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Linux Of the Future May Be About Which Environment, Not Which Distribution

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the mo'-zilla-mo'-zilla dept.

GUI 214

itwbennett writes "In its 2012 roadmap, the Mozilla Foundation highlights plans to create its own soup-to-nuts mobile platform, known as Boot to Gecko. With this move, the Mozilla Foundation 'is finally shaking off its dependence on browser revenues and treading where Google, with ChromeOS; Canonical, with Unity on Ubuntu; and (most recently) the Plasma community's Spark tablet have already started: the creation of standards-based platforms that rely on robust web applications (in varying degrees) more than native-run apps to provide the user experience,' writes blogger Brian Proffitt. 'I very much think that we are heading for a time when Linux flavors will be identified by environments, not distributions.'"

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214 comments

Is the desktop still gonna suck? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39032235)

I've been really unhappy with the major linux desktops environments since last fall.

I'ts bad enough I've been debating switching to a lesser platform that has a more usable interface.

Re:Is the desktop still gonna suck? (5, Insightful)

Barbara, not Barbie (721478) | more than 2 years ago | (#39032379)

Want a real shock? Grab a 5-year-old version of Knoppix and boot it - it's easily just as usable. 5 years of "progress" - and in the meantime, there's yet another family of software linux can't run natively - Android - on top of not being able to run Windows or iOS apps.

It's the applications, people! Until linux can run most of them, it's going to remain mostly a server and utility OS, because most people have at least one "must have" application that won't let them switch.

Re:Is the desktop still gonna suck? (-1, Troll)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | more than 2 years ago | (#39032467)

Want a real shock? Grab a 20 year old copy if Windows XP. I's still usable! (at least as usable as a Windows OS can be)

Re:Is the desktop still gonna suck? (4, Funny)

Rhaban (987410) | more than 2 years ago | (#39032493)

Want a real shock? Grab a 20 year old copy if Windows XP. I's still usable! (at least as usable as a Windows OS can be)

Good luck finding one.

Re:Is the desktop still gonna suck? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39032509)

20-year old copy?

Does "Linux of the Future" also feature time travel?

Re:Is the desktop still gonna suck? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39032753)

No he is still using Yggdrasil linux with a .98.1 kernel. Because he is just that rad...

Re:Is the desktop still gonna suck? (2)

TeXMaster (593524) | more than 2 years ago | (#39032515)

Want a real shock? Grab a 20 year old copy if Windows XP. I's still usable! (at least as usable as a Windows OS can be)

Except for the fact that 20 years ago you couldn't have Windows XP, at best OS/2 or WinNT.

Re:Is the desktop still gonna suck? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39032567)

Want a real shock? Windows XP isn't 20 years old you stupid fucking twat. In fact judging by your intelligence I'm guessing you haven't even reached that age yourself yet.

Re:Is the desktop still gonna suck? (4, Funny)

donscarletti (569232) | more than 2 years ago | (#39032733)

20 years ago the world was eagerly awaiting the release of Windows 3.1 in March, which would finally bring us colour icons, 386 Enhanced (protected mode) windows apps and the ability to run MSDOS programs in a window. Oh, and Minesweeper, no more stupid MS Reversi for us!

Man, I can just feel CANYON.MID playing through my head as I think about the coming excitement.

Re:Is the desktop still gonna suck? (1)

sourcerror (1718066) | more than 2 years ago | (#39033291)

I thought Reversi is the killer app! Steve Ballmer seemed very excited about it.

Re:Is the desktop still gonna suck? (5, Informative)

sourcerror (1718066) | more than 2 years ago | (#39033343)

Relevant video: link [youtube.com]

Re:Is the desktop still gonna suck? (1)

zanian (1621285) | more than 2 years ago | (#39034051)

mind blown... It kind of reminds me of the flea market Montgomery video except with less soul: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FJ3oHpup-pk [youtube.com] [youtube.com]

Re:Is the desktop still gonna suck? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39033571)

Actually, I have copy of Windows 3.11 for workgroups (Released 1993 so close enough to 20) running in a VM .It can run IE5 (which is almost IE6) and can still do some basic web browsing plus it can run classic apps. So your kind of right. Windows 9x/NT4 are teenage OS's now and there is still a thriving community keeping them going.

Re:Is the desktop still gonna suck? (1)

Barbara, not Barbie (721478) | more than 2 years ago | (#39033611)

Want a real shock? Grab a 20 year old copy if Windows XP. I's still usable! (at least as usable as a Windows OS can be)

That would be a real shocker, considering it was only released in 2001 ... 20 years ago, people were still running DOS and Windows 3.1 and WFW.

Re:Is the desktop still gonna suck? (1)

Shoe Puppet (1557239) | more than 2 years ago | (#39034121)

So you're that guy with 50 years experience as a Windows admin?

Re:Is the desktop still gonna suck? (2)

phrostie (121428) | more than 2 years ago | (#39032637)

Knoppix was awesome.

the shocker should be that the first thing everyone(everyone i know) does when they install Ubuntu is to switch from Unity back to classic Gnome.
yet they use it as an example.

Re:Is the desktop still gonna suck? (-1, Troll)

poetmatt (793785) | more than 2 years ago | (#39032875)

This is comedy, straight up.

None of them can run the other easily, but can do it.

It's quite easy to run $OS in $OS, a more false statement could not have been made by you.

Running windows under anything other than windows?
Linux: Wine
OSX: bootcamp/wine
Whose fault is this? Microsoft's for making it a pain in the ass.

Running linux under windows?
mingw is one solution, virtualbox is another
Running linux under OSX?
already does it natively

Running android under windows?
there's like 5 different ways
running android under linux/osx?
there's already been multiple ways to do this, whether emulating or otherwise.

You must be a special kind of retarded.

Until the fud ends, nobody will want to acknowledge that in the long term, OSX and windows are simply not going to last. It's absolutely guaranteed. This doesn't mean that somehow they aren't in full use - just that people like to deny reality. Same line of thought as creationists, politicians, and anyone else anti-science.

Re:Is the desktop still gonna suck? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39033097)

You're anti-science if you make statements such as "it's absolutely guaranteed" about things happening in the unknowable future for which there is no predictive scientific model whatsoever. Not anti-science in the way creationists are. Anti-science in a far more pernicious way, in that you simply don't care about science enough to take on board that what you don't know, you don't know.

Re:Is the desktop still gonna suck? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39033317)

Running linux under OSX?
already does it natively

Wut?

OSX and windows are simply not going to last. It's absolutely guaranteed.

Oh I see, you're batshit. Never mind

Re:Is the desktop still gonna suck? (0)

sensationull (889870) | more than 2 years ago | (#39033449)

Yea, I'm going to be modded to hell and back for this but Windows and OSX are for people who don't want their OS to be a huge pile of text files jsut waiting for the opertunity to miss a line break of semicolen. cat order from chaos... etc.

Re:Is the desktop still gonna suck? (1, Troll)

Barbara, not Barbie (721478) | more than 2 years ago | (#39033719)

WINE is a joke - it can't even run Simcity 2000 without crashing.

BTW - even Linus Torvalds says that Android isn't going to run natively under linux until ~2016 - I think I'll trust him more than you.

Until the fud ends, nobody will want to acknowledge that in the long term, OSX and windows are simply not going to last. It's absolutely guaranteed. This doesn't mean that somehow they aren't in full use - just that people like to deny reality. Same line of thought as creationists, politicians, and anyone else anti-science.

The reality is that the window of opportunity that Vista provided was lost. While everyone was going "Ubuntu! Ubuntu! Ubuntu! Nyah nyah nyah!!!" Microsoft pulled up their socks, and are now good enough for the masses. Ubuntu? Shuttleworth has become a joke - every year he makes a new announcement while abandoning another project. Not just Kubuntu - there's the smartphones that were supposed to be on shelves over a year ago, the android execution environment that was promised almost 3 years ago, etc.

The reality is we dropped the ball big time, and don't want to admit it.

Re:Is the desktop still gonna suck? (3, Informative)

ilguido (1704434) | more than 2 years ago | (#39033947)

WINE is a joke - it can't even run Simcity 2000 without crashing.

Try harder: Simcity 2000 (DOS) works perfectly with DOSBOX (Linux, Win etc.), Simcity 2000 (Win95) does not work with windows Vista/7, while it runs under Wine (although with a few bugs).

Wine 1 - 0 Windows

Re:Is the desktop still gonna suck? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39032915)

Actually, I have shifted 90% of my apps to the browser... I don't care what OS I am running (ubuntu, Android, Windows, Mac,...), all my apps run on whatever I am looking at. So, to be honest, no it's not "The Applications People" - now it's just the browser.

Re:Is the desktop still gonna suck? (1)

na1led (1030470) | more than 2 years ago | (#39033069)

Install WINE, then you can run both Linux and Windows apps. I think there is even an Android emulator too.

Re:Is the desktop still gonna suck? (-1, Troll)

Barbara, not Barbie (721478) | more than 2 years ago | (#39033767)

Have you tried WINE? Seriously - have you? It doesn't work well enough for anyone to depend on. Better to just run a copy of Windows in a VM. As for Android, good luck with that. It's SLLOOOOOOWWWWWWWW. And BUGGGGGGGYYYYYYYYYYYY. I know - I tried.

Re:Is the desktop still gonna suck? (4, Insightful)

chrb (1083577) | more than 2 years ago | (#39033141)

Want a real shock? Grab a 5-year-old version of Knoppix and boot it - it's easily just as usable. 5 years of "progress"

Why would that be a shock? The basic design for the desktop was done by the 90s: apps in windows that get dragged around and manipulated by bars attached to each window. Some kind of status bar at the top or bottom of the screen. Everything since then has just been eye candy. The truth is that the basic desktop design works and everybody is familiar with it. There is nothing that you can do with a modern desktop (Apple, Windows, or Linux) that you couldn't have done with a Windows 2000-era desktop.

Re:Is the desktop still gonna suck? (2)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#39033517)

The truth is that the basic desktop design works and everybody is familiar with it.

That's why the 'UI designers' are so busy buggering it up. It's either that or back to the dole queue on Monday morning.

Re:Is the desktop still gonna suck? (2)

Barbara, not Barbie (721478) | more than 2 years ago | (#39033865)

Oh, you won't get any argument from me on that account. The basics - a task switcher, a way to list and launch programs, a file viewer, and a way to add programs to a quick-launch list, were all there back in DOSSHELL. You could even have dual-monitor goodness if you had both a vga and a hercules card.

The funny part is that even back then you could useunreal mode [wikipedia.org] to address up to 4 gigabytes of ram from DOS.

Re:Is the desktop still gonna suck? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39033261)

Hell 10 years ago... KDE2 is what, 12 years old now? Are we really better off?

Though Barbie, your "homepage" link, Tilefy... the UI is straight out of the 1990s. Whats up with that?

Re:Is the desktop still gonna suck? (1)

eternaldoctorwho (2563923) | more than 2 years ago | (#39032399)

I don't know....All the sources I've seen say this will be the "Year of the Desktop".....

Re:Is the desktop still gonna suck? (5, Funny)

khr (708262) | more than 2 years ago | (#39032429)

Is the desktop still gonna suck?

Nope, not this year. If you hadn't heard, 2012 is going to be the year of the Linux desktop.

Re:Is the desktop still gonna suck? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39033051)

Is the desktop still gonna suck?

Nope, not this year. If you hadn't heard, 2012 is going to be the year of the Linux desktop.

starting December 22nd

Re:Is the desktop still gonna suck? (1)

Envy Life (993972) | more than 2 years ago | (#39033095)

Is the desktop still gonna suck?

Nope, not this year. If you hadn't heard, 2012 is going to be the year of the Linux desktop.

Sweet. Does that mean by the end of 2012 I will be able to get my workstation to boot up to GUI mode? (stopped working as of the 3.0.0-15 kernel in Ubuntu). Until then I'm partying like it's 1999!

Re:Is the desktop still gonna suck? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39033743)

I will take some of what you are smoking!

Re:Is the desktop still gonna suck? (1)

Bengie (1121981) | more than 2 years ago | (#39033819)

Is that what they mean be the world ending? The beginning of the end of MS is 2012, when Wayland/etc gets released.

What will the future bring us? Will MS leave eventually leave the OS arena and make libraries and UIs for Linux/BSD/etc?

All I know is I live in exciting times and I can't wait to see what the next 10 years brings as hardware and driver interfaces become standardized.

Will tablet and other platforms rock? (4, Interesting)

bigsexyjoe (581721) | more than 2 years ago | (#39033073)

I don't know the answer to your question. But I think there is reason to suspect that Linux on tablet will rock. If you make a tablet meant to run on Linux, you have no driver issues since you don't much upgrade tablets. Also, with Boot2Gecko running Javascript, there is great reason to suspect that it will have great compatability. I think it is clear that mobile/tablet apps will largely be made with Javascript with PhoneGap. This way, they can be Boot2Gecko and Metro compatible. They can also run well on Android and iOS.

Desktop is so last century. In the 21st century mobile computers and entertainment center computers will rule. Desktops will just be for work and

Re:Is the desktop still gonna suck? (2)

couchslug (175151) | more than 2 years ago | (#39033955)

Why switch platforms when you can have multiple DEs and set up one to your liking?

Distros exist for CONVENIENCE, they are not like Windows where you have greatly restricted choice.

Just hope they don't abandon Firefox (5, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 2 years ago | (#39032245)

With Google making up about 90% of the Mozilla revenues these days, I've been worried for a while that they were going to kill off Firefox in the face of Chrome. Nothing against Chrome, but the add-on community for Firefox is by far the best. And it's particularly robust when it comes to add-ons for script-blocking, downloading videos from Youtube, etc. (all of which Google has a vested interest in stopping or trying to suppress in Chrome). Giving up Firefox means going back to an era where only the big corps control the browsers. And I don't like the thought of Google killing off Adblock and other extensions the second there is no alternative (except Opera I guess).

So here's to hoping that this move isn't a foreshadowing of a time when Mozilla does everything BUT Firefox.

Re:Just hope they don't abandon Firefox (4, Insightful)

bondsbw (888959) | more than 2 years ago | (#39032475)

I just hope they don't abandon good programming languages for the brokenness that is HTML and JavaScript.

Sorry, but I refuse to believe that the crapload that is and has always been HTML will one day be the only choice.

Re:Just hope they don't abandon Firefox (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39032571)

I've never seen a good, usable "web app". Not one.
Running apps in my browser can never, ever take the place of running them on an actual desktop.

Re:Just hope they don't abandon Firefox (2)

TWX (665546) | more than 2 years ago | (#39032859)

I have seen web apps that worked quite well. They were all customer service logging apps though. Essentially database pull/push things.

The best ones were all server-side though.

Come to think of it, Slashdot is also a web app in a way, and it used to be pretty much all server-side. Now there's some client-side, but it works fairly well.

It's certainly not impossible to write good web apps, but it requires more capabilities and insight than your average programming mill of a school will churn out. It's easy to code something that functions, it's hard to code something that functions well, intuitively, and reliably. That's always held true though, since the earliest days of computer applications that weren't solely for computer developers.

newsreaders vs. web boards (Re:Just hope th...) (4, Insightful)

sowth (748135) | more than 2 years ago | (#39033035)

When you say Slashdot (or other web boards) "works fairly well," it just shows you've never used a decent Usenet newsreader program. A threaded newsreader blows away by far even the most "advanced" web boards I've ever seen.

Re:Just hope they don't abandon Firefox (1)

oakgrove (845019) | more than 2 years ago | (#39033225)

Come to think of it, Slashdot is also a web app in a way, and it used to be pretty much all server-side. Now there's some client-side, but it works fairly well.

Now stop for a second and imagine Slashdot as a full blown well coded native application. Think of all of the things you could do that you can't do in the browser and how much faster and more fluid it could be doing those things. BTW, this is just an example, please don't take it out of context.

Re:Just hope they don't abandon Firefox (2)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 2 years ago | (#39032587)

"the creation of standards-based platforms that rely on robust web applications (in varying degrees) more than native-run apps to provide the user experience"

Remember when Steve Jobs came out on stage and told everybody the iPhone was going to have these great web apps you could write and download? And everyone said web apps suck and clamored for a real native API? And they were right?

How would barcode scanners have worked? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#39032697)

Remember when Steve Jobs came out on stage and told everybody the iPhone was going to have these great web apps you could write and download?

Under the original plan for web apps under iOS, how would a web-based barcode scanner application have worked? Such an application needs access to the image from the camera in order to extract a UPC or QR matrix from the image. Yet years later, there is still no widely deployed API for a JavaScript program to (ask the user for permission to) read a device's camera and microphone.

Re:Just hope they don't abandon Firefox (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#39032907)

I think that was more driven by profit-seeking than technical shortcomings...although there are a lot of technical shortcomings still to be solved before an all-web-apps OS would be practical. How would you burn CDs, use a webcam, etc? And don't get me started on "cloud storage." There is not nearly enough bandwidth to make that a practical replacement for local storage, ownership issues aside, and I really wish it were practical.

Re:Just hope they don't abandon Firefox (4, Insightful)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 2 years ago | (#39032977)

Remember when Steve Jobs came out on stage and told everybody the iPhone was going to have these great web apps you could write and download? And everyone said web apps suck and clamored for a real native API? And they were right?

That was Steve Jobs trying to snow people. The API wasn't ready, so he told everybody it wasn't necessary. That was purely a stalling tactic. He did the same thing over and over throughout his career and people actually bought it.

The Reality Distortion Field can have a powerful effect on the weak minded.

Re:Just hope they don't abandon Firefox (1)

sensationull (889870) | more than 2 years ago | (#39033549)

The RDS strikes again, the real problems started when people started to beleive all of the BS that came out of that guys mouth. They should have been hearing, buy this, buy that, buffer Apple profit rather than the BS he was broadcasting.

Re:Just hope they don't abandon Firefox (2)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#39032863)

There's nothing wrong with HTML and javascript... for making web pages. Web apps? I don't want any web apps! I like my computers to work with a broken router or modem; I refuse to use any program besides a browser that relies on web access. And I don't want forced upgrades. With the app on my PC I can upgrade or not as I see fit. If the app's on your server I have no choice.

For simple database-driven apps, javascript in the browser works fine if the heavy lifting is done on the back end. That's your data. I'll keep my own data and programs on my own computers, thanks.

HTML and javascript too hard for you? Maybe you're in the wrong line of work?

Re:Just hope they don't abandon Firefox (1)

ifrag (984323) | more than 2 years ago | (#39033433)

I refuse to use any program besides a browser that relies on web access.

So, how far has your clock drifted?

Re:Just hope they don't abandon Firefox (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39033989)

You synchronise your clock using the web? Time via. HTTP? Didn't think so.

Re:Just hope they don't abandon Firefox (1)

sensationull (889870) | more than 2 years ago | (#39033591)

Pfft, we based apps are the quickest way to make a core 2 duo insufficient to run a simple database app. Inefficiency is the new Vogue despite all the optimisations recent browsers have made to compensate for the basterdised scripting language they are trying to pass off as a develepment platform.

Re:Just hope they don't abandon Firefox (1)

muon-catalyzed (2483394) | more than 2 years ago | (#39032905)

Mozilla and their "web apps" only platform, they are making a very possible DOA product.

You know, you can go "web apps" way on iOS too for example, but pretty much no dev would do it for plenty of good reasons. Apple and HP (webOS) has recently tried that approach too, anyone remember?

Re:Just hope they don't abandon Firefox (1)

swillden (191260) | more than 2 years ago | (#39033391)

I've been worried for a while that they were going to kill off Firefox in the face of Chrome

I don't see how that would make any sense, either to Google or to Mozilla. Google doesn't want Firefox to go away; from Google's perspective more browser diversity and competition is a good thing, as long as it's standards-based competition. From Mozilla's perspective, if they didn't make Firefox, what would they do that would motivate Google and/or Microsoft to pay them hundreds of millions of dollars per year?

Re:Just hope they don't abandon Firefox (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 2 years ago | (#39033981)

I'm far more worried about Firefox management making Firefox suck than about Google killing it.

Arent you exaggerating 'mobile' too much ? (4, Insightful)

unity100 (970058) | more than 2 years ago | (#39032261)

It seems like everyone is wanting to ride a new 'tech wave' again like it was in the 90s, since what we have has become saturated and stale. But arent they exaggerating it, all of them going nutso and mobile in full force ? (does not only include linux - everyone)

Wont it probably be like pcs ? once they pass a certain hardware strength and software feature set, people will just skip on going on the 'next big thing'. like how endless legions of people has not upgraded their xp, or, how people just skip on upgrading their hardware since what they have is enough.

Re:Arent you exaggerating 'mobile' too much ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39032873)

There was more than just the "dot com" tech wave . I used to read the computer magazines while an undergrad to see what skills were in demand. Back in the 1980's, it was X.25, ISDN, C/ X-windows/Motif. In the mid 1990's, it was C++, MFC and ActiveX. Late 1990's, Java and web browsers were the in-thing as everyone started getting fast modems (V.56). Around 2000, DSL and ADSL started appearing. CRT monitors have virtually disappeared.

Mobile computing didn't really take off until it was possible to access E-mail and the internet directly. Before that, it was a pain trying to synchronize your documents between a PC, remote server and mobile device. At my last university campus, netbooks were the most popular device because they had wi-fi, could be hidden inside a folder and didn't need a power cable to be charged up. In the media area of London, iPhones are extremely popular. Apple PC's are extremely popular with medical staff as well due to their flat physical profile, which is easy to wipe clean. People may not be upgrading their PC's, but they are buying mobile devices just to remain connected. Who want's to risk losing a $3000 laptop when they can do just about the same with a $200 smartphone?

Re:Arent you exaggerating 'mobile' too much ? (1)

hal2814 (725639) | more than 2 years ago | (#39033659)

"Mobile" may be like Windows PCs, but the mobile market has a lot more diverse hardware set. We may see something along the lines of a Mac where the entire hardware subsystem is upgraded so at some point staying with the old set of hardware leads to no longer being able to run any newer programs since at some point developers will stop targeting the older hardware. So while your hardware may be technically capable enough to run the latest Angry Birds (or whatever the fad is by that time), the software will simply not be available for your older device. That will lead a lot of people to upgrade devices who otherwise wouldn't.

Truth (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39032263)

Jar Jar Binks shot first!

Old (1)

Grindalf (1089511) | more than 2 years ago | (#39032285)

This mobile stuff's old, can we have our command line back please?

Re:Old (1)

Skapare (16644) | more than 2 years ago | (#39032855)

Hold Ctrl and Alt down and press F1. Login.

I wish they would all do one thing ... (5, Insightful)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 2 years ago | (#39032287)

... stop telling me how I should run my computer by trying to lock me in to their "vision."

The "vision thing" didn't work out in the dot-com bust, and it's not working out for Unity, or Chromebooks, or anything else. When it gets to the point that Apple and Microsoft are starting to look more open, "Open Source" has a problem.

Re:I wish they would all do one thing ... (2)

Rich0 (548339) | more than 2 years ago | (#39032643)

Yup. We're getting to a point where to run a popular app you will need to run some crazy vertically-integrated environment devoid of choices. Want to run Gnome? Well, guess what, you're going to run systemd too. Want to run Firefox, well, there's an OS for that. Like Ubuntu's package selection? That's great - hope you like Unity.

I run Gentoo because it is desktop-environment-neutral and you can swap out just about anything (including linux - you can run Gentoo on FreeBSD if you want to - or even on Windows, OSX, or a number of Unix platforms). That might get harder to support if everybody starts breaking layers left and right so that you can't install anything without having constraints on the whole OS.

Re:I wish they would all do one thing ... (2)

Anrego (830717) | more than 2 years ago | (#39033339)

Even using a different window manager (I use a combination of openbox and xfce), you find software written for either kde or gnome can be a pain, because it expects a certain environment (kde is really bad for this.. ). It's unfortunate because while I dislike kde as a whole, a lot of the kde software is great.. but more and more you try to use it and get "this not running" or worse, a whole bunch of random processes started in the background which then do all kinds of weird stuff (like mess with my audio setup...).

It feels like we are going backwards. We had big monolithic apps.. then people realized it was better to split things apart and make them run independantly with well defined common interfaces to communicate with each other.. and now we are going right back to big "all in one, everything tied together" type software.

Re:I wish they would all do one thing ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39033429)

I run Gentoo because it is desktop-environment-neutral

You run it because you're masochist

Re:I wish they would all do one thing ... (1)

visualight (468005) | more than 2 years ago | (#39033851)

I think the breaking of layers is a little bit deliberate.

I've always explained "Linux" to people as a stack of layers where what's in each layer can be replaced. You can choose which system logger you want, which cron daemon you want, etc. And "distributions" are organizations who make those choices for you. Not all distros will choose the same system logger.

This flexibility makes almost anything possible, but niche use cases are becoming targets. The way things are looking, if Lennart Pottering doesn't think your use case is worth supporting, well, too bad because now we all have to use systemd and systemd has tentacles.

Android too. I used to see it as completely awesome until I bought an unlocked galaxy tablet and Samsung locked it for me a few months later. Now here I am in a walled garden just like an ipad -the only difference is that I have to rely on (ahem) "developers" to make apps work where they're already just there and working on ipad. Oh, and somehow I'm supposed to be impressed with the openness of Android since I can jump through 20 hoops and get sshd running on a 600 dollar not-a-phone LINUX tablet. Can't flash BIOS or change bootloaders though because then I might do something crazy like install native debian.

KDE, firefox, gnome, android...they all want to "control the experience".

BTW, I run gentoo for the same reasons you do. Because it lets me choose.

Re:I wish they would all do one thing ... (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#39032921)

So you haven't heard about iOS or Win8/WinPhone?

Re:I wish they would all do one thing ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39033057)

Win 8 on ARM will be limited like you say, the x86 build is just another version of Windows that may have the ugliest defaults yet. The dev preview has the annoying screen unless you remove half the UI changes in a regestry edit, within two weeks we'll know if that's part of the consumer preview.

It does not change the fact that for desktops, open source often has a closed implementation and closed source allows much greater user choice.

Re:I wish they would all do one thing ... (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#39033377)

There are still many traditional Linux distros out there that are still completely open, just because the hot new media darlings limit your options doesn't mean all of open source is headed that way.

Re:I wish they would all do one thing ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39033083)

No shit, man. Some people are so delusional and quick to suck up to the corporate master. My kingdom for a +1 button on Slashdot rather than the mod mess.

The title... (2)

SCHecklerX (229973) | more than 2 years ago | (#39032441)

Shouldn't it be 'Linux *mobile/desktop* of the future'? I certainly don't want a html/css/javascript based set of back end servers, thanks.

Re:The title... (1)

Skapare (16644) | more than 2 years ago | (#39032891)

The future will be something else. More like a collective. It comes in a cube shape.

ummm....what? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39032499)

how are they shaking off browser revenue dependence? Are they gonna try extracting licensing fees from this platform? If they do, do anyone honestly think companies would bother licensing this? It would be extremely difficult to get companies to adopt this even if it was free. How many countless times has we seen endeavors likes these?

Some people just don't "get it." It takes alot more then a good platform to get it reasonably adopted. You must have a incentive (in the manufacturers view) over current offerings, the project must has major backing for trust issues, issues of liability and support, etc. Just look at how well firefox phone builds have done. If it does take off, it won't be any time soon so while it's an investment for hte future, it's hardly shaking off dependence from firefox and hence Google. This platform would have to have major benefits for it to be adopted over current offerings as it's hard to compete against android which is most similar but have added benefits like major backing and and established market.

Is this a change? (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#39032541)

My impression was that, already, identifying linux-by-distro was largely the domain of geeks and server jockies, while the majority of the world's linux instances toiled silently either in various plastic boxes with a few blinking lights and a web interface or in assorted phones and consumer electronics behind some interface that hides essentially all the guts.

If anything, public visibility of these 'nontraditional distributions' has increased because of competition in the consumer electronics area. Heck, you can find $50 routers that have their WRT compatibility printed right on the shiny package, and distinguishing between 'devices that will run cyanogenmod' and 'devices that won't' has brought distro-war enthusiasm to the phone geek scene...

Everybody wants to rule the world (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39032647)

I wonder if the software vendors realize that this obsessive focus on platforms has just as much potential to hurt the Linux ecosystem as to help it. Differentiation has a lot of upsides, but when you move yourself too far apart from the rest of the community you lose the network effects that helped make Linux great.

Re:Everybody wants to rule the world (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#39033547)

Everyone wants their own 'walled garden' to force users to buy their stuff. Sadly, we've got a whole new generation of users who weren't around in the 80s and don't remember how much that fscking sucks.

It is much more than DE (1)

macson_g (1551397) | more than 2 years ago | (#39032711)

Bullshit. It is much more than that. It is about how often do you like your updates, how close to the bleeding edge do you want to be, which package management system do you prefer etc.

Re:It is much more than DE (2)

Skapare (16644) | more than 2 years ago | (#39032803)

... and other stuff the average person has no clue about.

Re:It is much more than DE (2)

shikitohno (2559719) | more than 2 years ago | (#39033245)

Just because the average person has no clue about something doesn't render it unimportant. The average person probably also has no clue how any number of functions, like updates, of their shiny Windows 7 or OS X machines are actually implemented, but that doesn't mean it's any less important how system tasks are carried out. This article is just sensationalist garbage. For your average person, linux will simply remain one monolithic entity like it has been to most people for ages now, "Linux." For the people who actually use it and interact with it on a day to day basis, the notion that we're close to the point where it's only a choice of DE is just laughable.

12 Years (2)

degeneratemonkey (1405019) | more than 2 years ago | (#39032975)

I've been reading Slashdot for over 12 years now, and I still don't understand the obsession with Linux being on the desktop.

Re:12 Years (2)

bigredradio (631970) | more than 2 years ago | (#39033163)

Just wait. Next year will be the year of the Desktop!

Re:12 Years (1)

hal2814 (725639) | more than 2 years ago | (#39033271)

It's like Dippin Dots. They're the ice cream of the future! Nevermind that they've been the ice cram of the future for about 25 years now. At some point you have to rightly suspect that they'll never be the ice cream of now.

Re:12 Years (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39033513)

It's because Dippin Dots' patent hasn't run out yet...

Re:12 Years (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39033325)

You're walking into the path of a speeding train just by asking that. It's the same kind of mindset that keeps people voting for the same party for decades without any real change in the culture.
 
I have no problem for people who are using Linux and loving it. I run a bit of Linux myself. But the ranting of the fanboy base is a major turn off. Even moreso to those who refuse to use Linux. It has its place but its place is limited.

Not the nerds (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39033335)

It's not the nerds who bring this up. It's not the real unix programmers and sysadmins. It's not the people who have been unix die-hards for 15 years (me).

It's the johnny-come-latelys who constantly want to compare linux to consumer desktop operating systems. People from outside the open source community, or even outside the tech industry. Why? Because the consumer desktop is all they know, and they "need" some kind of benchmark comparison. To point out that linux dominates in both the server and embedded markets, and has for years, is utterly pointless. The consumer desktop is all they know and want to compare it with.

But it hardly matters anymore. Consumer-targeted computing is quickly moving away from the traditional desktop and laptop model and towards the handheld touchscreen tablet model. In time, only professionals will have (or need) traditional desktops and laptops, and the consumer market will be almost exclusively dominated by tablets.

Re:12 Years (1)

grumbel (592662) | more than 2 years ago | (#39033545)

I've been reading Slashdot for over 12 years now, and I still don't understand the obsession with Linux being on the desktop.

Once upon a time, back around 2000'ish, it looked like Linux would be a reasonable alternative on the desktop, people started doing games for it (Loki, id, Epic), it started to get commercial apps (WordPerfect, CorelDraw, ...) and the desktops where imporving bit by bit. There where even some vendors looking to shipping with Linux by default. In the following decade however the situation stagnated, desktop environments switched from improving to reinventing the feel, all those little annoancies and inconsistencies that Linux has have in turn never been fixed. Software like Gimp, that once looked like it might be a Photoshop alternative has barely evolved at all, while Photoshop has a lot and most commercial software vendors have lost interest in Linux. Configurability that once was embraced, is now feared and users are just as locked in as on any other OS.

Long story short, it once looked like it might be a free desktop alternative, that however has turned out to be false. Right now it looks like it's going to be doomed to be a niche OS.

Re:12 Years (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#39033587)

Long story short, it once looked like it might be a free desktop alternative, that however has turned out to be false. Right now it looks like it's going to be doomed to be a niche OS.

Weird. I haven't used a Windows desktop for more than a few hours in the last three years.

Of course that was before the 'UI designers' signed a global suicide pact.

Re:12 Years (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 2 years ago | (#39033941)

and users are just as locked in as on any other OS.

Seriously? How so? It's my experience that most applications that I have on Linux can also run on other OSs due to them being either Open Source, or Proprietary and cross platform.

Re:12 Years (1)

impaledsunset (1337701) | more than 2 years ago | (#39033637)

Because it is a free operating system, and the only one free operating system that has any chance of being on the desktop these days. Regardless of where you stand on the issue, you'd still have to admit that a capable free operating system on the desktop is a good and quite possibly an important thing. For starters, it would promote more open standards and less vendor lock-in.

Re:12 Years (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39034061)

I've been using Linux exclusively on the desktop for over 16 years now, and I don't understand the idea that it's something that still about to arrive.

It's an obvious move... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39033011)

...since Chrome OS and netbooks are all the hype these days. ;)

TWM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39033311)

It's the old reliable.

Wayland (1)

Flammon (4726) | more than 2 years ago | (#39033567)

I hope they go with Wayland [freedesktop.org] .

Had high hopes for Linux Mint 12 (2)

pkbarbiedoll (851110) | more than 2 years ago | (#39033569)

But found two deal killers.. in general:

1) No Power Management application. I see some tutorials on manually editing conf files to tweak power settings, but why not install DOS 6.22 while I'm at it. Ubuntu 10.04 has a Power Management tool that works well, and allows me to choose how I want my system to respond, rather than having someone else dictate power configuration that does not fit my needs.
2) No way to add application icons to the desktop. At least not easily.
3) No way to add/configure upper panel (that I can find).

I tried the Gnome "2" fork MATE, but still no power management tool, however I was able to add shortcuts to the desktop (which were retained when I logged back in under Gnome 3). I couldn't find how to add a top level panel (as I have in Gnome 2), and the menu grid seems like a copy of gnome 3.

I looked at a few screenshots of Cinnamon but it looked a lot like Gnome 3 as far as the menu grid goes. I don't want to have to type names of applications I may not recall off the top of my head. That is one reason why graphical menus exist in the first place.

Just Stop. (3, Interesting)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 2 years ago | (#39033599)

Right, Mozilla is going to compete with Google's Android resources.

I love Firefox, and they have one fabulous engineer working on memory leak problems, but just one (he should be managing a team by now).

They don't have the resources to compete or out-do Android, so any resources they spend on this project will essentially be wasted.

Here's a suggestion: allocate these resources into Mobile Firefox (is it still called 'fennec'?). Make that awesome. Make me want to run Mobile Firefox instead of Dolphin HD (a small independent browser).

Then, and only then, will it be worthwhile to start working down the stack. Replace the runtime next, then the subsystems, then the kernel. It just might wind up being excellent. Meanwhile, Android is OSS and there's no reason to re-invent that wheel at this time.

We're already there (1)

burdickjp (2530248) | more than 2 years ago | (#39033627)

Desktop environment != distribution. It never has. Even Unity can be run on other distributions. This means we've ALWAYS been there. I don't know anyone who associates what distribution is being run to what KDE, GNOME, XFCE, OpenBox all ring a bell? They're DESKTOP ENVIRONMENTS, not distributions. You can hop on your Unity Ubuntu and install KDE, or Debian and install Gnome3, or Arch and install Unity if you so want! It has NEVER mattered what distribution someone runs, as it has never been synonymous with what DE they use, or apps they run for that matter.

been there done that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39033673)

www.susestudio.com

I know y'all have issues with Novell, but this concept has been around for ages as part of the openSuSE community.

soup-to-nuts (1)

Ginger Unicorn (952287) | more than 2 years ago | (#39033949)

The phrase "soup-to-nuts" sounds like a category of porn based around a genital scalding fetish.
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