Linux is the absolute leader in supercomputing , it is much more used than Windows in servers, and in 2017 Android became the most used operating system , surpassing Windows for the first time in history. That triumph of Android is also a triumph of Linux .
But on the desk, on the desk, the story is a very different one, one that Linus Torvlads himself considers his personal failure . The creator of Linux started Linux as a desktop operating system and that is precisely the only area in which Linux does not dominate.
The question that many have been asking for years and still continue to the sun today, is why? Why is not the year of Linux on the desktop? . To answer this question, who better than Linus Torvalds himself.
Nobody wants to install an operating system
Surfing the sea of YouTube videos, I recently got a small segment of a round of questions and answers in which Torvalds participated in 2012. There they asked him just why Linux does not dominate on the desktop , and his answer was Extremely simple and has all the sense of the world: nobody wants to install an operating system on their machines.
The reason why the desktop is so difficult to achieve is because most consumers do not want to install an operating system on their machines. And that’s not something that focuses only on computers, most people do not want to install an operating system on their mobile either. The reason why Linux is successful on mobile is not because you have 900,000 people downloading disk images to install on their smartphones every day, it’s because the system comes pre-installed on the device. And that has never happened in the desktop market and it is really very difficult to make it happen.
Torvalds talks about how there are some manufacturers like Dell that have done it, especially in situations like those of a company that wants Linux computers and buys them from the manufacturer and asks them to come with Linux pre-installed, but that’s the detail, you have to specify, what to ask for It is something that is done for a very limited amount of the machines they sell.
Dell is not the only company that sells computers with preinstalled Linux, others have. Some like System76 even dedicate themselves only to sell computers with Linux (before with Ubuntu and now with their own fork Pop! _OS ). But they are still niche markets that barely help Linux to play that 2-3% market share on the desktop .
When Torvalds wonders if that dominance of Linux on the desktop will ever happen, the first side he looks at is ChromeOS and the Google Chromebooks, but at that time he mentioned how horribly slow they were. Linus said there in 2012 that we would have to wait to see the third, fourth and fifth generations. And already the Chromebooks are on the right track, and although not close to Windows if they have begun to make a big dent in the education sector .
Interestingly, Windows has fewer users than ever and has lost about 500 million users in the last three years . However, Windows 10 is found in more than 600 million devices .
It is also curious that the desktop market is so similar and at the same time so different from the mobile market. While Android has triumphed thanks to Google has made the system free and open and manufacturers have chosen to use it on their devices with different layers of customization, this has never happened on the desktop, where computer manufacturers prefer to work with Microsoft and pay Windows licenses.
It seems that not only is that people do not want to install their own system, is that computer manufacturers are not interested in breaking the mold and have their own “distributions”. The only ones who do this are Apple with their Macbooks, and Google with their Chromebooks. If the day of Linux on the desktop becomes a reality, it will only be when Windows ceases to be the manufacturer’s choice to pre-install on all its products.