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Commentary: the Linux Foundation and the future of Linux

Posted by: Anonymous [ip: 71.131.176.170] on April 15, 2008 12:14 AM
I've been saying for some time that big corporations have to adopt Linux on the desktop before Linux can be adopted by anybody else for their desktop. It's not going to be the consumer who runs Linux on their home system who is going to make Linux take out Windows. It's going to be the corporation.

The problem is that corporations are only slowly turning to Linux. And they're turning primarily for use on servers. This, however, is a necessary precondition to running Linux on the corporate desktop. Whereas it was the opposite with Windows. Windows on desktop PCs and the client-server revolution change corporate IT from relying on mainframes. Because of Microsoft's proprietary lock-in of their APIs, Office and the like, it only made sense for corporations running Windows on the desktop to shift from mainframes to running Windows on their servers.

The problem there was that Windows on servers sucked. So a lot of corporations kept using UNIX on their servers because it scaled better and performed better and was more reliable. But it cost as much or more than Windows server OS's. Therefore we started to see Windows penetrate the server space slowly.

Then Linux got serious and corporations started to see that they could get UNIX reliability, scalability, security and performance from an OS that cost even less than Windows. So Linux started to push UNIX out in server space and compete directly with Windows Server.

The end result of this will be Linux dominating the server space within the next ten years or so. That will then make it obvious that it is cheaper to run Linux on the desktop to take advantage of the better integration, the standard APIs, the reliability, the security and the lower cost on the desktop than Windows - especially bloated crap like Vista - can provide.

And that in turn will force the corporate suppliers like Dell and HP and IBM to provide Linux pre-installed on desktops. And that in turn will force the device manufacturers to provide certified drivers for Linux. And that will end the driver problem.

And THEN when it's clear to the people who work in corporations that Linux works, they will start buying Linux for their home desktops - to join those who want to run a decent OS on older hardware than Vista will run on, and those who don't want to pay for Windows.

And THEN Linux will dominate the desktop.

And Mac will still be for those who hate having to figure anything out on a computer. Mac will do well compared to Windows Vista. But it's unlikely that Mac will ever dominate the corporate server room, and thus it is unlikely that Mac will ever dominate the corporate desktop, except in certain companies where the Mac media processing capability if critical.

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