Linux is a free OS that has gained significant popularity over the last 10 years or so. It has improved a lot in terms of interface, features, and services during these years.
Yet, as of this writing, Windows has the highest market share at 87.56%, followed by macOS at 9.54%. Linux has a market share of just 2.35%, and Chrome OS has 0.41%. Linux is pretty dominant in the server market, but we are just discussing the desktop OS here.
So let’s analyze the key factors behind the lesser adaptation and the lack of dominance of desktop Linux even though it’s free.
1. Linux Isn’t Backed by a Corporate Entity
Big companies like Microsoft, Apple, and Google back Windows, macOS, and Android. These companies bring in a whole specialist marketing team to the equation that helps them gain large chunks of the market share.
Unfortunately, you can’t say the same for Linux distros, as individuals or smaller companies with no dedicated marketing team are behind their development, hampering them from reaching a larger audience.
Ubuntu is a bit of an exception in this example, as Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, markets its product more than any other distro developer does. That is why it is one of the most popular Linux distros out there and is suitable for new users.
2. Using the Terminal Is Not Everyone’s Cup of Tea
Terminal or the Linux command line can perform various operations using text commands. You can control your system by specifying commands, such as for app installation and deletion, file creation, administrative functions, and tons more.
Linux is highly reliant on terminal commands, and this reliance is something many users love about Linux. But at the same time, it creates an image of complexity among new potential users, which in turn, keeps them away from trying it.
The problem with terminal commands is that it is difficult to remember them. Creating a folder or a file through Graphical User Interface or GUI is much more convenient than memorizing and typing a terminal command. Moreover, it can be a frustrating experience sometimes as the commands can fail due to even the slightest typing error.
You can consider this point a misconception as well. Because nowadays, most distros have become quite user-friendly by improving their GUIs, hence allowing users to perform all the basic tasks without touching the terminal. You can use terminal commands if you want, but you can accomplish almost all the fundamental operations through the GUI.
3. Lack of Availability of Industry-Standard Software
No matter which field you are working in, the industry-standard software in that field will most likely be unavailable on Linux. Adobe Photoshop, CorelDRAW, Microsoft Excel, and many more apps are simply not developed for Linux.
It comes down to the market share again. Linux has such a small market share that these big developers don’t find it worth a while to produce software for it. Besides, most Linux users are advocates of open-source apps, making them less likely to purchase a piece of software.
There are great free Linux alternatives to popular apps, like GIMP for Photoshop, LibreOffice for Microsoft Office, Inkscape for CorelDRAW and Illustrator, and a lot more. But when your peers are using a different app, it can be challenging to keep up due to compatibility issues and different file formats.
4. Lack of an Exclusive Ecosystem of Apps and Services
An ecosystem of apps and services allows you to efficiently perform your operations across various devices. This environment often results in productivity enhancement and ease of access.
Examples of such ecosystems are Microsoft Office, Outlook, and OneDrive for Microsoft. Similarly, iTunes, AirDrop, and Notes create an ecosystem for Apple, while Gmail and Google Chrome do so for Chromebooks.
Linux doesn’t have a similar widely used environment of apps and services. Besides, there are so many distros and flavors that it is pretty hard to create such a unified ecosystem. Moreover, Linux in fact tries to free you from these ecosystems in a way. So it would be counterproductive to implement one.
5. Lack of Support for Individual Distros
Technical support is important for all users. Whether you use an OS for personal or commercial purposes, it always needs solid technical support.
Microsoft and Apple both have one main OS on offer. So it is easier for them to provide great support to their users as the focus is on one product. Besides, they have huge customer support departments at hand.
Linux also has a pretty decent community for all major distros. You can visit the community forums and ask for solutions to the issues that you may encounter.
However, if you compare the customer support of Linux distros with those of Windows or macOS, the numbers are pretty small. On Linux, you might have to ask a question and wait pretty long for an answer. In comparison, the solutions might already be there for Windows and macOS.
6. Choosing Between So Many Distros Can Be Confusing
As Linux is open source, it means its source code is openly available, and anyone can change, edit, and make a new customized version of it. Many Linux distros provide a different customized experience, as they are designed with specific users in mind.
With so many options to choose from, there is no single, standard “Linux” out there. Each distro has a target audience and specific functionality. So users find it difficult to research and find the right distro according to their needs.
7. Linux Is Behind on the Gaming Scene
As the gaming industry is thriving and is a major source of revenue generation, Linux has improved its gaming experience for users. However, it is still far behind when compared to other operating systems such as Windows.
This is changing quickly, though, as you can find more and more Linux distros suitable for gaming. The direction is right, and we can hope that Linux will catch up soon with its competitors in the gaming scene.
Linux Still Hasn’t Reached Its Full Potential
Linux has made its way up in popularity and functionality. It is also one of the most creative and useful OSes, albeit with its pros and cons. It is constantly improving day by day through its interactive communities.
If you are looking to change your operating system from Windows, macOS, or Chrome OS to Linux, you must have the necessary information on the tradeoffs. There are several things exclusive to Linux that aren’t available on other OSes like Windows.