Last modified: 7:58 AM Saturday, 14 January 2017

Premature, but a hopeful sign

Although there is some overlap, with increasing numbers of Windows users also using Linux, and although Linux-only installations are becoming more numerous over time, the fact remains that the Microsoft OS still — as of the latest report I’ve read — commands over 90 percent of the total market. This, I think, makes it premature to speak of its having “lost the war.”

Linux versus Windows

Linux versus Windows: Has the reigning champ met its match?
[ Image Source ]

However, this still represents a hopeful trend. Had Microsoft not been so successful in suppressing competition from other platforms during the formative period of the computer industry — chiefly by exploiting its early market share to lock in developers so that there has historically been a dearth of applications for such platforms — free enterprise would have been better served. As pathocratic business would have it, Microsoft was for many years a functional monopoly: a lethal spider at the focus of many strands.

What the computer industry needs is many fully compatible operating systems using common protocols to facilitate developing applications that can be used in all of them, which can be made available to software developers on request with verification to establish their legitimacy. The merits of such a scenario are obvious: no functional monopolies narrowing the bottleneck of competition, better functionality, support and user responsiveness and — perhaps most of all — far better security. Malware creators, unable to clear the verification hurdle, would have to develop OS-specific malware, which thanks to the multitude of OSs in use would necessarily produce a limited impact. And, thanks to competition, the OS developers would lack no incentive to give users more control over their computers, enabling them more easily to protect themselves from exploits; this can already be seen in Linux.

Of course, we're not there yet: Microsoft still dominates too many critical chokepoints. But thanks to the growing popularity of Linux, such a scenario is no longer unthinkable.

Originally published as a review of a article extolling Linux' triumph over Microsoft. This article is no longer available, but we hope and believe that the
preceding observations are intelligible with or without it.

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