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Cloud Linux

Old Arguments May Cost Linux the Desktop 591

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the water-under-the-bridge dept.
itwbennett writes "The old Linux arguments that pit one tool against another — Evolution vs. Thunderbird, LibreOffice vs. OpenOffice, and GNOME3 vs. Unity vs. KDE vs. everything else — may cost Linux its shot at the desktop, opines blogger Brian Proffitt. 'We can compare LibreOffice to OpenOffice.org to Office till the cows come home,' says Proffitt. 'But what happens when Google Docs gets truly robust enough for business and high-end document production? Or Prezi gets enough mindshare to start an upwards trajectory of user numbers?' It should be the case that increasing reliance on cloud software will make it easier for businesses to choose Linux, but for that to happen, Linux communities need to stop fighting the old fights, says Proffitt."
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Old Arguments May Cost Linux the Desktop

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    • by somersault (912633) on Wednesday August 10, 2011 @12:11PM (#37045156) Homepage Journal

      In other news this week:

      Call Of Duty vs Battlefield - who could possibly choose? Certainly nobody could ever like both!
      Brown bread vs white - when will the madness end?
      Blondes vs brunettes vs redheads - the human race is falling apart!
      Peanut butter vs jelly - the only choice at breakfast time is to cry :'(
      Coffee vs tea - the hot beverage industry will implode if we don't just CHOOSE ONE gods-damn-it!

      • Apart from Call of Duty vs. Battlefield, the examples you give don't have built-in network effects that make a product more useful when everybody else is using the same product. When everybody is using the same operating system, everybody can run the same applications. Or is everybody already running the same operating system of HTML + CSS + JavaScript + CACHE MANIFEST + localStorage?
      • by poity (465672)

        Variety in entertainment is good, everyone wants variety in enjoyable things. Perhaps that's one of the reasons nerds like variety in their software -- software is partly fun/entertaining to them. But for people whose idea of fun is different, software is merely a cold hard tool, and a tool is only useful if it's consistent.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      1. This article blindly assumes that "linux on everybody's desktop" is a goal. It may be for some people, but if I had to put money on it, I'd say that 95% of linux users don't really give a damn. Linux will always be useful for them, irrespective of whether grandma can buy a desktop with linux pre-installed.

      2. Linux already IS on the desktop for millions of people. It's been on my desktop for 14 years. It may not be on grandma's desktop, but again, why would I care? I use linux because it's the best tool f

      • Economies of scale (Score:5, Insightful)

        by tepples (727027) <tepples AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday August 10, 2011 @12:19PM (#37045256) Homepage Journal

        It may not be on grandma's desktop, but again, why would I care?

        Developers of specialized software lack the resources to support every platform. They choose which platforms to support based on which could make the most money for them. And right now, Windows and Mac OS X have much clearer economies of scale than GNU/Linux. So if GNU/Linux isn't widespread, it won't draw a large selection of specialized software, especially in those markets that free software has historically had trouble serving [pineight.com].

      • by ByOhTek (1181381)

        I think part of the issue/annoyance is that the most vocal crowd tends to be the face of a group. In this case, the crowd is the "You are doing [X] with your computer and not using Linux? What's wrong with you, obviously Linux is the best choice for [X]!"

      • Precisely.

        Linophiles pining after the fabled "Year of Linux on the Desktop" are missing the point by 10 years. The desktop is over. The future in the consumer computing space lies in Android/iOS types of applications.

        In a decade people won't have bulky desktops taking up space in their house, they'll either be using sleek and instant-fast tablets, or portable devices that they take everywhere with them, plugging up to home entertainment centers if needed, but mostly being mobile.

        It's a silly argument. Linux

        • by arth1 (260657)

          Linophiles pining after the fabled "Year of Linux on the Desktop" are missing the point by 10 years. The desktop is over. The future in the consumer computing space lies in Android/iOS types of applications.

          In a decade people won't have bulky desktops taking up space in their house, they'll either be using sleek and instant-fast tablets, or portable devices that they take everywhere with them, plugging up to home entertainment centers if needed, but mostly being mobile.

          That's short-sighted. Ten years ago, people said the same about Tablet PCs and Palm Pilots. The thing is you don't know what will be popular ten years down the road, because there will be something new you haven't thought of yet. Android is a fad, just like pretty much all technology - how many years it gets, no one can predict.

          Once the masses discover something, it's already on the way down. It may linger for a while, but there will be something new and better already.

      • Ooh, I didn't even notice the slashdot meme, "It's been on MY desktop since..."

        mod +1 - qualifying cliche usage

      • by MightyYar (622222)

        I wish Linux (or some open unix-like system) were popular. I prefer the Unix way to the MS way, but because of the MS monopoly you can't get any good commercial software for anything except Windows, and sometimes Mac. Right now the only way to get unix and a decent proprietary software selection is to run Mac, but the hardware is very limited and the Franken-Mac thing is too much work and not a sure thing.

        I have a Mac laptop and a Windows desktop (and a Mac server and FreeBSD server in the basement), but I'

      • by couchslug (175151)

        The article is simply designed to get page hits. That is all.

      • by arth1 (260657)

        1. This article blindly assumes that "linux on everybody's desktop" is a goal. It may be for some people, but if I had to put money on it, I'd say that 95% of linux users don't really give a damn. Linux will always be useful for them, irrespective of whether grandma can buy a desktop with linux pre-installed.

        The thing is that she can, but I sincerely hope that she won't.
        Not only because a 112 year old zombie would scare the crap out of the poor store clerk, but because I would have to support it. I don't want to support a system I had no hands in setting up, and no control of the software that goes on it.

      • by Rob Y. (110975) on Wednesday August 10, 2011 @12:49PM (#37045796)

        You assume that Linux is developing in a vacuum, and it magically got good enough to be on your desktop. But that's not how it happened.

        Linux got good enough quickly enough that various critical players assumed it would soon (or at least eventually) be a viable desktop alternative. So they began to support it. You probably wouldn't be using Linux on your desktop (at least not exclusively) were there no nVidia drivers, various HP printer drivers, Broadcom (yes, a late comer) and, yes, Flash support available for it. But what you willfully refuse to see is that all of those things became available because their vendors assumed they'd get some advantage from providing them.

        There's a whole rash of things that never became available (Quicken, games, etc), because their vendors didn't see the advantage of Linux support, or were holding back to wait for critical mass, or wanted to jump in, but were stymied by the need to choose a platform on top of Linux (GNOME, KDE, etc) to target.

        If it becomes obvious that critical mass will never come, those last players may never jump in. And the first group may jump out (no nVidia drivers for new classes of cards, etc). Hell, even Firefox support on Linux is lagging Windows these days. So you can argue all you want that 'choice is good' and 'I can use Linux, so why should I care', but you can only use linux because other people have cared in the past. Wake up. World domination is not the goal - viability is, and that goal can slip through your fingers even though you are happy with your Linux setup today.

      • by kiwimate (458274)

        Wasn't aware there was a goal

        Then you haven't been paying attention. It's a goal for several reasons:

        * Blind hatred of Microsoft by idealists;
        * Fervent desire to promote the FOSS agenda and/or ideology.

        Slightly more pragmatically:

        * The awareness that a niche product means limited options for those who want more choice.

        This is the irony. Linux is about freedom of choice, but if it is not prevalent on the desktop then you have a vastly restricted choice of anything outside of the most ubiquitous types of product. Software developers prim

  • Old? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lord Lode (1290856) on Wednesday August 10, 2011 @12:02PM (#37045018)

    Is LibreOffice vs. OpenOffice an old argument? It's hardly a year old...

    • by ByOhTek (1181381)

      I think he means it's a continuation of the same fight seen often enough before.

      I'd rather agree. Competition is good, but too much can hurt things. A bit more cooperation would not be bad.

  • by mrflash818 (226638) on Wednesday August 10, 2011 @12:03PM (#37045024) Homepage Journal

    ...is more important than monoculture, in my humble opinion.

    If only 1 percent of computer users use Linux, then I will argue they are the Top 1 percent ;)

    • by ByOhTek (1181381) on Wednesday August 10, 2011 @12:11PM (#37045152) Journal

      Is there anywhere in the OSS community where cutting the number of options in half would produce a monoculture?

      Admittedly there is only one Linux kernel, heavily modified, but you could add the BSD Kernels and Hurd to make up for that.

      With desktop environments, a dime a dozen would be highway robbery.

      There are a few that stand out in any of the areas, but in general, a bit more cooperation probably would help more than hinder. Getting rid of the ideological and dick-waving flame wars of who's project is the best solution for a given problem, and seeing (and in some cases, combining) the strengths of the competition (or even, in some cases, merging products) moreso than is done now, would probably help.

      Some of the issues is that there are too many choices, which most users don't want. They want what works, and on average case, does best, not three tools that do about the same thing, but only handle a small part of that "thing" the best.

      • by h4rr4r (612664)

        Some of the issues is that there are too many choices, which most users don't want. They want what works, and on average case, does best, not three tools that do about the same thing, but only handle a small part of that "thing" the best.

        No they don't, they want whatever the next TV commercial tells them to want. Too many choices, is like too much money. It is a problem we should all be so lucky to have.

        • No they don't, they want whatever the next TV commercial tells them to want.

          Right, so they don't want to choose... were you trying to contradict yourself?

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by h4rr4r (612664)

            Not at all. The point is they don't want to choose, so FUCK'EM!
            These are the same people that would complain about too much money, idiots!

            I DO NOT GIVE A FLYING FUCK AT A ROLLING DONUT ABOUT THEM.

  • "May cost"?? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tigersha (151319) on Wednesday August 10, 2011 @12:04PM (#37045030) Homepage

    Linux does not have a shot at the desktop and never will. That is some /. nerd fantasy.

    • more like the year of linux in your pants!
      errr.... pocket.... yeah, that's what I meant...
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by h4rr4r (612664)

      So then my desktop does not exist?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by GooberToo (74388)

      I keep hearing this. Oddly enough, back when Linux had 1% of the desktop market, its continued to grow on desktops.

      People seem extremely confused about what this all means. Will Linux every have 80% of the desktop market? Not likely. Is the current desktop count under reported? Extremely likely. Realistically, the year of the Linux desktop arrived years ago. As you said, 80% is some /. nerd, idiot, fantasy. Just the same, Linux likely has something between 5%-8% of the desktop market. And frankly, even 1% m

    • by Gedvondur (40666)

      I would agree.

      Useability issues, hostile support community and general lack of hardware support (desktop) all contribute to Linux being an unpopular desktop.

      Really, support is the kicker, not acquisition cost. The industry has been turning PC support folks into the equivalent of data janitors for years now, both in prestige and pay. If you are dedicated enough to get *good* at supporting Linux, you are going to get a much-better paying admin job, not keep on schlepping desktops for minimal cash. Supporting

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by GooberToo (74388)

        hostile support community

        That's a new one.

        and general lack of hardware support (desktop)

        That's just simply not true. Linux has superior hardware support than does Vista and Win 7.

        • Linux has hardware support for things 20 years old that almost no one needs on a modern computer. Windows 7/Vista has support for almost every piece of hardware being sold today -- Linux does not.

        • hostile support community

          That's a new one.

          Actually, it's pretty old. I doubt you'd find too many people here on Slashdot that haven't run into some hostility from open source developers or their groupies in their early years.

    • Re:"May cost"?? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by datajerk (63203) on Wednesday August 10, 2011 @12:27PM (#37045416) Homepage

      Linux does not have a shot at the desktop and never will.

      Define desktop. If it is the principle UI that you use to communicate with the Internet and run applications, then...

      There are 7 billion people. ~2 billion PCs and ~5 billion phones worldwide. The growth UI will be in phones and other low cost devices. *That*, is the new desktop and it will be Linux-based.

      My TiVo and my Blu-ray player run Linux. That could be considered a media desktop. Or media UI. For some, sadly, TV is their principle app.

      Linux has won the desktop OS wars. It's just that nobody knows it yet.

      As for desktop UI apps, the future is HTML5.

      • by ChrisMP1 (1130781)

        As for desktop UI apps, the future is HTML5.

        I think I speak for most here when I say this:

        Oh gods no, please no, no no no no, never!

      • by tknd (979052)

        Oh, I like this. Let's just redefine "desktop" to mean something else where linux happens to dominate and we'll say "the linux desktop has arrived!!" By that logic I can redefine BSD to mean OSX and OSX to mean iOS and now that iGadgets are so popular the BSD desktop has arrived!

        Of course it is all nonsense. By desktop we mean that PC that most office workers are forced to use. We mean the UI that those workers are forced to use. We mean the software platform and training everyone is put through. That "ch

    • are you telling me this is NOT the year of the Linux desktop? That's news to me!

    • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Wednesday August 10, 2011 @12:41PM (#37045690)

      For Linux to ever have a shot on the desktop, it would have to stop being Linux. Namely it would have to get some standards beyond the kernel. It would have to become a system where a lot more was standardized and you could rely on features, packages, UIs, etc being in all distributions. To desktop users, an OS isn't a kernel, it is a rich experience that comprises, well, everything you find on a Windows or MacOS disc. Until that happens, it'll never be an OS people want to use on the desktop because people don't want choice, they want consistency. That doesn't mean it couldn't still be flexible, just that it would have mandatory features and defaults.

      Along those lines it would have to do away with having source be something a user had any idea existed. No distributing programs as source, no recompiling the kernel to make something work, all binary all the time for users. Again, wouldn't mean it would have to get rid of source, just that the user experience couldn't include it. That would have to be all nice guided installers that are fast and easy.

      These things aren't important to servers, and completely unimportant to embedded devices, hence Linux has done well there. However they are what people need on the desktop.

      Notice that the end-user facing Linux that has had the most success by far is Android and it does precisely those things. It gives users and developers a consistent environment and set of tools that are guaranteed to be there, since they are a part of what Android is. It provides easy, binary-only installs for users so they just click on what they want and get it.

      That's what Linux as a whole would have to do to have a chance of capturing a significant share of the desktop market. So long as the answer to problems remains "Oh just use a different distro, that one doesn't have feature X and Y," or "Recompile your kernel with these options to make that work," it'll be the sort of thing that there isn't widespread interest in.

      • by fnj (64210)

        Disregarding your straw horse that a typical linux user now has to worry about compiling source code, which is nonsense, your premise about lockstep uniformity (which you don't even attempt to justify) leaves me cold, and implying that Windows offers a rich experience that linux somehow doesn't has me utterly mystified. You imply that linux doesn't come with important pieces that are present in Windows and OSX. I will pass on OSX, which I don't have much experience with, but just comparing linux with Wind

    • by Hatta (162192)

      I don't know what you're talking about. Linux has run on my desktops for 10 years.

  • Umm, what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Wednesday August 10, 2011 @12:07PM (#37045072) Journal
    So, let me get this straight: "Linux On the Desktop" is doomed because, when 'cloud applications' come into the fore, there will still be nerds with strong opinions about native applications?

    Isn't that exactly backward?

    If "The Cloud" rises up and devours natives software, nobody will give a fuck about any application on the Linux desktop, except for the browser(the state of which is fine) and none of the suits will care about the raging emacs/vi crusades, so long as they can get their almost-thin-clients booted into gmail as cheaply as possible...

    The hypothetical rise of in-browser stuff renders battles about the relative value of assorted linux-native applications irrelevant, that's sort of the whole point.
    • by tverbeek (457094)

      When the Cloud takes over, Linux will "win" the desktop because the desktop won't matter, and Linux will be the cheapest one.

      Which will be a bit like "winning" a war in which the territory conquered turns out to be a worthless expanse of sand (and no oil).

    • If "The Cloud" rises up and devours natives software, nobody will give a fuck about any application on the Linux desktop, except for the browser(the state of which is fine) and none of the suits will care about the raging emacs/vi crusades, so long as they can get their almost-thin-clients booted into gmail as cheaply as possible...

      Considering that Windows can't really be stripped down to bare essentials, atleast not yet, and used just as a thin-client but Linux can be stripped down to fit in under 200 megabytes, INCLUDING browser... well, I'd say that actually makes it darn interesting for someone solely focused on "cloud" software.

    • The application fight is not the issue that needs primary attention.
      Microsoft is coasting on an interface/ architecture that is "good enough", Linux and Mac are doing the same.
      It should be better... Imagine three people playing a game on one machine (three monitors/ mice/keyboards/headsets) , with a fourth playing the same via a thin client, and a fifth playing over the network. This is doable with modern hardware, but the OS isn't there. There are dozens of major architecture problems hobbling "modern
  • No point (Score:4, Insightful)

    by nyctopterus (717502) on Wednesday August 10, 2011 @12:07PM (#37045086) Homepage

    Once people shift to using cloud-based software, the very reason for people to use Linux on the desktop (software freedom) is lost in any case. It will be a case of getting past the post after the race is over.

    • by tepples (727027)

      Once people shift to using cloud-based software, the very reason for people to use Linux on the desktop (software freedom) is lost in any case.

      Cloud-based software might take over the desktop, but I've described in another post [slashdot.org] why it won't take over the laptop as quickly.

    • by hawguy (1600213)

      Once people shift to using cloud-based software, the very reason for people to use Linux on the desktop (software freedom) is lost in any case. It will be a case of getting past the post after the race is over.

      While that may be a reason why *some* people use Linux, those users won't suddenly stop using Linux because LibreOffice and Openoffice are fighting. For companies, however, its issues like cost, manageability, security that are important. Companies don't care how free and open LibreOffice is compared to Openoffice, they just know that users want MS Office.

      Let companies ditch MS Office for online alternatives, and suddenly companies won't find MS Windows on the desktop so neccessary. And along with it goes

    • Software freedom may be the reason you use Linux. It isn't my reason.

    • by LWATCDR (28044)

      I disagree. What keeps people using Windows is applications. There always seems to be that one app that there is no good FOSS replacement for. In the enterprise space it will be some mission critical app written in VB or a web app that requires IE6.
      Once those have been migrated to the cloud then you are free to move to a different OS and this is already happening. A lot of people are moving to the Mac because they can do everything they need to do on a Mac. In large part that is because so much of what we d

    • Re:No point (Score:5, Insightful)

      by couchslug (175151) on Wednesday August 10, 2011 @12:34PM (#37045554)

      "Once people shift to using cloud-based software" ....they will get bitch-slapped by its limitations.

  • Only because it has the "it's different.... WOW!" factor. after that it will be a meh moment.

    Prezi is a PITA to use compared to Keynote or Libre Impress. I have given the info to some of the marketing people here and they give up after 10 minutes and go back to Libre Office and their dancing gif's and stupid looking presentations.

    Now Google Docs, if they come in FTW and have linux,Windows,OSX native apps that work when not connected to the intarwebs.... I'm all for it.

  • Meh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Beelzebud (1361137) on Wednesday August 10, 2011 @12:10PM (#37045138)
    I'm done caring about the "year of the desktop debate". I use Windows 7 for gaming and I use Linux for everything else. If that puts me in a 1% camp, then so be it.
    • by h4rr4r (612664)

      To reduce the number of reboots you might want to look into wine or the commercial option crossover. I know, I know, it might not be as fast, and it might not support every game ever, but if it works for you it could be an option.

      I use it less and less as I start to become more interested in playing only games that are released for linux, but I still use it for AAA games.

      • Been there, done that with Wine. When I want to play games, I just want to play them, not bug test and troubleshoot them. So for any sane person, that just wants to make the most out of their hardware, and play any current game of their choosing, then Win7 is the way to go. For me personally, it's what I prefer. I'd rather reboot the machine once in awhile, as opposed to spending more time trying to make the game work, than playing it.
        • by h4rr4r (612664)

          For me it the opposite. I can't be bothered to keep windows working and bother with antivirus and all that BS.

          Also I used Crossover, which is commercially supported and does not require me to bugtest.

  • Gamers and computer enthusiasts might stick with it, but regular users will use specialized devices as they become more compact, power efficient and above all, cheap.
  • by jazman_777 (44742) on Wednesday August 10, 2011 @12:15PM (#37045186) Homepage
    That all the arguing in the community is what is holding Linux back is itself a tired old argument.
    • I have to wonder why Taco even bothered posting this article. We've been seeing essentially the same argument -- any linked to many times on /. -- for over ten years now. I'd bet five bucks that this "Brian Proffitt" character hasn't even been using Linux on the desktop that long.
  • ...about porting Linux apps to the Cloud? TFA talks about how OpenOffice/LibreOffice will never make it to the cloud in time to be competitive vs Google Docs/Office Live...but if the Linux/FOSS crowd wants their software to remain open, why would they use such applications in the cloud? Would providing the app via the cloud into a browser be considered "distribution" of the application or binary, and if so would the cloud provider be required to provide their modified source to interested parties? If not,
  • Lets be honest here, soon we wont have desktops like we have had for the last 20. We are right back to the micro, mini and mainframe paradigm, but now the micro-comps will be MIDs (consumption), mini-comps will be dedicated workstations (production), mainframes are the cloud (storage, processing). Linux is never going to be loved by the masses. People love marketing, Linux is pretty much the opposite of sexy marketing.
  • But if google docs gets so good that everyone is using it, isn't that one more thing that makes what desktop os you run irrelevant? That would be good for the linux desktop, right?
  • by tero (39203)

    ...so maybe the article author should try to figure out just what "linux" or "linux community" means.

    Because they certainly don't mean what he thinks they mean. And therefore his reasoning is flawed from the start.

    Linux is just the kernel.

    There is no monolithic "community" who can make up their collective hive-minds about OpenOffice vs whatever.

    There's plenty of companies, pushing out dists - and some of them might have some sort of ambition to get their particular dist on someones desktop, but it's hardly

  • by DaleGlass (1068434) on Wednesday August 10, 2011 @12:21PM (#37045304) Homepage

    It won't cost Linux the desktop for the same reason why having to choose between Google Talk, AIM and MSN doesn't do that to the Windows desktop: those things aren't really significant and not new either.

    Evolution vs Thunderbird doesn't matter, as they're pretty much equivalent for most purposes. Besides, a lot of people use gmail and don't really care about either. Then it's not like Thunderbird doesn't run on Windows, creating exactly the same choice.

    Libre Office vs OpenOffice doesn't really matter at this point in time either, as the differences are tiny, and the file format is standard anyway. Long term there'll probably be a clear winner. I'm betting for Libre Office because that's what Ubuntu is shipping right now, and Oracle is a hulking behemoth.

    But, there's a bigger thing here, and it's that all such discussions are ultimately pointless. The OSS world is fluid and distributed. No matter how much somebody might pontificate at great length about the need for unity, nobody is obligated to care.

    Libre Office for instance, appeared for a good reason, and I doubt very much the developers that work on it will suddenly "see the light" and go back to trying to submit patches to Oracle, just because some guy wrote an article saying it "might cost Linux the desktop". I'd say that most developers don't really care. At least when I contribute patches to Linux software I don't do it because of some world domination long term goal.

    I think what is needed is open standards. So long I can use whatever I like to do my work, why would I need to care about what the rest of the world uses?

  • by Okian Warrior (537106) on Wednesday August 10, 2011 @12:24PM (#37045352) Homepage Journal

    Linux, and open source in general, will never be that popular, simply because of cognitive load. It's software designed by engineers, with no clear understanding of style or ergonomics.

    To use a car example, it's like a car with high torque and excellent gas mileage, but ugly to look at and the instruments are labelled differently and in the back seat.

    Many companies hire artists and usability experts to look at the final product and make tweaks and recommendations. Some even take the trouble to engage focus groups of customers to find out what features are confusing, what aspects are uncomfortable, what looks ugly. They take this information and change their product for the better.

    For the most part, the success of Apple products is for this reason: the iPod was not the first MP3 player on the market, but it's usability and aesthetic appeal and robustness made it highly popular.

    Open source, on the other hand, is usually done by a single engineer putting in most of the effort. The results usually have the following pattern:

    1) Documentation: Writing documentation is boring. Put up a wiki and let the users fill in the details.
    2) Aesthetic looks: This is not important. Give the user a panel to change the environment to suit their tastes.
    3) Compatibility: Not important. "Search for text" is different in every application, it's impossible for your fingers to memorize the action.
    4) Simplicity: More features is better! Try viewing the man page for "ls" some time. Or preferences in VLC.
    5) Descriptives: Don't choose descriptive names for anything. Instead of "Internet Explorer", "Paint Shop Pro" and "Media Player", use terms like "Gimp, Firefox, and VLC".

    This last is one reason why old folks have a tough time using the new technology. They have to learn a completely new language: Every random word that they *thought* they knew ("pidgin", "handbrake", "calibre") means something different in the new system.

    Gimme a break.

    The top five or so open source projects try to deal with these issues, but the overwhelming majority are robust, strong, functional, and totally enigmatic.

    Where are the open source tech writers? The ones who take that part of the problem and work alongside the engineers to ensure quality documentation? Where are the open source ergonomic experts, the usability analysts, the aesthetic artists? Who ever does usability studies, or consistency between apps?

    Until the engineers get a clue, open source projects will never be more than a closet of hobbyist projects.

    Making good software is more than robust coding.

  • What shot at the desktop? That battle was fought and is pretty much over. There are new battles ahead, and the desktop is evolving into something else. You can see both Microsoft and Apple are taking their desktop operating systems in decidedly non-desktop directions. What is the open source world doing? Well if Ubuntu Unity and Gnome 3 are any indication it doesn't look good in my opinion.
  • 1. Write inflammatory blog post about Linux on desktop.
    2. ???
    3. Proffitt

  • by drolli (522659) on Wednesday August 10, 2011 @12:26PM (#37045400) Journal

    to gradually improve things in gnome, i was happy because that was actually the first time i have seen that things - even small things where continuously getting better (talking about 2007-2009). In the end they really had me stopping using the terminal, something which was absurd a few years back.

    But now that they decided to go the (steep) way of pushing gnome in one direction which keeps and makes it usable, but rolling out their own shit (Yes, i mean it - 11.04 made me think about switching back) and weirdly enough did not adress the obviously missing parts (e.g. pdf commenting is possible only in okular, openoffice would need a closer look by somebody who integrates it), i am extremely pessimistic.

  • We have 'arguments' for who gets to come with the system. Why is this a bad thing?

    Whenever your position is shaky, you are driven to do more. When IE locked down the market, it stagnated. Now there are so much different competitors, you need to innovate.

    This is a GOOD THING. If I'm developing something and I want to get default, I need to be better than the current one. So I innovate.

    Plus you can still get the other choices, so there's no loss.

  • Others have covered why this is not actually a problem or why it was never going to happen in the first place, but my issue with this is no solutions are proposed. It's easy to come up with potential problems, but kind of pointless if there's no solution. What would a solution even look like?

    Wait until one of the options is clearly far and away better in all aspects than everything else and go with that one?
    Declare by consenus that "this one" is the way to go?
    Agree to elect a decision maker to decid
  • This guy is totally right. All this choice is just too confusing. There are too many competing options, and it's ruining things for everybody.

    So I'm going to start listing alternatives, and we'll get a simple, fair show of hands. I hope the losing projects have the good grace to step down, disband, wipe their code base, and instruct their users to migrate to the winning project. Oh, I'm sure it'll be hard, but it's the only way to get to the Year of the Linux Desktop.

    Okay, let's start at the basics:

    vi, or e

  • The only thing bloodier than the Windows / Mac / Linux religious wars are the internal Linux wars.
  • by erroneus (253617) on Wednesday August 10, 2011 @12:30PM (#37045468) Homepage

    http://xkcd.com/934/ [xkcd.com]

    But you know, there are a lot of people who are disagreeing with the article, but I generally agree. At first the "fighting" was productive. It served a purpose as it created a competitive environment in which various projects could mature. I don't think that's the case any longer. Now we are seeing different drives behind projects and now we are seeing a lot of "change for the sake of change" and version number escalation clearly meant to make people think there's a huge difference between (for example) Firefox 4.x and Firefox 5.x.

    And if various projects can't manage to work together for a common cause or goal, then it is highly unlikely there will be much acceptance of Linux in the Enterprise for desktop use. Why should they when there are so many flavors and styles out there? We're not just talking about theming, but also various internals as well.

    One thing that is horribly wrong with Linux today is that a useful software package is nearly impossible to create which works on ALL of the current distributions. That's a tremendous and obvious block right there.

    The last time I spoke words like these, someone use the word "shill" to describe me. I am a hard-core Linux user. I favor RedHat based Linuxes (though I'm not pleased with F15 at all... mostly GNOME3's fault) and the only Windows anything I use are in VMs that are called up on an as-needed basis. So it's not like I don't love or use Linux and definitely not like I'm not a user and don't know what I'm talking about. I've been at this since the beginning of RedHat 4.0 and have watched it grow and improve since that time. I'm no shill. But I can definitely see where things are going wrong and they are. The community must change and especially mature.

  • Really? Unity vs Gnome 3 vs KDE 4 whatever? There is no difference, they ALL suck. I have used Linux for a LONG time but the recent changes to the basic desktops have me ready to throw in the towel. Yesterday I accidently let Sabayon upgrade... instant problems as gnome 3 greeted me with its "fuck you". As simple a thing as opening a samba share requires killing a runaway browser process every single time.

    The odd thing is that I had just helped some people migrate to Gnome 2 to get rid of constant virus inf

  • It should be the case that increasing reliance on cloud software will make it easier for businesses to choose Linux, but for that to happen, Linux communities need to stop fighting the old fights, says Proffitt."

    If the cloud takes over, most of the old fights should become irrelevant... apart from Firefox vs. IceWeasel vs. Epiphany vs. Konqueror vs. Chrome vs. Lynx. Last time I looked, ChromeOS and Android were, technically, Linux.

    LibreOffice vs. OpenOffice, Evolution vs. Thunderbird

    ...provided distro designers wise up, realize that none of those will be household names to switchers, and have large friendly icons called "Wordprocessor", "Spredsheet", "Mail", "Browse the Web" (with a "preferred applications" config somewhere for those of us that give a damn) that s

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