Makers helping Linux adoption?

In 1x80 @jonobacon suggested that the prevalence of makerspaces, and maker culture may be helping to drive upward adoption of Linux on the desktop. I don’t think that’s necessarily the case.

I will concede there is indeed a growth in Raspberry Pi related activities around the makerspace communities. Pretty much nobody at those events runs Linux on the desktop though, but conversely, pretty much everyone does run Linux. The difference is, the people running Linux are only running it on a Pi, and part of the reason for that is they have no other choice (hello Windows 10 for IOT, and LOL). They predominantly run Windows or OSX on their main machine, and their hacking machines, not Linux. Visit a Pi event yourself (I did) and observe zero Linux desktops.

In parallel, as a regular in many UK Linux User Groups, I’ve noticed a significant downward trend in people attending, contributing to and generally evangelising about Linux in those groups. To such a degree that many of them are dying off, or are dead already.

Many of the same names I used to see in LUG mailing lists, I now see in maker space mailing lists / communities / forums. I can cite numerous examples of this from Hampshire LUG -> Southampton Maker space, Greater London LUG -> London Hackspace & South London Makerspace, from Silicon Corridor -> Reading Hackspace. I also see many ex-LUG people who moved on to OSX or back to Windows for whatever personal or technical reason.

Bizarrely some of those hackspaces/makerspaces now have small “Linux User Group” ‘chapters’ embedded within them, some of which are people who used to be in LUGs before they died. Maybe those small chapters are driving Linux use in some small way, but I don’t believe it’s anything significant enough to move the needle.

Interesting. Do we think this might be because someone with a desire to tinker could basically only do so with Linux 10 years ago, but now with the rise of maker culture one has many tinkerable things and so one’s desktop doesn’t need to be a target for tinkering (and can be something easy to use which doesn’t need tinkering, e.g., Windows/OSX)?

1 Like
Please respect our code of conduct which is simple: don't be a dick.