I love the illustration for a Linux Haxor story, Obligatory Year-End Positive Linux Predictions. It features Bart Simpson at the school blackboard, which is covered with “Year of the Linux desktop.” I understand all too well how people can tire of endless predictions that this (fill-in-the-blank) year will be the year of the Linux desktop. There’s only one problem with all these predictions. We’ve already had the year of the Linux desktop.
For me, it’s been the ‘year’ of the Linux desktop since 1995. That’s when I started using Linux on a regular basis. My first distribution was Slackware. Slackware is still around, and it’s still a fine Linux for people like me who came to Linux from Unix.
Let’s get real though. There have never been that many people to whom the arguments over whether the Bourne, C, Korn, or Bash shells were the best desktops really mattered. I still maintain, however, that Korn is the best since you can do serious programming in it while maintaining backwards compatibility. OK, so that kind of thing still matters to me and to other die-hard Linux/Unix users, but no one else really cares.
For most users, I think 2005 was the year of the Linux desktop. That was the year that Novell introduced SLED (SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop) 9.3. What was important about that? It was the first desktop Linux, in my opinion, that you could put down in front of an office-worker and expect them to get up to speed on it as quickly as they would on Windows and get just as much work done.
In other words, 2005 was the year that the Linux desktop became a business desktop.