Linux started life as a Unix-like derivative operating system back in 1991; back when Apple co-founder Steve Jobs remain in exile at NeXT, and long before his return to Apple in 1997. Linux founder Linus Torvalds has been unable to do what Apple and Steve Jobs did with OS X. Make it competitive with Windows on the desktop or notebook.
2041: The Year Of Linux
To be fair about Linux popularity and growth, the operating system has carved out a large chunk of the server market thanks to a wide variety of distributions (versions) and inherent stability and security. What’s missing from the formula for success on desktop computers and notebooks is the solid foundation of applications which make Windows and Mac so successful.
Every year for the past dozen years or so has been predicted to be The Year of Linux on the desktop. It hasn’t happened. It won’t happen. Linux has been relegated to the utilitarian role of the back room where users are content to rule their worlds from the command line interface, despite various Linux versions adopting both Windows and Mac-like graphic interface models.
Why Linux hasn’t caught on among traditional computer customers and standard PC manufacturers is obvious. Sales. Apps. Usability.
Compared to Windows or OS X, any distribution of Linux can be a pain to setup and manage, and the end result remains the same. Where are the applications? What good is this wonderfully stable, highly secure operating system if all it does is run Apache, Dovecot, Exim, Postfix, and a gazillion server room apps?
There’s no Adobe Creative Cloud or Photoshop, Lightroom, or Illustrator on Linux. Apps for OS X and the Mac appeared created, polished, and blessed with magic by the Gods of Asgard rather than the techno-geeks that populate the Linux world.
Apple figured out a way to make money with OS X and its derivative, iOS, while Linux hides behind Android and neither can figure out a way to bring in the riches that Steve Jobs’ progeny wrought upon the computer industry. It’s not that Linux isn’t successful. The OS powers the kernel on every Android device, so it’s popular and in massive use, even if most device users don’t even know how to spell Linux or understand its value.
What Microsoft’s Windows and Apple’s OS X have done is to create a marketplace and a growing platform for applications for traditional PC and Mac desktop and notebook devices, despite the rapid growth and adoption of Google’s Android OS (based on the Linux kernel) and Apple’s iOS (based on OS X, which is based on a mashup of Unix components and versions and Apple’s homebrew designs) on more than 2.5-billion mobile devices.
Creator Torvalds has been working on Linux for 25 years. There is nothing about that effort that indicates Linux will have a year of its own any time in the next 25 years, despite the successes with Android and various Linux distributions which dominate the enterprise server market. Torvalds and the Linux community haven’t figured out how to make money with Linux. Even Google’s Android, itself based upon the Linux kernel, can’t make money, and in technology it’s money which separates the men from the boys.