Hmmm, Something to Think About

It’s articles like
that make me think. You know, I love Linux. I also love OS X and have no
real hatred for Windows (I do have real hatred for Microsoft). The point
of the editorial is basically to watch out for Linux on the desktop.
Ummm, duh. Just the other day at Lowe’s buying paint, I caught a glimpse
of the terminal in the wallpaper department… Linux on a small IBM
machine running XWindows. That is how Linux will grow on the desktop. I
think Linux is perfect for single application terminals / limited use in
stores, or other places where those using the computer should have 1) no
ability to change the functions of the machine or 2) limited access to
functionality outside of the intended use. So, for a call center, you
could give each rep access to a web browser, like Mozilla, with e-mail
and web browsing, their own home directory with a disk quota for
bookmarks and documents, and put your customer tracking database online
behind a firewall. Voila, no site-wide Windows License and almost
perfect security.

When I was in tech support, we made a hobby of breaking the Windows
Policy Editor settings that were supposed to keep us from running our
own applications. We ALWAYS found a way around them. In Linux, those
functions can be removed from the terminal completely, and each user
will only be able to run applications in the directory they’re assigned.

The problem with adopting Linux across an enterprise is converting the
business folks who 1) aren’t geeky, and 2) set in their ways when it
comes to Microsoft Office. I fear the conversion for them will never
happen, unless Microsoft’s licensing scheme becomes completely
overbearing and financially unbearable. Even then, I think that business
folks might start looking at OS X as an option (ok that’s COMPLETELY
wishful thinking).

As enterprises become more creative, and Microsoft charges more and more
for licenses, Linux will make gains. First at the bottom levels of
organizations where it’s easy to dictate to the user base what they will
use to perform their job functions.

Personally, I don’t use Linux day-to-day as my desktop. I like Gnome,
and it’s perfectly servicable for navigating through installed programs.
I’m still a slave to Windows, although I find myself using my Powerbook
and Quiksilver G4 with OS X more and more. I may make the switch
eventually. It’s about inertia and having benefits of switching that
outweight the time involved in learning new behavior. That’s the key. If
I haven’t switched, and I’m a geek, I can’t expect the non-geeks out
there to switch.

Unfortunately, it’s up to the Linux community and associated companies
to provide that incentive, or Microsoft’s to keep providing cons for
using their’s. The linux community has proven it can innovate, drive new
technologies and make a difference. The linux desktop still has a ways
to go, and a few more apps to provide. I honestly believe it will get
there and Linux will start challenging Windows outside of the data
center where Linux is already making huge inroads.

The problem with writing about this is that there are so many things to
say on the topic. I think this is a topic for the
Geekery. I think I’ll start a decision guide, and a
“Here’s What I Would Use For X” doc. Not sure where it will go, but I
guess we’ll find out.

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