desktop - News, Features, and Slideshows


  • The end of the desktop?

    Microsoft is introducing the Windows Virtual Desktop, and ushering in the end of the traditional PC desktop operating system.

  • Desktop PCs: Dead as a doornail, or maybe just a fax machine

    The corporate desktop has looked the same for decades: computer, keyboard, mouse, desk phone, maybe a printer. But do these tools dominate because they're the perfect combination of technology needed for work today, or is the enterprise workplace due for an extreme makeover?

  • Client-device Linux use reaches 1%, world yawns

    Many people have made much of the fact that for the first time, Linux use as measured by tracking firm Net Applications has crossed the 1% market-share barrier. As significant milestones go, this is about as meaningless as it gets. Linux will never be a big player in the desktop market, nor should it be.
    Net Applications tracks operating system usage on the internet. In its latest results, it reports:
    "Linux usage share on client devices has surpassed 1% for the first time in our tracking. Linux has been successful primarily as a server operating system, but client usage share has not kept pace with server share. Linux has reached this important milestone on the client as Linux-based systems have become more functional, easier to use, and pre-installed on computers from vendors like Dell."
    Linux guru and my compatriot in blogging, Steven Vaughn-Nichols, believes that Linux may eventually reach 10% to 20% of market share.
    I think that Steven's estimate is far off the mark. I'd be shocked if Linux ever came close to approaching even 5% of market share, and I believe even 2% will be a stretch.
    To understand why, let's look at how Linux reached 1% market share. Linux was first created in 1991 — that's 18 years ago. To reach 1% market share in 18 years is not a particularly difficult task, especially considering the operating system is available for free.
    For most of Linux's history, it wasn't even a blip on the radar of any market share figures, apart from server market share. There it's a strong presence and deservedly so. It's a flat-out great operating system for servers.
    The desktop is where it has floundered and for good reason. There are too many variants of Linux, and while it has gotten much easier to use, when you need to install software on Linux or update the OS, it's far too complicated.
    As I wrote about in "Living free with Linux: 2 weeks without Windows", I've become a fan of Linux. It can use less-powerful hardware than Windows and is surprisingly simple to use — with the exception of updating and installing software, that is. I now use Ubuntu regularly.
    Why has Linux finally broken the 1% barrier? Because of netbooks. Initially, Linux had a big netbook market share of 30% or so. So the 1% breakthrough is due entirely to netbook use, not Linux use on desktops, where it still flounders. Sure, you can buy Linux on a Dell, if you try hard enough. But otherwise, good luck. And that's the way it will stay.
    Linux will never become a mainstream operating system on desktops, and so for client machines, it will remain largely confined to netbooks. Market surveys have shown that Linux sales on netbooks have plunged to only 10% of netbooks.
    Given that, how will Linux ever reach 10% to 20% of the market? The answer: it never will. Linux will remain a niche operating system, and a very good one at that.

  • Open-source desktop quest almost complete

    Is 2008 the year of the open-source desktop? Red Hat Linux is now widely deployed on the servers in my datacentre. Users have no idea what operating system underlies our web applications and databases, nor do they care, as long as those tools are highly available.

  • Sony’s stylish PC is more about looks than function

    Sony’s Vaio L-series VGC LA38G looks a bit like a notebook with its fold-up keyboard, general flatness and carrying handle at the back, but it’s not a notebook. It’s not quite a desktop either. I’d call it a notebook-desktop hybrid with aspirations to also be a piece of furniture. Sony calls it a portable panel PC.

  • India notebook sales up 180%

    PCs sales for India grew 19% over the same period in the previous year, mainly on strong buying from a number of market segments including e-governance projects and the outsourcing industry, says a hardware vendor group.

  • IBM pledges to cut desktop costs

    IBM has introduced new services it says will let customers more quickly and securely set up thin-client computing environments and reduce money spent maintaining desktops.

  • Desktop Linux needs to develop standards

    Say what you will about Windows' lack of openness or its seemingly never-ending software flaws, but if you double-click on an installer and the version of Windows you're using is reasonably up-to-date, your software will install. This is even truer on Mac OS X, where installing software often involves nothing more than dragging a single icon from the install disk to your applications folder.

  • Taking the risk out of desktop search tools

    As more end users employ desktop search tools from Google, MSN and Yahoo, IT managers increasingly must establish policies, standardise tools and protect their networks from data exposure, compliance breaches and poor performance, experts say.

  • Virtualisation vendors eye the desktop

    VMware, which trailblazed the way for broader adoption of server virtualisation, is now hoping to drive virtualisation of the desktop with the help of other companies.