No politics please, we're Linux!

What the Linux Foundation should have given was a statement emphasizing value, cooperation among vendors, and a promise to make Linux desktops run as well as Windows. Thematic offense in place of programmatic defense.

Linux Collaboration Summit logo
The first, highly-anticipated Linux Collaboration Summit is history.

Great! says Andy Oram for O'Reilly. A second wind, chimes in NetworkWorld. Linux going green, says InfoWorld.

But what really happened?  Development promises were made in areas like accessibility, printing, power management and device drivers. Welcome stuff, but in marketing terms it reads like an admission of guilt.

What the Linux Foundation should have given was a statement emphasizing value, cooperation among vendors, and a promise to make Linux desktops run as well as Windows. Thematic offense in place of programmatic defense. I know they can fight. I've seen it on their blogs.

I say this as a friend. Linux is in an intense, politically-charged marketing struggle, with its chances for long-term desktop market share on the line. Yet what its leaders agree the software doesn't do, in development terms, is kindergarten stuff.

We're now supposed to wait, what, six months, a year, or more for this surge in development to deliver basic desktop services? And we're supposed to be happy about it?

OK. The leading lights in Linux are admitting to failures everyone else has known about for years. They have promised to work together on fixes. That's the good news.

But before Linux can go on offense, Windows Vista may have won another generation of desktop users, unopposed.

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