Advocacy to OEMs: very important to Linux's future

NOTICE: This is an argument of mine, and it is not specific to the marketing of openSUSE. Therefore, I’m posting it in soapbox for debate.

Linux has a poor presence in the desktop market. Over the last 4 years I’ve only met 3 Linux users in the real world (excluding local user groups), and I’m never in contact with those 3 people whom I met by chance. There may be millions of Linux users worldwide, but they’re scattered among billions of non-linux users.

At the current rate of adoption, I predict that for many years into the future, Linux will be irrelevant to 99% of computer users. Windows comes pre-installed on almost 100% of new computers, and it works fine for everyone. Yes, the software license is extreme, yes OEMs charge $85 for a reinstall CD if your harddrive breaks, yes internet security suites are expensive; but ultimately, people put up with these things, because it’s easier than installing Linux.

In my opinion, only one thing will make a significant number of people move to Linux: a pre-installed distro with guaranteed hardware compatibility. Broken wireless cards on laptops are unacceptable. I’ve used Linux for years, and even I can’t get my wireless card to work. Maybe I could, but I’ll need to book a time to cover the kitchen bench in cables, before I can start. Instead of using the command line to install drivers, it would’ve been better to have had guaranteed hardware compatibility. The fear of having broken features is driving people away.

One thing all Linux users should do, is write to their OEM or local computer store (or where ever you bought your computer from) and demand that they offer pre-installed Linux. Because

  1. You would probably buy pre-installed Linux, in future.
  2. Without Linux, there is no choice.
  3. Windows has many disadvantages.
  4. The company in question would be promoted numerous times on different Linux forums, meaning more money and interest for the company in question.

If this action was taken by every forum member here and on Ubuntu Forums, it would no doubt get the message across - that people want pre-installed Linux. The campaign could then be sustained with follow-up letters.

I’m going to start today, by finding out which department to write to. Who else is in?

I wish you success with your campaign and would love to see a world where Linux takes over the desktop. However, even as ever more desktops are sold and Intel and AMD sell CPU’s with computers that multiply like people, phones look like to be the real next frontier where phones are multiplying like insects, all over the world and where Android is likely to be our next champion, taking on that world. As a Linux user, I can’t say that taking out Microsoft and taking over the desktop is my priority, even though one might argue that Microsoft is already on the downward slope. Rather, I wish to learn more about Linux, help others as much as I can and install Linux for as many of my friends as I can. I have actually done so on two friends computers this very month, but I doubt I am raising that desktop index towards Linux in any measurable way. So good luck and let us know if you have any success in your endeavor.

Thank You,

HP, Dell and MSI are active in releasing systems pre-installed with linux (SLED/SLES), there are quite a range of laptops now from HP including customizations for their hardware, Dell use the OBS and their own OBS to build linux rpms etc, so some things are happening…it’s not all doom and gloom :wink:

I am not sure how to react to it.
Well, i think that Linux does play a role, but it is not the desktop really. Most software is either written specifically for Windows (and its Co-Operate world) or Mac. You can see it on a simple example.
Games drive the market for software and hardware. And there, there is darkness in Linuxland. Thats just a fact.
If, say, Valve would release its steam platform for Linux, this would certainly boost Linux.
Most people are into using whatever comes with the Pc. I even think that people mostly think of a PC as a tool like a vcr. Turned on, go on the web, switch off.
But very seldom people asking, ‘mm… i wonder if there is another OS’ or ‘mmm… why is there only Windows’.
In fact, if people talk about OS in general they reflect onto different versions of Windows. A real different system is not in the question.
Yes, i agree that the mobilemarket is the one that will be the future one or for that matter tablets. Since Windows was never envisioned as a touchscreen system, it lags somewhat of pleasant experience. So there are two OS left which i divided between Android and Mac.
This is very Android can win, altough i do hesitate to call Android Linux. Well, lets count it in for now.
Windows on the other hand is right now in the last place. Windows strength is the desktop/laptop market and cooperations will keep em afloat, i am sure of.
There are certain companies that do write drivers for Linux. Only for hardware that doesn’t really go to cooperations drivers are scars.

My point is, that i don’t think it matters if there is a petition. What matters is a hefty userbase that uses Linux and that can only be achieved by having some broader software (example games).
Because these companies will maybe read the paper and laugh for a while before it gets in folder t.

Linux may work out better in the mobile market, but that isn’t a reason to abandon its role as a desktop OS. How the heck do you do word processing and software development on a smart phone? I personally will be using desktop computers for a long time into the future.

Even if Linux works out great for you guys, there is still strength in numbers. I just contacted my bank re liability issues, just in case Linux users are left out:

Regarding [internet banking] terms and conditions:

In section 7 (negligence), it states that the customer is liable for any loss, if he or she did not have the recommended operating system or recommended “protection software”. I demand to know exactly what [the bank] means, by the phrase “recommended operating system”. Does it only mean Windows XP, Vista and 7, or does it include others? Thank you in advance.

If there are few of us, companies can just screw us around, which will drive away potential users. If a Linux user fell victim to fraud, some banks may refuse to refund them (imagine the subsequent news stories… ouch, poor tux). This is a serious issue. I’ve seen stories before, about people voiding their computer warranty, for the evil crime of installing Linux.

On 04/29/2011 12:06 AM, j mitchell wrote:

[note to j mitchell, this is not a put-down–i admire your enthusiasm
for my favorite operating system…nope, it is just another way to look
at the world]

> Linux has a poor presence in the desktop market.

i don’t think i care…and, don’t know why i should…

how about the game machine market, should i care about that also?

see, both the desktop and the plugged in (to electricity/wired internet,
etc) game machine are soon to be thrown into the trash heap of the
Digital Age…

(unfortunately i’m old enough to) remember that quaint old pre-personal
computer thing called a typewriter? i heard folks ‘demanding’ Royal to
meet the new technology introduced by IBM who had replaced finger muscle
power with a NEW electro-mechanical gizmo…

so, you know where all the typewriters are today? (same place as the
telegraph keys, cave wall scratchings and jungle drums–all used by
previous ‘Ages’ to communicate–either in the trash or a museum)

“RIP Typewriters: Last Manufacturer Closes Its Doors”

and, before too long someone will write “RIP Desktop PCs & Wired Game
Machines: Last Manufacturer Closes Its Doors”

> At the current rate of adoption, I predict that for many years into the
> future, Linux will be irrelevant to 99% of computer users.

hmmmmm, look around you and notice that (for example) 300,000 new
Android phones are being initalized daily (cite:…and, as a predominate imbedded operating
systems (cite: is the Linux kernel–its
everywhere, inside of TVs, radios, MPE3 players, refrigerators,
automobiles, etc etc etc; and about 99% of the supercomputer market is
linux…and just a huge bunch of the scientific, aviation, space and
internet backbone community is absolutely NOT interested in anything
from Redmond…and Linux has held the top 500 supercomputers in its
hands for a long time (cite:

so i just do not care if 99% of the desktops and game machines in the
trash heap of time used to run too expensive, too fragile and too much a
virus-magnet system…

> ultimately, people put up with these things, because
> it’s easier than installing Linux.

yes, and buying a system with Linux is also easier than installing
Linux, and VERY few people actually install Windows–but, when they do
they REALLY find big problems…compared to installing Linux, installing
Windows is a huge pain of going all over the net searching for and
installing drivers, and rebooting rebooting rebooting rebooting

so your point is lost…

anyway, there are plenty of machines sold with Linux installed…

> In my opinion, only one thing will make a significant number of people
> move to Linux: a pre-installed distro with guaranteed hardware
> compatibility.

they are out there, all you have to do is look…

> One thing all Linux users should do, is write to their OEM or local
> computer store (or where ever you bought your computer from) and demand
> that they offer pre-installed Linux.


but, are you willing to pay more for a box with Linux pre-installed than
one with old Virus-Magnet installed?

it will cost more, you do know that, don’t you?

> Who else is in?

not me…and, i ask who decide they will join to PLEASE do not be
“demanding”…because you have no reason to be…there ARE systems
available on the market today which meet your needs…seek them, buy them…

if enough of those willing to write a demanding email would just put
their money to work buying pre-loaded linux systems, or systems
certified to be linux compatible, or components which ship with linux
drivers, then the same goal would be reached (maybe even before the
‘desktop’ becomes the thing-they-used-before-NetInYourPocketWatch)

well, do that instead of ‘demanding’ that some already struggling
desktop manufacturer start pre-loading linux…

[openSUSE 11.3 + KDE4.5.5 + Thunderbird3.1.8 via NNTP]
HACK Everything →

JoergJaeger wrote:

> Well, i think that Linux does play a role, but it is not the desktop
I think I know what you mean, but forgive me that I abuse now this single
statement to state what I think.
Linux on the desktop matters - this is not a question of how many systems
worldwide use it.
It matters on the desktop for every individual person who chose to use it as
desktop system. It matters for many people in this forum, for the many
people who prefer other distros and use them.
It makes no difference if we are 1% or 0.1% of all desktop users worldwide.
This number is important maybe for the hardware vendors but not for me the
consumer of the hardware - it just ends up in a different behaviour how I
buy the hardware (checking if it works with linux) and which hardware I buy
(exactly: he hardware which is known to work with linux).
The other side of the medal is software and sometimes it is sad that certain
things can simply not be used.
That will only be overcome if more people who can program applications and
are using linux start to make the applications for linux they miss or if
people who really miss certain applications and can not program them start
funding the development of what they miss.
We should not think of ourselves in terms of market share, we are not a
traditional market and a community (I mean in general the whole bunch of
users and developers of linux outside the enterprise linux world) is not a
corporation which has a need to increase the “number of sold systems” to
satisfy the sharholders.

PC: oS 11.3 64 bit | Intel Core2 Quad Q8300@2.50GHz | KDE 4.6.2 | GeForce
9600 GT | 4GB Ram
Eee PC 1201n: oS 11.4 64 bit | Intel Atom 330@1.60GHz | KDE 4.6.0 | nVidia
ION | 3GB Ram

Well stated.

In the end, i think it is the sheer number crunching thing again.

I would argue that it doesn’t matter what one thinks of it, but it may matter if certain software would be available.
Let it be games or applications.
To me it doesn’t matter at all, since i don’t use any fancy hardware or applications and do really just basic stuff. Hell, i don’t even have iPod.
But some people have and therefore do may have some more trouble using Linux. That is not said, that these problems can not be overcome, but it takes effort.
Most people would not put effort into it the same people don’t put much effort in operating a fridge.
And thats the key, so i believe.
I do think that Linux will do just fine like it is. Whoever wants to use it, can do so.
One point i was making is the software. But to be honest, i do not think that it will ever happen (well never say never).
True is, that there is no number crunching in general but i am not an insider so this is totally an assumption.