Tuesday, January 8, 2008

What are the killer features of Linux?

The lack of a so called killer application is often given as an excuse for the low adoption of Linux on desktops. This argument surprises me, because I ceratinly have not found a singlr “Killer” application in Windows for the general user, with the exception of hardcore games, which does not have an equivalent in Linux. Maybe someone will enlighten me on this. What passes for “killer” application in Windows is familiarity with a certain application and the consequent inertia to it. Of course, there are some applications for certain subsets which serve as “killer” applications on an individual basis, like the Excel or Word Macros which one uses in the Office, but that is reatricted to only a certain class of people. For me, a killer application is one which provides functionality and convinience not found in another platform. There are really very few killer applications at present.

The first Killer application I must mention is the presence of Synaptic Package Manager or Yast or other automated update tools. It downloads all the bugfixes, both security and performance in a single interface. The one click functionality it affords, along with the choice of software it gives, makes it an undoubted killer application. I remember updating my software in Windows, it is a real pain. Some check for automated updates, some don't. While Secunia PSI has made life a whole lot easier, it comes nowhere near the convenience of the Linux tools.

The second killer application I thought right out of the hat is Konqueror. Its tabbed interface and customisability, along with the ability of being a remote file manager, and an universal document viewer to boot,with great integration with Koffice, makes it far superior to Windows Explorer.

Workspaces is another tool I would have mentioned as being a killer tool had Windowspager not been developed. However, Windowspager is just in its alpha release now.

Finally, in my opinion, the entire Linux is a killer application. Its modularity makes it suitable as a high performance OS for different specialised needs. Need just a console based OS, you will get it, need just a firewall(IPCop, Gibraltar), you will get it, need just a media center(GeeXboX), you will get it. A wide range of computers, right from Pentium MMX with 32 MB RAM to a fully modern high powered computer, can be supported. This flexibility makes this a killer feature of Linux.

And what is the killer feature of Windows, which overcomes all these features: In one word Familiarity