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While companies worldwide look for ways to reduce costs, shed dead weight from their labor resources and streamline their businesses, it makes me wonder if Linux will survive the global economic meltdown. Oh, I know it will survive in terms of us geeks who use it and tout its goodness. It will survive in ISP data centers, some cloud-based businesses and as the de facto platform for virtualization. But will businesses such as hospitals, law firms, trucking companies and retail stores adopt it for their productive operating system of choice?

The answer isn't easy.

The reason is that Microsoft isn't making it easy.

Linux for server systems, enterprise or small business, is a fine choice. It's a toss-up for most businesses if they have all the facts in front of them with which to make that choice. Often they don't. Microsoft has a marketing machine like no other. You hear Microsoft and you assume quality, reliability and a top-rated global company.
Linux, alternatively, conjures up strange people who sport sandals, wear ponytails, don red fedoras, quote lines from Monty Python episodes and flash the intergalactic 'gang' sign (The Vulcan 'live long and prosper thing').
It also makes business owners think that it's wholly unreliable.

Sure, there are plenty of Windows nerds, geeks and freaks out there who're every bit as weird as those of us who type 'ls' instead of 'dir' at a command prompt but they have the marketing momentum behind them to hide their geeky band of follower's greasy faces from the public.

Think of those McDonald's commercials that show the beautiful young people working in their restaurants with mouths all full of nice white teeth, clean hair, arms unmarred by track marks or dragon tattoos and bright eyes undaunted by years of methamphetamine abuse. They hide the real ones from the camera. If they showed the real people, you wouldn't want to buy an Egg McMuffin or a Big Mac, would you?

Microsoft has that marketing engine behind it. Linux has Linus and a band of merry followers who attempt to "convert by the sword" and to convince the infidels that there's a better way.

Yes, we have The Linux Foundation, the Free Software Foundation and a few others out there displaying the white teeth and freshly scrubbed faces but have you seen a Linux commercial lately? OK, a non-YouTube commercial? I mean a mainstream, legitimate Linux commercial with snappy dialog and a catch-phrase. No, you haven't and neither have I. Neither has anyone else.

People buy what they see. If they don't see it, they don't buy it. That's why advertising works.

So, the question remains: Will Linux survive the global economic meltdown?
Likely, but will it thrive at a slow pace. Adoption will remain sluggish. Just because it's free doesn't mean people will go grab it and use it. For people in the know, like you and me, it's a no-brainer. For everyone else, it's a mystery. It's an unknown quantity. It's not mainstream. And, therefore, it's not reliable for business use.

If Linux is to survive and thrive, we have to put the word out to those who might adopt it. I have a potential solution, which I'll post tomorrow, December 31, as my final entry for 2009.

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Last Post by samuel_1991
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It will not only survive, it will thrive. The harder the crash, the better for Linux. As marketing budgets dry up and corporations go bankrupt, the only thing left is that which survives on its own without any organization to rely on. In short, if Microsoft dies, Windows dies; if IBM dies, z/OS dies; if Red Hat dies, the Linux users migrate to SuSE or Debian or Ubuntu or Slackware or...

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You want a commercial?

"Hi, I'm a Mac"
"Hi, I'm a PC"
"Hi, I'm Linux"
Mac and PC: "Geddahdaheah! Hooligan!"

Seriously, lots of businesses of all sizes are moving to Linux, specifically, more often than not, to the enterprise-oriented flavors such as Fedora, CentOS, or Mandriva. Many businesses figure that if they're going to pay, they'd rather pay for enterprise-level support (offered by the above) for workstation and server OS products that are more efficient and less restrictive. Not to mention a longer release schedule (CentOS 5 released in 2009 is scheduled to be supported until 2014) which offers more stability than you get from Microsoft shoving a new OS down your throat every couple of years whether you want/need it or not.

In fact, I remember Microsoft lost the entire government of the city of Munich, Germany, a few years back, which decided to move all their systems to Linux.

It's slow, but it's happening.

Edited by r_avital: n/a

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It's 2010, and you still support this notion that Linux users are geeky ponytailed freaks. That is simply not true - my kids (13 and 8) for example, use Linux as their main Desktop OS, and they are certainly not the geeky type. And they are just typical example of users that I encounter quite often.

So the whole premise of your argument is wrong, on your assumption that Linux is a geeky OS suited for the computer room, and therefore invalidates your argument.

Secondly, understand that Linux was not created and grown in response to any kind expectation of economic-benefit, therefore the reasons behind the growth in Linux usage goes beyond economic reasons, and it will therefore certainly not crumble because of economic reasons. If anything, the economic benefits over commercial operating systems might spur its growth.

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