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The Linux desktop is dead. Long live the Linux desktop.


I’ve been running Linux on my desktop for about 18 of its 20 years; I used to be the editor-in-chief of DesktopLinux; and today I use Mint 11 Linux as my main desktop. In short, I know a thing or two about the Lnux desktop. Today, though, I declare traditional Linux desktop to be dead.

It’s never going to catch up with Windows or Mac OS X in user popularity. It’s never going to show up as a common option from mainstream vendors. And, you’ll never be able to buy it at your local Best Buy or other big box store.

Why? Well there are a lot of reasons; but none of them have anything to do with its quality. I use desktop Linux distributions not because of some romantic attachment to free software or because I hate Windows, but because they work better and they’re far more secure than Windows or Mac OS X.

Historically, desktop Linux never got a fair shot because of Microsoft’s Windows monopoly and strong-arm tactics. For example, when Linux-powered netbook started eating Microsoft’s lunch on low-end laptops, Microsoft brought XP Home back from the dead and almost gave it away to vendors to stop the Linux bleeding.

It also didn’t help any that Microsoft finally realized what a total flop Vista was and brought back XP for all users. Indeed, Vista’s failure hurt Linux. If Microsoft had actually stuck with that dog of an operating system, desktop Linux would have gained more fans.

That was then. This is now. Those factors have always been around. They still are today. Several other things have arisen that makes me doubt that the traditional Linux is going to go anywhere.

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