Those of you who follow the state of Linux may realize that Linux is now at the precipice or "jumping off place" as an operating system. Linux, to others, is viewed as being at the crossroads for success. What's the difference, for Linux, in teetering at the precipice and standing at the crossroads?

How do these metaphors translate into concrete information that you can use?

The Precipice: This view is one that's sparked by those who believe that Linux should become a competitive desktop operating system and that it's time to "put up or shut up" in this area. They believe that Linux should either jump off the cliff and go headlong into the desktop universe or back away from the edge of desktop-dom completely.
Personally, I think that Linux desktop developers are doing what they can in this direction and are perhaps lowering Linux over the cliff on a rope. Linux is currently a usable, viable, and quite stable desktop operating system that's easy enough for the masses. Ubuntu Linux and its derivatives are highly prized for their simplicity and usability as desktop alternatives.

The Crossroads: The crossroads viewpoint of Linux makes a bit more sense to all who understand it--that Linux is at a place where there are many paths from which to choose: Desktop, Server, Virtualization Host, etc.
Linux will always be at this crossroads--it will never move from this spot. Instead, its distribution spawn will take the different paths. Ubuntu, Red Hat, Novell's SUSE, CentOS, Debian, and all the others have their own individual destiny's--some will emerge as desktops, others will triumph in the data center as servers, while others will settle in as part of cloud infrastructure--essentially donating their resources to the greater computing grid. There's no need for Linux to choose just one path.

The way I see it, Linux neither stands at the precipice or at the crossroads but rather in a place where it can choose all the above and be quite good in any occupation. Why choose to be pigeonholed when you can do everything well?

> Those of you who follow the state of Linux may realize that Linux is now at the precipice or "jumping off place" as an operating system.

These people have been people "realizing" this for the past 10 years.


Thank you for writing this. I'm glad somebody said so perfectly. If I see one more article titled "Will Windows 7 Crush Linux?" or "Is This the Year of the blah, blah, blah?" I'm gonna snap.

From now on, I'm going to respond to any of that "Can Linux Make It" crap by posting a link to this very blog post.

Linux is everything. It's running in and on everything. It's not going anywhere and it has no competition. It will get better and better and the people who use it will keep using it and who cares if one OS has more users than another OS.

Sometimes I think that all the competitive hype we hear surrounding Linux is just more FUD designed to be divisive. If they can drive wedges, perhaps they can create an environment where more companies can exist by charging users for "extra features" or whatever. It's all rubbish. I think some are just trying to turn the Linux desktop space into a commercially viable arena. All this Ubuntu vs. Fedora and crap like that. Who cares? Run Ubuntu.... run Fedora..... run BOTH (you can get them both for the price of one). If one distro dies out, use the other - there will always be another up and coming distro with a cool new feature. It will never end.

So yeah, what he said!

geek on,


I'm with you on your reaction to the nay sayers against Linux and their drivel that follows. Thanks for your comments.