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Not to fear... draft 0.02

Okay, please read throught this again so I can turn it into a final?
BTW, I added some stuff about FUD without calling it FUD.

Notes: I kept both Gnome and KDE, simply to avoid stuff like "why haven't
you listed this one". I don't think the *Steps and WindowMaker etc belong
here because they don't have the primary goal to make Linux attractive for
the desktop user.
Michael: It would be nice to have a reference for the companies you
mentioned that were using Linux. We need links and facts, not rumours and
gossip. Not even 'common knowledge'.
'taxman': About Linux being a risky investment, I would not like to go into
that. That is for the companies to decide, since the risk and possible gains
are different for each of them. But it has proven to work for many in the
past and I hardly see why gaming should be different, especially since there
is such a lack of games.
TODO: get the/a Slashdot poll running and include the results.
Reasons not to fear Linux game development - draft 0.02
* Fast growing user install base
Relatively recent projects such as <a href="http://www.kde.org/">KDE</a> and
<a href="http://www.gnome.org/">Gnome</a> are bringing Linux to the desktop.
Alhough the install base of Linux cannot be measured precisely because the
OS is freely available, estimations vary from anywhere between 5 and 10
million users. A growing number, only surpassed by Windows and MacOS in size
and unmatched in growth rate.
A recent survey concluded that <a
growth of Linux in 1998 was 212%</a> and it is unlikely to stop growing with
all the momentum it has been getting lately. <a
href="http://www.redhat.com/">Red Hat</a> (one of the commercial Linux
distributors) provides a page with a reasonable sizing up of the <a
href="http://www.redhat.com/redhat/linuxmarket.html">Linux market.</a> The
<a href="http://lwn.net/1998/1224/timeline.html">Linux timeline</a> also
demonstrates the rapid growth of the OS.

A small and far from complete list of companies using Linux: Digital Domain
(creators of the special effects for the movie hit Titanic), the Pepsi
commercials, CNN, The National Weather Service, NASA, the Department of
Defense, the Army (military intelligence librettos of death), Fermi labs
(splitting atoms), the IRS, Turner Broadcasting, Cisco, Sun, Starbucks,
* There IS money in Linux
Because most programs for Linux are available for free just like the OS
itself, many developers conclude there is no money in the platform. However,
there is a huge lack of games for Linux and especially of high quality ones.
Linux is also a premier development platform for developing and deploying
network game solutions.
It is true that open source applications have surpassed commercial ones in
many areas, even <a href="http://www.microsoft.com/">Microsoft</a> admits
this in the now historical <a
href="http://www.opensource.org/halloween.html">Halloween documents</a>.
Nevertheless, this had not been true with games thus far. However, with more
commercial vendors supporting and deploying their applications on Linux,
this is changing. These companies have ported their database applications:
Oracle, IBM, Sybase, Informix. Corel's WordPerfect is also supported by
Linux. Now that major appliactions have been ported, the rest will follow.
Some notoriously famous games have been ported to Linux. Doom, Quake, Quake
II, and Ultima Online all work with Linux.
It is true that the server market has been stronger in that past, but
current trends in Linux are leaning towards a strong client solution as well
with developments of desktops such as the earlier mentioned KDE and Gnome.
It is also not true that all Linux users refuse to pay for software: many of
them use commercial distributions. The idealism that all software should be
bundled with its source code and should be allowed to be freely copied can
never be forced upon a vendor and does not apply to the majority of desktop
users: they are not fanatics refusing to run any proprieraty software.
History proves that people will pay for good software. It is not neccesary
to release source code and is solely up to the vendor to do so if they wish. 
However, you can still make money by giving away your software and
distributing your source code. Companies such as Red Hat, Corel, Cygnus, and
the company formerly known as Netscape have all been successful with the
open source model.
* Developing for Linux as investment
By developing software for Linux one would make an investement in a fast
growing and very popular operating system. At the end of 1998 many database
products had been ported to the operating system. By doing this, the vendors
made sure that their names were known in the Linux community in the likely
case that Linux would continue to grow and establish itself as viable
alternative as a desktop operating system. It is very important to see a new
market when it emerges to stay ahead of the competors - or not to fall
behind - and to maintain a market share or even expand it.
* Make decisions based on research, not misinformation
Quite often news articles or press releases appear on the Internet and in
other media regarding Linux and its possibilities. Although there are many
excellent documents on Linux, only few of them have proven to be totally
accurate. A vast amount of these documents contain misinformation -
intentially or not - and do not give a good perspective on Linux. There is
an excellent article written by ... ... about these common <a
You can have faith in an open source operating system. Some people might say
that Linux and other open source software is 'unstable' or capable of being
'compromised.' This is not true. The fact that all of the source is
available means that it will be scrutinized by everyone. This ensures that
the application will not be released as ready until it really is. One might
ask why they would develop for something in which they --don't-- have the
source code.

Rob Kaper | mail: cap@capsi.demon.nl cap@capsi.com cap@capsi.net
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          | "Got up early (as in before noon). A most confusing experience
          |  when the sun is coming up not going down." -- Alan Cox