Thursday, August 9, 2007

Barriers to Penguin Entry

Ronald Reagan often got himself in trouble when preaching to the choir. Same goes for Jim Zemlin:

Having gained industry-wide recognition, Linux now is moving into its second stage of growth, in which it vies with Microsoft Windows as a dominant computing platform, Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation, said Wednesday.

The computing world will be dominated by two ideas, open and closed, and two platforms, Linux and Windows, according to Zemlin, speaking at the LinuxWorld Conference & Expo in San Francisco.

I begged to differ:

Until your local Costco stocks computers pre-loaded with Linux, any idea of co-dominating the computing world is fanciful - unless by "co-dominating," Zemlin means that Linux will co-dominate a niche market, in the same way that the Macintosh co-dominated the graphics market upon its introduction.

anon8mizer looked at another avenue - self-installation of Linux - and ran into some real issues that make Zemlin's words sound empty. Here's an excerpt:

Last month I started loading Linux (CentOS 4.5) on a used home PC. The headache I ran into so far is very frustrating just to try to get tomcat up. Jpackage confusion? Yum package depdencies? Oh you need this one from Sun because of Sun's java licensing. But oh you need that package from Jakarta and there are godzillion ways you can install java depending on if you want to run java as desktop or as a server.

No matter how you slice it, Linux isn't going to dominate anything until it (a) is pre-installed, or (b) is very very easy to install.


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