Linux on the Desktop

March 3, 2006 opensource 2 min read

Every year anxious forecasters predict that “this will be the year for Linux on the desktop”. While I am always hopeful that they are right, I have never quite understood what they mean. Do they mean that this will be the year that vendors will ship Linux on their desktop systems (Dell and HP, among others, already do)? Or maybe they mean that this will be the year that Linux gains the majority of the market share on the desktop? (Keep dreaming.) What are the metrics to determine if this is the year for Linux on the desktop?

Whatever they mean, I do know that Linux on the desktop has made huge improvements over the past couple years. As Scott Morris points out in a recent NewsForge article about Novell’s survey of most-wanted list of Linux applications, Linux users are satisfied with the basic desktop applications that the majority of people use, like word processing and email. For the most part, the applications that are lacking are not “desktop” applications, but professional applications.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, but the NewsForge article prompted me to finally write about it. Over the next several months, I’m going to try and post regularly about exciting things going on with Linux on the desktop. I primarily use Fedora (currently running FC5test3), but I anticipate that most of what I write should apply to any recent distribution.

update: Shortly after posting this, I bought a MacBook Pro, so this series is on hold for a little bit.

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avatar of Brandon Keepers I am Brandon Keepers, and I work at GitHub on making Open Source more approachable, effective, and ubiquitous. I tend to think like an engineer, work like an artist, dream like an astronaut, love like a human, and sleep like a baby.