2014: Year of the Linux Desktop

For those thinking that the supremacy of the Linux desktop is closely tied to the success of GNU/Linux distributions like Ubuntu and the downfall of Windows, this headline might come across as bizarrely fantastical. The reality we live and work in though, is one in which Google Apps adoption, the growth of Chrome OS and the unstoppable tide of Android and Android based devices, mean that Linux servers are powering the large majority of what goes on on our desktops.

Even if your company hasn’t gone the way of Meshed Insights, moving over entirely to Chrome OS, you’ll likely find that from your Windows or MacOS desktop, many former desktop tools have been replaced in daily usage by web based services that are themselves powered by Linux. Use of Google Apps for email and collaboration seems to have become a widespread practice, again, Linux is the powerhouse on which that code is running.  The widespread, ongoing adoption of Android and Android based devices is putting Linux behind the wheel of a multitude of desktop tasks.

It’s not quite time to crack out the champagne though. The way that the year of the Linux desktop has come about has brought with it problems of its own. In particular, we’re faced today with problems of privacy and freedom. Whatever OS you’re using, more and more software is being mediated by app stores that frequently discriminate against open source and the Web-delivered nature of the new desktop has made surveillance an ever present reality. How we deal with these issues will determine the extent to which the year of the Linux desktop is a year worth celebrating. Read Simon’s take in this weeks InfoWorld article.

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