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WinInformant.com: Top Stories of 2001, #5: Linux Falters on the Desktop

Jan 22, 2002, 20:15 (56 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Paul Thurrot)

[ Thanks to Con Zymaris for this link. ]

"For the past few years, you could confidently predict that every computer industry pundit in the world would write an article about the rise of Linux on the desktop. "1999 will be THE year of Linux on the desktop," they cried. "OK, seriously, 2000 is it! Well, maybe 2001." Maybe not. In 2001, the dot-com market officially dried up, the economy nosedived into a cyclical recession, and the market for Linux on the desktop remained nonexistent.

On a more positive note, Linux desktop advancements are quite impressive, and if you haven't tried this open-source solution recently, I recommend products such as Ximian Desktop and Evolution, two highlights of the Linux desktop movement. But as 2001 came to a close, any hope that Linux would supplant Windows desktop versions ebbed right along with it. Linux isn't a disaster, of course; the OS commands a healthy percentage of the small-server market. But the one-time Linux steamroller has stalled at the Gates of Windows, and the fact that the desktop is one market Linux will never conquer has become increasingly obvious. Besides, if you want a desktop UNIX, Mac OS X is so much more elegant.

Back in January 2001, however, Mac OS X hadn't shipped, and many Linux companies were planning heady desktop improvements. On January 11, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer even declared that Linux was the number-one threat to Windows. He described the OS as a "phenomenon" that the company must address."

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