Many people accept that GNU/Linux has a place on the server but not on personal computers. I don’t understand that. A recent article in The Register describes the average costs of a data-centre:
“servers account for 50 percent of the total cost of ownership of a typical Internet data center over three years, and power consumption is another 23 percent, there is a lot that Intel can do to make it less expensive to do server computing and therefore leave more money for companies to acquire more iron. Labor accounts for 13 per cent of TCO, says Waxman, with networking representing another 6 per cent, facilities 5 per cent, and other items 3 per cent.”
The last servers that I built from parts for a school cost about $1000. If I had put 2003 on it, the cost would have more than doubled, so the numbers above seem about right. My terminal servers are essentially a powerful desktop PC so these numbers should be similar for personal computers.
With a personal computer you are more likely to have some hand-holding to do so “help desk” would be a component but the costs of licensing that other OS are very large. That’s one of the main reasons to use GNU/Linux, because we have better things to do with our money than to send it to M$ in Redmond, WA, USA. That’s why I know GNU/Linux will sell well if retailers put it on the shelves. Cost does matter.