Open source or the Windows root canal?

VARs who are trusted by their clients can, for less than the cost of a Vista upgrade, quietly leave Windows, delivering new hardware (and maybe some keen peripherals), charging what they now charge and gaining customer control.

I'm old enough to remember when the launch of a new Windows version was real cause for celebration. (Image from Nathan.Com.)

I can recall how, back in the day, Bill Gates would walk among us and was just as jazzed as we were about the new capabilities. Multimedia! Videoconferencing! Education!

Now he comes out like Dick Cheney from an undisclosed location into a TV studio (as he did this morning on CNN), and you know he's doing it by rote. The launch of Windows Vista feels like a root canal. The new features are not "killer" (sorry Ed) and the cost is not small -- not if you want your applications optimized.

It's not like this in the game machine business. (Wii!) It's not like this when Apple launches new products. (The cult of Steve.) The reason is that, on those platforms, new applications really are coming out, new ways to interact, new ways to think of what's essentially a computer.

Vista is like an IBM upgrade, from back in the 1970s. (I should note that if you're working with the disabled you may be very excited by Windows Vista.)

So is this really the opportunity desktop Linux has been looking for? Maybe, if you think Tom Vilsack will out-poll Hillary Clinton (or Duncan Hunter will beat John McCain).

Because the desktop Linux industry, such as it is, has been amazingly quiet these last few months. It's all about stability or cost, never ease of use, never great new features and applications.

What's likely over the next year is that Linux will continue to grow among VARs, in pharmacies and offices, among doctors, lawyers and Indian chiefs (gaming accounting systems).

VARs who are trusted by their clients can, for less than the cost of a Vista upgrade, quietly leave Windows, delivering new hardware (and maybe some keen peripherals), charging what they now charge and gaining customer control.

But that's not sexy, either.

 

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