Sunday, 17 June, 2001

Linux on the Business Desktop

Is Linux a viable desktop solution?  It certainly is not a viable general desktop solution for the average computer user.  I say this for two reasons.  There is still limited user-oriented software available for Linux, and It is still difficult for a non-technical computer user to install new programs on a Linux system.  Let's face it, if installation requires the user to log in as the superuser, at least half of the audience will be unable to install it.  And if they have to do anything other than click on the "install" icon (like run multiple make files or download new libraries), you've lost the vast majority of users.  No, Linux is still too difficult for the general non-technical user.

But.  There is a growing population of home and business users whose use is limited to a small handful of applications.  Many home users, for example, just want to check their email, browse the web, and maybe write a letter or two.  Many business users are very similar:  email, word processing, spreadsheets, web browsing, and maybe a vertical market application.  With a little work in documentation and training, Linux and Open Source software could make huge inroads in those two markets.  The market is ripe for a "business desktop" Linux distribution--something that dispenses with all the flexibility that general distributions like SuSE, RedHat, Mandrake, Debian, etc. provide, and instead has an easy to use installer that provides the operating system, X Window system, a standard application suite, and comprehensive documentation.

I'll have to ponder this one a bit more.