Friday, May 11, 2007

Freedom to Install Wine

As you probably know that Dell is planning to use Ubuntu Linux operating system for their Linux product in the future after hearing from many customers in their website. The option of using Ubuntu is correct (though i never used Ubuntu on my system. I only tried the LiveCD version), since Ubuntu is one of the most popular Linux distribution nowadays ever since their debuts few years ago. Ubuntu has changed their image from an unknown Linux distribution into one of the most well-known operating system in the world. It's amazing to see their roadmap and also their efforts to make things like this. But one important reason (IMHO) is that Ubuntu has a wide range of community who are willing to help each other to solve problems. They provide lots of online documentations, tutorials, discussion room, forums, etc. This kind of support is needed by many people who will use Linux, mostly for people who just migrate from Windows platform.

Mark Shuttleworth, the founder of Ubuntu and Canonical gave a statement that Ubuntu that will come with Dell will not include Wine application because he do not want to position Ubuntu and Linux as a cheap alternative to Windows. Quoted from his speech:
"While Linux is an alternative to Windows, it is not cheap Windows. Linux has its own strengths, and users should want it because of those strengths and not because it's a cheap copy of Windows"
I totally agree with this. Linux has it's own strengths (and also fun) to work with, so it should not be considered lower than Windows. Linux developers and vendors is taking a step forward to become the future desktop operating system.

The decision to left out Wine is acceptable, but hey... It's Linux and you have freedom to install Wine manually (via apt-get or compiling it manually). So even if Dell won't install Wine on their product, people who uses Dell's Linux product still can download and install Wine application to run Windows application. They have the freedom to do this. Perhaps Dell should consider some kind of modifications to the default Ubuntu installation so that it can be a great operating system out-of-the-box, like what Axioo did with Mandriva. They customized it heavily and it was very nice and you get a DVD with all required packages included. Normal Ubuntu installation doesn't provide GCC and other development tools, so they had to download it from the Internet (which may be a problem for those with no Internet connection).