe desktop OS. (This is the same reason why Solaris on the
desktop failed, by the way.) Linux's future as a server OS remains
solid thanks to the many splendid server applications (Apache,
Oracle 9i, et al), but if we want to see Linux break through as a
viable desktop OS, the Open Source world needs to realize that
commercial software is not an evil thing to be derided or ignored.
Heed the lessons of OS/2: in the absence of a killer application,
it doesn't matter whether an OS like OS/2 is certifiably better
than the status-quo Windows."
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