What could help make Linux mainstream?

Linux in the identity crisis

"The Linux community is an interesting group. Similar to Republicans and Democrats, Linux is dominated by two factions with completely different ideologies," says Don Reisinger, author for the industry website Cnet, on the current state of the free operating system in his blog.

Accordingly, the conservatives would insist on keeping the original Linux idea, while the liberals want to make money from the project in the first place.

Pointing the way

Reisinger is talking about the development of Linux as a mainstream operating system. Above all, the Ubuntu developers want to approach the mass market and offer an alternative to Microsoft's Windows and Apple's Mac OS. But the opening of the system and the adaptation to the average user basically only pursues commercialization and contradicts the ideology that made the open source project popular in recent years.

The faction around the founding father Linus Torvalds has always been concerned with the generous functionality and adaptability and has always preferred technological development to design and usability.


The author, who counts himself among the conservatives in this regard, emphasizes that Linux should maintain its original position and remain the progressive operating system which, thanks to its rapid development, is permanently redefining the standard. If you want a simple system, you should take advantage of the competition, which "just works", but does not open up the possibilities for the user like Linux for a long time.

Not ripe for the desktop?

And while Reisinger admits that some Linux distributions are ripe for the "upheaval", they are not always the best solutions because they have to make compromises in order to establish them and thus do not offer the optimal Linux experience. The open source system shouldn't go mainstream and go back to its roots.

The influential columnist Walt Mossberg of the Wall Street Journal also advises his readers against using Linux as a mainstream desktop system in his Ubuntu Dell laptop test. The average user would simply get frustrated with the software too often.

However, Cole Crawford, Dell IT strategist, sees hope in the Linux desktop. For example, the ailing Vista would contribute to the popularity of the free system. For its success, however, the community must unite and set the course (drivers, etc.) for the mass market with the hardware industry.


What do you mean? Should the Linux community refer "to the roots of the project" and ignore the masses or is the orientation towards the mass market more important for you in order to have a "mass market" alternative to Microsoft and Apple? (red)