World Domination 201

First of all, Merry Christmas everyone. Hope you all enjoy the holidays.

Secondly, I read through Eric S. Raymond’s essay titled World Domination 201. In this essay, ESR points out that the Linux community has until 2008 to get ready for the next shift in computer hardware. And because of this shift in hardware, a shift in software will also take place. In 2008, the low end PC’s will all have 64-bit CPU’s and the market will have to pick a new standard for the 64-bit architecture.

He listed several issues that are requirements for this new standard:

“The issues we believe to be requirements for the new 64-bitdesktop standard platform are, in order of increasing painfulness:

  • Drivers for all major existing hardware.
  • 32-bit legacy platform emulation.
  • Surviving the killer app.
  • Enabling preinstalls.
  • Support for all major multimedia formats.”

Point one and five stick out in my mind as quite important. As I have been following the Planet Ubuntu articles in my spare time, binary video card drivers and multimedia codecs have been a point of major discussion. Basically, Ubuntu might be enabling binary (non-free) video card drivers in its next release. This will allow users to enjoy the eye candy of transparency, rotating cubes, etc. Multimedia codecs allow users to listen to MP3’s and watch DVD’s, both are not free.

I have not finished the World Domination essay, so I am not exactly sure where ESR stands on this issue though I am assuming he is agruing for free alternatives to the binary drivers. I agree that to win the average computer user, Linux will need to work out of the box. But will that cause the Linux community to be just like Windows and Mac OS X? Should we be willing to go away from the roots that started this movement to win the desktop market?

Those are questions that I am unable and unwilling to answer myself. And I will probably still be loyal to the Linux community either way.

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