Let's not pretend that a new version of Windows, even one getting great marks, will end an open source OS entirely. But could Windows 7 cut off Linux's potential growth in netbooks and other markets? That's what Robin Harris at ZDNet seems to think, and he's not alone in spreading the uncertainty. To summate why many pundits see the promising growth of Linux slowing:
- Netbooks, especially the very cheap and small varieties, are seen as a huge growth area for the computer market, as wallets tighten and more computing life moves onto the internet.
- Windows 7 has nearly the same, if not a little lower, system requirements than Vista, and seems to be ready for netbooks.
- Linux was seeing some surprising popularity on netbooks (surprising for an OS with a normally single-digit share of the desktop market), which could be scuttled if Microsoft turns its marketing/market-pushing forces onto netbook makers.
- The average consumer is far more familiar with Windows than Linux, and devices makers are far more likely to provide Windows drivers.
Again, as CrunchGear points out, the stories of Linux's death have been greatly exaggerated and re-told many times before, and the idea of a legion of open-source innovators just giving up their work's ideology and grabbing Windows Live subscriptions is a non-sequitur.
But we do have to wonder: Could a resurgent Windows keep Linux, at least for the time being, as a true hobbyist's desktop? If Linux did/does grow through the netbook market, would average consumers start caring a lot less about having a Microsoft-made machine? Tell us your take on Linux, netbooks, and that other OS you might have heard about in the comments. Photo by zieak.