Is the year of the Linux desktop upon us? ZDNet blogger Robin Harris thinks 2008 is it. With the advent of sub -$400 notebook computers and sub-$200 desktops comes a greater demand for Linux, Harris says, because "on a razor-thin margin, vendors can't afford Windows." He points to AsusTek's Linux-based Eee PC as an example, and notes that the company is set to build 1 million Eees in the first quarter of 2008.
Desktop Linux has made good progress this year, with both Dell and Lenovo offering Linux-based systems, but I have to admit I'm skeptical anytime someone proclaims the new or upcoming year as "the year" for anything. I came to IT Business Edge late in 2005, and each year it seems someone decides desktop Linux will come into its own.
In 2005, the former Open Source Development Lab's Desktop Linux Working Group completed a survey that indicated user demand was bringing Linux to the enterprise desktop, but that applications would need to be easier to use and peripheral devices' "plug-and-play-ability" would need to be improved before the operating system would have a better foothold in the market.
2006 brought Red Hat's Fedora Core 5, and Novell began to focus on "basic business users" with SuSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10. In 2007, projections ran the gamut: Some said desktop Linux is "still a no go," but Dell and Lenovo bet otherwise with their offerings, and the Google-friendly gPC has upped the ante even more.
So will '08 be the year? I don't really think so. I tend to agree with a commenter on Robin Harris' post, who said:
There will never be a "Linux's Year on the Desktop." Linux will continue as it has, slowly gathering adherents, large corporate clients, and governmental units of varying sizes globally. ...Eventually, Linux will have a statistically significant market share.