Is 2021 The Year of the Linux Desktop?

Is 2021 The Year of the Linux Desktop?
“2021 Is the Year of Linux on the Desktop,” writes PC Magazine. “No, really…”

Walk into any school now, and you’ll see millions of Linux machines. They’re called Chromebooks. For a free project launched 30 years ago today by one man in his spare time, it’s an amazing feat…. Linux found its real niche — not as a political statement about “free software,” but as a practical way to enable capable, low-cost machines for millions…

Chrome OS and Android are both based on the Linux kernel. They don’t have the extra GNU software that distributions like Ubuntu have, but they’re descended from Linus Torvalds’ original work. Chromebooks are the fastest growing segment of the traditional PC market, according to Canalys. IDC points out that Canalys’ estimates of 12 million Chromebooks shipped in Q1 2021 are only a fraction of the 63 million notebooks sold that quarter, but once again, they’re where the growth is. Much of that is driven by schools, where Chromebooks dominate now. Schoolkids don’t generally need a million apps’ worth of generic computing power. They need inexpensive, rugged ways to log into Google Classroom. Linux came to the rescue, enabling cheap, light, easy-to-manage PCs that don’t have the Swiss Army Knife cruft of Windows or the premium price of Macs…

One great thing about open-source hacker projects is that they can be taken in unexpected directions. Linux isn’t controlled, so it can adapt, Darwinian-style. It was a little scurrying mammal in the time of the dinosaurs, and then the mobile-computing asteroid hit. Linux could evolve. Windows couldn’t. When you’re building something that fits in your hand and has to sip battery, you can’t just keep throwing processors and storage at it. Microsoft had a tough time adapting its monstrous megakernel OS to the new, tiny world. But *nix platforms thrive there: Android (based on Linux) and iOS.

“Android and Chrome water down the Linux philosophy,” the article argues, “but they are Linux…”
Does this make any long-time geeks feel vindicated? In the original submission wiredog (Slashdot reader #43,288) looks back to 1995, remembering that “my first Linux was RedHat 2.0 in the beige box, running the 0.95(?) kernel and the F Virtual Window Manager…

“It came with 2 books, a CD, and a boot floppy disk.”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.