Read the rebuttal to this article by Walter here on this link.
In our strategy meetings, the team at reallylinux.com tend
to start the month with big questions, for instance "where's Linux desktop expansion
now?" But this month, when we had our meeting our Senior Editor basically
wiped the question from the whiteboard and wrote these words: Linux on Devices
The battle to position Linux on the desktop has always
been tenuous. Because the OEM relationships, discussed by Walter (read Why
Linux on the Desktop is Wrong) and marketing dollars will always promote the proprietary solutions.
However, the advancement of mobile devices and the
major shift to cloud based data storage and applications delivery means that
the "desktop" space is perhaps no longer an area worth fighting to gain a share.
Many corporations and government departments are already
getting this point. Devices that offer their staff flexibility and mobility
are becoming essential tools, not just cutting edge tech toys. There is strong
evidence to support that even more leaders will opt to allow devices to replace
the core tools currently used, as seen with the trend to Bring Your Own Devices (BYOD).
Tablets, netbooks and the increasingly enhanced
smartphones are becoming king tools, while sitting at a desk and typing is
slowly becoming a limiting factor to many employees. Employers know this, and many
companies are now changing the way they enable and allow devices to be used.
Desktops (workstations/laptops/pick your own name) use to
be perceived as the primary tool, and required licensing, central management, with
all software homogeneous across offices, across users.
As this old model fades, the emphasis on getting people
access to Linux and Open Source solutions within the old desktop world also
Instead, if we in the Linux community can emphasize the
incredible power and flexibility of the new breed of devices (smartphones with
5.3" touchscreens, tablets with high resolution and processing power) we gain
so much more.
There is plenty of evidence that the device market share
is expanding massively including: this example,
and this one,
and even this one.
These new devices are precisely the area in which 1. There
are few OEM relationships formed, and 2. OpenSource software actually improves
the user experience far more than most licensed software.
In reality, promoting these devices is a perfect catalyst
for further Open Source and Linux market share expansion, and frankly within a
few years total domination.
I submit that we must encourage everyone in the OSS community
to focus far less on the desktop share (an area that is dwindling even for
Microsoft) and focus on the ever increasing numbers of devices users who need
solutions and applications that are cross platform, simple to obtain and easy
Look at some of the facts. Windows is substantially behind
in the devices market, Apple's share of the pot is restricted by their own
single user to single device model, and Linux as well as numerous Open Source
solutions are the best value proposition in the devices space.
Now is as good a time as any to say goodbye to Linux on
the desktop as a focus, and to emphasize the power and ROI gained from using
Linux and Open Source solutions on devices.
Andrea contributes regularly to the reallylinux.com op/ed section
as well as on occasion to the user guides. Windows and Microsoft are registered trademarks of Microsoft Corporation, both in the USA and internationally.
All other trademarks and registered trademarks belong to their respective companies.