An anonymous reader writes: We have been hearing promising predictions like "This year will be the year of Linux on the desktop" for the last decade. But Linux today seems to be as far away as ever from realizing the explectations of mass adoption we once had for it, without significant growth in home usage since the late 90s. Clearly, if Linux is unable to reproduce a third of Firefox's end user uptake over a much longer timeframe, there are deficiencies with the direction the GNU/Linux/X/Gnome/KDE system has taken. But almost all free software and desktop efforts and development remain unquestioningly oriented around Linux.
Other free-desktop operating system projects which take different and innovative approaches like ReactOS, AROS, Mona and Syllable remain comparitively starved of developers and interest. An often cited reason for using a non-Microsoft OS is to avoid a monoculture, but free-desktop efforts have created a total monoculture around developing and promoting Linux, despite a decade of failure in supplanting Microsoft's properterial OSes with it. Why are free-desktop developers neglecting to consider an alternative to the penguin?