When did Linux become mainstream?

I read an “article on lxer.com”:http://lxer.com/module/newswire/view/54858/index.html which talks about perceived changes in the culture of LinuxToday.com. It blames the widespread adoption of Linux as the culprit which shooed away the hard-core geeks from the site. Of course Linux adoption was a slow, gradual process brought out by a series of events in the computer world. The article gives several examples including IBM embracing Linux at the LinuxWorld Conference & Expo in 2001 and a congressman from Venezuela telling Microsoft to drag its underhanded business practices elsewhere because he was going to adopt Linux for use in his country.

I personally think the shift started back during the United States vs. Microsoft case. I can’t remember, but I think it was Ballmer who stated, “We’re not a monopoly, because there’s that Linux thing.” Well, that statement unleashed the curiosity of the American media, gave Linux plenty of free press on national television, and launched it into the mainstream.

Why? Linux had been around for almost a decade, existing only as source code passed around the Internet between only the most hard-core of geeks. But now Aunt Helen, located in a little town somewhere in the Corn Belt of America, found out about Linux by watching Fox News even before she was able to get broadband.

This is one of the few times I will say, “Thank you, Microsoft”.