Practical Technology

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Where is the Linux desktop going?


While I like the Linux desktop a lot, I don’t pretend that it’s that popular. That’s why I found it fascinating that, despite everything Microsoft has been able to throw at it, desktop Linux still managed to claim 32% of the netbook market.

And Microsoft has thrown everything but the kitchen sink at desktop Linux. For example, the Redmond giant has strong-armed vendors into not selling Linux-powered netbooks; lied about Linux sales; and all but gave XP Home away to keep vendors from including Linux instead . Despite all that, it seems, according to ABI Research, that desktop Linux has actually grown in the last year.

ABI reports that almost a third of the netbooks that will have shipped in 2009 came with Linux. Last year at this same time, ASUS, then the world’s biggest netbook vendor, said that only three out of ten of its netbooks were shipped with Linux. In fact, looking ahead, Jeff Orr, an ABI analyst, predicted that Linux will overtake Windows on netbooks by 2013.

Why? Because it’s cheaper. The rise of ARM-powered netbooks with Linux that will bring laptops to the $100 price range is expected to help Linux take over the bottom-end of computing.

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