Marc Wagner over at ZDNet writes about Linux competing with Microsoft and the other big boys. He makes several implicit assumptions in his argument, and adds the same sense of urgency as many other writers on the topic.
The assumption he makes is that Linux is some kind of entity that is out to compete. The Linux community is not directed in the same way that entities like Microsoft are. The Linux community is a bunch of people and companies that happen to have this neat Free tool that allows them to do their job. They’re not out to force this tool down anyone’s throat. They’re not out to defeat Microsoft. They’re not going to disappear off the scene if they “lose”. (Ok, so some companies are, but not the community as a whole.)
The urgency that is evident in Marc’s post (”Linux better hurry or else!!!”) is not necessary at all. It is this undirected nature of the movement that makes it so powerful. It is this constant, if slow, improvement that endows Linux users with so much confidence. Their tools are Free and forever will be, and they will only get better over time. There is no need to hurry. I, and others are convinced that Free Software will win eventually, but that isn’t a goal in and of itself. It is merely the consequence of the existence of Free Software.
Marc does have a valid point in that there are several mutually exclusive target markets for Linux companies, and that Linux adoption would be speeded up if a major manufacturer offered it with their PCs. But this is merely obvious knowledge to any company peddling Linux wares, and is of no consequence to the community as a whole.