Diffusion pattern of Linux: An assessment on major technology dimensions

Nir Kshetri


This paper attempts to gain an understanding of the diffusion dynamics of Linux by assessing it on Rogers’ technology dimensions — relative advantage, compatibility, complexity, observability, and trialability. The analysis makes clear that Linux possesses greater relative advantage than its proprietary competitors because of its low cost, lower susceptibility to bugs and crashes, resilience to obsolescence, ability to run on older machines and higher perceived security. Linux is facing compatibility problems with applications, hardware and other corporate resources; suppliers’ and customers’ technologies; and, skills of current and potential employees. Extreme configurability and user unfriendly interface; limited support and staff knowledge; and, potential hazard of forking into competing versions have been some major sources of Linux’s complexity. Linux seems to have a reasonably good performance on observability and trialability dimensions. The paper concludes by offering some suggestions on how to accelerate the diffusion of Linux among software developers, national governments and international agencies.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v10i8.1263

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