Tuesday, 24 March 2009

The Year of the Linux Desktop

I came across this draft of an draft article of mine from 2007:

"I've been a Linux user since 2001 - or even 1998 if you count my university days in the labs at Manchester University. Ever since I first booted into a nice new Gnome 2.0 desktop - the release that caused so much controversy and was slammed for being a backward step; those people seem to be quiet these days - I have heard every year predictions of each year being the year of the Linux desktop.

"I've got some bad news for you. It's not coming soon. Not this decade, probably not the next. The Linux, GNU/Linux, Ubuntu, Fedora desktop or whatever name you want to give it, it won't be squashing Windows in this era or the next.

The good news? We don't need a year of the Linux desktop. We advocates, Free Software contributors, users, and evangelists, we can keep at it, improving our world in a way that empowers users instead of entrapping them."

I don't think "The Year of the Linux Desktop" is a relevant term any more. The Free desktop is a long term ideal that began with Richard Stallman and the GNU Foundation back in the 1980s and will continue long after computers transcend the forms we understand them to be today. Knowledge is power, and Free software is knowledge. The steady growth of the Linux desktop against a company as ruthless as Microsoft shows that the arrival of a Free software desktop as the dominant operating system has an air of inevitability.