I have a lot of respect for Ken Starks but he wrote, again, “The fact is, we’ll never see “the year of desktop Linux.” Not the way we imagine it anyway. Many of us long for the time when Linux will become a well known alternative to Microsoft Windows. That just isn’t gonna happen.”
He makes some good points, that don’t actually support his thesis. I can give a single counterexample that shows the error of his ways. There are places on this planet where GNU/Linux is a well known alternative OS on the desktop. See, for example, Reunion, a French colony in the Indian Ocean.
There, “7″ is only a few times more frequently used than GNU/Linux and Android/Linux is breathing down “7″‘s neck. “8″ and “8.1″ are far less frequently used. Are they widely known? Must be with all the advertising M$ puts out.
There are many countries where GNU/Linux is widely known: Brazil, Russia, India, China, Malaysia, Venezuela, Cuba, Uruguay,… Even USA, M$’s homeland knows GNU/Linux because it is on TV every night, and M$ and Apple have been complaining about Android/Linux and GNU/Linux eating their cake.
Not convinced? Large school systems run GNU/Linux. Do you think all those thousands of students might spread the word? How about all those employees at Google? Think they are all geeks with no friends? What does it take to be a well known desktop OS? Sold by major OEMs? GNU/Linux has that covered.
No. The problem, if there is a problem, is not about being well-known. The problem is getting on retail shelves everywhere. That’s the last barrier to wider adoption. Some countries don’t have that problem: Brazil, China, India, etc. If your country has that problem, tell the retailer why those over-priced bulky boxes are gathering dust on their shelves and that they could move product if it was ~$100/unit cheaper. Retailers are all about turnover. They need a high margin on a product rarely sold but a small margin is very profitable on a product sold more often. GNU/Linux PCs of all kinds will sell with lower prices. We saw that with the eeePC and others. ASUS had trouble keeping those shelves stocked.
See Making a Difference the Linux Way.