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2009, Year of the Linux Delusion

CmdrTaco posted more than 5 years ago | from the feed-the-trolls dept.

Linux 696

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

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Think Different! (5, Insightful)

alain94040 (785132) | more than 5 years ago | (#26161477)

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

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

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

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

Re:Think Different! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26161573)

XP runs great on 1GHz with 128 megs or ram and it runs slowly but reliably on much less that that.

A default linux install on the same hardware runs like a slow, bloated fat dog, so a noob who wants Linux on their netbook would, assuming that they were able to find a lightweight distro before they just stick in the Ubuntu CD, most likely have to waste time stripping the fuck out of their install(With windows XP you just pop in the cd and check a few boxes. COnfiguring a Linux install, on the other hand, is a massive, time-costly research session involving plenty of trial-and-error for relatively little return on usability and stability.

A netbook Linux enthusiast might as well run command-line only since Linux can barely draw Gnome or KDE without freezing on modern desktop hardware.

Re:Think Different! (2, Interesting)

wanderingknight (1103573) | more than 5 years ago | (#26162251)

There are, you know, other DEs or window manager which are designed exactly to work on that kind of hardware. Xfce being the most prominent one (my mom uses it on her Pentium I 500 with 128 MiB of RAM).

No need to *Replace* (5, Insightful)

StCredZero (169093) | more than 5 years ago | (#26161757)

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

Re:Think Different! (4, Insightful)

omar.sahal (687649) | more than 5 years ago | (#26161803)

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

Re:Think Different! (1, Troll)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 5 years ago | (#26161833)

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

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

Re:Think Different! (5, Interesting)

LithiumX (717017) | more than 5 years ago | (#26162063)

The thing about OSX is that I'm not sure I actually like it. It's the prettiest OS I've ever used, but I almost never use my Mac anymore.

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

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

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

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

All the same, I hope Macs have a bright future - if nothing else than to drive their competition.

Re:Think Different! (5, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | more than 5 years ago | (#26161843)

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

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

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

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

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

Re:Think Different! (1)

samkass (174571) | more than 5 years ago | (#26161931)

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

I take it you don't own an iPhone?

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

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

Re:Think Different! (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 5 years ago | (#26162153)

I take it you don't own an iPhone?

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

But still, look at the iPhone again-- what are the input devices? It as a touch screen where you can point at something (essentially the same as a mouse), and a virtual keyboard. Virtual keyboards and touch-screens are good for select applications, but for day-to-day desktop use, their overly gimmicky and ineffective. A real keyboard/mouse setup is far more effective and ergonomic.

Re:Think Different! (5, Insightful)

Locklin (1074657) | more than 5 years ago | (#26162291)

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

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

Re:Think Different! (5, Interesting)

MrCrassic (994046) | more than 5 years ago | (#26162221)

I agree with this.

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

It has a long way to go, but the ball is definitely rolling.

Just dump. (5, Insightful)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 5 years ago | (#26161849)

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

Re: Linux hitting new, innovative spaces... (4, Interesting)

knewter (62953) | more than 5 years ago | (#26161873)

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

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

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

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

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

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

-Josh

Re:Think Different! (0)

dk3d (1356069) | more than 5 years ago | (#26161875)

>>The Web made a lot of Microsoft software irrelevant. Like what, Word? If anyone believes Google Docs has replaced Word, that's also delusional. Google Docs has replaced Notepad. What other software of Microsoft was made irrelevant? I mean, I'm trying to think of stuff besides crap like Paint and chess but I'm not convinced anything online or on the web has replaced anything Microsoft seriously develops.

Re:Think Different! (1)

johnsonav (1098915) | more than 5 years ago | (#26162093)

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

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

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

Microsoft has financial interests which may be opposed to those of certain hardware manufacturers. They may be worried that a low-power, low-cost OS may cannibalize sales of higher margin products. Linux, and all the open software in its orbit, has no such agenda. The hardware manufacturers aren't beholden to anyone.

Essentially, linux allows every hardware manufactorer to be have all the advantages of Apple: tight integration of software and hardware without having to go begging to MS; without the downside: cost of developing an OS from scratch. It also can help save their product from becoming a commodity, like Dell.

There was a time when Linux sucked ... (5, Insightful)

Nicolas MONNET (4727) | more than 5 years ago | (#26162265)

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

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

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

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

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

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

So that was at least 5 years ago.

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

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

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

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

Well well.. (1)

AlterRNow (1215236) | more than 5 years ago | (#26161515)

it's their operating system and they can do what they like.

Are they going to start listing the reasons why I no longer use Windows? :)

Re:Well well.. (3, Insightful)

salarelv (1314017) | more than 5 years ago | (#26161557)

80% of people doesn't need Windows. When people acknowledge that then this year will be the year of Linux.

Re:Well well.. (2, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 5 years ago | (#26161583)

95% of people doesn't need Windows. When people acknowledge that then this year will be the year of the Macintosh.

Fixed that for you. Linux will take over on the desktop when it becomes competitive and user friendly on the desktop. Ubuntu has been doing a good job in moving that direction, but the system still needs to be (ironically) more open to users installing software and performing tasks outside of the sandbox offered by the package manager.

Re:Well well.. (1)

salarelv (1314017) | more than 5 years ago | (#26161675)

In my mind Linux has one major problem - too many different subsystems for developers - KDE or GNOME, RPM or DEB etc. If there would be a major Desktop for example Ubuntu which has 80% of the Linux desktop market and decides on one of the subsystems then developers can port just one time not N times for every freaking distro. Ubuntu, Fedora etc are pretty user friendly (ok some work to do but not so much).

Re:Well well.. (1)

Sadsfae (242195) | more than 5 years ago | (#26161785)

In my mind Linux has one major problem - too many different subsystems for developers - KDE or GNOME, RPM or DEB etc.

Desktop Environments are really irrevelant, whether it's GTK+ or QT (KDE) based or something different, it will still run on your DE of choice.

Packagekit solves a lot of problems on the package management front-end, providing a one-stop abstraction for package management regardless of what format is underneath (deb,rpm,etc).

http://www.packagekit.org/pk-intro.html [packagekit.org]

Re:Well well.. (1)

BrentH (1154987) | more than 5 years ago | (#26162001)

Well, packagekit is a one stop shop for the end user. Developers and distributor still need to package their software, as either deb, rpm or something else. All Packagekit does is provide the end user with a consistent manner of installation, but it still doesnt solve the fact that developer still need to package for the multiple packagemanagement systems.

Re:Well well.. (1)

ValuJet (587148) | more than 5 years ago | (#26161677)

Linux is not easy for new people to jump into. Wireless network cards are still a problem. Drivers still are hard to come by, and if I want to download a program and install it, it is not intuitive like it is in windows.

Re:Well well.. (2, Insightful)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 5 years ago | (#26161795)

I haven't had any problem with wireless network cards, but I assume you mean drivers are hard for some cards, which actually is true of Windows too.

As far as "download a program and install it", I'm flabbergasted anyone would compare the Ubuntu experience (for supported apps, use Applications->Add/Remove, for unsupported download a .deb and double click on it) negatively to the Windows experience.

The only time it's hard is if the third party software doesn't bundle a .deb, preferring to distribute as source or something similar. But the same is a PITA under Windows, more of one indeed because Windows doesn't ship with a development environment.

Software installation is one area where the major free GNU/Linux distributions are eating Window's lunch. I'm almost inclined, given the clean uninstall they generally give you, to suggest that they're slightly better than Mac OS X, although some Mac OS X applications literally just need dragging to the Applications folder to install them, and deleting to uninstall them, which is better.

Re:Well well.. (1)

Sadsfae (242195) | more than 5 years ago | (#26161815)

and if I want to download a program and install it, it is not intuitive like it is in windows

Have you used a recent distribution with packagekit lately? (i.e. Fedora)

It's way easier than windows package management

http://www.packagekit.org/pk-screenshots.html [packagekit.org]

Re:Well well.. (1)

seanellis (302682) | more than 5 years ago | (#26162183)

But on the other hand, some hardware is an utter pain under Windows, and just works under Linux. Case in point: my cheapo webcam and my video capture card. Under Linux, plug and play, under Windows, even the supplied driver disk didn't work.

As far as installing software is concerned, I find it much easier under Linux, and get a bit paranoid under Windows about downloading random stuff and running it. But that's just my opinion.

For most users (e.g. my wife), they genuinely don't care, and as long as everything is set up to start with, Linux is a perfectly viable option.

However, I think that there will not be "the year of Linux on the desktop", but this is OK, because instead there will be a gradual evolution away from "the desktop" as Windows users expect it to be. There may instead be a year of "the desktop replacement" and that could very easily be running on Linux. Mobile phones and netbooks are possibly the first widespread examples of computers without a traditional desktop.

Re:Well well.. (1)

Brad_McBad (1423863) | more than 5 years ago | (#26161715)

Sure, if you wanna take one almost-monopoly and replace it with one who will only let you run their software on machines they'll sell you.

95% of people only need a Word processor, a browser and photoshop. You can get that with any OS from the last ten years...

Humm good title (5, Insightful)

Erie Ed (1254426) | more than 5 years ago | (#26161531)

"Year of delusion" sounds about right. Don't get me wrong I love linux to death, but this year just won't be different from the other years. If people really want linux to become mainstream then it needs to be more user friendly, and the elitiest attitude will need to be droped...just my two cents.

Re:Humm good title (5, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#26161731)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Re:Humm good title (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26161865)

Every time I get a new version of Windows or Office at work my productivy goes through the floor because I have to learn to use the damned thing all over again, as it's more different from its earlier counterpart than from its competetion.

You're joking, right? I mean, I understand your post is to "rah, rah" Linux, but seriously? Relearning Windows?

Re:Humm good title (0, Troll)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 5 years ago | (#26162097)

Every time I get a new version of Windows or Office at work my productivy goes through the floor because I have to learn to use the damned thing all over again, as it's more different from its earlier counterpart than from its competetion.

That blatant lie completely destroyed any credibility the rest of your post might have had.

Re:Humm good title (1)

AlphaWolf_HK (692722) | more than 5 years ago | (#26162201)

"Year of delusion" sounds about right. Don't get me wrong I love linux to death, but this year just won't be different from the other years. If people really want linux to become mainstream then the elitiest attitude will need to be droped and it needs to be more user friendly...just my two cents.

Fixed. You had the chronological order wrong.

2003 (0, Redundant)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 5 years ago | (#26161539)

2003 was the year of "Linux on the desktop".

In my house, anyway.

Re:2003 (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26161787)

Unfortunately, 2009 will be the year of the "gay cock in your ass".

Re:2003 - Tourettes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26162075)

Didn't you mean the year of Tourettes?

top 10's (1)

senorpoco (1396603) | more than 5 years ago | (#26161547)

And in no particular order, my 2008 top 10 top 10 list of 2008. 1) top ten celebrity linux slip-ups 2) top 10 open source explosions 3) 2008's top 10 celebrity windows pet peeves. 4) top 10 obama-zune rumors. ...... etc.

Linux is already everywhere (3, Interesting)

mpapet (761907) | more than 5 years ago | (#26161581)

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

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

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

Criterions? (2, Insightful)

nicolas.kassis (875270) | more than 5 years ago | (#26161589)

What are the criterions for it to be the year of Linux? Frankly, every year has been good to Linux lately. I'm glad to be sporting a Dell Mini 9 with Ubuntu on it. Buying a laptop with Linux on it wouldn't have been possible a year or two ago from a large vendor. Now every big vendor has a Linux laptop for sale. So, what needs to be accomplished for it to be the year of Linux on the desktop?

Clearly, it needs to be on a DESKTOP! (1)

Crazy Taco (1083423) | more than 5 years ago | (#26162033)

Now every big vendor has a Linux laptop for sale. So, what needs to be accomplished for it to be the year of Linux on the desktop?

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

Re:Criterions? (2, Interesting)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 5 years ago | (#26162053)

2008 was the year of Linux on the desktop. Does anyone really think Microsoft would have kept XP alive without netbooks? Does anyone really think Microsoft isn't shitting itself at 30% of netbooks running Linux?

Save Linux? (4, Insightful)

TheNinjaroach (878876) | more than 5 years ago | (#26161601)

And, oh yeah, Palm might save Linux, too

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

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

Re:Save Linux? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26161717)

Isn't it fantastic how you can subtly control a conversation when you substitute words with a negative connotation? Just like the article did; "save" instead of "support."

Re:Save Linux? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26161851)

Palm is dying. It should be swapped - can Linux save Palm?

Re:Save Linux? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Monkey (795756) | more than 5 years ago | (#26161895)

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

Here let me fix that for you. (1)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 5 years ago | (#26161953)

Linux might save Palm.

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

2008 was the year of Linux (3, Insightful)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 5 years ago | (#26161615)

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

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

Re:2008 was the year of Linux (1)

Strangely Familiar (1071648) | more than 5 years ago | (#26162149)

I have tried to install linux a few times over the years on my home PCs. I recall trying Knoppix, Red Hat, Mandrake. Sooner or later, I hit a snag, whether it was installing, mounting drives, sharing modems, browser flakiness, or getting the network to function, and, after struggling to solve the problem(s), I gave up. I recently tried installing Ubuntu 8.10, and had no problems on two desktop computers. I put my wife on Linux, and she has no problems. This was easier than a Windows 98 installation, the last OS I successfully tried to install. I am getting ready to become a Linux preacher, and am planning to put it on my relative's computers when I see them in the summer. Linux really is better this year, as far as I can tell. I am finally willing to try putting it on my laptop, which is the center of my business and my formal education. My laptop provides my news and a substantial portion of my personal communications. Previously, I would not have risked messing up a working machine that mediates so much of my life. Now, I feel like NOT installing the Ubuntu distribution is a bigger risk. I know I am just one person, but I am not a super early adopter. I am the type to wait for things to be ready for prime time. This year, in addition to linux being more secure than Windows, it is easier to use. Previously, "harder to use" was a showstopper for me. For me personally, I predict this will be the year of Linux. And also for my wife, my two daughters, my brother, my two sisters, and my parents.

I think it has passed already. (5, Insightful)

AndGodSed (968378) | more than 5 years ago | (#26161635)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Re:I think it has passed already. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26161777)

Yes. The revolution will not be televised.

I remeber the year of the network. (4, Insightful)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 5 years ago | (#26161801)

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

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

Re:I think it has passed already. (1, Funny)

Leadmagnet (685892) | more than 5 years ago | (#26161811)

Vista is a huge and costly flop for Microsoft, they only sold 300 million copies this year, and barely 200 million copies of Office 2007, and IE is barely 80% of the browser market at this rate they will be out of business any second now. They might as well turn off the lights and go home. However if they can hold on just long enough to release Windows 7 in 2010 then it might postpone their timely demise by a couple years at best.

Re:I think it has passed already. (1)

bds1986 (1268378) | more than 5 years ago | (#26162031)

Whilst this observation doesn't entirely relate to your post, I love how so many Open Source advocates are quick to point out Microsoft's early willingness to dismiss and downplay the significance of FOSS, and then they go and do the same thing right back to Microsoft.

You don't tell a company with Microsoft's assets, brand recognition and mindshare to turn out the lights and go home, at least not yet. Companies have reinvented themselves from far worse positions than Microsoft. Hell, when Apple released the iMac in '98 they hadn't been profitable since 1993. Look where they are now. Writing Microsoft out of the game at this point would be a dangerous and shortsighted bet.

Re:I think it has passed already. (1)

dk3d (1356069) | more than 5 years ago | (#26162099)

>>they only sold 300 million copies this year, and barely 200 million copies of Office 2007 You sell 300 million ANYthing, you're not doing too bad. Flop? Compared to what? XP? Mac? TRS-80's? Don't kid yourself. 300 million in ONE year. That's even more remarkable. What's disappointing to MS is all the people who didn't have the hardware to upgrade to Vista and are still on XP. I don't know.... give me a product, I'll sell it for as low as 10 cents and if I can can sell it to 300 million users in one year...hmm... I'll be happy.

Re:I think it has passed already. (1)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 5 years ago | (#26162191)

Despite the sales numbers, they are in fact bleeding badly [boycottnovell.com] . The stock has been flatline since 2000. They just tried pushing it up with a buyback when everyone's stock was dropping. Their cash reserve of billions has been demolished by bad buys and stock propping.

Re:I think it has passed already. (1)

Maavin (598439) | more than 5 years ago | (#26161825)

Do we have a "0860 CA LL MS" number that the user of his chosen environment can contact in time of need?

No, but what we do have are a lot of "STFU and RTFM, n00b"-Experts, who are hurting adoption a great deal...

Re:I think it has passed already. (1)

AndGodSed (968378) | more than 5 years ago | (#26161905)

Exactly.

Re:I think it has passed already. (2, Insightful)

snl2587 (1177409) | more than 5 years ago | (#26162321)

Then again, we have a slew of helpful people willing to answer just about any question, no matter how trivial it may seem, over at places like LinuxQuestions.org [linuxquestions.org] or the Ubuntu Forums [ubuntuforums.org] . What I'm really looking forward to is the "Year of the Helpful Experts", where new users can get all the help they need with using Linux without being insulted.

In fact, it will accelerate (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 5 years ago | (#26162101)

1999-2002 was when Linux accelerated. Why? recession and 9/11. Now that Linux is more mature and bigger, we are in another recession(depression?) and Linux is again gain traction. They slowly grow, while MS is slowly losing ground. Right now, the majority of the gains are Apples, but there is only so far that they will grow. My guess is within 5 years, Apple will own about 15-20% of the market and Linux will be 5-10%. At that time, MS will start a rapid fall (think early 90's when IBM crashed hard).

No 2009 is not the year of desktop LInux but ... (4, Insightful)

Xabraxas (654195) | more than 5 years ago | (#26161687)

The article is deceiving on many fronts. The author states that it is "inconceivable" that the Windows 7 release date will slip past mid 2009. Why is it inconceivable when Microsoft regulary misses its release dates? In addition to that no one is really going to know how well Windows 7 actually performs on netbooks until it is released. XP is getting old and developers are slowly moving away from it while Linux will always have the latest and greatest whether it is on a netbook or a supercomputer. I think netbooks and Android phones will improve the visibility of Linux to consumers in 2009 but it will still be a long way to garner a significant desktop share from an entrenched Microsoft.

Re:No 2009 is not the year of desktop LInux but .. (5, Funny)

genner (694963) | more than 5 years ago | (#26161761)

The article is deceiving on many fronts. The author states that it is "inconceivable" that the Windows 7 release date will slip past mid 2009. Why is it inconceivable when Microsoft regulary misses its release dates?

They keep using that word.
I don't think they know what it means.

Re:No 2009 is not the year of desktop LInux but .. (4, Informative)

Xabraxas (654195) | more than 5 years ago | (#26161773)

I almost forgot. The author says that Linux doesn't have all the available plugins to enjoy the web. What plugins is he talking about? The most commonly used plugin is Flash and it has been available for a while. Java is available too and Silverlight support is close to done the last time I looked. Which magical plugins am I missing on my Linux laptop? Whatever they may be they haven't seemed to hinder me yet.

Re:No 2009 is not the year of desktop LInux but .. (1)

domatic (1128127) | more than 5 years ago | (#26162007)

Shockwave is missing but I don't see as many sites that use it as I used to.

Re:No 2009 is not the year of desktop LInux but .. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26162193)

Adobe Shockwave.

Re:No 2009 is not the year of desktop LInux but .. (1)

wrecked (681366) | more than 5 years ago | (#26162255)

The author says that Linux doesn't have all the available plugins to enjoy the web. What plugins is he talking about? The most commonly used plugin is Flash and it has been available for a while.

Not only that, but Adobe has released a Flash 64-bit plugin for Linux [macromedia.com] (alpha), and not for Windows. I'm using it right now.

Year of the what? (1, Insightful)

socrplayr813 (1372733) | more than 5 years ago | (#26161707)

I'll probably get modded down for this, but I'll say it anyway... Linux on the desktop as it stands today will most likely never have its year.

The general population wants what they know and until a Linux distribution is pulled together in a nice, neat, familiar (to mainstream users, meaning Windows) package, they will not buy it. It will also need to be packaged with their shiny new HP/Dell/Gateway/whatever. The only way I see it happening at this stage is if Microsoft continues to stumble with Windows. One potential back door I see for Linux is through business. If businesses adopt Linux, people will have that familiarity and won't be afraid of it anymore. For that to happen, of course, there needs to be much improved support for those systems, which is not happening yet.

Unfortunately, I think Microsoft is doing okay for the moment. They stumbled a bit with Vista, but the incompatibilities of Vista were a necessary step for them to improve the security and stability of Windows. If they can improve the performance of Windows 7, mainstream users will have little reason to switch.

Where did I hear this before? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26161723)

Ah, yes... The 100$ netbooks OLPC and EeePC running Linux that now cost 400$ and run Windows.

I Like Linux (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26161729)

I Like Linux.

It is the best.

I think that everybody should use Linux.

I, for one, welcome our new Linux overlords! (1)

Swordopolis (1159065) | more than 5 years ago | (#26161733)

Seriously, when it's declared that next year will be the "Year of the XXXXXXX", it's more likely than not that it will never happen.

why linux doesn't do desktop (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 5 years ago | (#26161745)

The reason linux keeps finding niche applications and not being a major player hasn't changed in 8 years: Applications. Users don't care about the operating system. Linux can be hacked fairly easily to emulate or include the UI features of any other major operating systems currently in use. It comes down to application support. When Microsoft Office comes to linux, when games are routinely released with linux binaries, and when software like Adobe Illustrator and internet plugins "just work" under linux, then you'll have a linux desktop.

Linux could have all the functionality and intuitiveness of Windows 3.1 and people would still use it if it had the application support. And please don't tell me that The GIMP = Photoshop, or that many of the free software replacements are "just as good". It doesn't matter! All that matters is the users' comfort level. And they stick with what they're used to, even if it costs a lot more and isn't as good.

But people keep pinning their hopes on the hardware, or the security robustness, or the feature set, or whatever else they have control over. Face it-- If you want Linux on the desktop the community needs to make a concession that it ideologically cannot afford to make -- which is to start marching to the tune of the large businesses that design these killer apps. When you convince Adobe to release all their products on Linux, and Blizzard to release their games on Linux, etc., then we'll be getting somewhere. But the community won't, because those companies have already made it clear what their terms and conditions are and we won't compromise.

Re:why linux doesn't do desktop (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26161881)

...start marching to the tune of the large businesses that design these killer apps...But the community won't, because those companies have already made it clear what their terms and conditions are and we won't compromise.

And that's great! Otherwise Linux would be the same shitty mess that Windows is! Pursuit of profit is not what made Linux what it is. Pursuit of profit makers in order to gain the popularity that Windows has will destroy Linux.

Somewhat related... (5, Informative)

IANAAC (692242) | more than 5 years ago | (#26162279)

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

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

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

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

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

Linux has already succeeded. (5, Insightful)

kwabbles (259554) | more than 5 years ago | (#26161755)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It is the instruction set - not the power (1)

Alain Williams (2972) | more than 5 years ago | (#26161813)

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

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

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

Re:It is the instruction set - not the power (1)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 5 years ago | (#26162237)

ARM and MIPS based laptop run Linux desktops just like x86 Linux desktops - but you can't run Windows on them.

Damn, imagine if the Eee had been an ARM or MIPS box. Would Microsoft have pulled out NT4 for MIPS to compete?

Mac then Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26161817)

There will never be a Year of the Linux Desktop until there is a Year of the Mac Desktop.

Year of Apple (like the few before that) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26161829)

I like Linux, and that's what I preferably run on my boxes, definitely the server ones. I use it even on my main desktop box, but I recognize Linux failed miserably in there.
If we really need to mention the year of someone, this is Apple. They have a package that is very attractive. Finely built hardware (more expensive then the $400 chinese clones, but well worth the added value), and a very nice desktop OS software.
I started having Macs together with Linux boxes, since they switched to OSX, and I've to recognize that I really like them.
I can run all the GNU software I run on Linux, plus I've the added value of a nice and coherent desktop.
I wouldn't run OSX on a server, but for a desktop is pretty nice. It's a BSD after all, and that puts all Unix guys like me at comfort.
So yeah, I predict the next year will be the year of Apple, like the couple before that.

Linux needs work before mainstream. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26161839)

Let's just face it, free software is great but unless the really basic stuff gets ironed out, Linux will not satisfy the needs of basic people. I used to suggest installing Ubuntu to people, but after running into some trouble with how it handles USB sticks, I won't. Somehow, someone thought it'd be a great idea to not actually delete anything from a USB stick, but to rather move it into a invisible folder in said stick and forget it there. Now that was easy to clear up in the phone.

The year of "the year of" predictions! (1)

Zarf (5735) | more than 5 years ago | (#26161841)

I think 2009 more than any year before will be the year that people make more predictions about what 2009 will be "the year of"

What are these guys smokin'? (2, Insightful)

AnalPerfume (1356177) | more than 5 years ago | (#26161863)

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

Really??? You have to laugh really.

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

If XP works "with aplomb" why would there be any specific need to tweak Windows 7 for the purpose? Surely it's a case of "just keep swimming", since the path they'd be on would be the correct one.

1985 - 1993 "year of the network" (1)

peter303 (12292) | more than 5 years ago | (#26161869)

I remember endless predictions that the upcoming year would be the year of the office network. Originally networks were supposed to share then-expensive resources like printers and large disks. Then networks to the outside world (wide-area) came into play in the later part of this period. The commercialization of the InterNet and web software finally got networks off the groudn in the 1990s.

On the "Year of Linux meme" (3, Interesting)

renoX (11677) | more than 5 years ago | (#26161897)

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

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

The lower processor speed argument is bogus. (0)

bigredradio (631970) | more than 5 years ago | (#26161929)

Back in my day, (insert old man yelling at kids), Linux was a great alternative when you had older, slower hardware.

However, those days have been over for a while. Linux with Gnome or KDE with Compiz is just as bloated, processor intensive and memory hogging as Windows. I have used Linux as my only Desktop OS for 6 Years and have noticed the hardware requirements go through the roof.

Sure you can configure a system with no window manager, or use TWM, or XFCE and get better performance, but if I remember correctly, you can configure windows to run without a lot of fancy bling too.

I agree that Linux is a better option that Windows. But using the speed argument doesn't carry the weight it used to.

The "it's free" and "no viruses" argument is still valid!

What else would be on the desktop? (1, Troll)

knewter (62953) | more than 5 years ago | (#26161933)

Yeah, so almost everyone I know runs linux on the desktop. Our entire business runs on ubuntu machines (software dev). My good friend JD runs his business (apartment mgmt.) entirely on ubuntu. Both of our houses are all ubuntu. When I have to use a windows machine, all I can do is cuss. This is true of JD's wife as well. And my friend Brandon. All of these people ran Windows until a couple of years ago, when I showed them Ubuntu for the first time. Without fail, they have all gone and installed linux on their desktop within days, and never turned back.

Windows is awful, but you can play games on it well. Anyone who disagrees with me (about anything, really) is mentally handicapped. TYVM.

Re:What else would be on the desktop? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26162205)

Anyone who says:

"Anyone who disagrees with me (about anything, really) is mentally handicapped. " ...is mentally handicapped.

20: Century of the Linux Desktop (1)

PinkyDead (862370) | more than 5 years ago | (#26161951)

(Or is that 21, not quite sure).

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

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

Humble Pie like Christmas Pudding is at its best when it is left to season and mature, and I'm pretty sure our friend here is going to be able to eat his fill.

Re:20: Century of the Linux Desktop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26162067)

wow. i've seen some crazy excuses for the delay of linux adoption but this one takes the cake.

even if your rambling had any amount of accuracy to it you'd see that apple is going to beat you to the punch a few decades before linux ever gains any traction. but do you really think that desktop computing is going to be windows vs osx vs linux by 2020?

ahh, ok. have your little dream. keep fighting the good fight and all of that. if it gets you through the day who am i to say anything bad about it? i guess people like to think that they're part of something even when they're not.

Re:20: Century of the Linux Desktop (1)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 5 years ago | (#26162225)

Unfortunately, you seem to forget while MS may be loosing customers, both Windows and Linux are loosing customers to Apple. And, Linux's market share is not growing at "a substantial rate" in the desktop/consumer markets.

Why Care? (1)

robbrit (1408421) | more than 5 years ago | (#26161963)

It seems like everywhere, people are praising the spread of Linux, or arguing against it, or blah blah. My question is, why do Linux geeks care if Linux gains market share? There's no profits to be made or anything like that. If average Joe User used Linux, then I wouldn't have the excuse of, "no I can't fix your computer, because I don't use Windows." Why do we want to spread Linux?

What's it matter? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26161983)

Seriously, who cares about the "Year of the Linux Desktop" and all that? Those of us who use Linux and think it's awesome can continue to do so while everyone else wastes their money and shakes their fists. It doesn't make any difference.

That year was 1998 for me... (3, Insightful)

gillbates (106458) | more than 5 years ago | (#26162017)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Re:That year was 1998 for me... (1)

scsizor (1380671) | more than 5 years ago | (#26162131)

Yea 1998 was the year for me 2. You say Joe-sixpack would like the os if it were designed for him, true and distros like UBUNTU focus on that, right?. However, personally im more like a Joe-40oz and i use SLACKWARE cus it is the only best one...

The Year of the Linux Desktop will be... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26162043)

When I can go to Best Buy and purchase a boxed copy of the latest/greatest games and install it from the DVD onto my Linux machine.

Price counts in a recession (1)

simplerThanPossible (1056682) | more than 5 years ago | (#26162051)

Linux might have made inroads during a recession, especially on the cheaper netbooks, except that Microsoft recognized this took the drastic step of unretiring Windows XP, making it available on the eeePC. They actually arranged pricing so the Windows version is cheaper than the linux version.

The value of Windows is not any intrinsic quality (not its performance, reliability, usability etc), but the software that runs on it.

Therefore, wine is the greatest threat to windows.

patching kernels.. (1, Interesting)

XO (250276) | more than 5 years ago | (#26162095)

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

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

Slow-rolling ball (1)

Kjella (173770) | more than 5 years ago | (#26162105)

I think the most important point is that Microsoft is losing market share. Not much, and probably more to Apple than to Linux, but it does something for the bean counters when they make predictions. Questions like "What features will our core products need in the next 2-5 years?" and sends "Cross-platform compatibility" higher up on that list. Even if it's not more than last year (2.6%) then over the next five years that means nearly a quarter won't run Windows. Of course that's only a stupid prediction, Windows 7 might be brilliant and bring Microsoft back in the high 90s, but both are certainly on the table.

I can really only speak for myself as a Linux user and say that it has become easier and easier to use Linux over the time I've used it fulltime as my primary desktop. I've never seen any serious reverts in price, functionality and usability as I've seen on Windows when good products run out of natural improvements and desperately try to bloat into doing other things. And if there was, support on the old version usually was good enough anyway. I predict nothing but a slow trend upwards in the future. For example, one thing I could only dream about a year ago was a Linux media center but now nVidia was a working video acceleration and HDMI audio. Wireless drivers and webcams are two other examples that have made great strides in 2008. At least from the hardware side Linux is becoming a supported platform all around, and that is nothing short of huge. It's not exactly a "killer feature", but at least it's not a "feature" killing Linux anymore.

Not likely (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26162249)

Every year we here this same prediction. I expect Linux to the same place one year from now where it is now.

The simple fact is that Windows is simply eisier for users to use. Not because it has a dumbed down user interface, but because things just work on it. Installing, loading and unloading device drivers isnt a huge hassle. Installing third party software is not a huge hassle. You are able to run down to the store and buy a software and not worry about if it will work, you just install it and it works. Hardware devices work out of box. Everything is supported.

The attitude of Linux people i not helpful. We have kernel developers who refused to add a stable device driver ABI, despite the fact to get increased adoption of Linux binary drivers is an evil we will have to live with, but will actually have long term benefits since Linux will expand its user base, and we could eventually write open source versions of those drivers. Being able to have binary device drivers and making it easy for users to load them and companies to provide them, actually would give programmers an opportunity to be able to document the hardware protocols used by these drivers and make an open source driver from that.

Another thing is the assumption that a user can live with installing all programs entirely from the distros package manager. The reality is companies will want to use their own installers and these will have to run on different distros. Binary compatability is very important and a Stable binary program API.

I think WINE is very important and that when that becomes to a point where it can run 100% of Windows software, and that if even some way was found to allow Windows drivers to run on Linux, then maybe Linux might gain more market share.

Otherwise, given the fact that there is so much hardware, software lockin on Windows, and that everything Gnome does tends to make the GUI on Linux even worse and mroe unuseable and its developers seem at a loss how to make a flexible and useable GUI, i think linux will remain mainly a botique operating system with some penetration into the server market.

Ive watched people use Ubuntu and the are absolutely baffled. Its not because its a new system, its because the development philosophy (of dumbed down, rigid, inflexible GUIs rather than high levels of flexibility and good layout) is all wrong and the system is simply junk. The more user friendly they try to make it the worse it gets. Somehow Ubuntu has LESS configurability and flexibility, and options than Windows, at the same time it manages to be MORE user unfriendly than windows. This is because the dumbed down GUIs of Ubuntu does NOT make software easy to use. Its layout that does. Software needs to have lots of customizability and allow users to grow into it, as they become experts they can customize more of it. With the default GUI of Ubuntu there is little to grow into.

Many of my users were even scared by the default desktop background that looks like a coffee stain or a dangerous animal. Its the ugliest thing ive seen. What the hell are these people thinking?

  Despite the CD being 600 MB it seems there are only a dozen programs avialable on the menu and half of them didnt load properly.

Its good to have a user friendly GUI, but this does not mean dumbed down. This is the mistake that Gnome has made to equate the two. Everything Gnome has done has made the system simply worse, more inflexible, unuseable, and so on. Its layout that matters in a GUI, not scarcity of features. A GUI can have the most features, customizabiliy and tons and tons of extra options for experts, and still be user friendly, if it is well laid out and advanced options are placed in advanced screens. Gnome developers try to push their own tastes on everyone and preferences, instead of letting users decide how to use their computer, and that will not work. The idea should be to make it easy for the user control everything on the computer, not hard. And make it so users can configure as little or as much as they want, thus software should come with preconfigured reasonable out of box settings, and then once the user learns the environment more they can if they choose customize it.

Everything should be customizable and doable, by both GUI and CLI, and that will make a system which is both average and expert friendly and a system everyone can use. A user should be able to make the system work exactly how they want, and they should be able to do this as easily as they want to, and have as much or as little control over it as they wish.

Every year is the year of Linux! (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#26162313)

For the past 10 years, Linux has done something significant... or sometimes many somethings significant. Each step is incremental and forward and rarely, if ever, a step backward. This cannot be said of Apple or Microsoft.

While I am sure a lot of Linux users would love to see the lights come on and suddenly the entire world say "hey! this linux thing is really cool!" we all know this isn't going to happen... not EVER. What will happen and has been happening is a gradual and cautious encroachment of Linux into territories historically and traditionally occupied by others. Linux is on the edge of the "joe sixpack" user's desktop, but it just hasn't gotten there yet and it isn't for lack of trying. And a variety of things have been tried and are still being tried... mostly, the sale of low-cost computers with Linux pre-installed have been the means. That doesn't seem to be the way just yet.

I am wondering, though, if some sort of IBM.Google.Whatever "Safe Browsing Disc" might be the way. If some Linux supporting company gave these CDs away that will boot on every machine and give users access to their data and to the internet they could claim a "safe internet browsing" system that could be used for a wide variety of purposes. The idea needs a LOT of refinement, but I think the general idea is a good one. But if it was given away as a means of safe browsing, I think it would turn a bunch of people onto Linux who are just looking for ways to use the internet without trashing their Windows installations... and be able to use their comptuers after they have been trashed. If all they have to do is pop in a CD, whoever gave it to them would be a hero... (or a villain depending on the actual results.) THAT would put Linux on the desktop QUICKLY. THAT would allow people to diagnose or even clean/disinfect their machines when their Windows installation was so corrupted that it cannot be fixed any other way. THAT would enable people to see the power of Linux contrasted against their Windows that used to run pretty nice.

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