Will 2008 Be The Year Of The Linux Desktop?

from the probably-not dept

People have been declaring the Year of Desktop Linux for years. Linus Torvalds himself declared the Year of the Linux Desktop way back in 2004, a prediction that now appears to have been a bit optimistic. Now, Forrester is predicting that 2008 will be the year that Linux becomes a "credible threat" to Windows. Color me skeptical. The suite of Linux desktop software—especially the excellent Open Office—has definitely improved over the years, with Ubuntu getting a lot of buzz over the last couple of years for putting out a polished and user-friendly product. But desktop users, and corporate desktop users in particular, tend to be very conservative. They want software they trust, and that they know will be compatible with other peoples' software. Unless Linux-based products offer compelling features that the Windows alternatives don't, it's just not going to be worth the risk of abandoning trusted software. Moreover, a lot of companies have a suite of specialized business software that was built around Windows that would be very costly to convert to another platform. Eventually, the cost savings may be compelling enough to get a significant number of companies to switch. Windows and Office are expensive, but switching your whole company to software that has unanticipated flaws is a lot more expensive. So the process of evaluating, testing, and transitioning to a new operating system is likely to take a decade, not a year. So I doubt that a significant number of companies will be providing Linux desktops to their (non-geek) employees by the end of 2008.

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  1. identicon
    Urza, 15 Nov 2007 @ 6:05pm

    With Mandriva, it is.

    All I have to say is this: My girlfriend uses Mandriva 2007.1. Works perfectly on her Dell laptop, even the wifi card didn't need any setup. And she's not a geek by any sense of the word. Dropped out of her senior math class, took AP level German classes (which our school doesn't offer as a standard class). So yea, she's one of those creative arts and language types, and she has no trouble with it...so I'm pretty sure anyone with decent intelligence could manage.

    Ubuntu on the other hand, everyone's favorite distro...I have yet to see anyone use for more than a month or so without going back to Windows. It just doesn't work.

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