Wednesday 27 June 2007

In this industry you often only get one shot......

My last post really set me thinking. I wasn't entirely sure exactly what was going to end up on page when I started & then when I looked back at the result, it struck a major chord. My conclusion after all the thinking is that while OSS isn't always the best option, it most certainly is a natural home for my own temperament and development (whether it is software or product) style. So there. The decision is made. I started this as a way to 'open' (if you wish) my own thoughts that OSS may be the appropriate way to go for a particular project I have in mind. But more of that later.

In the meantime, I've been starting to doubt the wisdom of the Dell decision to ship Ubuntu. As an Ubuntu user myself, I've had a couple of annoying experiences recently:
  • Throwing a DVD into a machine & being told I would have to start download 'potentially illegal' software. Yes, I know all the arguments & agree with most of them but that doesn't make it any less annoying.
  • Spending 3 hours getting 2 Ubuntu machines to share files with each other. Coming across (very recent) forum threads asking why it's much easier to get an Ubuntu box to talk to a Windows box than 2 Ubuntu boxes together.
For the vast majority of users, either of those (or the many other annoyances that enthusiasts have so much fun with) would result in one more coaster being added to the global population.

My concern is this. Having written a post elsewhere on OpenOffice today, I thought back a few years to when a colleague of mine tried to implement (actually StarOffice, but the point is moot). It wasn't ready. It wasn't interoperable with MS Office and the users hated it and the effort failed. It will be many years before the memory of that failure fades enough for another attempt at the North Face.
Will the same thing happen to Dell's offering of Ubuntu? Since it is being reported that Dell are only offering ubuntu to 'personal' customers and not to business, the impact may not be huge. But still. Those 'personal' customers who have the interest to give it a go may end up losing interest for good when it just doesn't do what they expect out of the box.

Anyway. This was never intended to be a blog on Ubuntu or even desktop Linux in general so that'll be my last word on that topic.


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