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Why Linux Doesn't Spread - the Curse of Being Free 1243

Vlad Dolezal tips us to a philosophical take on why Linux hasn't grown to challenge Windows as the most popular operating system. According to the author, the reason is simple; Linux is free, and humans tend not to equate free things with being valuable. "Here's what Compy McNewb sees. He can get both OS's for free. But one of them is worth over three hundred dollars, while the other one is worth nothing. 'That's not true!' I hear you scream. 'Linux is worth a lot! It's just being offered for free!' I know it's not true that Linux is worth less than Windows. It's far more valuable to the end user in terms of getting things done. But that's not what Average Joe Computer Newbie sees. He sees a free product versus a three-hundred-dollar product he can get free. It's all about the perception!"
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Why Linux Doesn't Spread - the Curse of Being Free

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  • Power of FP (Score:0, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 17, 2008 @11:18PM (#22458398)
    Convince him that it'll let him Frist Psot! more often and see what he thinks of the free one :)
  • by smittyoneeach ( 243267 ) * on Sunday February 17, 2008 @11:25PM (#22458462) Homepage Journal
    In this vignette, Luke has been caught running Free Software.
    He's been drug in front of the Judge from Caddyshack by the Captain and the Boss.

    Boss: Bailiff
    Captain, Road Prison 36 (CRP36): Prosecutor
    Judge Smails (JS): Judge
    Luke: Free Software User

    CRP36: What we got here is... failure to communicate. You run one time, you got yourself a set of chains. You run twice you got yourself two sets. You ain't gonna need no third set, 'cause you gonna get your mind right.
    JS: Well, the world needs ditch diggers, too.
    B: Sorry, Luke. I'm just doing my job. You gotta appreciate that.
    L: Nah - calling it your job don't make it right, Boss.
    CRP36: What we've got here is... failure to communicate. Some men you just can't reach. So you get what we had here last week, which is the way he wants it... well, he gets it. I don't like it any more than you men.
    JS: I've sentenced boys younger than you to the gas chamber. Didn't want to do it. I felt I owed it to them.
    CRP36: You gonna get used to wearin' them chains afer a while, Luke. Don't you never stop listenin' to them clinking. 'Cause they gonna remind you of what I been saying. For your own good.
    L: Wish you'd stop bein' so good to me, cap'n.
  • by morgan_greywolf ( 835522 ) on Sunday February 17, 2008 @11:30PM (#22458496) Homepage Journal
    Yeah, I mean, ordering a system from Dell is just so incredibly difficult. You call a 1-800 number and an actual human being will help you order a computer. I mean, almost nobody orders computers from Dell! No siree, Bob.

  • by cjb658 ( 1235986 ) on Sunday February 17, 2008 @11:31PM (#22458500) Journal
    Maybe now that their programs don't work on Vista either, people will give Linux a shot.
  • Re:vignette (Score:5, Funny)

    by Migraineman ( 632203 ) on Sunday February 17, 2008 @11:57PM (#22458720)

    In this vignette, Luke has been caught running Free Software.
    Luke is sitting alone at his computer. He nervously inserts a linux Live CD into the disk drive and reboots. His roommate, Chad, enters from the kitchen.

    Chad: Whatcha doin', Luke?
    Luke: [nervous] Nothing!
    Chad: Looks like you're installing linux.
    Luke: It's just a Live CD.
    Chad: You know, I've been into linux for years now.
    Luke: Really? I'm just ...
    Chad: Yes?
    Luke: God, I can't believe I'm saying this ... I'm ... I'm a little dual-boot curious.
    Chad: Oh. Let me show you how to properly set the boot parameters on that Live CD you've got
    [cue the "bow-chicka" music ...]
  • good (Score:5, Funny)

    by anonypus_user ( 1236548 ) on Monday February 18, 2008 @12:14AM (#22458880)
    If everyone else used it i wouldn't feel cool anymore.
  • Re:vignette (Score:3, Funny)

    by zigziggityzoo ( 915650 ) on Monday February 18, 2008 @12:15AM (#22458892)
    Am I the only one who immediately thought of Chad Vader?
  • by erlehmann ( 1045500 ) on Monday February 18, 2008 @12:24AM (#22458952)
    MORPHEUS: At last. Welcome, Neo. As you no doubt have guessed, I am Morpheus.

    THOMAS: It's an honor.

    MORPHEUS: No, the honor is mine. Please. Come. Sit. [Pause] I imagine, right now, you're feeling a bit like Alice, tumbling down the rabbit hole?

    THOMAS: You could say that.

    MORPHEUS: I can see it in your eyes. You have the look of a man who accepts what he sees because he is expecting to wake up. Ironically, this is not far from the truth. Do you use closed source software, Neo?

    THOMAS: No.

    MORPHEUS: Why not?

    THOMAS: Because I don't like the idea that I'm not in control of my computer.

    MORPHEUS: I know exactly what you mean. [Pause] Let me tell you why you are here. You have come because you know something. What you know you can't explain but you feel it. You've felt it your whole life, felt that something is wrong with the world. You don't know what, but it's there like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad. It is this feeling that brought you to me. Do you know what I'm talking about?

    THOMAS: Windows?

    MORPHEUS: Do you want to know what it is? Don't we all feel that there is more to life...that there is something missing? [Pause] Windows is everywhere, it's all around us, even now in this very room. You can see it when you look out your - ahem - window [short pause] or when you turn on your media center. You can feel it when you login at work, when you surf to slashdot, when you pay your taxes online. It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth.

    THOMAS: What truth?

    MORPHEUS: That you are a slave, Neo. Like everyone else, you were born into bondage, born into a prison that you cannot smell, taste, or touch. A prison for your mind. Unfortunately, no one can be told what Windows is. You have to see it for yourself. This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the recovery disc, the story ends. You wake in your bed and you believe whatever you want to believe. You take the Ubuntu disc, you stay in Wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes. Remember, all I am offering is the truth. Nothing more.

    (Thomas takes the Ubuntu disc and some cookies.)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 18, 2008 @01:10AM (#22459296)
    Apparently your system doesn't have a shift key. Might I suggest upgrading to a better keyboard?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 18, 2008 @04:08AM (#22460382)
    Hey, he's using *nix. He hit the "Submit" button but the server returned an error saying "Command not found. Search repository for Submit-x86-"

    (This is a stab at the case sensitivity of things and why Linux really won't take off with Joe Dumbass)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 18, 2008 @05:38AM (#22460826)
    SCO said so!
  • by eldepeche ( 854916 ) on Monday February 18, 2008 @07:29AM (#22461410)
    It may also shock you that people expect all those funky email forwards to work.

    You mean those great VBA attachments?
  • by diskis ( 221264 ) on Monday February 18, 2008 @07:54AM (#22461562)
    By confessing that you use Dreamweaver, you instantly lost all credibility on this website.
    Plese log out, and sign up to the facebook dreamweaver users- group.
  • by garutnivore ( 970623 ) on Monday February 18, 2008 @08:19AM (#22461696)

    if you use gpl-ed software internally, you do not need to inform people of the fact and offer downloads on your website.
    Aiee! Software is for external use only. Do not ingest!
  • by orasio ( 188021 ) on Monday February 18, 2008 @08:40AM (#22461802) Homepage

    amsn has webcam capabilities.

    research has never caused problems for anyone, maybe you should try it sometimes?
    Well, in Soviet Russia... you get the idea.
  • by cloakable ( 885764 ) on Monday February 18, 2008 @09:33AM (#22462136)
    Wait, this confused somebody who's doing a computing degree? What the fuck is he doing on the course? Did he decide that he 'talks all the time on that AIM thing, and is really good with wordart', so he's capable of doing a technical degree? That was simple to me, and I've seen some of the stuff university lever computing students have to do. It hurts my brain.

Forty two.