Free is too expensive (Economist)
Posted Apr 10, 2012 10:42 UTC (Tue) by anselm
In reply to: Free is too expensive (Economist)
Parent article: Free is too expensive (Economist)
But it looks these preparations will require complete divorce from the world of traditional Linux distributions. Which is sad because said distributions did many things right.
A computer manufacturer could do a lot worse than team up with somebody who will provide support for one of the major long-lifecycle distributions like Debian or Ubuntu (LTS). That would ensure a reasonable time between upgrades (which are usually seamless) as well as timely security patches, and a wide, easily-accessible selection of software from the get-go. Also these distributions are unlikely to go away anytime soon. So far this hasn't been seriously tried AFAIK.
It is important to emphasise that these distributions already come with lots of software that people would otherwise have to obtain, possibly at very considerable expense, from the open third-party market or an »app store«. So it's not as if one would immediately need lots of buy-in from third-party software developers (as in OS X). Certainly somebody who uses their computer mainly to surf the web, to write e-mail and letters, even to deal with holiday photographs, to catalogue books or DVDs or a stamp collection, and many other things that occur in the usual home or SOHO use, could go a very long way without having to install anything from outside the distribution's repositories.
Of course if the prime purpose of the computer in question is to run the newest Windows games, a Windows machine is likely to be the better bet – but that isn't going to change however much Linux is modified. It may not actually be worth the trouble.
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