Trying to determine how well Linux is doing on the Desktop is a difficult task. Unlike competitor operating systems, the majority of boxes with a Linux installed didn't come from a major retail chain. Yes, this does include the Lindows/Linspire boxes from Wal-Mart online.
Yes, the market is growing. Yes, OEM's are jumping on top of the Linux distribution bandwagon on the desktop, starting with Dell, recently with Levono, and HP is entering the ring.
The desktop market is doing so well that Microsoft finally had to admit defeat in the desktop market.
Microsoft... admit defeat? Wasn't there some law that those words could never be used in the same sentence? Well, the words themselves were not. What Microsoft did is allow licensed OEMs to start selling Windows Xp again.
The fact is, Vista has been getting tromped by desktop oriented Linux distributions. Nobody wants the OS, and their has been a relatively large backlash against Microsoft for continuing the push Vista. Hard-core PC gamers have been hit pretty hard, and for once consoles are looking very attractive with at least one console offering Keyboard and Mouse support.
This though isn't about PC gamers picking up and moving to Linux and the Playstation3.
Thing is, Windows NT5 was GOOD ENOUGH for the average user. The layout wasn't very confusing, the performance was adequate, and the long term stability of the OS was approaching data-center percentage requirements. Okay, granted, Windows NT5 has all the security of a prison made of swiss cheese, but home users generally haven't cared much about that if my experience of computer repair is any indication.
Releasing OEM's to start selling Windows XP again and allowing users to crossgrade down to Windows Xp from Vista is a direct move to cut off interest in Linux on the desktop. I don't think there could be any clearer sign that Linux is on the move as a choice for desktop users.
Now, the question is, will Microsoft finally release Service Pack 5 for Windows 2000 Pro in order to bring it's two NT5 branches back into synch, or is Microsoft going to continue to screw over the few million users of the first version of WinNT5...