What is Holding Linux Back?

Ever since I have made the switch to Linux I keep wondering why it is not used more and more.  I will try to make sense of this topic, but it is just my speculation.

In the professional world Linux is very widely use especially web servers and secure areas.  Apache is the web server software of choice as approximately 2/3 of the websites you visit use Apache on a Linux server.  Where Linux is almost non-existent is in the home computer market.  Less than 1/2% of the homes have a PC running Linux.  Years ago the reason I thought was that Linux was just for geeks.

One of the reasons I believe is that Windows is so widespread in the corporate desktop environment.  People when they buy a computer from the store see a familiar graphical environment.  Also the fact that Microsoft charges the large PC manufacturers around $30 for a copy of XP or Vista instead of the normal $200 they charge the average person.

There are some good Microsoft applications like Microsoft Office that every PC user has used.  This familiarity is the reason that some people will only use Windows.  Here is a list of programs that have a Windows version but no Linux version:

1.  Microsoft Office
2.  Adobe Photoshop
3.  AOL (a huge percentage of people online use AOL)
4.  Microsoft Visual Studio
5.  Intenet Explorer
6.  Microsoft Outlook

I can now rule out software installation as the apt-get repositories are very well populated with all kinds of excellent applications so the user won't have to hunt too hard to find them.

Hardware drivers are another sore spot for Linux.  There are many hardware vendors that make hardware for PCs.  These manufacturers will not author drivers for Linux however.  The outlook is better though.  The major hardware makers like Nvidia, ATI, Intel, AMD, Creative, VIA, Atheros, etc. support Linux with drivers.  Problem is that a lot of manufacturers that don't support Linux also are pretty big hardware vendors like Broadcom and winmodem chipsets.

Gaming is another issue that needs to be investigated.  With the advent of DirecX for 3D acceleration and the apparent demise of openGL Windows now rules the gaming roost.  If a game is written in openGL then the game should work with Linux assuming that it has a proper openGL driver.  Until game manufacturers start making high profile games for Linux then Linux will still be well down the chain in the gaming realm.  I personally don't see Microsoft open sourcing DirecX anytime soon.

Schools are another place where Linux needs to gain a larger presence.  Apple and Microsoft each have a huge presence in the schools so young people will be familiar with either Apple or Microsoft.

If you have ever looked at Linux then you will see that there appear to be countless flavors of Linux.  There is only one Windows XP and only one Mac OS X.  Not only are there different Linux distributions, but they all do things a little differently.  Linux also has different package manager from distribution to distribution.  A package for Red Hat will not work with a package for Debian and some Debian packages will not work with distributions based on Debian.  It is a mess I agree.  Ubuntu has improved this with their own repositories with thousands of applications.  Linux does need standardization and soon.

Too many of Linux's tasks involve using what is called Command Line.  While there is some use for the command line it is regarded as archaic and the more tech people will make light  of it.  Linux needs to have a graphical solutions for all of the mundane tasks that need to be done.  This is the trend and it is improving.

Where Linux is gaining popularity is in Asia and Africa.  Since Linux is free and the applications are numerous it is making more sense in countries where financial means are more scarce.

The way Linux is going to gain more acceptance it through people letting big corporations know that we want Linux.