FOSS Enthusiasts Aren't Enthusiastic Enough
I hear Linux podcasts and bloggers pulling themselves back, with an eye to keeping things realistic, and too many end up with unwarranted pessimism.
‘You have to admit that computer games are just better on Windows’.
And I won’t disagree, but I don’t see why they phrase the situation like that.
Linux is the second best gaming system on the planet.
It has better games and more system modularity than all Nintendo platforms, than any gaming console, and more than OSX. All the other platforms run totally proprietary code. We shouldn’t compare ‘Windows vs Linux’, and note Windows works better, we should compare all top gaming platforms, and note the fastest growing one, with amazing support (despite its lack of advertising or userbase), is Linux.
Microsoft Office 365 just has better features
I’ve heard this a few times, and nobody seems to follow up with any notes about what features Office 365 provides. After creating a book, complete with wandering images, tables, and complex references in Libreoffice, I can’t believe that any standard users really care about the advanced features of Office 365. The only real day-to-day difference I see between the two is that users struggle to save documents in Microsoft Word, because it pushes them into saving to OneDrive, so anyone trying to save a document to their own computer gets confused, then needs to phone technical support to show them the ‘save locally’ button.
But you can’t get normal users to care about this stuff.
Great! They shouldn’t have to.
When I contact people, I do so through Signal. I don’t follow up with a FOSS lecture, I just use Signal, and it works fine. If they had to sign up to an XMPP server, it really wouldn’t break their delicate little non-computer heads. Everyone knows how to put in their email address, and sign up to a free xmpp account.
We all use Steam this way, or sign into Facebook through a phone app. Signing up then installing an app has never scared people, but still I hear FOSS-enthusiasts, so desperate to not scare normal users that they worry about signing up to a service then downloading an app. People have exactly the same apathy for FOSS as they do for any other software. The problem isn’t FOSS, they just don’t like new software.
However, when people (technical or not) have a problem, and you bring them a solution, they’ll use it happily, whether or not they worry about FOSS.
Just to show I’m not completely bonkers, I need to note there’s no FOSS equivalent to all Adobe products. GIMP works fine for basic photo editing, and everyone who wants the interface to simply copy Adobe products is simply wrong. However, it lacks non-destructive editing, the selection tool doesn’t work nearly as well as Photoshop; it simply can’t work for most professionals.
All in all
I don’t see why people curb their enthusiasm so much. If a few FOSS solutions haven’t gained mass adoption, the reasons are usually just:
- Lack of advertising
- Encroaching on an existing space with an existing solution (e.g. Mastodon)
- The product is simply very new (e.g. Only Office).