Linux Doesn't Need to Own the Desktop

by Ostatic Staff - Aug. 27, 2014

Linus Torvalds issued Linux 3.17 rc-2 on Monday of this week, and he deviated from his normal schedule in doing so, because August 25 happens to mark the 23rd anniversary of the original Linux announcement. "Hello everybody out there using minix," Torvalds wrote.

Meanwhile, has proclaimed that Linux has run out of time. But isn't it true that the endless discussions of whether Linux is a success on the desktop are moot? Linux is in supercomputers and cars, it formed the basis for Android and is the most popular platform to run emerging cloud platforms like OpenStack on--just to name a few of its successes. The desktop is not the only battleground for Linux.

Jon Buys took note of specialization and the Linux desktop in a recent post, where he wrote:

"Recently, IT World asked “Does it still make sense for Linus to want the desktop for Linux?”, and Matt Asay from Tech Repubic asked “Can we please stop talking about the Linux desktop?”. Both publishers are critical of the claim that there is still room for Linux on Personal Computers, and point to Android as a Linux success story...What both articles miss though is that the flexibility of Linux, and the permissiveness of its open source license may be the things that save Linux on the desktop."

 That may be true, but Linux is so much to so many people beyond the desktop. Linux's opportunity for great market share on the desktop has come and gone.

The simple fact is that Linux has changed the world and been a tremendous success outside the desktop, and there is nothing wrong with that. Android is hardly the only Linux-based platform that has made a big mark. Linux is huge on servers, in embedded technology, and is a constant prompt for innovation on emerging platforms. Ubuntu is the most popular platform for building OpenStack deployments on. Supercomputers all over the world run Linux, and Chrome OS is based on it.

So Linux is making a huge difference globally, and it is time for detractors to stop focusing exclusively on its status on the desktop.