Yesterday I posted about Linux’ apparent halt in momentum for gaining traction with mainstream consumers, and I managed to upset a fair number of people. The problem is that I don’ t think a lot of the commenters actually read the entire piece. I was really lamenting the fact that Linux was being stopped in its tracks by Best Buy and the fact that familiarity seems to be winning out over innovation. Another point I’d like to make has to do with notebook vendor support. The fact that Dell and Lenovo offer Linux means absolutely nothing if the companies don’t promote their availability. And not just on their Web sites. Ask the average person on the street whether he knows if he can get an Inspiron preloaded with Ubuntu (nevermind what Ubuntu is) and all you’ll get back is a blank stare. As for whether I’m a “paid plant” by Microsoft . . . perhaps you missed the part of the piece where the words “Vista sucks” appeared. One certainly positive sign for Linux that I shouldn’t have ignored is that Intel is embracing the platform when it comes to current and next-generation Netbooks. The super-sleek concept that Intel showed at IDF in Shanghai demonstrates that Linux could be front and center when it comes to systems that will showcase the next-generation Atom processor. I think in this respect I may have overreacted to Best Buy’s move as being a death-knell for Linux in general. It’s certainly a big obstacle in my view, but that doesn’t mean Linux doesn’t have a shot at going mainstream in the long run if there’s enough industry support (beyond lip service to commenters on Dell’s IdeaStorm). The question is how these machines will be marketed. Maybe if Linux isn’t promoted at all and the emphasis is merely on what these Netbooks can do Linux will be able to knock down the doors at Wal-Mart, Best Buy, et al. But I haven’t seen anyone make a strong enough case yet. And Windows missteps alone aren’t enough. The crapware epidemic didn’t do it. Windows’ security problems didn’t do it. And the botched Vista launch didn’t do it. But maybe all of these ingredients in combination with a unified Linux UI could turn some heads. One last point. I couldn’t help but notice that one commenter referenced Star Trek in defending Linux. “Absolutely right. It’s just like when Star Trek was canceled; that was the definitive and final end to any development of market share by the series. Oh, wait, maybe you didn’t hear, someone made a movie out of it. And what’s this? A new series? Can’t be. I’m sure I heard someone say it was dead.” It’s probably not a good idea to make a case for Linux being for more than just geeks while referencing a brand that has defined geekdom for 42 years. Stay tuned for the analysts’ take on whether Linux will go mainstream. And for a head-to-head between the Linux- and XP-powered Eee PCs.