Better reasons to use Linux on the desktop?

The open-source operating system has yet to make a big splash on consumer desktop computers, and its evangelists may be the reason why.

In reading through "Top 10 Responses to Why I Should Use Linux? A Linux Evangelists' Reference," I couldn't help but think that Linux needs better evangelists for its desktop crusade.

Take this one:

"Linux is easier to use than Windows. Using the Terminal is not necessary, in most cases."

You don't start by proclaiming Linux easier to use than Windows, then follow that up with the assurance that you won't normally need to use the terminal/command line.

The fact that you might ever have to do so should be enough to scare off most would-be Linux desktop adopters. If the desktop requires a command line (and in my experience, it sometimes does), it's not ready for prime time. Period.

Or how about this one?

"Your porn collection is safe with Linux.

"

Now there's a winning argument for the mainstream adopters of the desktop. I can just hear my grandmother sighing with relief at this assurance from her local Linux evangelist.

There are some very good reasons to use Linux on the desktop, but I can't help but feel that its protagonists continue to miss the mark in their evangelism. Normal people don't care about things like this. They just want the desktop to work and not make a spectacle of itself. They want to be able to install their preferred applications without thinking about the operating system.

For this reason, Linux in the cloud makes a lot more sense right now than Linux on the desktop. Now, that's something worth evangelizing.

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About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.

     

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