The Death and Life of Linux

It seems that every time I turn around there’s another article out there about how the “dream” of Linux on the Desktop is “dead”. The most recent one I’ve read can be found here. Usually they contain some pretty graphs comparing market share or something similar. This particular one asks a question that I think needs to be addressed.

“Should Linux distributors put more effort into making Linux better for the non-desktop space or continue their seemingly uphill battle in the desktop space?”

There’s something I want to address right up front. The very fact that this question is being asked shows a failure to understand the Linux development environment. First of all, Linux is not like Microsoft or Apple.

By current estimates Microsoft currently employs 89,000 people.  Apple is estimated at 49,400. Both of these are pretty big numbers, but even if every single one of those employees were actively developing code (which it’s more than safe to say they’re not), it wouldn’t compare to Linux.

A recent study claims that Linux kernel development may be slowing down. The reason being is the estimated number of companies that are currently contributing to the Linux kernel has dropped from 245 to 184.

184?!?

You read that right. There are currently 184 known companies contributing to the Linux kernel. Microsoft is one company. Apple is one company. Linux is not.

Should Linux distributors put more effort into making Linux better for the non-desktop space? Yes they should. Should Linux distributors continue their seemingly uphill battle in the desktop space? Yes they should.

While Linux is usually the environment that prides itself on letting you choose, this is one area where there’s no need to do so. They’ve got more than enough resources to do both, and they should.

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