Re: 23 Years
"And still waiting for it to hit the mainstream."
On desktop PCs, yes. Otherwise it's one of the most prolific kernels out there today which is pretty incredible considering its rather humble beginnings.
"Which isn't a troll, but there always seems to be, from Linux advocates, the assertion that it will soon find its way onto more consumer desktops."
Not a troll - it's a sensible point, and I say this as a Linux advocate. I really don't think we will see any huge inroads on the desktop any time soon. I really don't mind that either, as long as there is still sufficient support to keep Linux viable as a platform. At the moment the situation isn't too bad, although situations like Adobe dropping Flash development (whatever you think of Flash, it's sadly a necessity for some of us) do make me twitch a little.
"Granted a huge part of that is the inertia that people have when buying a PC from, say, Dell or PC World that they use whatever is pre-installed. But Dell offered Linux (do they still?) as an option so I'd have expected more consumer penetration by now."
I wouldn't; every page on Dell's website displays "Dell recommends Windows", even when viewing their Linux offerings. It's pretty hard to compete when the incumbent OS vendor sponsors such messages. Dell really just offer it as a token - they probably fear that prompting it heavily would compromise their OEM licensing agreement with Microsoft. It's a sad state of affairs really - I don't wish for Windows to go away at all but I'd love to see its market share chopped back a bit so that we had a more level playing field.
That said I've purchased quite a number of Dell machines with both Windows and Ubuntu preinstalled and I hope that they continue to provide the choice.
I think it's almost ironic that Windows and Linux see somewhat inverse popularity between desktop PCs and mobile devices, despite Microsoft's persistence and marketing muscle. Maybe the year of the Linux desktop will also be the year of the Windows phone? ;)
"And yes, I appreciate this simple observation will undoubtedly attract a vast number of downvotes."
Not from me; you raised a fair point. However we are here in this thread to celebrate the very real success of the Linux kernel. Let's raise a glass to Linus and see that this continues long into the future!