Recently I was able to have to watch Linux Sucks 2020 by Bryan Lunduke. The video has many serious points, and you should watch the video. However, the video didn't hit on three particular points well enough. While covered, at least in part, I felt like the justice for these points wasn't given.
Linux fails many things, and Bryan Lunduke spoke near flawlessly on the situation. I felt three important issues still did not get covered or described as they should have been.
It's possible to see many companies and creators say how good Linux is and why it is good. We see companies work on putting Linux on desktops and laptops by the major manufacturers. We see many manufacturers spawn to ship Linux and nothing but Linux. We see distributions make Linux more appealing to general users, and developers helping make that happen. None of this is proactive.
Proactive, defined by Dictionary.com, is "serving to prepare for, intervene in, or control an expected occurrence or situation, especially a negative or difficult one; anticipatory:"
None of what Linux is doing as a community as proactive, it's passive. We build these cool things, but don't push word of mouth. We make Linux an option, but don't drive people to use it.
Linux isn't advertising itself. Linux doesn't spend the money to get its name in front of people. While it's arguable spending money on ads is a waste of time because other projects and products didn't do that, there is a problem applying that logic to Linux.
Discord is an application well associated with voice chat, with half a billion users on the platform. Discord didn't spend money on advertising. They got huge in their market by word of mouth. Why not apply what Discord did to Linux? Well, there are many reasons. Not the least of which being Discord dealt with a different market.
Discord grew in a space that had very few actual options. The competition was almost only Skype and Teamspeak. Skype at the time was hated, and to this day, Teamspeak is struggling to compete with Discord.
Linux is trying to fight established options. Linux fights macOS and Windows, alongside smaller systems, like the BSD systems, Solaris, Illumos, and Haiku, to name a few. Linux has had and lost, the chances to grow beyond two percent market share. Even now, while Windows is bleeding users, Linux isn't growing. macOS is taking the market that Windows is losing. Linux isn't grabbing that, almost at all. While some articles pop up saying Linux is growing, that's false. At best, Linux is stagnant. At worst, Linux is slowly falling.
Those articles saying Linux is growing when it's not are also damaging. It creates the "we are doing well" mindset. We are not doing well, because Linux isn't advertising. We should tell our project leaders to change this if we had them, that is.
The thing is, many distributions run by committee. That is a terrible idea. Very few projects run by a committee over single management systems succeed. Let's take what is arguably the biggest open-source project ever made, the Python programming language. Python runs with a BDFL, benevolent dictator for life.
Nearly every operating system supports a python interpreter. Haiku OS, one of the smallest operating systems by market share, supports Python. The BSD systems support Python. So does Solaris, Illumos, Linux, Minix, macOS, and Windows. It is near impossible to find an operating system that doesn't support Python. That's because Python has one person as a leader.
Don't throw Linux OS fragmentation out there. That doesn't hurt Linux. The distributions that form not having leaders hurt Linux. The most substantial Linux distribution by market share, Ubuntu, has leadership. They don't work by open committees, as many other distributions do. At most, they have a closed committee with Mark Shuttleworth, the CEO of canonical, being the final voice.
Lunduke goes much more in-depth with Linux and it being fairly committee based in Linux Sucks 2020. However, we absolutely cannot ignore that Linux doesn't advertise itself. It isn't proactive in growing the userbase. While some will undoubtedly say that people will use what they want to use, that doesn't mean the community should not be proactive in growing users. Linux will struggle and will stay as an enthusiast operating system for all time unless we finally become proactive in increasing the userbase.