Recently I read an article from Wired Magazine about the creator of the Linux kernel, Linus Torvalds. The article portrays him as a family man, yet when it's time to get to work he does just that. And we already know this, as he is the chief of the Linux kernel which as we know is a lot of work. But, as with the nature of open source software, he takes a lot of pride with his work, which is clearly evident as he turned down an invite to Apple directly from Steve Jobs. This says a lot. Many of those that use proprietary software and purchase it over and over, have a hard time absorbing the fact that open source software is free and that developers write the software not to make a profit, but because they enjoy doing it and saw a need for the software they write. As I've mentioned before, the end result is quality software that any developer can open, look at, and tweak if they wish. Or, they can inquire with the main team in charge of the particular software title and offer their help. It's a huge system of collaboration, and a very effective and powerful one.
It's no wonder that the GNU/Linux operating sytem is like a Swiss army knife of operating sytems. You can install a GNU/Linux distribution, then choose which pieces and parts you want to install with a few clicks in its own software installation application. And as I've mentioned before, the package management systems like RPM and others are extremely efficient and amazing at keeping software organized.
We should also not forget that the creator of the GNU General Public License is Richard Stallman and was the first to come up with the idea of open souce software. Linus built his Linux kernel and applied the GNU GPL to it. Richard is mainly travelling a lot these days, and lecturing around the world about open source software and its benefits to society. He has a mission to accomplish, and is clearly devoted to his beliefs.
I see a bright future for open source. Developers for the software are more active than ever. Articles have popped up recently that "Linux on the Desktop is Dead". That's not true, Linux is alive on the desktop. Market share with Linux on the desktop has been hovering in the 1% area for quite a while. It's not going up very much, and it's not going down either. I think this is because of the dedicated fanbase out there using it. The Fedora forums are very much alive with users installing and using it for everyday activities on their desktops, as are Ubuntu forums and others as well. GNU/Linux on the desktop as a high percentage of the market may never be a reality, but GNU/Linux in general is a reality. With the increased demand and popularity of the cloud, GNU/Linux usage has been expanding at amazing rates on the server side. The adoption of GNU/Linux on the desktop is a difficult transition. Yes there are occasional announcements of companies and governments migrating from Windows to Linux, but I think Microsoft will keep its grasp on the desktop market for quite some time ahead. I think Microsoft's market share in the desktop market will continue to decline as it already has been over the past several years though. Desktops are becoming less popular, and more and more are waking up to the fact that Microsoft is not your friend, no matter what they try and make you believe. They've demonstrated this fact time and time again with tricky licensing schemes aimed at confusing customers and forcing them to upgrade over and over. As it has done for me, I believe that more and more will wake up and start looking at alternatives, which includes the desktop.
GNU/Linux has taken some interesting twists and turns along the way, especially in more recent times as things have been changing rapidly. While this shows that development in GNU/Linux is very strong, it also causes fragmentation which can confuse the user at times, especially new users. So I think that for the most part in the next few years, things with GNU/Linux will level out and probably be somewhere around where they are today. Unless, Microsoft produces another Windows Vista with Windows 8.