I’ve been watching an interesting development in the business IT world, our customers gradually moving to Linux OS for workstation desktops. This has been happening on the server level for a long time, but now desktops as well.
The benefits/downside of a Linux desktop are fairly straight forward. Linux is free, doesn’t get viruses (yet…some argue once market share is high enough viruses will come) and takes much less horsepower to run. On the downside, it won’t run most Windows based programs. There are myriad other pros and cons to go on the lists, but these are the main things customers notice and care about.
So what does this have to do with the cloud and Windows? It’s pretty simple really, most of our customers are moving to a Linux desktop OS because the cloud allows them to do so. Their applications and data are going to the cloud, which runs almost exclusively on browsers. Browsers run GREAT in Linux. So once your local Quickbooks, email and other Windows only programs have been replaced by cloud based services you really don’t have much tying you to a Windows desktop anymore. And thus no more viruses, paid upgrades and slow performance from a bulky OS.
The second and less common reason is virtualization. Many customers are seeing the light of terminal services or remote desktop solutions. Your local desktop machine is connecting to a terminal server or virtual desktop service and all of your data is being delivered from there. What local OS you run is a non-issue since you now use a browser or terminal services client to connect, which once again run GREAT in Linux.
All that being said, from a business perspective at least…Windows is waining in relevance for many of our customers since they no longer are running their applications on their local machines.