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Torvalds on Where Linux is Headed in 2008 305

Posted by Zonk
from the prognostigatory-penguin-predictions dept.
Stony Stevenson writes "In an interview at the ITNews site, Linus Torvalds lays out his current excitement about the future of Linux. Torvalds is looking forward to hardware elements like solid-state drives, expects progress in graphics and wireless networking, and says the operating system is strong in virtualisation despite his personal lack of interest in the area. 'When you buy an OS from Microsoft, not only you can't fix it, but it has had years of being skewed by one single entity's sense of the market. It doesn't matter how competent Microsoft — or any individual company — is, it's going to reflect that fact. In contrast, look at where Linux is used. Everything from cellphones and other small embedded computers that people wouldn't even think of as computers, to the bulk of the biggest machines on the supercomputer Top-500 list. That is flexibility.'"
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Torvalds on Where Linux is Headed in 2008

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  • Quick Summary (Score:5, Insightful)

    by XMode (252740) on Monday November 26, 2007 @06:39AM (#21476891)
    Not really much to the interview.. It can be summed up with 1 Q&A

    Interviewer: Where is Linux going.
    Linus: Its going where it wants to.
  • Re:Desktop Linux (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Colin Smith (2679) on Monday November 26, 2007 @06:43AM (#21476917)
    No. The desktop is dead. It's the year of Linux in your pocket.

     
  • by jkrise (535370) on Monday November 26, 2007 @06:45AM (#21476925) Journal
    and didn't care much about the politics or market share of Linux... just in writing goog code; and preferring GPL2 to GPL3? So why should we care to read his views on topics that do not interest him?

    The EEE PC from Asus shows the extents to which vested interests will go in ensuring drivers for display, ACPI, wifi etc. will be DRM-ridden binaries... and Linus hasn't had much to say about these things.

    Maybe if he cared about the future of Linux so much, he would try and make as much of it GPL3 as he could?
  • by Thanshin (1188877) on Monday November 26, 2007 @06:45AM (#21476927)
    If games made for Windows worked 1% faster in Linux, we'd have a generation of kids who would only know windows as the OS used in businesses.

    The day I see in a game forum "Use Linux, n00b." as the usual reply to "OMG! Low fps! Getting pwned! HALP!" will set the ten year count to Linux victory over Windows.
  • Re:Desktop Linux (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Virgil Tibbs (999791) on Monday November 26, 2007 @06:50AM (#21476943) Homepage
    See openmoko [openmoko.org] for details. On a free software mobile platform
  • by MrHanky (141717) on Monday November 26, 2007 @07:02AM (#21477005) Homepage Journal
    It's not rational. He's dismissing the views of Linux's leader just because he doesn't take a great deal of interest in whatever he himself cares about. It's about as rational as criticising a philharmonic orchestra for not playing Metallica.
  • by bheekling (976077) on Monday November 26, 2007 @07:03AM (#21477007)
    If you'd even read TFA, you'd know that they're talking about Linux and Windows Server 2003, and that Linus had the following to say about them:

    Is Linux kernel development proceeding faster than Windows Server development?
    I'm the wrong person to ask, for multiple reasons. First off, I'm somewhat biased, of course. But the other reason is that I don't even know -- or really care -- how Windows Server development actually proceeds, so how could I even compare and make an intelligent point?

    I simply don't use Microsoft products, not because I hate them, but because they aren't interesting to me.

    And, they were talking about virtualisation and the development process used in both of them:

    In your opinion, where does Linux shine versus Windows? Reliability? Virtualisation?

    I think the real strength of Linux is not in any particular area, but in the flexibility.

    So, where do Desktops and wireless come in all this again Mr. Troll?
  • by urbanradar (1001140) <timothyfielding&gmail,com> on Monday November 26, 2007 @07:13AM (#21477065) Homepage

    I thought Linus was just an engineer and didn't care much about the politics or market share of Linux... just in writing goog code; and preferring GPL2 to GPL3? So why should we care to read his views on topics that do not interest him? The EEE PC from Asus shows the extents to which vested interests will go in ensuring drivers for display, ACPI, wifi etc. will be DRM-ridden binaries... and Linus hasn't had much to say about these things. Maybe if he cared about the future of Linux so much, he would try and make as much of it GPL3 as he could?
    A good engineer may not care about market share or politics, but who said a good engineer doesn't care about the quality, flexibility and real-world usage of something he's spent more than a decade working on? And which engineer in his right mind wouldn't be happy and proud of his life's work being a huge success?

    This is not about politics, and this story has absolutely nothing to do with licensing, so let's not drag that dead horse up again. Sure, it's a valid debate, but there's a place and time for it, and this isn't it.
  • by eulernet (1132389) on Monday November 26, 2007 @07:15AM (#21477083)
    2008 is seeing the birth of laptop computers below $300: XO, Asus EEE, and I guess some new will appear soon.

    Vista alone is almost more expensive than the hardware !

    Microsoft was a good alternative when computers did cost $1500, but now the price is just too heavy.
    But they really can't win when the hardware is cheap.

    If they keep remaining in the high performance market (which seems their belief, see DirectX 10), they'll lose their market share in 2 years, along with Dell !
  • Re:Quick Summary (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 26, 2007 @07:15AM (#21477087)
    "where do YOU want to go today' was just a clever marketing ploy.

    M$ doesn't care at all where YOU want to go. Perhaps you want to go to a hassle-free, open, secure system? (Well, that ain't windoze ;-)
    It was just a catchy, feel-good, 'hey, we care about YOU', advertising campaign that sheep like to hear and follow and obey.

    You will go where M$ wants you to go, and that is all there is to it.
  • by superwiz (655733) on Monday November 26, 2007 @07:44AM (#21477279) Journal
    Well, maybe once you get old enough you realize that the test of any theory is practice. And maybe Linus is old enough to realize that the test of how useful Linux happens to be is how it is used.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 26, 2007 @08:05AM (#21477389)
    ...it comes as a business platform, not an operating system. The difference is: the OS has to do its job flawlessly in the best possible way in order to minimize the amount of work (read: time, money) required, while the business platform is something that resembles an OS but also comes with a load of business services built around it in order to generate a flow of money.
    The problem with the business platform is that it was built for the sole purpose of selling services, therefore when it eventually works and there's less demand for services (data recovery, repairs, etc.) it must be tagged as obsolete and replaced by something newer and shinier but still defective in order to generate again a strong demand for services.

    This is the exact reason why Microsoft stopped developing XP the moment it started being a decent OS, pushing instead the adoption of that Vista crap, and also explains why anybody who cares for his/her data or systems should consider Linux, BSD and other operating systems built to work with no strings attached.
  • by ThreeGigs (239452) on Monday November 26, 2007 @08:50AM (#21477685)
    but I didn't see any momentum at any place
    I take it you don't shop at Wal-Mart?

    I didn't see anyone in my office switched to Linux.. or any of my clients.
    And you probably won't, as most office PCs fall under the jurisdiction of IT overlords who dislike users replacing OSes.

    Sure.. they have nothing else to do other than wrestling with Linux.
    I'll take that as sarcasm, and agree with you. The biggest stumbling block to widespread Linux adoption on the desktop is that it usually does take some 'wrestling' to get it to work, whereas Windows generally 'just works'. Yet that's not a fault of Linux, it's a fault of hardware makers who decide to release a driver for Windows and NOT for Linux.

    I was going to mention the lack of GUI tools for some tasks, requiring users to manualy edit init files, but then I remembered how many times I've had to open regedit and manually change registry entries. In that sense I've had to wrestle with Windows as much as Linux.

    See.. how many distros ??
    Actually, a good point. There are a significant fraction of Windows users who don't know which version they're running, and in order to support them you need to know that. Same with the various distros, as they all are different enough so that you need to know which you're dealing with. I was recently at an acquaintance's house and saw their computer. "Hey, you run Linux" I said.... "No, it's Ubuntu" they said. They could have just as easily said "No, it's KDE". Sadly, as much as most /. readers are pro-standards, the lack of a 'hard' standard, or small set of standard configurations is a hindrance to more widespread *desktop* adoption.

    how many kernal updates every week ???
    Less than the number of Patch Tuesdays in a month, apparently.

    Linux sure got some momentum on academia. Well... to be frank.. its not because they really like. Only because they want to escapre from paying volume-licenses.
    Actually, it *is* because 'they like'. $300 is nothing when you've got research grants in the million$. Academia likes it because they can whittle away and tweak Linux until it does *only* what they need it to do, and do it efficiently and fast. Faster than Windows. And when you only need half the computers to get the same speed, or can get twice the speed with what you've got, you use Linux.

    But if you really want to argue cost, then don't forget the electricity bill. The $300 spent on a license costs more when you need to buy and power more computers to get the same results in the same time.

    Furthremore, there are linux idiots who worship linux OS, who monopolize linux-OS in their domain.
    There are Apple fanboys too. And yes, sometimes Windows actually *is* a better choice, although thankfully those special cases are becoming fewer and fewer as time goes on.

    Linux community should give up their efforts and must try to learn some lessons from M$ and either help Windows to be better OR do something like Windows for FREE.
    I think they *did* learn some lessons... lessons in what NOT to do. In fact, looking at Vista, I think MS has a few lessons that *they* need to learn from the Linux community.

    As for 'doing something like Windows....for free', isn't that *exactly* what Linux is?

    Afterall.. true power of linux can not be executed without being a linux-geek.. who knows all the command line commands and some degree of linux kernal modding... that's pathetic.
    And the true power of Windows can not be executed... FULL STOP. Can't streamline the kernel, must know all the registry tweaks which may or may not be published anywhere. THAT is pathetic.

  • by soliptic (665417) on Monday November 26, 2007 @09:34AM (#21478071) Journal
    You seem to place excessive faith in PC gaming. Just because it's important to you, doesn't mean it dominates the computer-using population as a whole. For starters, you've got people like me - not immune to the odd blast of UT a couple of times a year, but haven't installed any games since then. For seconds, you've got a lot of people who do their gaming on a separate device (ie. console(s)).

    Basically, Linux could be the undisputed ultimate gamers platform, but I don't see why that would translate to "Linux victory over Windows" unless you have a significantly inflated sense of the importance / population % of gamers.
  • by TheSunborn (68004) <tiller@d[ ]i.au.dk ['aim' in gap]> on Monday November 26, 2007 @09:40AM (#21478117)
    Quote: I want to install VMWare on a Linux distro without having to need a compiler installed.

    Then run a linux distribution that is supported by vmware. You can't expect to run vmware on some random linux distro, no more then I can expect to run my Windows version of vmware on Windows mobile.

    (And vmware 5.5, don't have any problems with the newer linux kernels. I am runnig it on 2.6.22 right now), so how old exactly is your wmvare?
  • by rolfwind (528248) on Monday November 26, 2007 @09:45AM (#21478157)
    Isn't Windows Home something like $30 to big box manufacturers? On a $300 computer, that is still only like 10% of the price.

    And if you have just one killer app that only runs Windows, it unfortunately becomes worth it. One reality we have to face is that some major publishers will have to start writing for Linux before most people completely shake off Windows.
  • Re:Desktop Linux (Score:2, Insightful)

    by msormune (808119) on Monday November 26, 2007 @10:11AM (#21478419)
    If you want fair comparison, you should be cramming a full blown GNU/Linux into that 19Mhz or CPU and 8M of RAM, not just the Linux kernel. Maybe Damn Small Linux or similar.
  • by petrus4 (213815) on Monday November 26, 2007 @10:13AM (#21478435) Homepage Journal
    'When you buy an OS from Microsoft, not only you can't fix it, but it has had years of being skewed by one single entity's sense of the market. It doesn't matter how competent Microsoft -- or any individual company -- is, it's going to reflect that fact. In contrast, look at where Linux is used. Everything from cellphones and other small embedded computers that people wouldn't even think of as computers, to the bulk of the biggest machines on the supercomputer Top-500 list. That is flexibility.'

    The above has been in use since 1999. It needs to be retired. "We're not Microsoft," alone isn't going to cut it for much longer. If Linux advocates keep trying to use that line to the exclusion of all else, they'll eventually find that it isn't Microsoft they'll be competing with...it's Apple. That is one battle that they can't hope to win. OSX is both UNIX based, and with close-to-mainstream user friendliness. Next to that, people have no incentive to use Linux at all.
  • Re:Desktop Linux (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cskrat (921721) on Monday November 26, 2007 @10:48AM (#21478843)
    GNU/Linux is the kernel, everything else is just userland apps that run on top of the kernel.

    The reason why Linux is so scalable is because there is a distinction between the kernel and everything else. Furthermore the kernel is designed to be modular so that you don't need to compile in support for everything from all and sundry different file systems to PCI plug and play support if you're just going to install the thing in a router or wristwatch.

    What would you consider to be "full blown" anyway? I would argue that Linux starts at a very basic kernel and builds up from there. However, it would seem that your argument is that Linux starts at a much higher level and then gets stripped down to fit into embedded environments. What exactly is the default level that you seem to be referring to? What is the least that you can have and still be "full blown"?

  • by slashdot_commentator (444053) on Monday November 26, 2007 @11:00AM (#21478991) Journal
    "awesome driver support"? "(far better than Windows)"???

    Tell that to my dv2315nr laptop. The one with barely functioning broadcom wifi drivers and non-functioning audio (conexant 20459).

    If you aren't knowledgeable enough to keep the fanboyism down, how about not adding another useless comment to the discussion?
  • by cp.tar (871488) <cp.tar.bz2@gmail.com> on Monday November 26, 2007 @11:35AM (#21479423) Journal

    Basically, Linux could be the undisputed ultimate gamers platform, but I don't see why that would translate to "Linux victory over Windows" unless you have a significantly inflated sense of the importance / population % of gamers.

    The point is, children are gamers; they spend quite a lot of time gaming and are the ones who'll do all kinds of stuff to get an additional FPS, especially if it's free.

    Thet's why GP mentioned the ten-year frame: while the children's parents would still use Windows for work, the kids would play on Linux. And then they'd do other stuff on Linux as well.
    Ten years later, former children would be quite used to Linux, probably even defaulting to it.

    So in OS selection, just like in religion, just give me a child before he is eight...

  • by Hatta (162192) on Monday November 26, 2007 @11:53AM (#21479649) Journal
    Then use qemu.
  • by slack_prad (942084) on Monday November 26, 2007 @01:11PM (#21480707) Journal
    Why do you blame the distro? You bought the product from VMWare. Ask them for support!!
  • by jedidiah (1196) on Monday November 26, 2007 @01:14PM (#21480761) Homepage
    > I am tired of this. I am tired of needing a compiler installed. Tired of doing an installation
    > of an installation. I just want it to be installed and running.

    What's to be tired of? It's Ubuntu/Debian. There's a meta package for this. Just install the meta package.

    If vmware weren't more lame, they could do this as part of their installer.

    This is strictly a packaging and engineering issue. Vmware insists on
    making software that needs to engage in kernel level shenanigans and
    won't bother to take the extra packaging effort that entails.
  • by kscguru (551278) on Monday November 26, 2007 @01:25PM (#21480925)
    You have just (re-)discovered reason #1 for a stable kernel API. Unfortunately, "smart" Linux kernel community leaders have decided they are smarter than you [linux.no]. I long since gave up on this debate after realizing the other side was not interested in debate. Believe me, I want ease-of-installation (for complex kernel-integrated apps like VMware, or simple apps like gcc) just as bad as you.

    Windows is designed by marketing. Linux is designed by F/OSS politics. Neither one cares about users. (Mac OS X does care about users, but it is still immature by kernel standards, *sigh*.)

  • Re:Desktop Windows (Score:3, Insightful)

    by hitchhacker (122525) on Monday November 26, 2007 @01:54PM (#21481375) Homepage

    Out of the 500 top supercomputers, 6 use Windows, and 426 use Linux...Windows doesn't scale quite as well.

    Out of the entire desktop market, 95% uses Windows and a negligible percentage uses Linux. Apparently, Linux doesn't handle the midrange very well.
    What portion of that 95% is due to technological superiority vs. vendor lock-in, and monopolistic practices? I'd definitely be surprised if Linux didn't have a higher market share if all those Windows apps and drivers were based on portable APIs rather than MS's proprietary libs.

    -metric
  • by bogjobber (880402) on Monday November 26, 2007 @06:27PM (#21485029)
    Next to that, people have no incentive to use Linux at all.

    You're forgetting what's so special about OSS. It's completely free. "Linux" isn't trying to compete with anybody. People that contribute to OSS do so because they want software to do what they want it to do without any restrictions.

    By definition, as long as people are developing for Linux people will be using Linux. Who cares how many people run proprietary OSes as long as Linux does what the people who write it want it to do. That's really the whole point, isn't it?

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