Maybe no one will read this, most of you probably wont agree with me either but I really could care less at this point.
After using Linux extensively for about a year or so, I have come to the conclusion that while the software is generally free and open the very minds of the people who USE
the software are closed up real tight, thus rendering FOSS virtually pointless since no one will really innovate it because they are too steeped in what amounts to religion. When I say there will not be anyone innovating I don't mean that the Kernel won't get better, that some more hardware won't get supported, what I mean is that the real problems facing Linux the ones that we actually control will not be fixed because of the religiosity of the Linux world.
We have a major issue of lacking familiar applications to draw in primarily Windows users, yet when we finally get a port of a somewhat popular software the complaints against the software are not based on the actual performance
of the software but rather on the simple fact that it is not free, and that it is not open source. While I don't think paying whatever the price of the Windows version of Nero to use the Linux version is worth it I do think it is very good, and very important that the software was in fact released. Yet I see so many comments [Not just here but elsewhere.] that just dis the port on its face without actually judging the effectiveness [including ease of use.] of the product.
What is more we don't have a customer niche outside of programmers which does not guarantee a windfall of new users since Windows is king. I look at the approach of Apple gearing itself more towards professionals not necessarily involved in the field of IT and all I can say is that it was a master stroke because it allows them to make an OS that is suitable for development while still being suitable for professional non IT use and home use. People like graphic designers need more than what the GIMP has to offer according to what some other Linux users have expressed on other boards I have been to. Yet we have users actually saying “We do not need photoshop ported to Linux.” which essentially is saying “People who need to do things with graphic design should not use low cost Operating Systems because they are not meant to offer complete solutions to peoples problems. They are only meant to serve the alleged needs of programmers and network engineers.” This way of not thinking is very disconcerting to me, as it is distinctly narrowing the scope of Linux as a solution which automatically dooms the whole thing to failure.
need things like photoshop and Nero ported to Linux, we do
need solutions that users of the other major OS will recognize, we do
need to make things as easy or even easier than Windows while still maintaining the power of Linux. Its not the lack of hardware support that is keeping people away from Linux, it is not even the vast difference between Linux and Windows that is stopping more people from moving to Linux; its the lack of focus on user space that is stopping more people from switching to Linux entirely or further adopting Linux to their computing.
What we do not need in anyway is a culture that refuses to face the problems of Linux itself by constantly relying on forking which doesn't actually help anything. Linux has been around for some time and yet we still have no common way to install software aside from the use of the source code which in certain cases means that one looses quite a bit of productive time waiting for a solution to install. The binary solution is totally incomplete because distros that use binaries as the primary install medium promptly break when you mix source code and the binary packages. Plus not every solution is released in the proper binary format for your fork if it has a binary at all.
What is required if we are going to really [I don't mean to be overly dramatic here but bear with me.] cut through the darkness is a completely transparent method of installing solutions on all forks. We can't keep running around with broken as all hell rpm's apt, yum, smart rpm, Portage, etc. Yet what do I see when someone suggests that Gentoo have official repositories to allow users to choose
whether or not to install a binary or compile from source; I see the members of the community find various excuses as to why this cannot be done or outright calls for the person suggesting this to go use a binary fork [These don't even work for the reason I outlined earlier, so what they are really saying is that the person suggesting official repositories should not use Linux at all.] which of course is not going to bring us any closer to fork transparency. Instead of getting behind expanding the Portage system to truly becoming the model for all of Linux when it comes to fork transparency, the vocal users are actually saying that Gentoo should not seek to address this issue of lack of choice and wasted time. If binary fork's don't really work when it comes down to it and those that develop the rpm format either don't know or don't care that the chance of breakage skyrockets when mixing source with their package format what is the point of Linux and the FOSS movement at all?
FOSS doesn't mean anything at all if the people who make up the user base try as hard as possible to not face the realities of the situation with the OS, I am personally so tired of hearing complaints about their not being enough big name games being ported to Linux, or crummy ati drivers, and somewhat lacking hardware support when these same people complaining about those things refuse to support the act of porting big name software to Linux even if it is not FOSS. We have to make the user space as inviting as possible in order to get the businesses and non tech professionals to pick up Linux the games, hardware support, and big name software support will come when we do that because those are the people who will really drive the corporations to support Linux in truly huge numbers. Even with all of the growth of Linux it will remain a third tier OS if we the users don't shed this “1337 H4X0R” mental state. This is really the one thing keeping Linux from really making a splash outside of the IT world, we already have the technology but no one is willing to make the call to actually use it.