The Linux Chronicles, Part 1
Last Autumn I volunteered to review Windows 7. But in the following weeks, I found Linux to be preferable in many ways. This is pretty significant progress, and outside the 'community' has gone largely unnoticed, too - I haven't seen all that many Ubuntu stories in the Wall Street Journal. But what comes next is going to be pretty challenging for everyone involved – and that's what I'll look at here.
But first a bit of history, starting with a confession.
About ten years ago at around the peak of the dot.com bubble, I looked at the rate of progress that Linux had made, which was phenomenal, and decided that it was only a matter of time before every PC ran Linux. Now stop laughing there at the back, because it didn't seem quite so bonkers at the time.
If Linux was everywhere, I figured, and it soon would be, then systems vendors would need to compete by adding value higher up the stack. Apple already appeared to have made this calculation; Steve Jobs had interviewed Linus Torvalds a couple of years earlier, and why would he do that if he didn't want to swap out BSD for Linux, with its army of device driver authors?
At the time, too, Microsoft appeared to be embroiled in a fatal antitrust lawsuit, and one of the most likely remedies floating around was to hand control of Windows development to a consortium of vendors. That would surely seal its fate.