Is 2008 finally going to be “year of Linux on the desktop?”

On Saturday at the iPhoneDevCamp someone was showing me his computer. It was running Ubuntu. Linux. I noted to myself that it finally got over some of the ugliness that turned me off of earlier Linux-on-the-desktop attempts. He showed me, and a few other people some of the cool things (much nicer 3D switching than even OSX has, for instance). Damn, I thought to myself, it’s time to give Linux another look.

Then, tonight, I see another article over on ITPro about the future of Ubuntu and Linux as a desktop platform.

I should credit several readers lately for bugging me about Ubuntu. I forget them all, though, and don’t want to cause any hard feelings. Thanks for staying on my case. It sure is looking nice!

Anyway, it’s time to get an interview with Mark Shuttleworth. Anyone know him and want to introduce us?

Looks like Dell is seeing the same thing, too, Digg is linking to a report that Dell is expanding its line of Ubuntu-powered computers.

What do you think? Is this finally Linux’ time on the desktop? Is it getting good enough to get more than a tiny number of geeks to switch?

168 thoughts on “Is 2008 finally going to be “year of Linux on the desktop?”

  1. I used to be a very happy vista user, but then I got curious and tried openSUSE 10.3, and I was hooked. but now I’ve switched to Sabayon Linux 3.4f…. which in my opinion is a potential vista killer.

    check it out:

    http://www.sabayonlinux.org

    WARNING: SABAYON IS BASED OFF OF GENTOO LINUX AND I REALLY DON’T RECOMMEND IT FOR A FIRST DISTRO. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

  2. I used to be a very happy vista user, but then I got curious and tried openSUSE 10.3, and I was hooked. but now I’ve switched to Sabayon Linux 3.4f…. which in my opinion is a potential vista killer.

    check it out:

    http://www.sabayonlinux.org

    WARNING: SABAYON IS BASED OFF OF GENTOO LINUX AND I REALLY DON’T RECOMMEND IT FOR A FIRST DISTRO. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.

  3. Repeating others, there will never be a year of Linux for everyone, it is like a large freight train that takes a long time to get rolling, and everyone will notice it at a differnt time.(the majority of the world will use linux in handheld devices first, not the desktop)

    I have used Linux some since 1999, but it was never ready for ME to switch over my primary PC’s, until the last Mandriva release (2008). I have only used OS-X once in the last six months, and only use windows once in a while.

    And talk about a nice 3d desktop that takes very little power… Yep, I am talking about beryl/compiz fusion… sweet.(makes the others (ms,appl) look so dated)

    Yes, linux may be behind in some areas (unified experience etc), but at the pace it is progressing, I don’t see how the proprietary vendors can keep up.

    Like another poster, I am a msdn subscriber that has all the disks and keys for everything MS makes(other than windows home server!)… but, what a pain that is! When I install Mandriva, everything just works, it installs a ton of good free software, and I don’t get insulted by microsoft checking to see if I am a pirate every time I turn around.

    I guess 2007 was the year of linux on the desktop for me, and I aint going back.

  4. Repeating others, there will never be a year of Linux for everyone, it is like a large freight train that takes a long time to get rolling, and everyone will notice it at a differnt time.(the majority of the world will use linux in handheld devices first, not the desktop)

    I have used Linux some since 1999, but it was never ready for ME to switch over my primary PC’s, until the last Mandriva release (2008). I have only used OS-X once in the last six months, and only use windows once in a while.

    And talk about a nice 3d desktop that takes very little power… Yep, I am talking about beryl/compiz fusion… sweet.(makes the others (ms,appl) look so dated)

    Yes, linux may be behind in some areas (unified experience etc), but at the pace it is progressing, I don’t see how the proprietary vendors can keep up.

    Like another poster, I am a msdn subscriber that has all the disks and keys for everything MS makes(other than windows home server!)… but, what a pain that is! When I install Mandriva, everything just works, it installs a ton of good free software, and I don’t get insulted by microsoft checking to see if I am a pirate every time I turn around.

    I guess 2007 was the year of linux on the desktop for me, and I aint going back.

  5. Linux is becoming very popular these days. A friend of mine has Linux on his laptop, as well as Windows XP. I don’t think Linux will overcome Windows anytime soon, but who knows how things will go with Ubuntu.

  6. Linux is becoming very popular these days. A friend of mine has Linux on his laptop, as well as Windows XP. I don’t think Linux will overcome Windows anytime soon, but who knows how things will go with Ubuntu.

  7. I have been in IT for more than 30 years. I have been waiting for a Linux distro that is ready for the “masses” for a few years. I have been running Suse 10 on a work notebook for more than a year and it was “close, but no cigar”. I loaded Ubuntu FF on a system a couple of month ago and was immediately impressed. I ordered a Dell notebook the first day the started selling, but bailed after they kept pushing back delivery and ordered a notebook from System 76. So far, so good except for the wimpy built in speakers. I would migrate a non-geek from XP to Ubuntu before I would subject them to Vista. It’s not perfect, but it is good enough and getting better instead of worse. I live in a rural area where a lot of folks are still running ’95, ’98 and [shutter] ME. When they ask for advice when their systems finally die I will be recommending systems with Ubuntu pre-loaded.

    Will Linux ever be a Microsoft killer? Probably not. But it will become a significant player for home users and small businesses on the desktop. I suspect that education is another market that is ripe for a cheaper alternative than MS.

    BTW to the Mac users who would never use a Linux system, don’t look under the hood. You might be surprised at what’s there. It seems that the Mac OS is really just a GUI these days.

  8. I have been in IT for more than 30 years. I have been waiting for a Linux distro that is ready for the “masses” for a few years. I have been running Suse 10 on a work notebook for more than a year and it was “close, but no cigar”. I loaded Ubuntu FF on a system a couple of month ago and was immediately impressed. I ordered a Dell notebook the first day the started selling, but bailed after they kept pushing back delivery and ordered a notebook from System 76. So far, so good except for the wimpy built in speakers. I would migrate a non-geek from XP to Ubuntu before I would subject them to Vista. It’s not perfect, but it is good enough and getting better instead of worse. I live in a rural area where a lot of folks are still running ’95, ’98 and [shutter] ME. When they ask for advice when their systems finally die I will be recommending systems with Ubuntu pre-loaded.

    Will Linux ever be a Microsoft killer? Probably not. But it will become a significant player for home users and small businesses on the desktop. I suspect that education is another market that is ripe for a cheaper alternative than MS.

    BTW to the Mac users who would never use a Linux system, don’t look under the hood. You might be surprised at what’s there. It seems that the Mac OS is really just a GUI these days.

  9. Ubuntu has over come, as you mentioned, the uglyness of linux, it does come pack to give you everything you need. i installed on two laptops, Dell and Toshiba. on my toshiba it installed flawlesly, however i wish i could say the same about Dell. it took me almost a month of researching and tweaking just to get the wireless working on it. but overall i love it!!!

  10. Ubuntu has over come, as you mentioned, the uglyness of linux, it does come pack to give you everything you need. i installed on two laptops, Dell and Toshiba. on my toshiba it installed flawlesly, however i wish i could say the same about Dell. it took me almost a month of researching and tweaking just to get the wireless working on it. but overall i love it!!!

  11. I’ve been using Ubuntu for over a year now.

    Only reason I ever use Windows is to use QuickBooks for my business and my goal is to move away from that also next year.

    I’ve used Windows, Mac, and Linux and, sorry to say Robert, but Linux is king!

  12. I’ve been using Ubuntu for over a year now.

    Only reason I ever use Windows is to use QuickBooks for my business and my goal is to move away from that also next year.

    I’ve used Windows, Mac, and Linux and, sorry to say Robert, but Linux is king!

  13. #76: “I haven’t used KDE since 2001 or something.”

    That’s 5-6 years ago! KDE 3 wasn’t released until April 2002. KDE improved A LOT since then and even though it is still alpha, I will already highly recommend you taking a look at KDE 4 when it is released later this year.

    Also, you can expect various KDE software to be available on Windows too (and OS X) since QT4 is dual licensed under the GPL for Windows too (that wasn’t the case for previous versions of QT).

    You are right that there has been problems with Apple not contributing back their changes, but that has been (mostly) solved now. One of the reasons Apple choose KHTML (and KJS) over Gecko (the Mozilla engine) was that KHTML is a much smaller codebase.

    KHTML is in quite widespread use today considering it is used in Safari (which is on the iPhone too of course) and in Nokias S60 series phones. And Safari is available for Windows too these days (still beta though).

  14. #76: “I haven’t used KDE since 2001 or something.”

    That’s 5-6 years ago! KDE 3 wasn’t released until April 2002. KDE improved A LOT since then and even though it is still alpha, I will already highly recommend you taking a look at KDE 4 when it is released later this year.

    Also, you can expect various KDE software to be available on Windows too (and OS X) since QT4 is dual licensed under the GPL for Windows too (that wasn’t the case for previous versions of QT).

    You are right that there has been problems with Apple not contributing back their changes, but that has been (mostly) solved now. One of the reasons Apple choose KHTML (and KJS) over Gecko (the Mozilla engine) was that KHTML is a much smaller codebase.

    KHTML is in quite widespread use today considering it is used in Safari (which is on the iPhone too of course) and in Nokias S60 series phones. And Safari is available for Windows too these days (still beta though).

Comments are closed.