about 3 and a half years ago I looked at Linspire

Story: Linspire Chairman Frustrated By Futility Of Desktop Linux, Rebuts CarmonyTotal Replies: 7
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Jul 04, 2008
12:30 AM EDT
with the view to selling computers with Linspire pre installed, and upgrading Windows computers to Linux. I gave up on that idea after doing an upgrade, and discovering that all 5 users (Mum, Dad and three kids) on this particular system all had root access after the upgrade. It was then that I realised just how broken Linspire is.

Jul 04, 2008
9:03 AM EDT
Never had a real desire to look at Linspire. Xandros on the other hand I have used. I ran it for a few months some time back on my laptop and was suitably happy with it. Better than some, not as good as others in general.

Jul 04, 2008
11:11 AM EDT
Linspire's approach may have been incredibly flawed, but unfortunately I think in this particular case he has quite a good sense of reality. GNU/Linux may be making slow progress on the desktop, but at this rate it's more likely to happen that "desktop" becomes almost totally irrelevant before Linux achieves a really significant market share on it.

Which essentially means that Microsoft won this fight and won it for good. It will be written in history that desktop as a platform was created and ruled by Microsoft to its very end.

BUT, I suppose a defeat happens only once you declare and believe it. I still think GNU/Linux has a chance, but some things have to be done first. I still believe that in terms of marketing and usability Mac OS X has a lot to learn from, and indeed Apple can claim fairly significant inroads on the desktop lately. They must be doing something right, something we can learn from.

I think the first commenter on that story was fairly right to say that GNU/Linux is fragmented, but I wouldn't necessarily agree that it needs to be united into a single distro, as that is simply against its nature. Fragmentation is a side effect of innovation that freedomware so easily encourages. It shows how many people believe they can do something better. We end up with so many choices, so many innovative solutions that the amount becomes a problem that needs an innovative solution itself.

We don't need unification. We just need standardization in some key areas, such as package management. Wouldn't it be nice if we could tell a new user how to install software on Linux once and it would work no matter what distro he uses? I think this is quite possible. All we need is an universal package manager which can be used as an add on to the official package manager of a given distro.

I'm discussing this on our forums and I also have an idea of how could it be achieved. A possible base of a solution comes from a perhaps unlikely place: Arch Linux with its Arch Build System (similar to ports and gentoo's ebuild system, except simpler and probably more flexible).

But in addition to technical cross-distro solutions like above certain other requirements which were always true still apply: marketing, marketing, marketing, shiny irresistible marketing. It doesn't matter that there are so many Linux distros, you just have to take that fact into account and market accordingly.

Just market Linux as the next generation computer software platform rather than "an alternative to XP". Market it as something that is fundamentally different from XP (because it IS!) *because it is next generation*, because it is *new*, because it is *the wave of the future*.

It will only be the wave of the future if enough people believe it is and make it so. Think about that. :)

In the future, you choose your operating system like you choose your detergent. Off the shelf? Off the internet? Few clicks, done. That's the future.


Jul 04, 2008
11:25 AM EDT
Eh here is an interesting title I just found: "Why Is So Hard for Windows Users to Understand That Linux Is Not Windows?" (from http://vivapinkfloyd.blogspot.com/2008/07/why-is-so-hard-for... ).

Here is my answer: because we keep telling them it's a windows alternative.

It is not.


Jul 04, 2008
6:49 PM EDT
> I still think GNU/Linux has a chance

Has a chance to do what? Has a chance to provide me with a great computing experience? Has a chance to put pressure on Microsoft? It has already done those things and surpassed all expectations by a mile. And it will continue to do those things well for years to come.

When the FOSS developers pack their bags and say the situation is hopeless, I will be worried. That's not going to happen anytime soon.


Jul 04, 2008
8:06 PM EDT
To be specific I meant a chance to achieve a significantly greater market share on the desktop OS market.


Jul 05, 2008
5:28 AM EDT
> To be specific I meant a chance to achieve a significantly greater market share on the desktop OS market.

Which of course I don't see as being very important by itself. The only thing that is important in my mind is providing the choice of a superior OS.

Jul 05, 2008
9:19 AM EDT
I agree, but larger market share often comes with larger mind share and a lot more people knowing about this choice.

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