Windows’ only advantage over Linux? December 11, 2006Posted by NAyK in Article Watch, Discussions-Conclusions-Hopes, Linux.
(update: after a comment by the author of this post, I have made a few changes)
I was reading this article and it suggests that any Linux distribution available is ready for the common user (who wants to just check her/his mail and browse the net). I agree.
And just when I was going to differ the author added… The author went on to say, “Linux will always be behind on hardware device compatibility due to the closed nature of commercial hardware and software makers. This is the only advantage XP and OSX have over Linux.” This is a powerful assertion. And again I’m inclined to disagree (a little). But it does make you think: make a interesting fantasy thought… What if all the hardware available on the market was equally supported on Windows and Linux, would we still use a Windows-based machine?
Well, immediately I could think of no good reason until I remembered another article on why/how “Apple Bounced Back” which stated that the Mac’s only hope to survive was to enter into the exclusive-for-Mac software market. Thus, by offering exclusive iLife solutions, and especially its video editor FinalCut Pro, it has been drawing people to its machines because of its unique (excellent) software. The Mac articles says, “Suddenly users had compelling new reason to buy a Mac over a PC: Macs came bundled with a lot of unique software that just worked. It would cost a couple hundred bucks to assemble a similar suite from third party Windows developers. That effectively erased the price advantage held by cheaper, low-end PC makers.”
With respect to the author of the earlier article (Scott), I guess I would add that Windows has two advantages over Linux; hardware support and exclusive (not really but effectively b/c when do you think Adobe will release Photoshop for Linux?) software. What I’m saying is that while I agree with the author that Microsoft is a recipient of hardware support (that is not a testimony of it’s excellence), Microsoft is also the recipient of many excellent software that draw users to the MS Windows platform.
With that said, I guess virtual environments (and all that WINE/Crossover offers) can help solve the second software hurdle (eventually). Meaning, one day, the hope is, the operating system won’t matter if you want to run Adobe’s Photoshop/Dreamweaver/InDesign packages. (Wow!).
But then more importantly (and perhaps more distant) is the hardware question. In my experience, while I have a HP driver in my Ubuntu, I still can’t get it to print in non-economy mode. Hardware support is thus the clincher. (Yes, we need to support Linux only hardware. But this is not always possible. The only internet service provider in my region uses an IE only website to view important bandwidth usage. I have to use IE. Similarly, many other services, force us into the MS/Windows world).
But if… and here’s back to fantasy… if I had no hardware support problems in Linux… and if 3rd party Windows-based software could be used on Linux… then there is surely nothing, absolutely nothing, holding me back to Windows.
That must be quite an exciting thought for Linux-developers… and a scary thought for Windows, don’t you think?