I bought a Windows game last week. What I got was a scenic tour through the demise of the Windows platform. I knew that Windows as gaming platform was troublesome, but it never was as clear that it's actually moving towards irrelevance. If you ever have seriously played games on Windows you know this cocktail of driver updates, googling error messages, entering illegiible cryptic codes from stickers hidden in game boxes, waiting for online activation, going through update popups of various origins, and what not. It took me something like two hours before I was even able to start the game. I love games, and I have played quite some games on Windows, but I might be done with this now.
Of course Windows as a platform won't go away anytime soon. There are hundreds of millions of people running it. But the interesting part is that there are less and less reasons to do so. One of the arguments why people don't use Linux on their desktops always was "I need Windows to run my games". I heard this a thousand times. But as this argument becomes irrelevant, the only argument left is "I have always run Windows".
The free Linux desktop is mature. It's not only on par with proprietary desktops on other operating systems, it actually is innovating and moving beyond what other systems do. It covers all the needs of the vast majority of use cases. It has a variety of office suites, it runs several fine web browsers (another area where Windows has lost relevance up to the point of being made fun of), it has excellent tools and applications in almost any area you can think of, it's a primary choice for software developers, it even moves beyond classical desktops to netbooks, tablets, and more.
In addition the free desktop has some inherent attributes where Windows just can't compete, first of all the software freedom, but also the development model, and the distribution ecosystem. When you install a Linux desktop you have a fully functional system, you can browse the web, you can send email, you can edit your spreadsheet, even printing works out of the box these days. When you have Windows installed you are at the beginning of an odyssey to add all the bits and pieces you need to have make your system functional and secure.
Some might argue, that the desktop itself is becoming irrelevant. For some areas that might be true. People will use their phones or tablets or game consoles for things they have done on a desktop before. But there are so many people using their computers for work and other serious things, where you do want to have a solid desktop, probably not exclusively, but it won't go away for a very long time.
KDE is in an interesting position here. We are one of the key players on the free desktop, we have a mature classical desktop, we are expanding to other form factors and into the web, we have a strong community, which can make things happen, nobody would have expected to be possible (or who thought that Matthias announcement from 15 years ago would result in something like we have today).
We even have a story on Windows, where we have central applications like Kontact or Okular, which are more than a replacement for the apps, which are only running on Windows. This is more important than ever as a migration strategy. It's very easy to arrive at a point, where all the applications you run on Windows, are actually running natively on Linux as well. Running LibreOffice, Firefox, and Kontact on Windows? Fine, move over to Linux, it will run as well and better, and you will enjoy the freedoms of free software.
We have a chance to change the world, let's do it.
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