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The future of Linux for the mass market?

Written by JamieBennett on October 26th, 2009 at 10:29 pm in Linux,Maemo

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There was a little uproar in the open source community here in the UK when the BBC covered the Windows 7 launch. It was rightly pointed out that Apple didn’t get any coverage for Snow Leopard and Linux in general never really gets a shout at all so what’s going on?

Well in the interests of fairness one Canonical employee decided to send the reporter a netbook with a copy of Karmic (the next Ubuntu release) on it.

Here is the reporters response.

I think its pretty far off the mark. Comments such as

“But, even after some help from a Canonical advisor who came and installed a few add-ons such as Flash, I struggled to work out how I would organise photos, music and video with this system.”

are a little off the mark. Linux (not just Ubuntu) has a plethora of applications that can manage photos (oh how I love f-spot), music and videos so I’m not sure where the confusion comes from. I attach my USB camera or phone and I get offered the chance to import to f-spot, I open a video file and equally its easy to play it. As for flash, go to a flash based site and you get presented with an option to install not just flash from Adobe but other free alternatives.

Not wanting to get personal, as the reporter Rory Cellan-Jones may not be up-to-date with his market analysis but comments like:

“Risking another pasting from its supporters, I’ll predict that Ubuntu will remain a very niche product – but it’s Google’s Android which could bring open-source to the mass consumer market.”

show a little ignorance. Open source on the cell phone is a little different from the desktop. Android on anything but a cell phone platform is like trying to make a nun get drunk with beer whilst smoking crack (recent small bit of ammo).

The phone war will be fought with Nokia’s Maemo (but not the current generation) and Google, the desktop (which he was testing) will be fought with Google (Chrome OS), Windows 7 and some Linux flavour.

I look forward to an unbiased, educated analysis of the technical market by the main-stream media but I don’t hold my breath.

3 Responses to 'The future of Linux for the mass market?'

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  1. Still waiting for your analysis of why the N900 and Maemo 5 “isn’t for you,” and your teases like, “The phone war will be fought with Nokia’s Maemo (but not the current generation),” aren’t helping….


    26 Oct 09 at 11:19 pm

  2. I have a problem with the application naming. “F-spot” tells me absolutely nothing about what it does. “GIMP” I really don’t think I want to install something called that. “Empathy” – what does that do? Tell me I don’t look fat in these pants?

    And don’t get me started on Koffice, Konversation and Kwhatever Kelse Kthere Kis…


    27 Oct 09 at 12:11 am

  3. Qole.

    Its clear that the current generation of Maemo devices aren’t acceptable for the mass market. Without looking at software problems (I’m having one right now as I type this – ghost characters when using the directional keys), the hardware itself isn’t something that most consumers would want. Its heavy, bulky and hard to use in portrait mode (but of course there is little support for portrait at the moment). It may be acceptable for the tech-savvy user but that is a small market.

    Software-wise I have many probles but I’m sure the great team at Nokia will sort them out in time.

    I look forward to what Nokia will deliver for their next Maemo devixe.


    27 Oct 09 at 8:16 am

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