XP Finally Dies, And From Its Ashes Linux?
In 136 days Windows XP will no longer get any support from Microsoft and all PCs currently running the OS will stand defenceless against the malware attacks. And the attacks will not suddenly cease, there are still plenty of XP machines out there to the tune of 30 % of traditional PCs, a number worth someone's trouble to hack.
My brother is still on XP and the old low end computer is largely good enough for his needs that consist mainly of web browsing and some Spotify use and so while he feels no immediate urge to upgrade the hardware it makes barely any sense to go out and buy a copy of a newer version of Windows to load onto it.
Has the time finally come for Linux, presumably then in the form of Ubuntu, to step in as the saviour for the millions of old but good enough PCs out there that will no longer get security patches in the beginning of next year?
The OS itself seems fine based on the bootable live USB experience with seemingly acceptable driver support, modern web browsers and a reasonably robust app ecosystem but is it a case of the shortcomings only becoming apparent after a few weeks or months of use?
There are plenty of usable Office alternatives both as web apps and as local apps. Digikam for photos, VLC for video playback, Chrome and Firefox for browsing. There's even Skype.
The full on Ubuntu 13.10 appears to run fine on netbook class hardware and Pentium (I don't think the one I tried it on was an actual Pentium but rather a Core something branded "Pentium" to make the budget CPU sound classier) desktops.
The software is still supported.
And the UI no longer looks like something a blind nerd made in his basement with ASCII art.
Could it be that we've reached the point at which the hardware is generally so good that unless it physically breaks it's still good enough to use while software has to eventually be retired for security reasons even though it too might sort of be good enough from a usability standpoint and so, and I can't believe I'm seriously about to say this, that 2014 might finally be the year of Linux on the desktop? Or will the public at large still not give it a shot for various branding reasons even if it turns out it's technically perfectly serviceable? Will the norms just keep running XP and just get completely overrun with infections?
I don't know if someone like my brother would give Linux a chance, it still has a reputation of being difficult to use and mostly something for geeks to tinker with or possibly for large data centres to run on servers but it seems to me that if there was ever a time for Linux to make serious inroads among regular folks the death of XP might be it.