Today's economic pressures are unlikely to be the stimulus Linux needs to drive open-source software onto the desktop in any major way. Even while looking for places to cut costs, many IT shops won't be eager to add to the climate of uncertainty by forcing users to dramatically change the tools at the center of their work. Plus, a time of belt-tightening may not be the best time to cut out the tech-support line for the operating system.
But convergence is another story. The evolution of computing away from the tethered desktop (onto the iPhone, to take one example) suggests the growing appeal of shared software for its collaborative -- more than its cost-free -- nature. The next generation of users will be much more accustomed to sharing than the previous one, making the uncertainties of open-source far less scary. -- Caron Carlson, contributing editor, SmartBrief on ExecTech