The problem with desktop OS'es is the future is no long Windows v Linux. Obviously there is the Mac but machines booting straight into Vmware applications or straight into browsers that have just enough OS to support there function are here.
What this means is that the traditional desktop OS supports generic computer use, but users are moving increasingly towards specific computer use. Take for example Games, the PC is no longer the platform of choice. Citrix, VDI, AJAX, Silverlight, Flash etc
are increasingly delivering richer clients and content. Even the humble PC is under attack, take for example my company, we give everyone a thin-client device that just has enough brains to run the Citrix ICA Client.
There will be a hugh market for generic computer use, but the percentage will not be as large as it once was. People won't care if it's Windows or Linux for that matter so will be a hollow victory if it is the latter.
People see buttons they can click on with the mouse and text boxes they can put stuff in that all helps them do whatever they want to do. What is happening underneath isn't important, it really isn't. We in IT have to realise this, the popularity of the Asus
EEE and the start of NetBooks proved this. No one really cares about Windows ... or Linux ... or Mac ... or Flash .... or Ajax ... because they haven't got enough emotion invested in the choices.
The only people that do care are the ones that have invested a career in it ... but ultimately at the end of the day we are just service providers.
I have never been huge fan of OS wars. Actually, I don't care if Linux has ~1% market share rest of its existence. I installed Debian (Lenny) on my dad's desktop last weekend. As you wrote people doesn't care about the OS. He doesn't care at all what
OS he is running as long as he can do his daily tasks. If Amiga does the job for him he could use it without problems.
Personally I think it's nice that OS doesn't matter anymore as much it used to. Schools here are switching from ordinary PC platforms to thin clients (LTSP). They are talking about big savings which is of course really nice
thing to hear. The savings would not be possible without the alternative OSs.
Of course as a nerd and (FOSS) programmer I found it a bit uncomfortable to think that _all_ software will be running on "cloud" in future.
I'm a bit confused that Linus is whining about KDE 4.0. He could use KDE 3.x.y if he really wanted to but instead he switched to GNOME. Yes, Fedora doesn't support the KDE 3.x.y anymore.