For years now, Linux has been a black sheep standing in the shadow of Apple and Microsoft. Despite having a fervent and enthusiastic following, the operating system hasn’t been able to grab a sizable share of the computing market and has instead been content to subsist on the customers that come away dissatisfied with the mainstream competition.
But that may be about to change. With the release of Microsoft Windows 8 on the horizon, some are saying Linux may have a great opportunity to steal a significant share of the market away from Microsoft, allowing it to finally take the helm as a major operating-system service provider.
Of course, a lot of that depends on what Microsoft does. The software titan is in the driver’s seat, as per usual, but pressure to accommodate changing tech trends could force it into an error that opens doors for Linux.
In the simplest terms, Windows 8 is designed to be compatible with both personal computers and tablet PCs, featuring touch-screen functionality that can also be used with a keyboard and mouse. Also functional with the latest Windows program are remote backups. This function is important because it allows you to save and backup important files online.
The design is a vast departure from previous incarnations of the Windows operating system, featuring a sleek design intended to rival Apple’s. Widgets and applications are easily available regardless of what type of computer you are using, and cloud sync functionality is emphasized by the software.
The risks all depend upon the public’s reception. If traditional Microsoft users, who may be disinterested in the sleek design of Apple products, decide they’re unhappy with the functional changes of Windows 8, they may look for alternatives. In the past, those who didn’t want design to trump function usually shrugged off Apple products in favor of Microsoft. Now they’ll have to go elsewhere.
Even though it has continued to exist as a distant third option behind Microsoft and Apple, the staying power and efficiency of Linux have earned it greater accommodations from developers and other web-service providers. Web-hosting companies have increasingly made sure their hosting tools and services can accommodate Linux users.
That not only demonstrates a growing respect of the operating system, but it will make the transition to Linux easier for current Microsoft users. In the past, going to Linux could be a lonely move. Now, more businesses are making sure Linux users can be effectively served.
One of the greatest benefits of Linux over Microsoft is its potential for high-quality gaming. Because Linux is a stripped down, basic operating system, it allows more of a computer’s resources to be put toward the actions a user desires, allowing you to take full advantage of the latest technology. This is a huge benefit to gamers, who want high-resolution gaming without any lag or technical hold-ups
It’s expected that Linux will be a growing hit among computer users who are primarily interested in getting the best software to support their online gaming. A gaming platform known as Steam is currently available on Linux and has plans to grow its offerings to more than 2,500 games, including the most recent releases. Steam has already been available on Apple and Microsoft, but Linux is better built to support the high-tech demands of the most innovative gaming, and as Steam expands its Linux operations, gamers may migrate.
How this all plays out depends on the public’s reception of Microsoft Windows 8. If consumers by and large embrace the change, it could limit Linux’s ability to expand. But even then there’s the possibility that by distinguishing itself from the other operating systems, Linux will continue to develop a following that is seeking a reliable and strong product.
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