My opinion is: 2010 will not be the year's revolution that Linux will break through on the desktop.
The reason is: Most people do realize now, that many things sucks as they are evolving lately:
- People need to buy the operating system for new (even if they were completely fine with the old one) when they buy a new PC (because hardware comes along with a OS license already included).
- People can't reinstall their OS for new because the installation CD somewhere got lost or they notice that there was no CD shipped with their notebook only after the HD crashed.
- People use more and more "standard software" which costs more and more money.
- Installation of program B is corrupting installation of program A.
- Computer getting slower and slower over time.
- Computer getting unstable over time.
- People notice that proprietary file formats force them to buy expensive software (upgrades) and that these formats are risky for long time archiving.
During the last year I was asked more often than ever if it would be a good idea to switch from Windows to Mac. This is an indicator for me that that people's satisfaction with Windows is somehow fading away. But Apple is not the solution in my point of view. The only real alternative I do see is Linux. Why? Although there are (mostly) companies behind different flavors of Linux (the Linux distributions), the core is everywhere the same and the general philosophy is similar - e.g. to endorse Open Source, open standards and the GPL. With Linux you have the widest freedom and least vendor-lockin.
But why can't be 2010 be the year of success? - It's because of the vendor lock-in a switch usually can't be done easily and quickly. This has to be well planned and there must be a step-by-step implementation!
I started years before my switch to prefer open standards and open source software. So at the final switch I was already familiar with the most new applications, as I used Firefox, Thunderbird, Open Office, VLC, GIMP and many others already under Windows.
For a company that is considering a switch or either is just unsure about the IT future this means:
- Save data in an open standard format (e.g. EML instead of MSG, ODT or RTF instead of DOC and so on).
- Prefer to buy and/or use software that is available on different platforms (Open Office instead of Microsoft Office is a big candidate here).
- When investing in new software development plan a platform independent solution.
The journey to the future happens on a road that you don't know yet. Will you rather buy a car that just runs fine on asphalt or one that works fine on a rocky road also? - So is with software. Using the platform independent solution you are better.
Related posts: Going Linux, Cross-platform solutions, Software on speed.