Will Windows 8 really push more people towards Linux?

So Brian and I have been a little busy this summer, but I am sitting here getting my car worked on this morning so I figured I would actually write about something I have been reading more and more about lately.  The fact that Windows 8 is so horrible with its new “Metro” interface, that people are going to start flocking to Linux in huge droves.  

While I think most of us in the Linux community would really like to believe this, I think we all need to be realistic.  I cannot disagree that the interface to Windows 8 is something that has MUCH to be desired.  I have tried to use it and for the time being, I am not going to be upgrading anyone in my family to Windows 8 since I am the family “tech guy”.  Why, you may ask?  If you have not tried Windows 8 yet, this version is a combination of Windows 7 with a tablet interface.  This type of unification is something that everyone, including Linux distributions are doing.  Yes Ubuntu, I’m talking about your Unity interface.  While most of the major OS developers are trying to unify all devices to one interface, it is something that I am not ready to tackle with my 70+ year old parents yet even though that they do have Iphones which is a topic for a whole different post.

 The sad thing is, enterprise is thinking the same thing.  The cost to have to retrain employees is something that most companies are not going to want to undertake as most of them have probably just upgraded from Windows XP to Windows 7.  Keep in mind that Microsoft is always in a tick-tock type of pattern to software development.  We have seen this in their last several releases for the past ten plus years.  One version is for lack of a better term “usable”, while the next version makes such drastic changes, that the OS doesn’t become stable again until a large Service Pack is released or a new version of Windows comes out.  Windows 8 is definitely an OS that most people will probably not want to upgrade too, but the OS will still sell in large numbers as it will be the OS that comes with all new computers, and that is where Microsoft does a majority of their sales.

So what does this all have to do with Linux you might ask?   Well, Gabe Newell of Valve, has come out stating that his company is porting its Steam software for use on Linux and he is hoping that they will have over 2,500 games available to be playable on the Linux OS.  Now while most of us are not able to play games at work, this type of exposure for Linux should do nothing but help the open source community.  But again, even though his feelings are that Windows 8 will be a huge failure, we have to keep in mind that when Sony released the Playstation 3, he came out and spoke about the difficulties of working with Sony’s device, a stance that he seems to recently have gone back on. 

I guess only time will tell as to how much the new Metro interface will be accepted by the public, but the more companies that bring their products to the Linux environment will, in the long run, help continue the push of bringing Linux onto the desktop into more homes.  While Linux desktop numbers may not be increasing by leaps and bounds, once more people realize that the Linux OS can do everything a Windows or Mac computer can do with greater flexibility, more people will start flocking to Open Source as their OS of choice. Even though not everyone will like the interface on their particular OS, Linux is by far the most flexible when it comes to being able to personalize your desktop and OS interface experience.

So I say, Thank You, to Valve and any other companies that want to start focusing on Linux more and please tell more of your industry partners to do the same!

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