Not a week goes buy without me seeing some new article about how Linux is or is not “ready” for the desktop. This article is much like all the others, but it helped me realize something very important. Desktop readiness isn’t a matter of yes or no. It’s a matter of how many. There are a number of desktop computers in the world. It’s not a question of whether or not Linux is ready for them or not. It’s a question of how many of them are ready for Linux.
This article begins by referencing professional tech analysts who say Linux isn’t ready. Keep in mind that tech analysts are people who know about computers. They use computers in advanced ways for advanced things. They most likely use Max OSX or Windows. They use it on machines with 100% compatible hardware. They use the machines only for things that their machines are capable of doing.
If these people try Linux, they will try to do all the things they do with their old OS with Linux. If any one thing doesn’t go just right, they will say it isn’t ready. Well, not ready for their desktop at least. What if someone else doesn’t need to do that particular thing? For those people who are not tech analysts, it might be ready.
Here is how we can calculate Linux’s desktop readiness. Take the total number of desktop computers in the world. Subtract those which have so much unsupported hardware that Linux won’t work on them. Now figure out what the users of the remaining machines want to be able to do. If what they want to do is possible on Linux in an easy and user friendly fashion, then that is one desktop ready machine. Divide the number of desktop ready machines by the total number of desktop machines in the world, and you’ve got the Linux desktop readiness quotient.
Basically, I just want people to stop asking whether or not Linux is desktop ready. The question in itself is fallacious. The correct question to ask is “Is your desktop ready for Linux?” I will be the first to admit that the answer is not yes for everybody. However, the vast majority of people do very few things with their computers. They browse the web, read and send e-mail, send instant messages, watch videos, listen to music, manage their photos, and play games. I think I can say that the vast majority of average users out there who have desktop computers are ready for Linux. The only ones you can subtract are people with advanced needs, e.g: 3D gaming or HD video editing, and people with incredibly incompatible hardware.
So stop writing articles about whether Linux is ready for the desktop. Instead, grab yourself an Ubuntu LiveCD, and determine whether Linux is ready for your desktop. I make no guarantees, but it doesn’t cost you anything to at least try it out.