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Re: Linux Adoption Barriers

  • Subject: Re: Linux Adoption Barriers
  • From: "Larry Qualig" <lqualig@xxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: 27 Feb 2006 09:58:22 -0800
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Roy Schestowitz wrote:
> http://searchopensource.techtarget.com/originalContent/0,289142,sid39_gci1169030,00.html
> Breaking down barriers to Linux desktop adoption
> "People reject Linux desktops for illogical reasons, says IT consultant and
> developer Jono Bacon. For example, they fault Linux OpenOffice desktops for
> not having all the features in Microsoft Windows Office, even though few
> actually use all of the Microsoft stuff. So, in essence, they're saying they
> want desktops cluttered with unnecessary features."

I just finished reading the article. The most interesting part to me
was this:


--" What do you think prevents people from switching?

Bacon: One of the biggest things is lethargy. I consider myself a
semi-technical person. So moving between software platforms doesn't
mean anything to me.

But if, for example, I have to switch between insurance or phone plans,
I just don't want to do it because I don't want to learn about it. I
don't want to learn about what's different. Therefore, I'm resistant to
change even if it might save me some money each month. Unless I can see
a big, perceived win that attracts me, I'm not going to change my
current system for something else that doesn't really give me a
straight-up benefit.

The toughest thing is change. Microsoft carved out a culture. To its
credit, the company commoditized computers. There's no easy way around
that without education and giving someone that significant win."


I have to agree with him 100% on this. Take your average someone who
already has a computer and has Windows on that machine. What exactly is
the reason to switch? Unless it is *significantly* better most people
won't switch to something that is essentially the same to them. What
are the factors:

Cost - Most users already own and have Windows on their machine. One
could make the case that switching involves extra 'cost' in both the
time to make the switch, learn new apps and the possibility that data
will get lost during the change. (Scenario is a home user with one
computer and a single NTFS partition. Repartitioning a hard-drive or
shrinking an existing NTFS partition isn't obvious to most.)

Free software - There's a ton of it for Linux but Windows also has more
free software (OpenOffice, Gimp, gcc, emacs, Audacity, etc.) than most
people will need.

Freedom - Sorry but "software freedom" and escaping from an evil
monopolistic tyrant corporation means zilch to 99.44% of home computer

Access to source code - This is definitely a big plus for those who
care about this. But most home users would have no idea what to do with
source code.

Stability - Not enough to make a difference. If we were talking about
Win3.1 or Win95 it would matter but not anymore.

Security/Viruses - This is a big win for Linux but is it enough?

There are other intangibles: Curiousity in trying something new and
different.... experimentation.... heard about it and want to see what
the fuss is about.... have old hardware that won't run Windows well.

But most people won't switch unless there's a compelling reason/benefit
to switching. In late 1995/early-96 when I learned I was moving to
Redmond for a while I was talking to one of my neighbors about
Microsoft, Windows, etc. Turns out the guy was still running DOS. I was
surprised but he told me that DOS runs all of his apps and does
everything he needs his computer to do. This probably is a bit extreme
but it shows that people do resist change.

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