<p>Is Microsoft's Domination
The last couple of years have witnessed the growth of Linux from
an operating system that started out as the plaything of a small group
of programmers to one that is taken seriously all over the world.
Linux is the best operating system around. Linux is proof of the
power of communities. Linux stands for Freedom of choice. So claim
its ardent supporters.
Unlike the Macintosh operating system, Linux doesn't face the
challenge of convincing people to switch to a more expensive and
proprietary hardware platform. Neither has it been stopped in its
tracks by limited hardware support, as was the fate of BeOS. For Win-
dows 98 users the differences in stability should itself have been suf-
ficient reason to switch over. But even though Linux is virtually free,
people haven't been convinced to make the shift.
So what is really holding up this operating system in its quest for
popularity with regular desktop computer users?
The answer lies in the little details.
What is popularly referred to the 'Linux Libraries Dependency
Hell', makes installing new applications a tiresome process. Many
popular Windows applications are still not available on Linux and
the few world-class Linux applications have their own quirks. Con-
sider GIMP, which could really challenge Photoshop if the interface
wasn't so clumsy. Issues such as this make the transition to Linux
extremely inconvenient for Windows users.
Newer distributions are as easy to install as Windows and the Linux
user interface itself has made great progress over the last year. How-
ever, there's not much innovation directed at making it easier to use
for people unfamiliar with computing. The developers have wasted
several opportunities to prove that Linux is not just for geeks and
they will now find it even more difficult to make progress against the
latest Microsoft products. The traditional instability of the Windows
desktop OSes has been largely eliminated in Windows XP.
If Linux is to become more popular, its applicat