I got a big shock today when I looked at the analytics for my humble little YouTube channel. I posted a rather dry video showing off some of the new features of Ubuntu 16.04 just before it went to beta and in less than three weeks it has gotten more than 25,000 views. Wow! That’s a lot for me, folks. It isn’t my wry wit on easy-going-going personality or my outstanding production that is pushing that video to be semi-viral, it’s the subject matter: Ubuntu.
“Ubuntu? What’s that?”
“Oh, that’s Linux. It doesn’t work and nobody uses it. It’s for computer nerds and weirdos. You just need to stick with Windows or Mac.”
If you were to ask someone in the mainstream tech media about Ubuntu, the above answer is most likely what you’re going to get. Sad but true. There are many who seek to marginalize the impact Linux is having on the PC world. Why there is this cognitive dissonance toward Linux is a question that is up for debate. It could be just that they are out of touch or it could be that they don’t understand the Open Source philosophy that drives Linux. Honestly, I think they’re scared of it. Linux represents a challenge to the status quo and many who have built careers around MS and Apple products don’t want to move out of their comfort zones and embrace something so radically different.
I think we are getting to a place where it really doesn’t matter what the pundits say. People are getting savvy to the tricks and scams that the proprietary software moguls are pulling on users and they don’t believe the hype anymore. They simply do not trust the companies that Mr. Jobs and Mr. Gates built anymore and with good reason. They are seeking alternatives and the one name that they may have just heard about somewhere is Ubuntu. I know that my saying that will ruffle the feathers of those who are not fans of the Ubuntu distribution but it’s true… Newbies learn about Ubuntu first.
Canonical has done a piss poor job of promoting their desktop product but it really doesn’t matter because the product itself has proven itself to be a fantastic and flexible platform for all kinds of computing. It took them ten years to do it but they built a better mousetrap and the world is beating a path to their door. The Ubuntu mousetrap became clearly better with the release of 14.04 and Ubuntu 16.04 is shaping up to be a big improvement.
Linux may never be the dominant OS in terms of market share for desktops but I think it’s more than safe to say that the days of it being just for computer nerds and weirdos are coming to an end. Economics alone is enough to drive serious computer users and businesses to open source solutions but what’s really pushing it along are all the shenanigans happening around Windows 10. People want off the Microsoft Merry-Go-Round but they don’t wanna drop $2500 for a new Mac, either. Ubuntu and all of its children represent a viable alternative to them. Once they get a taste of the freedom Linux gives them, they’re hooked.
The revolution continues…