Who Says Desktop Linux Is Doomed?
In only a few weeks, 2010 will be half over, and it's already clear that one widely backed technology prediction for the year has come true: the success of Microsoft's Windows 7 operating system. For the Redmond software giant, Windows 7 has been a comeback story, following oceans of bad reviews and bad PR surrounding Windows Vista. However, people also predicted that Windows 7 would mean the end of the road for desktop Linux, as seen here. In truth, Windows 7 didn't even give Linux a flesh wound.
Back in January of 2009, in a piece that also suggested that Windows 7 would eat into Apple's desktop market share, The Inquirer wrote:
"If Microsoft had released Windows 7 instead of Vista there would have been no rise of Ubuntu or OSX. Now, alas, it is only a matter of time until people come back to the claws of the Vole. The Linux crowd were too busy talking about their superiority on the server and ignored the desktop to the OS's eventual doom."
The fact is, Windows 7 and Linux serve different types of users and markets, and Dana Blankenhorn has a good inventory of reasons why Ubuntu can compete with Windows here. I have only been impressed with Canonical's recent moves with Ubuntu, making it more graphical, easier to use, more compatible, and now massaging it into new, lightweight versions that have promise on netbooks.
Meanwhile, let's not forget that Google's Android operating system is Linux-based, and its upcoming Chrome OS for netbooks is Linux-based and was created with the help of the Ubuntu team. Android is an enormous success story, and is spreading out beyond smartphones, and Chrome OS holds much promise too.
While it's true that Linux doesn't have enormous desktop market share (W3Counter's data shows it at just under 2 percent share), let's not forget that Apple had only 5 percent of the desktop market for many years, and managed to innovate and lead in several market categories with that share. That's the thing about the operating system game: You don't have to be number one to succeed. For Linux, the future remains bright.
Image courtesy of Laserguided on Flickr.