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Software Linux

2008 - Year of Linux Desktop? 659

rstrohmeyer writes "Over at Maximum PC, we're betting that Linux will pick up unprecedented momentum in the coming year. With phenomenal new distros, swelling international support, and a little extra momentum from Dell, we think Linux is poised to exploit the current atmosphere of doubt surrounding Vista and pick up serious traction in '08. 'For end users here in North America, Linux poses a low barrier to entry. While many still balk at an upgrade to Vista (typically centered around cost and restrictive licensing terms), those who are curious about the open-source alternative will find few of these obstacles. And an increasingly rich array of ready-to-run software (not to mention surprisingly effective utilities that let you run many Windows apps) makes it easy switch ... Ultimately, I'm not predicting that Linux will take over the market next year. Or anytime soon, for that matter. But if there's ever been a time to try out the world's leading free OS, 2008 will be that time. I am predicting that users will switch to Linux in record numbers next year. And many will never look back.'"
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2008 - Year of Linux Desktop?

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  • by R00BYtheN00BY ( 1118945 ) on Friday July 06, 2007 @06:35PM (#19774107) Journal
    what is linux
    • by hondo77 ( 324058 ) on Friday July 06, 2007 @06:40PM (#19774177) Homepage

      what is linux

      Something that doesn't sync to your iPhone.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by GeigerBC ( 1056332 )
        I was thinking along the lines of "something companies don't make drivers for." In my defense, the last two or three summers I have given Linux (Ubuntu) a go. I still hit hardware (ATI, Creative's X-Fi) and software (iTunes + iPod) that can't be easily replicated or adjusted to a novice Linux user. It's gotten better though.
        • ATI and Creative drivers suck for windows too. Except for windows there is nothing you can do about how much they suck. After replacing about $400 worth of components I finally realized it was a stupid Audigy card that was making my PC crash. I tossed it out of the window (literally) and got an M-Audio revolution. Things have worked fine ever since.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by dc29A ( 636871 ) *

          I was thinking along the lines of "something companies don't make drivers for."

          In my defense, the last two or three summers I have given Linux (Ubuntu) a go. I still hit hardware (ATI, Creative's X-Fi) and software (iTunes + iPod) that can't be easily replicated or adjusted to a novice Linux user.

          It's gotten better though.

          Well, if you want Audigy on Vista, please pay 10$ []. Other than that, yes ATI drivers need a boost. AMD promised to do much better for Linux, we'll see how that pans out. Also, since feisty, installing proprietary drivers is 2 mouse clicks away. NVidia drivers work great by the way.

          Oh yah and Amarok owns iTunes. Also, if you really want iTunes, there is always VMWare player.

          This doesn't mean, Linux is ready for mainstream on desktop, but flat out dismissing it because it doesn't have iTunes and iPod support

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 06, 2007 @06:35PM (#19774109)
    It'll happen this time! Honest!
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      As a gay man, I take positive representations where I can get them. Any time a same-gender relationship is portrayed in a positive but very real light benefits us all. The same can be said of Linux, which, much like being gay, will likely remain a minority OS in the a world that seems married to proprietary software, and never really "come out of the closet" and be truly ready for acceptance the desktop. But anytime we can get some good press, it helps us all. I'm a big fan of Ubuntu (even over Mac!) and
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        Wow. as a gay young adult myself, I agree with you, but nevertheless I find it a rather bit... shall we say... queer that you have somehow managed to make an apt and useful analogy between using linux and being gay.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by jack455 ( 748443 )
          Is apt a pun?

          I'm not gay, but I took a look through some of my apps--testing the theory--hmmm...
          LASH Panel, KSpread, Gparted (actually they're just kind of kinky)
          Yum Extender
          --My office suite's Koffice Workspace Icon has a cute little rainbow next to it.--

          Of course Qt(cutie? (used to for KDE)) is from Trolltech, which sounds pretty hetero; Thunderbird, Thunar file manager, Konqueror, etc. help balance too.
          In all seriousness Linux and OSS in general seem pretty inclusive
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        I think this is the best non-car analogy I've ever seen on slashdot. This should be modded up if only for that reason.

        I'm rooting for desktop Linux to continue to make gains, but I think the widespread acceptance that the article suggests (but doesn't predict, mind you) will take a lot longer. Right now, Vista's main competitor is XP. Vista adoption has been slow because most Windows users are satisfied with XP and don't see much value in upgrading to Vista.

        I'm a happy* Mac user, but I like knowing that the
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Excuse me, but I don't think that's possible. A gay person using anything other than OSX would mean the mighty QDB [] is wrong which cannot be.
    • by Harmonious Botch ( 921977 ) * on Friday July 06, 2007 @06:59PM (#19774385) Homepage Journal
      Linux is the OS of the future, and always will be.

    • by Spacejock ( 727523 ) on Friday July 06, 2007 @10:09PM (#19776007) Homepage
      Actually, the two most common support questions I'm getting for all my freeware apps are (1) I just switched to Mac, and are you planning an OSX version? and (2) I just got Ubuntu, are you planning a Linux version?

      In seven years of giving away my software I've never seen this many requests for non-Windows versions. Unfortunately all my apps are written in Visual Studio 6, so the current answer to both questions is NO. I am rewriting my stuff in VS2005 though, which might offer a bit more cross-platform support down the track with the Mono project. (And no, I'm not switching languages. First, because I do this for fun and second, at almost 40 years of age and with a publishing contract for my novels in hand, I'm past the days of learning new languages.)
  • Ooops ... (Score:5, Informative)

    by foobsr ( 693224 ) * on Friday July 06, 2007 @06:35PM (#19774111) Homepage Journal
    Someone missed to post the 12th anniversary [] version of the story.

  • Nope. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by khasim ( 1285 ) <> on Friday July 06, 2007 @06:37PM (#19774127)
    It's all about the applications. There are too many apps that too many people use that are available on their Windows machines.

    There will not be a "year of the Linux desktop".

    There will only be the year when people realize that most everyone else is running Linux, too.
    • Re:Nope. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Coryoth ( 254751 ) on Friday July 06, 2007 @07:02PM (#19774429) Homepage Journal

      There will not be a "year of the Linux desktop". There will only be the year when people realize that most everyone else is running Linux, too.
      Exactly! Both the people expecting a "year of the the Linux desktop" and the people who mock that saying Linux won't and can't succeed on the desktop are deluding themselves. Consider that Linux is now quite successful in the server space; was there ever a "year of Linux on the server"? No, it simply became more prevalent and slowly but surely snowballed. As more people used it on the server it gained support for a wider variety of servers, and slowly but surely invaded the server space. Linux will be just the same on the desktop. There is no point when Linux is "desktop ready", since there will always be something that is lacking for some users. Instead Linux will slowly but surely become more viable as a desktop for a larger and larger userbase. As the userbase expands the application availability and user-friendliness will in turn steadily improve. There is no magic tipping point.

      If you want to see that Linux will eventually gain significant desktop market share then just compare Redhat 5.2 to Windows98, and Ubuntu 7.04 to Windows Vista; the desktop gap has been slowly but steadily closing for years. More and more people are finding Linux a viable alternative desktop. It is still not viable for everyone, but little by little it will get there.
      • Re:Nope. (Score:5, Insightful)

        by tooyoung ( 853621 ) on Friday July 06, 2007 @10:05PM (#19775973)
        Look, this isn't meant as a troll. Linux is great. Much better than Vista. Offer me the choice between the two, and I'd take Linux hands down. However... nobody knows what Linux is.


        Go ask 10 non-technical people if they would consider using Linux as an OS, and 9 will look at you like you just spoke Greek to them. No, it doesn't count if you ask your wife, who you constantly bore with tech-talk about how much better Linux is than Windows. No, it doesn't count if you go ask your parents, whom you've been trying to convince to make the switch for the past 5 years. Go ask people that don't work in the tech industry, and who you haven't badgered constantly about Linux.

        As I mentioned above, 9 won't know what you're talking about. The 10th person will think that Linux is pure command prompt, with no UI. Why? Not because they are dumb, but because they have just never heard of it. Just like they haven't heard of Solaris, and just like they haven't heard of z/OS. They don't talk about Linux on CNN, they don't write about Linux in Cosmo or Maxim. Hell, how often do you see it mentioned in 'science' magazines, like Discover or Popular Science? It doesn't matter if Ubuntu has a nice GUI and can load DVDs like any other OS. Most people just don't know that, and they probably don't care much. The idea of spending an hour replacing XP or Vista with Ubuntu would strike most people are boring and daunting. What reason do they have? Their computer works for the most part. Most wouldn't even know where to start. Not because they are dumb, but because:
        1. They wouldn't know where to get Ubuntu.
        2. They assume it would be as much of a chore to install as Windows. Oh, you don't think that is a chore? Well, that is probably because you're reading a technical website.

        Yeah, I'd love to see Linux blow up this year. It is doing great in server land, but it has a ways to go before it gets on the desktop of the general public.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by arkhan_jg ( 618674 )
          However, ask the same people if they've heard of or seen apple macs, and most will say yes.

          Microsoft and Apple have done a great job of convincing the general public that the OS is tied intrinsically to the hardware - if they have heard of linux (indeed rare), they invariably think they need to buy a 'linux computer' to run it.

          The short answer is OEM support. The day that Dell, IBM and HP ship linux as an option on a large majority of their product line will be the day linux takes off. The day they ship it
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by bfields ( 66644 )

          Go ask 10 non-technical people if they would consider using Linux as an OS, and 9 will look at you like you just spoke Greek to them.

          That's funny. I don't recall talking to anyone in the last few years who hasn't at least *heard* of it. Which isn't to say they really understand what it is--most of them say something like "that's some sort of alternative to Microsoft?" or "isn't that all done by volunteers?" Certainly few have considered it as something they'd actually use. But I think some people are

    • Games for me! :)
    • by rossz ( 67331 )
      I agree. I just set up a new laptop for my mom. I wanted to install Ubuntu on it, but decided against it because of one program that is extremely important to her, Family Tree Maker. For myself, I run a dual boot system so I can run games. No, Wine isn't the answer. As good as it is, it's still just a hack and fails all too often with games.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      There will only be the year when people realize that most everyone else is running Linux, too.

      That would be nice but it isn't necessary. Linux only has to get as big in it's domain as Firefox is in web browsing. Firefox has enough market and mind share that most websites can't afford to ignore it. A nice side effect is that if a site works well in Firefox then it will also work well for Safari, Opera, or whatever standards compliant browser you like. So to continue this line of thought, Linux only

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by epee1221 ( 873140 )

        A nice side effect is that if a site works well in Firefox then it will also work well for Safari, Opera, or whatever standards compliant browser you like.

        That's why it works so well for web pages. W3C essentially creates a "standard interface" between HTML coders and people's browsers. We don't really have an equivalent for application programmers. Every OS has its own set of APIs. Some may be shared, but the interfaces that are completely cross-platform tend to be pretty barebones (think libc).

  • It's sad that theres no globally accepted library etc, that all devs use. I mean some apps are mac / windows. why not mac /windows / linux? Since mac runs on a version of *nix. And don't give me that wine / cedega bs. Sadly, until I give up gaming on PC I will have at least one windows box. I hope that Linux continues to offer more and more people an alternative though. Competition is good!
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by DaleGlass ( 1068434 )
      What library? SDL maybe? Or OpenGL? Those things are pretty standard. And even portable.

      Not even on Windows there's a "standard library" of any sort, it's not like games can be written only in one language or using only one graphics API.
    • by larry bagina ( 561269 ) on Friday July 06, 2007 @06:49PM (#19774293) Journal
      The fact that OS X has unix underpinnings is irrelevant to the game -- unless that game happens to be "hunt the wumpus".
    • Part of the problem has already been solved with OpenGL.

      However, gaming is not just about graphics, we need sound and controllers and communication and a nice way to degrade in the absence of these pieces.

      If anyone, John Carmack is the guiding light, most of his engines utilise cross platform code.

      We should be following in his footsteps (just don't try to shoot and see where you are going)

    • by misleb ( 129952 ) on Friday July 06, 2007 @07:20PM (#19774625)

      It's sad that theres no globally accepted library etc, that all devs use. I mean some apps are mac / windows. why not mac /windows / linux? Since mac runs on a version of *nix. And don't give me that wine / cedega bs. Sadly, until I give up gaming on PC I will have at least one windows box. I hope that Linux continues to offer more and more people an alternative though. Competition is good!

      The way I see it, it doesn't matter that there aren't games on Linux (and to a lesser extent, Macs) It isn't just that I'm not a big gamer, it is that I don't mind booting into Windows to play a game. Most games have a bit of a time commitment to them. At least an hour. If I'm going to be playing for that long or more, what's 2 minutes to reboot? Of course, that mean maintaining a copy of Windows... drivers and all, which is a bit annoying in and of itself, but not a deal killer for Linux.

      Of course, I've never paid for a copy of Windows in my life, so maybe things would be different if I was legit and had to shell out extra money just to play games.

      Another thing is that a lot of the really cool games are coming out on console first these days, so maybe the whole Windows/game issue will be moot. GTA IV, anyone?

  • Every year... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Fyre2012 ( 762907 ) on Friday July 06, 2007 @06:39PM (#19774155) Homepage Journal
    ... it's said 'is XXXX the year for the Linux Desktop'?

    What would make it so? At what point would it be possible to quantify that 'yes, this IS the year!'... when there is 100,000 users? 500,000 users? 10,000,000 users?

    slashdot, of ALL places should understand that Linux is making better ground each year in a number of markets, including the desktop. To say that 'this is the year' we might as well say 'this is the century'. It's impossible to quantify.
    • Re:Every year... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by kebes ( 861706 ) on Friday July 06, 2007 @07:26PM (#19774689) Journal
      By the way... I think the number of Linux users is probably already higher than any of the hypothetical numbers you threw out.

      It's obviously impossible to know for sure how many people use a given OS... especially when that OS is distributed freely and requires no kind of registration. However we can get some vague ideas from a few sources. The Linux Counter [] estimated 29 million in 2005. This was in part based upon verifiable numbers from Red Hat indicating 8 million installs in 1998 (yes, this is including corporate installs, not just home users).

      Another (again not totally reliable) way is to use browser stats. W3school [] reports ~3.4% of browsers are running in Linux. Since there are [] 1 billion internet users, that means 39 million Linux users.

      Again, these numbers are open to massive debate. But I think the real number is somewhere in the ballpark of 10 million to 40 millions users. Alot more than most people think.
    • Re:Every year... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by westlake ( 615356 ) on Friday July 06, 2007 @07:30PM (#19774733)
      . it's said 'is XXXX the year for the Linux Desktop'?
      What would make it so? At what point would it be possible to quantify that 'yes, this IS the year!'... when there is 100,000 users? 500,000 users? 10,000,000 users?

      I've seen estimates of Windows' desktop share that begin at 300 million users - equivalent to the entire population of the U.S.

      Vista entered the consumer market in January.

      In July, sells HP Pavilion Vista Premium laptops starting at $780.

      15" Wide-Screen Display, Dual Core AMD CPU, 1 GB RAM, DVD burner and DX 9 GeForce Go graphics that do not suck. For $12 add 1 GB ReadyBoost Flash, for $120 a key chain USB HDTV tuner.

      OEM Linux at Walmart is out. The generic Vista laptop from Dell is in.

      If the Geek thinks mass-market pricing of Vista is going to be a turn-off, he is delusional. If he thinks that product activation, DRM, Windows Update, etc., concern anyone in this market, he is ready to be committed.

      • Re:Every year... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by bit01 ( 644603 ) on Saturday July 07, 2007 @03:50AM (#19777891)

        If the Geek thinks mass-market pricing of Vista is going to be a turn-off, he is delusional.

        You're delusional if you think the US experience applies to the 95% of the world's population that don't live in the US.


        Windows and closed source software. The US intelligence [] agencies' back [] door [] to every network connected country and business on earth.

  • why not (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gEvil (beta) ( 945888 ) on Friday July 06, 2007 @06:40PM (#19774169)
    I don't [] see any reason [] why it wouldn't be... []
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 )
      Especially since all these "OMG t3h year of Linux!!11" stories never seem to really look at the whole situation. Is Linux improving? Hell yes, but of course so is every other current OS. It seems all too often they examine the things that Linux is doing better and forgetting that Windows MacOS, Solaris, etc are all doing things better as well.

      Also they ignore some major design decisions of Linux that run contrary to what a lot of people want on the desktop. One of the biggest is simply Linux's openess and l
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        That's one thing I really like about KDE--very "Kohesive" branding with its sub projects/applications. If you go for the full KDE suite, you'll have all the essentials and they'll all look and behave consistently. Similar results can be had with GNOME, to be sure, but GNOME isn't really aiming to be a whole suite and doesn't really badge spinoff projects as "all part of the family" like KDE.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ehiris ( 214677 )
      Linux might be ready for the desktop but most of the software that we use is not ready for Linux.

      When I send files to Linux-only users, they whine because they have no means to open them.
  • My coworker remarked today that Linux jumped from 3% to 6% in the weblogs this month. Now, odds are something else is going on, but it's an interesting little statistic. We often ponder our weblog statistics, seeing clear trends in OS's and browsers.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by GIL_Dude ( 850471 )
      You need some context in order to make much of that. For instance, it could be that more people have installed Linux and are browsing your site. It could be that your site has been promoted on sites that Linux users tend to frequent thus skewing your hits. It could even be (not likely, but possible) that someone has finally written that DDoS app for Linux and convinced people to load it as a FireFox add-in and it is not distributed enough yet to take your site out. Really, numbers without context are just -
    • From my company's weblogs, Linux has gone from approximately 6% in December to approximately 11% in June (not counting the "OS Unknown" and "known robots").
    • My coworker remarked today that Linux jumped from 3% to 6% in the weblogs this month

      This tells me nothing unless I know where you are working and the target audience of the blogs.

  • ...can you be the Next Big Thing? If there's a record, it surely belongs to Linux.
    • If there's a record, it surely belongs to Linux.

      Definitely not. That distinction, in my opinion, belongs to fusion power. We were first told that fusion was the future in the '50s, with the invention of the hydrogen bomb. At that time, fusion was said to be twenty years off. Well, its been twenty years off for the last half-century, with no breakthrough yet.

  • I know several people who are seriously considering moving from XP to Linux. Their main concern is running some Windows apps that they need, things like M$ Office, Quicken and the like. I tell them to check out CodeWeavers Crossover Office, but I've never checked it out myself.

    Anyone know if that would be a viable path for them?
    • Tell them to check out the latest versions of OpenOffice first. OpenOffice has got very good recently, but the key is to get the MS TrueType corefonts installed (on gentoo: "emerge corefonts").
    • by ryanov ( 193048 )
      MS Office is completely unneccessary for most people. Leave that one behind. Not sure about Quicken. TurboTax 2005 worked fine under wine. 2006, no dice. I don't really know why. Problem with Crossover is there's a monthly maintenance fee, no? Or am I thinking of Cedega?
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Penguinisto ( 415985 )
      Last time I checked it (ab't 2005 or so), it was damned impressive with running the mainline MSFT apps. I even managed to get it to run a Win32 port of DAZ|Studio on top of SuSE 8.something (DAZ|Studio is a 3D/CG compositing and rendering app that I was part of at the time). Now doing that was kind of pushing it (then again, D|S used standard Linux-loving stuff such as OpenGL and Qt), but you can get Crossover Office to do the job easily enough.

      As usual, YMMV.


  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Friday July 06, 2007 @06:49PM (#19774277) Homepage

    Maximum PC should stick to what they know - fans and heat sinks.

    Linux missed the window for the desktop. Now that PCs are expected to play DRM-protected media encoded with proprietary codecs, the window for consumer open source systems has closed. Linux might have made it in 2002, but now it's too late.

    I used an AT&T UNIX PC, made and sold by AT&T, in 1982. 25 years later, Unix/Linux on the desktop still isn't mainstream. Sorry, guys.

    • by jedidiah ( 1196 )
      You mean DRM-protected media like Windows Media files and iTunes files?

      WMP and iTunes both run fine under Linux actually.
  • by rmcd ( 53236 ) * on Friday July 06, 2007 @06:52PM (#19774315)
    As TFA suggests, perhaps Linux is poised to take off outside the US. Inside the US, I dunno.

    I recently installed Ubuntu 7.04 as a family desktop (dual booting with Windows), on a Dimension 8400. Having reading so much about about what a terrific distribution it is, I decided to experiment. (To provide context, I also have a Debian server that handles backup, slimserver, print sharing, and a Myth backend, and a Debian Myth front end. I'm extremely happy with both.) I've been unpleasantly surprised by Ubuntu as a desktop.

    1. Playing DVDs in the US remains a problem. I know that Linspire is going to address this, but this is a huge issue.

    2. VPN is a pain. Apparently Network Manager doesn't work right if you have a static IP address! I spent a *lot* of time trying to get VPN to work before I discovered this. Yes, it's a reported bug.

    3. Reliable power management, i.e. suspension and hibernation. It's crash city when I suspend or hibernate. Yes I have the latest BIOS. No, I'm not willing to buy a new machine. And yes, I'm sure there are many machines where power management works properly, but I'm also sure there are many machines like mine.

    4. The general polish of the Gnome interface is low compared to Windows and OS X. (Yes, I've also looked at KDE.) When I switch users, why do I have to log in twice?

    These strike me as all pretty basic issues. I haven't tried to find problems. I've just tried to get the Ubuntu desktop working as a functional equivalent of the Windows desktop. I couldn't do it.

    I do see huge progress relative to 5 years ago, but I also see a long way to go.

    • 1. Just download the codecs... automatix does it as a GUI. It may be illegal, but it works.
      2. Can't comment on it, although setting up my Uni's Cisco VPN for WiFi is a huge pain... so I feel you there.
      3. Most new machines I've installed Ubuntu 7.04 on handle hibernate without issues, if they have an Intel video card or an Nvidia video card. With regards to ATI, I still haven't managed to figure out how to hibernate from an XGL session.
      4. Really? I think the layouts and menus are far more user friendly, and
  • by nobodyman ( 90587 ) on Friday July 06, 2007 @06:53PM (#19774321) Homepage
    Year of the desktop? Let's see:
    • 1994: No
    • 1995: No
    • 1996: No
    • 1997: No
    • 1998: No
    • 1999: No
    • 2000: No
    • 2001: No
    • 2002: No
    • 2003: No
    • 2004: No
    • 2005: No
    • 2006: No
    • 2007: No (pending)
    So, though I may be going out on a limb here, I'm gonna say "no" for 2008. And those that think that Vista's awefulness has any sway must have not been around to see how the whole "Windows vs. MacOS" thing played out.
  • I could go into why, but people will simply tell me I'm a troll and to shut up, so I won't bother. Only thing I will say is that we see these posts every year, and they only get more annoying with time, not less.

    I've honestly started to believe that Windows' successor is something we haven't seen yet; not Linux, and not Mac OSX. If it *is* UNIX based at all, it will have to be in such a way that the UNIX core is buried so deeply that not even geeks can get at it...because UNIX that the mainstream consumer
  • by athloi ( 1075845 ) on Friday July 06, 2007 @06:57PM (#19774365) Homepage Journal
    Graphic artists, musicians, writers, developers or MBAs -- pick one group and love them until they love you back. Linux Year of the Graphic Artist Desktop will be followed by more desktops. That, after all, is how the Mac stayed alive and prospered, and even how to some degree Windows did it. It all starts with one type of desktop in a nice market, and from there the sky's the limit.
  • by DaleGlass ( 1068434 ) on Friday July 06, 2007 @06:58PM (#19774379) Homepage
    It seems logical that Linux will keep getting progressively better.

    It's "Linux desktop" for me already. All of my computers now exclusively run Linux. I have no Windows installs on my server, firewall, laptop or desktop, and only have a couple of Win2K installs in vmware lying around mostly for the very rare times when I need to compile something for Windows.

    For me, the switch to Linux was gradual. I didn't just one day decide to do the switch. Over time, my working Windows installs started failing and I found myself using Linux instead, as it was easier than to spend a weekend reinstalling everything. Eventually I was spending months without booting it, and finally it vanished completely when I upgraded hard disks and didn't have any reason to install it.

    I don't really see a "Year of Linux desktop" happening. People seem to like their weird theories about what's holding Linux back, as if changing directory structure, or getting rid of X would suddenly make Linux become really popular overnight. It won't. People will gradually fix the problems there are, and its market share will progressively go up, as people run out of reasons not to use it.
  • The day Linux becomes the majority OS is the day the geeks flee to Solaris and the BSDs. Because Linux won't be the "leet" OS anymore. (We've seen it happen already, sometimes causing developer/maintainer disputes and leading to forks, like cdrtools -> cdrkit.)

    I for one am sticking to Linux. I use it strictly for practicality; if I wanted a system to play around with I'd be using NetBSD, because I prefer its base userland and lighter code.

  • I have been running Linux as my primary desktop for about seven years, but recently I had to use windows for work. I run it on vmware inside Linux so I can keep all the utilities that I love close to me, but the fact is that I need to run windows for work.

    The reason? Checkpoint's VPN client. There is no version for Linux. They advertise one on their website, but it is for RedHat 7.2 and it doesn't work with anything else, so it is obviously there so PHB can tick the checkbox.

    I write this because I am sure t
  • by Swift Kick ( 240510 ) on Friday July 06, 2007 @07:09PM (#19774497)
    While the article is nice and points to some great progress in a number of fronts (like Dell's recent announcement about shipping desktops loaded with Ubuntu), Linux still has an enourmous amount of ground to cover before it comes close to being a serious rival to Windows in the consumer desktop market.

    Please note that this is just a personal experience which has repeated itself pretty much every time I ran across a new machine.

    It is still a bit of work to get Linux to function properly in a machine with recent hardware. As an example, we have a few new Dell boxes with nothing fancy here, just Core 2 Duo processors, SATA drive, and ATI X1300 video cards.
    Fedora 6 and 7 both barfed when starting the install because of the SATA DVDROM. Ubuntu had the same behavior.
    After 4 hours of checking multiple forums for FAQs and HowTos, we got Fedora 7 running on them, yet the video card isn't recognized properly by Xorg off the box, so no dual-head, no native resolution. Off to get more updates, more FAQs, etc.
    By comparison, we had XP running in 30 minutes in one of the boxes, and one hour later it had all the required software needed for the developer to go to work, including VMWare with a Fedora 7 virtual machine running in it.

    How can you expect large user migrations to Linux is experiences like this one are closer to the norm? Joe User doesn't want to spend 2 or 3 days just trying to get his OS installed, only to have to spend another few days just trying to get his/her bearings around.

    People will *not* migrate to it if the applications they want to run don't run on Linux, and Joe User can't be bothered with adapting to a whole slew of apps, that 'sort-of-look-but-aren't-really-the-same' as their old ones, even if they're superior to their Windows versions when it comes to functionality.
    Let's not even start discussing games. Yes, a number of popular games run under Wine or Cedega, but people do not want to spend hours trying to diagnose issues or tweak stuff; more often than not, they want to install it and go.

    Until you can take a distribution disk, pop it on a random machine with decent hardware, and have everything up and running without requiring any type of user action 'under the hood', Linux will remain firmly esconced in the realm of server rooms, geek basements, and nerd bedrooms; not in your average household.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Vexorian ( 959249 )

      By comparison, we had XP running in 30 minutes in one of the boxes,

      I will have to call you a troll, unless it is OEM in which it is pretty meaningless. But seriously man, you got Dells and wanted to run Linux on them? Why not just buy the one that comes with Linux? God forbid I'd rather have 1000 more years of microsoft than one year of apple.

      Until you can take a distribution disk, pop it on a random machine with decent hardware, and have everything up and running without requiring any type of user actio

    • by wall0159 ( 881759 ) on Friday July 06, 2007 @08:14PM (#19775165)
      While there is certainly a benefit to controlling the hardware and software to provide a seamless experience (as Apple does), I think they won't be able to compete with Linux in the long term. Apple will ultimately lose to Linux for the same reason they lost to Windows - lack of flexibility. Macs can only be bought in a few preconfigured options, whereas PCs can be bought in almost any form. (I'm not bagging Apple here - I have an iBook and love it. I just don't think they'll become dominant for this reason.)

      Windows will lose to Linux because they can't keep up with the innovation, security and robustness afforded by being open-source. The rate of development on Linux is staggering, and there's no way MS can keep up. If you look at the most successful human societies - they're the ones that share resources (that's the benefit of _being_ a society, after all) - code sharing means that Linux will win in the end.

      Someone made the comment about codecs and DRM. I really don't think that will be a problem. As has been noted elsewhere, the average ipod owner has bought about 10 tracks from the ITMS. Almost no one has DRMd video (apart from DVDs, which play fine), so I think that's a non-issue.

      Will it (The Year of Linux) happen in 2008? I don't know and don't care. But it seems likely that it _will_ happen.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      This is very simple: BUY SUPPORTED HARDWARE.

      Until you can take a distribution disk, pop it on a random machine with decent hardware, and have everything up and running without requiring any type of user action 'under the hood', Linux will remain firmly esconced in the realm of server rooms, geek basements, and nerd bedrooms; not in your average household.

      Your expectation that an OS will work on random hardware makes no sense. You wouldn't expect Windows to run on a PPC Mac - why would you expect Ubuntu to

    • XP as sold by default does NOT support SATA DVD. If you installed XP from the DVD, it *would* work (as in boot), but would *not* see the DVD. It would ALSO not see your "recent" network interface. The only way to get stuff in would be via USB key.

      So -- XP is a no-go on that particular machine, UNLESS it is customized by the hardware vendor, which is NOT a fair comparision.

      I call Liar.
  • Why is it always GNU/Linux that is going to make a big splash on the desktop due to Microsoft's latest shortcomings?

    Why GNU/Linux, of all things, and not, oh... OS X? I have a very, very hard time coming up with reasons why I should recommend someone go out and buy a new GNU/Linux PC, because it seems to make so much more sense to recommend they go out and buy a new Mac.

    Sure, the four essential software freedoms are great, but let's stop kidding ourselves, most PC buyers don't care about these things, and i
  • Ubuntu. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by crhylove ( 205956 ) <> on Friday July 06, 2007 @07:11PM (#19774527) Homepage Journal
    Yeah, this article is dead on. Except the time isn't just in 2008. It's right now. I've recently switched about 20 people over to Ubuntu from Windows, and all but one of them were ecstatic. The one exception is a very heavy illustrator user, and said inkscape wasn't good enough. Other than that though, it's been 100% rave reviews and new clients for my little bedroom/repair shop.

  • Duke Nukem Forever for Linux?
  • Sadly (Score:5, Funny)

    by ucblockhead ( 63650 ) on Friday July 06, 2007 @07:15PM (#19774575) Homepage Journal
    This will probably be the year I replace my Linux desktop with a Mac.
  • By which I mean Duke Nukem Forver.

  • For me, Linux on the desktop is a joke. Can I get an equivalent for Logic Pro and Celemony Melodyne? I thought not.

    Linux as a moodle server? Hell yes. Linux as my desktop? Not even close. Linux is fine for Joe User who only needs web surfing and e-mail. That ain't me.

  • Nope (Score:3, Interesting)

    by noewun ( 591275 ) on Friday July 06, 2007 @08:40PM (#19775375) Journal

    And for a very simple reason: there's no compelling reason for your average computer to switch away from Windows or OS X.

    Now, full disclosure: I run OS X and Linux at home and whatever OS is needed at work, usually OS X, sometimes Windows. Of the three I prefer OS X, but I'm pretty agnostic.

    That said, the unspoken truth about OS choice is that for most of the things an average computer user does--web, email, music, movies, games, porn--Windows does a good enough job. This isn't to say it does a great job. This isn't to say that OS X or Linux don't do a better job. This is just to say that Windows does a good enough job for most people. In other words, Linux has no killer app. The things which important for the F/OSS community (transparency, free as in speech and beer, DIY) aren't important to average computer users. For your average user, a computer is an appliance like a fridge or a microwave, to be purchased, used until it breaks or is too old, and then replaced with a new one. For Linux to gain appreciable market share it will have to be a better product: it will have to do something much better than Windows. It will also have to have the things people expect from products; warranties, 1-800 numbers and tech support.

    Apple's way of differentiating is to make the GUI more accessible for your average user, and to design a vertically integrated suite of hardware and software which reinforce each other. Linux, so far, has no easily identifiable feature or set of features which say, "Hey, I'm better than Windows." Until it does, there will be no Year of Linux on the Deskop.

  • State of the union (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Vexorian ( 959249 ) on Friday July 06, 2007 @09:16PM (#19775629)

    For me this was the definitive year of Ubuntu on the desktop. The rest I don't really care. It worked totally fine in my computer, and unlike windows XP I didn't require any driver CD to make my hardware work. All the apps are good enough for my needs, and since I was very used to programming on light weight IDES (that means no bloat or the need to have funny features beyond code completion) code::blocks is doing fine for me.

    The reason I switched is that it is is far easier to customize and make it do what I want. Very few people might notice that MS hates when you customize windows, and Apple won't even let you do more than changing the wallpaper.

    Games? Well... what happened is that I... grew up. I don't really need those flashy 3d accelerated games out there that now sound so expensive, I guess I am getting old already, but can survive with just Sudoku, I am afraid I don't think anymore my computer should be somekind of game station, consoles would do that job better anyways.

    Look? I think I made my gnome look absolutely gorgeous, It is MY computer thus I don't really care about how much people think OS/X is the prettiest thing ever invented.

    Show off value? I tried compiz-fusion and emerald and It makes the desktop absolutely awesome, I made it a toggle button so if somebody is gonna look and my desktop I enable those effects.

    App compability? My emergency plan is using a virtual machine, but what's fun Is that I don't really need any windows app anymore... Yes, it is a different story for everybody, I know

    Easy of use? I use this ubuntu OS and it hasn't really given me issues yet, I don't spend 3 hours trying to make everything work like some guys out there say they do when they use Linux.

    Multimedia? Totem tells me when I have to download

    Applications? I just use firefox , gedit , code::blocks , brazero, nautilus and the terminal. For odd reasons I don't need more things, I was surprised I can have a totally usable (for me) computer without any cost besides of hardware (This is country almost have no OEMs)

    The winner: Organization has made me more productive, I like emblems and workspaces, those are features I now find essential.

    All in one to me Ubuntu was complete and does the job correctly for me, and I switched.

    Go ahead, and post all the reasons you think Linux is not ready for the desktop, all of them are wrong. People will switch once they like it, and this is a war that is not going to be won instantly, it is the satisfaction it can give to each person.

    I've seen it since 3 years ago and I know how fast it can improve, I think i evolves faster than OS/X and windows, in fact Vista always copies Mac OS/X features and I found recently that Linux got so good, that apple is now stealing its ideas! [] so I think we are gonna do fine.

    On alternative situations, like OLPC, education, servers , even Bolivarian PCs, etc. Linux has already won. And we just got to wait

    And then we have KDE4, it is getting that Mac OS/X look that so much people like, yet it is implemented in a cleaner way and also getting some very outstanding features, and it gets the advantage of being free. KDE4 might just need some luck to give the world a great surprise.

    I think even MS is noticing it, that's the reason they are being much more aggressive towards the open source world.

    So go ahead and say "NO 2008 IS NO LINUXYEAR AND NEVER WILL HAPPEN " or "2008 is OS/X year because 2 guys and I decided to SWITCH!" I don't care, I think Linux is doing fine, I also don't think getting a good market share is any important, I think Linux is improving faster than the rest and will eventually surpass the rest (although for me it already has)

    The rest is sipmply chicken-egg paradox with cycles like "Nobody will use linux until it has good apps and nobody will make good apps for linux until it gets a lot of users" (cliche also works with "games", and "hardware support")

  • by coaxial ( 28297 ) on Friday July 06, 2007 @10:26PM (#19776129) Homepage
    Funny. I thought that was 2004 [].

    Or was it 2006 []?

    Or was it actually 2002 [] and then it burst in 2006 []?

    Umm... 2003 []?

    Oh! Stupid me! It was 1999 []! Yeah. definately [] 1999 []. I mean. It's not like Linus would the exact same thing five years later [].
    It had to be 1999, because it was Almost Ready(tm) for the desktop back in 1994 when I first used it!

    Now, tell me again. Why do I have a mac? Oh that's right. It's Unix, but I don't have to sysadmin it like Linux.

    Yes yes. "Some people like to learn about their machine." [emphasis original] Ahh yes. I was once like you, some 13 years ago this fall. Then I got a bit older, and perhaps a bit wiser, and learned that there was much more important things than screwing around with sendmail, or 3d acceleration, or hotplug vs devfs, or ipchains vs ipfwadm, or oss vs alsa, or cups vs lpr, or ... It's a tool. Nothing more. If the tool is working you, instead of you working the tool, it's time to get a new tool.
  • by coaxial ( 28297 ) on Friday July 06, 2007 @10:31PM (#19776151) Homepage
    We've been hearing Linux was "almost ready" for almost 10 years now. Who's got the earliest link to this old saw? I've got Linus in 1999 []. There's got to be something earlier?
  • by Zepalesque ( 468881 ) on Friday July 06, 2007 @10:41PM (#19776217)
    For those of you who truly hate your grandmothers, you can always set them up with LFS []. :)
  • by SwashbucklingCowboy ( 727629 ) on Friday July 06, 2007 @10:41PM (#19776219)
  • Again? (Score:4, Funny)

    by Captain Spam ( 66120 ) on Saturday July 07, 2007 @01:20AM (#19777199) Homepage
    public class YearOfLinuxDesktop extends SlashdotArticle {
        private static year = 1995;

        public YearOfLinuxDesktop() { }

        public YearOfLinuxDesktop(int year) {
            this.year = year;

        public String getNextArticle() {
            return "Is " + year + " the year of the Linux Desktop?"

        public static void main(String args[]) {
            YearOfLinuxDesktop yold = new YearOfLinuxDesktop();
            while(1) {
                System.out.println("Nope, apparently not, but...");

    Wait... forgot the @deprecated tag. Oh, well, the FreeBSDIsDead class has the same functionality, I'm sure nobody'll use this one...

It seems intuitively obvious to me, which means that it might be wrong. -- Chris Torek