“I actually am very happy with the Linux desktop, and I started the project for my own needs, and my needs are very much fulfilled. That’s why, to me, it’s not a failure. I would obviously love for Linux to take over that world too, but it turns out it’s a really hard area to enter. I’m still working on it. It’s been 25 years. I can do this for another 25. I’ll wear them down.”
See Linus Torvalds still wants Linux to take over the desktopSo many people have written, spoken and believed that GNU/Linux has not and never will make it on the desktop but that’s irrelevant to FLOSSies. It’s all about control. FLOSS is an insurgency that fights central control of software and to some extent hardware.
In 1995, GNU/Linux was in the fight but was forced to the flanks by exclusive dealing and a war of FUD. In 2016, ARM is designing whole CPUs and systems and manufacturers are designing motherboards perfectly capable of running desktops and mobile thingies and IoTs while Intel fights a rearguard action, trying to stem the tide of applications that don’t involve Wintel or even Intel.
In 2016, there are whole manufacturing ecosystems thriving that don’t depend on Wintel. e.g. 96boards.org is doing for ARM what Intel did for x86 with ATX and PCI and it all runs GNU/Linux. No secret deals. No exclusionary forces. It’s all out in the open and manufacturers can barely keep up with demand.
In this ecosystem, GNU/Linux is the goto OS and while most systems are compact, limited and mobile-like, others are pushing the limits of what a CPU can do: servers with few practical limits, yes, and desktop systems that are snappy and resourceful. I will buy both a good server and desktop clients running GNU/Linux on ARM this year. The world has been doing that for a few years with Chromebooks and clouds. Now they can do the same for a complete OS without limits. I think it’s fair to claim the GNU/Linux desktop has “made it”. That Other OS and Apple’s stuff are not in the same class.
Further, there are no limits on future growth of ARM and GNU/Linux. No consumer, business, manufacturer or software developer has to do anything to please Intel or M$ these days. Even M$ has made GNU/Linux welcome on “10”. Who’d have thought that would ever happen? I did, in a way, suggesting M$ could be a better business shipping GNU/Linux… They are not there yet but that’s the first 100 miles of a 1000-mile journey.