I just read [[http://www.osweekly.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2270&Itemid=449|this article]] on OSWeekly.com (via [[http://linux.slashdot.org/linux/06/08/03/0349226.shtml|Slastdot]]) and I must say I found the article pretty lame. Let me elaborate.
* F/LOSS software is usually open-source and adheres to open standards. Why should the FLOSS community then be help responsible for “finding some ground with closed source software”? Shouldn’t it be the other way round?
* As others have noted, the article is self contradictory. It talks about the lack of “exciting” software on Linux, and then goes on to blabber about Outlook-like software. Outlook has been around since forever now. What major innovations has personal information management seen in that space? Do people really think Outlook is an example software?
* Besides the fact that the article is inconsistent about “exciting” software, the premise itself is wrong. There are //tons// of exciting software on Linux. Infact, much //much// more than there ever will be on M$. The notion of what is exciting may of course vary among individuals, but do you really think that a closed source platform would be more conducive than an open source platform for hackers and developers who want to build truly creative software.
* Needless to say, I think there are several fairly robust and very well done software on Linux that can compete well with any closed source software. Let me list a few here (note that although some of the below //are// available for Windows, they are all still very much F/LOSS and all have their roots in Linux platforms):
* [[http://getfirefox.com|Firefox]] — browser
* [[http://amarok.sf.net|Amarok]] — music player/organizer
* [[http://qalculate.sf.net|Qalculate]] — calculator
* [[http://kopete.kde.org|Kopete]] — Multi-protocol Messenger (before you start whining, the reason why Kopete “lacks” some “features” is because the protocols are proprietary. For apples to apples comparison, compare closed-source Jabber clients with their open source counterparts)
* [[http://inkscape.org|Inkscape]] — Vector graphics
* [[http://httpd.apache.org|Apache]] — the web server that ushered Linux into the server market (//hat tip: Shashikant//).
* Finally, in a lot of cases, the software on Linux isn’t good enough simply because the market forces are not driving software development. Naturally there’s bound to be some divergence between customer requirements/expectations and what developers deliver. Remember that the bulk of this stuff is built on volunteer time.
I agree that a lot of areas could use some user-oriented development. In particular audio and video editing, word-processing, image-processing, video games etc.