There is an old saying that goes something like this: If you put 1,000 monkeys in a room with 1,000 typewriters (the things people used before computers), they would come up with the works of Shakespeare. Could the same be true of a great Desktop OS? No, but give me 1,000 well-paid developers and I'll give you a great Desktop OS.
My first two posts were responses to news articles concerning the fate of Desktop Linux. I think that Linux is ready for the Desktop in spite of the opinions of Novell and RedHat. Unfortunately, corporations want guarantees, support, and compatibility for their Operating Systems and applications. Unless there is a commercial entity behind a Linux Desktop OS, it isn't likely to see a lot of activity on corporate hardware.
There are some great Linux Desktop OSs out there; Ubuntu, CentOS, Fedora, DSL, Linspire, and others. The biggest barrier to their widespread use in the corporate world, or the home, is support. Most home-based Linux Desktops are either self-supported by Linux enthusiasts or by a handful of Linux consultants for corporations.
The problem with Linux on the Desktop? You can't have it both ways. If you want a well-supported, well-maintained, sought-after OS on the Desktop, it probably won't be free. It may not even be cheap.
The beauty and the ugly of Linux is the same: Volunteer Labor. Give me 1,000 well-paid programmers and I'll build you a damn fine Linux Desktop OS. I can probably do it with 500 but give me a thousand. You'll soon have a beautiful Desktop with applications that are Microsoft compatible, apps that do everything that Windows ones do but with the added stability and non-continually rebooting pleasure that is Linux.
It won't be free. It may not be cheap but it will be cool and it will work. It will have corporate support, regular patching, training programs, TV commercials, certification programs, and so on. Corporate buy-in will follow. Home users will flock to it by the millions because they won't have to upgrade their hardware every time a new version appears on store shelves.
The problem again? No one is willing to put out the money or the effort to unseat Windows as the dominant Desktop Operating System. It's a sad Catch 22 situation: No one will put out the money until there is acceptance and you won't get acceptance without a commitment from commercial Linux vendors.