I am a musician, a taker of pictures, a rider of bikes, a father to plants, and roller of skateboards (no tricks). And I advocate Free Software and GNU/Linux.

 

GNU/Linux mainstream: The Simpsons Test

Now, we’ve all probably read this before: http://magazine.redhat.com/2008/05/29/interview-joel-cohen-writer-and-associate-producer-of-the-simpsons/#more-907

Microsoft’s Windows and Apple’s Macintosh operating systems have software built-in necessary for tracking and reporting usage statistics. This lets them easily see how much market share they have. And what people are doing on their computers, what software they’re using, what music they’re playing, what files they’re downloading, copying, moving, sharing, editing, etc., that’s why it’s evil, and a bad thing to include in software all together. But it helps them count their market share.

Thankfully GNU/Linux doesn’t include such software. But, we also can’t see what kind of market share GNU/Linux holds. To the statistics, it’s like GNU/Linux doesn’t even exist. We have to find/guess what the market share is.

So, I want to share with everyone, a way to tell when GNU/Linux has entered the mainstream. It’s called “The Simpsons Test.”

We’ve all probably seen the episode of The Simpsons “The Burns and the Bees” by now — where Montgomery Burns (Mr. Burns) attends the Billionaire’s Retreat with Ted Turner, Richard Branson, Jeff Bezos, Mark Cuban, etc., where he tells a story about when he won a professional basketball team in a poker game, and the new arena he plans to have Springfield build for the team threatens to interfere with Lisa’s new bee sanctuary. And due to the Bees, his arena is ruined; making him 400 million dollars short of one billion dollars, so Ted Turner, Richard Branson, Jeff Bezos, Mark Cuban, etc., kick him out of the Billionaire’s Retreat and into the Millionaires Cabin.

Here’s how it works: The Simpsons used Ted Turner, Richard Branson, Jeff Bezos, Mark Cuban, etc., and Bill Gates (a few times) as examples of billionaires.

So… Right when The Simpsons use Mark Shuttleworth — who was the second self-funded space tourist. Shuttleworth founded Canonical Ltd. and as of 2009, provides leadership for the Ubuntu operating system — as an example of a billionaire — although I don’t know if he’s a billionaire anymore, just a billionaire in South Africa, or even close to worth a billion dollars in net worth — or an example of, say “Really rich guys who for some reason travel to space” or something like that.

Or a general mention to GNU/Linux as a “fanboy”, “nerd”, “hard to use” or other kind of operating system. THAT’S, when we’ll know GNU/Linux has made it to the mainstream.

After all, Apple was truely “mainstream” when The Simpsons made fun of them in the episode “Mypods and Boomsticks” though Apple already had a very reasonable market share before the episode thinks to their iPods, iPhones, iMacs, Final Cut Pro, the Macintosh operating system (to a lesser extent,) and other products. But, like I wrote “Microsoft’s Windows and Apple’s Macintosh operating systems have software built-in necessary for tracking and reporting usage statistics.” and “GNU/Linux doesn’t include such software.”

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