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The Best Linux Distribution Will Be 'Invisible Linux'

No, I'm not talking about the fact that Linux is effectively invisible on the desktop right now (with a whopping 1% market share, if even that). Rather, this is about how the best Linux on the desktop won't need to even call itself that.

No, I'm not talking about the fact that Linux is effectively invisible on the desktop right now (with a whopping 1% market share, if even that). Rather, this is about how the best Linux on the desktop won't need to even call itself that.

The best "Linux on the desktop" will be invisible. The word Linux will appear nowhere on the advertising. Because it simply won't matter. The focus will be on what the system can do for you, not the architecture.

Let me point to the most dependably-overused example in this realm: Apple. Think about it. Apple doesn't proudly trumpet how Mac OS X is a derivative of BSD blah blah free software yadda yadda, because the only people who care about such things are the ones who, well, care about such things, and can find out about them for themselves. It's not a selling point for people who are interested in the work they can get done with a PC, and it never will be. It's a distraction from the main issue, which is: Can I do what I've been doing with my PC before?

This is a big part of why I roll my eyes and chuckle with dismay whenever I see a Linux distribution, or Linux itself, pushed on people with the "freedom to do what you want with your PC" canard. Most people are doing what they want with their PC: they're getting work done by running programs, many of them on Windows. To offer them something "better" that doesn't even have a native client for World of Warcraft (random example, but you get the idea) is not an improvement in their eyes. It's not something they were argued into, and likewise, it's not something they can be argued out of.

(Random analogy: I see a parallel between getting people to switch to Linux and getting people to drive something other than a gasoline-burning car. It's probably a good idea to drive something that doesn't use fossil fuels, but it's highly impractical to do so unless you want to make the mere fact of driving your car into a major project. Most people don't. This is changing, but not very fast at all.)

So if there is a successful Linux distribution for the mainstream -- which at this point I feel is optional, not mandatory -- it'll be one where the word "Linux" is not even the operative word.


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