Dana Blankenhorn knows a thing or two about IT but this is just wrong:
“The chasm is that point in the “s” curve where a product is known and liked by experts or aficionados, poised on the brink of mass market success or failure. Most products fall in. Why do some cross and others don’t? That’s Moore’s study.
Important examples are to be found in the world of open source. Linux crossed the chasm on servers. It failed to do so on desktops. Yet Android, a Google-developed Linux distro, seems fated to succeed.”
He presumes GNU/Linux has failed to cross some imaginary barrier when that is not the case. GNU/Linux on the desktop has long ago ceased to be a geek/early-adopter thing. It is being accepted on the mainstream/mom and pop desktop now. That started happening with the netbook. Many millions of netbook users are not geeks and don’t know an OS from an application. They know GNU/Linux works and love it. OEMs have passed up that opportunity in some ways but consumers have not. They have bought GNU/Linux whenever and wherever it has been offered. The news that Lenovo sold a million Ubuntu boxes last year was a surprise to many. How many geeks are there, 1% of users or maybe a few %? Geeks might buy 3 million PCs a year globally but tens of millions of GNU/Linux boxes are being sold, way more than geeks can absorb.
Further, there is all kinds of evidence that consumption of GNU/Linux is increasing:
- adoption in schools, and governments (not early adopters, for sure)
- huge numbers of mirrors with high volumes needed to ship distros
- Ubuntu breaking even and entering expanding lines of business
- continued growth for RedHat and Suse and it’s not all on the server
- mirror stats showing 150 megabits/s – 450 active requests average e.g. http://csclub.uwaterloo.ca/stats
There are hundreds of mirrors for Debian GNU/Linux around the globe. FLOSS mirrors put a major load on the web. One mirror might service hundreds of thousands of clients in a year meaning more than 10 million clients run GNU/Linux. Then there are places that have internal mirrors we do not see.
GNU/Linux crossed the desktop chasm years ago, probably 2007 was the point, when ASUS put it on the eeePC. I think 2009 was the year everyone except Dana Blankenhorn and amicus_curious caught onto the phenomenon.