Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 10th Apr 2006 21:18 UTC
Novell and Ximian Linux on desktop computers will begin taking off in mainstream markets in the next 12 to 18 months, Novell President Ron Hovsepian has predicted. Linux has been widely used on networked computers called servers, but it has comparatively little success on personal computers, beyond technically savvy users. Many companies have argued the open-source operating system is on the verge of breaking out in PCs and have been proven wrong. But Hovsepian sees some changes that he believes make the market ripe.
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by tony on Mon 10th Apr 2006 21:46 UTC
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It's tough to get excited when someone says that every year. I'm not saying it's not going to take off, but geez. Heh, one could set up a cron job for once a year to make a pronouncement about Linux desktops taking off.

0 15 4 10 * /usr/local/bin/

Reply Score: 5

by Tom K on Mon 10th Apr 2006 21:54 in reply to "CRON Job"
Tom K Member since:

That was seriously funny. Even the resident Linux-fanboy here laughed at it.


Reply Parent Score: 1

by ziggamon on Mon 10th Apr 2006 21:55 in reply to "CRON Job"
ziggamon Member since:

Too bad OSNews doesn't let you mod people funny, so I just modded you up ;)

You're right - every year is touted to be the linux desktop. But so what? One of these years will be, we just don't know which one yet =)

Like some wise person before me said: "Everything has once happened for the first time..."

And to be honest - Linux IS growing exponentially (although at very low points right now), and it's constantly moving forward technology-wise.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: CRON Job
by rayiner on Tue 11th Apr 2006 04:49 in reply to "RE: CRON Job"
rayiner Member since:

I think the mainstreaming of Linux has gone largely undetected, likely because it has happened in a way people didn't expect. Linux has already basically entered the mainstream. It runs on everything from Tivos to Sony WEGA TVs to internet routers. When the PS3 comes out, a copy of Linux will be on every one of them. Whether you realize it or not, there is a pretty good chance that you already own a machine running Linux. Beyond that, Linux has taken off in lots of desktop markets as well. In the movie industry, many arists have a Linux box on their desk. The same thing is true for the scientific/engineering worlds. Outside of the United States, in places where the cost of software licenses is a bigger issue, Linux has been implemented on lots of government and educational machines. Linux has stealthily snuck its way onto lots of machines that "regular people" use every day.

Now, if you're expecting a day to come when 30% of grandmas in the United States run Linux on their home desktops, you're probably in for a dissapointment. The market is just not set of for that. Apple is a multi-billion dollar company, with enormous mindshare and a huge marketing budget, yet cannot break 5% marketshare. At the same time, its important to realize that grandmas in the US is a fairly specific market segment. Home users are a large market, to be sure, but its foolish to act as if its the only market. Linux can be very successful "in the mainstream", without ever capturing a substantial share of the home user desktop.

Reply Parent Score: 4

by nzjrs on Mon 10th Apr 2006 22:18 in reply to "CRON Job"
nzjrs Member since:

Yeah I admit that someone does say this every year.


Novell has been dumpin a lot more money into making the kind of cool things (Xgl, F-Spot, Beagle, etc) that users want. I'l believe this sort of claim more from Novell, who appears to be backing it up with cold hard $$$, than I have in the past.

Reply Parent Score: 2

by segedunum on Tue 11th Apr 2006 11:31 in reply to "CRON Job"
segedunum Member since:

It's tough to get excited when someone says that every year. I'm not saying it's not going to take off, but geez. Heh, one could set up a cron job for once a year to make a pronouncement about Linux desktops taking off.

0 15 4 10 * /usr/local/bin/

Very funny, well done. Unfortunately, I'd have a hard time modding you funny if I could because it's not just funny but completely true. It's also been the same people using this cron job as well, since it's always been someone at Novell or Ximian (not just them, but especially them) before them that's come out with this. It happened in 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 and now 2006. The problem is that no one is saying anything different when they do it. "Desktop Linux will take off over the next eighteen months...", "People who don't need a full-featured desktop will go for it..." etc. without any explanation as to what will actually motivate people to go for it and years of evidence to the contrary.

If there was something in what Hovsepian was saying that was different to what's gone before then fine, I couldn't be happier and I'd look forward to the next couple of years. But there isn't. People pushing desktop Linux don't seem to realise that people are not going to buy into it just because they have a handful of people who apparently don't use all the features of their Microsoft systems. Hell, that's most people.

All of these people just don't comprehend that there are some pretty severe hurdles to be removed before a non-Windows and Microsoft desktop becomes viable. For example, they need to be able to give away their desktop for free (which puts the skids on SLED and Novell's revenue model :-)) to create a ready made userbase and market in the same way that Firefox has done. In order to do this they need to make the desktop good enough by providing top-notch GUI tools (which means using a proper development platform), make people aware of the development framework to be used (whether they pay licenses for it or not etc.) and create a sane way to install software for both users and developers. It also needs to be easily fully updateable. They then need to interweave this fully into the desktop.

Then on top of this, the roadblocks that keep people using Windows even when an alternative is available need to be removed. People always complain that they need support for the doc format or for Windows Media. After the above has been done, and a reasonable userbase has been established (or can feasibly be established), there needs to be an easy (one-click if possible) process to convert all a user's Microsoft Office files to ODF. Support for Windows Media needs to be negated by using an open alternative. Ogg Vorbis is probably a good option, and a solid streaming media server needs to be brought in or developed, along with the right plugins, to supplant Windows Media and hopefully other proprietary formats.

The good thing about getting what's in the first paragraph done is that once those pieces are in place, and a userbase starts to grow, third-party developers (those developers that people talk about but don't currently exist) will step in to create tools that will make the whole process even easier. However, it's getting there, and using the right technology, that's the problem.

Reply Parent Score: 1