Tomorrow, freedom reaches retail shelves bearing PCs. That’s the day M$ throttles supplies of licences for “7” to OEMs. Eventually, the backlog of “7” machines will trickle out and consumers will only be faced with “8*” which many hate. Inevitably, consumers will ask retailers if they have anything else. There will be ChromeBooks and perhaps, other GNU/Linux distros or naked PCs. Inevitably, OEMs will see demand for “8*” subside and they will start installing GNU/Linux seriously. M$’s next release is looking less interesting with each go round. Finally, there’s competition on retail shelves. Consumers have several attractive alternatives on retail shelves already: Android/Linux, Chrome OS, and some other GNU/Linux. They will welcome more choice, especially at lower prices and in smaller packages. M$ is already giving away licences there. There’s a rumour that M$ will actually pay OEMs to install the OS on certain machines. Can you see the environmentalists complaining about piles of new PCs going to the landfill?
Perhaps freedom won’t turn on like the flick of a light-switch. It will be a gradual process that’s been going on for a while but it will be faster now. People I meet are still wondering what to do about XP. “7” or “8*” or Wintel are not on their radar any longer. They are thinking that if Android/Linux is what I like, why do retailers only offer Wintel on retail shelves? They are thinking that something must be available and they are finding GNU/Linux. On their own. That’s the game-changer. That’s the shift in mind-share.