What's "Linux on the Desktop" Mean, When We Don't Know What a Desktop Is, Anymore?

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That's increasingly true since the driving force is no longer about hardware and packaged software: it's really services with a low-cost infrastructure, Zemlin said. "Google is in the services business, as is Netflix [with online movies]," he said. "And Salesforce.com is driving the industry into a services model." (Surely, you've already read plenty about the promises and challenges of cloud computing?) In that world, Linux and open source meet the demand perfectly.

"It is all about cheap," Zemlin contends, and Linux certainly wins on "cheap." After showing one of the Microsoft "I'm a PC" ads (in which a techie is looking for a $1,500 computer), Zemlin wondered aloud: "I wonder what I can get for $1,500, running Linux?" Let's see his hypothetical shopping list: An HP Mini 1000; Android, $99; a 42" big screen TV running Linux, $499; A Neros Linux-based DVR, $150. All with a full software productivity suite. And, he said, since I had a lot of money left over, I got a a one laptop per child computer, too. Or... would you prefer the Windows computer chosen by the guy in that TV commercial?

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