I talk quite a bit about Linux going “mainstream” in this blog. The mainstream thought on Mainstream Adoption is that a “mainstream” thing is something that is familiar to the masses. According to the wikipedia, mainstream is:
- Something that is ordinary or usual
- Something that is familiar to the masses
- Something that is available to the general public
Linux has #3 down. I’d also argue that it is becoming “the usual” in quite a few areas of business and computing…so we partially have #1…but Linux will never be ‘ordinary’ as it’s only ordinary if you use it that way. #2 is where Linux hasn’t made complete progress. It’s well on its way to doing this.
I give this definition because I want to clarify that when I say I want Linux to “go mainstream,” I’m speaking of it becoming familiar to the masses. I don’t care about businesses or money or markets or anything else when I speak about the mainstream adoption of Linux. The reason I don’t care about Linux in business or the market value or channels of Linux service providers is because even if all of these things didn’t exist…Linux would still be there on my desktop…and if Linux didn’t exist, none of those markets, channels, or businesses that base themselves on Linux would be there. They are completely reliant upon Linux; but the opposite isn’t true. Therefore, I don’t care much about directions they want to see Linux go. Nor do I care about how much money Linux is valued at or how much money it can make people. I just want to see use of Linux spread. The more people that use Linux, the better off Linux will become…if not for more people that Linux will inspire to become active in projects then for making more noise if some piece of hardware (like a printer) doesn’t work in Linux. Perhaps if there are more voices in our chorus, people and businesses alike will have a harder time not listening to the music.
Despite my earlier notions that Linux and mainstreaming are a bad combination, I’ve switched to the school of thought that Linux becoming mainstream is a logical progression of growth. Especially considering that anyone using Linux doesn’t have the right to stifle this growth…linux is what linux does with or without our opinions and stances on matters. After all, open source is OPEN…for everyone…and if we’re speaking FOSS, then it’s free for everyone too. That means we don’t have a right to keep someone from using Linux nor do we have the right to keep Linux from someone…so mainstream, here Linux comes 🙂