This was the year of desktop Linux

Summary:It's the compatibility between Chromium and Android, based on Linux, which I think gives the old mouse-and-keyboard upright posture desktop Linux yet-another chance.

Before Israel was founded in 1948 it made sense to conclude a Passover seder with the words "Next year in Jerusalem." With Israel a reality the arguments over the phrase have changed. Yet they endure.

Desktop Linux is the same sort of deal. Linux believers always assume that next year will be the year of desktop Linux. Windows followers often chide those who seek Linux with that belief, both here and elsewhere.

Before anyone starts thinking this Catholic boy has changed his stripes, my point is simply that, in the case of desktop Linux, Jerusalem is here.

This is the year.

This is also the year where the definition of a desktop has changed. Apple changed it with the iPhone and, now, the iPad. Microsoft has failed to deliver in both these key areas. Linux has not.

Google gets the credit for that. As I noted yesterday Google Android has soaked up the excess demand for Internet hand-held devices that the iPhone left on the floor. My guess is that, once Chromium comes out, you'll have the same experience there.

Linux has broken through because Google has the size to go toe-to-toe with either Microsoft or Apple, and push product through distribution. (Remember, there is a price lower than free.)

It's the compatibility between Chromium and Android, based on Linux, which I think gives the old mouse-and-keyboard upright posture desktop Linux yet-another chance.

Linux Mint and Ubuntu are building the kind of simple-then-power relationship that will exist between Android and Chromium, and which existed in the past between Windows and Windows NT.

Mint offers simplicity and a full application suite. It abstracts all the complexity of the command line, much as Android and Chromium do. Even our own Jason Perlow likes it (and he is hard to please).

What's still missing is the financial wherewithal to push this through the distribution channel. But with the success of Google as a patron for hand-held Linux, are Microsoft followers certain one can't be found for the old-fashioned desktop?

My larger point is it doesn't matter. Either Mint and Ubuntu will gain desktop traction or Google will simply bypass them.

Topics: Software, Hardware, Linux, Open Source, Operating Systems

About

Dana Blankenhorn has been a business journalist since 1978, and has covered technology since 1982. He launched the Interactive Age Daily, the first daily coverage of the Internet to launch with a magazine, in September 1994.

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