Intel: The year of the Linux desktop is here

Intel: The year of the Linux desktop is here

Summary: Intel Chief Linux and Open Source Technologist Dirk Hohndel sees Linux as the leading end-user operating system - thanks to smartphones, tablets, as well as the rise of Chromebooks.

Thanks to Android on smartphones and tablets, plus the rise of Chromebooks, Intel sees Linux as the leading end-user operating system.

New Orleans: The Sept. 18 LinuxCon keynote sessions were kicked off by Intel Chief Linux and Open Source Technologist and Linux kernel developer Dirk Hohndel who said that client computing today is mostly Linux. Thanks to Android on smartphones and tablets, plus the rise of Chromebooks, Intel sees Linux as the leading end-user operating system.

Hohndel admitted that "in 1999 he was the first to predict the 'Year of the Linux desktop.' Predictions are hard," he continued wryly, "especially about the future. But if I changed it from the year of Linux desktop and changed it to a decade and a half from now client computing will be mostly Linux, which has happened."

Intel is singing a different tune from when the company, thanks to its close Microsoft partnership known as Wintel. Hohndel was simply saying what Goldman Sachs and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers have already reported: Windows has declined while Linux has rose. 

As Goldman Sach stated in December 2012, "It took a computer revolution to unseat Microsoft from its dominant market position." It was not that Linux-based Android or Apple ever managed to knock Windows off its desktop throne. They haven't. It was the smartphone and tablet rebellion which has unseated the desktop. "Fundamentally, Microsoft’s business was disrupted by other vendors who successfully introduced compelling new device categories" But "thus far, Microsoft has failed to establish a meaningful foothold in [these new] key growth categories."

In his speech to top Linux engineers and developers, Hohndel said, "Outside of the community, most people don't see Linux's impact. Linux is usually invisible. When you go to any large Web site--Google, Facebook, Twitter--you're using Linux."

It's not just that even the most die-hard Windows users are invisibly using Linux every day, Hohndel said that, thanks to Android, Chrome OS, and the Linux that dares not speak its name (Ubuntu), the Linux end-user experience has never been more popular.  

In particular, when it comes to Chromebooks, Google and Intel are working closely on improving these lightweight laptops. The two companies "have seen Chromebooks race to a quarter of all computer sales and one fifth of all new PC school deployments."

Again, these users, just like Android users, may not be aware that they're using Linux, but then they're using Android smatphones and tablets, Chromebooks or Ubuntu, they're using Linux.

Hohndel said that Android is the most popular operating system for smartphones and is quickly becoming the most popular tablet operating system.  He added that Android smartphones are now the top of the line phones and that there are beautiful tablets as well.

In particular Hohndel praised the high-end Chromebook Pixel. "The Pixel is gorgeous. I love the Pixel. We are work closely with Google to improve Chromebook's graphics, audio, and all the pieces that lead to killer end-user devices. If you look into the future with the Chromebook, you can see Google reaching a broader and broader audience."

And, from where Intel sits, they'll be reaching them with Chromebooks powered by Intel chips.

Related Stories:

Topics: Hardware, Android, Google, Intel, Linux, Smartphones, Tablets, PCs

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        • No. Desktop means desktop.

          You can't change the definition of desktop just so that your points make more sense. Not all desktops are client computers. Not all client computers are desktops. That is a logical fallacy. The two are not equal in any way. Tablets, laptops, phones, and eReaders are NOT desktops. They aren't always clients, either. When anyone with a brain uses the word "desktop" they specifically mean a computer which is physically restricted to using it on a desk, due to the enlarged form factor, larger power requirements, and lack of portability of the displays and desk surface input devices. Believing otherwise is myopic at best.

          Saying desktops = clients is like saying tools = hammers.
          • Agreed

            Couldn't agree more with that statement.
            • Stale thinking

              Things of this world are in so constant a flux, that nothing remains long in the same state.

              John Locke
              Alan Smithie
          • No. Desktop means desktop.

            I tend to disagree, a laptop can preform as a desktop, i.e. my 8 core portable with 16gb of ram and dual hard disks is running visual studio and SQL Server Standard as well as IIS 7. Come to think of is so is my surface tablet. Now my phone, well now it is a client
            • Clearly, that's not what they're talking about

              They're not talking about laptops and desktops at all. Look at the article, please. They're talking about computing in general - and if you throw in game machines, cell phones, tablets, etc, then it is patently clear that MS has been in decline; However the math is just as patently nothing more than a pile of B.S. to begin with.

              I think everyone forgets that smart phone use has only become ubiquitous in the last five years or so - heck, the first Android phone "The Motorola Android", was just in October of 2009!! How quickly we forget!

              And this particular article talks about the PC market as if every POS, every bank teller, office worker, etc is suddenly using their Galaxy phone to help customers get their expectations met. VILE NONSENSE!

              The PC market has not been replaced, it has been supplemented. People that now run around their house with an iPad so they can read on the toilet didn't get rid of the PC in their office?! And just because we ALL have cell phones now, doesn't mean we've gotten rid of all the other ways we use computers every day; We still play on some console, we still work on some PC, and we still talk on some phone.

              How many people even have an active twitter account or actually ever text messages compared to those that have a phone that can do that, even? Have you ever asked anyone over the age of 40 how many texts they get per day? Or if they've skyped anyone in the last month or so? These things are foolish toys that are interesting and exciting for a couple of days, look *really* cool in a 30 second commercial, even, but at the end of the day they're just a freakishly painful way to waste in the end they're forgotten and discarded.

              Android hasn't been around that long - it's dominating the cell phone market right now, but remember - so was the Razor at some point, and before that it was the AT&T home phone/AT&T cellular pager. So what? 4 years from now it might electronic dog-collar around our necks?! Who knows?
              • Intel is right, but...

                Intel is correct to say that Linux will rule.

                The only problem is, Linux will do this without using Intel processors.

                Android will upscale into larger PC-like form factors (the Chromebook is just one early example). There will be other entrants coming soon, such as Ubuntu Phone and Firefox OS that will have a hard time supplanting Android, but they should do much better than commercial attempts such as Windows Phone (which failed).

                Basically, anything you can do on a PC you can also do on an ARM device. As Windows sales dwindle, so will the money to develop it. It's now death with a thousand cuts for the once dominant OS.
                • @Vbitrate

                  "Intel is correct to say that Linux will rule."

                  First Intel didn't say that. Intel's chief open source technologist, who is also a Linux kernel developer, a linux enthusiast said that. This was neither given in an open letter/white paper from Intel nor coined by the ceo/director.

                  Second, Even if Android upscales and rule the world, it is no Linux in it's essence. More like the crown passed from MS to Google in that scenario. Android is open source; but with restrictions. As per Google, if you take out the Google's services out of an Android, no Play store access. This was not Linux was intended to. This is actually what Linux was intended to fight against.

                  So no. Linux will not rule the world, even if Android has 100% market share, Chromebook has 100% market share.
              • Shiny Gadgets

                I agree wholeheadly rock06r.
                I am however over 80 and not your usual reader.
          • Could not disagree more

            ... even if I tried.

            The term desktop has "nothing" to do with a "real" desk. It has everything to do with the "types" of things we used to do with a real desk. The term "desktop" refers specifically today to the graphical interface that we organize as our virtual "desk"; and more and more these are mobile experiences.

            Yes, we are in a post PC world (computers that must be used on a real desk). Gnu/Linux is running on many of those still existing. But, when we talk today about the gnu/linux desktop experience we are talking about the virtual desk and the future of mobile computing.

            We are also talking about the morphing of the old style desk PC, to the tiny small footprint of a machine like the Mint box running gnu/linux in a tiny fanless case the size of a waffle... even smaller than the mac mini. It has a large wireless keyboard and perhaps a very large LED display (which all sits on a desk) but the whole kit-n-kboodle is very portable and need not be required to sit on a desk. In other words, the desk PC today does not "look" like the desk PC of yesterday and may or may not have the slightest relation to an actual real desktop.

            By the way, desktops are not clients... but they organize and provide the interface for clients. (there is no other way to have a client)

            I use droids (tablets and phone), I have a mac mini which I carry from place to place in a man-bag (with its wireless display and keyboard) and I have a notebook. They are all desktops and they are all running some flavor of gnu/linux; even my mac mini which dual boots between OSX and the Mint fresh flavor of gnu/linux.

            go Linux !

            er, I mean, gnu/linux :)

          • Such rigid thinking.

            Anyone with half a brain wouldn't expect these words to always be mutually exclusive.

            My desktop is a notebook that used to be my laptop.

            But I got a smaller notebook, so now my old notebook is my desktop. I only use it on my desk. It stays on my desk. I use it with a mouse. But it would still work just as well as a laptop as it ever did.

            Specifically it ISN'T "physically restricted to using it on a desk" anymore than my laptop is "physically restricted to using it on a lap".
            Henry 3 Dogg
            • @Henry 3 Dogg

              Please tell these stupids to change the definition then

              'A desktop computer is a personal computer in a form intended for regular use at a single location, as opposed to a mobile laptop or portable computer.'

              Very many stupids must be there in the world, I guess. It is wikipedia; if the info is wrong, any one can correct it. But a wrong info is there. That means, many millions are stupid enough to think this is correct, I guess.
  • Not an OS complaint

    @zafu - That's not an OS complaint, that's an "I told my windows computer to run a bunch of stuff at startup, and it runs a bunch of stuff at startup. Which makes me angry. " I have one linux box with a ton of stuff in rc.local... guess what, it takes a long time to do a cold restart...amazing, I know.

    @mtelesha - mainstream doesn't mean your stuff goes away. My win7's command line and powershell work just fine. Only trouble I have is that its a 64bit os and doesn't like trying to run ancient 16bit code. Runs a VM which runs 16bit code though just fine. As to losing idea, I'm talking about the phrase "year of the linux desktop" (or year of Bob's desktop) for that matter. Linux is awesome, and I use it daily. Windows is awesome, and I use it daily. There is no "year of" this year, next year, or next decade.

    @ricketzz - On your Win7/8 box why not have some Linux VMs on it; on your Linux box, why not have some Windows VMs on it? And why should someone object to paying for software? The language bar feature in Win7+ is worth the price of the OS all by itself; the Windows design for that feature is much better than the KDE version.

    For the ultra-cheap, you can walk away with a solid desktop machine by purchasing an off-lease cpu via ebay and sticking ubuntu on it. But I'm not sure why the ultra-cheap desktop realm is worth spending time on in a forum like this.
    • Its not about boot up speed.

      @rwwff, you are missing the point, its not about boot up speed. Its about task such as virus scan, virus update, defrag which needs to be run on a Window box.

      Anyway, if we gonna keep to the course, you said all OS is the same, and I just pointed it out to you, its not. Linux don't have to do virus scan virus update. Its optional. Not so for windows box. U gotta do virus update virus scan every now and then.
      Empty Zafu
      • vscan update

        Your windows only does a virus scan update in a noticeable fashion, because that's what you told it to do. My linux boxes do tons of tasks in the background, as scheduled, just as I scheduled them. Backups, scans, indexing, blah blah. Learn to use your scheduler on whatever OS you use; they pretty much work the same, though the GUI on the Windows one is simultaneously really nifty, and a bit overly complicated looking, just my opinion. Set a time, set a repeat interval, set the user it runs as, tada.

        I suspect the real problem is insufficient memory in your system; you wouldn't even notice the virus scan/update running, even at a poor choice of time, if you had enough memory. My win7 has 12gb, and it is as smooth as silk; even with dozens of processes and programs open.

        But mostly, use your scheduler so that your scheduled processes don't annoy you.
        • No matter how u schedule it on win box, u have to do virus scan!

          But for Linux, u don't have to do such tasks! Anti virus scan, anti adware scan, anti spyware scan, anti virus software update, anti adware software update, anti spyware software update, etc etc, Linux don't have to do those tasks, don't u get it???
          Empty Zafu
          • hard time understanding...

            the obsession with virus scanners. Of all the background processes, what be so special about virus scanners?
          • Because its a prominet feature of Windows Box

            So its not all OS are the same like u said. It is not. One need all kind of shitty process (Windows), the other one doesn't (Linux).
            Empty Zafu
          • user experience

            If it wasn't clear from my initial comment, I'm talking about user experience, how things get done. Obviously there are different processes that run on each os, there's different process that run on my slackwares vs my ubuntus. But how a user interacts with these OS's, and what they can do on them is very much the same.

            You're argument would equally apply to the nfsd, sendmail, and dhcpd running on a linux machine and not a windows machine. They don't impact the user experience either. Or a difference you could cite would be the difference between powershell and bash; but the activity of type a command to produce an action on a command line is the same.

            So, taking a peak... my linux workstation has 205 active processes running on it right now; and my win7 has 119 processes running right now. Why would anyone care whether those numbers were +1 or -1?

            ps... just as I don't consider Microsoft's file format lockin on Office documents a positive on the shall purchase/use chart; I also do not consider Linux's Obscurity as Defense from Virus as a positive on its side. They both encourage negative behavior. As a result, I have chunks of custom code to provide me with scans of my linux systems that my windows system has done by software I just had to install. I consider that a negative on the linux side; not a positive.
          • Disagree. Running antivirus software will have impact on user experience

            Even if u schedule it to run in the background, it still affect user experience. For instance, anti virus software, sometimes after update, they will ask the user whether they wanna reboot the system or not.

            And also, running anti virus software will slow down the computer, no? So how could it be anti virus process has no impact on the user experience?? And its not just one process. Its tons of them. Anti virus software update, anti virus scan, anti spyware software update, anti spyware software scan, anti adware software update, anti adware software scan, defragmentation, etc etc etc.
            Empty Zafu
          • Re-emphasis

            "So, taking a peak... my linux workstation has 205 active processes running on it right now; and my win7 has 119 processes running right now. Why would anyone care whether those numbers were +1 or -1?"

            Because windows required tasks such as anti virus scan, defragamentation, etc etc, will slow down the computer significantly. So the user experience of both OS Linux and Windows, is different.
            Empty Zafu