Linux is moving on the desktop.
>"Linux desktop is not going anywhere."
I know the year of the Linux desktop has become a joke and when I suggest it's still on I have been utterly FLAMED by ***Linux users***, many of whom do not want Linux to be mainstream.
However, it hold Linux desktop IS still on for a mass of reasons:
1) I am actually seeing Linux here in ***Indonesia.***
Indonesia???!! Land of (pirate) Windows???
Because POS system are often DOS and DOS no longer runs natively on modern hardware (let's not talk FreeDOS, mind) I am seeing POS system at stores here using DOSBOX under Ubuntu! I am seeing Ubuntu everywhere here suddenly! I had to buy a new printer by credit in November. The girl arranging the loan was running Ubuntu as well as the rest of the staff even while all the laptop being sold run Windows 10.
If this is happening in Indonesia where legal software is unusual and everyone just pirates cracked Windows, something is afoot!
2) Asus is THE go-to brand here. Generally speaking, Asus works and in a land where everyone is out to get "The Money" and dishonesty is expected nobody trusts any other make here at the budget end of the market. I also had to buy a new laptop this money - yeah, my business i kinda burning through tech, aaaannnnndddd I bought Asus. Acer turned out to be garbage. I learned the hard way why the locals ONLY by Asus. Any other make is too much of a quality risk.
Asus do supply Windows 10 and if you buy at the local Hartono they will only supply Windows 10. But go to the local 'Hi tech mall' here and you can buy a 'No OS' laptop that runs EndlessOS and I have bought such laptops. Yes, plural. I get through a lot of tech! [And why I buy small, cheap, run free Linux and go with relatively 'disposable.']
3) Linux is taking off on Chromebooks. Now, I know ChromeOS is not exactly a full OS and not exactly a full on Linux distro though it uses the Linux kernel which, technically is all Linux is. But... I predicted with the rise of the "internet only" laptop the arrival of the successful Pinebook64 cheapo Arm Laptop that someone somewhere would eventually build a cheap Arm Chromebook killer that would also allow the installation and running of Linux, not just Android, apps. What I had not figured on was Google doing it. ChromeOS now allows for the installation and running of Linux apps making ChromeOS a full on Linux distro and Chromebooks are the world's number 1 selling laptop! In many different forms, mind, but still number 1 seller and has been for many years! The appliance laptop is where "it's at!" So Linux is already taking over via Chromebooks. Indonesia does not do Chromebooks much (though the International standard schools do!) bu they do buy cheap laptops just for Facebook and watching online movies. Not even email now as everything has gone whatsapp. I am sure I could see Pinebooks here as cheap internet laptops! [But import tariffs would make such impractical, alas. Indonesia is going all-in Nationalist again.]
4) Frankly all Mac and Windows have are legacy Industry standard apps. They will dominate for a long time as standards are hard to shift. Adobe will be king of graphics for decades, ditto AutoCAD for CAD. VB macros mean Office will hang on for decades (as has COBOL) in blue chip businesses. BUT... that's a tiny segment of the market. Joe Public needs far less. What Joe public now wants is the internet and long battery life. People do buy power machines but it's gamers, developers and graphical artists that do such. Most people are fine with a dual core celeron and why the low end of the market remains pretty static in terms of spec. As long as Youtube videos play the locals are happy enough.
Since it is now battery life that counts over apps Arm is where it is at because x86 cannot by it's legacy deliver the same battery life as Arm. That's where Windows 10S comes in, meant to run on Arm. Except Windows 10S is kinda broken and will not run the essential legacy apps except via emulation which makes it the same running Office under WINE in Linux! But the real problem for Windows 10S is that the x86 code cannot be ported over to Arm easily. But the Linux apps... the MAJORITY have already been ported.. You only have one browser for Windows 10S. Just.. one - Edge. So, you want to run an Arm laptop and have fast, usable apps? You kinda need to go Linux. Windows 10S the OS is native Arm but the apps are not and let's not mention the "You can only install from the app store" element of the cut back OS. This is all kinda broken.
Soooo... In order to adapt to Arm Microsoft have gone Windows 10S but it is very late to the party and the big names do not want to port to Arm! The likes of Adobe take the view that to run their apps you are going to run with X86 - period. Which is fine for business but Joe Public is moving on.
5) Almost an extension of 4... the other desktop player outside of Chromebooks is the Raspberry Pi which has become a massive hit and one of the world's best selling computers ever!
So Windows for Arm was offered FREE to Pi's and clones.
Everyone ignored it.
The Pi is Linux. Arm is Linux and Linux is Arm and the world is pivoting towards Arm. Even Intel can see that and are now fabricating Arm chips.
Kids are growing up in school with Chromebooks and Pi's. I know. I work in education now and I get...
"So it's like Google Docs then?"
"Yes, let me introduce you to offline apps."
"What are those?"
Trying to introduce the concept of storing data on a hard disk and not the cloud has been painful of late.
While in the past kids were taught Office and Photoshop they are now running Libreoffice, GIMP and Raspian and not recognising their 'need' to run Photoshop. Schools have JUNKED expensive Mac (not helped by very dodgy hardware manufacturing methods that border on the criminal as well) and Microsoft and, instead, embraced, cheap, disposable, easy to maintain Chrome and Pi.
Which only leaves the 'Blue chip' legacy apps for Mac and Windows. The desktop is moving on to Arm and Linux just be default. I am not saying people are rushing to buy Linux laptops - they aren't, kinda because there aren't any. Dell have released ONE very exesnive Arm laptop as proof of concept, mind. Joe Public still believes that Linux is really hard to use, you have to type in lots of CLU stuff, it's really hard to install software in Linux, etc, etc - none of which is true now - BUT... at the same time lots of kids are growing up with ChromeOS and Raspian and it's the parents who are running Windows. We have a generation difference now.
Oh, also note that because both Mac and Windows are now so tied to the hardware and require activation and various hoops to be jumped through to install, that it is now ipso facto impossible to teach a student how to install an operating system and configure it without using Linux! So, if you want to learn technology you now have to go Linux. I speak from experience.
It's a slow shift and it's kind of invisible as people are shifting to Linux without knowing it is Linux! But the move is there and the rise of Arm virtually requires Linux means Linux IS moving on the desktop. For various reasons Windows 10S will get some traction (Microsoft pay sellers to push Windows) and you will not see Linux Arm laptops in stores.. perhaps ever. But online, at the hi-tech mall, you will. And the next generation are going to be looking for Raspian laptops.