Today, you can do everything you want with a Linux desktop, except play the latest games. Even there, Linux is catching up. So why do only a handful of people run Linux instead of Windows? Here are my top four reasons why Windows wins and Linux loses.
Before I start, though, let me say—because people always assume Im anti-Linux when I write pieces like this—that I use Linux desktops every day. Im writing this on a SLED (SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop) 10 system, I run MEPIS 6.01 and Xandros Professional Desktop 4.1 on my laptops, and on my other desktops that I use at least weekly, youll find Freespire 1.0, Fedora Core 6, and openSUSE 10.2. In short, I use Linux. I love Linux. But, that doesnt mean Im blind to business reality, Windows virtues, or Linux flaws.
So, without further adieu, the No. 1 reason why Linux trails in the desktop races.
1. The installed base
There are, what, hundreds of millions of Windows XP and 2000 systems still out there and working? Thats a lot of systems. Thats a lot of people who know nothing but Windows.
Canonical CEO Mark Shuttleworth claims that there are at least 8 million Ubuntu Linux desktops alone out there. I wish I could believe that number, but I dont.
I could believe that there are 8 million total Linux desktops out there. If we accept that there are 8 million Linux desktops out there, based on IDCs Linux market share estimates that would mean were talking over a billion Windows desktops out there. Ouch.