Brand name recognition and computing
I have recently returned from a trip to Brazil. While I was there, (was internet deprived because the only computer available to me was old and run down and the phone wiring was questionable at best), I had a chance to scope out some computers on sale at Carre foure and in use at the mall. What a saw were a lot of windows XP boxes running POS terminals at check out. This surprised me because windows computers are very expensive in Brazil. A typical new computer costs about 2.500 to 5.000 reis which is a lot money comparitively speaking.
Now why do Brazillians choose to pay such a high price for something that we take for granted and criticise? It is all about brand name and trust in the brand. When told them about Linux they looked me and said what is it? When I told them that it was a computer OS they would just shrug. Then I would ask them if they had ever heard about Conectiva, the Brazillian linux distribution that just got bought out by Mandrake. They would say: "never heard of it".
Which begs a very serious question about Open Source software: "Just because it is free does not necessarily mean that people will use it". What is the point of developing software that doesn't gain widespread usage? How do you get popular acceptance? Aggressive advertising and brand name recognition. That is the only thing keeping Open Source code from becoming popular.
Anyway, I did see Linux computers on sale at Carre Foure with Kurumin linux installed. They were selling for half the price of the windows boxs and they were more colorful. Who knows maybe the low price will tempt buyers to switch to Linux.
So to me the bottom line is brand name advertising.