Over at PCWorld.com, JupiterResearch VP Michael Gartenberg says Linux still isn't a viable option on the desktop. Yes, he says, Linux has made significant progress in recent years -- including Dell's willingness to support a Linux effort. But it's not enough.
His argument has three prongs. First, he points to the lack of support from a mainstream vendor. It's telling, says Gartenberg, that not even Dell's Linux offering is fully supported. He says:
When it was first announced, I asked company officials whether it was a mainstream product with full support. No, they said. The Linux machines were meant for enthusiasts who wanted a "no Windows" option. ...[A]nd significant features would be missing because of a lack of driver support.
He then calls cost the "hidden factor," noting that software accounts for only one-tenth of a PC's TCO. In other words, the fact that Linux is free doesn't amount to much savings.
The weakest link for Gartenberg, however, appears to be critical application support. He says:
...[M]ost organizations are dependent on Microsoft's applications. Anything with less than 100 percent interoperability and compatibility isn't going to make it in the business world. And does anyone believe that Microsoft will ship a Linux version of Office anytime soon? Or ever?
The implied answer, of course, is no. Gartenberg is convinced the search for a Windows alternative must continue.