After posting 5 Things I Wish Linux Had, I did some mulling and gathered comments from readers and compiled this additional list of items that I wish Linux had. I've also included one thing that I wish Linux didn't have. These are part of my 2009 Wishlist and are more focused on the future direction of Linux. Most of them will move to my 2010 Wishlist but I think they're important enough to begin work on immediately.
1. Current Software Compatibility - Many would be Linux users won't make the switch because they have made considerable investments in Windows-compatible software. Regular users don't want to reinvest in all new software if it doesn't make sense to do so. They want their current programs to work in whatever they use. Additionally, they don't want to use something like Wine to make them work or sort of work.
We need to have some true emulation, compatibility layer, or way to convert those apps for the end user--or perhaps even Linux ones that are available by trading in the Windows version.
2. A Face - Linux needs a public face. We need a Maytag Repairman, a gecko, William Shatner, or even little Tux to be our collective spokesperson for Linux. We need this kind of recognition in the public eye to associate something with Linux besides Data Centers, uber geeks, and technical obscurity.
3. Commercials - We need commercials on TV, radio, and newspaper. Windows has them, Mac has them, and so does just about every product you buy. Related to #2, we need to change the perception of Linux from this weird thing that only rocket scientists use. We need a third guy in those Mac commercials. Apple finally figured out that it's a marketing issue and not a technical one.
An animated Tux commercial spouting our cause would be perfect. Perhaps a Tux video game for the Wii or some Tux Happy Meal giveaways from McDonald's would also help raise awareness.
4. Retail Visibility - Walk into any retail store that sells software and you'll see Windows of every flavor: Vista Home, Vista Home Premium, Vista Business, Vista Enterprise--a Vista for all seasons and needs. You'll also see Mac OS X in its recognizable white box. You might see a boxed Linux version somewhere in the store--note I said "a" box. If you see Linux at all, you'll only see one. And, no, it's not because it's freely available to download. A box represents something that's real.
We also need to be able to buy systems with Linux pre-installed. How many regular users have to install Windows on their computer? Almost none. Maybe PC vendors can ask a new question when a buyer calls in: "What do you do with your Computer?" Based on the answers, the user is directed to the Operating System that best fits their needs rather than a boiler plate Windows offering.
5. A New Name - Yep. There, I said it. Linux needs a new name. Windows is something recognizable. Mac and Apple are both recognizable names. They are all easy to say and don't allow for any interpretation or mispronunciation. Linux, as a name, is a bit offputting and its pronunciation is not obvious. Those not in the know irritatingly pronounce it Lye-nux.
Let's choose something that's easy to say, spell, catchy, and recognizable. The name should not include: OS, ix, or anything computerish--think Windows, Mac, Apple, Vista, Solaris, Netware, and so on.
The one thing I wish Linux didn't have is this rancid, religious, overzealous fanboys who give Linux a bad name. If you look at the Linux thought leaders, developers, and community leaders, they don't possess the same acrid attitudes that the congregation-at-large does. Linux is an Operating System. It is not a religion. Mac people used to act like that and it's not only unbecoming but embarrassing as well.
Some of these basement dwellers feel as if it's their right to spew their expert opinions without regard for anyone else's feelings or choices. For them, Linux is the only answer and they refuse to entertain any other point of view. It's annoying so stop it.
Feel free to leave me your feedback--after all it is your feedback that prompted this post.