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The Difficulty Divide Redux: Linux vs. Windows

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Previously, I introduced my theory of the Difficulty Divide. It’s a concept that I’ve used for several years when talking about why I use Linux, and why some people may give up on it. I also promised that I would present on how I’ve modified it in recent years to reflect the current state of things.

There are three major differences between this graph and the one presented previously. The initial slope for Linux is flatter, the relative position of Linux and Windows is shifted, and we have a third line that represents Windows Vista.

Thanks to all of the effort that has been put into improving the desktop Linux experience in recent years, particularly as embodied by Ubuntu, getting started in Linux is easier than ever. GUI tools are more complete, and “typical” entry level tasks are simpler and more discoverable. Thanks also to the rise of computers that come pre-loaded with Linux, one of the historically most difficult tasks associated with using Linux, installing it, has potentially become a non-issue. This progress is represented by the “Inverse Difficulty Divide” at the far left of the graph, where the cost of Linux is lower than Windows, and by the proportionately smaller Difficulty Divide.

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