Compatible with…(insert operating system)
I don’t get it. Or maybe I am not expected to understand it. Yesterday I went to a local Best Buy retail store to pick up a USB Flash Drive. After doing a quick price comparison I ended up purchasing the Geek Squad (the Best Buy) branded product. The next day I took the device into work and just as I was about to open it I quickly glanced at the back of the package and noticed:
“Compatible with Windows 2000 SP4/Windows XP/Windows Vista/ Windows 7, Mac OS 10.x and above.“
What about Linux? Coincidentally this device was getting plugged into and used only by a Fedora Linux system. Now I know that this would have worked (despite the package’s information) and not have any problems with ANY Linux and for the most part almost all UNIX -based operating systems. The device (as all other USB Flash Drives) are labeled with a FAT32 file system and Linux, like any other OS kernel can read a FAT32 labeled volume with no problems. On top of that, most mainstream distributions (if not all) enable automount and an auto open of USB storage devices. The user doesn’t need to do it themselves, similar to Windows and the Mac OS. So what is the problem? Why couldn’t the package say “Linux 2.6 and above” or something to that extent?
You would think from a marketing point-of-view it would have been wise to place this on the package for individuals new to the world of Linux and unsure about a few things. Maybe someone new to Ubuntu or Mint or even SUSE just got a netbook with a preloaded Linux-based image on it. They are looking to find some hardware compatible with it and wait a minute the Geek Squad USB Flash Drives sold at Best Buy do not say that they will work. There is a lost sale.
Some of you may think that this is not such a big deal and that I am thinking too deep into this. I don’t disagree. I am thinking too deep into this, but it is only because I am still surprised when I come across things like this. For instance, not too long ago I was looking at laser printers and guess what some said on it (I specifically remember Lexmark):
“…compatible with Linux“
I remember buying a pack of labels to print names and addresses, guess what the package of labels said on the back:
“…compatible with Linux“
The list goes on. Whether end-user market share for Linux is 1%, 0.01% or 100%, manufacturers need to get used to the fact that its market share is creeping up especially with the huge influence Linux holds on mobile devices. For instance, when the Android-based tablets come out, people are going to be looking for:
“…compatible with Linux” or “…compatible with Android“