linux n00b

Tux500 vs Microsoft (FUD) patents claim – Which is better publicity?

Posted in General by downforce on May 16, 2007

I’ll admit I’m a GNU/Linux FOSS news whore and as such I frequent both (my preferred) and probably 2-3 times a day.

There are two story threads which are hitting the headlines at the moment which I’m following quite closely, that’s the effort and the Microsoft/Linux 235 Patent FUD claim, hereby referred to as the MSPFUDC – cos we all love acronyms.

It got me thinking … the aim of is to raise awareness of [GNU/]Linux and so far, to me at least, it’s gain a lot of awareness in the Linux news circles, a couple of Indy 500 news articles and well, that’s pretty much it. It’s failed to peak the big distro’s interest or mainstream media. OK there was one article (at least that I’ve seen) but that’s it.

On the flip side, MSPFUDC has already had articles published in some 3 or 4 major news sites including Washington Post and plus various announcements by Microsoft. These are sites visited by probably millions of people each day.

From this I’m hypothesising that the MSPFUDC will expose Linux to a greater user base, who WILL actually use Linux then the effort. Why you ask?

I still don’t think Linux is an operating system for the masses, not at least yet. A few distros are making huge in-roads but until manufacturers start releasing open-source Linux drivers at product launch and multimedia codecs/apps become GPL to be included on installation CD, I don’t think it ever will. There are a few other factors but these can be discussed another time. But the point being, the people who are going to get an interest in will probably check out Linux and go “Oh, OK it’s an operating system. I have enough trouble with Windows, why try this?” or “Oh, OK it’s an operating system. Windows works well enough, why learn something new?”. They have a new awareness but wont necessarily do anything about it.

Now the people reading the MSPFUDC will already have some sort of active interest in computer applications/operating systems in first place to even bother clicking on the link. They’ll read the articles and if they believe what Microsoft is saying it might be a thought along the lines of “Hrm, maybe Linux isn’t different from Windows if they are using MS technology” or read the rest of the articles and say “Hrm, if Microsoft is so worried, maybe Linux isn’t as hard/bad/evil as I’ve been led to believe.” From here, continue on and download some LiveCD or whatever else.

On to watch I guess.

A side issues where I feel the project could ultimately work against Linux is those without the knowledge of forums or user-groups or think of Googling to solve Linux installation/usage problems. They’ll go and install Linux, it ‘breaks’ their system completely, get completely lost and confused, wipe the photo’s of their grandchildren as they now have some “Linux partitioned” hard-drive and haven’t taken backups beforehand. This permanently tainted the Linux reputation for these people, potentially forever.

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