Linux: It’s Not Just for Servers Anymore
PORTLAND, Oregon — After years of being relegated to server racks and the desktops of ultrageeks, Linux is finally making some headway as a viable alternative to Windows on the consumer desktop.
That’s the optimistic message delivered by a newly energized contingent of Linux proponents. By employing the same consumer-friendly marketing techniques practiced by Microsoft, and by taking advantage of the rising popularity of web-based applications, Linux vendors are getting ready for what they say will be a wave of consumer interest in the free operating system.
“This is the next great battle, and this is where Linux has never really been before — Linux as a consumer product,” says Gerry Carr, marketing manager of Canonical, one of many Linux distribution makers attending the ninth annual O’Reilly Open Source Convention taking place here this week.
Ten years ago, the free and open-source software community fervently hoped that Linux would rise to challenge Microsoft’s position as the de facto consumer desktop software platform. Linux could run on a wide range of hardware, it could be configured for specialized tasks and — best of all — it cost nothing.
But the dream of Linux on every desktop hasn’t come to pass. Most distributions are plagued by compatibility problems, and a fair amount of geek know-how is usually required to install Linux and get it working properly. As a result, Linux found more traction as a server operating system, undergirding the systems that power websites, databases and other back-office applications, where it holds almost 13 percent of the market.
Read more: Wired