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Old 06-18-2013, 12:46 PM   #1
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Reality Check: Defining The True Success of Linux

Let's talk about a touchy subject: the Linux desktop.

It's touchy because, by any reasonable measure, Linux on the desktop has yet to capture a significant market share of the desktop and portable PC platform.

This has to be said, right up front. It does not make me particularly happy to point this out, given all the great work being done on the desktop by openSUSE, Fedora, Ubuntu, Linux Mint, and all of the environment and application projects out there.

But the first step to fixing a problem is admitting you have a problem, so here we are.

It is a common mistake to hear or read such statements and claim that they are the final word for the topic at hand: Linux on the desktop is not working now, so therefore that will always be the case.

Given the way things change on a daily basis, and not just in technology, drawing that line in the sand seems very premature. Already there are signs of progressing success in the marketplace for Linux-based devices like the Chromebook. Consumers in the marketplace are realizing that they don't need an over-powered PC device if all they want to do is consume content, thus the shift to tablet devices and systems like the Chromebook, which affords users some productivity tools that tablets can lack. Jim Zemlin himself blogged about this phenomenon, noting that the rise of Android and tablet computing has created the “Post-Desktop World,” after the release of Windows 8 last October.

In the face of this kind of user shift, there is clear evidence that the state of the Linux desktop is changing, adapting to use cases that don't have the same requirements as the old Linux desktop had.
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