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Desktop Linux Is Dead 1348

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the oh-no-he-didn't dept.
digitaldc writes with this quote from PCWorld: "It kills me to say this: The dream of Linux as a major desktop OS is now pretty much dead. Despite phenomenal security and stability — and amazing strides in usability, performance, and compatibility — Linux simply isn't catching on with desktop users. And if there ever was a chance for desktop Linux to succeed, that ship has long since sunk. ... Ultimately, Linux is doomed on the desktop because of a critical lack of content. And that lack of content owes its existence to two key factors: the fragmentation of the Linux platform, and the fierce ideology of the open-source community at large."
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Desktop Linux Is Dead

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  • wrong OS? (Score:5, Funny)

    by tverbeek (457094) on Monday October 18, 2010 @09:32AM (#33931688) Homepage

    I thought it was BSD that was dead?

    • Re:wrong OS? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Shoeler (180797) * on Monday October 18, 2010 @09:41AM (#33931850)
      BSD's not dead of course - look only to the Mach kernel in OS X for verification.

      If you want to see how a desktop UNIX-based os should do it right, look at OS X. Say what you will about Apple - I don't care, only own a mac and an iPod (I have a Droid X for my phone) - but they did the desktop RIGHT. It's easy to use, fairly intuitive (passes the grandma test, for the most part), and is oh so easy to support.

      I remember when I got my first macbook a few years back and I had a sprint wireless broadband card for it. I was thinking "you know, I should be able to make my mac a wifi base station and share my wireless". Preferences, sharing, .... oh, that was easy. And it worked.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by BrokenHalo (565198)
        If you want to see how a desktop UNIX-based os should do it right, look at OS X.

        I came at it the other way around, since I inherited an older-model Mac laptop from my wife when she upgraded. I've been using Linux since the early SLS (later Slackware) distributions on my desktop and server systems. I like the way Apple has gone to some lengths to make issues like dealing with wireless networks pretty much bombproof, but I still prefer the configurability of my desktop Linux systems. The Mac UI isn't bad,
        • Re:wrong OS? (Score:4, Interesting)

          by bledri (1283728) on Monday October 18, 2010 @11:33AM (#33933558)

          ... Also, even after several years, it still bothers me that closing a window on a Mac doesn't terminate the application. I can understand the philosophical rationale (for what it's worth) behind this, but it seems unnecessary and wasteful.

          It's funny, but I actually like the differentiation between closing a window and an application. But I do a lot via the keyboard, not the mouse, so when I want to close a window I use Command-W and know that the application will still be in memory to use Command-O or Command-N rather than having to relaunch the app. If I want to quit then I use Command-Q. I was actually a bit annoyed when they changed "single window/document/view" type applications to exit when their window was closed (though I get the rational.)

          I also launch everything from Spotlight rather than spelunking around the Finder. One of the funniest things to me is how people (not saying you) assume that Mac OS X is not for power users and is mouse centric. But if you enable "All Controls" in System Preferences->Keyboard Shortcuts, have Spotlight enabled and know the difference between Command-Tab and Command-`, you can do most driving from the keyboard. Add the Automater's Save As Service, the consistent Service interface, applescript and the ability to assign global, application and context sensitive keyboard shortcuts and for me Mac OS X is a power user's dream. All right out of the box. For instance, using the Application's Shortcuts I've bound Command-. to bring up the System Preferences and by creating a "Finder Application.app" in the automator I can use Spotlight to jump right to the finder rather than tabbing through 20 apps or mousing around in expose. Plus Shift-Command-G in virtually any file dialog and Finder and you can type in a path rather than click up and down folder hierarchies.

          While I'm in fanboy mode, I'll mention what I love most is the consistency. All (non-MS) application's text edit areas support the basic emacs-like ^a, ^d ^e, and ^k functionality. I'm an old emacs/bash guy, so I'm happy, even if it makes no sense to young-uns. Also, once you know about property lists, you can figure out where prefs are for 99% of applications. And if you can find to the right docs, you can tweak away. It almost sucks that there is no uninstaller, but it rarely matters and if you care - once again the consistency tells you exactly where to look for any left over files. I think that the "application bundle" is a great way to deal with managing all the files related to a program.

          Apologies for the fanboyism. I also came from years of Linux experience, which I loved. But for some reason Mac OS X just "clicked" for me.

          If you don't have it, I highly recommend TinkerTool [bresink.com] which is free "as in beer" to explore some level of system/UI tweaking. Also, Lingon [sourceforge.net]

          is a pretty decent open source tool for navigating all the system and user startup services provided by launchd. It's no longer under development, but it's an Apache licensed program and pretty useful so maybe someone will pick it up. I install Lingon via MacPorts [macports.org] (though the git based HomeBrew" is intriguing...) [github.com]

          OK, I'll go away now...

          • by Jeremiah Cornelius (137) on Monday October 18, 2010 @12:00PM (#33933998) Homepage Journal

            The Desktop OS is dead.

            Apple will wind down OS X over the decade - the PC era is over.

            For users, this was heralded by the advent of the iPad, which will usher in 10,000 copies. For data centers, this came with large-scale, production virtualization.

            Your beloved PC? Now a "content creator's" workstation. Everything from word processing to simple photo-editing goes on line - or into an "app".

            • by bytesex (112972) on Monday October 18, 2010 @12:18PM (#33934240) Homepage

              Because ever more CPU-demanding app-development, and ever more screen-real estate (photo/film/games/tv) demanding apps are suddenly gone ? People don't need to type anymore ? I don't get it. I've heard 'photoshop through the web is going to be here in five to ten years' for the last fifteen years now. It hasn't happened.

      • Re:wrong OS? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by pegdhcp (1158827) on Monday October 18, 2010 @10:28AM (#33932614)

        BSD's not dead of course - look only to the Mach kernel in OS X for verification. If you want to see how a desktop UNIX-based os should do it right, look at OS X. Say what you will about Apple - I don't care, only own a mac and an iPod (I have a Droid X for my phone) - but they did the desktop RIGHT. It's easy to use, fairly intuitive (passes the grandma test, for the most part), and is oh so easy to support. I remember when I got my first macbook a few years back and I had a sprint wireless broadband card for it. I was thinking "you know, I should be able to make my mac a wifi base station and share my wireless". Preferences, sharing, .... oh, that was easy. And it worked.

        Interestingly lots of people (including my wife and a number of fine arts graduates around her) do not realize that they are using a Unix system behind those shiny buttons and sliders. Do they need to know, what is a kernel, what is X and such? No, I do not think so. However if you know _and_ need you can start a terminal and start typing a cryptic series of charactes while people is watching you in amazement. This especially works, if you want to shutdown an ethernet in a _not so_ obvious way :)

        More importantly (than interesting), Apple is doing something extremely correct and keeping their GUI intuative and (I do not know how, but) compatible with older OSs they released. Like the event you mentioned, after something like 10 years away from Mac environment, it took 2 or 3 minutes for me to have a secondary monitor connected, up and running with a macbook.

        More to the point, related to the TFA, unfortunately I agree with it, on the point that Desktop is not a stronghold for Linux. The solution (if there would be any) will be in the form of a desktop manager, designed really professionally, probably not by geeks, and preferably by people who know users, and do not refer them as lusers, or talking about larting them etc.

    • Again? (Score:5, Funny)

      by suso (153703) * on Monday October 18, 2010 @09:54AM (#33932058) Homepage Journal

      Its dead again? Good thing it has a bunch of friends that can cast level 9 resurrection.

    • by Pieroxy (222434) on Monday October 18, 2010 @09:55AM (#33932078) Homepage

      I see in the summary three tags: troll, trolltroll and trolltrolltroll.

      Does it mean it's a 6*troll or an average of just a 2*troll?

  • three million (Score:5, Informative)

    by xzvf (924443) on Monday October 18, 2010 @09:34AM (#33931708)
    A 1-2% usage rate equals ~three million desktop users in the United States.
    • Re:three million (Score:5, Insightful)

      by cindyann (1916572) on Monday October 18, 2010 @09:53AM (#33932038)

      If 2% == 3M, which doesn't seem unreasonable, then 98% == 147M.

      I know a VC or two. They aren't investing in companies producing software that has a target market of 3M customers when they could be investing in companies who are writing for those other 147M.

      Just look at how long it took Apple to gain traction, and they still have what, 10% of the market? At least what Apple had going for it was a superior user experience over the next best thing at the time. Gnome and KDE have come a long way and they're pretty decent now, but they're not "killer app" better experiences than what you get on Mac and Windows these days.

    • Accept reality (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Crayon Kid (700279) on Monday October 18, 2010 @10:25AM (#33932556)

      Maybe we should start asking what those 1-2% represent.

      What kind of people use a Linux desktop full time? Geeks. Developers. Bright minds.

      Consider Linux a piece of specialized software. How many computer users run specialized software? A small percentage of the total. Yet those are important for their respective niches.

      Apple has 5% but it's the cream of the crop in regard to certain traits: people who favor aestethics and "just works" over everything else and are willing to pay extra for it.

      Maybe it's time for Linux to stop aiming for more than 5%, ever, and instead embrace what it is: a professional-grade OS, for professionals.

      Why obsess with taking over the desktop of average Joe, against Joe's wishes?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by rtb61 (674572)

      Just one query about that percentage, where exactly do dual boots end up. Do dual boots just disappear to favour the company paying for the most adds, surely the choice to dual boot should outweigh 'we are a monopoly and we are going to force manufacturers to supply you a cheap version of the OS'. You got the software as an OEM and you use it to play games but does that really count as a desktop or just a game console and the OS you boot to do work, really counts as your desktop of choice.

      Why exactly doe

  • So...? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ByOhTek (1181381) on Monday October 18, 2010 @09:35AM (#33931720) Journal

    While everything mentioned is a big detractor, that doesn't mean that Linux on the Desktop is dead. At some point, someone could come up with a way to make it work. Ubuntu was certainly more of a leap than a step in the right direction. It's moving closer every year. Of course, the desktop seems to be moving away every year too, it's a catch-up race with MS and Apple in the lead. Overall, it does seem Linux is gaining ground, just slowly.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by narrowhouse (1949)
      I almost agree with the premise of the article, just based on the fact that I think the DESKTOP is dying. Between phones and tablets I expect typical Desktop OS installations to become the minority in less than 5 years, though the desktop will live on in business, which doesn't leave time for Linux to "catch up", it will just be a player in a new game.
  • Fuck (Score:5, Funny)

    by binarylarry (1338699) on Monday October 18, 2010 @09:35AM (#33931722)

    I upgraded to Ubuntu Maverick Meetkat last week.

    It's the best desktop I ever used. And now its dead. :(

    • Re:Fuck (Score:5, Funny)

      by abigsmurf (919188) on Monday October 18, 2010 @10:01AM (#33932178)
      I upgraded to Maverick Meerkat last week. I was most disappointed when it failed to give me cheap deals on my car insurance.

      Too obscure?
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by VGPowerlord (621254)

        I upgraded to Maverick Meerkat last week. I was most disappointed when it failed to give me cheap deals on my car insurance.

        Too obscure?

        I didn't know Maverick Meerkat did that. Now, if you'd said Dealing Duck or Gibbering Gecko, then it'd make sense.

      • Re:Fuck (Score:4, Funny)

        by L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) on Monday October 18, 2010 @10:28AM (#33932604)
        They're related, but not the same. Maverick Meerkat starred in an adaptation of a feature film about homosexual fighter pilots.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by muckracer (1204794)

      > I upgraded to Ubuntu Maverick Meetkat last week.

      > It's the best desktop I ever used. And now its dead. :(

      Well...if you just look AT your box it's both alive and dead. Whereas if you look inside, it's either/or. Therefore we can conclude with certainty, that the rumours of the death of Linux on the desktop box are between 0 - 100% wrong...depending on your entanglement with the Maverick Meerkat. :-)

  • huh... why now? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by someonestolecc (1038714) on Monday October 18, 2010 @09:36AM (#33931728)
    ... i dont get it.. why now? why at all? i've been using it for years so for me it's great ..
  • by roman_mir (125474) on Monday October 18, 2010 @09:36AM (#33931732) Homepage Journal

    This entire "story" must be summed up by the following:

    Rawhide [youtube.com]
    I owe you $200 and you boys drank $300 worth of beer [youtube.com]

    Trolling, trolling, trolling
    Trolling, trolling, trolling
    Trolling, trolling, trolling
    Trolling, trolling, trolling

    Rawhide

    Trolling, trolling, trolling
    Though the streams are swollen
    Keep them doggies trolling
    Rawhide

    Rain and wind and weather
    Hell bent for leather
    Wishing my gal was by my side

    All the things I'm missin'
    Good vittels, lovin', kissin'
    Are waiting at the end of my ride

    Move 'em on, head' em up
    Head 'em up, move' em on
    Move 'em on, head' em up
    Rawhide

    Cut 'em out, ride 'em in
    Ride 'em in, cut 'em out
    Call 'em out, ride 'em in
    Rawhide

    Keep moving, moving, moving
    Though they're disapproving
    Keep them doggies moving
    Rawhide

    Don't try to understand 'em
    Just rope, throw and brand 'em
    Soon we'll be living high and wide

    My heart calculatin'
    My true love will be waitin'
    Be waiting at the end of my ride
    Move 'em on, head' em up
    Head 'em up, move' em on
    Move 'em on, head' em up
    Rawhide

    Cut 'em out, ride 'em in
    Ride 'em in, cut 'em out
    Call 'em out, ride 'em in
    Rawhide

    Move 'em on, head' em up
    Head 'em up, move' em on
    Move 'em on, head' em up
    Rawhide

    Cut 'em out, ride 'em in
    Ride 'em in, cut 'em out
    Call 'em out, ride 'em in
    Rawhide

    Trolling, trolling, trolling
    Trolling, trolling, trolling
    Trolling, trolling, trolling
    Trolling, trolling, trolling
    Rawhide

    Rawhide

  • Games (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Laz10 (708792) on Monday October 18, 2010 @09:36AM (#33931738)
    All I need is games.

    I need nothing, absolutly nothing exception playable games.
    WINE doesn't cut it, and I don't think that it ever will, I try it out regulary and it just sucks for the games I play.

    Since 2004 I have been dual-booting between Ubuntu, where I do all serious and not so serious stuff, and Windows where I keep my FPS addiction alive (currently MW2)

    • Re:Games (Score:4, Funny)

      by imakemusic (1164993) on Monday October 18, 2010 @10:17AM (#33932446)

      That and decent music creating software. I've said it before but I'll say it again: while it is possible to create music on Linux it is by no means easy or enjoyable. Get me Ableton Live on Linux and I'll be happy.

      Oh, and Photoshop.

      and a pony.

  • by rvw (755107) on Monday October 18, 2010 @09:36AM (#33931740)

    The Desktop Linux is dead! Long live the Desktop Linux! (You may shout out and dance around.)

  • by just_another_sean (919159) on Monday October 18, 2010 @09:36AM (#33931742) Homepage Journal

    As long as I can download and install a free OS for my computer from any number of sources I consider Linux (on the Desktop) alive and kicking. News of its demise has luckily not reached my Desktop and it is chugging along just fine.

  • Good timing (Score:3, Funny)

    by lotec85 (1769696) on Monday October 18, 2010 @09:36AM (#33931746)
    I got on board the Linux bandwagon just as the wheels fell off!
  • by zill (1690130) on Monday October 18, 2010 @09:37AM (#33931748)

    and the fierce ideology of the open-source community at large

    Linux troll! M$ minion! He needs to be hanged, drawn and quartered.

  • by whizbang77045 (1342005) on Monday October 18, 2010 @09:37AM (#33931750)
    Funny, I thought I heard this about the Mac several years ago. I have faith in Microsoft. They could alienate anyone.
  • by leachim6 (1007609) <mike@mik e d o n a g hy.org> on Monday October 18, 2010 @09:37AM (#33931758) Homepage

    I think a lot of linux fans don't mind it being an "indie os" y'know?

  • One other thing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by btcoal (1693074) on Monday October 18, 2010 @09:39AM (#33931792)
    Linux is also the only major OS that cannot advertise. Ubuntu 10.10 has great copy on its website extolling the benefits and showing that you can do pretty much anything on Ubuntu that you can on a Mac or Windows based PC. But...you only see that if you're already on the Ubuntu landing page. Linux also doesnt come pre-installed on the vast majority of new PC's either.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by DrXym (126579)
      Linux is also the only major OS that cannot advertise.

      Yes it can. Novell, IBM, Red Hat et al have sunk millions of dollars into advertising. Unfortunately they're advertising to people who buy servers and such like, not deploying desktops. I expect these companies realise it's kind of futile and high risk to chase the consumer market when Microsoft have it sewn up.

      Ubuntu 10.10 has great copy on its website extolling the benefits and showing that you can do pretty much anything on Ubuntu that you can on

  • wait... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by polle404 (727386) on Monday October 18, 2010 @09:40AM (#33931804)

    But I thought this was the year of the linux desktop?

    seriously, are we starting the troll posts and flamebaits in the articles now?

  • by bl8n8r (649187) on Monday October 18, 2010 @09:40AM (#33931814)

    I figured microsoft had more to worry about right now than FUD'ing up the linux arena with Paid-for blogging*, but meh.

    Desktop Linux works for me, and has been since 1997. If you don't like it, don't use it. Be thankful you have alternatives. If it weren't for *nix, you probably wouldn't.

    [*] - http://www.blogger.com/profile/5530582 [blogger.com]
                http://www.flickr.com/photos/strohmy/315871552/ [flickr.com]

  • by yyxx (1812612) on Monday October 18, 2010 @09:40AM (#33931818)

    Linux is very much alive on the desktop; it is very widely used inside corporations and universities. These "1% market share" figures are meaningless; they are usually based on device sales or web site statistics of popular web sites, neither of which tell you much about "desktop" Linux.

    Linux hasn't grabbed much of the general purpose consumer desktop market, but that market is pretty much stagnant in itself. The new consumer market is tablets, netbooks, and smartphones, and Linux is grabbing a large chunk of that with Android and (in the near future) MeeGo and Chrome.

    No need for Tux to look sad.

    • by CdBee (742846) on Monday October 18, 2010 @09:53AM (#33932040)
      I run Linux myself - and tel all my friends why its great. Most of them are interested up 'til the point where they ask if they can run out the lates MS Office on it, and Photoshop CS for their camera, and iTunes for their iPod/iPhone, and the official Yahoo and MSN Messenger releases.

      When I tell them that some of the above work but buggily under API emulation, and the rest don't, they arent interesting in hearing about other, similar apps that can do the same thing. You can talk 'til you;re blue in the face about OpenOffice and aMSN / Pidgin (not mentioning GIMP, far too silly name) - but at that point you've already lost.
  • Right... okay... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sylak (1611137) on Monday October 18, 2010 @09:40AM (#33931820)
    So, by citing many unrelated facts, and some things which the average user doesn't know enough about to care, he has proved that Desktop Linux is dead. Okay, i buy that.
  • by Jartan (219704) on Monday October 18, 2010 @09:41AM (#33931838)

    Everyone always thinks the point of games is biased but the reality is a large portion of nerds/geeks/hackers/etc are gamers. These people are not in any way large compared to the market as a whole but they make up a huge chunk of the people that can easily switch and might want to switch. Without these people leading the way for others to switch I suspect Linux will always be stuck.

    Clearly Microsoft knows what it's doing too. This is probably the main reason they don't just outright 100% abandon their PC game market in favor of the Xbox.

  • Evil Twin day? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by zwei2stein (782480) on Monday October 18, 2010 @09:42AM (#33931860) Homepage

    What is going on today on /.?

    Linux Destop is Dead, Top 10 Reasons to Work for Micsoroft, Pirated Software Making Anti Teorist Drones Fail, MS Donating Software to Charity, Why We Should Use Dell and Forget Custom Desktops, Earth Shortage...

    Did ... did it finally grow up? Sell out? Get brainwashed? Recieved ms-paid escort service? All of it in one hectic night?

  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Monday October 18, 2010 @09:43AM (#33931876)
    I'm a pretty geeky guy who has played around with Linux many times over the years (starting back in the late 90's), hoping to get away from Windows. Frankly, I would love nothing better than an OS I could put on my parents' computers and not have to worry about them calling me a month later complaining about all the pop-ups and viruses they have. And, while great strides have been made with Ubuntu, I'm still not convinced that Linux will ever be that OS I'm looking for. I know these will all be poo-pooed by the Linux fans, but here are/were some of the problems that I (as a very technically literate Windows user) have run up against when I've installed Linux in the past*:
    1. Confusing distros Just thinking about all the different distros and configurations still gives me a headache. Ubuntu has blunted this somewhat, but even with that you have to get into the Gnome vs. KDE thing, which is damned confusing to a layperson. The worst part of this is trying to download software for Linux off of some website and running into multiple versions with odd notations regarding different distros.
    2. Poor documentation Again, Ubuntu helps. But even that is spotty compared to Windows. And the "documentation" website of many distros (and Linux software apps) is little more than a bugfix list.
    3. Software, Software, Software this is the biggest problem, and not so easily dismissed as some fans would pretend. My mom, for example, uses special software to interface with her high-end sewing machine. Is it available for Linux? Probably not. Can I just direct her to a clone of equal quality? Probably not.
    4. Little support (if not openly hostile) There aren't a lot of places to call for Linux support. And a lot of the places you can go for support on the net are filled with Linuix fanatics who are openly hostile to Windows switchers and newbies. The level of "you don't belong here" attitude towards newbies in Linux circles makes Apple fans look civil.
    5. Ways of doing things that are confusing to a Windows user with windows, I can go to a website, download an installer and install my software. with Linux I can install it via the built-in installer. but that only works if said software is in the repository. If not, getting it installed is often a lot more complex than just downloading a file and double clicking on it to install. Which brings me to:
    6. Still too much reliance on the command line interface Telling someone to break out a command line and type "sudo apt-get whateverthefuck" is like telling a Windows user to reinstall DOS and learn its syntax.

    Those are just some of the reasons Linux still isn't there for me. Ubuntu has come a long way toward this, but it's still just not there.

    *maybe some of these issues have been more recently resolved, but I can only go on my fairly recent dealings with Ununtu and Debian.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by js3 (319268)

      Pretty right on most points. To me linux distros are like wrapping paper. underneath it's still a chaotic mess as soon as you try to install anything not included with the distro you run into install hell. Software is the most annoying thing to me when I deal with linux. So you find this app you want to install.. install it and it requires lib.version.x or whatever. So you go download the said lib and it's version x+5 and it doesn't work and all that bullshit. Why can't they just come as independent package

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Colonel Korn (1258968)

      Frankly, I would love nothing better than an OS I could put on my parents' computers and not have to worry about them calling me a month later complaining about all the pop-ups and viruses they have.

      With my parents, Windows 7 with Firefox/Adblock as a browser finally accomplished this. By default they don't allow root privileges when prompted unless they were planning on installing something or it's on the very short list of annoying but safe autoupdaters they've seen and cleared with me.

    • by hoggoth (414195) on Monday October 18, 2010 @10:21AM (#33932490) Journal

      KDE vs. Gnome: Tell me about it!

      I wanted a drop dead simple distro for my wife and my mother to do their email and web browsing with no more virus headaches. I read up and found that Linux Mint was the friendliest experience out of the box.
      I went to Linux Mint's website to get it and was offered this choice:

      Linux Mint Gnome 32 bit edition
      Linux Mint Gnome 64 bit edition
      Linux Mint KDE 32 bit edition
      Linux Mint KDE 64 bit edition
      Linux Mint Xfce 32 bit edition
      Linux Mint Xfce 64 bit edition
      Linux Mint LDXE edition
      Linux Mint Fluxbox edition
      Linux Mint Debian edition

      WTF. Now maybe I'm out of the loop and haven't been going to my local Linux club meetings, and I certainly don't know the secret handshake, but seeing this choice with absolutely no explanation of what the hell the difference is does not inspire me about a distro famous for being "simple for newcomers".

      Perhaps there is ONE MAIN DEFAULT edition with some alternate editions available, but that isn't how it appears on their webpage.

      I think I'll get them Macs.

  • Sad (Score:3, Interesting)

    by zn0k (1082797) on Monday October 18, 2010 @09:44AM (#33931886)

    It is kind of sad how obvious the whole "flamewars for ad views" thing has become on this site.

  • Oh come on. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dancindan84 (1056246) on Monday October 18, 2010 @09:44AM (#33931896)
    10 years ago before the iPod was released if someone had told me that Apple would have a wildly popular music device, a huge share of the smart phone market, a respectable piece of the desktop market and unbelievable sway over industry direction I'd have been hard pressed to say I thought it would happen. At the time they were fairly niche to graphic work for the most part, similar to how Linux is currently doing it's best in the server niche.

    "2010 is the year of the Linux desktop!!" isn't realistic, but neither is "Linux on the desktop is dead!!"
  • by DarkOx (621550) on Monday October 18, 2010 @09:45AM (#33931918) Journal

    Look at it this way. The operating system is becoming more and more a commodity. Most of the content "desktop" users want is online, and is going to be accessed via browsers. The other things they want to do are pretty much play video disks (blue-ray is a problem right now) and do pretty basic document editing and e-mail. There are some users that want do basic video work and like as well.

    None of these things require a finely tuned OS any more, even Linux with its recent advances in hardware detection and automatic configuration do a good enough job that all this is possible with little technical know how. I don't even have an xorg.conf on the system I am using right now. Android phones are more capable than the PCs most of us were using less than a decade ago. Linux certainly can be the platform on which an end user interface is build and its proven it can host the ever more limited selection of applications.

    There is not going to be a market for Operating systems that have licensing costs for home users pretty soon. Look how popular the IPAD is! More and more people are realizing what they want is a smart phone with a word processor and some games, a PIM, and financial package of some type; not a "home PC". Linux devices are perfect for that role; as Droid has already proven. Just wait until some of the tablet manufacturers like Motion Computing marry their existing hardware (tablets with stands and removable keyboards) to a droid like platform and target consumers. My guess is they will have the same success Apple is enjoying.

  • by bergie (29834) on Monday October 18, 2010 @09:47AM (#33931942) Homepage
    I'd say, the concept of desktop as it was defined through 80s and 90s is beginning to die. Touch interfaces, actually well-working mobile devices and web services ("the cloud") are taking over more and more of the desktop's traditional role. More than a problem for the Linux desktop, I see this shift as a big opportunity as the importance of the traditional vendors like Microsoft is declining. Here are some ideas on what the "Linux desktop" ought to do: http://bergie.iki.fi/blog/the_web_and_the_free_desktop/ [bergie.iki.fi]
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Ephemeriis (315124)

      I'd say, the concept of desktop as it was defined through 80s and 90s is beginning to die.

      Agreed.

      Smartphones, iPhones, iPods, and iPads are becoming major players. We've got an assortment of ebook readers and netbooks and whatnot that don't really run a traditional "desktop" OS of any kind. Even conventional Windows machines are shipping with stripped-down non-desktop environments loaded on them. My new Dell latitude came with some kind of Linux-based instant-on environment for surfing the web and reading email. Folks buy televisions and set-top boxes that'll stream content from YouTube or H

  • Every time Linux has been on its way to success on the desktop Microsoft has stepped in and made its life short. Why did Dell despite pretty decent figures refuse to sell their Linux desktops in the open? Why was it only avaliable in a very limited amount of countries? Why did a computer with Linux cost more than one without an OS or FreeDos, or Windows?

    Linux was well enroute to gooble the whole netbook market up when suddenly Asus ditched it overnight after hard pressure from Microsoft. Resellers refused to take it in despite good sales figures.

    This has nothing to do with Linux in itself. It could be the best OS in the world but it still dont have a chance until the monopoly is broken. The OEMs are held by the balls by Microsoft and nothing will change until that grip is lessened.

  • by CodePwned (1630439) on Monday October 18, 2010 @09:53AM (#33932046)

    My name is Chad and I hate using linux... however....

    Linux has never tried to replace windows for the common user. It's focused on being a useful, security minded, light weight alternative for power users, IT professionals etc...

    Linux has never marketed itself as a gaming platform, or multimedia home system etc. There are flavors of linux USED that way, but never advertised like windows. Linux has only recently (past 5 years) reached a point where it is user friendly to new users. Fedora Core or Unbuntu really took off with the whole user experience.

    "But there's no content!"... what are you smoking? Sure... your mom can't install "Couponfriend" on a linux machine but that's not what Linux as a whole is focusing on. Linux is a business grade utility. It's a solid alternative to windows that allows you to do almost everything windows can do. The limitations you encounter are what programs you use.

    A company I work with recently made the push to move to linux distros instead of windows. Dear lord the users hated it at first until productivity went up, and IT costs went down after 6 months.

    There were 567 LESS tickets concerning hacked machines, malware and crashes. The centralized management software they use controls what can be installed on the machine... and pushing installs works just like windows except the machine doesn't have to restart. This solved a lot of issues for the small business as they just couldn't afford the windows equivalents.

    The difficulty comes in what programs are being used. Users navigate just like they used to to find files. Hell they even created "My Document" folders... except those are hosted on a SAN, but the user doesn't know.

    Linux is NOT dead as a desktop OS. It just might not be at the point of a typical user who thinks Best Buy is a smart place to go for a computer.

  • Lame and pointless (Score:3, Insightful)

    by after.fallout.34t98e (1908288) on Monday October 18, 2010 @10:00AM (#33932148)

    Most computer users I come across need 4 applications: an internet browser, a pdf viewer, a program that can open word and a program that can open excel files. I haven't seen a Linux desktop that doesn't provide these out of the box in the past few years.

    So, what is missing from getting Linux to the masses?
    1. retail distribution channels (walmart, dell, ...)
    2. marketing presence
    3. easy to use, consolidated app store with a way for users to actually pay for stuff

    Google could easily fix all 3 of those issues; why hasn't it yet? ... ChromeOS. Expect a solid windows competitor in the next few years.

  • by dwheeler (321049) on Monday October 18, 2010 @10:01AM (#33932180) Homepage Journal

    I'm posting this, from a Linux desktop. It doesn't look dead to me.

  • by Baavgai (598847) on Monday October 18, 2010 @10:17AM (#33932448) Homepage

    The only real thing that holds Linux back on the desktop is hardware. No so much the actual computer as the myriad of junk people plug into them.

    A POS printer from Walmart will run fine on Windows, but not any Linux distro. So many of the external toys that people expect to simply buy and use have zero Linux support. Wifi in particular is tragic.

    I use Linux and accept I may have to do a little research to get some PlugAndPray toy that will work. Grandma is lucky if she can figure out where the plug goes. If she plugs into windows, it will usually hold her hand, at the very least say something. If she plugs it into a Linux box, it can be ominously silent.

  • Funny Stuff (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Bob9113 (14996) on Monday October 18, 2010 @10:51AM (#33932978) Homepage

    Six months ago my brother, who is a very stalwart end-user-only, tried Ubuntu for the first time. He now recommends it for everything except for gaming.

    But he is pretty smart -- probably not a fair test.

    Two weeks ago my neighbor across the street came to me and said she had a problem with her computer. She explained the issue in very primitive terms which boiled down to a broad-spectrum viral infection of Windows. She said a friend of her son had recommended that she "Do something called 'wipe my hard drive' then install Ooo Boo Too on Windows." The conversation continued in this vein for a while. In short, she is neither the sharpest tack in the drawer nor a skilled computer user. She asked for my help with the install. I said, well, maybe I should stay here in case you need help, but you should try to do it all yourself. If you can figure it all out, then you should be OK with using it, but it is pretty different from Windows.

    I helped out with a couple confidence things -- "Should I really wipe the whole hard drive?" "Yes.", "Do I really need a password?" "[brief pro/con explanation]" "OK, I'll use a password." -- but she did the rest on her own. Once it was up I showed her where the icons were and how to search for more software, where to put in her password for the local wi-fi she uses, how the system updater works -- but nothing else. I left feeling a little nauseous about the number of "How do I..." questions I would get over the ensuing days.

    Two days later I stopped over to ask how it was going. "It's great -- works a lot better than Windows did." (which I ascribed to cruft and viruses having made her Windows install slow) I asked if she had any questions. "Nope, everything is working just fine."

  • by Seth Kriticos (1227934) on Monday October 18, 2010 @11:15AM (#33933318)

    I really don't mind some well written trolling, but this is just pathetic.

    Linux on the desktop is fine and better than ever. No, it's not mainstream (and I actually hope it stays so, I don't think more than 20% market share is healthy for any OS). It's fine in a way that there is an increasing user base. Also technically it's quite mature, and exceeds most of the competition in many ways (I'd list them, but it gets repetitive).

    Now granted, apps on Linux, especially commercial ones need some more work. And it's being done, slowly. Just from the distribution I see (Ubuntu), there are big strides to include this into the Software Center (yes, we have that already). It's still in test mode for the next half a year, but I think with a high probability that it will attract a lot of commercial interest.

    I also run a site with international audience (mostly the U.S. and China, + 67 other countries with 2k+ visitors a day, mostly private users) and the Linux share is at 2.88% there. This is much better than one or two years ago.

    So anyone telling me that the OS I currently write from is not existent or does not evolve is full of BS IMO. And the troll article was not even written in a way that would be fun to read (and we Linux folks have humor if you hit some valid points). Bad editor, grow some spine!

  • by dacarr (562277) on Monday October 18, 2010 @11:29AM (#33933492) Homepage Journal
    OK. So if desktop Linux is dead, it's moving pretty well on my computer, which tells me that it's undead. So I, for one, welcome our new zombie penguin overlords.
  • In a related story (Score:4, Insightful)

    by lushmore (41101) on Monday October 18, 2010 @11:35AM (#33933586)

    Trolling articles are still alive and well.

  • The cult of UNIX (Score:4, Insightful)

    by couch_warrior (718752) on Monday October 18, 2010 @12:25PM (#33934320)
    I have been a devotee of Linux for nearly 15 years. I have faithfully followed first redhat, and now the fedora releases. All my PCs at least dual-boot, if not run native Linux all the time. I even TAUGHT Linux for a major computer company for a while. In my informally gathered experience, there are three things holding Linux back- 1) The cult of UNIX mentality - this is a belief, deeply held by many OSS fans, that it is morally wrong to make software easy to use. If it was hard to code, it should require effort from the user to make use of it, otherwise how will they appreciate your hard work? Microsoft on the other hand got it a loooong time ago. Ease of use isn't just nice to have, it is the one overiding factor that outweighs all others in software design. Flexibility just confuses most users. security is a sick sad joke that only security wonks care about. Until the Linux community embraces the overwhelming truth that ease of use is ALL that matters, they will be doomed to be a hobby OS for out-of-touch tech weenies. 2) Endlessly re-inventing the wheel. I think Redhat/ Fedora is now on their third version of the X-windows package, and there is talk of scrapping the whole thing for a new windowing paradigm. Every six months I do a version upgrade, and my desktop breaks, my icons disappear, my scripts stop working because the directories have changed. For the love of sanity PLEASE knock it off. If it ain't broke, DON"T FIX IT!!! If you want people to really use Linux, focus on a consistent user experience, keep the magic behind the curtain, and stop screwing up the user interface. 3) Fear of licenses. Every time I upgrade fedora, I have to spend hours getting my Xine video player, web browser, and games to work again. Give up the insanity guys. The world is not going to change to suit your whiny childish prejudices. There's all kinds of industry standard free software out there that EVERYONE uses. You are just marginalizing Linux by not supporting it in your distros. 'Nuff said.

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