Will Linux ever take the desktop market?

Linux, as of late with Steam OS is becoming rather popular, it is opening peoples eyes to freedom, power and stability on a level windows can only dream of, but, will it ever take the desktop market from Apple/Windows?

Lets throw some points across first.

You use linux on a daily basis like it or not, Google uses Linux, Amazon uses Linux, a lot of businesses use a form of Linux, chances are RHEL.

Chromebooks out sold Macbooks last year, Chromebooks are based on an edited form of Gentoo Linux.

Enterprise is adopting Linux at a faster rate.

The UK has seen an improvement in the adoption of Linux.


So yeah Linux is here to stay, what can push it onto desktops? Chrome on desktops? Possibly, People like HP, Dell, Lenovo, Compaq, Sony, Toshiba etc installing linux as default? Could be but most users have not heard of Linux or seen it.

I do personally think it will enter the desktop market, under a shroud, more than likely via Chrome OS, and Ubuntu, remember Linux is no longer the hardcore elite OS that it was, its very tame now, offering better support than Windows for drivers, so it would not be as hard of a transition as people think.

What do you think, I have thrown a few points out here, but could it really happen? maybe not in 2014, maybe a few years though? Post below!

Also no wars please, lets keep this clean ;)

Give it 10-15 years, I'd say.

Shame, the fact people like to be chained to MS and their spying and locked down systems, I understand people want something that just works, but that is more than do-able in linux...


i'm slowly moving to linux myself. Once i can get to know the Server side of things, I'm going to make my huge move to linux.

It is already seeing a lot of use in the workstations especially in programming (trying to program in Windows is like using Jello as Foundation for a house). Steam is helping in the gaming area. Linux still lacks in video and audio creation. But GIMP gives Photoshop a run for it's money.

But in reality, the average person doesn't use PC like they used to. Most people only want a consumption device. Chromebooks, Android, Sailfish, FirefoxOS, and maybe Ubuntu touch all do this and are all Linux.

The battle for hearts and minds will be won at the high level (it already won for severs and Super computers) and low level (most mobile is now linux based)

The mid range will be the hardest, that is content creation and gaming. Adobe seems almost hostile to Linux and Autodesk seems apathetic. I don't think Sony's software division even knows what Linux is. To fix this we need better opensource alternatives like libreoffice and GIMP.  

Gaming keeps getting better so I am not as worried there. 

TL/DR: 5-6 years 

Yeah I agree adobe and autocad are crap for linux, but to be honest, once stuff like flash died we are on easy street for web, and to be honest that will improve every OS going, Also sony does know what linux is, they have android, but dont know what to do with it (Sony Android OS is awful)

Also we do have alternatives but they are just not herd of, I do think AMD could push linux more also, making some sort of AMD Linux box with HSA enabled, to show off the power of both there new APU, even if its only a dual core, and the power of linux, would get the semi tech people in would that :)

I recently read something about how China wants to use it's own government made OS for everything in china, so desktops, phones, everything. While this of course is very bad for the people of china, it will mean a huge boost to the number of desktop computers running linux, which may get more stuff ported to linux.

That is already the case, but it's entirely open source, based on the US-originary RedHat Linux, it's called Red Flag linux, and Fedora has made ARM a prime architecture just to satisfy the high demand for RedFlag Linux on ARM devices from China.

So it's a very good thing for the people in China, they love it, it's just a more recent version of RHEL for free and entirely in Chinese. The same happens in Russia, with Russian Fedora. The two largest markets in the world get to use for free what American companies are making, while at the same time, the Americans refuse to use Linux.

Americans are too used to being served, I don't really understand IT people saying things like "I have to use Windows because Premiere doesn't run on linux"... wow, that's just so wrong... especially from IT people... because almost every application in existence has been made a much better version of for linux, except maybe Premiere... and that says it all, it's because the users of Premiere prefer to be lazy and be served in exchange for money, than to develop their own open source software, because any way you look at it, if there is not a better application than Premiere on linux, that means that the Premiere users have been complacent and perfectly happy with their windows software consoles. The problem is that in the US, the marketing around linux depends to a large extent of this kind of complacent windows-users, they say they want linux, but they don't, they actually want to stay with windows. And IF they do something with linux, they go for McDonals-distros. And that's another part of the problem, in the US, most people think that Ubuntu or Mint or Debian ARE linux. But with .DEB distros, they can never get a really modern satisfactory desktop PC experience, so they are just reinforced in their false belief that Windows is actually better, whereas it doesn't even compare to linux, and whereas they can use Fedora for free, US made, free, China and Russia use it and tell the children to use it and learn it and master it... and the only thing that happens is that Intel, AMD, etc etc etc discard jobs in the US to hire people from China and Russia instead.

I don't get North-American that complain about corporations and capitalism and the powers that be, but at the same don't WANT to do anything about it, because they refuse to start the change themselves.

Europe is switching very fast, the UK is actually doing quite well also, the Mediterranean countries have been linux pioneers for a very long time, and so are the former Eastern Block countries and Eurasian countries. It's not just China and Russia that have their own distros, Turkey has had it's own distro for a very long time, it's called Pardus, and a lot of people start with that, and then move on to a more elaborate community distro, like Manjaro for instance, which is also very popular there. Germany is doing good, but not great in comparison to other European countries. Of all the European consumer markets, the German one has been influenced the most by the American consumerism, there is still a lot of Windows use amongst consumers and small companies.

The BSD foundation in Canada can't even pay their electrical bill, they are being choked to death in North-America. It's not anywhere looking good in North-America as far as Open Source is concerned in the consumer market. Americans just seem to complain but not do anything. With the NSA scandals and similar things, the evolution of the legal conditions relating to IT, one would think that everyone would run to open source to react, but they just don't, they keep using the very spyware that makes them into victims and that is blocking technology, technology that originates from the US, but is being leveraged outside of the US.

The US has an x86-based consumer (and enterprise) industry, but it's being slowly destroyed in the US itself, because consumers won't do anything to leverage the technology. That costs jobs, that bleeds money away from the North-American economies, etc..., but they'd rather buy Korean, European (ARM is UK based), and Chinese alternatives for x86 than do something about it with the tools that are provided for free. IBM made a linux watch in the 90's, that could basically do what 2013 Korean and Chinese watches can do, but nobody was interested. I think that it's very strange. How is it possible to complain about NSA spyware, but not switch completely over to linux or another open source operating system? How is it possible to complain about the quality of commercial games, but not support indie linux games, it's not that there aren't any available, in any bleeding edge distro's repos there are more than 400 free games just like that, that can be modded, forked, hacked, etc... and outside of the US, in Europe and Russia, small indie devs fork open source games and sell them commercially with great success in the US. In the US, nobody runs Sabayon, whereas Sabayon has the best implementation of Steam, with "SteamOS" Big Picture mode, and a lot of improvements to the performance of Steam, but people want to be able to buy SteamOS on a PC worth 400 USD in parts, for 1000 USD+ in stores, etc... while at the same time calling themselves "PC masterrace", and continuing to run the most constricting and limitative commercial software console ever, that basically makes the point of investing in PC performance hardware futile. I just don't understand it. Are people in the US so socially isolated that they don't have the opportunity to learn linux from someone? Is there functionality in Windows that is only available in the US that other countries don't get to see, and that makes Windows so great? Etc... I don't think so, so what the fuck is the problem then?

Why do you feel Debian based distros are not real Linux?

"And IF they do something with linux, they go for McDonals-distros. And that's another part of the problem, in the US, most people think that Ubuntu or Mint or Debian ARE linux. But with .DEB distros, they can never get a really modern satisfactory desktop PC experience, so they are just reinforced in their false belief that Windows is actually better, whereas it doesn't even compare to linux, and whereas they can use Fedora for free,..."

I don't, Debian is very useful, was not talking about Debian, was talking about Ubuntu and Mint, the McDonalds-distros. I've explained my point-of-view on this before, not about to repeat myself.

The UK is just as lazy as the americans, or we can be, which I see as a downside, I mean you germans have a lot of stuff figured out, you made brilliant lenses for cameras before the war, you can engineer better than the British and have privacy down better than us (dam GCHQ see what their site says lol), now that is not a slander to the British, I am one of them, but even I see that we are lazy people in general, a lot of people I deal with complain when they buy systems and it asks them to download something... and I think your complaining to me because you cant be arsed downloading a bit of software that takes 2 seconds to install? and gives you a dam walk through to get you through? Seriously...

The fact people will also pay top dollar for crap equipment here is also stupid, I have seen an A6 6000 APU with 8GB RAM and 500GB HDD over here go for over £600 from a retailer, which is mental, to say the system from a shop (Buying parts) costs £300/400, but because its PC World, they think, yes its good, A network setup costs from £50, now all they do is plug in your router, takes all of 5 mins, Hard drive wiping, takes a week and costs a lot, and all they will use is a windows disk and delete partitions...

Again all down to been lazy, I do understand it though, I buy laptops from there, but I maintain them my self, I get lower specs with RAM on purpose to then upgrade the RAM to double, to say RAM from them costs a bomb for another 4GB, remove windows and get a distro on, sometimes put better thermal paste on if need be, takes me around 30 mins to do everything, PC World can take 28 days, And I can do it from anywhere if I have the parts and tools :)

But the country is stuck in a lazy state, and the next generation will more than likely follow, buying products via marketing instead of reviews and word of mouth, Which will stump the growth of Linux. the country is also in an awful financial state and people will still pay top for an OS which is out dated, compared to a free one that is so up to date, its banging on the doors of next gen 10 years early.

I do think Google is an answer Linux has been looking for, I just wish AMD would partner up with Linux foundation and make a system using there new APUs, showing the true performance of Linux, using something like Sabayon for pure ease of use.

And I agree about the software thing, I had someone who does music approach me asking for software, I asked what OS? which he replied Windows, I said there is a Linux distro that will give you everything you need for free, which he replied "Whats Linux?" I even had someone say to me at a time "Who's Linux?" /Facepalm....

But this is the world we live in, scared of change, the people who embrace it are held back by the others, hence all this crap in courts, the judges don't understand that it will take over, no matter how hard you try, no matter how many agencies you put up against us, and as long as there are big companies like Red Hat supporting the little guys and pushing the software to the very edge it will happen, Look at Google, cheap hardware superb software, Linux... Facebook, Amazon etc etc....


people are too scared of the terminal and different GUI

You don't have to use terminal..

Unless it changes drastically, I do not believe that it will get a significant desktop market impact because of its ease of use.


The vast majority of people want an OS that is simple and easy to use, and does not require any command line or anything else (even many professionalls want to avoid command line where possible)


The problem with many linux based desktop OS's is that once you go beyond what ever walled garden they have set, e.g., the ubuntu app store, then you end pretty much end up having to mess with command line, which the vast majority of users will not be willing to do. Especially if there are other options,

On windows, for virtually every application, it is a double click to install (with some variations of clicking on next) it is so easy to install and set up an application that microsoft has added things such as UAC to try and get people to think before they install.


On the other hand, with ubuntu, and virtually every other linux based desktop PC, if there is no .deb or something else that automates the setup, you end up with a 5-10+ step command line based setup that is not intuitive in a way where 1 step leads into the next.

A good example of this, is the instructions that came with my wifi adapter


on windows, to install the drivers, you double click on the driver file and then click next


on linux, downloading the drivers and double clicking on it will not install them, and there is no indication of what to do next after the file is downloaded, thus the user must research how to perform the task, as the odds of trial and error working will be of the same chases of a room full of monkeys typing on a bunch of keyboards, eventually producing the works of Shakespeare.

I am in no way bashing linux, but due to the way it currently functions, it will not attract the majority of computer users, and because of that, developers will not put much effort into developing high end applications for linux, instead, they will target the Os with the largest market share.

It just too much of an uphill battle to convince an average user to switch, and put up with having to engage in more steps to get the same things done (steps which are not intuitive)

While staying within the walled garden of a distroo can meet the needs of some users, there will likely come a time when they need a program, or need to install something that is not auto detected, or in the app store, and in those cases, they will be tossed into a hell consisting of line after line of

sudo mkdir, sudo cp, sudo depmod, then configuring crap and entering the next level of hell, involving some gksudo gedit, or some other random command which does not intuitively lead into the next command needed. The average user will simply just think "Why am I putting up with this when I can just install windows, then have this driver installed with a simple double click, then clicking next a few times.

While in windows there may come a time when they will also encounter a need for command line to run a GUI free program, or install something without a proper installer, but they always tend to come with a batch file or some other script that reduces the process into a simple  double click. (linux tends to have a significant lack of that)


When marketing t the average user, and most businesses, they are looking for productivity, efficiency, and ease of use. This is what made the GUI so popular to begin with. Things that would normally require 50+ key presses, could be reduced to 1 or 2 clicks. (the simple fact of the matter is you are more likely to encounter command line on linux, than windows. Also, the vast majority of computer users, hate command line.


The only reason people still use windows is because it comes out of the box on most PCs.

If it shipped with a good, stable distro, that was easy to use. (Uhm. ALL OF THEM.) then Linux would dominate quickly.

Current ubuntu distros will put anyone off of linux. But that is a case when someone who should not be touching a computer (much less, designing a UI), being allowed to work on such a popular distro.

Most users will pick a malware infected windows ME over ubuntu running that unity crap.

Other than linux based distros, an average user will not want a pure linux experience where largely everything is done in command line, to get a non technical windows or mac user to switch, the OS will have to be easier, if there was something they did on windows that required 3 button presses, then linux better be able to allow them to do the same thing in 2 button presses. if it cannot manage that, then they will not switch. Debian, makes linux more palatable for many users, but it has many annoyances that are inherit in linux.

+1  .Agreed. 

That my just cause issues as some companies have tried shipping computers with a linux distro preinstalled.

the average user wants an OS almost guarantees that they can use one of 2 simple basic skill sets (being able to operate a mouse, and being able to read, to perform virtually every action they could ever want to do.


On ubuntu, that ease of use only applies if the distro that you are using, already supports your devices out of the box, and every application you could ever want to use, is already in the app store.

If anything causes you to venture out further than that, then things become stressful quickly. for example if you look at the ubuntu help forums, the majority of the threads there, are users begging for help to install something.

How often do you see that with windows?  If you want basic users to fully accept an OS, then everything that a basic user should ever want to do, must be made easy, and intuitive., meaning the most complicated things should get is double clicking and following a few on screen prompts (which is most cases can be ignored in favor of clicking next)

Outside of the walled garden, linux offers very little of that, and that is what drives users away. If a user buys some random device, they want it to work and they are not interested in learning something new to get it to work, they want to use their basic pool of skills to operate it.

For example, suppose a user buys a wifi adapter for their computer, and ubuntu does not support it. And windows also does not support it.


then you put them in front of a system running windows, with the driver download on the desktop, then you tell them to get it working. how long would it be before the user double clicks on the file, then follows a simply GUI prompt where they click next?

Now assuming they have no command line skills, and no help files, or internet access to look up info

On the desktop is the driver.tar.gz file


how long will it be before they open terminal, then cd to the proper location, then manually type in

tar -xzf (name of file)

then manually proceed onto the other bunch of commands needed to install the driver. without looking at any help file, what will indicate to them, which commands they need to type in?


When you think about that, you will see the exact issue that keeps the average user away.


On windows, a novice/ average user can be sure that they can buy any product that catches their eye in the electronics store, and have it work with their PC, and encounter a simple install process where the hardest part is clicking next.

on linux there is no certainty, for my USB wifi adapter, the windows installation instructions requires you to double click on the driver file, then keep clicking next until it is ready to use. on the other hand, the linux driver comes with 2 pages of instructions which require you to enter in a number of commands, and edit come configuration files to get the drivers, and the connection utility running.

There is no large guarantee that a novice user running linux, can buy a random device at the electronics store, and simply have it work, or install through the simple process of clicking next. On windows, there is,, and if for some reason there is not, you will likely find a simple batch file or some other script that can make it into a simply double click process.

I could see consumers buying laptops with preinstalled linux not switching back on purpose to windows, but many people still need windows on daily basis, as mentioned before many applications still require windows, my bet is really on WINE getting these applications to run as there rarely ever seems to be a reply from big companies like adobe or autodesk when asked about their software on linux.. Once such software is available for Linux, I think most people will just go with it as buying an operating system is a waste of money

You keep talking about how installs need to be super easy and one click. The problem with that is security, just like you yourself admit when you say Microsoft had to add UAC to make it a little harder (which is still bullshit). Unless you're compiling from source (which you should almost never have to do) it's not hard at all to type in the root password find your package needed and click install. Almost every package manager can do that. I think the other problem people have is that unlike Windows you DON'T go to a Web page and download the source, you use the package manager which is different than Windows and that screws them up