From the ‘Mission Accomplished’ files:
The very first bug that Mark Shuttleworth ever entered for his nascent Ubuntu Linux distribution back in August of 2004 has now been fixed.
Microsoft has a majority market share in the new desktop PC marketplace. This is a bug which Ubuntu and other projects are meant to fix.
With the rise of new forms of embedded and portable computing, most notably Android smartphones and Tablets, the market has shifted and Microsoft no longer dominates all forms of personal computing.
In his bug note explaining why he considered bug #1 fixed Shuttleworth stated:
“Android may not be my or your first choice of Linux, but it is without doubt an open source platform that offers both practical and economic benefits to users and industry. So we have both competition, and good representation for open source, in personal computing. ..
Even though we have only played a small part in that shift, I think it’s important for us to recognize that the shift has taken place. So from Ubuntu’s perspective, this bug is now closed.”
While I agree with Shuttleworth that Microsoft isn’t the force it once was, I disagree that this bug is anywhere near to being fixed.
The reality is that if you walk into any major computing retailer in the world, the vast majority of PCs offered are still Microsoft Windows based. With Windows 8 and the Secure Boot fiasco, I think it’s safe to argue that the landscape for non-Windows PCs is now more hostile than it was in 2004. After all, I could easily buy any PC in 2004 that I wanted and simply install Linux on top of its. I can’t do that anymore.
For Shuttleworth to declare ‘Mission Accomplished’ now is a bit pre-mature.
Yes there is a shift underway and certainly the decline of the PC overall is a key factor. Linux never did beat Microsoft dominance on the PC, though it has clearly beaten it everywhere else.
Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.