Whoa. Opened Blogger in IE today. Much nicer looking interface. Somebody at Pyra should be fired. :^)

Apparently there's an article at Slashdot about a $200 box that comes with Lindows 2.0 as the operating system with a version of AOL on it. Let's forget about whether it really runs software for Windows right now. What's important is that this is a distribution of Linux that, by definition (now that AOL is involved) is going to have to target the consumer.

This is big news. Think about what used to be the cost of not using Windows. Mac OS actually costs more to keep current than Windows once you start flaming about hardware. That five percent or so of personal computer users use Mac OS, in spite of it being more expensive, tells me there's something better than Windows in there on some level (even if it's just image).

Sure Linux is free, but the cost was and is that you had to find a computer that didn't have an "expensive as in Windows" OS on it when you bought it (very few people are comfortable putting together a computer from scratch, apparently :^D) and then you've got to add the learning curve of installing Linux and Linux apps, which just isn't fun. Finding the computer sans Windows plus learning to use this system that's [currently] best suited on a server has turned out to be more expensive than plopping down $600 for a new box with Windows XP and a monitor for most PC buyers.

If this Lindows/AOL box does a good enough job, Linux gets a lot cheaper for your run-of-the-mill PC user. Are Windows and, for all that matters, Macintosh OS really worth another eighty to a hundred dollars for the typical PC user? As computer users become a little savvier, and as a "free as in beer or puppies or whatever else free" operating system gets more user friendly, you'll find that these other OSs simply aren't worth the premium any more when it comes to the desktop.

I think the open source model has proven itself to be a viable one and not a fad. That's hardly controversial. As long as it keeps progressing as it is even now, it's just a matter of time before both Microsoft and Apple are wondering what hit them. (might be a long time yet, but still a matter of time)