I’m in the second round of Java training this week. When I walked in on Monday, I headed straight for the Solaris workstation: I figured now that I’m migrating to Linux, I could take this knowledge and sit down to any Unix box and start work. Sure enough, I’ve been able to do everything I needed to do pretty easily. While I’m not growing a beard and wearing suspenders, I am definitely starting to assume the holier-than-thou attitude of a Linux user. This operating system rocks – well, when it works. Ten years from now it’ll be ready for every desktop – but it’s definitely going to take that long.
I mentioned that to somebody and they noted, “Haven’t those Unix-style operating systems been around a lot longer than Windows? Why did Windows get so polished, so fast?” Because it aimed for the desktop first, going for easy usability rather than stability and security. Windows beat *nix to the usability milestone, but *nix beat Windows to the stability milestone. Now it’s a race for each to overcome the part they were missing.
You can’t add stability back in, but you can add usability back in. The *nix operating systems are going to win this one, but will it be enough to actually get into every desktop? Can *nix overcome Windows’ market share? Linux is technically better than Windows, but Betamax was technically better than VHS, and we know how that one went.
Am I qualified to be asking any of these questions? Of course not, but I finished with my lab exercise early. Back to work.