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2009, Year of the Linux Delusion 696

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the feed-the-trolls dept.
gadgetopia writes "An article has come out claiming (yet again) that 2009 will be the year of Linux, and bases this prediction on the fact that low-power ARM processors will be in netbooks which won't have enough power to run Windows, but then says these new netbooks will be geared to 'web only' applications which suits Linux perfectly. And, oh yeah, Palm might save Linux, too." The article goes on to skewer the year of Linux thing that seems to show up on pretty much every tech news site throughout December and January as lazy editors round out their year with softball trolling stories and "Year End Lists." We should compile a year-end list about this :)
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2009, Year of the Linux Delusion

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  • Think Different! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by alain94040 (785132) * on Thursday December 18, 2008 @12:56PM (#26161477) Homepage

    ARM-based netbooks won't be powerful enough, therefore Linux will shine on them? That doesn't sound very convincing. First of all, with Moore's law this means that a few months later, netbooks *will* be powerful enough. Will that then be the end of Linux? Nonsense.

    I'm a Linux fan. The main reason why "the year of Linux" never happens is that the press (and analysts) keep comparing Linux to what they know: a Windows desktop.

    If we keep copying whatever Microsoft implemented 3 years ago, we'll never pass them. What we need are real killer applications in completely new spaces. For instance, look at web applications: that's hurting Microsoft 10 times more than any 3D effect in KDE ever will. The Web made a lot of Microsoft software irrelevant. Linux needs to do the same, by doing something *different*.

    --
    Application iPhone [applicationiphone.com] Les Meilleurs Jeux et Utilitaires pour iPhone et iPod Touch

    • by StCredZero (169093) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @01:20PM (#26161757)

      People don't realize that you don't need to *replace* yesterday's technology to succeed. There's still tons of COBOL running out there. Java, Python, Ruby do not act as *replacements*. They are layers of something new and different. If you replace something obsolete, you're just slotting yourself into a role that makes you obsolete!

    • by omar.sahal (687649) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @01:23PM (#26161803) Homepage Journal
      Here here
      I suppose that in the early nineteen 60s's only techies would be interested in mini computers. What would a business do with them, PDP 1 etc weren't powerful enough to run proper usefull applications like payroll at a large organisation. Programmers liked mini computers (because they could get access to them) But no one else did, they then went on to find new applications for computers, to scratch their own itch. These new applications then became must haves. The same pattern can be seen in Microcomputers as well, the best thing is the incumbent never sees it coming, to busy with their own market. But its still good for Linux to provide a desktop.
      New types of computers (computing devices) should be a spur to entrepreneurs, this is where they will make the most money (and have the most fun coding original stuff).
    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by UnknowingFool (672806)

      Linux needs to do the same, by doing something *different*.

      That's why many people have started using Macs. Yes, they cost more but they are the best of both worlds. They are easy to use and have the stability of *nix system. I have Windows, Linux, and a Mac at home. If I do feel the need to do anything complex, I open a terminal. I manage my Linux server from my Mac, and my Windows box has been relegated to Internet browser/game machine. Everything is done on my Mac or Linux.

      • Re:Think Different! (Score:5, Interesting)

        by LithiumX (717017) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @01:41PM (#26162063)
        The thing about OSX is that I'm not sure I actually like it. It's the prettiest OS I've ever used, but I almost never use my Mac anymore.

        I got a Mac laptop a few years back - I got it more for the physical design than anything else. It was a little weird using a Mac (after rarely using them since the early 90's), but I got used to it. I also clocked a lot of hours on a more powerful desktop Mac at work. I'd say that's given me plenty of time to get used to the difference between a Mac and a Windows box.

        Windows used to piss me off to no end - constantly crashing, making me lose my work. It's been a while since that's been the case though - of course, I'm still an XP user with no intent on migrating to Vista in the near future. I've got a lot of the "cool" features turned off - no transparency, no fade-in boxes or menus, and a generally stripped-down interface.

        On the hardware side, I love Macs. Except for the prices I've paid for them, I prefer all my Mac hardware to Windows (except for mice - a single-button mouse is a good example of art over function. I quit using single-button mice on a mac years ago, and hate being stuck on someone else's).

        But the operating system, while pretty, just doesn't do it for me - even after years of using it. The standard GUI is too simple to suit my needs, and it's advanced interfaces aren't so well designed as the alternatives. I got to like both KDE and Gnome quickly (they just suffer from a lack of decent apps to make them worth my using them), but I still see Macs, software-wise, as belonging in the domain of unskilled users, and techies who use them just to use a Mac.

        All the same, I hope Macs have a bright future - if nothing else than to drive their competition.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by pizzach (1011925)

          Just curious. Did you ever get into (option|control|command) clicking things? That is actually one of the things I miss the most about Mac OS X since moving to linux. I really liked being able to option click outside of a window to hide a whole application. There there is option clicking the close button or minimize button to hide all of the application windows.

          Of course, I love alt-middle-click for resizing windows and alt-left-click to move windows on linux now that I have learned them and would mis

      • Re:Think Different! (Score:4, Interesting)

        by beej (82035) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @03:33PM (#26163737) Homepage Journal

        That's why many people have started using Macs. Yes, they cost more but they are the best of both worlds.

        Yes, but one of those worlds is a steaming pile of shit. :)

        I have to agree with LithiumX: OSX isn't nearly as usable as it could be. It needs way more configurability esp with the mouse, Spaces, and "window manager" functionality. I think most users don't know what they're missing or only use Windows as a basis for comparison.

        (I'd love to see the mouse tune itself based on usage, but I don't think anyone does that.)

        My favorite feature: two-finger scroll. This is excellent. This is the one and only thing I miss when I go back to my Linux laptop.

        That being said, the only area where I could imagine Linux eating Apple's lunch is in the $200 three-task netbook department, but Apple won't ever play in that space anyway for price reasons.

        People like macs because they look good. This is seriously something to consider esp if you want to cater to the coffee shop crowd. If I were Apple I would definitely not want a cool sub-$400 Linux laptop on the market.

    • by nine-times (778537) <nine.times@gmail.com> on Thursday December 18, 2008 @01:25PM (#26161843) Homepage

      If we keep copying whatever Microsoft implemented 3 years ago, we'll never pass them... What we need are real killer applications in completely new spaces.

      Yeah, yeah, people keep saying that. In every thread that in any message board where anyone had declared "the year of Linux on the deskop", someone has tried to argue that "the problem with Linux" is that Linux developers are just trying to copy Windows. And the people making that argument always fail to include the same thing: a single idea on what different/new thing Linux developers are supposed to include.

      The whole thing hasn't shown itself to be particularly relevant anyhow. We've hit a bit of a dead-end. No one is coming up with any UI that doesn't amount to spacial metaphors and "windows" being navigated by a keyboard and mouse. No one has come up with the "database driven file systems" we were all promised years ago, and no one has made the word processor obsolete. While we're at it, we may as well complain about our lack of flying cars and self-washing kitchens.

      I think 2008 already was the year of the Linux desktop. It wasn't as big and flashy as everyone hoped, but for the first time I've seen a non-computer geek running Linux on their laptop-- not for any political or ideological issues, but because it was cheap and easy and did everything they needed. There are distributions that are polished enough that I'm feeling like I could install Linux on my mother's machine and she'd have less trouble than running Windows XP.

      But the fact is, it's never that easy to come up with a revolutionary idea, and it's often not necessary. What most people use their computers for is still web surfing, email, the word processor, and maybe storing music and pictures. If Linux is enabling people to do those things easily, reliably, and without frustration, then it has already "passed" Windows.

      • by samkass (174571)

        We've hit a bit of a dead-end. No one is coming up with any UI that doesn't amount to spacial metaphors and "windows" being navigated by a keyboard and mouse. No one has come up with the "database driven file systems" we were all promised years ago, and no one has made the word processor obsolete.

        I take it you don't own an iPhone?

        That's the future. I think it'll grow up from the tiny devices rather than down from the big machines. Your next TV game console may just be [an iPhone connected to a television|http://www.macrumors.com/2008/12/05/outputting-iphone-apps-to-a-tv-moto-chaser-demo/].

        As for the word processor, well, that part is mostly true. Alas, PowerPoint is the new Word for some segment of users these days...

        • I take it you don't own an iPhone?

          Actually I do own an iPhone, but the iPhone interface is no good for a PC. It doesn't allow for very good multitasking. There are lots of instances where Linux is being used as an embedded OS with a custom UI, which is really the same situation.

          But still, look at the iPhone again-- what are the input devices? It as a touch screen where you can point at something (essentially the same as a mouse), and a virtual keyboard. Virtual keyboards and touch-screens are good for select applications, but for day-t

        • by Locklin (1074657) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @01:56PM (#26162291) Homepage

          No thanks. I will always prefer to spend 8+ hours a day on my workstation than using an iPhone. All these "iPhone-is-the-future" comments seem to neglect the fact that most people use their computers for work. Sure, eventually you will be able to "dock" your iPhone into a monitor and keyboard, but that won't gain me much (I already have a portable phone, and my files follow me with network access or a thumbdrive).

          btw (GP), (La)TeX made word processors obsolete before there were word processors.

      • Re:Think Different! (Score:5, Interesting)

        by MrCrassic (994046) <<li.ame> <ta> <detacerped>> on Thursday December 18, 2008 @01:50PM (#26162221) Journal
        I agree with this.

        Netbooks shipping with Ubuntu default and Dell shipping Linux pre-packaged pretty much says that it's starting to become a serious contender in the consumer OS market.

        It has a long way to go, but the ball is definitely rolling.
      • Re:Think Different! (Score:5, Interesting)

        by moderatorrater (1095745) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @01:57PM (#26162319)

        And the people making that argument always fail to include the same thing: a single idea on what different/new thing Linux developers are supposed to include.

        Because every time Linux has done something different it's never gained traction. The innovations from Linux don't come from widespread appeal and revolutionary ideas; usually it comes from old-fashioned principles that are being ignored. Windows Server for years was unable to be administered well from the command line, whereas with linux servers the command line was the only way to administer it. Windows ignored user permissions until XP and didn't really start pushing them until Vista, whereas in Linux user permissions have been strict and remained the same for years. Windows goes for flash over performance, Linux makes sure to do both. The strength and innovation in Linux is that it sticks to its principles and makes sure that it does the job right time after time.

        I think 2008 already was the year of the Linux desktop. It wasn't as big and flashy as everyone hoped, but for the first time I've seen a non-computer geek running Linux on their laptop-- not for any political or ideological issues, but because it was cheap and easy and did everything they needed.

        I couldn't agree more. It was certainly the year of the linux desktop for me and my family. Netbooks are expanding, desktop distros like Ubuntu are gaining traction and mindshare, and OSS projects like Firefox are gaining ground in ways that couldn't have been imagined 5 years ago. Linux isn't a power on the desktop and may never reach that point, but this was the year when Linux expanded its potential users more than any other and it was noticed in a big way. If there really is ever a year of the linux desktop, it'll be deeply indebted to the foundation that was laid this year.

        • Re:Foundations (Score:3, Interesting)

          by TaoPhoenix (980487)

          I'm a midline user of Windows, and I'm interested in Linux. However, it really feels like a foreign language with the culture shock that implies.

          It feels like I'm in a weird class of exceptions "who don't count". I have a typical install of uBuntu Dapper Drake.

          I want to upgrade Firefox, and it simply JustDoesn'tWork.

          I get cascading layers of other dependencies to upgrade. Sorry, but for nervous newcomers, that's hard. For what is arguably a flagship transition-to-Linux app (Firefox), I find that really frus

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by sgtrock (191182)

            Well, Dapper Drake is getting pretty dated. It's no longer officially supported by the Ubuntu team. Your best bet would be to stick in a LiveCD for Hardy Heron (8.04) or Intrebid Ibex (8.10) and do a fresh install.

            Before doing so, copy your entire home directory off to some other media; another computer, an external hard drive, whatever. When you re-install, select a manual partition of your hard drive. Carve off a partition for /home. Complete the install normally, then copy your data back over.

            Then,

            • Culture Exudes (Score:3, Insightful)

              by TaoPhoenix (980487)

              I got two fascinating and almost-helpful replies to my post, yet between them lies the culture change that makes my point.

              You remark that Drake (From June 2006 per Ubuntu wiki) is no longer supported!? Over in Windows land we're coming up on the 8th anniversary of Win XP and still lamenting the failings of "New Kid Vista".

              The other reply said I should not look for Firefox ... but instead look for "web browsers that might be interesting". Uh... I'm interested in Firefox. If they have a package updater that f

          • Re:Foundations (Score:4, Informative)

            by Shotgun (30919) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @05:37PM (#26165683)

            It's frustrating, because you're doing it totally wrong.

            You say you've got Ubuntu installed. Look for a program called Synaptic, or Adept. It'll ask for your root password when you start it.

            Once it is running, look around for a search bar. Type what you want to do in the search bar. Not the name of the program, what you want to do. In this case, instead of 'firefox' you would type in 'web browser'.

            You'll get a list of programs that may or may not meet your needs. Read the descriptions. Choose to install what you think will be interesting. Most programs are set up to put an icon on your start bar menu.

            As a new user, your better off only getting programs from the official repositories. Once you've got your feet under you, it's not to hard to stray, but stay where it is safe for the time being. All the dependancies and such have already been worked out for you.

            Adept/Synaptic/Yum ARE the killer apps for Linux.

      • Re:Think Different! (Score:5, Interesting)

        by flnca (1022891) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @02:17PM (#26162653) Journal

        No one has come up with the "database driven file systems" we were all promised years ago

        This has been one of my research projects for 16 years. Recently, I've published a library [newphoria.de] that can be used for implementing one. It doesn't suffer from the same problems as earlier prototypes (that I didn't publish b/c they had limited use, but I might anyway someday). Most notably, because it's written in C++ with portability in mind, it possesses quite some powerful abilities. I have some even more powerful concepts ready that I might integrate into the library one day.

      • Re:Think Different! (Score:5, Interesting)

        by mellon (7048) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @02:23PM (#26162747) Homepage

        The problem isn't that Linux is copying Windows. It's that it's copying it badly. I make it a practice to alternate between Windows, Linux and Mac and really use them, so that I can get a sense of what is good and bad about them.

        Currently, where Linux shines is the command line, and the package managers (I'm biased toward Debian). The GUIs work, mostly, but they aren't nearly as stable as Windows Vista, and they don't add any real value that Vista doesn't have.

        Vista shines in that it's stable, and reasonably pretty. That's really about it. If you aren't a Windows power user, it's perfectly usable (if you are you might prefer XP, because it's less secure, and thus less troublesome at least until it gets infected). I find it pretty hard to get anything done on it though without installing Cygwin, which is a bit of a cheat.

        Mac OS X shines in that it's pretty, stable, and reasonably easy to use. And the command line doesn't suck, although package management isn't anywhere near as good as Debian/Ubuntu. OS X also seems to have the best media support, as long as you don't care about playing Windows Media Player files (I don't).

        Linux could clean Windows' clock if the GUI were more dependable. Right now it's pretty good, but occasionally falls flat on its face. Bluetooth support isn't dependable, and even networking support isn't 100% dependable at the GUI level. So of the three operating systems, unfortunately Linux is the one I find most frustrating to depend on on a day-to-day basis, even though it's the one I am rooting for.

        • by lennier (44736) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @06:25PM (#26166279) Homepage

          "Linux could clean Windows' clock if the GUI were more dependable. Right now it's pretty good, but occasionally falls flat on its face."

          And please, please, PLEASE can we get (on Gnome) a DECENT replacement for Nautilus.

          Nautilus just makes me wince. It's like it's taken half a squint at Windows Explorer circa 1998, on a very bad day, upside down, in a mist, and then looked at Mac Finder and did its best to forget all the good things in Explorer.

          Whoever did the original Win95 Explorer design needs a medal: it's still the best feature of Windows. It's simple, intuitive, and it doesn't penalise advanced users. This is what Nautilus should be, but isn't even trying.

          (Vista has also done its best to go the same route, and throw out all the things that made Win95's Explorer work.)

          These are the silly things that Nautilus does:

          1. Half-implemented 'web view' pane. It's useless. If I want to view something as a web page, I'll use Firefox or the browser of my choice (please not Epiphany).

          2. No decent tree view. It's tacked on in the side pane, but feels ugly, horrible, restricted. It's not as easy or flexible to use as Explorer's. It's an afterthought.

          3. No simple TEXT BOX view of the current location - or if it's available, it's hidden. OSX and Vista have both abandoned this but that's no reason for Linux to. The location needs to be a text box so you can Copy/Paste. That's important for advanced users, because locations are not opaque things that you can 'discover' through a conversation process, but are things you need to *communicate* to other programs and to humans. Text is the only reliable way of communicating, icons don't cut it (you can't cut and paste an icon into an email or IM or config file).

          4. 'Emblems'. Sort of cute idea, but implementing anything like this at the gui file-browser level is the Wrong Place to do it. Again, because you can't communicate the presence of emblems - it's metadata that only exists in an interactive browsing session. So you can't share emblems, you can't copy/paste them, then don't exist for anyone but you and only when you're using Nautilus. So useless.

          5. No decent 'detail view'. Zoomable thumbnails are sort of okay (though it's very slow to process thumbnails when you're copying a bunch of photographs), but sometimes you really do need to do some serious forensics on a directory and instead of having to drop into command-line, it would be nice to have a somewhat pleasant GUI view of the real files that are there without trying to talk down to you. Nautilus keeps trying to belittle the user and hide them from information 'for their own good'. It's a bad Apple habit, and Windows (pre-Vista) learned not to do it. Stop it.

          6. 'Spatial mode'. Nuff said. No, it wasn't innovative, nor was it pleasant. Win95's Explorer had this - as one of two modes that you could select, and advanced users quickly found 'open in same window' much more usable.

          Thank goodness Ubuntu hacked it off and made Nautilus nearly usable, but the Gnome folks' response still leaves a nasty taste in my mouth.

          • by lennier (44736) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @06:35PM (#26166427) Homepage

            Oh, and probably the most annoying:

            7. Modes rather than options.

            What makes Windows Explorer, from Win95 to XP, great is that it is customisable, on a per-user and/or per-directory basis. It has a number of orthogonal options which can be switched, and it then remembers that view. Such as: toolbars, show/hide status bar, major mode (thumbnails, list, detail etc), arrange-by, side pane (which remembers its size and is dismissable with one quick X), 'up', 'back'.

            These options are great. You don't need to mess with them when your view looks ok, but since you 'live' in a file browser so much, you need to be able to tweak it when things grate.

            Nautilus doesn't do this. Instead of options, it has modes. You can't pick and choose the view options *you* want for each folder, you can only pick from a tiny subset of ones the *developers* thought you *should* want.

            It's little things like not being to turn off the status bar unless you're in spatial mode, not being able to adjust the size of the side pane, not being able to dismiss the side pane without hitting the menu (because usually you bring up the pane to navigate, then once you're there you need more screen real estate in a hurry) - these little, pointless restrictions just chafe.

            There's no reason why the user experience needs to be restricted like this. The 'spatial' argument was where it showed the most. 'The user is using it wrong'. No. That's never the right answer.

            It's a design philosophy which needs to be changed.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            No decent tree view. It's tacked on in the side pane, but feels ugly, horrible, restricted. It's not as easy or flexible to use as Explorer's. It's an afterthought.

            Given that XP/Vista Explorer puts the tree view in the side pane as well, in the precise same spot as Nautilus, I don't quite understand what you mean. And you haven't elaborated futher on the "ugly, horrible, restricted" part.

            No simple TEXT BOX view of the current location - or if it's available, it's hidden. OSX and Vista have both abandoned t

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          The GUIs work, mostly, but they aren't nearly as stable as Windows Vista, and they don't add any real value that Vista doesn't have.

          You are joking, aren't you? I use Fedora 9, with Gnome on my home computer. I never log out unless I'm rebooting, and I only reboot when there's a kernel update. Several times, I've had uptimes of over three weeks. If I weren't so interested in keeping my box up to date, I'd probably never need to reboot. I don't know how good Vista is at things like that, because I've n

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Risen888 (306092)

          The GUIs work, mostly, but they aren't nearly as stable as Windows Vista, and they don't add any real value that Vista doesn't have.

          I completely disagree. A few examples from the top of my head:

          Tabbing of windows (Fluxbox)
          Tagging of windows (Awesome)
          Desktop activities (KDE)
          D-bus (open standard)
          Theming (everybody)
          Multiple workspaces (everybody, for at least ten years)
          User actions/Nautilus scripts/etc. (several implementations)

          To my knowledge neither the Windows nor the OSX desktop can do any of these things

      • Re:Think Different! (Score:5, Interesting)

        by alain94040 (785132) * on Thursday December 18, 2008 @02:23PM (#26162751) Homepage

        In every thread that in any message board where anyone had declared "the year of Linux on the deskop", someone has tried to argue that "the problem with Linux" is that Linux developers are just trying to copy Windows. And the people making that argument always fail to include the same thing: a single idea on what different/new thing Linux developers are supposed to include.

        Here's the beginning of an idea for you: if you were to implement the ultimate Google Apps PC, which relies on a web browser for word editing, presentations, etc. Would it look like IE and a start menu, or could you make it really seamless?

        In other words: I use my computer more and more just to interact online, not so much to run applications locally on my machine. But every OS out there still thinks of the web as just another program. Can't we do better?

        --
        fairsoftware.net [fairsoftware.net] -- home of the Software Bill of Rights

      • by Tetsujin (103070) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @02:28PM (#26162821) Homepage Journal

        If we keep copying whatever Microsoft implemented 3 years ago, we'll never pass them... What we need are real killer applications in completely new spaces.

        Yeah, yeah, people keep saying that. In every thread that in any message board where anyone had declared "the year of Linux on the deskop", someone has tried to argue that "the problem with Linux" is that Linux developers are just trying to copy Windows. And the people making that argument always fail to include the same thing: a single idea on what different/new thing Linux developers are supposed to include.

        But the fact is, it's never that easy to come up with a revolutionary idea, and it's often not necessary. What most people use their computers for is still web surfing, email, the word processor, and maybe storing music and pictures. If Linux is enabling people to do those things easily, reliably, and without frustration, then it has already "passed" Windows.

        I'd like to add to this my perspective:

        First off, if every Linux application developer sets themselves to the task of making their program innovative in some way, you'll wind up with a bunch of different innovative designs - and they may not all fit in with each other. Useful innovation requires clear leadership on the form that innovation will take - and for that clear leadership, striking out in an exciting new direction, to actually yield a good result across a wide range of software, that requires a lot of good thought about the problem, combined with experimentation to see how the design plays out.

        Now, combine that with a second factor: when something new and different comes along that's better than what came before, people aren't necessarily going to flock to it right away. To some extent people enjoy staying with what's familiar to them. This is where really good PR and advertising comes in handy. It's not enough to create an exciting new product, you have to get people to use it.

        The latter is a problem I've thought a lot about: I want to create a new Unix shell, quite different from the typical ones. I believe it will be a big improvement - but I also recognize that, once it's written, it's going to be an uphill battle to get people to use it.

        Basically, when you're talking about "innovation" there is a big advantage to being the company who controls the de-facto standard OS in the computing world - able to make almost any change to the OS without significant fear of losing business, with the resources to make these changes carefully and to get people to embrace them as well. Now, that doesn't mean it always works out right or that Microsoft's designs are always the best for everyone - just that Microsoft has a kind of power to make and promote change that is difficult for Free Software to match.

        One final point - I am a big advocate of the idea that, despite common ideas about UI design, a UI isn't (and perhaps can't be) "one size fits all". Most commonly applications are targeted at "normal" users - people who are normally expected to be content within a somewhat limited range of functionality, so long as it's easy and it works right. I think there is room in the world for applications targeted at users like myself - people who are happy to see things like scripting interfaces to an application not only present, but reflected within the UI itself (as in Emacs, for instance). There is not always a huge overlap between these groups and one does not need to "take over" the other. In that sense, the innovative side of Linux is as a proving ground of experimental code for this kind of user. If I can have that, plus be able to watch my video files without issues, then I'm a happy Linux user.

        (And speaking of playing video without issues - trying to innovate before getting basic functionality like that working is, in my opinion, the wrong way to go about it... Functionality first - then get fancy...)

        • by blueZ3 (744446) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @05:00PM (#26165101) Homepage

          Just a quick comment on usability: most (MS) programs are written for what you might call the "perpetual beginner."

          For instance, studies have shown that people who are long-term users of menu-based interfaces memorize the "location" of menu items, rather than reading them when the menu opens. For instance, if the "Font" menu item is the third one down in the "Format" menu, which is second from the left, experienced users find it by going two over and three down, not reading the menu tree: 1) file 2) format, then 1) borders 2) numbers 3) font Oh there it is! But Microsoft's flagship products (Windows and Office) ship by default with "custom menus" turned on, which irritatingly moves menu items based on usage.

          This is one of the greatest difficulties with good UI design--making an interface that is simple and intuitive enough for beginners to learn and become comfortable with, but that still is efficient for those who have mastered the basics and are becoming "power users"

          In other words, there is no "normal" user--each individual's use of software changes over time. Designing for this is what makes UI work so tough.

      • Re:Think Different! (Score:4, Interesting)

        by cecille (583022) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @02:35PM (#26162919)
        I'm not sure I really could recommend it to my mom yet. Don't get me wrong - I really like linux - I use it for work, I code on it, I've written drivers and kernel modules and dug into it's guts. And it's amazing that I can do that - as a developer, it's a godsend, especially compared to writing driver level stuff for windows, which is...oh lord...let's not speak about it. Not only that, but it could easily suit my mom's modest computer needs (web surfing, email, word processing).

        On the other hand, computer's don't scare me. They scare my mom. And when I envision giving my mom a linux computer I also see one day in the future where she's trying to install some suborn piece of hardware or software and it's bad. I mean, she probably didn't check to see if it's compatible in the first place (because she probably didn't know she had to), but the long and short if it is that it will come back to me. And then I shall have to utter the words that will send my poor mom fleeing from linux forevermore - "Open a term, we need to edit a conf file". Or worse - "Open a term, we need to set some boot parameters".

        Don't get me wrong - I love...LOVE that I can do that soft of thing. I love that when I have some problem I can run to a forum and find the answer. I love that I CAN do it....I hate that I often HAVE to do it.

        Ok slashdot...I just made a comment that suggested that Linux was not perfect and not for everyone. Let the insults begin. I'm a microsoft shill. I'm stupid and bad a computers. My mother was a hamster and my father smelled of elderberries. Continue as you see fit.
    • Just dump. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by LWATCDR (28044) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @01:27PM (#26161849) Homepage Journal

      The reason that ARM based notebooks can't run Windows has nothing to do with the "power" of the chip.
      There isn't an ARM version of WindowsXP or Vista! And even if their was there is no software that would run on it!

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Blakey Rat (99501)

        Seems kind of dumb anyway, since the majority of netbooks are running Intel Atom chips, which not only can run Windows, but at 1.6 ghz (with 1.5+ GB RAM) can actually do a pretty damned good job of running Vista.

        I'm sure there's some netbook somewhere using Arm chips... who makes it and where do you buy it? My Wind has a Intel Atom. My buddy's Eee PC has an Atom. Dell's Mini 9? Atom. HP Mini? Atom.

    • So I've seen a few projects lately that really hit home for this, as well as a couple of generalizations. General stuff first.

      The really basic, broad one is "audio editing in linux." I don't know if other people follow it like me, but the number of tools, good, quality tools, available these days are staggering, and it seems like this year was the year that all of them came into their own, maturity wise. Ardour, the Calf plugins, etc.

      Another generic space that is seeing huge strides is graphics. GIMP going GEGL is a huge milestone, and will make making high quality graphics apps in linux far easier in general, as we're moving a big chunk of that work to a generic lib. nice.

      But the real killers for me, that are hugely differentiated, are neither of those things. One is Beremiz [beremiz.org], which is an open source automation framework that just pulls together existing open source software to create something new and amazing.

      The other is Fritzing [fritzing.org], which makes it easy to take an arduino project from prototype to production.

      These are world-changers, and I don't even think many people are aware of them yet.

      -Josh

    • What we need are real killer applications in completely new spaces.

      The open source nature of any potential linux-based killer-app, pretty much guarantees that it will be ported to Windows. That's not a bad thing, and will not significantly change the number of people running linux.

      Linux's real power is its ability to run on anything, when properly configured: servers, check; desktops, check; netbooks, check; embedded systems, check; thin clients, check. Consumer hardware manufactorers have only just begun to realize that they can save buttloads of money building upon linux

    • by Nicolas MONNET (4727) <(moc.liamg) (ta) (avitlaocin)> on Thursday December 18, 2008 @01:54PM (#26162265) Journal

      ... on the desktop.
      There was a time when Windows had USB support, and Linux panicked within 5 minutes of inserting one of those fancy new 512k USB keys. That was a whiiiile ago.

      There was a time when Windows had antialiased fonts but not Linux.

      When Windows had Media Player and I struggled to play a DVD or the odd .avi in mplayer without it crashing.

      When the only decent graphical browser that didn't crash was konqueror, and then it crashed quite a bit.

      That was the time when IE was the best browser, although not by much. And that was a long fucking time ago.

      Not so long ago, there was a time when you seriously use Linux on a laptop. Couldn't suspend, hibernate, or what have you. Wireless drivers? There was that ONE orinoco thingie or something, and if you could get lucky enough to find one ...

      So that was at least 5 years ago.

      Today Linux's USB support is vastly superior to any Windows, performance was and so on. Linux doesn't require dodgy third-party drivers. Suspend/hibernate/energy saving features work on 99% of laptops. Wifi works out of the box on most distribs, or at worst requires the DLL compatibility thingie because some vendors still suck (proprietary) cock. We have the best built-in full disk encryption, built-in virtualization, and there's SELinux, which is much better than what Windows has to offer.

      Soo, hm yeah, there is this applications thing, or the lack thereof. Really? Most apps now run in a browser window. And what is the situation today, in the browser war? Internet Explorer 8 BETA sucks as much, compared to modern browsers, as early, crashy Mozilla sucked compared to IE 5. And here at the office today, someone had to watch a video sent by the communications dept. Windows couldn't play it. They ended up downloading VLC with Firefox, and it worked great.

      So in the end, what's left is games. I'll give you that.

      "Yeah, Windows; gotta admit it's better for videogames."

    • I've been using Linux since 1995. I remember when people said Linux would never be more than a toy. Then they said it was capable of some neat things, but would never be used in a business. Then they said it could be used for small things in a business, but it'd never scale to the high end. Now, it's fine in a server role, but will never be any good as a desktop...
  • Humm good title (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Erie Ed (1254426) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @01:01PM (#26161531)
    "Year of delusion" sounds about right. Don't get me wrong I love linux to death, but this year just won't be different from the other years. If people really want linux to become mainstream then it needs to be more user friendly, and the elitiest attitude will need to be droped...just my two cents.
    • Re:Humm good title (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mcgrew (92797) * on Thursday December 18, 2008 @01:18PM (#26161731) Homepage Journal

      If people really want linux to become mainstream then it needs to be more user friendly

      I don't want my OS to be friendly. I want it to be obedient.

      MS has a reputation of being easy to use, but I can't figure out where that rep came from. Every time I get a new version of Windows or Office at work my productivy goes through the floor because I have to learn to use the damned thing all over again, as it's more different from its earlier counterpart than from its competetion.

      IE has has had its preferences screen in every menu slot on the browser. Why in the hell do they insist on playing "musical menu items?"

      I don't know of a single other software company or OSS program that does this.

      OTOH I've never had a problem with KDE, and neither have any of the computer noobs whose computers I installed Linux on. Linux is only hard to use for people who are used to doing things the ass-backwards Microsoft way.

      • Re:Humm good title (Score:4, Insightful)

        by drsmithy (35869) <drsmithy.gmail@com> on Thursday December 18, 2008 @02:05PM (#26162471)

        MS has a reputation of being easy to use, but I can't figure out where that rep came from. Every time I get a new version of Windows or Office at work my productivy goes through the floor because I have to learn to use the damned thing all over again, as it's more different from its earlier counterpart than from its competetion.

        Bullshit.

        There are two examples of having to "learn to use the damned thing all over again" for Windows and Office in the last 20 years: Windows 95 and Office 2007.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by doulos447 (321712)

        I don't want my OS to be friendly. I want it to be obedient.

        I agree, and it reminds me of something that happened a year or so ago. I run Gentoo Linux on my laptop and I'm the only person in my office not running XP (and now a few are running Vista). I like XP ok, but my co-workers find it strange that I stick with Linux. One day I was showing someone a video on my system when the ALSA sound drives hosed. Happed every once in a while in KDE, so I said "Let me fix this first" and I restarted alsasound.

        My cow

  • by mpapet (761907) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @01:05PM (#26161581) Homepage

    This is one of those dumb statistics battles that simply ignores all of the low-power devices out there that are already running Linux. Compare that with WinCE devices and prepare to be dumbfounded by the success of Linux.

    The longer I use Linux as my primary desktop, the more I'm convinced that getting into a speeds-and-feeds battle with Apple and Microsoft is a horrible idea. A financially successful desktop distro would destroy the variety of distros out there.

    Fortunately, big-box retail is such a losers game that only the inexperienced would attempt to keep a Linux distro on the shelf. How's that Ubuntu distro doing at Worst Buy??

    • by Belial6 (794905) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @02:06PM (#26162483)
      It is true. The benefites of running it on low power devices will makes Linux the entrenched OS instead of MS. In my household, we have 4 Windows systems, 1 linux file server, a linux Roku Netflix device, and a Linux TV. That makes 4 Windows Systems vs. 3 linux systems. Your average non-nerd would be less likely to have the file server and 3 of the windows boxes. We have reached the point that it would not be surprising to go into peoples houses and find more hardware running linux than windows.

      I know that some people will say that "Your TV doesn't count because nobody knows it runs linux". It's presence in their TVs and Movie players and toasters and refrigerators will eventually come to their attention. They won't be interested, but when Linux gets spoken, it will no longer sound completely foreign. They will have seen the name in user manuals and configuration screens.

      When a geek comes over to help them with their computer and suggest linux, the geek can point out the 5 or 6 other devices they have in the house that run linux, and the average Joe will see it less like an obscure nerd toy, and more like a new brand that they have never heard of.
  • Criterions? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nicolas.kassis (875270) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @01:07PM (#26161589)
    What are the criterions for it to be the year of Linux? Frankly, every year has been good to Linux lately. I'm glad to be sporting a Dell Mini 9 with Ubuntu on it. Buying a laptop with Linux on it wouldn't have been possible a year or two ago from a large vendor. Now every big vendor has a Linux laptop for sale. So, what needs to be accomplished for it to be the year of Linux on the desktop?
    • Now every big vendor has a Linux laptop for sale. So, what needs to be accomplished for it to be the year of Linux on the desktop?

      Well clearly what we need the vendors to do is put Linux on an actual desktop. This garbage about "Linux on a laptop" is just no substitute :D.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by David Gerard (12369)
      2008 was the year of Linux on the desktop. Does anyone really think Microsoft would have kept XP alive without netbooks? Does anyone really think Microsoft isn't shitting itself at 30% of netbooks running Linux?
  • Save Linux? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheNinjaroach (878876) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @01:08PM (#26161601)

    And, oh yeah, Palm might save Linux, too

    I didn't realize that Linux was in need of being saved.

    Its future might have been a bit less clear five years ago, but now it's pretty obvious that Linux is here to stay.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      I always get a chuckle when some one tells me 'Linux isn't that big of a deal,' and then brags about their new G1. Linux might not ever be 'The Desktop' but it has already won the embedded devices market, is a major player in server land, and it IS a major desktop player.
    • Linux might save Palm.

      I used to be a big fan of Palm. For the life of me I have NO IDEA WHAT THEY HAVE BEEN DOING.
      None of their PDA hardware is competitive with say the iPod Touch and only their Centro while cheap really is very flawed. No GPS, no voice dialing with a blue tooth headset and you have to buy a program to get stereo support for bluetooth.
      Palm's browser just doesn't cut it any more.
      The only thing Palm has going for it is their huge library of 3rd party apps but even that is aging.
      Linux is Palms

  • by Yvan256 (722131) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @01:08PM (#26161615) Homepage Journal

    Not as in "it replaces Windows and Mac OS X" but as in "more and more people are buying Linux computers", which are those small netbooks.

    The general public started buying Linux machines without really being aware of it. They don't need to know about Linux, all they need is a web browser, email, IM, etc.

  • by AndGodSed (968378) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @01:10PM (#26161635) Homepage Journal

    I think the year of the Linux Desktop has passed already.

    Everybody thinks that the "Year of the Linux Desktop" will be some huge event where Microsoft goes bankrupt, MacOS is hit by a MalWare storm and Linux desktops are sold more commonly than Windows Desktops.

    A single event like this is a pipe-dream. The year of the Linux desktop was the start of the revolution. There was no huge event to mark it, but we have now what "Year of the Linux Desktop" pundits predicted years ago.

    Linux desktop machines sold alongside Windows Machines, Linux Laptops sold by at least one top 3 Online vendor, an area where Linux competes on an equal footing with Windows products (netbooks) and common adoption of Linux desktops by large corporations and government agencies.

    In fact, we have more - MANDATED adoption of Linux or other OSS desktops.

    The thing is, now the real work starts. We are out of the shadows, having stepped from relative obscurity into the public eye - and now we are being watched closely. The OSS community needs to provide more than a killer desktop OS, we have several to choose from. We now need to provide the finer things that our competition has a leg up on:

    1. Good Marketing. Say what you will, the Microsoft Marketing machine is one of the best there is, OSS needs to match that somehow.

    2. Good service. Things will go wrong with any Operating System, who is there to assist our clients? Do we have a "0860 CA LL MS" number that the user of his chosen environment can contact in time of need?

    There are obviously more, but that is all I want to do as far as ranting goes...

    • by LWATCDR (28044) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @01:23PM (#26161801) Homepage Journal

      People kept predicting the year of the network. It never came or it came and we didn't know it.
      Networks went from being very rare to being pretty common in companies then they started selling the stuff in Walmart.
      It is the ever growing creep. Linux will just keep creeping into our life.

      Of course I have my list of things that are slowing it down and most of them are religious issues.
      Lack of a stable binary driver interface and the difficulty in selling software are two big ones.
      But full support from Adobe for for Linux for Flash, Air, and PDF Reader are a big sign that the slow march of Desktop Linux is on track.

      • Lack of a stable binary driver interface is an engineering issue, not a religious one. "Stability, flexibility, and maintainability of the Linux development model" [kroah.com].
    • 1999-2002 was when Linux accelerated. Why? recession and 9/11. Now that Linux is more mature and bigger, we are in another recession(depression?) and Linux is again gain traction. They slowly grow, while MS is slowly losing ground. Right now, the majority of the gains are Apples, but there is only so far that they will grow. My guess is within 5 years, Apple will own about 15-20% of the market and Linux will be 5-10%. At that time, MS will start a rapid fall (think early 90's when IBM crashed hard).
  • by Xabraxas (654195) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @01:14PM (#26161687)
    The article is deceiving on many fronts. The author states that it is "inconceivable" that the Windows 7 release date will slip past mid 2009. Why is it inconceivable when Microsoft regulary misses its release dates? In addition to that no one is really going to know how well Windows 7 actually performs on netbooks until it is released. XP is getting old and developers are slowly moving away from it while Linux will always have the latest and greatest whether it is on a netbook or a supercomputer. I think netbooks and Android phones will improve the visibility of Linux to consumers in 2009 but it will still be a long way to garner a significant desktop share from an entrenched Microsoft.
  • The reason linux keeps finding niche applications and not being a major player hasn't changed in 8 years: Applications. Users don't care about the operating system. Linux can be hacked fairly easily to emulate or include the UI features of any other major operating systems currently in use. It comes down to application support. When Microsoft Office comes to linux, when games are routinely released with linux binaries, and when software like Adobe Illustrator and internet plugins "just work" under linux, th

    • Somewhat related... (Score:5, Informative)

      by IANAAC (692242) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @01:55PM (#26162279)

      ... which is to start marching to the tune of the large businesses that design these killer apps. When you convince Adobe to release all their products on Linux, and Blizzard to release their games on Linux, etc., then we'll be getting somewhere. But the community won't, because those companies have already made it clear what their terms and conditions are and we won't compromise.

      I'm pretty much a full time Linux user, save for times when I want to do music production. I've spent a ton of money of Windows music software, and feel like I shouldn't abandon it. So last month I happened upon JAD and Ubuntu Studio (two music-oriented distros). Let me tell you, they work. And they were set up by the community, not big corporations. More importantly, they allow me to use all my expensive VSTs/VSTis quite easily. The last time I had tried to manually set up a real-time kernel environment that could actually use ASIO, I gave up in frustration. I just could not get all the pieces working. Now because of these two communities, the install took about an hour, plus the install of all my VSTs.

      And I get better latency on this machine than I ever did using WinXP.

      Granted, this is pretty niche, but apparently big enough for two different non-commercial developer communities to create specialized distros. And you see it with commercial companies as well - Cedega for gaming, Crossover for business apps.

      So yeah, corps are important for mass adoption, but don't discount the communities.

  • by kwabbles (259554) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @01:20PM (#26161755)

    From TFA:
    An article has come out claiming (yet again) that 2009 will be the year of Linux, and bases this prediction on the fact that low power ARM processors will be in netbooks which won't have enough power to run Windows, but then says these new netbooks will be geared to "web only" applications which suits Linux perfectly. And, oh yeah, Palm might save Linux, too.

    In a year that saw Linux netbooks appear, and fail to excite consumers, thus handing Microsoft victory in the netbook operating system space, yet another pundit has come out claiming 2009 will be a revolutionary year for Linux.

    The "year of Linux"?
    Palm "might save Linux"?
    A "revolutionary year for Linux"?

    Does this asshat even know what Linux is? Does he even know what what he's trying to talk about is Linux on the desktop? He goes on talking as if he thinks that if Linux doesn't succeed on the desktop, that it is a failure and that something will need to come along to "save it".

    People need to get it through their thick skulls that Linux is a kernel for a unix-like operating system. The primary purpose of Linux is not to become a replacement for the Windows desktop, or to become the latest gadget PDA system. It's purpose is not to be a fancy, shiny, eyecandy competitor for OSX. Its purpose is to be an extremely versatile, scalable, and portable kernel for a unix-like operating system - and when coupled with GNU it becomes a very powerful unix-like operating system capable of pretty much anything.

    Linux has succeeded as the number 1 OS of choice for HPC and supercomputing applications.
    Linux has succeeded as being a very popular OS for Internet-connected servers.
    Linux has succeeded as being the OS of choice for many embedded systems, home entertainment applications and DVR systems.
    Linux has succeeded as a powerful development environment.

    Linux has succeeded in so many areas that it would be tedious to list them. Primarily, though - Linux has succeeded far beyond anyone's wildest dreams in its original goal: to be a viable monolithic kernel for x86 systems, so that x86 users can enjoy unix.

    Linux is not going away, it hasn't "failed", and it certainly doesn't need to be "saved". In fact, since the day GNU/Linux has been available, it has done nothing but grow and increase in usage. And not only has it grown, it's grown wildly... from hacker OS, to mainstream OS, to a laughable nuisance to Microsoft, to a downright huge challenge to Microsoft's vitality in the server market. From where I stand, I've never even seen a dip in its growth. It's only growing more, and it will continue to grow. Linux has succeeded, and will continue to succeed. Just watch.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Oh, and by the way, Linux does function as an eminently acceptable desktop.

      For me, 2001 was the Year of the Linux Desktop. That's when I switched from Solaris. And why was I running Solaris? Because it had been my desktop for the previous fifteen years.

      From my point of view as a working computer scientist, Microsoft was perennially late to the game, perennially full of hot air, and has never - certainly not architecturally - caught up to stuff we were routinely using decades ago.

      This year I've h
  • MS Windows doesn't run on the ARM processor - that is the real reason that you can't put MS Windows on it. Linux has been ported to the ARM - so making an ARM based Linux laptop is a doddle.

    This would be great - better battery life, I can't wait.

    The next step is to start using ARM processors in the big data centers - that will save huge $$ on electricity and cooling. Is this the start of the end of Intel's reign ?

  • "Of course, Windows XP has shown that it handles netbooks with aplomb, and works with the web best of all, thanks to having all the browsers, plug-ins, downloads and more you could ever want, something you just can't claim with good old Linux."

    Really??? You have to laugh really.

    "As for Windows 7, Microsoft is specifically ensuring it will work on netbooks, and if it needs to sell the software at cheaper rates to compete with free Linux, it will do so - just as it has done with Windows XP today."

    If XP works

  • I remember endless predictions that the upcoming year would be the year of the office network. Originally networks were supposed to share then-expensive resources like printers and large disks. Then networks to the outside world (wide-area) came into play in the later part of this period. The commercialization of the InterNet and web software finally got networks off the groudn in the 1990s.
  • by renoX (11677) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @01:30PM (#26161897)

    There will be no year of Linux where Linux goes from 0.9% to 100%, that's a myth but 1/3 of the netbook are sold with Linux.
    Which is way higher that the percentage of Linux in the general population.

    Then again, Microsoft was surprised by the NetBook success and they're restrained by the anti-trust lawsuit but I expect them to find a way to reduce Linux marketshare on the netbooks.

  • (Or is that 21, not quite sure).

    The point that is missed by this guy is that Linux doesn't need a year of the Desktop.

    Linux market share is about 1%-1.5%, something small - but growing at a substantial rate. Now, a lot of small is still small, so by the end of next year it will only be a little bit bigger and Microsoft's market share will only be a little bit smaller. But if you compound that year on year, then all Linux needs is time. And unlike Microsoft, that's something it has plenty of - a commercia

  • by gillbates (106458) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @01:38PM (#26162017) Homepage Journal

    The Linux desktop arrived in 1998 with RedHat 6.0. (Yes, this was before all that RHEL stuff...) With that release, the GUI looked better than Windows and the system was usable by the general public. Installing it still required a fair bit of expertise, but even the Windows 95/98 setup program couldn't/wouldn't repartition or reformat your drive for you. A newbie end user with a blank, non-formatted HD couldn't install either Windows or Linux.

    Some years later, Mandrake came out. It was so easy to install that my non-technical brother managed to install it on his machine by himself. I didn't like the lack of build tools, but hey, it was Linux and very user friendly.

    And then Ubuntu took its place. It may sound odd, but Windows is now more difficult to install than Linux. I've never had a Linux user ask me "how do I get the activation number"...

    Let's face facts: journalists have been hyping, "This is the year of Linux on the ${DEVICE}" for the past decade.

    What has really changed? Nothing. Journalists are just as clueless today as they've always been.

    I've been using Linux for the past decade, and I've seen the distros go from "Here's some hints on configuring X, good luck!" to "Do you want fancy GUI effects or not?". It has been a mature, solid platform for about ten years now. It has been adopted primarily by people who make informed decisions about their choice of operating system.

    The reason why this will never be "The year of Linux on ${DEVICE}" is simply because Linux is already widely used where appropriate. Sure, the desktop might be a lost cause, but this demographic almost never makes a decision about their operating system. The overwhelming majority of desktop users want something which is:

    • Compatible with everything else, and
    • Doesn't need to be installed, and
    • Comes with anti-virus software, or something like that.

    To make Linux popular with the Joe-sixpack crowd, you'd have to turn it into something as brain-dead as Windows. You would have to sacrifice the security of the operating system for the sake of providing a familiar idiom - "I want to execute this code automatically when the page loads..." And you'd have to adopt some brain-dead, fischer-price lookalike interface. Is that really what people want Linux to be?

    I don't think so. I don't want Linux to sacrifice its good qualities for the sake of being popular. Right now, I have an OS which is secure, stable, easy to use, free, and I'd like to keep it that way.

  • patching kernels.. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by XO (250276)

    you know, i've messed with this Linux stuff off and on, was a totally avid user for years.. but if you ever want to get something accomplished, that doesn't involve web browsing, email, or running servers, you're probably going to want to run some other (commercial) operating system.

    This post is called "patching kernels" because the first time I ever booted Linux, well over a decade ago, I had to write kernel patches just to get the thing fully running. The sad, sad fact, is that if I wanted to boot Linux

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by gzipped_tar (1151931)

      I find you post interesting because it contradicts my (and I guess most other's) experience with today's Linux distros. A decade ago, maybe, I don't know so I can't really comment. But today? I think your situation would really be rare.

      I never wrote a kernel patch myself. I suppose less than 1% of the Linux-using masses have ever done so. I don't even need to recompile a kernel unless it's strictly necessary or strictly fun. Today's distro maintainers do that patching jobs pretty well and that's partly the

  • I think the most important point is that Microsoft is losing market share. Not much, and probably more to Apple than to Linux, but it does something for the bean counters when they make predictions. Questions like "What features will our core products need in the next 2-5 years?" and sends "Cross-platform compatibility" higher up on that list. Even if it's not more than last year (2.6%) then over the next five years that means nearly a quarter won't run Windows. Of course that's only a stupid prediction, Wi

  • by petes_PoV (912422) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @03:09PM (#26163403)
    That was when the 2.4 kernels came out. They were the first ones with SMP, the last major improvement to the kernel and the linu architecture. Since then, releases have basically had minor tweaks, a few new features, bug-fixes and support for newer processors - but nothing as game-changing as the work done 6 or 7 years ago.

    This leads me to the conclusion that linux is basically a mature product, which has reached the top of it's development cycle and is, for all intents and purposes, in its maintenance mode and therefore in decline.

    However, it's not alone: Windows peaked with XP and it too, is suffering from bloat, lack of innovation and decline, also.

  • by MarkvW (1037596) on Thursday December 18, 2008 @03:39PM (#26163841)

    If Linux wants to get big like Windows, then Linux needs to create a development environment that encourages closed-source, intellectual property loving, for profit software developers.

    If this is anathema to the true GNU believers, then they are merely being shortsighted. Linux is already better than Windows. Any idiot can see that. Developers use Windows because they think that they can make money in Windows. When developers don't use Linux, the reason must be that the developers don't think that they can make money using Linux.

    The Linux community should stop focusing on making cool Linux programs (for now). The community should devote most of its new effort to creating a development environment that makes it trivially easy to port a Windows or Mac program to Linux.

    Windows was successful because it cultivated closed-source developers. Linux will only become that successful if it also cultivates closed source developers. This is screamingly obvious.

    Once the closed source developers migrate to Linux, then Linux gets really interesting and political. It may not remain the same techno-elite benevolent dictatorship that it is now, but it will be interesting! The techno-elite can then reap the benefits of the GPL by harvesting improvements of GPL'd Linux code that are made at the behest of the for-profit closed source people.

    In other words, EMBRACE for-profit-closed-source developers. EXTEND them a generous and profitable helping hand that allows them to port their products to Linux. EXTINGUISH Windows, when they--and their users--figure out how much better the Linux world is.

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