Of all the things I've lost, I miss my mind the most.
- (Mark Twain and me)
I hate to talk about it again. But neverthless my friend brought it up again. It is one of those topics which will come up over and over again and end without any conclusion - just like the "veg vs. non-veg" topic. The question is why isn't Linux as popular as Windows inspite of being free. A popular mis-belief is it isn't user-friendly. I dont think this is true anymore. Comm'on haven't you tried Ubuntu.? It is actually more "friendlier" than Windows. Not only Ubuntu, most of the Linux distros have realised thier drawback of being less friendly and have abstracted most of the things and now have the "just click and install" etc features.
Ofcourse one of the accepted fact is people may find Linux less easy to use than Windows because it lacks support(but think of it - when was the last time you ever called a support for a computer problem even if you are a grandma? people try to figure out things themselves or ask friends). Or people are just resistant to change? Another fact is that some tweaking has to be done after Linux installation. For example many websites dont even still work on Linux. You need to install special plugins for players etc. This is a 2-way problem. These websites don't support Linux because it is not common. And since many websites need special plugins to be installed, Linux is not common.
But as I see it, this is the big reason.
Computer manufacturers pushing Windows: A good laptop would cost around 1000$ which includes the hidden cost of 200$ for Windows XP Pro. So why can't the manufacturers sell me the laptop for 800$ without Windows? Sure-most ppl wont go for that manufacturer if they just stop giving windows. Can't they provide an option while buying (default : have windows)? For the manufacturer, it is inc. in thier sales, because giving this option could save about 200$ for the 2%(linux market share=2%) population and another effect that could emerge out of this is because it is less priced so ppl would slowly switch to Linux. Now this is not the case bcos since they have Windows anyway, whats the need to go for Linux? But why are manufacturers not doing this given the fact that it would clearly increase thier sales? One likely reason is they could be bounded by some legal agreement with MS. Or doing this may piss off MS and they start charging the manufacturers more for license. If giving the option increases thier revenue by 5%, but also increases the licensing fee for Windows(Manufacturers obviously get very much subsidised fee than individual quote) - the profit margin maynot workout? Who knows. Im sure the manufacturers like Dell, HP etc would have considered this and dropped for some reason - most probably thier revenue maynot increase eventhough the sales may increase.
So what is the solution for this? I mean how to make a manufacturer and consumer happy? As a consumer if Im not interested in Windows anyway, don't charge me that 200$! I think the move has to come only from manufacturer side. But it is not clear how the manufacturer will make this. A new manufacturer could emerge, but again it will take it a while for it to get established and get recognized/trusted.