What most people look at, when they look at even Windows, is "the computer store." Mom decides she "wants a computer." To do what? Oh, e-mail... surf the web... write a thing or three. Or maybe an office wants a computer... an over-glorified expensive typewriter, basically.
Y'know, any fool system
could do that, and it so happens that Microsoft Windows is "the fool system" that got there first. In nineteen-eightysomething, and although I hate to admit it ..
.. that was
"a long time ago" now.
But now, the market is maturing.
As it did so, hardware got a whole lot more powerful than anyone ever dreamed of (yeah, I said
I hate to admit it...) in the 70's and 80's and even the 90's. The market now includes all kinds of dedicated hardware -- iPod, mobile phones, xBox -- all of which are spin-offs
of the original concept. "Spun off" that exist now because, now, they can
exist. (Even five years ago, they couldn't have.) What was "state of the art" at that time
is now, indeed, "a prison."
A keyboard. A mouse. How quaint...
"Yeah, Bill Gates is a multimillionaire." So is Steve Balmer and a couple hundred other people at Microsoft and Apple and a few other places, but no one seems to talk about any of them.
The Boy Who Lived. The Geek Who Made It Big. So What?
Time to get beyond the foolish envy
and look at where things really are today.
Windows is, frankly, in a world of hurt, and they know it. The market and the press and the folks in the red shirts at the computer store don't know it yet, but what do they
know? They've got three aisles full of CDs,
for chrissakes! The world of computing is splintered and Windows only sits firmly on one
piece ... an old
piece, at that.
MS has tried three times now to get Longhorn out .. "new and improved," you know .. and each time they had to throw away all the new stuff just to get something
out with a "last_year + 2" number on it. That's getting old. Longhorn, as-promised, still isn't here,
and it may never be here, and by the time it does
get here, isn't Linux already there? Yeah, it is.
Meanwhile, Apple (in whom MS is, of course, a sizeable and astute investor) has an x86 line of products and an x86 operating system
ready for release. Since OS/X (that is, BSD Unix...)
can be ported to new platforms with little more than a recompile, there's no doubt that they can do it. (In fact, some folks on the Internet say that they are already running it.)
we conclude, that Microsoft can't
"do it." And we don't have to wait for it, because ... Linux is sitting pretty. An OS that can run on more than twenty-four architectures with no more than a recompile.
But where's Linux going to "hit?" I'll clue ya: it won't 'hit' on the 'traditional desktop.' Probably not ever.
Why? Because the 'traditional desktop' is a typewriter
and it never was really anything more than that. Offices got rid of their calculators and typewriters and replaced them with computers. For anything more, they hooked to centralized machines and for that
they used either terminal-software or HTML browsers. Most of "the web" today consists of .. centralized (server) machines.
And, my kiddies, guess where Linux is?
Where it has been,
where it belongs,
and where Microsoft Windows does not?
Yes, those "centralized (server) machines!"
So, let's stop wondering when Linux is going to replace all those typewriters. Odds are, people won't replace their typewriters anytime soon. MS Windows will continue to "dominate" that "market" for, I am sure, quite some time to come, at least until the momentum runs out. Computing is not defined by what is, but by what will be.
And Linux is already there.