March 20, 2001, 2:41 PM —
My good friend Maggie Biggs at InfoWorld posed an
interesting question: what will Linux look like in five
years? I have a simple answer: it won't look like anything.
In fact, with any luck, Linux should disappear.
I confess my answer is half prediction and half wishful
thinking. I would like to see Linux disappear, especially
from the desktop. No, I haven't torn up my Linux fan club
membership card. And I do expect people to run
Linux on the desktop. In fact, I believe Linux
will eventually displace Windows on the desktop. I just
think that when that happens, most users shouldn't have to know
that they're using Linux. They shouldn't have to know
they're using an operating system at all.
Face it. A huge number of computer users don't know why
they are buying the latest and greatest versions of
Windows; they just buy it because it's the latest and
greatest. When it comes right down to what they use the
computer for, the operating system only gets in their way.
They don't want to be computer users. They want to
correspond with business associates and friends via email.
They want to browse the Web. They want to play games. They
need to write documents or operate vertical applications.
But they don't want to do all the tedious maintenance a
computer requires -- and they shouldn't have to. Computers are
computers, after all. They're supposed to automate the
tedious task, and there's no reason why they can't.