Regular readers here know I'm a big Mac fan, and I often wax so enthusiastically on that subject that you could easily miss that I'm also a big Linux fan. On alternate Tuesdays, I expect that someday Linux will dominate computing.. but then again I think maybe not..
On the plus side, Linux keeps getting better and sooner or later it should be as slick as slick can be. I mean that literally: at some point we will reach the zenith of OS design and then why would you choose anything other than the free one? Linux ascendance and dominance seems inevitable from that point of view.
On the other hand, Linux could have succession problems.. it could all fall apart when Linus steps aside or dies. Of course that's equally true for Mac OS X: Steve Jobs is the major force that drives Apple to excellence, and he may be very hard to replace.
Notice I'm not mentioning Microsoft. I think Microsoft is done with or without Ballmer or Gates.
Now I know somebody is going to argue that Linux already deserves the laurel crown. For some users, that may be true. If my life today was mostly doing C or C++ coding and not much else, yeah, I might find Linux more than suitable. But Linux still lags (not by much, but still lags) in desktop friendliness and general smoothness. Yes, yes, yes: it's getting damn good. Yes, I have used Ubuntu recently. Still.. it's just not quite as slick as my Mac..
But it's free - doesn't that more than make up for any minor clumsiness? Well.. sure, if you think so, then it does. For you, the cost offset outweighs the little stuff. For me, it doesn't. Not yet, anyway. As my economic situation changes and as Linux continues to improve, I could change my mind.. and probably will, but that's at least a few years away.
Now on the server side, it's a different picture. There I'm going to automatically choose Linux without hesitation. That's because in that market, everything else basically does the same thing: file and print is file and print whether it's Microsoft, Mac or Linux, but only Linux file and print is free - nothing more to be said, unless there are unusual needs afoot.
So that's where I sit with regard to Linux. Great respect, hopeful anticipation, constant interest. It won't surprise me a bit if someday Linux is my desktop OS.
Just not yet, sorry.
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