Hopefully this won't be the case, but I can certainly see it as a possibility.
Yup, you are absolutely correct, could go either way.
With the prices that MS are offering now its almost Opensource anyhow!
The history of computers is a fascinating mix of brilliance technically and brilliance in marketing.
Don't get me wrong I am not a MS basher, I like the products. I used to hate Bill, but that was born from jealousy not from any rational thought.
And I really like what he is doing with his money now.....wish I could.
Let's put it this way, if a plane was crashing and I had one spare parachute and it was a toss up between Bill and a Bank Director!
Whichever way it goes I hope the future isn't
a) Ran by Google
b) Cloud Computing
Very suspicious of both... bad enough when software "phones home" never mind when it's being run by the provider and you have no control over it - power to the desktop
As for Linux I've tried to like it... tried different distros and different hardware but always get aggro very early on for simple things that I personally expect as a given on a modern day OS. Tried Ubuntu, installed OK, very pretty setup... logged in... then it logged straight back out again with no word of explanation, very odd. Same for some weird wireless issues on my eeePC, ended up formatting with WinFLP which was a shame but end of the day needed to browse Internet on it, not mess around with wireless configs.
Tried Linux Mint as well as the website blurb makes it look very flash... again issues with graphics drivers so I couldn't get a working desktop...
The Linux-based IPCop appliances we use work nicely for what they do and quick to setup but driver support causes problems at times... right pain but on balance it's free which always helps!
Personally for the mainstream I'll stick with desktop PCs \ Windows for a while yet - Windows 7 will be the make or break for MS desktop OS I think
I've said this before elsewhere, and will say it again here. I'd like to see a good bare metal hypervisor on the desktop. I'd also like to see better support for graphics hardware virtualisation.
What we want is to remove the complication of different chipset, graphics, sound, etc hardware with losing the performance.
This will take away the complication of drivers and give Linux/OS-X/Windows/etc a level playing field.
The closest we have at the moment is ESXi which is very picky on which hardware it will install on and doesn't support graphics acceleration/virtualisation.
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