[kwlug-disc] interesting piece on the power of open source

Andrew Kohlsmith (Mailing List Account) aklists at mixdown.ca
Wed Dec 2 10:02:20 EST 2009

On December 1, 2009 11:46:04 pm unsolicited wrote:
> The users I'm thinking about are your receptionist when he goes home,
> the waitress, the ditch digger, the labourers, the blue collar
> workers, the majority of the working public.

I would suggest that it is these people who DO NOT call support; it is these 
people who DO NOT care what their computer runs, so long as

a) they can browse the web (with flash/air/whatever)
b) they can play games (this is where your best buy comes in)
d) their printer, camera, mp3 player, ipod etc all just work.

These are the people who generally have their computer so stuffed full of 
malware and viruses that they upgrade to get a faster computer. They have 
their nephew or granddaughter come over to fix up their computers. They call 
support as a very last ditch effort because they already know they won't 
receive decent support.

> And, we're talking Windows users, since we're talking about penetration.

Sure, because they don't know any different, or it's what their 
newphew/granddaughter told them to get.

The shift *is* occurring. My father has been tinkering with Linux, with very 
little input from my brother or I because he's sick of reinstalling and 
dealing with crapware that you buy at Best Buy (antivirus as an example).  My 
mother is playing with it because she wants to learn how to program (in C no 
less) -- Linux was the quickest way in.  People at work are seeing that there 
is something different, and it seems better. They're asking questions, they're 
wondering what it's about.

The games thing is a big one.  Quickbooks/Simply is a big one. No, we don't 
want WINE. No, virtualized Windows isn't a realistic option. Outlook... I 
don't see it as such a big barrier. People either love it or hate it, but we 
really don't have a viable alternative at this point.

Desktop is very important, I absolutely agree with you.  There are some 
barriers, and some of them are signficant. But the web has really helped 
Linux. We need a major player to give us native Linux accounting software and 
that will be a HUGE boost. Games are falling by the wayside from what I see, 
since consoles are becoming cheaper and better.

Change takes time, but it is happening. Three years ago I could not have seen 
my parents trying out Linux. I couldn't have seen small businesses trying it 


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