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Linux World Domination via Netbooks?

May 24th, 2009

Every couple years I hear that Linux World Domination is coming “real soon now”, or at least a recognizable market share for Linux on the desktop or something like that. For example, when Windows Vista appeared, people talked about migrations from XP to Linux for performance and licence reasons, but nothing much happened. The latest idea was that netbooks will pave the way for broad Linux adoption. OK, I am using Linux on a netbook right now, and I think it’s perfect for these small computers. But then, I’ve been using Linux for about 15 years, and I run it on all machines. The pre-installed Windows XP on the netbook was usable, but I found I could not use the small screen very well with a start bar and regular window frames; my Linux distribution (EasyPeasy, a modified Ubuntu) makes better use of the 1024 x 600 screen. Apparently Vista doesn’t run well on the low-fi netbook platform, and Windows 7 might improve this a bit; haven’t tested that.

But will Linux really see massive adoption because of the netbook trend? I don’t think so, and personally I couldn’t care less, because for me Linux does everything I expect from an OS, today. And it won’t improve with a growing number of users – it might actually get worse with developers attempting to bring the Windows look and feel to Linux… I’ve played a bit with KDE 4 which is all new and shiny, but on my normal desktops I continue to use KDE 3. I don’t need special effects when switching windows, and so far I haven’t seen a great “plasmoid” (little active widget that lives on the KDE 4 desktop) that is so great that it would make me update the KDE version.

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