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Desktop Linux Is Dead

CmdrTaco posted about 4 years ago | from the oh-no-he-didn't dept.

Open Source 1348

digitaldc writes with this quote from PCWorld: "It kills me to say this: The dream of Linux as a major desktop OS is now pretty much dead. Despite phenomenal security and stability — and amazing strides in usability, performance, and compatibility — Linux simply isn't catching on with desktop users. And if there ever was a chance for desktop Linux to succeed, that ship has long since sunk. ... Ultimately, Linux is doomed on the desktop because of a critical lack of content. And that lack of content owes its existence to two key factors: the fragmentation of the Linux platform, and the fierce ideology of the open-source community at large."

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wrong OS? (4, Funny)

tverbeek (457094) | about 4 years ago | (#33931688)

I thought it was BSD that was dead?

Re:wrong OS? (4, Interesting)

Shoeler (180797) | about 4 years ago | (#33931850)

BSD's not dead of course - look only to the Mach kernel in OS X for verification.

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

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

Re:wrong OS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33931906)

No, BSD is just the one that stinks, it's not dead yet.

Re:wrong OS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33932050)

The difference is the BSD exhibits general death symptoms like rigor mortis, lack of pulse, livor mortis and decomposition, whereas linux exhibits some death symptoms only when placed on the desktop and is up and running again when transfered to a server.

Again? (5, Funny)

suso (153703) | about 4 years ago | (#33932058)

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

three million (4, Informative)

xzvf (924443) | about 4 years ago | (#33931708)

A 1-2% usage rate equals ~three million desktop users in the United States.

Linux has the same drag as Mac in business (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33931866)

There aren't any business databases available for either OS. And I mean databases like dBaseIII or Paradox for DOS, and NOT the useless piece of shit Windows versions. No database, no deal. Many are using Access but if you've ever used anything well designed you don't like it.

The PHP/Javascript/MyPostrgressSQL combo is an abortion. We need something that those who know the business rules can use to implement said rules, and do it easily.

If it ever happens, the publisher will make billions overnight. I'm still selling PDoxDOS apps. Hey stupid, they work.

Oh Dr. Pauker, where art thou?

Re:Linux has the same drag as Mac in business (2, Insightful)

Culture20 (968837) | about 4 years ago | (#33931924)

There aren't any business databases available for either OS. And I mean databases like dBaseIII or Paradox for DOS, and NOT the useless piece of shit Windows versions. No database, no deal. Many are using Access but if you've ever used anything well designed you don't like it.

The PHP/Javascript/MyPostrgressSQL combo is an abortion. We need something that those who know the business rules can use to implement said rules, and do it easily.

If it ever happens, the publisher will make billions overnight. I'm still selling PDoxDOS apps. Hey stupid, they work.

Oh Dr. Pauker, where art thou?

Do they work in DosBox?

Re:three million (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33932020)

No dipshit, it doesn't. 300 million people do not all have individual computers. Fucking moron.

Re:three million (5, Insightful)

cindyann (1916572) | about 4 years ago | (#33932038)

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

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

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

Not dead on my desktop (2, Insightful)

denshao2 (1515775) | about 4 years ago | (#33931710)

I have been using Linux for the past 5 years and I have no plans to abandon it.

Re:Not dead on my desktop (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | about 4 years ago | (#33932034)

I have been using GNU/Linux (not that I always called it that) for an even longer period of time, but unfortunately, I have seen the movement really suffer these past few years. For me, the reason why is entirely clear: we spent too many years attacking Microsoft and Microsoft Windows. Apple swooped in, took advantage among some of the anti-Microsoft sentiment that developed, and even recycled some old Linux-vs.-Windows arguments. It has gotten to the point where people sometimes show up at LUG meetings with Apple products running Mac OS X.

Re:Not dead on my desktop (0, Troll)

Skater (41976) | about 4 years ago | (#33932048)

Me too. I recently upgraded to a 4-core, 64 bit processor, and I can't even get Windows XP (neither the installed copy nor the setup disc) to boot on the machine. I haven't put a lot of time into it, though, because Linux works so well.

So...? (3, Insightful)

ByOhTek (1181381) | about 4 years ago | (#33931720)

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

Re:So...? (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33931872)


Get over it
Give it up

Fuck (5, Funny)

binarylarry (1338699) | about 4 years ago | (#33931722)

I upgraded to Ubuntu Maverick Meetkat last week.

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

Re:Fuck (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33931996)

Your Meerkat is not dead, it sleeps...

Re:Fuck (1)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | about 4 years ago | (#33932054)

Don't beat a dead Meerkat.

On the contrary (1, Troll)

COMON$ (806135) | about 4 years ago | (#33931724)

Linux desktop is very much alive...on thinclients :)

However, what is up with the obvious story troll? Are the /. numbers low today?

Re:On the contrary (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33931764)

I was thinking the same thing. the comments should get pretty interesting.

Re:On the contrary (3, Insightful)

jxs2151 (554138) | about 4 years ago | (#33931868)

Linux desktop is very much alive...on thinclients :)

However, what is up with the obvious story troll? Are the /. numbers low today?

"...what is up with the obvious story troll?"

This is what the author was referring to when he mentioned "...the fierce ideology of the open-source community...". Dismissing non-believers as heretics/trolls makes you an ideologue and renders the platform unattractive to regular users. Your natural reaction to this will be to dismiss regular users as not worthy of Linux but nobody wants to adopt a platform that gets them trashed by smelly, overbearing, slogan-yelling hippies.

Thanks asshole.

Re:On the contrary (2, Interesting)

Apatharch (796324) | about 4 years ago | (#33931962)

I don't know whether it was an editor* or the author of the article himself (my bet's on the latter), but whoever chose the title "Desktop Linux: The Dream Is Dead" was undoubtedly trolling. (*At PCWorld, I mean, not /.)

Re:On the contrary (3, Insightful)

Fnkmaster (89084) | about 4 years ago | (#33931914)

Dude, this morning has been one troll story after another. Look at the last 3-4 stories - Microsoft is dead, Linux is dead, now we just need a Mac is dead story and we'll complete the troll trifecta.

huh... why now? (4, Insightful)

someonestolecc (1038714) | about 4 years ago | (#33931728)

... i dont get it.. why now? why at all? i've been using it for years so for me it's great ..

Re:huh... why now? (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | about 4 years ago | (#33931912)

And there's new people adopting it at least as often as before. Do your MS running friends a favour and show them what you can do with a Linux desktop these days. They'll (hopefully) thank you for it, especially if they're the 'virus prone' sort of folks.

Re:huh... why now? (4, Interesting)

maztuhblastah (745586) | about 4 years ago | (#33931974)

... i dont get it.. why now? why at all?

Because Mr. Strohmeyer needed an article, and PCWorld needs their advertising revenue.

trolling trolling trolling (4, Funny)

roman_mir (125474) | about 4 years ago | (#33931732)

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Games (3, Interesting)

Laz10 (708792) | about 4 years ago | (#33931738)

All I need is games.

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

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

Re:Games (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33931798)

starcraft 2 works flawlessly with wine out of the box. Been playing it solely on ubuntu over 100 games played and including online games without drops or lag. Seems almost as if they tested it on wine before shipping the game.... just amazing that it works so well.

Re:Games (1)

The MAZZTer (911996) | about 4 years ago | (#33931894)

I can't speak for all games of course but Team Fortress 2, which wasn't TOO old at the time I tried it in Wine, ran pretty much perfectly. When did you last try Wine?

Re:Games (1)

somersault (912633) | about 4 years ago | (#33931986)

Team Fortress 2 runs on the HL2 engine, which had been out for a good while when TF2 came out. By that time I think I'd already bought a PS3 though.

Side rant: I really, really dislike how they brought out the whole Orange Box for PS3, but not CS. It must be trivially easy to get it running on PS3 if the Source engine is working. Yes it's not as good a port as the Xbox version, yada yada, but I'd still have played it a hell of a lot if they brought it out. I'd even pay for it, again.

Re:Games (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | about 4 years ago | (#33931972)

I need nothing, abs nothing exception playable games.

Dude, you need a proportional font and a grammar/spell-checker.

Re:Games (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33932036)

HTTP = hyper-tmetic transfer protocol?

Long live The Desktop Linux! (3, Funny)

rvw (755107) | about 4 years ago | (#33931740)

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

Long live Linux on the Desktop (4, Insightful)

just_another_sean (919159) | about 4 years ago | (#33931742)

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

Re:Long live Linux on the Desktop (1)

BStroms (1875462) | about 4 years ago | (#33931948)

To be fair, the summary says that "the dream of Linux as a major desktop OS is now pretty much dead." So the argument wouldn't have anything to do with how good the OS is, or how well it works for you. It comes down entirely to what it's chances are of taking a significant share of the desktop OS market.

Good timing (3, Funny)

lotec85 (1769696) | about 4 years ago | (#33931746)

I got on board the Linux bandwagon just as the wheels fell off!

Mobilize the mob (3, Funny)

zill (1690130) | about 4 years ago | (#33931748)

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

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

Re:Mobilize the mob (-1, Flamebait)

oodaloop (1229816) | about 4 years ago | (#33932000)

Sounds like the mobs of angry Muslims after the Mohammed drawings. "How dare they insinuate Muslims are violent! Kill them all!"

Re:Mobilize the mob (1)

zolf13 (941799) | about 4 years ago | (#33932018)

Hold your horses! High Treason cannot by applied as he does not come from the right Kingdom. That leaves us with boring hanging.

Haven't we heard this before? (3, Interesting)

whizbang77045 (1342005) | about 4 years ago | (#33931750)

Funny, I thought I heard this about the Mac several years ago. I have faith in Microsoft. They could alienate anyone.

I hate to say this but... (4, Insightful)

leachim6 (1007609) | about 4 years ago | (#33931758)

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

Re:I hate to say this but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33931856)

It is what it is, there is no "label".
People have shoved labels on it since the beginning and it just exists.

Re:I hate to say this but... (1)

leachim6 (1007609) | about 4 years ago | (#33931952)

It is what it is, there is no "label".
People have shoved labels on it since the beginning and it just exists.

well one thing is for sure, it's not going away anytime soon

Usage Base (1)

jex.pwn (1776062) | about 4 years ago | (#33931760)

As long as the people that use it are the ones who are developing it, Linux should be pretty much self sustaining, assuming that new people join the community as others leave.

I personally thought Xandros was decent. (1)

pecosdave (536896) | about 4 years ago | (#33931770)

I thought it's what ASUS did to their customized Xandros that really screwed it up.

seriously? you guys posted this? (0, Offtopic)

awb131 (159522) | about 4 years ago | (#33931778)

I say wait until Windows finally finishes dropping support for XP. Large numbers of corporate desktops will not make the move to Windows 7.

The only thing that keeps businesses running Windows at all is the large volume of industry-specific applications (and even web sites) that only work on Win32 and IE. It certainly isn't lower support costs.

Re:seriously? you guys posted this? (3, Funny)

neumayr (819083) | about 4 years ago | (#33931890)

The only thing that keeps businesses running Windows at all is the large volume of industry-specific applications (and even web sites) that only work on Win32 and IE. It certainly isn't lower support costs.

Uh huh. Even if that were true, you're expecting them to reimplement all those application to what, Linux and Firefox?

This story is a troll, yes, but as long as it's here, let's feed it!

Re:seriously? you guys posted this? (1)

somersault (912633) | about 4 years ago | (#33932042)

Even if that were true, you're expecting them to reimplement all those application to what, Linux and Firefox?

The thing about Firefox is that it complies with standards. If it runs on Firefox, chances are it runs on every browser.

Many industry specific apps also run on Linux, it's not a stretch to imagine more tech companies porting their apps to Linux at all.. MS is slowly losing grip on the computing world, and nothing of value will be lost.

Re:seriously? you guys posted this? (1)

Stachybotris (936861) | about 4 years ago | (#33932030)

And then there's Windows 2008 R2... While I applaud the decision to go 64-bit only as a way to try and push developers into finally writing for 64-bit systems (after all, the capabilities have been around for what, a decade or so?), I think it may backfire on Microsoft the same way that UAC did in Vista. Users will be most unhappy that their legacy application that they've been running their entire business on for the last eight or twelve years and that can't be updated or is no longer available won't work on the new server they just bought. Of course, Server 2003 & 32-bit Server 2008 will reach their end-of-life eventually as well, and that's the point when things will really change.

In the mean time, Microsoft's need for constant support and massaging keeps a lot of us employed...

linux is for smart people (1, Insightful)

mihauKw (869076) | about 4 years ago | (#33931780)

looks like there are only 1-2% of us..

Cowboy hats (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33931788)

Cowboy hats are also dead, because almost nobody wears them. Someone needs to tell the cowboys.

One other thing (5, Insightful)

btcoal (1693074) | about 4 years ago | (#33931792)

Linux is also the only major OS that cannot advertise. Ubuntu 10.10 has great copy on its website extolling the benefits and showing that you can do pretty much anything on Ubuntu that you can on a Mac or Windows based PC. only see that if you're already on the Ubuntu landing page. Linux also doesnt come pre-installed on the vast majority of new PC's either.

Mass market games (2, Insightful)

asicsolutions (1481269) | about 4 years ago | (#33931794)

The only reason I run windows on my computer at home and my kids computer is games. Fallout 3, Fallout New Vegas, Civ5, Steam. If all of those were available under Linux _At the same time_ as the PC counterparts, I would wipe windows off my PC tonight. I am writing this on my work laptop HP DV8t running opensuse 11.3.

Re:Mass market games (1)

djd20 (1835080) | about 4 years ago | (#33932026)

For many of these wine actually works quite well out of the box - I find that for most games I don't have any trouble running them in wine. Steam works well too. Nevertheless, I appreciate that not having to fiddle and just be able to play what you've bought. That's why I own a ps3... Oh, and Ubuntu is an awesome desktop environment. Run it on a few machines which are used for work.

wait... (3, Insightful)

polle404 (727386) | about 4 years ago | (#33931804)

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

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

TFA written by a Windows magazine editor? (5, Insightful)

bl8n8r (649187) | about 4 years ago | (#33931814)

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

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

[*] - []

no need for Tux to look sad (4, Insightful)

yyxx (1812612) | about 4 years ago | (#33931818)

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

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

No need for Tux to look sad.

Re:no need for Tux to look sad (3, Insightful)

CdBee (742846) | about 4 years ago | (#33932040)

I run Linux myself - and tel all my friends why its great. Most of them are interested up 'til the point where they ask if they can run out the lates MS Office on it, and Photoshop CS for their camera, and iTunes for their iPod/iPhone, and the official Yahoo and MSN Messenger releases.

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

Right... okay... (5, Insightful)

Sylak (1611137) | about 4 years ago | (#33931820)

So, by citing many unrelated facts, and some things which the average user doesn't know enough about to care, he has proved that Desktop Linux is dead. Okay, i buy that.

Huh? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33931828)

Who the fuck writes this garbage, and even better, why the fuck is it showing up on slashdot?

Repeat after me: Linux exists BECAUSE of the fierce ideology of the FREE SOFTWARE COMMUNITY. Open source has no ideology, fierce or otherwise.

Taco, you should know better.

WTF? (1, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 4 years ago | (#33931830)

Okay Taco, I know you're desperate for page views, but posting this is just trolling for them. What a pathetic way to start off a slow news day. How many sharks have you jumped now?

Linux will continue to fail till the games come. (2, Insightful)

Jartan (219704) | about 4 years ago | (#33931838)

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

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

Troll Article... (1)

Spicerun (551375) | about 4 years ago | (#33931840)

Gee, another article declaring Linux dead again from a magazine that has years of pushing WIndows on their reading public. I have a feeling that 90% of their readers are exclusively Windows Users....the rest of us find magazines that actually write articles about our preferred OS without comparison to Windows.

Re:Troll Article... (1)

dargaud (518470) | about 4 years ago | (#33931950)

Yup, besides the obvious trolling of the article, I could very obviously write about the reverse. Of the hundreds of computers I have nearby at work and in the family, I have never even seen Vista or Win7 (is that even the correct name?). We have a majority of Ubuntu and other Linuxes, some Macs and quite a bit of aging XPs. Not a SINGLE post XP. So I have no clue what 'lack of content' this article refers to. Or maybeTaco posted it to get us geeks warmed up in a good flame war on a cold monday morning...

Evil Twin day? (4, Interesting)

zwei2stein (782480) | about 4 years ago | (#33931860)

What is going on today on /.?

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

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

Not by any chance (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33931862)

Funny, I just bought a SONY VAIO from BJs, wiped it off completely with whatever junk that came on it and installed my beautiful Ubuntu 10.10 (meerkat).

The last 5 years, I have used windows (on a VM) for doing precisely 2 things

1. Install and use Turbo Tax onec an year
2. Run a PDF editing software (eCopy Desktop)

I agree with one thing: fragmentation (2, Insightful)

fgaliegue (1137441) | about 4 years ago | (#33931864)

For goodness' sake, since Qt had gone LGPL (thanks no Nokia, admittedly), why does Gnome still exist at all??

KDE has proven superior for many years, has started unifying some desktop components, but the progress is SLOW. Why tens of sound APIs? Why tens of imaging APIs? Why tens of video APIs? Why less than ten, but still more than one, packaging format?

Choice is good - until a certain extent. And as far as the desktop is concerned, non open source application developers will want ONE api to work with ALL Linux distros out there. That's a fact. Live with it.

Linux is not dead, (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33931870)

it sleeps ...

So.... (1, Informative)

ctrl-alt-canc (977108) | about 4 years ago | (#33931874)

Linux is dead
Microsoft is seriously ill []
But Linux is going to succeed, at least in the enterprise battlefield []
Time to stop reading Slashdot, and moving to do something better.

Re:So.... (2, Interesting)

Fnkmaster (89084) | about 4 years ago | (#33931992)

Sure, the stories often suck, but once you filter out the trolls and complete morons, there's actually a great community of bright and interesting people who post comments here. You know, the people who've been around since the earlier era of the internet, the people who know an awful lot about science, technology and computing. That's what keeps me coming back - it's certainly not the brilliant editorial insights of the staff (guffaw).

What's still keeping me away (4, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | about 4 years ago | (#33931876)

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

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

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

Re:What's still keeping me away (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33931940)

you don't belong here:-P

reality check (2, Insightful)

Tom (822) | about 4 years ago | (#33931880)

and amazing strides in usability

Uh, where?

Every time I checked, both KDE and Gnome were pretty much busy copying whatever the latest UI abominations out of Redmond were at the time. Their UI design people completely ignore usability, and the fact that Microsoft can inflict great usability pains on their users simply because they have so many and most of them are locked in.

An alternative OS needs to provide something better, not just a cheap copy.

There are a few innovations and advances, I'll grant that. But the main interfaces are crap, pure and simple. Because usability is expensive. You simply can not create good usability at a programmer's desk. You need user testing, labs, feedback cycles and, most importantly, a clear vision. Some non-programmer understanding of design would also help a lot.

NeXT and me (you) (1)

choke (6831) | about 4 years ago | (#33931884)

What content? I've supported the desktop world for the entire existence of desktops. The whole landscape of 'content' as the term is misapplied here changes every 2 years or so. What exists today, will be forgotten tomorrow.

So how's this for funny. I just got a job at Apple - something I never thought I'd do. Even funnier though is that I'm using a mac, which is something I'd have put money on not doing. It runs UNIX, but moreso, it has put UNIX in the hands of the -least- technically motivated users, and done so with deftness.

So, I call bullshit on this. It can, and is being done. Just not done right, right now.

It's easy to be a skeptic and predict failure, and even easier for those who cannot or do not try to succeed.

Sad (2, Interesting)

zn0k (1082797) | about 4 years ago | (#33931886)

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

Oh come on. (4, Insightful)

Dancindan84 (1056246) | about 4 years ago | (#33931896)

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

"2010 is the year of the Linux desktop!!" isn't realistic, but neither is "Linux on the desktop is dead!!"

Regarding Flash (2, Insightful)

cedars (566854) | about 4 years ago | (#33931902)

"the fragmentation of the Linux platform and the hurdles presented by..."alpha-quality" drivers for audio and video hardware made success elusive for the [Linux] Flash development team."

Okay, fair enough. But how does Adobe/Macromedia then explain the failure to deliver a decent plug-in on the two other major platforms, Mac OS X and Windows?

So one guy lost faith--why is this headlin news? (1)

spikenerd (642677) | about 4 years ago | (#33931904)

So maybe Linux will camp out in the server and smart-phone markets for a while. Maybe vendors don't believe in Linux on the desktop yet. Whose to say it will never move into that market? Commercial products die when they lack the market share to support the salaries of the programmers. Free software lives until the last guy stops donating his time. We are nowhere near that. Linux continues to make a phenomenal difference to me, and I will continue to contribute as long as it keeps the ideals of freedom. Small != dead.

Nicholas (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33931908)

It seemed pretty much alive when I downloaded Ununtu 10.10 last weekend...

Really I would say Linux on the desktop is a safe (2, Insightful)

DarkOx (621550) | about 4 years ago | (#33931918)

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

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

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

X is Dead (2, Insightful)

jokermatt999 (1536127) | about 4 years ago | (#33931920)

"(X) is Dead" is just as unrealistic as "(X) is the Year of the Linux Desktop". I think the TFA is right that Linux may never gain a majority share, but that doesn't mean it's *dead*.

Linux is winning where it counts today-handhelds (1)

jothar hillpeople (1789504) | about 4 years ago | (#33931926)

Desktop innovation is dead. The only active innovation is on handheld devices, and linux (in the form of Android OS) is quickly becoming the biggest game in town. If you count handhelds and Android OS, linux would have a much higher user percentage.

I get the odd feeling... (1)

dreemernj (859414) | about 4 years ago | (#33931936)

That the number of "Desktop Linux is Dead" stories is inversely proportional to the number of "PC Gaming is Dead" stories.

Not just the Linux desktop (2, Insightful)

bergie (29834) | about 4 years ago | (#33931942)

I'd say, the concept of desktop as it was defined through 80s and 90s is beginning to die. Touch interfaces, actually well-working mobile devices and web services ("the cloud") are taking over more and more of the desktop's traditional role. More than a problem for the Linux desktop, I see this shift as a big opportunity as the importance of the traditional vendors like Microsoft is declining. Here are some ideas on what the "Linux desktop" ought to do: []

It's not about the OS, really. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#33931946)

Most people want to buy feelings, not actually do something useful with the machine. Example: buying a Mac because it is pretty, at least partially for the feeling of owning something aesthetically pleasing. Games fall into this category too. People will line up to hand over money to buy something that barely works because a) friends are doing it and so they want to play it too, and b) playing the game will give a feeling of accomplishment very slightly different from the feeling of accomplishment gotten by playing the last game.

Most ways in which Linux is technically superior does not fit into this mental model of what a computer is for, and we are surprised that it doesn't have marketshare among these folks why exactly?

I am going to load Ubuntu and try it out (1)

digitaldc (879047) | about 4 years ago | (#33931964)

I will try Ubuntu on a spare desktop and try to use it for a while and see if it holds up.
It will be interesting to see where it fails and where it succeeds, but my friends have all said it runs very well.
And maybe, I will never purchase an OS again.

Predictions (1)

GF678 (1453005) | about 4 years ago | (#33931966)

I shall predict how the comments here are going to go:

* Someone will complain how Linux doesn't work as well as Windows for X, which is used as evidence why desktop Linux sucks.
* Someone will counter-complain how Windows doesn't work as well as Linux for Y, which is used as evidence why complainers suck.
* Repeat the first two endlessly
* Someone will say Linux is free (beer/speech) and if there's a problem, you can fix it.
* Someone will present a well thought-out essay as to why Linux has failed and continues to fail on the desktop, but will be ignored.
* Someone will state it already IS the year of Linux on the desktop... for them, their family, friends, pets and their friend's pets.
* There will be 1000+ comments in total.

To add my 2c, I tried Ubuntu 10.10 recently. The supplied open-source drivers for my ATI card had working vertical sync but crap power management, so my laptop would run hot and the fans were extremely noisy. I also didn't have much customization of features due to lack of control panel. The proprietary drivers had broken vertical sync but working power management, and the catalyst control panel. I needed the control panel for various functionality and the need to run the fans correctly was not in question, but the drivers couldn't properly vsync to save their life, and so videos tore. The control panel could force vsync to be enabled, but the next time the X server restarts, it conveniently "forgets" this and tears once more. The solution is then to disable vsync and reenable it.

I did tons of research, hoping to find a solution. There isn't none. ATI drivers are the responsibility of ATI, I am aware of that. It doesn't help that they suck balls though, and it affects the quality of my experience with Ubuntu (and hence Linux) as a whole. In the end I thought "fuck this" and went back to a working Windows 7 install.

Android? (1)

DudeFromMars (1097893) | about 4 years ago | (#33931970)

A front door assault on Windows is not getting anywhere.
Android is proving wildly popular for phones.
If Android can prove as popular for tablets.
If Tablets can make laptops obsolete
If both those things happen, then Android could get somewhere.
It will take a platform shift to displace Windows as King of the Hill.

Another "Adventure in Punditry" (1)

mlwmohawk (801821) | about 4 years ago | (#33931998)

Let's be honest...

What is "dead" and what is "alive" when it comes to technology? Linux has millions of users. This is a fact. It isn't dead. It isn't going to be. Will it be as popular as the Mac? Probably not. Will it be a market that people will ignore? Probably, but if there is a market of millions of possible customers and little competition, an enterprising company would be foolish not to take some notice. The problem with Mac and Windows is, well, Mac and Windows. Windows does suck. Everyone knows it. Most reluctantly use it. The Mac is better and people love their macs, but they are not as entrenched (yet) as Windows and their are issues, plus it is a more expensive platform.

I would hazard to say that Windows and Mac are just as dead as Linux. There are no new applications. Computers themselves aren't getting faster only "wider." We are done. There's nothing left for the desktop to do. We can only improve what we have or alter the way in which we deliver services (i.e. netflix, hulu, etc.). Its a toaster or a VCR. People still buy toasters and VCRs (well DVD players), but they aren't getting any "better."

The interesting work isn't the desktop, but the device that comes after it. Obviously phones and mobile computers are big, but that is approaching saturation as well. What's next? Is there a next? The whole tech world is search.....

Partly True (1)

scharkalvin (72228) | about 4 years ago | (#33932004)

If we are talking about world domination with the goal of being the overthow of M$ and MAC then the story is quite correct. Linux still has a shot at workstations and turnkey PC applications that use a caned desktop. Finally, if certain critical applications such as Open (Libre) Office can improve themselves to the point of being a real substitute for their M$ counterparts Linux still has a shot as the desktop OS in office settings that stick to the basics. Of course, it will remain the desktop of choice for open source developers, home brew 'Makers' and computer hobby types.

I've installed Linux on an older ThinkPad after discovering that the Windows Wifi support didn't work (and I did NOT have the restore CD or partition) while Linux DID get my Wifi to work. My desktop dual boots between Windows 7 and Linux, though I rarely use Windows, it's there for the occasional something that hasn't been ported to Linux yet.

Let the companies trying to make money selling Linux on the desktop worry about the lack of adoption, while those of us who are using it just enjoy. It ain't going away.

Backroom deals killed Linux on the Desktop. (3, Interesting)

miffo.swe (547642) | about 4 years ago | (#33932006)

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

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

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

wow (1)

Spiked_Three (626260) | about 4 years ago | (#33932010)

a realistic article on slashdot.
i agree and disagree. your points are very valid and correct.
and the mac suffers the same fate for many of the same reasons.... except mac is moving forward?
the pc represents a huge shift in how things got done. people don't fully realize it yet, but the iPad is almost as large a shift. it actually does what java and the browser were supposed to do and failed at (provide a ubiquitous new, useful platform).
linux can hang their hopes on android tablets. if not there, then whatever is next, but yeah, the desktop PC revolution is coming to and end, and linux is out of time there.

Not a troll... (1)

cpuh0g (839926) | about 4 years ago | (#33932016)

The article is actually pretty spot-on, IMO. Linux will never be a mainstream desktop OS like OS/X or Windows. For the small percentage of computer users who frequent THIS site, it may seem heretical to state the obvious, but that doesn't make it less true. The article doesn't say that Linux itself is dead or that it is not a viable platform, just that it isn't ever going to be mass-market successful as a desktop platform ala OS/X or Windows.

Why does this piss people off? And just because it works great for *you* doesn't negate the arguments that the author is making.

just love the article and the comments (1)

Torvac (691504) | about 4 years ago | (#33932028)

you ever noticed how bad a CLI is ? but its perfectly legal to let users hack around keys in the windows registry (i guess because there is a GUI for that ?).

Meh (1)

chill (34294) | about 4 years ago | (#33932032)

I predicted this all along, and still stick with it.

Linux will become the desktop of choice among the masses when the desktop no longer exists.

That is, as applications move into the cloud and the desktop turns into a smart/thick client, Linux will be the primary choice. It is lighter weight, much more OEM-customizable friendly and cheaper than Windows or Mac.

Sun was right when they said "The network IS the computer". They were just a couple decades early in trying to bring it to the masses.

content (1)

hedrick (701605) | about 4 years ago | (#33932044)

Whether Linux is realistic depends upon what you want to do. I use a Mac as my primary way to access TV, and to some extent movies. As far as I can tell the only major source of video content is iTunes. I'd love to find an alternative, but there doesn't seem to be any. Hulu only keeps some shows, and you can't rely on which ones. It seems unlikely that the major content providers will be interested in supporting Linux unless things change more than I think they will. It's pretty clear that if Apple hadn't pioneered with iTunes, they wouldn't even support the Mac. I find it odd that content providers haven't provided a credible alternative. It seems in their interests. But it looks like only Apple has enough clout to force them to do something reasonable.

You can't fail what you don't try to do (2, Insightful)

CodePwned (1630439) | about 4 years ago | (#33932046)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My brain hurts (1)

Stumbles (602007) | about 4 years ago | (#33932062)

Yes it is obvious with the plethora of file systems supported by Linux it can be a daunting task for peanut brained Window users to decide which one to use. It is a wonder they can get past a Windows installation where it asks if you want your partition formatted as fat or ntfs. However, since Window users are so accustomed to clicking through on whatever the defaults are, I fail to see how Not Choosing the defaults of a Linux distro is an issue.
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