I once heard that when elephants are very young,
trainers tie them with a strong chain to a deeply planted post. No
matter how much the elephant tries, it simply can't break loose. Eventually the
baby elephant simply stops trying and accepts the fact that they have no other
option but to be tied to the stake.
At that point, the trainer replaces the heavy chain
with a light-weight rope tied to a small stake hammered loosely into the ground.
Even when the elephant is full grown, weighing thousands of pounds, because of
its training and conditioning, it thinks it can't break free. Even though it
would only take the slightest tug by this now massive creature to pull up the
stake or break the small rope, the elephant doesn't even try. The trainer has
used a monopoly of the mind to convince this powerful animal that it's a slave.
A day doesn't go by that I don't have someone say to
me, "I'd love to be able to leave Microsoft® Windows behind, but I'm
locked in," and much like the elephant, the user is experiencing
Microsoft's monopoly of the mind. Microsoft has done a magnificent job of convincing people
that they must use MS Windows. It's a rare company that can create not
only a monopoly in the marketplace, but a monopoly of the mind,
where consumers are convinced they must remain a slave to using their products,
even when viable, less expensive, less restrictive
Fortunately, over the last ten years, Linux has been successful in breaking this
mindset for servers. This was possible because those who
installed and maintained servers were knowledgeable enough to be able to try the
Linux alternative. I.T. professionals were able to get past some of the
complicated technology to gain the massive pay-offs of Linux, such as increased
security, power, and stability, all at a much lower cost.
Breaking through Microsoft's monopoly of the mind for desktop users won't be
as easy. Desktop users aren't nearly as technical, and after years of
using the same operating system, they have been trained to work and think a
certain way. Like the trained, adult elephant, they too are slaves,
thinking they can't break free, when the possibility for freedom is right in
front of them. Many, however, have broken free. Tell us how you broke the
monopoly of the mind and possibly win a
$199 LindowsOS PC. Send your story to
How can Lindows.com help break the monopolistic grip?
Read on to learn about Lindows.com's, three-prong plan-of-attack.
1. Spotlight great existing Linux programs and make them easy
to find, install and run. Lindows.com uses the Click-N-Run
Warehouse to spotlight hundreds of great Linux software programs. With
screen shots, descriptions, categories, listings by popularity, etc. we've made
identifying the best Linux software very easy. LindowsOS
users can then install any of these products with one
click of their mouse, removing the complexity of installation.
I often have the privilege of demonstrating LindowsOS
to people who have never seen Linux before. I love doing this! I
love it because their reaction is always the same, that of total shock at
just how good Linux software is. They are amazed at how much LindowsOS
and the Click-N-Run products look and behave in ways they are accustomed.
See for yourself how good the
Click-N-Run programs are.
2. Get certain MS
Windows-compatible "bridge" programs to run under Linux.
Lindows.com continues its work daily to get LindowsOS to run key bridge products
such as Microsoft Office 2000, Word, Excel and PowerPoint. In some areas, there just aren't
alternatives yet as what is available with MS Windows. Lindows.com targets these
products and works towards getting them to run well enough that people will be
able to use them as they migrate to Linux. This is a very difficult
undertaking, and progress can be slow and tedious, but by focusing on a
handful of important, key "bridge" applications, this can be an
effective way to help people overcome their fear of moving to Linux.
Because of the complexities involved, we see this as a short-term solution, just
until there are solid Linux programs for all product categories.
3. Get software manufacturers to port their popular MS
Windows products to Linux. Linux will never run a program written for MS
Windows as well as MS Windows will run it. But, if software manufacturers see
enough people moving to Linux on their desktop, they will start to port their
software over. Mac only has about a 5% market share on the desktop, yet that is
enough that Adobe®, Macromedia®, Intuit®, etc. make sure their products run
on Mac. Lindows.com is working with many of the major software manufacturers to
encourage them to port their products to Linux. We have offered our full
assistance to them in this regard. I can't go into too many details just
yet, but having some of the top MS Windows-compatible programs running on
LindowsOS, and even installable with one click via Click-N-Run, isn't as far off
as you may think.
Any one of the above three items alone may not be enough to break Microsoft's
monopoly of the mind, but the synergy of all three will bring more users to LindowsOS.
And unlike the elephant, we have the cognitive capacity to flex our power and
keep choice alive.
I believe 2003 will be the year that Linux starts to bring desktop users, the
same value and advantages that it has so successfully brought to servers.
We hope many of you will join us at the first annual Desktop
Linux Summit, Feb. 20-21, 2003, in San Diego, where the theme "Yes, you
can.." will focus on the power of the individual, despite any prior
As always, thanks for your support.
The Michael's Minute Meter
P.S. Walmart.com just announced the first $199 LindowsOS computer. It is an 800Mhz machine and tests in our labs show it to be a pretty fast performer. So if you're considering buying a back-to-school computer checkout www.lindows.com/walmart199
your essay and tell us how you broke the monopoly of the mind. One lucky
person will receive a $199 LindowsOS computer. Entries will be accepted until
the end of September. Send your story to
View the Michael's Minute Meter Report