Welcome to Desktop 2020!   This is a blog to discuss where the desktop is going over the next 3-5 years.  Whether you are a tree-huggin’ Mac-head, a Gates groupie, or a “just give me a Terminal Window” Linux lover, this is your place to pontificate, elucidate, or proselytize (or just read and shake your head in disbelief). 

Seeing as this is a Citrix blog, it’s going to be no surprise that I will be taking the DaaS/SaaS position but that still leaves a lot of latitude for user experience/OS/TCO discussions. Well, the discussion has to start somewhere so here’s where I’m coming from…

I gotta start from my own experience, that being with my Lenovo laptop. You know the old Amex tagline “Don’t leave home without it”?  Well that’s me with my ultraportable.  It’s light enough to come with me everywhere; I can type on it in coach and it has enough guts to run all my apps.  Here’s the thing about it though:  I actually had zero choice in laptops when I joined Citrix; it was this PC or nothing.  I just got lucky this time around.  I used to worry that if the screen started getting pixel cancer, I would end up with the boat anchor discarded by my VP when he got his MacBook Air (wait for a later post on “Laptop Bling”).  Salvation has come in the form of a BYOPC program that Citrix announced last year. This means that, if my personal (oops I meant corporate asset) laptop dies, I can go buy something similar and get reimbursed. I won’t be allowed go to IT for hardware support but, frankly, I have never done that anyway.  So, making the big assumption that the program doesn’t get turfed by the Bush-economy, I am good to go. I think that this is a growing trend.  Why put a bunch of expensive, super-depreciating assets on the company books if you don’t have to? 

What will make BYOPC work properly for those who are not keen on re-imaging hard drives?  You need to deliver a centralized corporate desktop to the employee-owned laptops.  Hard thing to do when you are in an airplane a lot like some folks. What works for me is this idea of dropping a client-side hypervisor on my laptop, allowing me to swing between corporate image and personal OS installation on the fly (on the net or off).  (I’ll save the Type 1/Type 2 debate for some other time.)  I figure this is the best of both worlds.  I can download a movie to watch in Coach Class and pause it to update a PowerPoint in the corporate image (I put this in for the boss!).  The method to deliver the corporate image and the OS type is kind of up to the IT department.  Frankly I wouldn’t care much as long as the corporate desktop isn’t a real pig. When you look at this from a dollars and cents perspective, it probably works for the company too since besides not having the assets on the books, you don’t have to maintain dozens of different OS’s and apps on dozens of different hardware configs.   I’ve seen some numbers from analysts and IT departments and it represents some serious dinero.  

Personally, I am going to stick to the ulta-portable with whatever Windows version I am keen on at the time.  Citrix has a tech preview of the Citrix Receiver for the iPhone.  No question it’s cool but, as much as I like mine, I figure I can take a minute to boot up my laptop to edit PPTs. I am thumb-typing well enough to answer emails with “OK”, “Yes”, or even, “Can it wait until next week?” but I am probably using my laptop for most emails too. 

Bottom line is that choice is a good thing. Give me endpoint independence.  I probably spend more time with my laptop than my family; don’t make my laptop an arranged marriage. The technology is here to support employee-owned laptops; the ROI looks pretty good and ALL THE COOL COMPANIES are doing it!