Originally Published: Friday, 6 August 1999 Author: Mark Nielsen
Published to: featured_articles/Featured Articles Page: 1/1 - [Printable]

How the Empire Could Win the War

Unless we make a move. Well now, isn't that special? Geeks don't understand marketing and marketing people don't understand technology. Look at some of the most popular software in the world: low credible technology, high marketing. Look at some of the best technological innovations that nobody knows about....

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Unless we make a move. Well now, isn't that special? Geeks don't understand marketing and marketing people don't understand technology. Look at some of the most popular software in the world: low credible technology, high marketing. Look at some of the best technological innovations that nobody knows about.

Another thing I want to point out, people who are only interested in profit do not care about quality of their products, because they want you to buy them over and over again when they break or they want you to pay for support over and over again when a piece of software doesn't work. It is never in a corporation's best interest to make anything better than what will sell and make profit. Some companies don't really even take a pride in their software, other than the fact it sells money; and of course, they sometimes make themselves believe their software is the best because "Why would it sell otherwise?". That is like saying hot dogs and soda pop are good food that will make us healthy and strong, which, if you knew what they put in those things, you would never consume them. People don't eat junk food because it will make their lives better, they have their own weird reasons for consuming a product. Most of the time, it comes down to who has the most money and advertising. We tend to believe ads without questioning anything. If that were not true, then why do so many people, including myself, buy things we don't need (just because we felt like it) or buy things we know are a rip-off? I will never understand these strange creatures called humans.

Well, how does this all come back to Empire? Well, I truly doubt the Empire will have any loyalty to any of their products if they believe another product will make more money. Here we have all these Linux geeks pushing Linux, and we don't even realize we are doing the Empire's work. The Empire isn't fighting Linux because their software is better, they are fighting it until Linux overcomes their software, and then they will embrace and extend Linux and say "thank you" for all the pushing that we did.

It is all just a game, guys. They just do what makes them money.

How will the Empire control Linux?

Well, the Empire really doesn't seem to concerned about technology, just marketing. Therefore, the Empire really cannot get a grasp onto things until just before it is too late. Look what happened to the Internet. The Empire rejected the Internet, and when the profit wasn't where they were at, they switched and joined it. The reason they didn't join it earlier was because they lacked vision--they only wanted to see what would make them the most money now.

This leads the to following scenario. What if:

  1. The Empire takes the kernel of Linux and uses it.
  2. They make their own X server like MetroX, or even just uses XFree86?
  3. Then they create their own desktop environment running something similar to KDE.
  4. They bind their application software so that the software only runs "perfectly" using their desktop environment.

They would have a closed desktop environment which only they would control. Only they would know about certain "bugs" which would enhance the speed of software which their competitors would never find out about. Only their desktop version would not give out an error saying "Incorrect desktop version." for the beta versions of their application software.

Under this scenario, who would want RedHat's or SuSE's version of Linux? Who would even care about Netscape, StarOffice, WordPerfect, or ApplixWare? If you can use all of the old applications on a new OS, why would you want to learn new applications that nobody knows about? You would stick with the version of Linux that has your old applications. You would also ONLY buy the Empire's version of Linux, because all software would work correctly with it. For some reason, if you were to switch to another version of Linux, things just wouldn't work the same, and hence, those other versions must be unstable.

The fact is, most people don't care of the technology. They just want something to work. As Linux breaks more and more into the mainstream market, which is happening, more and more people will want to use software their already know. An increasing number of IT managers will find out that they will have less headaches if they please their staff with the software they want to run, irrelevant of which OS it uses.

It is not the OS which controls the market, it is the apps and services you run on top of it. Remember this. Linux does not have a chance to take on the Empire without understanding this. I personally believe very little has to be done to make Linux user-friendly. Just look at the changes since over a year ago and how much more pleasing Linux is to the average user, even if the oldtimers cringe at this GUI stuff.

This is a wake up call folks, I give the market about 2 years before the Empire falls if they don't make a move onto Linux or if we don't make a move to secure Linux. I have seen the growth of Linux and the hurdles Linux has overcome. Many people weren't paying attention to the trends that I did. All of my friends laughed at my notions years ago when I knew they were wrong. People still claim Linux won't ever be able to achieve certain levels. I just don't understand how they can say that when every year Linux achieves what people the year before thought it would never have been able to do.

Actually, the Empire won't fall. It will hang around for years making tons of profit due to legacy software and support. I just want it to get to the point where the Empire becomes irrelevant.


Mark Nielsen (dude@linux.com) is known for his strong opinions. Please don't hurt him. By making people aware of his opinions now, he hopes to contain the Evil in the future. Edited using Nedit and ispell.




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