In light of ESR's recent pleas with the Linux community to compromise their quest to free all of technology, I began to poke around. Is the story so dark for Linux that it's really time to give in? Even some of those who adore Linux, I hear them saying that Linux may never make it all the way. But in my digging I've found some more optimistic news than one might expect. For instance, what's the global picture of Linux? The merest Google turns up:
A Netcraft interview with Brian Behlendorf:
Q. Open source software is widely used on the web, but is slower making its way to the desktop. Is that likely to change soon?
A. I think it's happening much more than "slowly," particularly if one looks outside the U.S. and Europe, and in particular looks at the government and educational markets.
This Newswire article:
Support of Linux outside the US is growing even faster than Stateside. Germany has mandated that its government applications be written to Linux, according to Thompson, and South American markets have embraced Linux as well.
This "yet another what-Linux-needs-to-succeed article" on NewsForge from 2003 has attracted a comment:
10-20%, worldwide, will be hit by 4Q04, probably sooner. Time for you, Robin, to do some serious evaluations of the momentum of gnu/linux outside the US. A suggested starting point is the desktop users in other countries still using 9600 baud and slower dial up modems and old hardware to access the internet and keep their homes and businesses running.
Then there's India:
The market for notebooks at the entry-level is increasing at a rapid pace. International Data Corp., an independent market research firm in the U.S., continues to be bullish on its figures for Linux and computers working on Linux. As to Linux, "between 20 and 22 per cent of our laptop business came from notebooks loaded with Linux,'' he said. So, even in absolute numbers, companies expect twice as many laptops loaded with Linux to be sold this year than last year.
What, what, what? 20% to 22% ??? On the laptop desktop for regular users?
And this, not a fact citation, but a comment in talkback on ZDNet. Still, some good points.
This is one point that really needles me. In the USA, overwhealming Microsoft dominance. Outside the USA, Linux is at least not scoffed and ridiculed, and in many cases seems to be taken as seriously as MacIntosh or Solaris. Here's a trivia question: According to Google trends, what top 10 countries search for the keyword "Linux"? Answer: India, Russia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania, Italy, Germany, Finland, Poland and Taiwan.
Perhaps the adoption rate of Linux in the USA is not a good representative sampling of world-wide adoption? And these mysterious problems we have with US computer hardware and FOSS compatibility - funny, the same laws of computer science would have to work in India, and yet it doesn't seem to be slowing Linux down there...