This week, after reading Scott Carpenter’s fun (yet a bit scary) satire 5 ways to save on your monthly software rental bill in the year 2056..., I felt like a fairytale ending. I was after something sort of cool and utopian, where we’re all free and enjoying ourselves. But, when I was speculating about what this fairytale would entail, it brought me around to wondering...
What will happen AFTER the year of Linux on the desktop?
I realise this may seem like an odd question. But while there is a lot of speculation as to whether or not FLOSS will make it, have we considered what will happen when it does?
Let me put this another way. Consider the classic good guy vs bad guy scenario. We could pull out the tired cliche of David and Goliath. We could think Cinderella. We could consider Hansel and Gretel. We could, to put a modern slant on it, think about any of the generic cop movies. What are the common similarities here?
Good guy fights nemesis. Nemesis generally has power, control, advantage, and the surrounding population repressed or on side. Good guy has smarts and generally good looks and marriagability. Good guy, perservering through a series of diabolical setbacks (like poking a chicken bone through the bar of your cage, for example. Or having your stepmother lock you in the fireplace. Or being runty when your opponent is a giant. Or encountering corruption in your squad.), finally kicks the bad guy’s butt. (Or rubs her face in it by marrying a prince.) And they all live happily ever after.
Or do they? That’s always been my main problem with fairy tales and movies that go for two hours only. What happens after? Think about it. Was Cinderella satisfied with her princely catch? What if he was a womaniser, or picked his teeth in public, or was actually a Bluebeard in private? What did Hansel and Gretel DO, when they escaped? I mean, their stepmother tried to kill them! Did they just go home and wear it? The bits of the story that aren’t told later are the most interesting... and in the Microsoft and FLOSS story, once FLOSS pushes Microsoft into the uber-oven and runs away, where will FLOSS go from there?
Let’s see where the current big guy is at. Oh yes. They are about to release Vista. And can I just say I read a hilarious review of Vista brought to us by our friends at Time Magazine? The article basically goes like this—get Vista, it’s super! It’s going to be a really good move, upgrading! Why, you ask? Because it looks like a Mac and has security worthy of Linux! AND it hooks up to your Xbox 360! And if you have a pretty new pc, it’ll be no extra hardware outlay at all!
WOW! Stop the presses, kids, Microsoft have produced something that they claim is steaming ahead of the competition by BRINGING IT UP TO SPEED with Macs and FLOSS. Nice one, guys. That’s SUCH incentive for me to go Vista! Screw the fact that it’s proprietary, it should be punished for being lazy!
So this is my warning blog. When we arrive at the year of Linux on the desktop, let’s not get lazy, complacent and fat, like some corporate giants I could mention. Even when we’re big, we need to keep thinking like the little guys. And we can release FLOSS “Panorama”—because we have our eyes wide open.