Preston Gralla of ComputerWorld (and a few others) has been blogging the eventual demise of Linux when Windows 7 hits the scene and takes over the hot netbook market:
You can be sure when Microsoft blitzes the world with a massive advertising campaign for Windows 7, they'll be spending many millions promoting Windows 7 on netbooks. And given that marketing muscle, Linux most likely won't stand a chance, regardless of which operating system is superior. (More reasons Windows 7 will kill Linux)
Windows 7 features a much slicker interface than Windows XP, is easier to use, and Microsoft will spend many millions of dollars to push its use on netbooks. So when it's released, expect Linux use on netbooks to drop. (One more reason Linux must fear Windows 7)
Of course, none of this rambling seems very much to the point. As one commenter pointed out, Linux will continue to be Linux no matter how much money Microsoft spends or what Windows 7 does. Linux isn't going away unless the entire Linux community decides to disperse and stop developing and growing. It's not dependent on profit margins...or even marketing.
Perhaps a more meaningful conversation would be: how will the economy affect Windows 7 vis-a-vis Linux? Are there bigger issues and trends that are going to make the Windows vs. Linux dichotomy irrelevant? Amanda McPherson from the Linux Foundation (commenting on the estimated $10 billion price tag for Fedora 9 if it were proprietary) says that "Vista is likely the last operating system we will ever see written by one company from scratch." Okay, I'm not sure what that says about Windows 7, unless she's not counting that as a full-blown, new OS — maybe just a leaner Vista? Are you in a predicting mood? What kinds of developments for Linux do you think we're likely to see in the quickly-approaching new year?
(Oh, and just to make sure he got all the flamers and Diggs, Gralla finally followed up with Why Microsoft fears Linux. Darn him!)
Selena has been at TechRepublic since 2002. She is currently a Senior Editor with a background in technical writing, editing, and research. She edits Data Center, Linux and Open Source, Apple in the Enterprise, The Enterprise Cloud, Web Designer, and IT Security blogs.