Just before I went to bed last night, I was struck with a thought. Open Source software lacks marketing muscle. The more I thought about it, the more I agreed.
Now, don’t get me wrong here. I am not an Open Source basher. In fact, I have written a book on Kylix, which runs on Linux. I like Linux and other Open Source alternatives and what they bring to the table, especially the price! 😉
But let’s be realistic here.
Open Source software appeals to geeks like you and me for a number of reasons that I won’t go into here. Geek appeal is not enough for Open Source to succeed, however.
Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote “Build a better mousetrap and the world will beat a path to your door”. Unfortunately, Emerson’s quote no longer applies today. Open Source software usually fits into the “better mousetrap” category. Time and time again, you will find quality Open Source applications that are better than their commercial counterparts. Unfortunately it is irrelevant to the world at large. Without marketing, how will the world know about your “better mousetrap”? Is the world beating down the doors?
Marketing is where commercial companies have a distinct advantage. They allocate a percentage of their budget to get the word out about their products. Open Source software doesn’t have that luxury. Until your non-geek friends and relatives start talking about specific Open Source software applications, Open Source software will be only known among the geeks.
So what can we do to help Open Source succeed? Let everyone (not just geeks) know about it. When your average, non-technical computer user can name the top five Open Source alternatives, we’ll really start to see things get interesting!