Linux poised to make a splash on the desktop, like, really soon now. Seriously.

I’ve been using Linux and contributing to the Free Software / Open Source community since 1995. Ever since Netscape opened the code of its (now dead) navigator back in 1998, thus giving much greater exposure to the concept of free software, pretty much every year has been touted as “the year Linux will get a foothold on the desktop. Although for a few years now, more people have started to notice the repeating trend.

I gave into that delusion myself back then, but should you ever come across someone who’s still buying into it, this should help sobering him up.

10 years gone by, and it’s barely ahead of Windows 98. Sheesh.

(that said, I still find coding for Rosegarden is fun 🙂 ).

2 thoughts on “Linux poised to make a splash on the desktop, like, really soon now. Seriously.”

  1. No one I new thought 1998 would be the year Linux would gain a foothold on the desktop. Heck it was fighting hard in most server areas to gain mainstream acceptance to replace Unix servers.

    What was the case was that by 1998 was that OEM based versions of desktop linux became available. That is it was possible to configure a system for an average user which companies like Pep-Boys and Burlington Coat factory (that is Solaris / SCO shops) did successfully and started transitioning.

    KDE 1.0 wasn’t released till midway through 1998 and while early versions of Gnome would come out in 1999 the foundation wasn’t until 2000.

    Windows pulled off the XP merger of their 2000 and ME lines successfully had it been a disaster there might have been migration in 2001 or so. But getting the NT kernel into the hands of end users solved many of the problems which the 1990s Linux addressed.

  2. OK, I concede dating this back to 1998 is a bit of a stretch, but not quite so. Back then we (the Open Source community) were quite drunk on the Netscape thing, and how all of a sudden the industry was paying attention. Excitement kept increasing from there, until even after the Net-bubble burst of 2001. I remember the first GUADEC back in 2000, and I can assure you that at the time there was no doubt in our minds that Linux on the desktop was a matter of months.

    If someone today could travel back to that time, and make a demo like “this is where you’ll be 8 years from now – this is where Windows will be – this is where OS/X will be”, we’d probably have been very depressed.

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