Well, not really. I like it and blog from it and use it every day by choice. Anyways, what follows is a post of mine from a discussion over at ubuntuforums.org about Ubuntu’s difficulties in entering the mainstream.
Someone else said this:
The main problem with the competition for Ubuntu is not Mac or Windows. it is the other operating systems you can download for free, the hacked versions of Windows.
I think he is onto something, here.
It isn’t significant that one 20 year old nerd thinks he has it made with cracked windows–
–it is significant, however, that he has the 4 or 6 people in his life that he sets up with that cracked version and that he provides the tech support for. The best operating system for any non-nerd is whatever OS their local nerd is willing and able to support, period.
I spent 20 minutes just last night explaining to my Ubuntu-using mother what a ‘checkbox’ looked like in nm-applet over the phone, and that the lack of a check in the box did not mean it was magically no longer a checkbox. Or something. I really have no idea what I was explaining to her, I got more confused the longer I talked to her. All I know is that she eventually clicked around enough that her wifi that had previously magically broken had suddenly magically started working again. I wish I could claim to have helped my mother, but I really have no idea what broke and what fixed it. Fairy dust is just as good a guess as any. The point is this: I told my mother that I was willing and able to support Ubuntu, and she thus uses Ubuntu.
Another example: My nerd girlfriend has a Mac and, thus, so do both of her parents and all of her siblings and a few of her other friends. Not because anyone did any rational cost-benefit analysis, but because that is what she told them to purchase because that is what she felt she was willing and able to support. One nerd willing and able to provide support to her loved ones translates directly and exactly into 6 or 7 computer sales. Impressive, huh?
Ubuntu needs to replicate that effect.
I hate to say it, but the best thing that could ever happen to Ubuntu’s market share in the short term is that every cracked copy of Windows ceases to function tomorrow.
Few people will pay $200 for a start menu (or a dock) and facebook. Many will pay $0.99 to burn a CD-R for facebook – something that Ubuntu provides, like it or not.