May 16, 2006

Pragmatism and operating systems

If, by now, I've managed to tweak your interest in Linux or, by now, if Windows has pissed you off enough that you've become interested in Linux, you're probably rooting through the applications that you know and love to see if they'll run on a Linux OS. Many of them will. If not, there are usually native Linux replacements that will do the trick just as well. Unfortunately, that's not always the case. Excerpt:

I'm lucky enough that everything I do, I can do on Linux. Mind you, I do need to use Wine to run Quicken and iTunes, but other than that, my Linux workstations are Windows-software free.

Many people aren't that lucky.

Novell, as many of you know, is working on trying to talk ISVs (independent software vendors) into translating the most popular Windows programs into Linux. With thousands of users asking for Adobe Photoshop, Autodesk AutoCAD, and Adobe/Macromedia Dreamweaver, maybe we'll see native versions of these in Linux sometime soon.

Even so, there will still be other programs that keep users from running a Linux desktop.

Darn it.

As Miller points out, most people and companies can do 90 percent of what they need to do on a Linux desktop. The bad news is that that final 10 percent varies from company to company. For Miller, video's the problem child. For many businesses I know, its accounting software.

Yes, I know about GnuCash, TurboCash, and Lazy8Ledger.

However, the companies I know already have people who are invested in QuickBooks, MYOB, and Peachtree. They're not going to change anytime soon.

Will the change ever come?


We've already come much farther along with the Linux desktop than anyone would have ever dreamed.

As Miller points out, when he first tried Linux around in 1996, mounting a CD-ROM and setting up a printer were big challenges. When I started, I was compiling Linux from source code because I had to, not because I wanted to.

In five years, I predict, 90 percent of all businesses will be able to run 100 percent of their preferred software on a Linux desktop. The ISVs (independent software developres) will continue to bring their software to Linux, and open-source accounting programs, perhaps one of ones I've mentioned, will make the jump from niche program to market-power.

Someday, someday soon, most of you will join me in being able to do all your desktop computing on Linux.

I can't wait.

Quicken presented a major obstacle to my being able to switch. Turns out that it runs just fine in Linux if you use Crossover Office. Just an FYI.

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