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Linus Says 2004 is the Year for Desktop Linux 727

Posted by michael
from the huddled-masses-yearning-to-breathe-free dept.
lca writes "Linuxworld Australia has an interview with Linus Torvalds about the current state of the Linux desktop and where it will go this year among other things. Also discussed are topics such as hardware support, the SCO issue, and whether or not he will be moving to Australia."
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Linus Says 2004 is the Year for Desktop Linux

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  • by drizst 'n drat (725458) on Thursday January 15, 2004 @12:23PM (#7987086)
    "The server space is easier to tackle first with any operating system as it can be applied to specific tasks such as mail serving; however, the desktop is harder to sell." This may be true but it sure isn't impossible. It will just take some time. Can't run until you can first crawl.
  • by MoOsEb0y (2177) on Thursday January 15, 2004 @12:24PM (#7987097)
    With the advent of the 2.6 series kernel, along with the efforts for compatability between KDE and GNOME, I think linux is getting very close for the desktop. I already use it as a desktop OS on my laptop with few problems. With a little bit more effort, even so -called "dummies" will be able to work with it as well.
  • Re:No offense, (Score:2, Interesting)

    by thebagel (650109) <thebagelNO@SPAMconsolidated.net> on Thursday January 15, 2004 @12:27PM (#7987138)
    Everything is based on the kernel. Maybe he's looking for better optimization for certain routines that, say, OpenGL might utilize.

    Or perhaps he's urging the XFree86 team to make some progress with OpenGL performance or card support (like nVidia support without the nVidia drivers). (THAT WASN'T FLAMEBAIT.)

    Or perhaps he's urging, say, the GNOME team to make the desktop a tad bit more user friendly.

    He could be doing a lot of things; just because he's a kernel dude doesn't mean that his input isn't important.
  • Right... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by IntergalacticWalrus (720648) on Thursday January 15, 2004 @12:29PM (#7987159)
    Future slashdot headline:
    "Linus says 2034 really, really is the Year for Desktop Linux, honest! I'm pretty damn sure this time! I swear!"

    Seriously, we hear that every goddamn year since 2002. It's an annual thing, like those stupid so-called analysts saying "Apple is dying this year".

    It's not that I'm against it, in fact I am a desktop Linux user, but this is just ridiculous.
  • by relrelrel (737051) on Thursday January 15, 2004 @12:30PM (#7987174)
    Partly because it will be my 10 year anniversary of using GNU/Linux... but practically, too.

    I can't really put my finger on just why that year sticks out, but it does. I suspect that it will take a year+ for 2.6 to mature/be accepted to the point where most major distros are shipping it and most howtos are being written for it. I also suspect that both GNOME and KDE will reach another major version by 2006 (haven't checked their road maps... just hoping.) I also hope that device support will continue to grow as it has, configuration tools will mature more, and the "your mama" test will be more easily passed. I doubt all that will happen in the next twelve months.

    As for what I think COULD happen? I think a major U.S. gov't agency could start putting GNU/Linux into major use. I think we will see a lot more adoption abroad. Maybe even a first world national government promoting it in some way. I understand GNU/Linux desktop usage will top Mac desktop usage (was a /. article on that before.. that or linuxworld.com)...

    Now I'm just rambling. This made very little sense. sorry. It is 2:30 AM EST... I'm going to bed.
  • Re:Australia? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by epiphani (254981) <epiphani.dal@net> on Thursday January 15, 2004 @12:30PM (#7987185)
    Not only that, but the bandwidth is super expensive, and broadband is not exactly overly availible.

    But what im curious about is why he says "I definitely won't be moving back to Finland though." Whats wrong with Finland?

  • by lukior (727393) on Thursday January 15, 2004 @12:32PM (#7987215)
    I use both Windows XP and Mandrake and I use a wide range of programs. While most of my programs wont even work on Linux (I don't count xwindows) There are a crop of programs that I prefer on Linux or actually a crop of applications. One example, Myth, is a program that beats the hell out of Windows Media Center Edition. I think the more Microsoft tries to lock down what you can do with your computer the more success Linux will have.
  • by CrackedButter (646746) on Thursday January 15, 2004 @12:34PM (#7987228) Homepage Journal

    ... will GenuLinux get the software it needs to make it on the desktop?
    Why is it hard to release a well known application for linux? I won't suggest photoshop because somebody will remind me about GIMP and totally sidetrack the question.
    But why is there resistance to releasing an a high end application on GenuLinux? The way i see it, the don't want to touch the GPL and i keep hearing that as the cause for resistance. But DO you have to add to the GPL, i thought you could just release the app and make people buy it (like any other app), why the connotations that Genulinux users have to have it for free or won't pay just because the OS is?
    I don't think it has anything to do with MS either for say Adobe to release an application for GenuLinux. I think they might be confused as I am, moreso when i see photoshop ported to linux using WINE.
  • by GillBates0 (664202) on Thursday January 15, 2004 @12:34PM (#7987239) Homepage Journal
    According to this old interview [varbusiness.com] with Linus covered in this old Slashdot story [slashdot.org], Linus uses a Linux-Windows dual-boot:

    What's his latest toy?

    A Sony Electronics Inc. Vaio, Japanese edition. It's a handheld PC that has a 4-GB hard disk, 64 MB of RAM and a Pentium MMX 266-MHz processor. It weighs in at just 2.6 pounds and runs both Linux and Windows. "It's cute as hell." Oh, and it has a built-in camera.

    Now imagine Billy-boy using Linux (maybe just to give it a test-run) and talking publicly about it. That would never happen because of the expected PR backlash.

    Linus, on the other hand can be as frank as he wants to, without an axe hanging over his head.

    Interesting, though nothing earth-shattering. Open-source also supports Freedom.

  • Re:Desktop 3D? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by be-fan (61476) on Thursday January 15, 2004 @12:43PM (#7987359)
    Its not being to be a 3D desktop. Its going to use 3D hardware on current graphics cards to allow for really rich 2D artwork. Current-gen 3D hardware can do Quartz-style anti-aliased, transparent 2D without breaking a sweat, and that's what developers want to take advantage of.

  • by Schlemphfer (556732) on Thursday January 15, 2004 @12:46PM (#7987414) Homepage
    I've been reading Slashdot for years, but have only started playing around with Linux in the past month. It's great to hear Linus say that the desktop is almost ready for prime time. But I think no matter how good the desktop experience is, quality alone won't win over users.

    What finally got me to try Linux is when I read a post on Slashdot about Mepis [mepis.org], which, like Knoppix [knoppix.org], is a Linux distribution on a bootable CD. While I'd been aching to give Linux a try for years, I never had a spare box to run it, and I wasn't about to wipe XP and all my stuff off my main computer. If you haven't heard about it, Mepis is a full linux install and suite of software that you can boot off a CD and play with, without wiping your existing operating system from your hard drive.

    After trying Mepis for just a couple hours, I fell in love. Everything from my optical mouse to my Nvidia drivers to my keychain drive worked without any installation. I'm going to go on using XP on my current box, but I now know that the Linux desktop is indeed ready for prime time. When I upgrade to a new system next year, Microsoft won't get a penny. I'm going to buy a whitebox system, and get myself a good Linux distribution.

    I don't care how polished Linux gets; I think the only way it's ever going to get exposure to general users is on Mepis/Knoppix style CD ROMs that let people take the OS for a test drive. I really think that the best way to bring Linux to the general public is to distribute as many ten-cent CD ROMs as you can to friends and family, so they can see for themselves that there's no need to pay the Microsoft tax on their next PC purchase.

    The way I see it, overcoming Microsoft's hegemony requires working on two fronts. The first is building quality distributions that work plug-and-play with everything from printers to wireless cards. And the second front is the creation of full-featured bootable CD's that let people see -- on their own machine -- how great Linux has become.

  • Re:No offense, (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Unknown Lamer (78415) <clinton@unk[ ]nlamer.org ['now' in gap]> on Thursday January 15, 2004 @12:51PM (#7987485) Homepage Journal

    This is what XPDE [xpde.com] is trying to do (clone the Windows XP interface). Except for the applications part...it provides a shell that looks like the Windows XP one along with a control panel and some other stuff (at least I seem to remember it having that stuff).

    Personally, you can pry Window Maker out of my cold dead fingers...but I've been using GNU/Linux on the desktop full time for nearly four years. All the software I use works fine on GNU/Linux so I have no need for Windows. I just need a few games (Frozen-Bubble, LBreakout2, Legacy Doom, Quake2), Emacs, a web browser, and a simple DAW for my occasional audio work (Ardour [sf.net] is awesome for this). I'm not a "desktop user" I guess.

  • What about Munich (Score:5, Interesting)

    by YU Nicks NE Way (129084) on Thursday January 15, 2004 @12:51PM (#7987491)
    According to The Register [theregister.co.uk], Munich is finding that trying to get Linux on the city's desktop is not yet possible -- even with direct help from IBM and SuSE. They're finding that what Microsoft has said about Word is true in general: it isn't just the big things that everybody uses which are a problem, but also the little things which a very small number of people can't do without. In that case of Word, it turns out that almost everybody has a few small, exotic features that they really need, and that those small features, taken together, add up to a much greater barrier than all the big features which everybody needs.

    This isn't going to be the year of Linux on the desktop if that holds true generally.
  • by mydigitalself (472203) on Thursday January 15, 2004 @12:52PM (#7987496)
    ok, so maybe linux itself is nearing readyness to take on windows. gnome/kde have come a long way as have the kernel and indeed linux PR in general.

    however, i still do not feel that 2004 is "year of the linux desktop" because the market will not be ready for it. i will come back to my regular example - my mother. not only is she an occasional home user, but my mother runs a business of about 40 people strong who do medical aid claims processing. like many companies her size, she runs:
    * Windows on Desktop
    * Windows on Server
    * Office on Desktop
    * Exchange on Server
    * ACCESS APPLICATION THAT WAS WRITTEN FOR HER

    ok. so the first 3 you can pretty much wipe out with linux. the exchange thing, i still believe is a problem. i have been babblin on about good groupware capabilities in Linux for years and quite frankly i'm still shocked at the lack of a good alternative to exchange. although i am impressed by ximian's exchange connector - how ironic is running MS Exchange for your server and Linux on the desktop...

    anyway. lets get back to the BIG PROBLEM - her access database package. in fact, when i go to my dentist - they've got some custom built access application. as does my physio. as do many small sized businesses.

    the thing that will make it the year for the linux desktop will be a big "SWITCH"-like campaign. although all the pieces of the puzzle (ximian, 2.6 kernel, KDE, GNOME, CrossOver etc...) are available - they still need to be assembled to create the correct picture - and this will continue to take time. but i feel that a big assistant to this could come from some clever people like VMWare or Citrix. "ok, so you have this, this and that running on Windows - and there is no Linux version. ok, lets just run them in a thin-client/emulator". that will need a lot more knowledge from the small outsourced IT company my mother currently uses, and a bit more technical innovation. the long and the short: still more time.

  • by Hugh George Asm (708019) on Thursday January 15, 2004 @12:58PM (#7987589)
    Yes, Linux is a suitable desktop replacement. I still don't see a significant number of people making the switch. What is the motivation for the average user who has invested time in learning Windows to switch?

    Well, I have some experience here. My mom ran windows for the last 3 years. She doesn't know computers, but that's what her DELL had on it. She has been it with virii and recently some adware that prominently displayed itself on her desktop.

    Her computer runs slower and she doesn't know why. Probably unknown background processes chewing up CPU. All she does is email and surf the web, but the computer crashes and she is annoyed beyond belief with it. She is begging me to put something better on her machine, and she SPECIFICALLY asked for linux. She knows about linux as an alternative because I've mentioned that it's what I run on my machines. Her problems with windows have led her to conclude that she'd rather try something--anything--than continue running what she has. Oh yeah, she has paid "her guru" to come over and fix problems several times, and is tired of hiring someone to fix things that shouldn't be broken. So, an unstable, unreliable, virus-ridden, expensive operating system is its own incentive to switch. At least for MY mom.

  • Re:Another year... (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 15, 2004 @01:01PM (#7987651)
    Are you living in the dark ages, before Nivida invented the linux driver for it's graphics cards? haven't you downloaded the latest version of Gaim or Kopete? -- All the major IM's are now supported.

    I even manage to run the latest games, including Call of Duty, UT2003 and GTA (With WineX of course), all of which (with few execptions) can be played on the internet.

    The new 2.6 kernel now has parallel boot-up support, which has dropped my total boot-up time to 30 seconds, that includes getting into the X Window System.

    Most of my latest "tech toys" work too! Digital Camera, USB Bluetooth, even a R/C flight-sim!

    Okay, but I've uber optimised my system, because I'm Linux savi, however a few "newbies" to linux I know have started to install & use it on their PC's with very little difficulty, they are mainly using Mandrake, RedHat or SuSE.

    Sure enough, Linux still lacks a few important things, such as a proper mechanisim to install applications, games, etc. Once all this has been worked out, and there is a standard across all linux distro's, I belive that the linux desktop will be a success in the future!
  • by Telex4 (265980) on Thursday January 15, 2004 @01:03PM (#7987671) Homepage
    I just don't see how the open source movement will ever be motivated to work on usability issues related to Linux. ...
    How many times have you heard the terms "usability" and "open source" in the same sentence.


    Many times. Anyone who pays the slightest bit of attention to the development of KDE, GNOME and almost all good Qt/Gtk applications will see those terms put together a lot. KDE and GNOME both have dedicated usability teams, and have commissioned or made use of usability studies on their work.

    Look, I like Linux too, but as a server. It's just not ready for the desktop.

    That statement is completely meaningless. It's ready for my desktop, it's ready for my girlfriend's desktop once I installed it, and according to my art-teacher tech-hating parents it's ready for their desktop with a little tweaking of default configurations.

    Ask the same of Windows and MacOS, and I think you'll find that the situation is more or less the same, except for the need to tweak configurations in KDE and GNOME for my parents.

    Just anecdotal evidence, of course, but enough to show how meaningless your statements were.
  • troll food (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ajrs (186276) on Thursday January 15, 2004 @01:17PM (#7987887) Homepage
    so what exactly is your complaint?

    I've been using linux as my desktop since 94. Its gotten a heck of a lot easier to use in the meanwhile. I'll say it right here: the usability of open source continues to improve, and is in fact better than the last windows desktop I had to use.

    how do you install bison or yacc on windows, anyhow?
  • by msimm (580077) on Thursday January 15, 2004 @01:22PM (#7987963) Homepage
    The really cool thing about Linus is he really is like the number one fan of Linux. 2004, the year of Linux on the desktop? Probably not really, but you can tell he is really enjoying this, and I really appreciate that.
  • This is why (Score:5, Interesting)

    by haggar (72771) on Thursday January 15, 2004 @01:26PM (#7988015) Homepage Journal
    First of all, winters aren't insanely cold. For example, this winter in Helsinki we only had 3 days at -15 degrees C so far, the rest has been between 0 and -6.

    But the reason to live here are many: excellent education, health and public transport and beautiful living conditions: the whole city is embedded in parks. We actually don't have something you can call parks, the buildings and streets are actually connected together with large green areas. Basically, you can go anywhere through parks and woods.

    Finns like to live close to nature, and somehow, wild animals feel comfortable in the presence of people. So it's easy to meet, even here, in the capital area, with squirrels, wild rabbits, pheasants, and sometimes even bears and wolfs (a bit more to the north, but still metropolitan area). I find this wonderful!

    And then, there's the mentailty of the people, which I like so very much: Finnland have extremely low crime rate, and Finns in general don't lie (in any case, much less than any other nation I have seen, and I've traveled a lot), which makes life very simple. As a consequence, the administrative overhead to do anything, is very low. You can do most things by way of internet or just telephone.

    So, it might not be your cup of tea, but for me it's paradise.
  • Re:Yet another... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by The Dobber (576407) on Thursday January 15, 2004 @01:31PM (#7988066)
    If at first you don't succeed, try, try again.

  • by CaptainTux (658655) <papillion@gmail.com> on Thursday January 15, 2004 @01:36PM (#7988137) Homepage Journal
    The fact that Linus has Windows loaded on his laptop along with Linux is a blatant example of the fact that LINUX IS NOT COMPLETELY READY FOR MAINSTREAM. Maybe, Linus should be using his laptop without Windows before he declares 2004 the "year of the linux desktop".

    I think that, as an OS, Linux is completely ready for the desktop and even has enough consumer ready applications to satisfy the average desktop user who does things like email, surf the web, a few file transfers, etc. But the main problems with Linux have less to do with the availability of application than it does to do with the availablillity of specific commercial applications on the platform. Users don't like having to learn new things. Making the jump from Windows to Linux is a big change in their lives then they are told "Oh, by the way: few of the applications you've used for the past 15 years will be available to you on Linux. You'll have to learn the alternatives". In many cases, those alternatives are just as good or nearly as good as their Windows counterparts. But it's still having to learn something new.

    I don't think we're going to really see the "year of desktop Linux" until 1) More Windows-centric vendors begin releasing Linux versions of their software so the transition is eased, 2) There is more parity between Linux distro's, or 3) Open Source developers stop the "I'm developing to scratch my own itch" type of thinking and start thinking about enhancing the community as a whole and writing software because it needs to be written even if they don't have a stake in it. Then, I believe we will start to see widespread adoption of Linux at the consumer level. But it's going to take a little while. We own the server. We're reaching the desktop.

    Looking for a great open source license that is business friendly? Check out the Consumer Public Access License at www.safferconsulting.com/capl.htm [safferconsulting.com]

  • by RatBastard (949) on Thursday January 15, 2004 @02:08PM (#7988590) Homepage
    ...it just needs to have larger market share before hardware manufacturers pay attention and bother with the hassle of trying to deal with Linux (multiple distros, multiple DEs, etc).

    And those are the real problems with Linux. There are too many choices that developers and users have to deal with.

    Lots of choice is what makes Linux popular with the tech-head crowd, but it drives Joe User away like having rabid weasels shoved down your trousers. Joe User doesn't want to give a damn what distrobution of Linux he/she's using. They just want to use it. And Joe Developer sure as hell doesn't want to deal with all those different versions of Linux out there. They want to develope to a single platform and get their product out the door.

    Consider Windows for a moment. With the exception of deceased versions (Windows 3.1, NT 3-3.5, Win 95), most users don't need to care what version they are running. Most consumer apps run just fine on whatever version you have (unless they are some super-neat "upgrade or die" program MS has created or have specific needs that Win98/ME can't handle).

    I've been using computers since 1979 and have used a variety of OSes and what always turns me back away from Linux (which I started playing with in 1993 with SLS 1.0) is having to always keep track of what distrobution I have and all the manual work that goes into making apps work. Sure, it's gotten better (metric buttloads better), it's still a pain in the ass.

    Before Joe Sixpack is going to embrace Linux there needs to be a serious consolidation of the OS and desktop. There isn't room for two GUIs in the Joe Sixpack userspace. And there isn't room for two (or more) incompatible distrobutions. Joe Sixpack doesn't want "Mr. Ed's Tottaly Boss Linux". Joe Sixpack just wants "Linux, damnit!".

    As much as I want to like Linux, I think Mac OS/X is going to kick its teeth in in the desktop space in the long run.

  • by caudron (466327) on Thursday January 15, 2004 @02:13PM (#7988660) Homepage
    What does it mean to say that this will be the Year of the Linux Desktop?

    Does it mean that he thinks this is the year it will be a viable choice for the mythical Joe Sixpack or that it will gain popularity with said Mr. Sixpack? I never really understood what that meant, exactly.

    I've been using Linux on my desktop exclusively for 2 or 3 years. Does that mean that, for me, 2000 was the Year of the Linux Desktop?

    I think without knowing what he means by the statement we can't really evaluate it.
  • by invoke (68920) on Thursday January 15, 2004 @02:30PM (#7988882) Homepage
    ... because many important peripherals do not work by default. For example, getting 802.11x is still a pita in linux unless you plan ahead by making certain that your hardware works with it.

    Amazingly enough, on my Dell Latitude C610, I have given up - after hours of effort - on ever getting my built-in Orinoco wireless to work under Win XP or Win 2K. It is a dual boot system, and in Linux it was a piece of cake, but even with Dell support files, flashing the bios, everything I could throw at it, it just doesn't work. Of course, it is an end-of-life item, so no support from the actual manufacturer.

    While troubleshooting before installing Linux on the laptop, I noted that Knoppix auto-configured the wireless properly. So, I knew it worked, which led to the endless fruitless attempts to get it functioning in Windows.

    Even more interesting to me was that when I was searching for tips on getting it working under Windows, I found 10 helpful Linux links to every 1 helpful Windows link. That's the kind of support that Windows can only dream of, and it believe it shows the strong future of Linux and of free software in general.
  • Re:Desktop 3D? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by be-fan (61476) on Thursday January 15, 2004 @02:58PM (#7989334)
    Um, how?

    freedesktop.org has code you can grab from CVS *right now*, and initial reports indicate that the work will be done in the early 2005 timeframe. None of the Longhorn betas have the new DirectX-accelerated GUI yet. That makes freedesktop.org ahead of the game in my book.
  • Re:Yet another... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by srussell (39342) on Thursday January 15, 2004 @03:29PM (#7989836) Homepage Journal
    Recalling a comment on this, which is quoted loosely, and I can't remember the source: "Every year we had been hearing that this year was to be the year of the LAN. Allsorts of hype, and eventually it died down, and when it did, LANs were everywhere." I highly suspect that it is going to be like this for linux :)

    This is really insightful.

    And why not? Just because last year was the Linux Desktop year, why can't this year also be the Linux Desktop year? In fact, for the past couple of years we've been hearing about high profile migrations from Windows to Linux -- Munich, IBM -- and I'd argue that this is an indication that there are many more smaller, lower profile migrations going on that we don't hear about.

    So, yeah... if we see another couple of big migrations to Linux on the desktop, then I think this year, too, qualifies as the year of Linux on the Desktop.

  • Re:Yet another... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by WWWWolf (2428) <wwwwolf@iki.fi> on Thursday January 15, 2004 @04:10PM (#7990499) Homepage

    Why am I so hars? Because Java hasn't lived up to its potential - yet. Yes, it may be important, but when it becomes important, you won't notice because it will blend into the landscape. Another history lesson: For years people were talking about "198X will be the Year of the LAN," but when it finally happened, no one noticed because it was accepted. Does anyone remember exactly what year was the year of the CD-ROM? No. It just happened. The same thing will happen to Java.

    - Vincent Flanders in "Web Pages That Suck" book (and the website), 1998

    (Okay, Java seems to be all over the place now, all right. What was the Year of Java? I think I missed it.)

  • Re:Yet another... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Overly Critical Guy (663429) on Thursday January 15, 2004 @04:12PM (#7990539)
    This is really insightful.

    No, it's not. LANs are completely different from Linux being on the desktop. LANs were the next technological step in networking. Linux is behind two other major desktop systems--Windows and MacOS.

    People keep saying it will be the year of the Linux desktop without explaining why or how. And they seem to pretend Windows and MacOS are magically going to halt progress or disappear in the meantime. People said Linux would take over when Longhorn's release date was pushed ahead, yet XP shows no signs of disappearing, and SP2 is even due out soon.
  • Re:Yet another... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Overly Critical Guy (663429) on Thursday January 15, 2004 @04:19PM (#7990651)
    Just last year, Linus said 2003 would be a year for desktop Linux.

    Besides, 2.6 was also geared for server use, with its SMP and other improvements. We got some new schedulers that happened to snap things up for XFree86, but I haven't noticed a difference.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 15, 2004 @04:47PM (#7991045)
    Finland is not a member of NATO.
  • Re:Yet another... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by nathanm (12287) <{moc.reenigne} {ta} {mnahtan}> on Friday January 16, 2004 @10:20AM (#7997911)
    emerge is a step forward but still not the answer. Bandwidth is expensive and it does not scale.
    How does emerge not scale? Besides, Gentoo isn't really aimed at general desktop users or corporate users, it's geared towards hobbyists, power users, and developers.
    Backwards compatibility for libraries, often times there are packages I cannot install without installing a newer version of a library that breaks other packages. This is a useful feature if you are using more than one package that uses the same library.
    That's why Linux (& Unix) allows you to have multiple versions of most libraries installed. You can have libfoo.so.2 and libfoo.so.1 both installed, and binaries linked against either one will still work fine.
    The idea of placing desktop applications on a handful of /bin, /sbin, /usr/bin /usr/sbin directories is in bad taste. ping, traceroute, fdisk fine. But there is no directory set aside for GUI applications. It would be like taking every file on a windows machine and moving it to either /windows or /system32. This is not a requirement for POSIX compliance, but hey, the current method sucks and of you are saying is NEEDS to stay that way than you are just reinforcing my point.
    No desktop apps are ever installed in /bin, only a few, specified binaries that are essential for all users. There are also no desktop apps ever installed in /sbin, or /usr/sbin, only system binaries for root's use. Most distros don't install any desktop apps in /usr/bin either, they mostly use /usr/local/bin, or there is the /opt tree also.

    But most windows apps do install files under /Windows (or /WINNT depending on your windows version), /Windows/System, /Windows/System32, "/Windows/Application Data", or "/Program files/Common Files", and don't even get me started about that quagmire known as the Windows Registry.
    It would take all of 2 minutes for someone to add one line to FHS 2.3 that says "3.4 /apps : Optional directory for graphical applications" but that will never happen. There are 59 sections in FHS that state where to put everything but GUI applications are not even mentioned. That might have something to do with the reason people seem to throw them all over the disk.
    The FHS [pathname.com] is very easy to learn and understand, they even provide a rationale for why things are done a certain way (try finding that from Microsoft). It doesn't have a specific place for GUI apps because it doesn't distinguish between GUI and non-GUI apps. But it does have a specific location for Add-on application software packages, the /opt [pathname.com] directory. And I've never seen a Linux app that was more all over the disk than most standard windows apps.
    Figuring out where shit is requires checking the package manager DB or running locate, which, whereis, or something like 'find / -name application 2/dev/null' THAT is intuitive. On my windows box I can tell you Trillian is in /program files/trillian without having to look.
    Maybe the executable is in that folder, but if it's like most windows apps, it also installs libraries and configuration files all over the disk, and then makes several obscure registry entries with classid names like the incredibly intuitive {9dff8a8-5df4-87cf-b8c7-4df789a6d78}.

    Linux package management and the filesystem hierarchy are far from perfect, but Windows is much more of a mess. Windows installers may be user-friendly, but try guessing what it's really doing, or try uninstalling something cleanly. That's why Windows gradually gathers kruft and slows down over time, requiring complete reinstalls to keep a smooth running system.

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