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
- You would probably buy pre-installed Linux, in future.
- Without Linux, there is no choice.
- Windows has many disadvantages.
- 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?