Why 2017 Will Be Awesome

Why 2017 Will Be Awesome

Article from Issue 196/2017

2016 was a wild ride – and 2017 promises to deliver even more FOSS goodness.

It's something of an in-joke to say "$CURRENT_YEAR+1 will be the year of Linux on the desktop." This started back in the early 2000s as a more serious statement, reflecting the optimism at the time. Linux was on the brink of major success, after all; just a few things needed to go right, and Microsoft's days of dominance on the desktop would be over. Many of us had been using Linux as our daily desktop OS for years, but we were still waiting for that final big breakthrough.

So why didn't it happen? Some would argue that it took a long time for desktop distros to become really polished and user friendly, while others would point to the relative paucity of commercial triple-A applications. I think, however, that the biggest factor involved was simply users' reluctance to change. Consider how many Windows users clung on to XP while Vista, 7, and 8 came out and how much the Microsoft Office Ribbon interface was (and still is) hated by a large number of people.

No matter how much Linux improved, most people stick with what they know. Now, in the meantime, Linux has come to dominate smartphones, tablets, embedded devices, and the cloud, building upon its success in the server and networking spaces. So as 2017 gets underway, can it finally crack that especially difficult desktop nut? Surveys point to Linux attaining a 2%-3% desktop market share, which may seem tiny but is impressive growth from the 1.5-ish% we were used to. And there are many things coming up in the next 12 months that could really help. So let's see what's in the pipeline ….


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