Software // Operating Systems
News
10/13/2008
10:23 AM
Connect Directly
Google+
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

How Linux Can Conquer The Laptop

Linux's first step must be to own the emerging netbook market, where it is gaining traction among users who live on Web-based apps and aren't married to Windows.




Sylvania's latest netbook runs Ubuntu Netbook Remix.
(click for image gallery)
There's little question that Linux on laptops (and on PCs in general) is no longer nearly as complicated or painful as it used to be. The new problem is whether notebook manufacturers are going to readily offer Linux to consumers -- both regular folks on the street and corporate clients -- outside of designated niches.

That said, there is one rapidly emerging bright spot: the new class of "netbooks" -- low-cost notebook machines that use Linux as one of a number of cost-saving measures and which are designed to satisfy relatively undemanding computing needs. Still, even there the competition is fierce, and both the hardware makers and Linux development community will need to strive continuously to make a larger dent in the market.

Right now, Linux won't displace Windows in any significant percentage, at least in markets where Windows already rules the roost. That's part of what makes the netbook market such a fierce battleground: in Microsoft’s eyes (and in the eyes of many Linux users), Linux has a good chance of proving itself there as a prelude to making strides elsewhere.

But it will take more than just making Linux available to people as a hardware preload option to put it on even footing with Windows in the notebook world. The rest of the software in the Linux sphere has to also compete -- either that, or Web-based equivalents of applications routinely used in Windows will have to become preferable alternatives.

These things may be well beyond the ability of notebook makers to influence, but they’re worth keeping in mind.

Hardware And Driver Issues

Obviously there's nothing stopping someone from simply downloading an .ISO of a Linux distribution and installing it on any commodity notebook. Nothing, that is, apart from a) their inclination to do so and b) how well Linux runs there. The good news is that it's no longer a dicey proposition to install on a notebook any of the recent, major Linux distributions for desktops -- Red Hat/Fedora, Ubuntu, SUSE, PCLinuxOS, and so on.

Previous
1 of 4
Next
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Tech Digest, Nov. 10, 2014
Just 30% of respondents to our new survey say their companies are very or extremely effective at identifying critical data and analyzing it to make decisions, down from 42% in 2013. What gives?
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.