Is there anything Linux does not have??

I’ve been using Linux since 1997 and back in the “good old days” it could take weeks to have a proper setup which actually had some functionality in it beyond the Royal Kingdom of Geekness.It was a teeth-pulling exercise to get the correct firmware and drivers for a multitude of equipment so if it didn’t exist you were relying on the willingness of hardware vendors to open up their specs so you could work on this yourself.

So much has changed over these last 15 years in the sense that even my refrigerator and phone is running Linux as well as the largest hadron collider and even space stations run on Linux. The vast amount of manufacturing consortium’s are actively developing on and for linux and it looks like the entire IT industry shifts from proprietary operating systems to this little opensource project Mr. Torvalds kicked of almost two decades ago. His fellowship in the IT Hall of Fame is well deserved.

One area were Linux is hardly seen is still on the regular desktop at peoples home office desktops and this is one of the big shortfalls that linux still has. All of the above mentioned examples are really specialised and tailored environments where Linux can be “easily” adopted to suite exactly that particular need and it does an incredible job at it. The people who use Linux have either a more than average interest in computing or fall into the coke and chips/pizza category (Yes, Geeks that is). Just walk into a computer store and ask for a PC/laptop (whatever) for a PC but have them remove the windows operating system, subtract the MS license fee from the invoice and ask for a Fedora/Ubuntu/”you name one of the 100’s of distro’s” to be installed instead. Chances are fairly high you get some glare eyes staring at you. This is the big problem Linux faces.

From a hardware support level most of it if fairly well covered. Maybe not under open-source licenses but from a usability perspective this doesn’t really matter.

Although the Linux foundation does a good job in promoting and evangelizing Linux it will never have the operational and financial power companies like Microsoft have so a commercial heads-on attack is doomed to fail. The best approach, i think, although perceived long term thinking, is via the educational system. make sure young children get in touch with different operating systems so they have the choice of what to use in the future. I recently knocked off windows from my somewhat older laptop and installed Ubuntu. My kids are now using this one for all sorts of things. My son discovered the command line and he’s getting curious. (He thinks he’s smart so I use SELinux, pretty annoying for him :-))
The thought behind this all is they also get another view of what computers can do and that there is more than MS.

As for day to day apps I think Linux still falls short on office automation. Regarding functions and features they still can’t compete with MS but the catchup game has begun.

Erwin van Londen

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