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Five ways the Linux desktop shoots itself in the foot

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I don't just write about the Linux desktop, I use it every day. At my desk, I tend to use MEPIS and Mint. On the road, it's Ubuntu on my Dell netbook and openSUSE on my Lenovo ThinkPad. I do this because they work well and they're as safe as a desktop operating system can get. So why aren't more people using them?

Microsoft is the biggest reason. Microsoft is a jealous monopoly that doesn't want to share the desktop with anyone. Desktop Linux is just another target in a long list that has included OS/2, DR-DOS, and -- that eternal thorn in their side -- the Mac. It's no surprise, then, to see in the history of the Linux desktop Microsoft has always tried to crush it.

The very first attempt at a mass-market Linux desktop, 1999's Corel Linux Desktop, lasted less than a year. Why? In 2000, Microsoft paid off debt-ridden Corel to kill it.

Much more recently, Microsoft, caught by surprise by the rise of Linux-powered netbooks, brought XP Home back from the dead and offered it to OEMs (original equipment manufacturers) for next to nothing to stem Linux's rise on low-end netbooks.

Okay, it's hard to beat a monopoly that will do whatever it takes to make sure people don't see there's a better, cheaper alternative. I get that. At the same time, Linux has shot itself in the foot quite often. How?

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