Archive of UserLand's first discussion group, started October 5, 1998.

Win What?

Author:Jim Flanagan
Posted:6/28/1999; 11:20:50 AM
Topic:Win What?
Msg #:7866
Prev/Next:7865 / 7867

There has been a lot of buzz in the community in the past weeks about Linux versus Microsoft, and some of it, naturally, has appeared here.

Dave heads the last few paragraphs of the recent DaveNet peice "Why Linux Will Win," but those paragraphs talk mostly about why linux will survive, which is much closer to the real point.

The "we will crush you" rhetoric from the Open Source camp grows very tiresome, so much so that the mainstream media has found it interesting enough to devote column inches to it. Yikes!

What people seem to be ignoring (people including Bob Metcalfe, who makes a comparison between MSWord and Emacs in a recent article) is that Windows and Linux still, by and large, solve very different problems for different classes of users (just like Word and Emacs). Performance charactaristics--the focus of the recent media flareup--are, for many users, a secondary concern. First order: Can I solve my problem using this tool?

Informed, rational technologists will choose the right tool for the job. Deploying Linux in certain large-scale situations is a far cry from "$free." Talented people must be employed making Linux do what you want. Linux is flexible. You can go where you want, provided you can understand the source, have the technical resources, and don't need to go there today.

Windows does what Windows does. Try to flex it and it will break.

Trust me--Linux advocates don't want all the Windows customers. Haven't ANY of you out there been on the receiving end of a "where's the ANY key/my cup holder is broken" tech-support call? Let MS deal with that.

So, What can Linux win? Linux has already won what it will win: The respect of a certain class of users with needs that are orthagonal to your typical user or MIS executive. It can keep accumulating this respect or begin hemmorhaging it based on the goals of the community, which should be to make Linux more useful to a larger community rather than trying to compete feature-for-feature with Microsoft.

Open Source should aim for customers who want to "be informed, then choose."

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