Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Windows is bad but Linux has work to do.

Today, the Free Software Foundation launched the  Windows7sins. In as much as I  commend them for trying to make the flaws of Windows known to all and sundry, I have to say I do not agree with the move. I say so for a number of reasons. 

The aim of the website is to draw attention to the fact that Windows is simply not worth the effort and money people invest in it. That in itself is not a bad thing. What I see wrong is the level of attention that has been paid to lambasting Windows over the past several years by the Free and Open Source Movement. It simply has not worked. Linux has been around for about twenty years and still has just a tiny fraction of the desktop market share. What Linux needs now is not another website to tell Windows users the evil things they already know about the OS they use.

I strongly believe that Linux is where it is today not because it is not good, but because Windows serves the needs of computer users in a way Linux simply does not. In a previous post, I touched on some five simple things that can help move Linux to the mainstream. These five basic points, I still maintain, are what Linux needs to move it forward. I would have loved to see the new website -together with all the resources that went into developing it- rather being a jargon free introduction to Linux for normal people who speak everyday language.

Telling people that Windows is bad is in itself not enough to get them to switch to FOSS. The alternative that is presented to them should be ready to meet their needs. You cannot tell people who are used to an OS that speaks everyday language to just abandon it for another whose language is an elitist one. It just will not sell. I am of the view that instead of spending limited resources on telling people what they already know  about Windows, we should use those resources to make the alternative we are offering  them more at par with the one we are weaning them from.

Linux is a good and excellent alternative to Windows, but the approach over the years of bringing it to the limelight has always be wrong. It is my view that once these hurdles have been cleared out of the way , more people will simply switch over from Windows without being told to. Millions of Windows users out there want an alternative, but they do not see Linux as being ready to accommodate them, hence they stick to the evil they know.

Yes Microsoft Windows is evil, but Linux and FOSS have a lot of work to do if they are to win over converts from Windows. Do you agree with the launch of another website to tell people about the evils of Windows? Do you think Linux is ready to replace Windows as the OS of choice for more people? Share your thoughts. Talkback!

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By Seraaj Muneer with 1 comment

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