Why the Linux Desktop isn't the most popular(yet), and how you can help

As an avid Linux user and promoter, I am frequently faced with the pessimistic viewpoint of the minuscule market share that the Linux Desktop occupies.

And although Linux on the Desktop will continue to move in positive direction of a mainstream Desktop Operating System, I'd like to share my view as to why this process has not been the Mushroom Cloud of expansion that us Linux lovers would like to see it be.

The problem is very simple actually.

The Linux market share is currently limited by the lack of support for it from computer hardware makers.

That's it. Plain and simple.

Since hardware makers do not help make drivers for GNU/Linux, the GNU/Linux community has to use a lot more time to "catch up" in the development of drivers. And if playing "catch up" isn't bad enough, In some instances, the hardware makers make it even harder for Linux, by using some wonky tactics to store pictures on a flash chip for instance (enter the world of Professor Theodore Kilgore and trying to decode the storage patterns of the Jeinlin 'Kidz-Cam'). This lack of fluidity in the availability of some drivers for Linux makes the game makers and many other software makers(it's a trickle down effect) choose Windows because they know that with Windows, a driver will be developed for the hardware, and fast.

So there it is. If you support Linux, you need to let all makers of computer hardware know that they should support Linux as well. And unfortunately this means you MUST BE VERY VOCAL about it! Emails, word of mouth, t-shirts, billboards, airplane banners(hmm, I gotta try that), etc. LET THEM KNOW THAT YOU'RE USING LINUX! DEMAND SUPPORT!

Here's a very simple example of how you can help. Go to your favorite electronics store(i.e., Best Buy, Circuit City, Fry's, etc.) and ask them, "Do you have hardware that supports Linux? And if so, is it printed on the box?". This simple action will start something. And although you may not notice it right there, you have triggered an avalanche. Your words will meet the computer hardware makers, eventually.

Go GNU/Linux! Go Freedom!

Disagree? Bring it(by leaving a comment)!

Shannon VanWagner
HTTP_USER_AGENT: Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; en-US; rv:1.9) Gecko/2008061015 Firefox/3.0

(note: the use of the term "Linux" in this article actually means "GNU/Linux" and all respect is meant for both terms and their origins)

Posted Jul 16th, 2008

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