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Will Linux Ever Challenge Windows or Apple?

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Will Linux Ever Challenge Windows or Apple?

Post by Mojo on Wed Oct 02, 2013 5:25 pm

This is kind of a loaded question in that in the business world, Linux has far surpassed Windows and Apple.  Linux is all around us.  Your bank uses it to protect your accounts.  Your hospital uses it.  The traffic lights use Linux to regulate traffic flow. Your home DVR and movie streaming device use Linux.  Wall Street uses Linux as does The Pentagon. Linux is probably used in far more places than you realize.  It really is everywhere.
But the question remains, on the home PC will Linux ever achieve the user base of Windows, Apple, or any of the upstarts like IOS, Android, or Chrome OS?  My short answer is probably not.  Linux has been around for a long time and although it's evolved greatly, it's still never caught on and is still looked on as a homebrew OS designed by and for pocket protector wearing, Mountain Dew Code Red drinking, male uber nerds.
Don't get me wrong, I am a big fan of Linux and the open source movement and have, myself used many flavors of Linux over the years.  However, the casual user has probably never seen a Linux desktop and a bunch probably doesn't even know what Linux is. 
The main problem with Linux is the number of distributions or "flavors" of Linux.  According to DistroWatch, a website that tracks every version of Linux out there, there are well over a couple of hundred different distributions of Linux.  A lot of them share features but a lot don't which makes trying Linux out for a newcomer quite a daunting feat not to mention really makes it hard for one Distro to stand out above the rest.  All the different flavors tend to dilute the entire OS.  In order for Linux to thrive in the private sector there has to be a unified distribution of the OS that gives people the features they want in an easy to navigate system.  Something that I think will never happen now and that may not be a bad thing.
The beauty of Linux is it's versatility.  You can find Linux Distros that will work on just about every computer you can think of.  Got an old PC collecting dust?  Turn it into a web server or media streamer or throw a smaller Distro on it like Puppy Linux and have a fully internet capable web browsing and emailing machine.  With Linux the possibilities are endless and that is why the various flavors are good for Linux.
So while Linux may never be the heir to Windows or any other OS, there will always be a need for an OS like Linux. If the mainstream computer user wants to miss out on that, so be it.  It's really their loss.
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