One day in the distinct future, the adoption of Linux on the desktop will not be driven by improvements in desktop applications, but by desktop applications moving to the web. The more conventional desktop applications we can eliminate, the faster end-users will be able to adopt Linux.
It is both logical and inevitable that web applications, and not desktop applications, will take Linux to the desktop.
Microsoft has to invest in rich internet applications and web application development so they can compete with Google and Adobe. But do they realize that by making rich internet applications a commodity, they will indirectly help drive Linux' adoption for the reason outlined above?
Make the desktop obsolete and the Linux kernel will shine.
This week's official introduction of Microsoft Silverlight will be remembered as a tipping point in the history of Free and Open Source software, and Linux in particular.