For executives in charge of desktop deployments in a large company, Linux OS was once hailed as a savior for corporate end users. With incredibly low pricing – free, with fee-based support plans, for example – distributions such as Ubuntu Desktop and SUSE Linux Enterprise offered a “good enough” user interface, along with plenty of powerful apps and a rich browser. A few years ago, both Dell and HP jumped on the bandwagon; today, they still offer “developer” and “workstation” models that come pre-loaded with a Linux install. Plus, anyone who follows the Linux market knows that Google has reimagined Linux as a user-friendly tablet interface (the wildly popular Android OS) and a browser-only desktop variant (Chrome OS). Linux also shows up on countless connected home gadgets, fitness trackers, watches and other low-cost devices, mostly because OS costs are so low.
The desktop computing OS for end users has failed to capture any attention lately, though. Al Gillen, the program vice president for servers and system software at IDC, says the Linux OS as a computing platform for end users is at least comatose – and probably dead.