Lobby4Linux.com is Open for 'Bid'ness'. Austin Texas group takes a shot at spreading the Linux Desktop.

Posted by helios on Jun 4, 2005 7:35 AM EDT
LXer; By Ryan Foster - Owner, First Impressions Web Design
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Despite reoccurring phpbb problems and a slow start, Lobby4Linux is determined to do what it can to make the Linux Desktop a viable alternative to Windows.

It's not like they are doing anything new. One message on the L4L forums lamented "Oh great, just what we need. Another "Linux Rulez" website."

Well, talk to the founder of L4L and he will tell you that is exactly what we need...but with a twist. In an upcoming exclusive interview with Tuxmachines.org, helios was quick to point out the possibility of failure. "Yeah, we could fail, and if we do; so be it. We won't fail because we didn't try."

With an interesting choice of colors and some rather direct dialog for their readers, Lobby4Linux hopes to bring Linux application developers and Linux users together in somewhat of a new concept. Harmony. Ken says that there has been problems in doing this before.

"In my experience, the relationship between Developers and Users has not been good." Application Developers have their own reasons and motives for creating the code they write, and I have discovered that trying to bribe them with money isn't very productive." Many developers feel that once they accept money for their ongoing work, they are obligated...I have yet found any of them that wants to be cornered into a time-table." "Many times, they write their programs because they need the application for personal use."

So where does that create a rub with Linux Users? Ken has a theory on that as well.

"Many of us are under the impression that there is a hard push from the top to get Linux more widely accepted on the desktop." "This isn't necessarily true." "Between the fragmentation of distributions and the geographical separation of the developers, the growth of Linux tends to happen in fits and starts." "The everyday home or business user wants to see Linux grow so they can ditch Microsoft Windows." "The Linux zealots (not at all a derogatory term here) wants to see Microsoft put in their place by Linux." In order to do that, Linux has to be made more accessible and user friendly." "That taxi's us right back to our developers."

So how does Lobby4Linux tie into all this? By creating a neutral environment for both parties, L4L hopes to make the needs and motives for both parties fully understood. It is in this environment that Ken hopes Linux will grow.

"It is only my theory based on empirical evidence, that only a few applications need to be improved or created for Linux to grow." Right now, we are focusing on the need for a business accounting software to compete with Quickbooks." Having talked with over 200 business owners that are considering or have considered switching to Linux, the main problem seems to be the inability to export their Quickbook data into a Linux accounting program." "The DevTeam for Kmymoney has made amazing progress on the personal user front for accounting software and in some cases, it will work fine for small businesses." Ace Jones and the rest of the Kmymoney DevTeam have done some astounding work on that program."

So what can be done to make this happen? Ken has been in contact with several developers in the accounting area and other endeavors. So far, he has not found anyone who is interested in taking on a project of this magnitude. He hopes that through press releases like this, that will change. There is one bright spot on the horizon and Ken finds it to be quite ironic.

"I was contacted by the head of the computer science department from a university in Calcutta. She is very interested in the accounting software project and has offered her graduate-level students a chance at working on the project." That's great...I mean, I'm going to do whatever it takes to get this done." "It's just with all the flap over outsourcing of work in America these days...I don't know, it just seems funny to me."

Lobby4Linux isn't just about application development. Ken has tied his website tightly into the PCLinuxOS effort. He feels that byte for byte, PCLinuxOS offers the new user the best system for the Linux Desktop.

"As an old debian guy, I never dreamed I would find an RPM-based system to my liking." Once I tried it and found that the apt/synaptic package management system was just as good with RPM's as it was with DEB's, I fell in love with it." PCLinuxOS now powers my business desktops and all the computers used in Lobby4Linux. There just isn't a more user-friendly system for the new user than PCLinuxOS."

So whether L4L makes a splash or a belly flop remains for time to tell. We do know that watching Ken and his small staff at work, there is little doubt in their minds that Lobby4Linux will get the job done. Linus once made the remark something to the effect of: "...working with Linux developers is something like trying to herd cats..." Well, Ken was wearing his ten-gallon Texas cowboy hat while I spoke with him...maybe he is just the guy to get this job done.

Ryan Foster first Impressions Web Design [HYPERLINK@www.fiwebdesign.com]

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