Brendan Scott also noted assumptions about GNU/Linux never having a place on the desktop by some. I differ with him in that I think it has already happened that GNU/Linux is widely accepted on the desktop but he thinks it can happen in the future because of the durability of FLOSS. Free Software is tough. There is no business to bankrupt or to buy out. The monopoly cannot kill it and it continues to grow.
Different people have different thresholds for acceptance. 1% is wonderful. 10% means that GNU/Linux has become mainstream just about everywhere. I think that’s where we are now. M$’s take per PC sold in the world is down about 10% from the “good old days”1). They have not lowered their prices that much. It’s share. Oh, I know some buy noOS and stick XP on it but that’s probably less than 30% (businesses, likely). The real question no one can answer is how far GNU/Linux will grow. It has not slowed down its growth, about 25% per year some places, and will accelerate when people realize what small cheap computers can do. The mobile devices and netbooks showed them that. Some still feel they must donate $1000 per notebook to Wintel but I know more people who are happier with a $300 netbook and those netbooks run even better with GNU/Linux.
I believe that the year GNU/Linux became widely accepted on the desktop was 2009. The netbook settled that discussion as far as I can tell. GNU/Linux netbooks sold out for many months before M$ bought off ASUS and others. M$ lost $1billion in revenue when they did that. They have nothing like that leverage on ARM which will push into x86 strongholds this year. Dell has been making money selling GNU/Linux machines for several years now and are increasing its presence. Other OEMs are doing the same. Here GNU/Linux went from 100% to 5% in one year in the school and many machines were installed of GNU/Linux in the community. Not one person asked for XP to come back.
M$’s for OS ($B)
PCs sold Q3 (M)
M$’s per PC
M$ took a hit of $5 per PC while OEMs sold PCs for $hundreds less. M$ did not actually reduce prices but lost share.