Open Ballot: will 2011 be the year of Linux on the desktop?


OK, so it's a bit of a clichéd question, but with the awesome developments that have taken place in the Linux world over the last year, it's worth asking again. Will 2011 - finally - be the year that Linux makes serious inroads into the desktop space? Are all the pieces in place to mount a major assault on Microsoft and Apple? Or are we barking up the wrong tree, and we should be looking to the mobile space with Android and Chrome OS for Linux's future?

Let us know your musings, and we'll read out the best in our upcoming podcast. And as always, add a bit of spice to your life and don't just call yourself Anonymous Penguin.

You should follow us on or Twitter

Your comments


Not again, I`m sick of seeing this question.

The answer is NO!

I am in the RF business and ALL manufacturers code their
programming SW for Windows, with some for Macs too.

Linux never even gets a look in.
Names like Motorola, Icom, Kenwood, Yaesu/Vertex all rely
on a WIndows machine for their SW and HW interfaces.

This issue has been raised year after year and Linux is
still no better distributed.

Linux is better suited to mobile gear where the OS becomes
hidden to Joe Moron with a UI that looks and responds much
like other OSes.

As I have said before change its name, like "Doors" for example and market it.

"Closed Windows competes with Open Doors."

Has a nice ring dunnit eh!... ;o)


Bazza, G0LCU...

Team AMIGA...

linux desktop

Windows is what you get when you use public PC, is what you get when you buy a new PC/Laptop, is what you see in the computers of most companies and public services from most governments. As long as this is true there will be no year of the linux desktop.

Desktop Dawn


No, and why

The main issue I have with Linux and why it is not my main Desktop OS at the moment is hardware support. While many opensource drivers are doing great the proprietary drivers for running lets say 3 monitors off one ATI card work but are not as stable as the Windows Counterparts. The entire stability when it comes to hardware is the main problem. Everything else is there, software, community, and a nice UI for almost everything. Until there is native corporate sponsored drivers for the majority of the hardware, we are not going to see a massive switch. Don't get me wrong there have been massive efforts and strides towards this but in reality it took 5 years to get broadcom cards working properly, we can't have a 5 year cycle to get great drivers.

Yes and No

Linux gets by. Windows provides best consumer solutions but at a price.

YES: Fine for most everyday activities and programming.
NO: Hardware/Software support sadly lacking in most areas.

E.G. Stock market trading, Software controlled radio receivers, USB WLAN remote hubs, Mathcad, Games,...

Even if the source code were available for Windows applications few people could use it effectively, even if a suitable (Linux/Windows) development environment was available. Most applications are far too complex for casual intervention!

Linux (and Windows user) for 8 years.


Desktops are too complicated. Mobile and tablet devices or even "smart" televisions are the future.

Would you prefer Windows7 or Linux and the £ 50 discount

Since wiping 3 Vista installations in 2007 and replacing with Ubuntu, Kubuntu and Mint, I have had no regrets, I have been able resurrect a friends old pentium 3 using Xbuntu. I have found Linux to be superior to Windows in virtually every way, although setting up the wi-fi was a bit of a pain ( esp to have Lucid screw it up again)

Nearly everyone who borrows my LXF cover disc for a live run agrees that Linux is a real eye opener most, are quite annoyed that they weren't even told of it's existence when they bought their PC,
This highlights a vital reason why 2011 won't be the year of Linux " lack of awareness ". The vast majority of the population don't even know what an OS is, Windows IS as much part of their computer as is the keyboard. Until retailers start offering a choice of operating systems we are pretty much spitting in the wind.

Definitely not in the near future.

No, though I use it at home and my wife likes it for web browsing, email or document writing.
However, the times I have to resort to the power of the command line is not funny; but that may be me. The average user is scared to edit a configuration file.

Windows seems to be going the route of "eye candy" and Linux, now definitely not ugly, is following it down this (same) precipice.

An operating system (OS) is meant to make running applications simple and efficient and then get out the way... and I do not see it taking that road.

Now, Linux has even broken hardware compatibility, _without warning_, for my 2003 "mainstream" hardware. All this, at a time when hardware does not become too slow unless you do graphics or video editing or the OS eats up an increasing number of CPU cycles.

Generally, I see two _major_ problems:

Access to gadgets such as cameras, remains difficult and clumsy.

Kids, today, learn Microsoft Office as part of their graduating requirements: not the concepts behind making a good document or presentation... independent of the word processor or presentation software.

Notwithstanding my OS arguments, these are the reasons why Linux is not likely to the OS of choice in the near future.


Is it really that important? Every year being the coming year of the Linux desktop makes us look like a bunch of children with no direction.

Who cares if it ever is or it isn't, move on.

Agree with 'No'

The point of what 'Linux' represents isn't 'the Desktop'. That whole `is this the year of Linux on the Desktop' is a major red herring.

The whole 'open source thing' isn't about commercial success, or even about public recognition, it's about freedom to do what you want, and to contribute freely (if you have the skill and interest).

So, if Canonical make a commercial success out of Ubuntu, good on them, but in the end that kind of 'success' is not what Linux, and OSS overall, is concerned with, but it is one thing that is makes possible.

Linux on desktop?

Linux will not make much headway in business desktops or for home use, because:

IT people choose software for their companies based on THE LOWEST CAREER RISK to themselves, not on cost or value. No one has ever been fired for choosing Microsoft, it is the safe "industry choice".

Homebodies choose software largely on cost, and there is not a single linux computer for sale anywhere that is cheaper than its Windows twin. The fact that linux is "free" is irrelevant if you can't buy a linux computer for less money.

Personally, I will continue to use linux for everything. I like the value of GIMP at $0 compared to Photoshop at, well, more.

10 Reasons Why 2011 Will Not Be Year of Linux on Desktop

1. If you paid for Windows 7 or Mac X on a new computer, then you are not going to forfeit that expenditure to load linux or risk the results of a new install.
2. Pre-installed software not provided on disks will discourage people from erasing their hard drives or reformating them in order to use linux.
3. OpenOffice isn't Microsoft Office.
4. The selection of games is inadequate.
5. The average joe will re-install windows if they have a hardware driver problem in linux.
6. Value pack pricing will encourage people to use windows 7 on their old computers as well as their new ones.
7. The average joe depends on his or her relatives or friends to answer computer problems - if they don't know linux, then they don't do linux.
8. No marketing.
9. Too many variant linux distributions.
10. Dell pulled ubuntu os off its machines.

Not on this earth , no

I'm gonna talk from an end user's point of view here . Linux distros never were , and probably will never be complete finished products - For desktop that is (Server distros are superior).

Kernel crashes (my god !,fedora 13), rubbish apps , too much broken/bad packages , repos full of junk , bad hardware/Driver support... you name it.

I'm a developer myself , and I'm really not a Microsoft fan.

You can choose to look the other way as I always did, but the cold hard truth is that windows is light years ahead in terms of real world use for the masses.

Windows is PROPER software , despite its issues , its a proper product. All this fragmentation in the linux world - fueled by "freedom" and free software BS is killing it.

I mean , making the software available for free is one thing , but writing it for free is another .

SOFTWARE SHOULD NEVER BE DEVELOPED FREELY - hardcore expensive project-dedicated teams result in proper products , scattered volunteers in their spare time writing an OS is a bad idea , and no , something in the scale of canonical is too small . Now I wouldn't care if it was DISTRIBUTED for free - If That's your philosophy , but proper products need proper funding and control to be produced in the first place.

Windows is like an Italian sports car - Awesome , give it some time and it will break over and over again , but when its working its awesome .Desktop Linux has never given a good experience to end users , even though they don't use it enough to complain about reliability.

Linux community should literally "cut the crap" they're releasing.


*Every* year is the Year of the Penguin, to those of us who value Freedom...and the ability to actually get our jobs done without malware worries. :-)

It's the Year of the Penguin for a lot of fortunate children that Ken "Helios" Starks has helped set up in the Austin, Texas area. They're doing all their schoolwork on and with GNU/Linux and having a great time of it in the process. They are learning *computers*, not just Microsoft, and that will benefit them as they become adults and advance through their careers. I still love the video of that 5th grade girl ("Anne", I think) in Portland, OR, about 9 years ago, who built an LTSP thin client in ten minutes.

Sorry, but no

I have over the last two weeks converted my works machine to Ubuntu 10.10 and I love it, but I have found some issues that cause me grief. In the start I thought it would be easy and run quicker than my Windows 7 system, but then i found issues...

Firstly, Email apps. We use Google Apps and I just couldn't find an email client as good as my current fave - Outlook 2010, but Outlook 2007 is a close second. Maybe because Outlook does its own thing, that makes it hard to escape from but it really is good. My Solution to that problem is a VirtualBox Win7 VM.

Secondly, the major concept I had was the fact I was used to doing things the Windows way, and tried to replicate it on Ubuntu - which is not the right thing to do!

I then thought further and wider, and tried to consider moving our organisation over to Linux from Windows 7 but hit the main issue. We are a software development house who develop Windows Apps using Windows development tools. I couldn't transpose this function onto Windows, and then another thought occurred. Why not develop a Linux version of our app. But the problem there is the market for the work - no one has ever asked for a version so there is no conceivable market out there. But who knows until you develop it? Chicken and egg it seems....

Finally, one of the main issues I have had in my many years as a sysadmin, is a lot of companies are only interested in Microsoft products - so if you want an office product, you buy Office, you want a database server, you buy SQL Server. You want servers you install Windows Server. They only look at what MS produces and no further. Until you open their eyes, it won't happen...

Linux IS ready for the desktop and has been for a while!

An operating system is just the set of programs used to control the resources in a computer and to provide an interface to those resources! Linux has been a good operating system since version 1.2.13!

In 2011 more and more applications are web-based and are moving to the cloud. So sooner or later it won't matter if you are using a cell phone, netbook, or desktop computer.

There are really only 2 markets for desktops anyway. The consumer, and the business. Businesses will probably want to keep Microsoft Office and others on the workstation, but with a capable machine this could be accomplished with VMware (unity) over Linux. The consumer could switch from Windows Vista and 7 NOW and save themselves a lot of headaches when it comes to just simple day-to-day operations. I know everyone likes Ubuntu, but give Linux Mint a try. Out of the box it has everything you need in modern day operating system.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Username:   Password: