The Presstitutes Attack!
Every once in a while we hear that desktop Linux is dead and buried. A columnist at PC World recently pushed this hoary old chestnut in a column entitled “Desktop Linux: The Dream is Dead.”
I hate it when somebody regurgitates this stuff. It never changes and it’s never fair or accurate to desktop Linux. Most of it is simply spin, lies and distortions and it ought not to go unchallenged. Yet we see these presstitutes pushing this crap over and over again.
Well let me tell you something, desktop Linux is alive and well; and it’s getting better and better.
I’ll tear apart Strohmeyer’s column in a minute, but there are a few other things I want to cover first.
Numbers: Who Cares?
Whenever somebody starts bashing desktop Linux, they usually point out that it has 1% or whatever of the desktop market. So supposedly, 99% of computers don’t use desktop Linux. Um…yeah, right.
First of all, who knows what the exact number is? I don’t nor do I think that any of these columnists have a clue. It’s a number that gets bandied about, often with nothing substantive to back it up.
Second, who gives a damn if it is 1%? I sure don’t, and neither do many other Linux users. I don’t base my decisions about which operating system to use on what other people are doing. That’s like somebody being stupid enough to buy a house at the top of the housing bubble simply because somebody they know also bought a house.
Desktop Linux is available to anybody who decides to use it, whenever, wherever and however they want to use it. It’s always there and it’s never going to go away, regardless of how much FUD is put out by the presstitutes in the media.
Apple & Internet Explorer: Why You Shouldn’t Write Off Desktop Linux
Let’s forget what I said about numbers and look at Apple.
Remember back when Apple had 2% or whatever of the desktop market? All of these dingbat pundits were predicting that Apple was doomed! The company would never survive; Macs were a joke, etc. On and on and on it went, with each pundit spewing his or her inane blather with reckless abandon.
All of that turned out to be pure bunk. Apple is bigger than ever and apparently has a higher market share than ever (around 10% or so last I heard) of the desktop. Apple should stand as an example to Linux users and to those who would denigrate Linux on the desktop.
The company, product or operating system that has smaller market share today can quickly balloon to a much higher market share in a fairly short period of time.
The reverse can also be true. Products that have enormous share of a particular market can often fade fairly quickly given real competition. Remember when Internet Explorer had 95% of the browser market? Now look at it, it’s a pale echo of its former self and will probably never regain its former glory.
What happened to IE? Simple. Browser developers simply made better browsers while Microsoft sat on its lead and ceded market share to them. This is nothing new, it happens all the time in technology. So don’t be too sure that the operating systems of today that have high market share will always retain it. Things change quickly and today’s top tech can quickly become tomorrow’s forgotten trash.
Desktop Linux Has Real Value
I write reviews of Linux distros all the time here on EOL and on Desktop Linux Reviews. Most of the distros I write about have enormous value in and of themselves. There’s a distro for everybody, no matter what their hardware is or what their preferences are. Just spend some time over on DistroWatch and you can certainly find a distro that matches your individual or corporate needs.
Here’s a list of some great distro choices for the Linux desktop:
When you combine that with the simply gigantic amount of open source software that is available through them, you have a tremendous amount of desktop computing value.
And it’s all free.
Here are just a few of the great applications available with most distros or available via their software management tools:
Pitivi Video Editor
That’s just a very tiny handful of the thousands of free applications and games available for desktop Linux. You could spend hours installing applications on your favorite Linux distro and still not run out of applications.
Strohmeyer’s Silly Column
Windows Vista and Windows 7
Strohmeyer begins his column by claiming that Windows Vista was some sort of missed opportunity for desktop Linux and that Windows 7 is somehow relevant as well. I have to file all of this in the “who cares?” category.
Sure, it would be nice if disaffected Windows users moved to Linux. But is that the real reason to pick Linux? Simply because somebody doesn’t like Windows? What does that make Linux? The lesser of two evils?
That’s a very negative way of viewing Linux, and I think it lends suspicion to the rest of the column in a big way. Linux can stand on its own, and its positive virtues do not need to be compared to any version of Windows for Linux to look attractive to desktop users.
Windows itself is simply irrelevant to what desktop Linux has to offer.
Lack of Content
He goes onto decry a “lack of content” and then mentions DVDs and Netflix as an example of this. Are you kidding me? The day of DVDs (and all other disc based media) are quickly passing, at some point they will be laughed about by all of us. Why should we worry about an obsolete medium anyway? The answer is simple, we shouldn’t.
As far as Netflix goes, ditto. I’ve never used it and I never will. If that company is stupid enough to limit the operating systems it supports instead of using an open standard, then screw em’. They aren’t worth my dollar and I wouldn’t waste my time trying to use their trashy service in the first place.
He then brings up flash, of all things. As if flash is some sort of black mark against Linux. I had to chuckle when I read that part of his column.
I wrote a column of my own a while back that spells out exactly how I feel about flash. It’s called “Why Flash Sucks” and it points out why flash is such a pain in the ass. As far as flash’s bad performance on Linux goes, that’s Adobe’s fault. They should fix it or stop making flash for Linux in the first place.
Believe me, I will shed no tears if Adobe stops supporting flash on Linux. It sucks on Linux, it sucks on Windows and it sucks on the Mac. Flash provides equal opportunity suckage to every operating system out there.
At one point he oddly suggests that the cloud is a threat to Linux. Um…hello! Hasn’t he used Peppermint OS One, Peppermint Ice, Jolicloud or any of the other cloud-oriented desktop distros?
The cloud is very well integrated into these distros, and I suspect we’ll see that continue in distros that currently don’t put much emphasis on the cloud at all. There’s absolutely nothing to stop developers from absorbing the cloud into their desktop distros. Tools like Prism make it very easy for developers to bundle web-based applications into desktop Linux.
The other thing that’s silly about Strohmeyer’s take on the cloud is that he seems to think it’s some threat to desktop applications or that perhaps developers should cut back on desktop application development.
Why? Cloud based apps work perfectly well side by side with desktop applications. One does not preclude the other. We can have the cloud and desktop applications in our Linux distros.
Strohmeyer goes on to mention that Linux developers should concentrate on mobile devices rather than the desktop. Um…why can’t they work on both at the same time? Does he really believe that Linux developers are incapable of supporting mobile platforms and the desktop?
It really strains the bounds of credibility when I read something so stupid. Yes, mobile devices are a big opportunity for Linux (and other operating systems) but so what? Desktop Linux will still be there and it will push forward, getting better and better (along with Linux used on mobile devices).
Success in the mobile device arena does not preclude success on the desktop.
He goes on to take one last shot at Linux, saying that it doesn’t have a shot at “…Mac OS X, much less Windows.” So what? Since when did picking an operating system become all about a zero sum competition between the various choices?
When I sit down at my computer, I use the operating system that works the best for me and that offers what I need to do my work, surf the web, run applications, etc. I certainly don’t sit down and think about who has the highest market share and then use that operating system.
Unfortunately, this won’t be the last bit of Linux bashing we get from the presstitutes. Since many of them can’t find anything positive to write about, they use Linux bashing to fill up space and attract hits to their sites.
You might notice that I haven’t linked to Strohmeyer’s column. I find that this is the best way to deal with these kinds of columns. Take away the page hits and ad impressions, and you take away the motivation to write such drivel in the first place.
Desktop Linux is alive and well, and there’s nothing the presstitutes can do about it.
What’s your take on all of this? Tell me in the comments.