> Ubuntu is not going to conquer the desktop because it is a "better Linux" (unless the desktop goes
away except for die hard Linux aficionados). The question is, is there a future for the desktop computer? Will it be replaced by the mobile device that plugs in to the big screen and links to bluetooth mouse and keyboard?
For media consumption (regular home users), yes, I believe smartphones and tables will replace the desktop PC and even laptops. Even for simpler productivity applications (simple text processing, time management), we will probably see tablets becoming increasingly popular. I think there are two important causes:
1. The user interfaces of newer mobile devices are radically simpler than their desktop counterparts. Sure, you could port it to a desktop, which changes for mouse/keyboard use. But:
2. Mobile devices are far more flexible in their use. You can carry an iPad around the house, to meetings, etc. You can also dock it, and have a something that almost resembles a very user-friendly desktop.
But I do think there is a feature for the desktop/laptop computer in more heavy-duty production work. For instance, development or movie production.
The sad thing is that not everyone realised that mobile computing and desktop computing require radically different user interfaces. The latter requires good window management and should be focused on mouse and keyboard use. The former is oriented at touch interfaces and simplicity.
It would be nice if the Linux desktop could be focused on what it did best: provide a good environment for programming and other heavy-duty productivity work. No more big desktop adventures, iterative refinement, and finishing all the rough edges. If the Linux desktop focused on just the desktop, things would become much simpler. Now that all the action is taking place in the mobile sphere, it's much easier to catch up with things.
For the mobile market, there's already a big (opensource-ish) ecosystem, Android. Let's focus on keeping Google honest and pushing CyanogenMod, rather than trying to morph traditional desktop environments into mobile environments. It'll be hard to make any dent, and there already is a good opensource Linux-based player.