One of the comments on my rant about Windows 8 suggested this might be a good thing for desktop Linux. I just don’t see it myself. The only people I know who run desktop Linux are techies or immediate family members of techies. I don’t see this changing any time soon. Why? The same reasons that have been used for years…
- Windows gets bundled with new PCs. People will have it and use it, regardless of their preferences.
- Companies support windows with drivers and software. The number of companies that truly support Linux on the desktop is limited in comparison. Chances are you are reading this on a desktop using a graphics card that currently doesn’t have an open source driver directly from the manufacturer. The recent news about NVIDIA may change this.
- The PC games industry is based around Windows. Yes, there are Mac and Linux titles, but for the most part, it’s a Windows world.
- Some of the “industry standard” apps people use (Microsoft Office) do not come on Linux. Yes, you can run them on WINE or use an open source alternative, but the fact is you can’t just put in a MS Office disc and install it on Linux.
- Following on from point 4, the education system focuses heavily on the MS world. My sister-in-law is currently doing an evening school computer course, which is totally based around Windows and Office. The course in question is pretty much mandatory for any people looking for a job on the public sector these days.
I know there are counter arguments to all these points (many involving The Cloud no doubt) and in making them you will be preaching to the converted. I’m writing this on a PC running Fedora 16. The point is, as much as I hate Windows 8 and it’s bipolar interface, I don’t see it having any affect on the desktop landscape.
The biggest threat to Microsoft in recent years has been iOS and Android on mobile devices. MS has failed in the phone and tablet market. If Windows 8 starts getting a reasonable market share on mobile devices, Microsoft may reign supreme again. If not, they will be consigned to the desktop, which is not a terrible fate. People keep predicting the death of the desktop and laptop, but I don’t know anyone who has completely binned their desktop/laptop in favor of a fondle-slab or phone… Yet…
So we are left in this depressing position where Windows 8 sucks and we are all going to use it (directly or indirectly). My alter-ego, Captain Support, will be called upon to rescue friends and family using Windows 8, so I’m going to have to use it, even though I don’t use Windows myself.
Update: Just read this. Seems I’m just afraid of change. Funny. I didn’t feel afraid of change when I moved from GNOME2 to GNOME3. In fact, I seem to remember writing that I liked the change. I think people are afraid of changing to something crap.