Wednesday, March 18, 2009

What if Linux was tomorrows standard OS?

I believe that as Linux becomes more common and talked about all over the world. The biggest impression people have of Linux is that it must be free. It should not be sold but given away. Of course this is not true. The GPL License in no way says that anyone that downloads Linux can't sell it. It gives the user the power to modify and distribute Linux. In exchange, the modification must be available to everyone. This is the power behind Linux. This is how Linux grows better and stronger.

Thousands of companies have downloaded Linux and have kept their promise to the GPL. They have in turn modernized Linux with their hardware drivers and software technology. Companies in return have received millions of dollars from selling Linux powered hardware and software. In so doing a symbiosis between the Linux community and big business has been born. It grows stronger each day and each day Linux in turn becomes more accepted and better as a tool.

At first the Linux community recented companies because they felt companies were not going to honor the GPL. They felt that companies were going to steal their hard work and give nothing back to the community. It was a concern among many devoted Linux users but they knew that Linux needed to work with companies. Companies had control of the hardware in which their software needed to run in. As companies slowly adopted Linux and showed in good faith that they were good citizens of the Linux community this feeling slowly disappeared. Don't get me wrong their has been lawsuits attempts to get some companies in line. The bottom line is that companies have provided Linux with a rich wealth of code, financial support and employment.

What began as a small project by a graduate student has become an amazing part of the software industry today. It has been able to keep a monopolistic company from tearing it apart as well as slowly grow during the worst part of the global economy.

I wonder what type of world would this be if Linux was the standard operating system globally. I believe that it will give startup companies, medium size companies and large companies an equal footing for innovation. It will provide everyone with open standards that will enable the American dream. In other words, anyone with a good idea and the smarts to implement it can become rich. It will spark capitalism without monopolism and that will provide consumer with the best products. It will give everyone choice.

Is choice good? Microsoft will say that it will confuse you. It is not good to have choice unless it is between Windows XP, Vista or 7. Of course they will sway you to buy Windows 7. After all it is the best technology Microsoft can develop. Does having limited choice make your consumer dumber? I believe that it does. It makes consumers less knowledgable and locked into one product. If there was only one car manufacture, for example, Toyota. How would this change the auto industry? What will happen to the details between car choices we have today? How many fans or car lovers would exist? Would everyone be satified with a Toyota car? I believe it would hinder innovation in the car industry. It would decrease the knowledge of cars as their is nothing to campare it too. It would cater to 90% of the population or less and make others pay dearly for any additional modifications.

In a world where their is choice and open standards everyone can compete freely. It doesn't give anyone a greater advantage. The advantage comes from the innovator and how well their idea is in sync with the consumer. It will increase the number of small and medium companies. It will therefore provide more jobs in the industry. It means that monopolies will not exist and that variety will flourish. This maybe the biggest gift Linux can give the world. As technology becomes more ubiquitous and the world more dependent on it. It will touch every corner of everyone's life in the future.

So be PROUD and use Linux!

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