Linux Desktop: Past, Present and Future
At this point in history, it's hard to deny the evidence: With stagnant market growth and inadequate content options compounded by industry inertia, Linux basically has no chance to rival Mac OS X, much less Windows.
Over the past few years, modern Linux distributions – like Ubuntu – have transformed the open-source desktop user experience into something less cumbersome. More over, the rise of netbook gave the Linux OS a slice of the market. All of this, in addition to Linux’s distinct security and stability, might have given the operating system a chance to meet success. However, the Linux desktop market share remains stagnant at around one percent.
Back then, Linux has created an easy-to-install operating system, with a hardware support that reaches critical mass. Furthermore, major PC makers, such as Dell, opted to use Linux as a pre-installed feature in their laptops and desktops. This created an unblemished platform for them to dominate. But all hope was gone until Asus initiated a trend of cheap, simple netbook PCs with a Xandros distribution. Then the failure of the free OS versus mainstream PC users came in as a no surprise.
However, the reasons for such drawback were misunderstood. The failure is not about “because it is too geeky”, but it is due to lack of content. The two key factors that causes lack of contents are Linux platform fragmentation and the ideology of open-source community at large. Since open-source community remains opposed to digital rights management technologies, commercial content providers have no intent on embracing Linux.
But enough of the desktop market share fight! Developers should focus on where Linux is strong. Linux is already strong on small, mobile devices, and with that, they’ve already secured a victory on mobile. Together with it, Linux also emerged as a go-to platform for systems that power Web-enabled HDTVs ranging from Roku to Google TV to Boxee. And though the war between cloud and native apps has been already won by the desktop, the proponents of Linux should push for Open Web platforms. The growth of HTML 5 can help give the OS a user experience that is a far cry from other platforms.
It has been ages since Linus Torvalds first wrote the Linux kernel. And despite the grim prospects on the desktop, Linux has clearly pointed out that they are a major platform that is here to stay.View Article Source »