Ok, so Joe Brockmeier mentioned unified marketing as one major thing that Linux needs (actually he mentioned four in his OStatic post. Linux documentation is another). But Linux being the poster child of open source phenomenon is a different identity from Windows and Mac OS. Open source is an identity distinct from proprietary technologies. As such, Linux should aim to complement Microsoft and Apple in that it serves a market niche. That is not to say we should promote proprietary software (it depends on each situation). The reality is, Microsoft Windows was 10 years ahead of Linux when Linus Torvalds started tinkering with what was to become the Linux kernel way back in 1991. The sheer marketing and usability prowess of Microsoft began to take its roots way ahead of Linux in terms of dollars and ecosystem. Every Windows installation simply strengthens the business and consumer ecosystem.
That being said, it is irrelevant to compare Windows and Linux (just like apples and oranges). Windows has the first mover advantage such that 90% of the OS market are attuned to their “native” operating system. For the majority of users on the planet, Windows is the benchmark in terms of familiarity, usability and functionality. Not that there is wrong with that, that is the reality.
So those Microsoft bashing and Linux trashing are all nonsense. Every person is different. So is Linux. Education is the key to abolish OS discrimination. That is, it takes time to get familiarize with Linux. From the user’s point of view, it will take a lot of trial and error, distro hopping and Google search. Jimmy Wales mentioned the lack of sustainability ecosystem as the reason that hampers dominance of Linux in the desktop arena. Fortunately, there is Ubuntu and Linux Mint to play around. So what does it take to get Linux on as much desktop users as possible? I mentioned desktop users because needless to say, Linux is dominant in the web server frontier. As Brockmeier said, marketing and documentation. In addition, Linux distros need:
- out-of-the-box functionality (seamless hardware driver support)
- more local companies/communities providing technical support (in-person, not phone/online support)
- marketing push to education sector (the earlier elementary and HS students learn it, the better)
- telcos and ISP support (plug-and-play USB HSDPA/UMTS support)
- more native Linux games
- native ATI and Nvidia support
- native printer installers
- local distro suppliers (in CD or USB Flash drives)
- Linux ports of popular Windows apps
- Focus CS and IT education on open source