It is no secret that, despite its technical shortcomings, Windows continues to be the dominant desktop operating system. Mac OS X and Linux have been chipping away at Microsoft’s throne, with Mac OS X striking serious blows over the recent years.
If a Linux distribution could take out a chunk from Microsoft equal to that of Apple’s recent and continuing victory, it might be the blow that sends Windows’ throne tumbling down. I believe Mint is close to being able to land that strike.
Here are a few ways that Linux is catching up:
Driver support. The latest release of Ubuntu, version 10.10, significantly improved driver support. In fact, my neighboring co-worker actually saw immediate and significant improvements in driver support and stability when he upgraded to Maverick Meerkat (aka Ubuntu 10.10).
Software. As the push to the cloud continues, desktop applications are becoming less of a player. Despite this fact, Linux still delivers with over tens of thousands of FREE applications available on most Linux distributions. Many of these applications, including OpenOffice, have a large community or company supporting them and supplying regular updates.
User Experience. Users want to be able to boot up their computer and easily get to whatever task they desire. Mint’s new Welcome Screen attempts to accomplish this by identifying various potential system shortcomings and providing direct links to resolving them, i.e. missing video codecs. And although our mother taught us not to judge a book by its cover, the polish on the interface is important on how easy and appealing an operating system is to an end-user; Mint also delivers in this area.
Mint claims to be the 4th most widely used operating system. Based on Ubuntu, it refines the improvements that new versions of Ubuntu bring and further boosts Linux Desktop as a competitive desktop platform. I recommend you download and try this distribution out. If you don’t like it as your own distribution, you should at least take time to consider advantages for potential implementation at your company or client’s desktops.