Why GNU/Linux distros ignore market?

This post is a response to a techrepublic post.  You can read the full post here.

Unlike my usual fare, I’m going to cut to the chase and answer this question up front. The Chromebook (and it’s Linux-based Chromium OS) succeeds because it’s easy to use and it works. Simple. End of story.

Oh, but wait — it’s not really all that simple. There’s one additional point of interest, one that I’ve been harping on Linux distributions about for years. The Chromebook does one thing all other distributions do not…


Granted. Market is the only thing MOST of the GNU/Linux distros omit ( Just note that I said “most” not “all”). Except “Red hat”, “Ubuntu” and few others, rest of the GNU/Linux distros are not at all market oriented. But no doubt, they are great products. But why did they ignore the market? The answer is too simple – good products will neither target nor conquer the market. Market is the place where hypes and exaggerations rule. The GNU/Linux universe has a well built ecosystem and the users has a close awareness about it. So the target users will automatically get into the right distros, there is no need for a market study nor any kind of hypes. Take the example of Debian – they IGNORE the market as a whole.  Their concern is not the market, it is stability, usability, security and so on. And so does MOST of the GNU/Linux distros. They have clear target users, and are not designed to conquer the market.  Users do not mind the market.

The true GNU/Linux users and activists are observing the entry of Chromebook with a little fear and excitement. The reason for fear is that Chromebook is a Linux based product focused on market strategies and hypes. So values of  FREEDOM may not be present in such a market oriented product. The reason for excitement is that lots of new users may come forward to use Chromebook and thus Linux and Open Source products will get into the limelight. Thus people will understand the power of FLOSS (Free / Libre and Open Source Software) products.