Linspire Inc. has announced an agreement to license voice-enabled instant messaging, Windows Media 10 CODECs, and TrueType font technologies from Microsoft for its Linux distribution.
The head of Ubuntu says his company isn’t interested in forming a deal with Microsoft along the lines of those recently reached by Linspire, Xandros, and Novell.
I’ve always said that for Linux to have a chance on the desktop it must be turned into Windows. I know how that might sound to most, but that statement is completely true for one reason: people like what they know, familiarity is comfortable.
So what reason is there to switch away from Windows, something known and used, to Linux, a complete unknown?… Because it’s free and Microsoft is an evil monopoly!?… I think we have to do better than that. We have to give the people what they “want”, and not what we think they “need”, all while making the transition completely seamless.
The average desktop user just wants to power on, browse the internet, visit a few social sites, send email, do some IM, watch videos, and nothing more. And this task needs to function and look exactly like it does on Windows.
Yes, I know you can track down Codecs and TrueType fonts, and install them, but this is beyond what 95% of the desktop market is willing to do. It has to be already provided and look exactly like it does on Windows. If this task takes a single click, it’s already one click too many.
Every year since 2000 it was the year Linux was going to displace Windows. And every year it has failed miserably on the desktop. Linux is by the developer, for the developer. It works best server-side. The desktop/UI is horrible and always makes you do things differently, for no reason at all but “to be different.” And its type of “difference” is not the cool type, it’s downright scary.
Why learn from Microsoft’s mistakes and success, taking what works, when you can spend time and effort re-inventing the wheel. And until this gets fixed, Linux will alway turn away the desktop market.
Another huge problem I see is with providing the user with too many choices… You give someone multiple distributions, all with their own ways of doing things, with multiple applications that have the same function, with too many different options and ways of performing tasks, and the user becomes confused and disoriented. He begins to distrust the product. Time is waisted.
The majority of the desktop user-base want their hand held and told that everything is okay. And Linux slaps them right across the face. Very little is standardized or uniform. This type of “choice”, in this context, is not a strength, but rather a weakness.
While this move *is* the smartest move ever, it never the less is too little and too late — or to put it more correctly: completely and utterly pointless. Why you might ask? Because it’s not free, you pay $60 for Linspire. I can get Windows cheaper than that, even for free, and have no problems doing more with it as a Desktop.