Is the Future of Linux off the Desktop?

For the past eleven years, pundits have been proclaiming that this will be the year of desktop Linux.

The open source operating system has made significant inroads into the server and mobile markets but its desktop market share has remained stagnant at about 1%

Apple's Mac OS X on the other hand is doing exactly what Linux wants to do - taking market share from Microsoft.

While many like the idea of Linux, the fact that they do not have an easy way to mass market has restricted their growth. Apple's Mac OS X is what they use on their PC's. Windows is pre-installed on the majority of shop bought PC's because it has market share. Linux does not have it's own PC production facility, nor does it have the market share to get the pre-installs. Unfortunately, without significant investment it will be hard to break out of this.

In the server market Linux is performing much better. Here at UKFast we have a fairly even split of Windows and Linux. The latter dominates our smaller solutions while Windows is used more at enterprise level. This has been the same for a number of years

The rise in smartphone usage has presented Linux with the opportunity to fight back. Smartphones already outsell PCs and Android is the most popular OS - even beating Apple.

According to ComScore, Microsoft's share of the US smartphone market dropped from 9.7 per cent to 8 per cent between October 2010 and January 2011. Microsoft claims to have shipped 2 million Windows Phone devices during that period, but so far at least it doesn't appear to be stopping the decline in Microsoft's mobile market share.

As computing becomes increasingly mobile, and smartphone or tablet devices become more popular, there is a real possibility that Linux will finally have its' year.

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