Wednesday, July 23, 2008

How Ubuntu Could Take Over The World

Ubuntu is getting a lot of good press - and it's a terrific, easy-to-use Linux distro. With some extra software included in the default install - it could just take over the world.

Let's face it - no one really "likes" Vista. I don't care who says they love it - they really don't. It's the gas guzzler of operating systems - it takes the equivalent of a Hummer in terms of hardware to run the damn thing correctly.

The Mac OS is really great. It's pretty, it plays nice with others, and is pretty fun to use. The problem (as demonstrated by Apple's suit against Psystar) - is that you have to drink from the Ferrari-inspired Apple well and fork over huge bucks for their hardware (whether you want to or not).

Then there's Linux. Fast. Stable. Free. Runs on damn near any hardware. The problem is - it's only used by wonks.

It's like getting one of those old Radio Shack do-it-yourself radio kits. You get a printed circuit board, some transistors, resistors, and other parts - and then you need to solder the stuff together and pray you read the directions right - or nothing works.

Granted - the novelty and pride of ownership of building an AM radio the size of a bread box from scratch is cool - but not when you can buy one the size of a USB stick for $10 - AND get a FREE FM tuner as well.

That's basically the state of all the Linux distributions. Red Hat started to go down the "for everyone" route - and then decided it's better (and easier) to sell "Enterprise" stuff to a bunch of wonks looking for job security rather than real people who just want to check email and surf the web.

The various distros of Linux - while good - are missing the one thing that makes it useful: applications humans use.

Guys - just bundle OpenOffice, Firefox (with bookmarks on where to find other Linux stuff), Acrobat Reader, Thunderbird with the Google Calendar extension, a media player, games, a notepad equivalent, anti-virus, screensavers, and most of all - some drivers (or a good clearning house site of where to find them) for peripherals.

Hey Ubuntu - you have Dell on your side - why is it you think people who buy Dells still don't get Ubuntu on their machine by default? I mean, after all, the price is right. Right?

Right - but it doesn't do any good to get something for free (or low cost) but have it be completely useless. When you get a new box (or install a new OS) - you expect to at LEAST be able to fire up email and surf the web.

And while you're waiting for your favorite browser plug-ins to install - you want to play some games. And maybe play around with some spreadsheet stuff, read boring PowerPoint-esque presentations and the like.

Give people the power to become productive right out of the box. Help them get used to the retarded-sounding application names that no one has heard of. Make an online forum for new users to get help from other new users, etc.

I think as time goes on - and people are looking for alternatives to Windows (just wait until Windows 7!) - Linux will be able to be the great equalizer - if only people could use it.

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