This year is not the year of the Linux desktop. Next year is not the year of the Linux desktop. In fact, NO year is the year of the Linux desktop. Every year, there are at least ten writers (Ashamedly, I'm included in that ten) who proclaim that the current year or the upcoming year will be the year of the Linux desktop. I've given up hope for it. I've given up on the idea of an acceptable level of Linux adoption on the desktop. I've given up on the prospect of ever having corporate Linux desktops and I think everyone else should too.
The Desktop Wars will be over forever.
By the time there is widespread acceptance for Linux desktops, it will be too late. Web-based desktops will replace the old school heavy desktop operating systems of today.
Netbooks will be the desktop of tomorrow with no local operating system. Oh there might be a JEOS (Just Enough Operating System)--a minimal system whose only job it is to get you to a network (LAN or Internet) but not a traditional OS with applications, office suites, games or the like.
For service subscribers and everyday users, your operating system will consist of a web-based desktop lookalike that is in reality a fancy web page. Renegades, like you and me, will have the choice of web-based desktops or virtual machines that run what looks like a traditional desktop stored on some remote server.
Forget the Desktop Wars, the Browser Wars, The Office Suite Wars and any other petty religious nonsensical wars relating to software. Your service provider will determine which desktop, office suite and browser you use when you connect to and use their services. Chances are there will be ads in all of them, subtly placed to entice but without too much 'in your face' interference.
Will this futuristic web-based desktop society take away your choices?
Yes and no. Having a service provider won't prevent you from using some other online services, suites, applications or even desktops but beware that there might be some penalties involving their use. Think along the lines of certain satellite TV services that don't have your local stations or some phone companies that don't provide 911 emergency call access.
So, it's goodbye to any hope of a sweeping adoption of a Linux desktop. I've put down my banner. I've put down my sword. I've put away all my propaganda for the Linux desktop. I submit to the will of the web designer, service provider and the advertising executive.
I've hoisted my white flag on this one.