Eugenia’s blog entry yesterday, which claims that the hype surrounding the Linux desktop is waning is a really interesting read. I have realized that not only is the hype waning, but the interest is condensing into a few main distros, as I once predicted it would, back in 2003. In fact, these were my words: “I expect it to be a Ximian-ized Novell/SUSE distribution, Red Hat, and some sort of Debian offshoot – whether it’s User Linux or not remains to be seen.” Shoot, sub in Ubuntu and you’re pretty much dead on. Maybe that wasn’t such a stretch, but it’s still pretty damned accurate.
Linux as a desktop system is not going to succeed until a major corporate backer makes a serious play at CORPORATE desktops. This is where the success is viable. People will pay a small amount for support and multimedia/codec integration. Xandros is right on track here, I just don’t know if they are too early for their own good. I think, sadly, you’ll need a major player with pre-existing credibility, such as Red Hat. But Novell is capable of this, and I pray they haven’t used up all of their karma chasing NetWare (which was an EXCELLENT system, by the way).
Does Linux really matter as a desktop anyway? I mean, if Linux existed simply to prompt the creation of OpenSolaris, isn’t that a good enough contribution to humanity? If we’re all running some sort of Nexenta-ish system in two years, has it all been for naught?
The relevance of Linux has already been proven. Interest is a luxury we’d all love, but it’s not a requirement for the betterment of computing. That part is already locked up.