Opportunity for Linux golden age?

I watched a youtube video that was wondering why Linux never took off. They suggested Windows Vista was a golden opportunity missed by Linux for a variety of reasons.

After pondering his assertions, I would like to suggest that now, today, is the golden opportunity for Linux to enter a golden age.

Windows 10 is viewed as pure spyware by even the “normies” as you all say on your news show and is pissing people off. I’ve even heard they want to move to Windows as a subscription service which is going to upset even more.

Mac is going through another bad phase in their hardware design. That my 2009 Cheesegrater mac can be upgraded to almost as good (better in my opinion because you can customize it) than a 5000 Mac Pro you can walk into the Apple Store and buy today, and that you can’t even upgrade their laptops is turning a lot of long term apple fans like me away.

So where can upset Apple and Windows users turn?


Elementary (my favorite so far) and Solus, with some work, have a Mac like appearance and feel at home to me. For Windows users there are too many distros to list that can make them feel at home out of the box.

So now is Linux’s chance at a real golden age, in my opinion.

But, and it is a big but, Linux guru’s need to be more like you all here on Level One Techs. Most places are just down right unfriendly to new users.

There is a definite learning curve even for experienced Windows/Mac users and is not “so easy your grand parents can use it” as some videos suggest. People like me are going to need a little help, and Grandma and Grandpa are going to need some real hand holding.

But, Linux is beautiful now. Once up in running, opens into a wonderful replacement for Mac and WIndows. Most apps people use day to day have free replacements on install. And Steam with their new push at being able to run Windows games on Linux is HUGE!!!

If Linux can stop arguing about what distro people should use, and quit biting the heads off new users testing the waters, Linux is poised for huge leaps in market share.

Just my humble opinion, :slight_smile:


I agree with all your points here. This is actually the one forum I’m involved in for that reason.

I’m a longtime Linux user (around 12 years) and I think that now is the closest Linux has ever been to “taking the crown” from the other guys. Never before has there been this level of feature parity, and barring that, options to run Windows as a full-fledged machine inside the much better Linux environment. Proton, DXVK, WINE, GPU passthrough and Looking Glass are all amazing technologies that the community can use to invite some new members. They allow all of us to have a single machine that can legitimately do everything for the first time, and all without spyware like the latest Windows offering.

I really want to echo the point that more forums need to be like this one, where I’ve seen very little hostility to newcomers and where we can really welcome everyone with open arms. This is not and should not be some exclusive club for people who’ve spent enough time compiling software. This should be open source freedom for everyone who wants it. Keep it up everyone!


The thing is Linux is not a single entity, so it’s not like someone can decide to push for desktop market.

That being said, community sure can help out in that case.


While i do think that recent developments, especially in Gaming, will lead to more full time Linux Users, i also think we overestimate the push Microsoft Produces by quite a bit.

Those that are on forums discussing the technicalities of an Operating System are the 3 or so decimal of PC Users. From anecdotal Evidence, none of the People on our Discord (Personal, Gaming related, around 50 People), has used Linux recently, feels Windows 10 is bad (although complaining about an update here or there), or has ever expressed the desire to switch to Linux.

After sharing my recent Endeavors in Linux Gaming the best i got was “well to each their own i guess”. The general Person sadly doesn’t have a need for Linux in their Life. 99.999% Of People don’t get enjoyment from setting up their PC but from using it. Windows came with it, works and does what they need.

So, yes, i think it’s getting better for those that actually use Linux. It’s getting easier every day to leave Windows. I just doubt that this will lead to a major increase in Linux User base (even doubling the Linux Users is minuscule in comparison to MS).

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Linux works perfectly fine for basic number crunching, but every market segment I look at, there’s something slightly broken.

Gaming: game developers don’t bother with Linux as much, but vulkan is there
Enterprise/Corp: no drop in replacement for AD/Group Policies, no drop in replacement for Office
Creative Pro: No Adobe, but Wayland is there and amd drivers are opensource, so we might actually get per monitor color correction some day.
Education: seems easiest to break into, but it’s not like they’re paying anything in majority of cases, it’s more like what can you pay them to use Linux over what MS/Google can pay them, or what kind of other thing they’re paying for can you give them for free.

It’d be nice if Adobe ported their stuff over to Linux

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Some like me are waiting, observing linux… preparing for the transition that is coming.
I do fresh install when I have to. Last time was with my new computer (when Ryzen launched), and linux kernel was not ready for it… so i had to try windows 10 (but never pay for it).
I guess, like me, many will do fresh install only when forced to. And there is currently 45% of people on windows 7/8. Within 1,5 year, they will be force to upgrade. Some will test linux… and if linux has improve enough, some will stay.
Same approach for those who dualboot.
There never will be a huge shift of community, but with luck, linux will still grow (from 1,5 -2,5% to 8-12%) .
Patience… but linux need to propose smooth experience to conquer normi and terminal command is hard to avoid (last time I tested it) + lack of tuto on the web for linux. Although, spanish linux community seems strong enough for the tuto…:slight_smile:

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My personal belief is, that, even IF every single thing from Windows would work 100% native under Linux, the amount of people switching would be rather low.

The only way to get a decent share of the OS market is by having major PC Manufacturers ship your OS by default on a large part of Their PCs. That one Dell XPS (even called Developer Series) isn’t gonna cut it. People need to see a sizable portion of PCs and Laptops at their local Electronics market with Linux before something changes.

Habbits are hard to break. And since Windows doesn’t even require a 2-3 yearly Cost anymore, it’ll get even harder to make mom or dad switch. Sadly.

I’ll personally do anything to give a fair and positive picture of linux to anyone who asks, but i’m not actively going to switch people over. That only leads to tears and much work for me :wink:


Those that are on 7 have had to fight hard NOT to get upgraded to Windows 10.

They are a key group that might turn to Linux as many distros retain the Win7 look, speed up the computers this group is on, and offers long term support.

I’ve been experimenting with Linux on my Win7 machine. As of yesterday I have found Linux so much better that I have completely reformatted over Win7 with Elementary. The performance increase is substantial. 20-40 percent. Solus on another drive starts and shuts down quicker, is almost as fast as Elementary, but it has some stability issues on my machine.

I’m sure when 7/8 are expired there will be a number who will at least try Linux. Like I have. If for no other reason than to be able to keep using their machines without upgrading hardware with an OS that is supported and won’t get viruses as they browse the web.

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Yes, that was a good fight… and they will be pissed of by some feature of w10. windows store / publicity…
but the thing that may impact the people even more is a windows subscription…

but still, i doubt that more than 10% of the current w7 will switch to w10 during that transition… or only if they have proper tuto/user experience… or friend/relative that have a good experience with their transition.

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That gets brought up a lot.
As far i am informed the “Windows as a Subscription” thing is only planned for Enterprises. Like, those who have active Volume Licenses and such. I doubt this will come for general users.

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Desktop operating systems have never been important enough to almost everyone to create reasons for them to entertain notions of taking the risk of installing an OS that wasn’t on their hardware when they bought it.

E.g., look at Windows updating. Sure, it needs to be better. But, consider the number of people who get upset simply because updating happens, no matter how fast it happens or how perfect it might be. That’s a testament to the number of people who see no distinction between their hardware and the OS that runs on it.

Then there’s the fact that most of us can live our lives using our phone as our computing device. The single biggest use of PC’s by all of us has always been communication. Laptops are to carry back and forth to work. Desktops are the things at work.

Re: Privacy – Do not assume any correlation between anyone’s expressed privacy concerns about software and any action on their part to do something about it. People talk a good game but most think these privacy intrusions are part of life on the net and that there’s little or nothing they can do to protect themselves. At most, they might use Chrome.

Remember that widespread adoption of the Linux desktop will not come by millions of people adopting one of the dozens of distributions that litter Distrowatch and embracing the virtues of free software. Not that it will happen, but if it does it will happen because one distribution finds a way to break away from the crowd and move to a dominant and de facto standards-setting position.

(A really smart distribution would write a Windows app that handles the “find and download an install image, burn it to a USB, reboot, and start the installer” loop. E.g., run the app, insert the USB stick when prompted, click, click, click, “Keep Windows and Dual-Boot Yes/No”, watch installer progress bar, click reboot.)


When Vista was released, Linux operating systems struggled to sustain audio, graphics were a disaster, printer compatibility was non-existent, and sleep/hibernation caused terrible side effects.

Before you say Vista was the same way, I’ll go ahead and argue “The devil you know”.

No it isn’t. Telemetry is a very fringe issue that you’ll be hard pressed to find outside of cult like followings, such as Linux communities and hardcore systems administrators. Most places like Reddit and Quora will debunk the “spyware” talk. Then you have places like Tom’s Hardware and Spiceworks, where people are saying they want to use the Chinese version of Windows and Linux (cringe) or that they’ve stopped updating their Windows 7 operating systems.

This sort of genius level intellect is hard to refute…

Wait for it…

There it is. So are most distros, especially if you have a dedicated graphics card.

Can definitely agree with this, especially considering if you poll a large, real user base no one will know what an operating system is. Anyone that has served the public in some sort of tech space, be it customer service, help desk, desktop support, etc. know that the question of “What operating system are you running?” generally yields “Uhh… Speak English!”, “Microsoft 2010”, “Wh-- Wha— I’M NOT A TECHY!!!”, and other ridiculous, incoherent responses. Microsoft Windows, and to a lesser extent Apple OS X, are so deeply embedded into homes, society, and work culture that people just refer to them as a computer. A tablet is a tablet, although I’ll say more people can discern the difference between Android and iOS.

So, now, we’re getting to the job of educating the masses. People don’t want to be educated. I’ve tried. I volunteered my time, equipment, and energy at local libraries and recreation centers through the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex. It was mostly kids, which was a joy, privilege, and something that I’ll never forget, but the adult reaction when we’d encourage them to join was always one or more of the following:

  • I’m too old
  • I’m not tech savvy
  • I’m not techy
  • It’s another language
  • I’m not good at learning

People (in the United States) average an eighth grade reading level. Their critical thinking skills exist only as long as the commercial break lasts. You want to take on a tall task of converting the majority of the public to use an operating system that they’ve never heard of, when they balk at right clicking an icon to view the properties menu.

There is a huge misconception that because people use Windows, and that they’re frustrated with the experience, that they’re somehow power users willing to take control. Noah Chelliah and even Richard Stallman have said that users want control of their system and their software.

No they don’t. This is a baseless, emotional argument harping on the glory of Linux. Maybe in the 70s at M.I.T. or on the Ask Noah show people have this attitude, but in Corporate America and the schools and homes, people just want to do Task A for 8 hours and go home to kick it with the Kardashian’s.

The Linux desktop accounts for maybe 5% total of the desktop space. Proficiency in managing and installing your own operating system is less than that.

If I seem apathetic, condescending, and frustrated, it’s because I am, and I was. I’ve been in your shoes. I’ve made attempts at taking charge and leading the good fight into bringing free and open source software to the masses. Which brings us to the final point:

Ah, we reach the conclusion of this tragedy. They won’t. Never. Overwhelmingly I’ve found that Linux users are more concerned about gatekeeping, elitism, and making things unnecessarily difficult to keep their club for members only.

Linus Torvalds came out and suggested we use RPM as a universal standard, he was given the middle finger. Red Hat, Gnome, Canonical, and countless others have come forward in an attempt to give a gold standard to the Linux world, and they’ve been beaten, smeared, and conspired against ever sense.

Don’t bother. Let them rot.

Actually, I’ll suggest contributing to positive communities like L1T over trying to convert others.


While i personally try to be the most welcoming, open minded and patient person i can be to new Linux Users, i also think a big part of the appeal of Linux is that it specifically doesn’t cater to “normal” Users.

I don’t think that most Linux Users today would want a Linux Distro that’s competitive in the market with Windows. Much of the core ideals of Linux would have to go to work in that scenario.

I never had a Problem with the small User-base (except maybe for Gaming, but oh well, you can’t have everything i guess). I’m grateful for anyone joining our community but also realize that a big part of “living” with Linux is the desire for non-conformity and personal development.

TL,DR: I’m happy with where Linux currently is. If more and more people join in, that’s great. But don’t change the heart of what Linux is to appeal to other. “Getting” new Users through trying to become more accessible or compatible might lead down a path where Linux isn’t any different than Windows is now.


Or the latest version of their OS which promises to be so much better.

Distro user forums aren’t bad for Ubuntu, but you’re right. Not calling any names, but some are down right hostile and keep up a bibl… i mean Wiki to which they refer you if you have issues.

I find that for daily computing, productivity and even sometimes gaming experience is more complete on Linux. With the ability to customize everything, you can leave no stone upturned in creating a perfect workflow.
The reason you don’t see more users on Linux is, for my direct environment, software compatibly. Whenever I talk to people in the industry about using Linux for their computing needs, it’s but a matter of time before they bring up that old tool they used on windows XP that still runs their infrastructure. Either that or games are not supported.
Both are valid points, and cannot be, or won’t be addressed anytime soon.

The reason I use Linux is because it feels like home. I installed my first distro when I was 14, and never got over the way I can interact with the OS. It fits like a glove, nay like skin. It is exactly THIS experience that makes a person have a preference. One day you use a computing device that does all you want it to do so well, all others feel clunky. That’s why I don’t think many people will move to Linux. Using a MAC and Iphone and Ipad and apple TV and whatever else, creates a comfy bubble. Why would you want to leave and learn how to use something else?

Lure in the kids, and get the adoration of the elders. Linux needs to replace proprietary software in schools, so that young adults can learn what computing IS, instead of how want you to use a computer. That is the way to a bigger market share IMO

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As I see it, in the long run, Linux is a sure winner, but we are talking decades, at best. There are numerous reasons for this, that I won’t get into, but suffice to say that Microsoft keep making the same mistakes and the Linux community makes little effort to impose their ideals on the average person, which is as it should be. It must be a choice. It is not only about the OS, but the ideals behind it.

Anyway I predict two things in the long run.

  1. If Microsoft,or rather Microsoft Windows is to survive, they will have no choice but to adopt the Linux platform, which in my mind is still a win for the Linux community.
  2. Apples bubble will burst, on all fronts really, and that may happen sooner rather than later.

I am often ridiculed for such predictions, but I believe it wholeheartedly.
Now if you ask if I’ll life to see Linux come out on top… Well, I certainly hope so, but I wouldn’t bet on it, that’s for sure.

As for the arguments for my opinion, they are many and often somewhat vague, but one thing I think we can all agree on is that there has been great progress. Linux has never had more support from developers and hardware manufacturers and the user base is of course larger than ever. Could this be a coincidence? Could it be temporary? Well, everything is possible, but there’s certainly no reason to believe so.

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I agree on some parts. Apple sees no future in the Desktop Platform as a whole. Apple sees the iPad/iPhone/iOS devices as the definitive answer for future PC use by Consumers. That is reflected in most of their hardware Lineup.
Also, MS and Apple both realized, that there is much more profit in Services than there is in Hardware or OSs. That too is reflected in their business strategy.

I disagree on the fact that linux will therefore win. I believe Linux, and FOSS as a whole for that matter, is by design not made for “the masses”. Most/All Open Source Projects are born out of the need to fix a Problem. Either an actual Problem someone had or just the Problem of needing something to do in spare time. Most OSS Projects aren’t founded in the idea to get as much Users as possible (Contrary to many Services nowadays, and Software). That’s why the Userbase is small. Linux wasn’t designed to go out there and get Users. It was done to fix a Problem someone had, and incidentally, it was found by people with similar Problems.
And here we all are. We have not been given Linux, but we chose it. Windows is given to people. That’s a big difference.

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I’ve found the Arch Wiki to be extremely useful even for other distros, but I will agree that the “btw I use Arch” meme exists for a reason and a lot of the users are elitist jerks.

…btw I use Antergos


Linux is already in a golden age it owns the HPC, Server and Mobile market. Even in the mobile market the other competitor is a Unix-Like os.

The desktop market has become irrelevant for most normal people to be honest. Yeah I guess some gamers or creatives will pick it up but it doesn’t matter.

To big companies the OS doesn’t matter, the platform does. Microsoft took a while to learn this but it is coming around with support they have given Linux.

It makes no sense in this day and age to limit yourself to a single OS. MS, Google, and Amazon are all going that route.

At this point Adobe and Autodesk are the big hold outs on offering support.

Renderman, Nuke, Houdini, Resolve and Lightworks all have Linux support making it great for large scale video production.

Gaming isn’t bad but if that is your primary concern dualboot or use VMs. Games are bonus on Linux not the primary reason to use it.

Linux is the premier environment for Dev and Admin work and MS knows this so they have the Linux Subsystem for Windows, now.

Linux already won but it was quiet and not in the way people thought in the 90s.


This cannot be echoed enough.


Linus even said “When Microsoft uses the Linux Kernel, I’ll have won.” (paraphrasing).

He won. The war is over.


A lot of great points!

I’d add that people used to be single OS users, but now people daily use MS at work, Mac at home, iOS or Android on their phones/tablets, and a custom (probably android/linux) Smart TV/Firestick/Apple TV.

Of these, most are a variant of Linux… Andriod, MacOS, iOS, AppleTV, firestick, smart TV, … etc.

People are using Linux even if they don’t even know it. So the switch will be easier than ever.

And don’t under rate the frustration growing in both the MS and Apple communities.

Level 1 Tech is making a name for itself on youtube, and you’ve made yourself a… hmm… target seems wrong word… rallying point? A beacon? A focus? A place to come learn about Linux.

I think this is the best place on the net for it right now so keep it up!

I tried distro forums, linux forums, and even Linus Tech Tips forums and almost gave up before finding L1Tech.

So be encouraged!

I hear so much discouragement, and want to urge you on!