Posted by: antyx | February 21, 2008

Linux may be trapped into the opensource sphere


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A lot has been said about Linux, and how it differs from mainstream Operating Systems like MS Windows and MacOSX. It is in some aspects better and in some worse. I’ve been using Ubuntu Linux for the last year as my main OS and i have come to a conclusion that it may be the most well formed, stable and fast growing operating systems around and is virtually free as in beer and as in freedom as R. Stallman never forgets to remind us all, Linux’s main ideological brain father. In practical terms it consumes a very small amount of system sources contrary to Windows and provides a transparency on its internal structure in every level. My main point on this article is not to say if it better or worse, because every piece of software and even a complete OS is a tool and it depends on how you want to use it, in order to say if it is good or not. Linux developers, from its core to additional software by 98%, code under GNU/GPL or any other variation of this software licence. By doing so, every piece of code that is written under it, differers according to the rights and “freeness” it provides to the end user. Linux was built as a GNU operating system and is a brainchild of this intellectual freedom. That does not make it practically better than any other OS system, thus it’s openness provides a transparent and dynamic way of this piece of software to be modified giving end users a much reliable product to use. Nevertheless this obligation to this so called software freedom at a big extent leeds to its free distribution, with no money charge whatsoever. This is a good thing in most cases because money is a big factor when choosing a product, thus it may have led Linux to be trapped into its opensource sphere.

I personally know very few proprietary software that is native linux made. I could give a brief explanation to that: First of all Linux OS has a very low market share amongst other desktop operating systems although it is free and extremely well built. The main reason may be is that Linux is not owned by anyone thus it does not have a universal marketing strategy. It also gets overshadowed my Microsoft’s products so desktop users find the transition hard, though it practically may not be hard at all. Another main reason of low desktop adoption may be because it lacks the support of the biggest software manufactures like Adobe, AutoDesk etc. Wine, the Unix implementation of the Windows API may provide a solution on some cases for running windows software in a Linux/Unix/BSD environment, but in reality it’s a placebo to the lack of 3rd party software support. Software vendors may use Linux in their infrastructure as a less costly way for their server needs, but don’t provide support for that particular OS because simply a native version of their product may cost too much and because GNU software is free in charge in most cases, so they expect to get virtually nothing in cash from that particular market of desktop users. So my conclusion is that Linux may be the most fast growing, cutting edge and costless OS that excists out there but the lack of a main marketing strategy in addition to the lack of commercial/propetiary software support fails to make it able to grab a decent desktop OS share. As the title of this article remarks the intellectual freedom that Linux and any GNU software stands by may be the reason it lacks a decent share amongst desktop users. In my opinion freedom in any sense is always a good thing but Linux users might want to start paying for native proprietary software solutions (AutoCAD) if they want to make it a realistic alternative to the dominating MS Windows. Offcourse an open source alternative is always preferable (Firefox as a great example) but in cases that no decent piece of native linux software is available users must be willing to pay for it and sacrificing their commitment to the GNU/GPL licence in order to make linux be supported better. Windows and and MacOSX users have been doing it for some time now and these OS have an excelent 3rd party support.

I’ve embeded a small video commercial of Linux, made by IBM, one of its commercial supporters, which points out the dynamic and addoptive nature of this particular OS

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