There are some discussion topics about Linux that are true evergreens, meaning that they never go away and are revived over and over again. The "year of the Linux desktop" certainly qualifies as one of those. Some pundits have been predicting that desktop market share for Linux would increase significantly for quite some time, and now a Redditor wants to know if 2015 might be the year that Linux takes over the desktop.
According to Reddit:
I had been a linux desktop user for about 6 years before switching to mac for a few. Now I'm in the process of switching back. What are your thoughts on what's holding Linux, as a whole, from gaining ground in the consumer, every-day-user, market?
What desktop Linux has going for it/selling points for general use (IMO)...
Many options for a very polished, user friendly, and customizable desktop environment. Ranging from something familiar like Cinnamon, something simple like Pantheon in eOS, uber-customizable like KDE, or rock solid and lightweight like XFCE or LXDE.
We are making huge gains in the gaming world with a number of 1st party developers getting on board. Additionally, driver support and video performance is now on par or in some cases, better than in Windows.
Most distros have a pretty user friendly software center (and have for a while) that would be familiar to users used to Windows or Mac. There's a lot more, but I'll keep it short for now.
I'm always a bit on the disinterested side when someone brings up the market share of desktop Linux. Yeah, it's fun to kick around numbers and speculate about how doing this or that would increase the desktop market share of Linux. But in the end I don't think it really matters much and it's also a bit of a distraction from what really matters with Linux: making it better for the people who are already using it.
The folks that want to use Linux will always find their way to it, and I doubt that many of them care whether lots of other people are using it too. Linux has its own special appeal and it always will, despite whatever Windows or OS X also have to offer. I'm not knocking those two operating systems, they have their own appeal for certain users too. But neither of them provides the power, control and range of choices that Linux offers its users.
The other problem with market share discussions is that they often leave out products like Chromebooks, which basically run a modified version of Linux. Chromebooks have proven to be quite popular, but somehow they don't seem to count in most people's minds when the topic of desktop Linux comes up. That's a significant mistake, given how many Chromebooks show up on Amazon's best selling laptops list for example.
So why bother worrying about how much desktop market share Linux has? It seems like a big waste of time to me. Would it really matter to your use of Linux if suddenly it had twenty or thirty percent desktop market share? Or would you simply continue on using it every day the same way that you do right now?
Let's face it though, everybody loves a horse race. So the topic of desktop market share will continue to come up again and again. Have fun with it if you want, but don't lose sight of the fact that Linux will always offer a desktop alternative to OS X and Windows, regardless of whether it has one percent or ninety percent of the desktop market.