I’ve been playing with ubuntu 10.10 recently whilst waiting for the “real” version to escape beta, I have to say I’ve been very impressed with the quality of the build. Linux continues to go from strength to strength and ubuntu has played a big part in that.
I’m slowly coming to the conclusion though that the future is solely in the hands of “cut down” operating systems like iOS and Android, although it can be argued (and is!) that these are Linux derivatives at heart. Microsoft really has had it’s day and whilst windows 7 has been a great success I doubt that this success will be shared by windows 9 and 10. By the time windows 9 is rumoured to be in alpha the likes of the iPad and other tablets will be well and truly entrenched. The sticking points will be well resolved (like photo editing and content creation) and most people will realize that 99% of what they want a PC for can actually be accomplished with a smaller, more efficient device than a laptop or pc. Most consumers do just that – consume not create.
Yes there will still be a requirement for “full” operating systems for business and developers but as a percentage these are likely to be fairly low (and most apps will be moving to the cloud regardless).
All in all ubuntu shows great promise but I honestly believe that this tangent will always be a niche market with the mainstream being filled by mobile devices. It will be an interesting 5 years ahead, and I’m looking forward to seeing it.