Linux didn't have to sell to actual end users. The only case where it's made a success there is in Android - which has a seriously pared down Linux that's almost nothing but kernel... and no one buys an Android device for the Linux... they buy it for Android.
Heck most people don't even know there's a Linux IN there. They think Android IS the OS.
So yeah - Linux is a real winner. As long as no one ever has to actually *use* it directly for anything.