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Discussion on: Why is Linux Not More Popular on the Desktop?

vishnuharidas profile image
Vishnu Haridas • Edited

Here in India personal computers became popular during the late 90s, and sellers used to install pirated copies of Windows 95/98 when they deliver computers. During the 2000s the personal computer market grew exponentially, and most of them came with Windows XP --- either OEM installed or pirated.

During that time, Microsoft was raiding offices and institutions searching for pirated Windows, but personal computers were never checked, thus making Windows the number one choice among people. Many applications were built for Windows.

People got used to the Windows UX very much. The UX remained pretty much same from Windows 95, 98, XP, ME, Vista, 7, to 10.

They know that "My Computer" shows what's in their HDD. The letters "C:", "D:" are their HDD partitions. Inserting a CD/DVD and playing music out of it was very easy. They know how to download something and install, how to change the wallpaper, how to change the default music player. Adding a new printer or setting up a network connection was so easy.

Linux was fragmented too much at this time. Also, their UX was not standard across distributions.

If a normal user wanted to try a Linux distro, they started facing many issues.

First of all, installing Linux on a desktop was not easy for a normal user. Then, people couldn't understand the file system of Linux. "/home" was a mystery for people that came from "C:", "D:". People had no idea where to look for HDD partitions. They didn't know how to install an application. Downloading source code and compiling it was not fun for a normal user. Doing something in the command line was cumbersome. Adding a printer/scanner was not easy. Audio may fail because of a driver error. Ooops!

Within days, they would roll back to Windows. I mean, their pirated copy of Windows.

Today, there are better Linux distros with much improved UX. Now there are good office packages, music/video players, and Chrome/Mozilla --- which are the primary apps used by a normal user. Many computers comes with Ubuntu OEM installed. People are fine with that as long as their Chrome/Mozilla works and music/video plays well. GUI based package managers are there, so people are fine with that too. Reading a CD/DVD or adding a printer are easier now. Anyway confusion on the "/home" filesystem still exists among them.

Today a good percentage of laptops come with Windows 10 OEM installed and a few models with Ubuntu (or some other distro) installed.

The popularity of Linux (primarily Ubuntu) is increasing slowly, but it can't dethrone Windows in a near future for sure.

aadilayub profile image
Aadil Ayub

You nailed it.