People used to ask if Linux was ready for the desktop but if one looks at projects like Linspire, Xandros and Ubuntu, among others, the headline above probably contains the more pertinent question. Of course, these days some wags are asking if Vista is ready for the desktop – but I digress.

There’s an interesting piece by Joe Barr on that asks a new question: Where Linux goes from here? With everybody and his dog clambering aboard the bandwagon, Linux is now mainstream but in the face of such success, will it remain true to its free software ideals and to the community which created it?

From the article:

“Linux is surrounded by proprietary IT firms. Some of them view Linux as a profit maker, others as a threat to their profits. Both sides represent a challenge for Linux in holding to its ideals of freedom and openess (sic).”

It’s an interesting dilemma. Barr postulates that the biggest threat to Linux, Microsoft, cannot help but join the party – eventually – by releasing it’s own Linux distribution. He writes:

“Such a move could solve a couple of problems for Microsoft. It has never really been very good at developing operating systems, and a move like that could not only free it from that chore, but provide a new basis for maintaining monopoly control over Microsoft Office: the GUI itself. Imagine the corporate appeal of a robust and secure Linux distribution coupled with 100% Microsoft Office and back office compatibility.”

Makes sense: if you can’t beat them; join them. Read the full story here.

Hat tip: Slashdot