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Linux needs reconsideration

In response to Ian Murdock?s July 30 Perspectives column, "Reconsidering Linux":

Mr. Murdock is dead on in "Reconsidering Linux." Linux is not a product. It is a process. This is also the reason why so many people are confused by this giant mess so affectionately called "open source" (or as I call it "open sludge"). There are a bizzillion distributions, all with their own "timelines." The end results always seem to be library conflicts abound, drivers are buggy or missing, every developer has his own agenda (good or bad mind you), etc.

Sure, Linux is a "component" in the overall system, but when consumers go buy things, they don't generally buy components. Take, for example, cars. Consumers go buy the whole car. Not many people want to deal with the hassle of assembling all the "components" into a working car especially since most people neither have the inclination or desire or skills to do so.

One stop shopping, baby. As much as I used to dislike Microsoft, I now understand and love their consistency and delivery after having used various "distributions" of Linux--all of different timelines. Microsoft has made a few mistakes here and there but not many.

Product versus process? I don't go and buy the "assembly line process" to get my car, I buy the end result of the process, the product. Linux for desktop or even small and midsize businesses? Who needs the hassle? I don't know about you, but I quickly get aggravated when I need to "use" something that doesn't work rather than tinker with it to make it work. How would you feel if every day you went to work you had to "tweak" your car to get it to work?

I don't need all the problems with "individual timelines" getting in my way of usability and stability. This doesn't even bring up the warranty or ownership issues. That's a whole other analogy. How would you feel if you bought your new "car" and the next day it died? Not to happy. People have some minimal level of warranty indemnification on things they buy.

Linux is innovative? I think not. Since when is a legal DVD player big news on a platform? That's sad that it even gets recognized as an achievement. It just illustrates that Linux continues to play catch-up in many consumer-related regards. Man, you guys putting that type of stuff up as "news" is a disservice to developers and consumers everywhere.

Alan Marcinkowski Boston, Mass.