Reading Christian's blog entry about what the Free Desktop needs to grow in market share made me smile a bit because I have been thinking about this exact thing a couple of times.
I agree with Christian that we have the technological base to rise and shine today.
I do think however that Free Desktop Software bits alone will have hard time taking over this market. I Think we need more than that, even if our software can flip cubes around and do fancy things when you snap your fingers.
You need a device which the software will be integrated with. And tightly. You need disitribution channels for that device and for the software bits that run on it. You need to build an ecosystem of applications that integrate well on the device. You need to assure people that things keep working when they upgrade the hardware and the software. You probably won't be able to do that alone, so you need partners. Lots of them. Partners who can make a living by writting and distributing apps for the ecosystem.
I believe there is an opportunity for an organization to focus on these tasks today instead of focusing on cost saving shortcuts that make our Free Software Desktop just look as a cheap alternative to today's established monopoly and thus eroding our image capital a little bit more everyday.
The funny thing is that even once you have all those hard things done, end users don't see it. They don't see the hard work. They might only see a nice device on which applications do work. Assuming the device is so cute that even my little sister will be wanting one in her bag, some users might see it as a jewel. Just a perfect jewel.
That shall be time for all of us Free Software Lovers to rejoice. But until then, until such organization(s) emerge I believe hard work is due.