Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Screw the Year of the Linux Desktop.

Are you still wondering if 2010 will be the year of the Linux desktop? Who cares?

Firstly, The Linux Desktop is progressing by leaps and bounds. In fact it verges on blissful perfection. It doesn't matter if your Grandma or work is using it. It still works and it's still cool as hell. It's not fringe, it's not a stigma. It's here, it's now and it kicks ass.

Secondly, There are cooler things on the horizon that make worrying about acceptance silly.

Sure the G1 was cool and relatively open. But how about the upcoming Android phones? Sure the iPhone gobbled up the smart phone market but Floss is catching up and will soon be dominant.

See, there is something that proprietary can't compete with. Free software is all about what the user want's. It's free, it powerful, it doesn't leave them stranded with vendor lock in and they won't be left unsupported when the next wave of innovation gets crammed down our throat.

It brings up an interesting use case for freedom over closed ideology. As something like the iPhone, iPod or iTunes takes over a market. It can benefit from locking things down. They create a bottle neck that funnels all income to one source. That's great for the company but sucks for the consumer. A recent trend is to use freedoms as a market getting alternative. Creating competition where there wasn't any before.

One such instance is the Amazon mp3 store. They used freedom from DRM to change the game. Now mobile phone companies are doing the same with Android because free software easily fits the bill. You can take it right now and deploy it with a minimum of resources and get it to market. Also, the open development means you will attract enough developers to start catching up with the App Store.

The next cool device running Android is the Barnes and Nobel Nook. An e-book reader that will take on the Amazon kindle. Creating a interesting irony that Amazon stole market share with more freedom and now B&N will steal market share doing the same.

When will they learn that the more freedom they afford their users the more competitive they will be in the future.

So anyways, back at the point. This is the year of the Linux personal device. When the coolest devices that your friends drool after aren't Apple or Microsoft but Linux.
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