This guy seems to think the reason Linux isn’t popular is because it is free. Since people can get Linux for free, they don’t value it as much as Windows (or Mac OS X).
I have a different reason.
Linux doesn’t work.
Yes, I’ve heard some geeks have been able to install it on their home machines, and they claim it works fine. I think even the very web site you’re reading now (installed by geeks) runs on Linux.
I had a Linux geek tell me about this wonderful, easy to use version of Linux called Ubuntu. You can go to their site, download it and burn it onto a CD, and it will run on your computer. You don’t even have to install anything, he assured me, it just works.
Easy to use? I figured I’d give it a shot. I went to the web site, followed the instructions as best I could (they were a little confusing — I wasn’t quite sure which type of computer to say I have; there’s no choice for “iMac Core Duo”). I downloaded the file and burned a CD. There were no instructions on what type of CD to burn. I picked the default option, figuring if there were no instructions, I should stick with the default. I put the CD in the computer. I rebooted. Was I transported to Linux bliss? No. I got the normal Mac bootup screen.
I searched their forums. It was still unclear, but best I could tell, it sounded like I might need to install an additional bit of software to get Ubuntu to work. This was no longer seeming so easy, but I downloaded the software and installed it. I put my CD in the computer and rebooted. Still nothing.
I consulted with my geek friend. He suggested that I download the software that I had just downloaded.
I gave up. Linux was not easy to use, and it was taking my whole day just to get the thing running. There was very little indication it was EVER going to get running. I’ve had problems with my Macs before, but there was always SOME hope, and the instructions on the forums were much clearer.
Maybe some geek could get Ubuntu to work on my computer, but I couldn’t — not without spending untold hours searching forums for an answer. These untold hours are not free, they’re EXPENSIVE. That’s why I gave up on installing Linux on my computer.
Until normal people can easily install and use Linux, normal people will not use Linux. Not for free, not for money, not for any price.