Friday, August 19, 2011

Why 2010 was the "Year of the Linux Desktop"

This is probably the best argument I've read for it:

The Linux Desktop Came on Little Cat Feet
Somehow, some way, the year 2010 may have finally been the year of the Linux desktop -- but no one noticed. Maybe no one needed to. In 2010, smartphones got hot, and Android OS smartphones collectively overtook the iPhone in units sold. At the same time, Android tablets gained traction as popular alternatives to the iPad.

A subtle shift in the notion of what defines "desktop," and suddenly Linux emerges in anonymous glory -- leaving Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) playing the silly (but familiar and perhaps a bit dangerous) role of catch-up. Looking back, could 2010 really be the year when Linux, in the form of Android, became the desktop?

What is a desktop anyway?

A distinction may be necessary. While I may make a case that 2010 was the year of the Linux desktop, I realize the form factor is different, and it's a little new. But computers evolve, and the point -- that the Linux-based Android is a major player in the user-interface world -- is not lost or any less relevant. More important is that in smartphones, Linux trumps Windows. (More data to follow when next of kin have been notified.)

Naysayers may argue that Android as a desktop is a stretch but, really, what does define a desktop? In the first place, "desktop" has always been a muddy metaphor. Seriously, who puts "wallpaper" on a desktop? Distilled to its essence, the computer desktop is an infrastructure providing end-user computing. In that context, smartphones (iOS and Android based) capably provide just that, and in some ways more than traditional desktops do.

Android and Desktop computing

Traditional desktop computing let users do their banking online, make travel arrangements, play games, listen to music, and communicate with friends and family. Android does too, but with some obvious and some nuanced benefits. [...]

The article goes on to take a detailed look at those benefits. Read the whole thing and have a look at what Linux success looks like.

Also see:

Has "Wintel" been replaced by "Quadroid"?


No comments: