For a long time Linux has been viewed as the operating system for the socially awkward – or at least one that wasn’t valued significantly within the business community. However, I think 2011 will be a turning point where Linux is utilized more and more within the business community. In particular, I think using Linux as the operating system for desktop users will become more prevalent. Realistically many users only need access to email, Internet, and desktop publishing applications. While Microsoft and Apple provide some very nice Operating System options for those needs, both of those Operating Systems include a significant total cost of ownership (TCO). In comparison, Linux Operating systems have a much lower TCO and are much less vulnerable to spyware and viruses, as well. Linux has also always had an “App Store” called repositories.
I was working with one of our Linux based clients last week load testing some servers handling high volumes of live phone calls. At 100 calls the linux server had not yet crossed 1% utilization. In comparison, Windows Systems use more than that processing power just supporting an open browser. Often the response I hear when I mention the efficiency of Linux is: “OK Linux is more efficient but I can’t use it…”
Well. let’s take a look at Unity Desktop as a part of Ubuntu:
Does not look too bad does it? Graphical interface, Icon-based dock, a program menu, and Firefox or Chrome for browsers. Basically, it includes everything necessary for most businesses and it boots in seconds. Furthermore it requires little to no upkeep and its all free.
Keep in mind that no one at Google has Windows or Mac OS X. They have Google’s own flavor of Linux called Goobuntu. These large enterprises are going to start filtering down their desktop environments as popularity grows. That, mixed with the growing number of hosted applications, means that a web browser is all remote workers may need. Once all our apps run from the web, value will probably be driven by the most efficient webOS.
That all being said Linux desktops have 1% market share. I use all 3 operating systems in one day but my wife surfs the web on an Ubuntu based laptop. Facebook at light speed…