Windows' Endgame. Desktop Linux's Failure

Windows' Endgame. Desktop Linux's Failure

Summary: After almost 20-years of ruling the computing world, Windows is on its way down. Linux will not be the winner though.


“After nearly a decade, Microsoft’s reign as a monopoly is over.” … “The latest real-world data on web usage confirms that Microsoft’s once-dominant position in the world of personal computing is crumbling.” That’s not me, the Linux guy speaking. No, that’s Ed Bott, who’s as much a Windows fan as I am a Linux fan. Ed’s the one, not me, who’s saying that “if Windows 8 flops on phones and tablets, Microsoft’s future is very dim indeed.

Desktop Linux’s future isn’t any better. Windows isn’t declining because of Linux’s security or stability benefits. No, as Ed points out, it’s declining because of the rise of mobile computing. Apple’s iPhone and iPad are the ‘villians” in the mystery of who killing Windows. And, they’re also killing off the traditional desktop Linux.

When I say this though I don’t mean that Windows won’t still be on computers in 2021. It will be. What it won’t be though is the dominant computing platform. Unlike Ed, I do think that Microsoft is moving too late to a mobile, tablet-based computing paradigm. Windows 8 will be too little, too late.

Linux, however, is in a funny place. Linux, through Android, is becoming an important operating system for end-users. Most people don’t know it though. If you ask them “Could you use Linux?” If they even know what Linux is, they’ll say “No.” Ask them can they use their phone, they’ll say “Yes, of course.”

We’ve seen this before People having been using Linux without realizing it for years now thanks to Google, Yahoo, and the thousands of other major Web sites that rely on Linux for their server operating system. We’ll see this in the future not only with the continued rise of Android but with all the other mobile Linux systems such as HP’s webOS, Google’s Chromebooks; and MeeGo.

None of these though are traditional Linux desktops. Only Ubuntu’s Unity comes from what most of who’ve been using Linux for years think of as mainstream Linux. Perhaps Unity will become a major player in the mobile space. I fear it may also be a case of too little, too late, but we’ll see what we see.

So it is that while I’m now more sure than ever that Linux, thanks to its presence in servers, cloud, and mobile devices, will eventually be more important than Windows, I also think that almost no one will know it. Linux will--indeed already is--become the foundation on which many other user systems will be built. But both desktop Windows and Linux are going to decline.

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

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  • RE: Windows' Endgame. Desktop Linux's Failure

    Sure, I can use my phone, but I rather have a Windows phone than an android based system of any kind. I have both, windows and android phone and I like windows better by far.
    • RE: Windows' Endgame. Desktop Linux's Failure

      And I prefer Osmoroid fountain pens with square tips to ball point pens, and I use both. Ultimately, this is an irrelevant point.
      • Also, Steven does not mention Android: even though it is not Linux and not

        @DannyO_0x98: ... really "open" -- contrary to what advertised -- it is still based on Linux. So while *desktop* does not promise much for Linux, mobile gives it a chance.
      • the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few - or the one

        At the moment, I belive the needs of the few are - users who want / have windows based smartphones.
      • RE: Windows' Endgame. Desktop Linux's Failure


        Yes its based on a highly modified closed source kernel. If Google at had followed your so called "true" Linux path they'd still be bickering over using vi or emacs as the default editor, what UI to use, and the phone carriers would have dropped them.

        Android is not Linux, not even close. Android is an OS designed to make profit for Google. You call all keep pointing and Android and the never freaking ending stories of how Linux is the king of supercomputers (who cares other than a bunch of academics and FOSS evangelists, my Grandma who happily uses Skype and Photoshop/Premier Elements sure doesn't) and how LibreOffice is better than OpenOffice.

        Keep grasping at straws, it helps build up your forearm muscles.
      • Closed source Linux kernel?!

        @kyleoster Linux kernel is protected by GPL licence which ensures all public modifications must be open-sourced. By associating Vim or GUI with Linux kernel you clearly show you have no idea what you're talking about
    • RE: Windows' Endgame. Desktop Linux's Failure


    • RE: Windows' Endgame. Desktop Linux's Failure


      Grandpa used to say, "never bite the hand that feeds you".
    • RE: Windows' Endgame. Desktop Linux's Failure

      sparkle farkle
    • RE: Windows' Endgame. Desktop Linux's Failure

      We're all very happy for you. However, the majority don't prefer Windows on their phone.
      • The majority don't care either way

        @freetulisten To be fair, the majority don't prefer iOS, Android or WP7. The majority wanted to play Angry Birds. Who cares what the OS is.

        Android will fail if they don't find a good marketplace. Ultimately, kids want to click and buy an album, click and stream in a pod cast, click and watch movies, click and play games. For example, what if I was on my Android phone and wanted to buy games "like Angry Birds" that will definitely work on my instance of Android. how do I find that on the phone?

        Android has lots of cool features, but for the power-mom, if it doesn't work with two thumb tabs the same way as the soccer mom next to her who she has coffee with, its not good.
        A Gray
    • RE: Windows' Endgame. Desktop Linux's Failure

      @Jediguardian wrote "I rather have a Windows phone than an android based system of any kind"

      I also prefer a linux desktop - however, it seems we are both in the minority.
    • RE: Windows' Endgame. Desktop Linux's Failure

      @Jediguardian It seems to me that the article, rather than trying to provoke the usual Windows vs Linux skirmish, is suggesting that the traditional desktop OS--of whatever flavor--is likely to become less important as mobile devices dominate.

      It's mildly irritating, however, that Bott claims that "desktop Linux still can?t crack the 1% level", when evidence for this seems either missing or opaque. Here's the "methodology" cited by NetMarketShare for this conclusion:

      "We use a unique methodology for collecting this data. We collect data from the browsers of site visitors to our exclusive on-demand network of live stats customers. The data is compiled from approximately 160 million visitors per month. The information published is an aggregate of the data from this network of hosted website statistics. The site unique visitor and referral information is summarized on a monthly, weekly, daily and hourly basis.

      In addition, we classify 430+ referral sources identified as search engines. Aggregate traffic referrals from these engines are summarized and reported on. The statistics for search engines include both organic and sponsored referrals. The websites in our population represent almost all countries on earth."

      It appears, in other words, that NetMarketShare claims to be able to detect OS market share by analyzing web traffic. Maybe this is possible; I'd like to learn more.

      If Linux' market share is 1% or less, that's just fine with me. I use Linux (and sometimes Windows 7) for my own reasons--not the reasons of others.
      • 1 % shhare

        @FeralUrchin I agree 100% with your reasoning. Quote " If Linux' market share is 1% or less, that's just fine with me. I use Linux (and sometimes Windows 7) for my own reasons--not the reasons of others."

        I believe that the numbers they forject for each OS are from a much smaller base than they quote that they access to. Players in the IT world like IBM, etc don't waste there time spending millions of $ on 1% market opportunity. End of story.
        Over and Out
      • You can detect OS by checking the User-Agent in the HTTP Header


        So NetMarketShare can say what the OS market share is of the visitors to the sites that they monitor.

        Most Web Stat Analytics do the same thing, it's easy to do. You could do it yourself on you're own website with (probably) any web based programming language :)
    • RE: Windows' Endgame. Desktop Linux's Failure

      @Jediguardian windows phone 7 is pretty bad. I tested it out last night for the first time where I actually sat down and used it for a few minutes. I found the menus clunky and hard to understand, unless the phone I was using had no apps at all I couldn't actually find the applications. They have a long way to go before they can compete with android.
  • RE: Windows' Endgame. Desktop Linux's Failure

    @Dietrich T. Schmitz, *~* Your Linux Advocate

    That's a strange parallel universe you come from DTS, are the laws of physics different as well?

    Twenty years, less than 1% and when my PVR stuffs up, I know who to blame - Linux.
    • RE: Windows' Endgame. Desktop Linux's Failure

      @tonymcs@... <br><br>Your less than 1% argument is so 2007'ish.<br>You need to apt-get update your "Linux" knowledge. <br>You can start by researching "What is Linux".<br><br>PS. Your MC$E knowledge is NOT transferable. The "E" is a misnomer.
    • RE: Windows' Endgame. Desktop Linux's Failure

      it's now 2%
    • RE: Windows' Endgame. Desktop Linux's Failure

      Mr Jedi - very clever to use "$", original too. People like you ruin any chance to get more people to even try Linux.