Why are there not as many apps for Linux compared to Windows? The Linux operating system is growing in popularity but it still lags behind Windows and Mac OS X when it comes to the selection of available apps. We take a look at the reasons why this is the case and why there have been fewer apps available for Linux compared to other operating systems.
Investigating the Linux App Shortage
Using the Linux operating system can open you up to a world of customization and ease of use. But one potential downside is the lack of available apps. This shortage of applications is a sticking point for many when considering the switch to Linux. So why is this the case? Let’s take a look.
The Low Adoption Rate
One thing that is affecting the amount of apps available is the current low adoption rate of Linux. The majority of the public are still using Windows or Mac OS X as their main operating systems, which means there are fewer people to develop and market applications to.
Cost of Development
The development of software and apps is a costly venture and many companies would rather invest their resources into creating apps for bigger operating systems such as Windows and Mac OS X. This lack of monetary incentive dissuades many from developing apps for Linux and the few developers that choose to go ahead with a Linux version of their app often struggle to find ways to monetize it.
The Open Source Argument
Some people believe that there is no need to spend money developing apps for Linux when the open-source community has provided a wealth of great, free applications that are already available. This is true in some cases, but many of these applications won’t fit the bill for professionals or businesses who need specific features or tools that aren’t available through open source.
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Uncovering the Reasons Behind the Lack of Apps for Linux
There are a few factors that have contributed to what some are calling the ‘Linux app shortage’. Let’s take a closer look at some of the biggest issues.
The App Gap
One of the main causes is a slight ‘app gap’. It’s true that there are many apps available for Linux, but in comparison to the offerings on Windows and Mac OS X, it’s few and far between. There is also a disparity between the type of apps available on Windows and Linux and many options on Windows just haven’t been ported over to the Linux system yet.
Lack of Advertising
It’s not only a lack of apps that is affecting Linux users, many potential users don’t even know about the available applications or how to access them. Since Linux adoption is still relatively low, many app developers haven’t put enough resources behind advertising and marketing their Linux-compatible apps.
The Curse of Fragmentation
Lastly, there is the issue of fragmentation. Different versions of different Linux distros, kernel updates and package systems require different types of applications, making it a hard sell for developers to create a single program that runs on any version of Linux.
The Linux app shortage has been an issue for a long time. Although Linux is growing in popularity, the issue is complex as there are many factors involved. Low adoption rate, cost of development and the open source argument are all factors playing a role in the problem. Fragmentation of the different Linux distros is also making it difficult for developers to create a single app that can be used across any version of Linux. Overall, the Linux app shortage is still an issue but with the rise of the Linux user base, more and more developers are sure to start paying attention to the Linux app market. This could be a great opportunity for developers to tap into and we may soon see a surge in the Linux apps available on the market.