Jim Zemlin, executive director of the Linux Foundation, makes what I think is a very bold statement:
For those that decry the constant prediction of the “year of the Linux desktop” I am happy to say that next year Linux may actually ship on more desktops than Windows or the Mac. That is right, I said next year. What is driving this? Two words: fast boot.
Matt Richtell of the New York Times wrote a great article on Sunday about the demand for faster start up times on computers. In the story the chronicled how HP, Dell, Lenovo, Asus and a array of other PC makers are starting to develop “machines that give people access to basic functions like e-mail and a Web browser in 30 seconds or less.” Here is the interesting part: Linux is providing that access.
While I think that we'll see Linux on a heck of a lot more systems by this time next year, I'm almost guaranteed that Linux won't be outshipping Windows by this time next year. I think if Linux hit 3% market share it'll be doing very well indeed.
Sure, instant-on technology is a very nice feature, and one that we'll be seeing more and more of over the coming month. It's great to be able to get online quickly without all the hassle of having to boot into Windows. Instant-on also highlights a massive weakness for Microsoft. Sure, with Vista Microsoft tried to cover up bad boot times by using hybrid sleep, but this was a dodge and Microsoft knew that.
If Instant-on really is as big a feature as OEMs such as HP, Dell and Lenovo think it will be (not to mention motherboard makers such as ASUS) then Microsoft seriously needs to address this issue or be vulnerable to Linux encroachment.