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Growing pains

“This is the year of Linux on the desktop” is the oft used battle cry from parts of the Linux community. A dive into comp.os.linux – or if you dare into advocacy
(http://bit.ly/LXFusenet) – and you can trawl all the way back to 2002 and see the same old cry hoisted high. But with Linux desktop use at around 1.5 percent (www.netmarketshare.com) and with the Steam Hardware Survey (http://bit.ly/LXFsteam) showing it at 1.1 percent, what happened?
I have my suspicions, but they’re largely pointless now, as the desktop for many consumers is an irrelevance. The reason behind that is the irresistible rise of Android and its beating Linux heart. People simply spend more time on touch devices, browsing and communicating, than with traditional expensive desktops and laptops.

Microsoft knows this, which is why it has misguidedly destroyed its consumer desktop and replaced it with the hideous Windows 8. Linux users with Gnome 3 could have told them that the remaining desktop users don’t want a dumbed down desktop experience. But while Microsoft indignantly fixes its desktop at glacial speed, now has become an ideal time to woo weary Windows escapees.

In many ways, it has been Linux’s year for a long time, just not on the desktop, but as an ecosystem everything is in place and with games coming to Linux, touch coming to Linux and an inexorable move to the amorphous cloud, the barriers that once stopped its adoption as a genuine choice keep toppling.
This issue we’re doing our part to tempt more Windows users away from their Microsoft OS and towards Linux with, we hope, an entirely comprehensive beginner’s guide written by Nick Peers for Linux newbies. to help your friends convert. If there’s still a Windows program they can’t do without, show them our Wine guide and even the Good Doctor, Chris Brown is in on the act explaining Windows to Linux Samba networking. For the more advanced, turn your hand to Django and build a CMS, build an Arduino project or set up your own VPS. The grass is so much green this side of the fence, don’t you think?


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