“Until somebody can figure out a surefire way to monetize a desktop distro, GNU/Linux will continue to be primarily used by free software advocates, people who demand the best on their desktop, those trying to keep an older machine productive and by those who’ve had-it-up-to-here with Microsoft.”
See Why Desktop Linux Still Hasn’t Taken Over the WorldChristine Hall has a point. In the business of supplying PCs to the public, money begets money. If a business is not selling a product for money, there’s not much reason to do so. Still, an OEM can do the maths a different way. They can choose to advertise, distribute and support GNU/Linux on the desktop seeing the product costing very little and being able to make a profit selling it for a little more. Which way will the bottom line benefit more?
Folks are genuinely annoyed by Wintel and the endless costs of keeping systems going. That’s why Apple had some success. That’s why Android/Linux had some success. That’s why GNU/Linux has had some success. The first ~1% of usage may be due to DIYers and FLOSSies, but we are long past that. Schools and governments and individuals are loving GNU/Linux, not just fans. We are in a situation where “10” despite lots of expensive advertising is not seen as a “must have”. That’s because while advertising/promotion/usage has familiarized the world with the product, widespread usage has familiarized the world with malware, slowing down, re-re-reboots, the damned EULA,… So, people are equating Wintel PCs with a loss of productivity, not a gain. Wintel has besmirched the reputation of the PC and that may not be undone for a generation.
Enter GNU/Linux. When folks discover one way or another that GNU/Linux does not have the cost and waste of Wintel, they will buy it or install it on the waste left over from failed copies of TOOS. Today, there’s even Odroid-C2, a tiny PC that’s powerful enough to do the desktop tasks yet costs ~$100 delivered to one’s snail-mailbox. Open the package, plug in the SD-card, fold up the tiny plastic case, and plug in to a world of trouble-free computing. It just sits there getting warm and doing wonderful things. There’s no EULA, no endless re-re-re-boots, yes, just like their smartphones. Hardkernel can spend money promoting Odroid-C2 and GNU/Linux because TOOS does not run on the device. It’s still a PC.
Around the world, GNU/Linux has made an impact. It’s widely used in schools, a few offices and millions of individuals. Governments in Europe are actively promoting FLOSS as an efficient means of operation. The fact that $millions are not being spent by OEMs promoting it slows down adoption. It does not prevent it. Adoption of GNU/Linux is happening. In Europe there are several countries with around 3% usage. Uruguay has about 13%. Folks who encounter GNU/Linux at school or at work will spread the concept by word of mouth. The idea that a PC must have Wintel has taken a huge hit. Obviously other operating systems are out there and billions know it. It’s just a matter of seizing opportunity to make it happen. That does not require a business set in the ways of Wintel to accomplish just motivated citizens and groups.