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Has the Desktop Linux Bubble Burst? 677

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the crushed-by-osx dept.
El Lobo writes "For the Linux desktop, 2002 was an important year. Since then, we have continuously been fed point releases which added bits of functionality and speed improvements, but no major revision has yet seen the light of day. What's going on? A big problem with GNOME is that it lacks any form of a vision, a goal, for the next big revision. GNOME 3.0 is just that- a name. All GNOME 3.0 has are some random ideas by random people in random places. KDE developers are indeed planning big things for KDE4 — but that is what they are stuck at. Show me where the results are.KDE's biggest problem is a lack of manpower and financial backing by big companies. In the meantime, the competition has not exactly been standing still. Apple has continuously been improving its Mac OS X operating system. Microsoft has not been resting on its laurels either. Windows Vista is already available. Many anti-MS fanboys complain that Vista is nothing more than XP with a new coat, but anyone with an open mind realizes this is absolutely not the case."
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Has the Desktop Linux Bubble Burst?

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  • Desktops? (Score:5, Funny)

    by gentimjs (930934) on Friday December 22, 2006 @11:04AM (#17336862) Journal
    Are gnome and KDE -really- the only choices? XFCE? ICEwm? Hell, CDE even?! ... or dare I suggest ... Bash ?
    • by Der PC (1026194) on Friday December 22, 2006 @11:10AM (#17336960)
      Yeah, that's the spirit ! :)

      When the user dislikes the GUIs that actually attempt to be (somewhat) user-friendly, just feed him/her a GUI that is stepwise worse and more user-hostile than the last one.

      "What's for dinner honey?" - "Caterpillars and worms. And if you don't like it, we have wooden splinters, glass shards and iron filings."
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by ZakuSage (874456)
        So that would make Windows what... stinkbeetles?
      • by WebCowboy (196209) on Friday December 22, 2006 @12:48PM (#17338366)
        "What's for dinner honey?" - "Caterpillars and worms...

        Hey there is hope for the Linux desktop yet! For a few years now Microsoft Windows users have been fed a very steady diet of worms. Lots and lots of worms. Thousands of different kinds of worms. And Windows has been able to serve them up faster than McDoe's could ever hope to serve up a Big Mac!

        Really, MS and the Linux desktop are simply leapfrogging over each other...in 2001 we got a prettied up desktop in XP, in 2002 GNOME and KDE leapfrogged over them with a major version, in 2007 MS will bring Vista to the unwashed masses and I imagine in 2008/2009 Linux will get more greatness from GNOME and KDE.

        This is a pretty lame indictment of the Free software community if you ask me. The author of the article makes a great deal of noise about there being six or seven years between major releases of GNOME and KDE, and seems to have glossed over the fact that MS went over five years themselves, despite having thousands of developers and billions of dollars to throw at it. Furthermore, calling XP a major release is questionable...it was by and large window-dressing to Win2000 (and technically it WAS a point-release from 5.0 to 5.1 wasn't it? I think the SP2 upgrade was probably almost as significant as 2k-to-XP too...). Really, MS will have gone almost EIGHT years between major releases.

        Besides, I question the focus on the numbering system as a measure of progress--I've found that historically Free software products progress faster and have more significant changes between major releases. Nobody would say that from kernel 2.0.x to kernel 2.6.x there has been a lack of progress due to the fact it'll be something over a decade after 2.0 before a 3.x.x release. Projects like the kernel and Apache (and, yes, the desktop environments) have reserved the major release number for very fundamental, architectural overhauls. If Windows was a Free software project I do not think it would be numbered like it was--Windows 2.x would've been 1.x releases, 3.0 through Me would've been 2.x and NT 3.1 through XP would've been 3.x releases. For what its worth, I think that although Apple has been the pacesetter that Linux is still easily out-pacing Microsoft in terms of modernising the desktop overall, despite the whining about lack of "major releases".
    • Re:Desktops? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Salvance (1014001) * on Friday December 22, 2006 @11:20AM (#17337094) Homepage Journal
      They certainly aren't the only options, but for your average non-techie desktop user they are probably the best answers. The problem is that there isn't any plan for creating a better user "experience". Developers typically hate creating non-functional "fluff", or even functional fluff ... but all the fluff that make up Windows and Mac systems is what the average user wants, and what makes it more difficult for them to transition to Linux.

      I think it's pretty funny that the article is titled "Has the Desktop Linux Bubble Burst?" When was there a bubble to begin with? Doesn't there have to be rather widespread adoption or growth to constitute a bubble? Has the Linux desktop ever gained more than ~1% of the desktop market?
    • by HighOrbit (631451) * on Friday December 22, 2006 @11:37AM (#17337330)
      Have you tried installing those packages that RH and SuSe distribute for those alternate desktops? They are distributed and they install, but they often have empty menus. Rarely do the companies take the effort to really integrate those alternates desktops/WMs into their distro. It's been a while since I've used Redhat (or rather CentOS), but the last time I tried fluxbox, XFCE, or WindowMaker there were a bunch of empty menus or broken links and none of the distro-specific tools were in the menus. The exception being Debian (yes, I know I was down on Debian a few days ago for having too many packages). This is an area where Debian excels. They are absolutely fanatical about getting the stuff properly configured and well integrated. When I installed Fluxbox and WindowMaker on Debian (Sarge and Etch), all the menus were populated with *working* items. Ofcourse, the packages were a little older, but they worked well and were integrated properly into the distro (that's the tradeoff with debian). (I also sometimes find myself coming back to Gnome, because of familiarity or because I'm using GTK/Gnome apps anyway - gEdit is my favorite X editor).

      Paradoxically, with Sun, CDE seems to be better supported. I have a few ancient sparc-II systems. They have Solaris 10, but I still use CDE because, even now (or rather 1/2006 edition of Solaris 10), Sun does a better jobs of integrating some of their tools into CDE than their newer Gnome Java Desktop thingy, even though Sun is making a big push to move everthing over to Gnome. (Besides, Gnome runs dog slow on those ancient boxes). I could install fluxbox or WindowMaker on those boxes too, but the menus would be empty.
  • by purduephotog (218304) <hirsch&inorbit,com> on Friday December 22, 2006 @11:05AM (#17336884) Homepage Journal
    ... as I'm just setting up my first 'official' linux box for someone. This person has never owned a computer and professes to know about 10% on how to use one, so I'm going to toss Ubuntu on it and hope for the best.

    Of course, I'm guessing they won't even have 'net connections unless they can leach off their neighbors- doubtful- so who knows for certain how much they'll use it for. Even if I have a winmodem that will still function after 8 years of idle sitting (static bags, yes...) I hear there aren't any drivers for them.

    So yes, I hope the linux desktop growing somewhat- there's definately room to improve on Windows and a little competition never hurt anybody.
    • I don't want to start a flame-fest, but I know Ubuntu has become the default distro for so many as the place to start. Many love it, and I'm not here to start a war, but please understand it certainly isn't the only distro out there. In my opinion it is far from the best one either.

      My only advice is to look around at least towards the major ones and understand which one is right for you.
    • I was a big proponent of Linux on the desktop for a while, but these days it's not installed on any of my desktops. Instead, I have a MacPro. The Mac offers me all the Unixy goodness but with a much better interface and overall integration. On Linux I was constantly wrestling to get everything to work, but on the Mac, it just works.
    • Linux is ready for the desktop. It has been for a while. Ubuntu is elegant and easy to use, all of the admin a user would need is available through easy to use GUI apps in System -> Administration and installing anything you need is as trivial as Applications -> Add/remove.

      It is really clearer and easier to use than Windows.

       
  • Overreacting some? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SumeyDevil (906408) on Friday December 22, 2006 @11:06AM (#17336896)
    The voice inside my head tells me that it's wrong to make inferences and predictions on the general trend of desktop Linux based solely on the development of the WINDOW MANAGER.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by AKAImBatman (238306) *
      it's wrong to make inferences and predictions based solely on the WINDOW MANAGER.

      No one is talking about Metacity [wikipedia.org]. They're talking about the GNOME Desktop Environment [wikipedia.org], a complete desktop shell and software bundle.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by javilon (99157)
      That is absolutely right.

      Now we have HAL, DBUS, udev, beagle and xorg composite extension.

      If you put all of this things together the desktop experience is much improved.
      Also, many of this things result in the same sort of functionalities that have appeared in OSX and Vista, but they dont necessary belong to KDE or GNOME.

    • Yeah, but the Window Manager is the fist thing people see. I think the Window paradigm sucks in general and I don't have a suggestion for anything better, but unfortunatly, that is where the market is. It is difficult for most non-techies users to convert from Windows to MacOSX, which are actually pretty similar. The current crop of windows managers fir Linux are sufficiently different to make the transition even more difficult.

      Sorry man.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Bastian (66383)
      You're right, that is a little bit off. Much better to make inferences on the general trend of desktop Linux based on the sole development being window managers.

      Comparing 6 years ago to today, Linux has made just about zero progress on improving user experience when it comes to hardware configuration, software installation, and system maintenance. (You know, the stuff that people who are honestly evaluating Linux as a desktop OS always complain about.) The only thing I've really seen move forward is the
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by dpilot (134227)
      No, they MUST be right. Because this means Microsoft has WON, and every time Microsoft WINS it means that they have WON FOREVER!! Competition need not apply.

      Face it, Linux' opportunity has now been officially pronounced to have come and gone, so now it's Microsoft and ONLY Microsoft.

      After all, their street address is One Microsoft Way!

      It's more than just a street address, it's a prophecy!
  • by garion888 (1042184) on Friday December 22, 2006 @11:06AM (#17336900)
    "Many anti-MS fanboys complain that Vista is nothing more than XP with a new coat..." Ridiculous...It's nothing more than OS X with a new coat...
  • Many anti-MS fanboys complain that Vista is nothing more than XP with a new coat, but anyone with an open mind realizes this is absolutely not the case,

    I absolutley agree - it's a copy of Tiger!
    • I think this is the most ridiculous sentiment that people keep passing around.

      Clearly it is a visual upgrade from XP, and people liken the visual style to something Apple would design. And I don't care for most of Vista, but Vista is a huge upgrade, the least of which is the visual style. 99% of what has changed between XP and Vista has nothing to do with Tiger, nor copies Tiger in any way.

      Perhaps you should look into what major changes are there rather than look at one desktop screenshot and judge an OS
  • by wdnspoon (560602) on Friday December 22, 2006 @11:07AM (#17336910)
    On the surface, one may look at GNOMEs development model and believe it to be nothing but random additions by random people. To me, I can see some method in it. When you have such a level of openness taking place, you will end up with a system that's completely reactive to additions in commercial products. GNOME is not stagnant, but simply reactive to changes in the major desktop systems (Windows, OSX). Yes Microsoft has "already" released Vista -- it is a matter of time before those in the GNOME community see things they like in Vista, and incorporate their favorite ideas into GNOME.
  • Rename please... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by D-Cypell (446534) on Friday December 22, 2006 @11:09AM (#17336928)
    In the interests of continuity, could someone please retitle this story as, "Could 2007 be the year of Linux on the desktop?".

    The change in emphasis shouldn't be a problem, by now we are all experienced enough to know the answer.
  • Yes! And I love it! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by harris s newman (714436) on Friday December 22, 2006 @11:09AM (#17336932)
    The bubble has burst! Now with compiz/beryl, windoz is an antiquated, patched together qui! If you haven't seen what compiz/beryl offers the desktop, go to youtube and look. It simply blows any other gui away (including MAC).
    • by MankyD (567984) on Friday December 22, 2006 @11:12AM (#17336990) Homepage
      I have both installed. Yes, it blows them away. Its fun, stylish, and some of the features even increase my productivity. However they're both horribly unstable. Lots of blank windows, crashes, freezes, and random quirks. They have a ways to go before they actually surpass windows and mac for production environments.
  • A Few Things (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MankyD (567984) on Friday December 22, 2006 @11:09AM (#17336934) Homepage

    1) Simple Hardware Support. I know this moves beyond the desktop environment and into kernel type stuff, but I want the desktop to pop up and say "You have new hardware" and then guide me along the correct path towards setting it up. This is really more of a service, perhaps one provided through a closesly monitored and updated website.

    2) Better QA for all end products. Most of the time, I'm quite happy with gnome. Its the features and addons and enhancements that I add that don't always play nice. Perhaps a documented UI standard that other developers can adhere to, and a simple set of interface libraries that make desktop environment integration brainless for basic tasks. Maybe this stuff already, but for whatever reason, a lot of OS desktop software seems to be of poor quality and stability (major players excluded.)

  • by testadicazzo (567430) on Friday December 22, 2006 @11:09AM (#17336944) Homepage

    What a pointless article. It's entirely emotional and opinionated. It has nothing to say besides "Linux Suxxors". What the hell?

    I don't think there's any point to responding to this, but I feel compelled to put my two cents in. People like to complain about something being "user friendly". I'm actually really tired of that phrase. I don't think Microsoft's stuff is very user friendly. I keeps making me do stupid repetive tasks that cause me carpal tunnel syndrome (from repetetive mouse clicks), keeps making me answer the same stupid questions over and over again, keeps reinstating the stupid sample photos and subdirectories into the one part of the OS that should ostensible by mine (the "My Documents" folder), keeps forcing onerous, impossible to read EULA's on me, keeps preventing me from doing legal things I want to do because they don't want me violating their copyrights... the list goes on.

    What most people mean when they say "user friendly" would be better called "newbie friendly", or "neophyte friendly", or maybe "diletante friendly". I use Linux on my desktop becuase it's more friendly to the stuff that I want to do, and for the most part lets me do thing the way I want to do them.

    Oh, and nice job calling linux on the desktop a "bubble". As george orwell statet, a writer mixing their metaphors is a sure sign that they aren't actually thinking about what they are writing.

    • by Otter (3800)
      Oh, and nice job calling linux on the desktop a "bubble". As george orwell statet, a writer mixing their metaphors is a sure sign that they aren't actually thinking about what they are writing.

      That's arguably a poor metaphor, but it's not a mixed metaphor. "Has the Desktop Linux Bubble Jumped the Shark?" would be a mixed metaphor.

      Hey, I'm the last person still coming to work... Come to think of it, aren't we overdue for a slew of "2007 Is Going To Be The Year Of Linux On The Desktop!" stories?

    • by jellomizer (103300) on Friday December 22, 2006 @12:10PM (#17337838)
      Yet you are part of the reason why Linux is behind Windows and Macintosh for desktop usage. You are ignoring the problems with Linux Desktop systems and just pointing problems with the Windows Systems. You are not proving anything and you are only giving false insight.

      Linux has a problem with it UI for Desktop usage. There is a saying "anything is easy after you know how to do it" Guess what most people know how to use Windows so Windows is easy Linux desktop is different so the say it is hard, these people also think OS X Interface is hard too, but less so then Linux because Microsoft tends to copy much of what OS X does so they are more familiar with it.
      They can be very smart people, smarter then any one of us possibly. And still have trouble with Linux UI because is is so poorly designed. There are some simple things that can be changed in Linux that can make it more User Friendly, but because they don't want to admit Linux is flawed that called these changes as "Dumbing Down" or say that is why the old way is great.

      Here are some simple fixes.
      Give good names to the features. Give programs names that anyone know what they are.
      for example GIMP -> Graphics Editor or Photo Processor. Most people don't care if the program is GNU or not or if it is a native K application or Gnome application. So Just give the program a name that we know what it is. If they want to know what it actual program is so they can get new versions outside the distribution There is a Help -> About Appname to get the real name and the version.
      Which leads to the next problem...
      Common Menus. Menus need to be in a familiar order. File, Edit, View, Tools, Help. Are common command to change settings they can go to Tools -> Options to reconfigure the program for user settings. If the program has a GUI interface there should be a GUI front end to editing the configurations.

      Easy installation of programs. The tools out there for installing apps are great for server use. But for desktop use they are a big pain. Things like install the application and the Icon to the application is in the GUI menu, with the correct icon. Desktop users shouldn't need to hunt down dependencies to get the application to work nor can you assume your application will be part of the distribution list) People want to go the web site download a program and run it.

      Setting up extra hardware. Even if the person does some quick research to see if the hardware is supported by Linux. Plugging it in doesn't mean it will do anything. OS X and Windows when you plug in a camera or other hardware will load a default application which you can change who the default it. Or at the very least pop up an icon for that device. vs. Plugging in a device and gussing what one of my thousand entries in /dev is this device.

      Linux has stalled, in the desktop and Linux developers and supporters are failing to see this. Dismissing the problem, or insulting the people who point out the problems doesn't fix it.

  • You what now? (Score:2, Insightful)

    When I first got my powerbook OS X was a pretty decent improvement over Linux. A few things were more advanced (especially with the nice hardware support) and I could see why people were defecting in large numbers.

    In my experience this has now switched around. There have been no big upgrades (except Beryl) but there have been so many little ones it makes my head hurt. Kubuntu 6.10 on a powerbook looks *better* than the latest release of OS X. All the hardware is supported (including the shut-the-lid-and-i
    • Re:You what now? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Friday December 22, 2006 @11:31AM (#17337230) Homepage

      Up until now there has been no need for a big leap.

      Can you really have a "big leap" with the Linux development model? With Windows, Microsoft can develop an OS for 5 years and keep lots of things under wraps. When it finally hit's people's desktop, if people like the improvements, there's a big "whoa" factor. There are a whole lot of changes.

      But if Windows was open-sourced with no secrets, and had a 6 month release schedule, I suspect it would all feel like a whole lot of little incremental upgrades and bug fixes. There wouldn't be much anticipation or many surprises. The upgrades feel more mundane. Like you said, though, there have been substantial improvements to desktop Linux distros since 2002, but when all those improvements are trickling out every 6 months over a 5 year period, they just don't feel that big.

    • by shis-ka-bob (595298) on Friday December 22, 2006 @11:43AM (#17337422)
      I have also noticed a huge improvement in KDE's stability. With the recent Coverity scans [coverity.com], we see that KDE is on and off the 0 defect list. KDE seems to be the most active projects on the Coverity scan, I notice more more week to week change in KDE than in any other project. In 3.4 million lines of code, Coverity has uncovered over 1,200 bugs. All bugs have been identified and all but 10 have been closed. KDE has been on the zero defect list, but there is new development going on so new bugs do appear. Not only is KDE gaining the features you mention, but they are doing it while cleaning up the code base. KDE development seems to have a great deal of momentum, especially in Europe.
  • I disagree (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Enderandrew (866215) <enderandrew&gmail,com> on Friday December 22, 2006 @11:10AM (#17336966) Homepage Journal
    Linux played catch-up not only in market share, but in features for a long time. While we can all agree that Linux generally beats down Windows in reliability and is generally a much better server solution, we're talking about the desktop here. On the desktop, Windows has been much easier to pick up and just work out of the box doing everything a person wants it to do.

    While the author of the article feels Linux hasn't grown, I believe it has. It is not only fully on par with Windows, but I feel considerably more feature-rich, easier to install (for some distros), easier to maintain, has better performance, and has gained in two major areas.

    1 - Windows app compatibility
    2 - Gaming

    Linux is very much a viable and reasonable desktop alternative to pretty much anyone on the planet today, where as that hasn't always been the case.

    If that isn't significant growth, I'm not sure what is.

    And let us not forget the strides that are being made in desktop search (programs like Beagle) and the 3D Desktop like Compwiz. Linux is beginning to innovate, and the big boys are trying to follow suit.
  • actually (Score:5, Funny)

    by theMerovingian (722983) on Friday December 22, 2006 @11:11AM (#17336976) Journal

    A big problem with GNOME is that it lacks any form of a vision

    Actually gnomes have the ability to see in the infrared spectrum, and get +2 to constitution / -2 to strength.

  • Nothing like a little pointless speculation to liven up the day.

    The desktop gui's that are available are good enough for most users. The thing that slows adoption is most business' dependence on microsoft's office/email suite...Provide that stuff through terminal services, and no one complains about what the desktop looks like, but then you lose the cost savings, so why not go with windows native?

    If online ajax services actually start living up to the hype, and start supplanting Office-type software, you'll
  • Bah, Humbug. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Noryungi (70322) on Friday December 22, 2006 @11:12AM (#17336994) Homepage Journal
    "Linux on the Desktop", to me, is like the "Global Domination" slogan that Linus used a few years back. It's a nice slogan, but we are not there yet. Maybe never. But who cares, as long as people are having fun getting there? I have been interested in, and using Linux since, well, something like 1995. It was a perfectly acceptable desktop then, and it has only improved since.

    This article is FUD, pure and simple. "Linux is Dying", "Linux is Insecure", "Linux is a Toy", "Linux is for Hobbyists" and "Linux is a Rabid Communist Terrorist Cancer that will steal your money, destroy the economy, kill your cat, burn your house down and crash your car" are all pseudo-ideas that came, were disproved and disappeared.

    These days it's "OMG! Linux is Not Ready for the Desktop!!!". This, too, shall pass. Remember: even Mighty Microsoft, the saviour of the American Economy, has a finger in the Linux pie now. Soon, they will stop screaming and throwing feces at Linux and admit the inevitable: they don't stand a chance.
    • I don't think Microsoft will ever say they don't have a chance to compete with Linux on the desktop market, because it can be very hard to reverse market share regardless of the quality of the products.

      Microsoft is realizing that Linux and all Unix environments keep becoming more popular in the Server environment. They are trying to stop people from complete migrations away by allowing interoperability, to perhaps keep people using some MS products.

      They are also trying to stop the development of certain pr
    • by tsa (15680)
      Ten years ago the Linux fans also said that. And ten years from now they will still say it. As long as there is no support for office suits and games by big companies on Linux, it will stay a niche OS. And these companies will only make software for Linux if there is a demand. We're in a viscious circle here...
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by DragonWriter (970822)
        As long as there is no support for office suits and games by big companies on Linux, it will stay a niche OS.


        Sun is a big company. As far as I know, OOo/StarOffice is second (though a distant second) to MS Office in market share among office suites.

        "Games" is certainly an issue for the home desktop, but certainly less for the corporate desktop.
  • It seems to me that the same can be told about linux distributions.
    A lot of improvements, a bit of cosmetic lift ups, but no plans at all and much less stability.
    What is lacking in the world od linux for desktops is a vision, plans and roadmaps.
    These things are quite complex and some sort of projection is badly needed.
  • What bubble? In order for there to be a "bubble" in the first place, there would have to be widespread acceptance and usage. Linux on the desktop has *never* has anywhere near widespread acceptance and usage. It's never taken off, and won't any time in the forseeable future, because Linux on the desktop isn't solving a problem. Windows works. OSX works. Nobody cares about desktop OS's any more. The "OS wars" have been over for 10 years.
  • When I started using Linux in 1996 it was 'almost ready for the desktop'. And now we're just as close to the desktop as we were then. I got tired of waiting and switched all my desktop work to the Mac. I keep my Linux box as a file server thouch. Linux has always been good at that.
  • by br00tus (528477) on Friday December 22, 2006 @11:19AM (#17337078)
    If you have listened to Linus and his lieutenants (Andrew Morton etc.), they say they are not focused on the desktop. They are focused on the high-end. Which makes sense to me - Microsoft dominates the desktop, the high-end is up for grabs right now. Linux has improved a lot for the high-end, but still needs work done. I just was speaking with someone from Oracle recently who told me how in an environment with a lot of Linuxes connected to a lot of SANs, the 2.4 kernel was complete junk. He did say things were getting better with the 2.6.

    Hey here's another example - what if I want a fricking kernel dump when my system crashes? What, I can't dump it to disk like Solaris and every other enterprise UNIX does? I have to send it over the network (which comes to a host of problems which I won't go into here)? Yes, yes, I know about the problems of doing this for a variety of hardware, but this is the sort of thing I'm talking about

    Linux is not there yet for high-end enterprise, although it is getting there. Linux should concentrate on that, which it has been doing, which is good. Trying to crack Microsoft's desktop monopoly while the high-end is up for grabs is dumb. Take the high-end and then go for the low end. Of course, people are free to work on the Linux desktop if they wish. But I'm glad the core team is concentrating on making Linux a real enterprise UNIX system.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by fingusernames (695699)
      what if I want a fricking kernel dump when my system crashes?

      Just a guess, but I believe that you use the diskdumputils package to set up dumping to disk when the system crashes.

      # man diskdumpctl
      NAME
      diskdumpctl - diskdump controller

      SYNOPSIS
      diskdumpctl [ -u ] device

      diskdumpctl -V

      DESCRIPTION
      diskdumpctl is a pr
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by _iris (92554)
      Linus et al focus on the high end largely because the kernel improvements have a very limited impact on the quality, maturity, etc of a desktop system and the kernel work for the high end usually benefits the desktop (e.g. udev, hotplug, etc re: flash drives). The way desktops really grow up is through application integration and developing resource-sharing technologies (e.g. alsa, arts).
  • It's evident that there's a competition. But it's lack of knowledge that GNOME or KDE developers are trying to compete with propriatory software. It's different market. If you don't care about freedom, then you would not care philosophy behind the things. And you would use whatever feasable for you, either with paying for it or not. You can't ignore the development pace of Linux desktop environment, when windows xp released GNOME desktop was really lacking lots of functionality. However currently it's much
  • OSX (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Tom (822)
    Article is right on one thing: OSX was the deathblow to Linux-on-the-desktop.

    I've been a fanatical Linux fanboy since about '95.

    Today, I own a MacBook Pro and run OSX. My servers run Debian. But for the desktop, OSX is what Linux will never be: A Unix with a state-of-the-art GUI.
  • GNOME has the right model. Release early, release often. Users see actual improvements, developers get actual user feedback. And Ubuntu gets the latest GNOME release in the hands of users.

    Seems to make sense to me.
  • by Stalyn (662) on Friday December 22, 2006 @11:24AM (#17337152) Homepage Journal
    Fuck you Slashdot
  • by rbrander (73222) on Friday December 22, 2006 @11:27AM (#17337180) Homepage
    The Calgary Unix User's Group got a great lecture from Aaron Seigo of KDE last week,

    http://www.cuug.ab.ca/past-meetings/meetings.06-07 .html [cuug.ab.ca] ...during which he either lied through his teeth about easily checkable claims for the near future, or KDE 4 is coming out in 2007 with significant improvements, and not just "chasing the taillights" of Mac and Vista, but leapfrog improvements upon them.

    Assuming KDE 4 does come out in 2007, that'll be exactly 5 years behind KDE 3, about the same time from XP to Vista. They're developing as fast as a $100 Billion corporation, exactly how much more do you want?

    The headline on this article is certainly senseless - in a "market" overwhelmed by a monopoly provider, there can be no bubbles to start with, at best you can incrementally develop a market share in small fringe areas where the monopoly's hold is weak. Mostly meaning non-US regions concerned about a lock-in by a foreign provider, especially governments. Also, particularly poor customers that can't avoid the $50 MS "tax" by piracy, because they have to play honestly, like educational institutions.

    And in those areas at least, there's been slow but encouraging growth through 2006 and prospects for more. That's only a "bubble bursting" if you were deluded into imagining some take-off point of explosive growth was coming.
  • I wonder. Does anyone think this is the effect of huge C/C++ projects crumbling under their own weight?
    Also, how about the documentation? Is the GTK+ documentation adequate (or sufficient)?
    Wrt GNOME, about a year ago there was a huge brouhaha with ex-OSNews editor Eugenia Loli-Queru when she pointed out that GNOME didn't implement or care about what usability issues put forward by users. Nor patches.
    GNOME has had a bad attitude problem for years (witness the brawl with OpenBSD; and FreeBSD developers say GN
  • Linux: Has the Desktop Linux Bubble Burst?

    Ok, so what does it mean that a bubble bursts? Well, first of all, there must have been a bubble. It never was. Linux has slowly gained users. That's all.

    For the Linux desktop, 2002 was an important year. Since then, we have continuously been fed point releases which added bits of functionality and speed improvements, but no major revision has yet seen the light of day. What's going on?

    What's going on is that both KDE and Gnome are maturing products that are

  • by alucinor (849600) on Friday December 22, 2006 @11:29AM (#17337208) Journal
    In this article, the author is concerned about FUTURE progress of the Linux desktop, citing an imbalance in both the Gnome and KDE communities as cause for his concern:

    1) Gnome: Plenty of money, few developers
    2) KDE: Plenty of developers, little money

    He also argues that because we're only seeing point releases from Gnome, progress there is slowing down, while in KDE, we no longer have significant point releases because everyone's focused on KDE 4, though there hasn't been any visual results yet out of the Plasma project.

    In my opinion, this article is a lot of worry-worting. Sure, Gnome and KDE could *always* use more cash and developers, duh. But are the projects hitting some sort of dead end or breaking point where they'll cease to be effective? Hardly. Will they be able to surpass Vista and/or OSX in functionality? Depends on what you're looking for. Even now, some people prefer Windows, others OSX, and others Linux. Most people just put up with Windows, actually.

    Thom is really into OS development, but I'm not sure how technical he is, so I think he may be more interested in what happens in the visual department. KDE 4 has little to show there, but a lot in the libraries that Plasma will sit on top of. I'm especially excited about Kross, which rivals MS's (as yet unreleased) Monad/Powershell.

    What's unique about KDE4 (and why we really need it in addition to Gnome) is that it's going to be installable on Linux and BSD as well as Windows and OSX. That's pretty innovative if you ask me.

    I don't think Plasma in KDE4 is going to bring about the radical changes some may be hoping for. There have been some interesting posts in discussion boards for both Gnome 3 (Topaz) and KDE4 for radical shifts, but usually these people are directed to look at Symphony OS, since most suggestions seem to revolve around creating a task-oriented desktop or else merging the desktop and browser into one environment.

    All in all, I see nothing wrong with Gnome and KDE taking a more evolutionary approach. This is natural for any software so mature. The OSS kernels aren't going to see HUGE gains, just incremental improvements, but over the course of a year, you can see a lot of new innovations, just as you will with Gnome and KDE. An evolutionary approach to software development might not be as exciting for journalists and fans, but it sure makes more sense from a technical perspective: release early, small, and often.
  • I've thought to myself before that much more progress could be made if fairly standard APIs could be agreed on for more things. Printing for example, how many unix "printing" solutions exist? It's no wonder than the desktop environments don't have the same ease in setting up and using printers as Windows does. A significantly higher level of cooperation, coordination, agreement, and standardization could take the linux/bsd/*nix platforms a long way.

    I'm not some crazy saying we need to decide on a single wid
  • Huh? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Junta (36770) on Friday December 22, 2006 @11:59AM (#17337672)
    If you think 2002 was the end of it all, install a distribution that was current in 2002, or hell, half way into 2003. That ought to refresh your memory as to how things changed. I still support systems running that stuff.

    The problem is the author is one of these people that are the cause of marketers demanding n+1.0 releases to give the perception of great advancement. In Gnome 2.0, I think they reached the fundamental model that to me seems to be pretty much where they want to be, but that hasn't meant it didn't change drastically since then. Some of those 'bits of functionality improvements' have been fairly significant, and critical to a desktop platform, and keeping pace with OSX and Windows visual effects capabilities (i.e. Cairo and working toward Metacity compositing). From things as basic as a persistent clipboard, to things like numerous overhauls of nautilus, the mime-type systems, menu editing, embracing the freedesktop standards, new file chooser dialogs, and extending their platform to include more system administration standardization and various necessities (i.e. a screensaver consistant with the desktop).

    Though there are some significant differences between gnome 2.0 basic layout and gnome 1.x basic layout, keep in mind that at least to this point Gnome major version is tied to the basic toolkit, which has essentially achieved the basic functionality they needed. Gtk 1.x was ass ugly, and not flexible enough to cleanly adopt new rendering strategies, and gtk 2.x corrected it and improved flexibility that has so far avoided the need for gtk 3.x.

    Same for KDE, though IMHO, gnome spent more time struggling with what they wanted their vision to be, while KDE early on were content with their results. When I went from KDE 2.x to 3.0, it didn't feel significantly different. Again, they tie their major releases to their toolkit, QT. If QT never released 4.0, the 'revolutionary' 4.0 features for the most part would be in a KDE 3.n+1.

    All this assumes also that all desktop 'innovation' can only come from the main progression of the GNOME/KDE projects. Compiz and Beryl have shown the way to advanced compositing with AIGLX/Xgl/nVidia-specific calls, for those OSX/Vista effects (and more). Ubuntu ties its release closely to the Gnome schedule, but the focus and integration of things in and out of gnome is critical to a good desktop system. Thanks to all the work in Gnome, the kernel, and other people and distros like Ubuntu doing the work to pull it all together,my desktop is as functional and nice looking as OSX or Windows. I can insert and remove media, and have it mounted and unmounted with ease, I can put my laptop to sleep and have it reliably wake up. I never want for a Windows desktop.

    My only regret about the linux desktop is that GNUstep is not progressing more quickly. There are things about the NeXT/OSX interface strategy I really like, but GNUstep, despite some strides, progresses slowly overall and even with theming (Nesedah looks fairly nice), it is hard to get it to look nice yet clean.
  • Desktops are dead (Score:3, Interesting)

    by heroine (1220) on Friday December 22, 2006 @03:44PM (#17341370) Homepage
    2006 was the year of the set-top box. This is where Linux is big and what kids want. Blu-ray & HD DVD were the first true mandates for the set-top box era. For now on, words like DLNA, UPNP, HDMI, HDCP, AACS, "plays for sure" and "certification" are going to take the place of words like OpenGL, Vista, Window, and "start menu".
  • As I've Said Before (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Master of Transhuman (597628) on Friday December 22, 2006 @08:30PM (#17344528) Homepage
    The only problem with Linux on the desktop at this time is the distros doing a LOUSY job of testing their releases and wasting time and manpower adding on 3D "eye candy" to compete with Apple and Vista instead of making sure their instsllation and update mechanisms are rock-solid dependable, not to mention things like KDE and GNOME services that actually run the desktop.

    I've had trouble with installing, updating and KDE services on THREE distros - and not some lame one-man distros, either, but Mandriva 2007, SUSE 10.1, and Kubuntu 6.06 - in the last month or so. This made Linux on the desktop for me as bad as Windows - maybe more so. This is NOT what I switched to Linux FOR. I switched to Linux for security, reliability and freedom. Currently I'm getting the first and the last, but NOT the second. The Linux kernel doesn't appear to be a problem - it's the desktop, installation and update software that is the problem. Applications, of course, vary as to quality - but if a distro is including an app as its main app for an application class, such as media, that app needs to WORK RELIABLY.

    There needs to be a "feature freeze" on ALL the major distros and a system software cleanup and tweaking period. I suggest ALL of 2007 be devoted to this, since Vista isn't going anywhere for a long time anyway.

  • by HermMunster (972336) on Friday December 22, 2006 @11:52PM (#17345788)
    Of everything I have read and I have read a lot; of everything I have tried with Vista, and I have Vista from the beta and release candidates; I would say that Vista is really nothing more than XP with a new interface.

    Certainly there are features that were added and features were improved. No one can doubt that. For the average person most of those feature enhancements have already been thwarted. You can still install malware and that malware can still damage your system through IE. The feature for escalating privs from the basic user to the admin level privs is old hat for Linux, mac, and unix.

    On top of that there are some extremely serious issues with DRM particularly around content protection.

    Vista essentially has little more. I have seen the refinements of programs and I see the 3d effects and I have used these since the beta release, but one thing is abundantly clear. Vista is nothing more than XP with a new interface with a few security enhancements copied from other operating systems that are already exploited or easily turned off, making them useless.

    The requirements for additional hardware are excessive and the costs are outrageous.

    Essentially you get forced into using Vista in the next couple years with all the DRM, content protection, microsoft proprietary features and rules, constant spying on you and what you are doing even with your own content, a anti-piracy feature that will harm more legit users than pirated copies, with enormous cost increases in hardware for the average home user not to mention on top of the costs associated with the purchase of the OS. From that the users get less choice. They loose more control of what they do on their computer and their computer is being used against them to control what they do on their computer.

    Linux doesn't do any of this. You can grow with linux. You can increase your usage and incrementally increase your hardware without additional software costs. You don't have to report to anyone about your legitimacy and you can choose from any number very good software products such as open office and firefox. No one will check your machine daily, weekly, monthly to see if you should be using it or not and no one will threaten to shut down your computer. You won't have to report to microsoft every 6 months to prove that you are legit when you were legit 6 months ago.

    I think 2007 is the year of linux if we can rid ourselves of the zealots and create a stable desktop with easy to install programs with alot of power. With Microsoft's super huge massive monopoly that is completely uncontrolled and not accountable to anyone we'll see many more people adopt the desktop of linux.

    Ballmer knows this. That's why he threatened Linux. Microsoft is very afraid of the success of Linux because I blows their content protection monopoly out of the water. This is the very same reason Microsoft is fighting so hard to take over the DRM market. They know that DRM is to data what the OS/API is to applications. You get control of that OS/API and you control alot of other markets. You get control of the content protection and DRM and you control markets far outside of the computer.

    The worst thing that could happen over the next 5 years is to have people adopting Vista. Please, promote linux in your community with your family and friends and tell them what microsoft is doing with content protection and DRM. The more people that know these details and see the linux side of things will join Linux and make it a larger stronger community.

    Reading the recent commercial publications about Vista it is clear that many of these magazines and trade journals have been glossing over the negative aspects of Vista and over-emphasizing the copy-cat features of Vista. They degrade our trust in them by doing this. When you read an article talking about how User Access Control works remember that you have been using it in Linux for a long time, and when you see the nice 3d interface remember the high hardware costs

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