Somehow a subset of slashdotters has been getting reasonable posts (front page articles) tagged as trolls. Although these posts present a point of view that the archetypal slashdotter might disagree with, they offer a glimpse into marketing and real world considerations that aren't always visible to the slashdot community. Two cases in point.
First, a day or two ago there was a post claiming that the Linux desktop will never happen. Okay, inflammatory headline, but when I look at the point the article is making, I see some marketplace realities from a personal perspective as a user of some commercial apps. First, my mission critical applications are Quicken, Quickbooks, MS Access, and TiVo Desktop. If I don't have these, I can't do my work and I can't watch or listen to my media through my entertainment system.
The market reality in the desktop article is that there is a lack of end user content on Linux. Slashdot reads this as if OSS is all anybody needs yet fails to miss the point: if there's no Intuit, Microsoft, TiVo, etc. available, there is a gaping, showstopping hole in Linux desktop content that will necessitate my continuing to use Windows. I'm not switching to GnuCash because I need to exchange data with other people using Intuit's software, there's no good replacement for Access, and I have a significant hardware investment in TiVo so will not be switching to MythTV.
My second case in point was a posting today, where Steve Jobs lashed out at Google Android. There are very valid points to some of the arguments against Android. It's not a consistent platform, either at the UI or internally. Thorough quality engineering of apps will need to account for over 100 variants that, simply stated, pose a legitimate testing nightmare. I can't hold a vanilla Android device in my hand and know how to use it just because it's an Android, because OEMs are modifying the UIs. The ability to do this is both a blessing and a curse, but when ordinary, non-technical people (the vast majority in the country) hold this thing in their hands, the blessings aren't so apparent, the perception is skewed, and the reputation is skewered.
Folks, it's not a troll or flamebait to point this stuff out. And it's a fact that the world into which we want to deploy and market these things into extends far beyond our own little geekdom, yet nobody is looking that far out. Until OSS advocates and radicals start seeing what's outside their walled kingdom, the rest of the world will see that kingdom as something odd and irrelevant. That's what the Linux desktop is when it doesn't have peoples' mission critical software.