I have written many times about using Linux on a desktop computer. (You can see my past articles if you start at http://goo.gl/6ZI2V.) In fact, I prefer Linux. I like it better than Windows or Macintosh. Not only is Linux available free of charge, but it also has better security than either Windows or Macintosh.
Using virtual machine software, I can run Linux simultaneously with both Windows and Macintosh operating systems on the computer I am using at this moment. However, I rarely do so as Linux doesn't have as many applications as does Windows or Macintosh. As much as I like Linux, I end up using the Macintosh operating system much more.
Writing in PCWorld, Robert Strohmeyer agrees. He writes:
It kills me to say this: The dream of Linux as a major desktop [operating system] is now pretty much dead.
Despite phenomenal security and stability--and amazing strides in usability, performance, and compatibility--Linux simply isn’t catching on with desktop users. And if there ever was a chance for desktop Linux to succeed, that ship has long since sunk.
Over the past few years, modern Linux distributions such as Ubuntu have utterly transformed the open-source desktop user experience into something sleek and simple, while arguably surpassing Windows and Mac OS in both security and stability. Meanwhile, the public failure of Windows Vista and the rise of the netbook gave Linux some openings to capture a meaningful slice of the market. But those opportunities have been squandered and lost, and Linux desktop market share remains stagnant at around 1 percent.
You can read Robert Strohmeyer's full article at http://goo.gl/moQHw.
To be sure, Linux still dominates the server marketplace. More servers run Linux than any other operating system. Linux is also used in quite a few handheld computer devices and embedded systems, including Web-enabled HDTV devices, such as the Roku and Google TV and Boxee video streaming devices. Linux has only failed to dominate desktop computers and laptops.
The one good, user-friendly Linux genealogy program, called GRAMPS, has never become a significant player in the genealogy marketplace. In fact, GRAMPS remained rather obscure until it was ported to both Windows and Macintosh, where it now enjoys some popularity as one of the better-known free genealogy programs.
In the "good old days" of five or ten years ago, Linux had a well-deserved reputation of being difficult to install and use. However, that changed radically in the past few years as several versions of Linux are now actually easier to install and use than Windows. Ubuntu created a virtually idiot-proof Linux distribution that is as easy to install and use as Windows or Macintosh OS X. User-friendliness wasn't enough, however. Without a good marketing department and a multi-million dollar advertising budget, Linux never stood a chance.
The real problem, however, is the issue that still troubles me: not enough applications. To be sure, the general-purpose programs that everyone uses were always available on Linux at no charge: word processors, spreadsheet programs, email programs, web browsers, and such things. However, specialty programs were always in short supply. For instance, Linux has one good, user-friendly genealogy application while Macintosh has five or six and Windows has dozens. The same is true with hundreds of other specialty computer applications: Linux typically had zero or perhaps one such application. If you didn't like that one, too bad (assuming you are not a talented programmer). In contrast, Windows and Macintosh typically have a plethora of available programs for almost any imaginable use, even if you do have to pay for many of them.
Good-bye Linux. I will miss you.
To be sure, the www.eogn.com web site will continue to run on a Linux server as it always has. I need the reliability and security of Linux on a web server that has to run 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. But I won't be using Linux on my desktop or laptop computers.
The world isn't ready for a free, reliable, high-security operating system.
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