Linux Is About to Take Over the Low End of PCs

In 2008, Linux, yes, Linux, will start taking over the low-end PC market and Microsoft will be almost helpless to stop it. (

Sometimes, several unrelated changes come to a head at the same time, with a result no one could have predicted. The PC market is at such a tipping point right now and the result will mean millions of Linux-powered PCs in users' hands.

The first change was the continued maturation of desktop Linux. Today, no one can argue with a straight face that people can't get their work done on Linux-powered PCs.

Ubuntu, PCLinuxOS, MEPIS, OpenSUSE, Xandros, Linspire Mint, the list goes on and on of desktop Linuxes that PC owner can use without knowing a thing about Linux's technical side.

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People can argue that Vista or Mac OS X is better, but when Michael Dell runs Ubuntu Linux on one of his own home systems, it can't be said that Linux isn't a real choice for anyone's desktop.

Another change occurred when Nicholas Negroponte proposed the so-called $100-laptop, the OLPC (One Laptop Per Child) machine.

He couldn't get them built for quite that price—they cost about $200—but that's still remarkably cheap and they're available today.


Not long after OLPC was announced, Intel and other companies came up with their own take on an inexpensive PC: the Classmate PC. By 2007, it had become clear that you could build a laptop that was good enough to run desktop Linux for about $200.

That gave other hardware vendors an idea.

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