After watching an interview with a Linux cafe owner on TV, I started to think if Linux will ever be accepted in the mainstream. I saw in him the passion he had for Linux. I never really use it myself(many many years ago) and have nothing against it. For now, It's not my cup of tea ;) . Because of this, I can step in the shoes of a potential mainstream user(MU). Behind the scenes, it's a very accepted operating system to control servers to phones. But a MU will ask questions like: can it play games, can I write emails/letters, surf the net... and which one to select. To most of this questions the answer is yes. Let's take them one by one: Games: If MU is a real gamer, then MU will be sad that Y games is only available for Windows. Mac user know it well. Emails: MU can use Thunderbird on many operating system. So, if MU already use it then it's not a learning curve Letters/Documents: MU can use Open Office on many operating system. Again, if MU already use it then it's not a learning curve. Surf the net: MU can use Firefox(see sidebar for a download) on many operating system. If MU already use it then it's not a learning curve. Which one to select: That's the biggest questions. With Windows Vista, MU has already many choices but, at least, they are made from the same company. But with Linux, MU is face with too many Linux distributions. That is the real problem in my opinion. It's too confusing for MU. Don't forget that MU is not technically inclined. I'm talking mainstream here. How Linux could be accepted by the mainstream users My recommendation is so simple but would require a concerting effort from the community and Linus Torvald himself(he invented Linux). The Linux organization should create an official distribution targeted to MU. It could be created under a new non-profit organization. All proceeds(books, pins, stickers...) should go into funding it. It could have, like Vista, a few versions or less yet still keep the other distributions for those that want to keep theirs(servers, electronics...). Mu could go learn a class or 2 that would teach that official version. Also, a computer could come preloaded with that version or MU could simply insert the installation disk and it would work with the new equipment. Drivers may be easier to get because it would had been tested for that version. MU should not be confronted with the distribution of the day. I'm talking about MU here. A small fee of $0.25-$1.00 per preloaded computer could be use to fund it. Conclusion Except for games and some intellectual properties issues (DVD, Blue-Ray, HD-DVD), I can see this has a major step for Linux to break into the mainstream. If they don't rethink their marketing plans, Linux is doom to be in the back room for many years. Too many choices is not always a good thing. I told you it was simple but is the Linux community ready for that? Would you be more willing to use a official Linux version? Should Knoppix(distribution of the day) be it?
Keywords: Business, Linux