Did it all come down to the license of GNU/GPL? Kernals like *BSD have very permissive licenses too but yet only Linux gained such a huge following while the others were left behind. It is my understanding is that all software you typically find on a Linux distro such as KDE and everything that runs on top of that platform can be downloaded and installed on *BSD systems so software couldn't have been the issue. Also, BSD systems were more stable (at least webservers would stay up longer) running *BSD 10 years ago so I have no idea why this wasn't the superior choice. (of course that was 10 years ago, Linux may be as stable now).