Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Desktop OS Alternatives To Microsoft Windows: Linux Gains Good Ground

"Will it always be a Microsoft Windows world? Okay, I knew this chunky black box wouldn't be the sexiest PC on my block. But that was fine, considering its paltry $278 price tag--and that I'd really ordered it for what it didn't have: any Microsoft software whatsoever. Rather than Windows and Office, it came with Linspire 4.5, one of the many commercial versions of the open-source Linux operating system that are now available, and a link to a website where I could download a variety of open-source applications.

The back-office world of servers and databases is no longer Linux's most exciting frontier. Sure, Linux has gained an irreversible hold in behind-the-scenes corporate computing centers, where some 67 percent of corporate Web servers are Linux machines running open-source software. Companies from Schwab and Merrill Lynch to L. L. Bean and Pep Boys have converted parts of their back-office operations to Linux, and IBM, Oracle, and other companies are spending millions to make their own business software run on the operating system. But over the last three years or so, the capabilities of open-source software have finally caught up with those of Microsoft applications in the space where most human-computer interaction actually occurs: the desktop.

...True, Microsoft still commands 94 percent of the market for PC operating systems. But Linux is gaining fast. Software that gives a Linux machine the look, feel, and functions of a Windows PC is available both in free, unsupported versions and in souped-up commercial versions from a growing group of companies such as Novell, Red Hat, Sun Microsystems, and Lindows, the company that makes the Linspire system.

...Over the last three years, the fraction of home and office PCs powered by Linux has roughly doubled, to almost 3 percent, and it's set to double again before the end of 2005, according to market research firm IDC. Linux's market share has already surpassed Apple's, and every 1 percent gain for Linux sucks millions of dollars a year out of Microsoft's revenues."



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posted by Robin Good on Thursday, August 12 2004, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.




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