Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Linux: Still Not Happening?

Over at ComputerWorld, Michael Gartenberg wrote an opinion piece entitled, "Opinion: Linux on the desktop: Still not happening," where he claims that Linux is "still a non-starter on the desktop."

Gartenberg's main point is that Linux is not yet a "viable" alternative "to the current mainstream operating systems."

For him, maybe. For many other people, myself included, Linux has been working fine on the desktop for years. I've had no need to go back to using Windows. So, how do you define what is "viable" and what isn't?

Linux is a viable OS if it works for you, and if you are willing to make it work for you. The guy known at Scot's Newsletter Forums as V.T. Eric Layton wrote about Gartenberg's article at his Nocturnal Slacker blog, saying "I really get tired of the Linux/Windows comparisons from writers and bloggers all over the Net [...] LINUX IS NOT WINDOWS!"

I couldn't agree with him more. Here's a link to Eric's take on Gartenberg's article. I loved especially this paragraph, which I think is an important point that any prospective Linux user should be aware of:

"The fact of the matter is that if someone wants to start using Linux, they’re going to have to LEARN… yes, that’s right! They’re going to have to read, research, search, study, use, use, and use some more till they’ve become comfortable with their new operating system. That’s just the way it is. You ain’t going to learn Linux by osmosis, folks."

So true.

As I commented to Eric, I also took issue with this statement by Gartenberg:

"What you're left with is the "Linux is free" argument, but "Linux is free" greatly exaggerates the case. The truth is that Linux doesn't significantly lower operational costs; it can't, because the cost of acquisition of a PC's operating system is usually less than 10% of the overall costs in the life of that computer."

That's crap. I know it's crap. I know it because I've personally taken several used computers, most of which were discarded PCs that I'd acquired for free, and brought them back to life for next to nothing. That's $0 bucks American. Try that with Windows and let me know how much it costs you.

If Linux is still "not happening" for you, then that's your problem. Use what works for you. But don't try to say that Linux isn't a viable alternative to Windows or Mac OS-X because there are too many people out there who know that's a lie.

No comments: