I use Linux. I love Linux. Even though Mac360 started life on a gooseneck iMac running Mac OS X Panther Server, today it runs on a version of Linux. 2018 is just around the corner. 2018 is the year of Linux on the desktop.
Yeah, I know. Techno-gadget geeks have been saying Linux on the Desktop every year for a decade already and Windows still rules. Well, it rules desktop and notebooks but 2018 promises to be a different year thanks to Google.
Chrome Is Linux
Poor pitiful Microsoft. The company just can’t catch a break. The Windows and Office maker completely missed the mobile device revolution and is playing catch up in cloud services. Worse, Microsoft’s Windows efforts are caught between a rich rock and a cheap hard spot, attempting to carve out a living against Apple’s dominance with the Mac in the premium end and Google’s inexpensive Chromebooks at the low end. Is it any wonder that Microsoft will be pushing ARM-based Windows PCs next year?
Wait. What about Linux? If Apple and Android own the mobile device market, and Windows owns the desktop and notebook market, what of Linux? There must be twenty eleven different Linus versions on planet earth but the ones that have the least mindshare but the most marketshare are Android (as in Google Pixel 2 and Samsung Galaxy-whatever) and Chrome (as in Chromebooks).
Yes, Android is based on Linux. Google Chrome– as in Chromebooks– is based on Linux. Chromebooks are hot sellers and 2018 looks to be the best ever, so, yes, let me call it. 2018 is the year of Linux on the Desktop, with Desktop being defined as Windows-like or near-Windows-like notebooks.
As it always is with Linux on the desktop, optimism prevails. Where Linus in Chromebooks has succeeded is at the low end of the spectrum, specifically among customers whose needs are nominal– we’re not talking Photoshop here– and budgets are even more nominal. Chromebooks rule in schools these days and they improve every year. Chromebooks now have the added benefit of running most popular Android applications, and while these are not desktop or notebook class, they’re definitely king of the Good Enough class.
What Of Apple?
Apple seems to be somewhat immune to the changes that have taken place and are taking place in the traditional personal computer arena. Mac sales remain at record levels. While traditional PC sales have declined in recent years, sales of notebook-tablet hybrids with touchscreens have increased making it the only bright spot in the industry. Unless you count Chromebooks.
Apple’s least expensive notebook is the $999 and near-end-of-life and seemingly ageless MacBook Air. Specifications vary a bit, but even the entry-level MacBook is priced the same as a beginner’s MacBook Pro. You can buy four decent Chromebooks for the price of a Mac notebook. That’s what schools do. Even a mid-range Chromebook is priced about the same as the entry-level iPad. Apple seems content to sell to a stagnant base of customers and take home the lion’s share of the industry’s revenue and profits while ceding the low end of the market to Chromebooks (based on Linux), plastic Windows 10 hybrids, and soon, ARM-based Windows 10 notebooks with always on cellular data.
Unless Microsoft has an answer and Apple decides to play ball in the low end of the market, 2018 looks to be the year of Linux on the Desktop– thanks to Google’s Chromebooks.