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Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit Leaves Desktop Linux Behind 212

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the time-to-push-back-on-corporatization dept.
Linux.com's Joe Barr has an interesting commentary about the recent Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit and the astounding lack of attention for desktop Linux. Now, a great deal of the monetary support driving Linux these days comes from companies with a vested interest in "big iron" but hopefully this won't completely eclipse the rest of the community. "Before I learned that the press was not welcome in any of the working-meetings at the summit on days 2 and 3, I saw and heard rumblings of discontent from more than one ordinary Linux desktop user. One example: a top-ten list of inhibitors to Linux adoption, created by a committee of foundation members, contained nothing at all relating to desktop usage. Nothing. Everything on the list was about back-room usage. Servers. Big iron."
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Linux Foundation Collaboration Summit Leaves Desktop Linux Behind

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  • Uh Oh (Score:5, Funny)

    by ColdWetDog (752185) * on Monday April 14, 2008 @01:42PM (#23066520) Homepage
    I guess 2008 won't be the year of Linux on the desktop?
    • Re:Uh Oh (Score:5, Funny)

      by proudfoot (1096177) on Monday April 14, 2008 @01:54PM (#23066730)
      I hear it's been rescheduled for 2009 now.
    • Re:Uh Oh (Score:4, Insightful)

      by ajs (35943) <ajs@@@ajs...com> on Monday April 14, 2008 @02:07PM (#23066964) Homepage Journal
      The year of Linux on the desktop was probably 2004 or 2005.

      If you're waiting for Linux to wipe out the competition, it's not going to happen. It's just going to be a long, slow growth curve as both MacOS and Linux suck up increasingly large chunks of Microsoft's market share.

      • Not Likely (Score:2, Insightful)

        by JeremyGNJ (1102465)
        There's a breaking point when it comes to adoption of both Linux and MacOS (though Mac has more potential)

        Linux will slowly bring over the technical crowd, though most of the ones who are going to switch already have. You just have some niches left and the "less technical techies" who will still convert.

        MacOS has made great strides in woo'ing the "stylish elite", and the "wealthy cool kids"....but they still lack a wide selection of applications, and the price-point that would convert the "average we
        • Re:Not Likely (Score:4, Informative)

          by Builder (103701) on Monday April 14, 2008 @03:19PM (#23068004)
          They lack a wide selection of applications? Care to justify that?

          I can run almost anything that I can on Linux on OS X, but there is a lot from OS X that I _can't_ run on Linux.
          • I'm not talking about the standard Word/Excel/PhotoShop/Multimedia apps.

            I'm talking about things that promote product adoption such as.....accounting suites, scientific apps, games, collaboration tools (mature ones), and even niche programs.
            • by LWATCDR (28044)
              I would have to say that doesn't fit with your first post.
              "MacOS has made great strides in woo'ing the "stylish elite", and the "wealthy cool kids"....but they still lack a wide selection of applications, and the price-point that would convert the "average web surfer".
              The average websurfer doesn't care about scientific apps, collaboration tools or too many niche programs.
              As far as accounting goes for the average user Mac does have Quicken. That is what most average people use. Also the mac includes a nice s
          • I can run almost anything that I can on Linux on OS X, but there is a lot from OS X that I _can't_ run on Linux.


            Now I know that Mac fans look down on Windows, but it's rare to see them ignoring it completely as if it doesn't exist. The RDF isn't as much fun if there isn't something to look down on in contempt is there?
        • by cp.tar (871488)

          MacOS has made great strides in woo'ing the "stylish elite", and the "wealthy cool kids"....but they still lack a wide selection of applications, and the price-point that would convert the "average web surfer".

          The Mac is not so successful on the desktop, but is making great strides in the laptop market.
          Apple isn't offering anything in the low price range, though; that would probably help them even more, though lately I've met quite a few people willing to save up to buy a Mac. Besides, in the upper middle class of laptops, Macs are quite comparable in price to equivalent PC laptops. They're just prettier, more polished, and come with a better OS and less crapware installed.

        • by Spudds (860292)
          Pure poppycock!

          I myself know a handful of people that I or friends have "converted" for various reasons. All the converts are very non-technical and they are all very happy with linux. Between the "No viruses? At all? Wow!" to "That moving cube thing is Awesome!" to "That's all I have to do to install software? And it's all free?!!" they are very, very happy with it.

          Breaking point my right butt cheek.

          It will take a long time for Linux to claim the majority of the desktops, but it is an absolute eventuality.
        • Re:Not Likely (Score:5, Insightful)

          by ajs (35943) <ajs@@@ajs...com> on Monday April 14, 2008 @04:10PM (#23068676) Homepage Journal

          There's a breaking point when it comes to adoption of both Linux and MacOS (though Mac has more potential)
          No, no there isn't. There, that was as easy to say as the reverse. Let's look at your points in more detail and see why you think that:

          Linux will slowly bring over the technical crowd,
          That was last decade's news. The news today is that an increasingly large number of younger folks are finding that their friends are using "the latest thing" under Linux, and there's a certain chic in using it. Ubuntu and the various "social apps" have really pushed this envelope.

          The next wave has begun, and that's the push to create highly market-specific Linux desktop offerings. You've already seen this in the "just mail, IM and Web" boxes that have been sold recently by large corporations. There are already offerings in the digital film-making arena, and then there's the mobile world which you may or may not conflate with the desktop world, depending on how you see things merging or not.

          MacOS has made great strides in woo'ing the "stylish elite", and the "wealthy cool kids".
          More and more, the people I see using Mac laptops are the young and upwardly mobile that fall pretty much smack in the middle of the demographic space. They're not wealthy, but they've had their first taste of financial success. This is where Mac laptop purchasing has been exploding, at least in the social circles I've been observing.

          but they still lack a wide selection of applications
          EH?! You haven't used a Linux or MacOS system recently have you? It's not the selection that limits their adoption. There's a gigantic selection, and in some domains (e.g. digital media for Mac) the selection is broader than other platforms. The limiting factor is and always has been Microsoft's proprietary application suite. If you've ever tried to get Office for Mac to read a file from Office for Windows and been thwarted, you know exactly how Microsoft keeps their market share.

          People don't want "selection," they want the apps that "everyone else uses."

          the price-point that would convert the "average web surfer".
          No one avoids Linux for the price-point. There are $200, fairly nice boxes at your local WalMart running Linux.

          Macs are more expensive, but they have a brand loyalty that's hard to contend with.

      • by nschubach (922175)
        Linux winning in any facet of business desktops would be a huge hit to Microsoft. I'm guessing they are referring to Desktop Linux as Home PCs, and not workstations? Either way, if Linux makes inroads to people's work desks, then it will naturally turn into users looking for similar home PCs. However, and Microsoft may be predicting this move in their recent gaming/entertainment push instead of stability/productivity. I can't totally rule out the idea of going to work in a Linux environment (all busines
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by kdemetter (965669)
        Actually , the linux desktop is doing quite nice on some distro's . If you take the most recent Ubuntu for example , you can easily the advancements they made , compared a few years ago. Properietary drivers are easier to install on linux than on windows , at the moment . But as always , linux isn't windows . So if by 'the perfect linux desktop' you expect a perfect windows clone , that's just not going to happen .
      • Re:Uh Oh (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Belial6 (794905) on Monday April 14, 2008 @02:55PM (#23067668)
        For me, the year of Linux was 2006. That was the year that I came out of my office into my living room where my wife was having a "Moms Club" play date for the kids. As I poured myself a cup of coffee, I heard three of the stay at home moms discussing the move to Linux for their home computers. One had already moved, one was currently trying it out, and the third had heard of Linux but had not tried it. When stay at home moms are discussing Linux, it has obviously reached its "Year".
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by dave420 (699308)
          I'm sure the fact that one of them is married to a slashdot user had nothing to do with it... :)
      • Re:Uh Oh (Score:5, Interesting)

        by westlake (615356) on Monday April 14, 2008 @03:11PM (#23067910)
        It's just going to be a long, slow growth curve as both MacOS and Linux suck up increasingly large chunks of Microsoft's market share.

        Growth curve?

        What growth curve?

        Top Operating System Share Trend [By Versions] [hitslink.com]
        Top Operating System Share Trend [hitslink.com]

        I've played pool tables with a more visible slope than this particular measure of the trend line for Linux - and since these are web based stats, I am going to assume that the numbers for Vista for real.

        - - a fair representation of Vista's strength in the consumer market.

        20% by the end of in April. 50% probably no later than late summer or early fall. The Back-To-School sale.

        In the W3Schools OS Platform Statistics [w3schools.com] it took OSX and Linux five years to edge up from 4% to 8% of the market - and these stats track the pro, the web developer.

        • I find this quite interesting. It shows an increase of Windows-based machines of about 1%.
        • by ajs (35943)

          What growth curve?

          To quote your source:

          We use a unique methodology for collecting this data. We collect data from the browsers of site visitors to our exclusive on-demand network of live stats customers.

          So, they're aggregating Web logs from a self-selecting group of Web sites.

          My personal experience has been that more and more mainstream folks (especially under the age of 25) are using Linux because it's where the social apps are changing fastest.

          • by westlake (615356)
            My personal experience has been that more and more mainstream folks (especially under the age of 25) are using Linux because it's where the social apps are changing fastest.

            The nature of social apps is that they are, well, social.

            Meaning that the biggest draw will always be the sites and services that are most inclusive and with the farthest reach.

            The tech isn't going to be decisive, but Windows is by no means poorly positioned here,Microsoft Partners with Top Social Networks to Put Users at the Center [live.com]

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by barius (1224526)

          Vista is eating XP share, but it is not *growing* the Windows market. The desktop market as a whole has been growing at something like 8% per year since 2005. So, at best the Windows brand as a whole can only grow about 8%/yr. However, the growth of OSX is almost entirely at the expense of Windows (and, interestingly greatest in the laptop segment). The result is that Windows isn't really growing at all, it's practically stagnant.

          The growth of Linux on the desktop is somewhat at the expense of Windows

          • by westlake (615356)
            The desktop market as a whole has been growing at something like 8% per year since 2005. So, at best the Windows brand as a whole can only grow about 8%/yr. However, the growth of OSX is almost entirely at the expense of Windows

            If this is true why does Boot Camp play so big a part in the marketing of OSX? Boot Camp. Run Windows on Your Mac. [apple.com] What is the purpose of a product like the headless Mac mini?

            The truth is that Apple and Microsoft carved out distinct markets that have been quite stable from the beg

    • Re:Uh Oh (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Qwerpafw (315600) on Monday April 14, 2008 @02:23PM (#23067188) Homepage
      Linux on the desktop shouldn't be the goal anymore - 2008 is the year of linux on the laptop.

      Vista won't run well on the increasingly popular lightweight and low end laptops like the eepc, olpc xo, and what are sure to be many imitators. People have demonstrated they're willing to use linux on these machines, and Microsoft has demonstrated they Don't Get It.
      • by westlake (615356)
        Vista won't run well on the increasingly popular lightweight and low end laptops like the eepc, olpc xo, and what are sure to be many imitators. People have demonstrated they're willing to use linux on these machines, and Microsoft has demonstrated they Don't Get It.

        The cheapest Vista Basic [walmart.com] laptop at Walmart.com is $500.

        15" widescreen LCD. 1.86 Celeron M CPU, 1 GB RAM, 160 GB HDD, CD-R/DVD-ROM Drive.

        The gOS laptop at $400:

        1.6 GHz VIA CPU, 512 MB RAM and a 60 GB HDD.

        The problem is that the next step up is

      • Vista won't run well on the increasingly popular lightweight and low end laptops like the eepc, olpc xo, and what are sure to be many imitators. People have demonstrated they're willing to use linux on these machines, and Microsoft has demonstrated they Don't Get It

        I'd prefer to see people pushing Linux on high end machines. The spate of low end laptops with Linux, combined with the puzzling propensity of penguin proselytizers to promote Linux on old hardware that would otherwise be throw out, is going to give Linux an image of being what you run when you can't afford something better.

        Aim for the high end, not the low end. That's the way to get people interested.

    • Every year when Linux gains more users is the "year of Linux"
  • by TechyImmigrant (175943) * on Monday April 14, 2008 @01:44PM (#23066560) Journal
    TFA is very sniffy about press not being allowed in the technical sessions. As far as I'm concerned they can bloody well stay away for good.

    When engineers get together in technical meetings in standards groups, SIGs and the like, they have deep technical and commercial problems to solve that leads to long, difficult, nuanced discussions, all aimed at getting to a solution that will work, get implemented and be commercially feasible.

    What no one involved needs is the press sticking their noses in and printing these arguments in the press, dressing them up like some narrative in a thriller. Its happened to me several times and every time, the uninvited journalist got it hopelessly wrong, presenting technical work as interpersonal bickering and being clueless on the technical matters.

    Journalists are a pox on standards meetings. They can eff right off.

    When the journalists turn up, propose work items on desktop issues and promise not to run away and write up events in some rag, they will have dragged themselves out of the bottom of the barrel.
    • by Daniel Phillips (238627) on Monday April 14, 2008 @01:55PM (#23066764)

      When the journalists turn up, propose work items on desktop issues and promise not to run away and write up events in some rag, they will have dragged themselves out of the bottom of the barrel.
      Joe Barr is not just any journalist where Linux is concerned. He is right that this "summit" was non-representative. We are getting a lot of that lately, just look at all the Linux invite-only "summits" going on, with key players not invited.

      This particular "summit" seemed largely useless to me. I don't really know anybody who cares about it or even knew about it other then the participants.
      • by asc99c (938635) on Monday April 14, 2008 @02:20PM (#23067150) Homepage
        The Linux open-source model is fundamentally open and this sort of thing is a consequence. A group of interested parties have got together to discuss the problems getting Linux adopted in an area they are interested in. Hopefully they will decide what they can improve and go away and do it. With companies like IBM involved, there isn't great need for the community to implement the stuff. They aren't breaking Linux on the desktop - just improving it on big-iron servers. There's no need for it to be 'representative'. It's quite valid for a few companies to hold a closed meeting and do what they want without outside interruption. The source code will make its way into the world and if the key players who weren't invited / represented think it's doing something useful it will get further modified and brought into distros like Ubuntu.
        • by yuna49 (905461) on Monday April 14, 2008 @03:27PM (#23068082)
          Calling yourselves "The Linux Foundation" suggests a degree of breadth and openness that this group clearly does not demonstrate. I don't have a problem with corporations holding meetings to determine what they might undertake collectively, but then call it what it is, the "Corporate Linux Users Foundation" or something like that. It's nice that they pay Linus's salary, I guess, but do you really think Novell or RedHat or IBM would tell him to take a hike if he offered to work at one of those places instead?

          I wonder what kind of access you get for an individual affiliate membership of $25 [linux-foundation.org]? Somehow I doubt they'd pay much attention to me compared to those Platinum sponsors at $500K. Reading the Bylaws [linux-foundation.org] tells me only that as an affiliate member I can't vote for members of the Board, vote to dissolve the Foundation, etc. Other than that, whatever privileges Affiliates get is determined by the Board. I didn't see a list of those privileges, but I can't claim to have scoured the site.

          And, doesn't Adobe have a few interests on the desktop?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Otter (3800)
      And given this article, you can see why they set the policy they did!

      Anyway, it's not as if the "ordinary Linux desktop user" doesn't have any other opportunities to loudly voice his opinion. (If nothing else, he can just write Linus an email!) It doesn't seem surprising that a meeting focused on high-end servers doesn't want to open the floor to a bunch of Ubuntu fanboys to squabble about WiFi driver configuration.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by BigGerman (541312)
      really? When was last time that something "that will work, get implemented and be commercially feasible" came out of some meeting?
      • >really? When was last time that something "that will work, get implemented and be commercially feasible" came out of some meeting?

        Several standards beginning in 802.
  • It looks like Big Business is about ten years behind the industry curve. If my understanding is correct, big business will start paying attention to Desktop Linux in about eight more years, when they start replacing Windows with Linux Desktops.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by nicklott (533496)
      I think you have cause and effect mixed up. Linux desktops will start replacing windows when Big Business starts paying attention.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by westlake (615356)
        I think you have cause and effect mixed up. Linux desktops will start replacing windows when Big Business starts paying attention.

        someday, perhaps, the geek may realize that the PC market splintered into distinct segments a long time ago.

        that placement on the enterprise desktop doesn't give you anything more than placement on the enterprise desktop.

        but I am not holding my breath.

    • by moderatorrater (1095745) on Monday April 14, 2008 @02:06PM (#23066942)

      It looks like Big Business is about ten years behind the industry curve
      How so? The article never adequately addresses the fact that the Linux Foundation is populated by people who use linux on servers. Why should he be surprised that these people are focusing on server issues?

      The author worries about the developers ignoring the linux desktop without seeming to realize that the kernel hackers use linux as their desktop. He doesn't mention the scheduler changes to make it more friendly to the desktop. In fact, he comes across as a pouting child who wants their desktop worked on before the servers.

      Is it that hard to realize that the linux foundation is about servers and keeping market share in the area of servers while ubuntu and the kernel hackers focus on making the desktop faster? Right now server linux is a business, desktop linux is a side note. Asking them to focus on the desktop at the expense of their big platforms is dumb and short sighted.
    • by plague3106 (71849)
      Sure it will, and they'll just toss all the investment in other software they bought that only runs on Windows too. Sure. Absolutely.
  • by Per Abrahamsen (1397) on Monday April 14, 2008 @01:56PM (#23066770) Homepage
    The Open Source Development Labs was formed by "big iron" vendors to cooperate on the development Linux for of enterprise computing, so I don't find it surprising that is where their focus is. OSDL later merged with the Free Standards Group to form the the Linux Foundation, but OSDL was the larger part of the merge.

    I don't find that more noteworthy, than freedesktop.org focusing on the desktop. Different organization have different focus.

    • by Yath (6378)
      Seriously, I don't see a problem with this. As long as they aren't inhibiting desktop development, what's there to complain about? We happen to have a bunch of self-interested parties doing things that are in their interest. Not much of a story.
  • Focus on strength! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by quarrel (194077) on Monday April 14, 2008 @01:58PM (#23066814)
    I don't really see this as a major problem.

    MSFT 'attacks' other pieces of the market because of its near monopoly on the desktop and in Office apps. Linux can do the same.

    Why shouldn't the Linux Foundation focus on Linux's strengths and continue to shore up that area, particularly if the people with the money have those priorities? If Linux is the major player in several segments then it can leverage that strength to gain others.

    Linux on the desktop isn't going to become a winner because a technical committee somewhere listed its strengths or weaknesses. It'll take a nimble, energetic core of developers to drive and make decisions that are innovative and exciting to users. Always playing catchup is probably not the way to go.

    Meanwhile, if Linux dominates at the Big Iron/Appliance/Server areas, then it will become easier for the desktop driven folks to achieve their goals. This is particularly so in a world where the buzz words are virtualisation, "in-the-cloud" etc, that remove many applications from directly being on the desktop, as application adoption and readiness for the desktop is one of the high barriers to Linux becoming a force on the desktop.

    --Q
    • MSFT 'attacks' other pieces of the market because of its near monopoly on the desktop and in Office apps. Linux can do the same.

      MS has been gaining market share in the server space by intentionally making it as hard as possible for Linux servers to interoperate with Windows desktops. They can do this, because they control the desktop space. Linux does not monopolize any market and even if it did, there are numerous Linux distributions so breaking compatibility would have to somehow incorporate a change into all the distros is such a way that MS did not have access to the same information. Basically, because Linux is open source an

  • by BacOs (33082) on Monday April 14, 2008 @01:59PM (#23066824) Homepage
    I was at the Collaboration Summit and am surprised by the comment of "Lack of attention to desktop Linux." According to the agenda [linux-foundation.org], there was a Desktop Panel on day 1, and all day Desktop Workgroup meetings on days 2 and 3. That doesn't seem like a lack of attention to desktop Linux to me. I attended the Desktop Panel and part of the Desktop Workgroup meeting and they seemed like attention to desktop Linux rather than a lack thereof.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by initdeep (1073290)
      Stop trying to make the writer look like an idiot.
      That's his job to do to others.

      Haven't you understood that "Journalism" isn't abou the facts.
      It's about what the "Journalist" wants it to be instead.

      Sheesh.

  • With Vista out there and God only known what Microsoft has planned for windows 7 and their subscription bullshit, desktop linux is about to get really popular really fast. So I wouldn't worry too much about people forgetting about it and focusing on businesses. Plus if people use Linux at work, even if it's on a server, they're going to come home and want to use it too since it's free and they're familiar with it. Kinda like with Macs in schools except Linux doesn't freeze up and crash every 5 minutes li
    • by nicklott (533496) on Monday April 14, 2008 @02:58PM (#23067722)

      With Vista out there ... desktop linux is about to get really popular really fast

      They said that a year ago and it didn't happen.

      I'm no MS apologist, but I think you should actually try using Vista before making statements like that. Despite what you might read on slashdot, there is nothing fundamentally broken in it and most "average" users find it a step up from XP. Frankly I've had less trouble with Vista than I've had with Ubunutu on the same machine.

      Plus if people use Linux at work, even if it's on a server, they're going to come home and want to use it too since it's free and they're familiar with it.

      I don't really understand how using it on a server makes you familiar with an OS? To most people the "server" is that folder with funny icon on it, or, for the more technical, where their web pages come from.

      I run CentOS or RHEL on all my public servers and would never dream of using anything else, but I ain't about to get all my staff to install ubuntu; for one they couldn't get the software to do their jobs. I still think that if linux wants to make headway on the desktop someone needs to come up with a distro to go after the gaming market. That's the only demograph that hardware manufacturers really pay attention to and what is cutting edge now will be standard in 12 months. Unfortunately you can't even get recent games that run on linux yet, so it's no wonder the hardware guys are a bit behind.

      • by IceDiver (321368)

        I'm no MS apologist, but I think you should actually try using Vista before making statements like that. Despite what you might read on slashdot, there is nothing fundamentally broken in it and most "average" users find it a step up from XP.

        I don't know about the other guy, but I have used Vista, and have worked with other Vista users, who are generally unhappy with it. In my experience, it IS fundamentally broken: Driver problems (and not just one company's drivers, either), software compatibility problem

  • by Millennium (2451) on Monday April 14, 2008 @02:11PM (#23067030) Homepage
    Lots of projects exist that extend and/or fork the Linux kernel for specific needs. We have SELinux for heightened security, RTLinux for realtime processing, uCLinux for embedded machines, and so forth. These forks, if they can be properly called that, seem to get on more or less harmoniously with the core Linux kernel group.

    Perhaps it is time for a "DeskLinux" project along similar lines, specifically to cater to the needs of desktop users. This would allow the core Linux kernel to keep its ostensible neutrality toward what systems it runs on, while still letting those who favor desktops to resolve what many people see as some very real issues. It even opens the way for a "BigLinux" later on, to bring enhancements specific to big iron that do not need to be in the core.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by nawcom (941663)
      I sortof agree with you. One thing I don't like about the current stats of linux is what runs off of x.org. as you know, x.org is for all unix operating systems that it can be compiled for, so the same ubuntu themed desktop can run just fine on freebsd, by building from source.

      These days people are arguing over what distro is better because it uses kde or gnome or uses an easy frontend for this or that. I think it's dumb.

      maybe i'm just some old classic copylefter, but people seem to forget about the gnu pa

    • by Hatta (162192)
      Why fork? In fact, why does the kernel team itself need to care about the desktop at all? As far as I can tell, the kernel supports all the features needed to have a linux desktop. What's missing are the user level apps that make a desktop nice for users.

      I dunno, maybe I'm wrong. What modifications to the kernel do you think are necessary to run a desktop on linux?
  • So What? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Monday April 14, 2008 @02:16PM (#23067082) Homepage Journal
    So what? All that means is that a better name for the foundation would be the "Linux Server Foundation". It's not their obligation to care about Desktop Linux, if it's not in their business interest to do so.

    By the same token, they don't "own Linux". When there are people who care enough to improve Desktop Linux, they'll do it (as many are). That's how Linux works: it's Open Source not just to read, but to write with your patches. When those people make money off Desktop Linux, and form a "foundation", maybe they'll have the sense of proportion to call it the "Linux Desktop Foundation". There's already plenty of orgs with those interests. So what if "the" Linux Foundation isn't one of them? And who's got the right to tell them they should be?
  • With Ubuntu and SuSE and KDE and GNOME releases going on at a pace, Intel dealing with desktop/laptop powermanagement, wireless and so on drivers being the hot topic in the kernel, why does the Linux Foundation need to bother with organising more development on the desktop?

    On the other hand, servers are getting fancier every day. Infiniband, 10Gbit/100Gbit ethernet, clustering are all real important to get a hold on or Linux is going to be left behind in favour of something else. If you want to run a datace
  • by br1an.warner (1089965) on Monday April 14, 2008 @02:36PM (#23067364)
    While I respect Joe, he unfortunately missed the fact that on the other two days that he _wasn't_ at the conference, there were all-day desktop Linux meetings.


    The focus was split pretty evenly between the desktop and the server - although journalists were only invited to the first day and that session was, admittedly, weighted towards the server. However, the two all-day desktop meetings and many of the other sessions (Printing in Linux, virtualization, energy efficiency) involved significant Desktop content. I'm not sure that his claim can be substantiated.


    From the conference agenda [linux-foundation.org]:

    Wednesday, 9-5: Desktop Linux Architects Meeting

    • State of the Linux Desktop - Linux Distros
    • OEM vendor round table: what they need to have a successful Linux desktop
    • Building a Desktop Environment Ecosystem - Gnome / KDE
    • Linux Desktop Implementation Case Studies
    Thursday, 9-4:30: Desktop Linux Architects Meeting
    • Virtualization on the Desktop
    • State of X
    • OpenPrinting Joint Session
    • Creating Portable Linux Applications, Joint Session with the LSB Workgroup
    • Desktop kernel requirements
    • Desktop project Lightening Talks
    • by fdisk3hs (513270)
      Hmm. "While I respect Joe, "...

      Have you read Joe? I won't start a personal attack or anything, but I've long since stopped reading his articles. I can't decide if he has trouble verbalizing things he knows, or if he just doesn't know them.

    • by yuna49 (905461)
      So there were sessions about the desktop, but they were closed to the media? I fail to see what purpose that served. Looking at the titles of those sessions, it's hard to see what might make them so secret. Weren't they largely slide presentations and a lot of chatter? It's hard to imagine someone letting slip some trade secret in a room full of competitors.

      People at the Linux Foundation should know that holding closed-door meetings won't be well received by a substantial fraction of the Linux userbase.
  • by mpapet (761907) on Monday April 14, 2008 @02:47PM (#23067530) Homepage
    1. The computer desktop is not a major source of revenue for anyone. Don't whip out Microsoft on me here because their desktop business is through resellers like DELL and HP. Their retail product is costly as hell compared to a reseller like HP or Dell. Compare Vista sales through Dell versus how many retail licenses were purchased at Worst Buy.

    2. Backend/Big Iron is where the most dollar opportunity are with Linux.

    3. The desktop problems are much more difficult to solve and the payoff in dollars is worth maybe a nice dinner.

    There are *still* new and interesting things happening on the server side in storage, virtual machines, memory, you name it. Desktops? Not so much. What's the last legitimately different desktop environment you, or anyone else has tried?
    • The computer desktop is not a major source of revenue for anyone. Don't whip out Microsoft on me here because their desktop business is through resellers like DELL and HP. Their retail product is costly as hell compared to a reseller like HP or Dell. Compare Vista sales through Dell versus how many retail licenses were purchased at Worst Buy.

      I'm not sure I follow your logic. What does it matter who MS sells their desktop OS to? They make a buttload selling it to OEMs for pre-install. While they don't make much selling it at boxed at Best Buy, they do brisk trade selling site licenses to enterprise business and government organizations. All of that is money spent that could be going to someone else or be saved by the OEMs and big site license customers.

      2. Backend/Big Iron is where the most dollar opportunity are with Linux.

      Currently Linux developers do make money selling servers and using Linux to facilitate th

    • by westlake (615356)
      Compare Vista sales through Dell versus how many retail licenses were purchased at Worst Buy.

      For thirty years, give or take, the PC has been marketed as a plug and play home appliance or office machine.

      When you upgrade to a new PC you upgrade to the latest iteration of the Windows OS. Hardware and software at the OEM price. Installed and tested. Sales of the retail box are simply a bonus.

      The desktop problems are much more difficult to solve and the payoff in dollars is worth maybe a nice dinner.

      The cl

  • by the_rev_matt (239420) <slashbot@@@revmatt...com> on Monday April 14, 2008 @03:32PM (#23068156) Homepage
    I used linux as my full time desktop both at work and at home for 4 years. And I enjoyed it mostly. I was able to do most of what I wanted to. But multimedia production (video editing, multitrack music production) was a huge pain in the ass to do and from what I've seen hasn't improved much.

    Thing is, back when I used linux full time (99-2003) I didn't own a house. I didn't have kids. I enjoyed building my own computers and futzing around with configuration and getting packages to build for hours or days at a time. Now I've got kids, a house to maintain, and little or no free time.

    If I have to spend a half hour on administration a month on my computer then I simply won't even turn it on, it's not worth the hassle. There's way more important things I can be doing. I can either spend the next two hours trying to figure out why an upgrade to a kde or gnome core library broke Totem or I can play with my kids. Easy decision to make.

    I switched to OS X for all my multimedia production needs in 2002, and shut down my linux box permanently in 2003 as the birth of my first child approached. It does everything I wanted linux to do and I don't have to *do* anything to keep it running. My priorities are obviously going to be different from that of a lot of linux fans, but those fans need to realize that most non-fans will have no interest in linux on the desktop until it becomes less of a pain to use than Windows is.
    • I agree with your points about OS X being a wonderfully low-maintenance operating system. However, you ended with:

      My priorities are obviously going to be different from that of a lot of linux fans, but those fans need to realize that most non-fans will have no interest in linux on the desktop until it becomes less of a pain to use than Windows is.

      Less of a pain than Windows? In my experience, Linux is decidedly less of a maintenance pain than Windows. Just this weekend, I spent a bunch of time trying to fix some issues on a friend's computer. It involved all kinds of cleaning up, installing anti-virus software, removing malware, and installing some new applications. All of that maintenance would have been unnecessary on a Linux machine.

    • by turing_m (1030530)
      I never had the patience for running a linux desktop despite trying multiple times since 1997 or so. You must have been one of those rare people with enough patience. My opinion changed about a year ago, when I installed Ubuntu for the second time. If I had left Linux in 2003, I would have had the same opinion as you.

      Any maintenance issues I've had have lasted less than half an hour a month. It is certainly less of a pain to use than Windows was, a bit of work up front for (so far) a year of working extreme
    • I switched to OS X for all my multimedia production needs in 2002, and shut down my linux box permanently in 2003 as the birth of my first child approached.
      That's a shame; you left 3 years before Ubuntu started to get really *really* good.

      Video production is still a pain in the ass, however. Non-linear video editing is just not there.
  • Anyone have a link to the copy of the "Top Ten" list? I would like to know what issues they feel are important.
  • Did anyone check out the Linux Foundation's reply to Austin LUG guy [austinlug.org]?

    Talk about snide. I'd expect such hostility from Microsoft, but evidently such FUD tactics are not beneath the Linux Foundation either.

    Maybe this is their way of trying to put an end to the hobbyist Linux crowd.
  • Business people discuss what makes them money. The horrific details at the bottom of the hour.
  • Linux IS Desktop-ready. All my personal experiences with inexperienced users prove that someone who can use Windows can use Knoppix or Ubuntu. Technologically-wise, these distros are desktop-ready. The rest is marketing and evangelism, it is not developers' main business.

    In terms of portability, ease of use and performances, I really think many linux distribs fare better than Windows Vista. It is time to leave the "year of the linux desktop" meme on Slashdot. It now belongs to the Financial Times.
  • From way back, my stance has been that "Linux on the desktop" is an unworkable slogan for an unworkable mandate.

    I regard this phrase as nothing more than a handy banner people can rally behind, to amplify complaint, without ever agreeing on anything. My desktop requirements are as different from the guy next to me as my server is from his laptop.

    It's a ridiculously over-broad mandate. One could argue that Firefox all by itself is almost a desktop experience. I wouldn't be surprised if I've spent more tim
    • by mikael (484)
      * better support for managing multiple desktops and multiple screens -- never got this to my liking, maybe I've too lazy to enter into a long term relationship with my window manager; each time I get it to barely tolerable, encounter some limitations, and then quickly lose interest

      A couple of extra buttons on each window would help:

      o Expand across another window
      o Expand down another window
      o Expand over all windows

      Rather that just minimize and maximize/restore.

  • by ThePhilips (752041) on Monday April 14, 2008 @05:34PM (#23069902) Homepage Journal

    Anybody surprised?

    Did anybody actually tried to sell a new desktop system? Does anybody even make money on desktop software??

    Servers. Big iron.

    Because that's where you can sell pure technology. That's where most people are engineers - the people who are not biased by subjective perception: they buy what does work best for them.

    That doesn't work for desktop software. Take a look at top two desktop OSs - Windows and MacOS - and try to recall how long it took for them to be where they are now. Inertness of desktop market is ridiculous: some people are still dreaming of Amiga OS...

  • It has kind of peed me off a little, press not being allowed in. It used to be everyone can see anything if they so wish. Now the suits are taking over and playing partisan games. It sucks. Linux used to be about freedom. How can this be freedom behind closed doors?
  • by HiThere (15173) <charleshixsn@earthlin k . n et> on Monday April 14, 2008 @10:47PM (#23073014)
    http://www.linux-foundation.org/en/Members [linux-foundation.org]

    I notice some Linux supporting companies there, but a lot of companies whose support is, at best, half-hearted.

    (I'd have copied out the list, but it's all pictures of the names. Look if you care. IBM and Red Hat are there, but so is Adobe. And a bunch of companies I've never heard of, as well as many whose position on Linux I don't know.)

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