Acer Says They Will Use Moblin Linux on Netbooks: Does Linux Still Have a Shot at the Netbook Market?

I thought Intel’s Moblin Linux was a Linux distro with its graphical user interface (GUI) tuned for netbooks in the way that Ubuntu Netbook Remix is. But, based on this list of Moblin variations reported by PC World…

– Suse Moblin
– Xandros Moblin
– Linpus Moblin
– Red Flag Moblin
– Ubuntu Moblin

…it sounds more like an X11 window manager similar to the familiar (to Linux users) Gnome and KDE. Whatever the case, PC World also reports that…

Acer Will Use Moblin Linux Across Its Products

I wasn’t impressed by what I saw when I booted Moblin 2.0 Beta in a virtual machine for testing. So, I’m somewhat surprised by this and need to boot it up again to see what I missed. Quite honestly, I went right back to my Acer Aspire One running Ubuntu 9.04 Netbook Remix after trying Moblin in a virtual machine.

Linux missed a golden opportunity when it was the only operating system available for the first netbook (the original Asus Eee PC). In the past year Windows XP has been the dominant OS sold with netbooks. Linux has at least one and maybe two more changes to gain mindshare and marketshare:

Chance 1: They have between now and October 22 when Windows 7 ships to place a stake in the netbook marketshare.
Chance 2: If Microsoft prices Windows 7 too high for the netbook market, Linux may get its second chance after October 22.

But, based on what I’ve experienced using Windows 7 Beta and RC on my netbook for the past few months, if Windows 7 is priced low enough for netbook purchasers and Moblin or Ubuntu fail to capture mindshare in the next few months, it is game over: Windows 7 will be the dominant netbook OS going forward.