A few years ago, it looked like Linux might â€“ just might â€“ take over the world. Companies like Lindows/Linspire were going to make it easy enough for your mother to use. Bright coloured boxes of SUSE and Red Hat and plenty of others were piled high in every computer store. The letters MS rarely went without an ironic '$', and oh, how we laughed. It was going to be a whole new era.
Except it didn't really happen, did it? The promise of Linux becoming a dominant player on the desktop was always just over the horizon, and over the years, the visible excitement waned.
What went wrong?
The most important thing is that desktop Linux was only ever 'easy' for two sets of people â€“ hardcore types, and people with a very specific set of tools that could be installed and made bulletproof through security. If all you want from your PC is the ability to edit documents, send emails, and browse the web, Linux is indeed easy to use. The trouble comes when you advance to the part where you want to install a new printer, or play a new game, or the screen fills up with babble.
Tools like Linspire's Click and Run Warehouse went some distance to fixing this, but could only go so far without the support of hardware manufacturers and software developers. It's the chicken and egg problem. Without a big market, companies are reluctant to spend money supporting it; without support, the market can't grow.
You can find the rest of the article published over at TechRadar.