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Are Open-Source Desktops Losing Competitiveness?

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the not-enough-squabbling-over-rounded-edges dept.

KDE 663

An anonymous reader writes "Peter Penz has been a user of KDE since version 1.2, and he led the development of the Dolphin file manager for the past six years. Now, he's quitting KDE development and handing off Dolphin. His reasons for quitting KDE development are described in a blog post. Penz speaks of KDE losing competitiveness to Apple and Microsoft due to increased complexity and other reasons. 'Working on the non-user-interface parts of applications can be challenging, and this is not something that most freetime-contributors are striving for. But if there are not enough contributors for the complex stuff behind the scenes and if no company is willing to invest fulltime-developers to work on this... well then we are losing ground.' Are open-source desktops losing?"

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NO !! NEVER WERE !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40456811)

So that settles that !!

Re:NO !! NEVER WERE !! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40456855)

"never were" -- competitive, or losing competitiveness?

Re:NO !! NEVER WERE !! (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40456869)

YES!!!

Re:NO !! NEVER WERE !! (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40457191)

"never were" -- competitive, or losing competitiveness?

Both. They never were competitive. You can't lose something you don't have, so they can't be losing competitiveness.

Re:NO !! NEVER WERE !! (5, Insightful)

homey of my owney (975234) | more than 2 years ago | (#40457205)

I used a linux desktop for 7 years. I dutifully updated when any improvement was made.

Linux desktops were in my experience never competitive because they require too much technical knowledge. That is an obstacle easily overcome by technical types, but *not* the majority of the user population. It just isn't sustainable to say "Here, tinker, it's cool" to everybody - or more accurately ANYbody outside of technical folks who enjoy the work necessary to update one application or another. It's why many have grown tired of Windows. It's why OSX, with its draw backs, is becoming more popular - the user population at large want an experience that doesn't require at lot of work to keep working. imho.

Re:NO !! NEVER WERE !! (1, Informative)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 2 years ago | (#40457237)

What tinkering exactly?

What exactly does "a lot of work to keep working" actually mean beyond completely empty rhetoric.

Re:NO !! NEVER WERE !! (4, Interesting)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 2 years ago | (#40457347)

I used a linux desktop for 7 years. I dutifully updated when any improvement was made.

Linux desktops were in my experience never competitive because they require too much technical knowledge. That is an obstacle easily overcome by technical types, but *not* the majority of the user population. It just isn't sustainable to say "Here, tinker, it's cool" to everybody - or more accurately ANYbody outside of technical folks who enjoy the work necessary to update one application or another. It's why many have grown tired of Windows. It's why OSX, with its draw backs, is becoming more popular - the user population at large want an experience that doesn't require at lot of work to keep working. imho.

My KDE desktop worked great "out of the box". No tinkering required. However, tinkering is an option if you want to take that road. Gnome2 was the same way.

I wont comment on Unity or Gnome3 because I think they suck and won't use them.

Re:NO !! NEVER WERE !! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40456863)

Linix is faget OS. Piece of shit nothing work right. No wonder it not compete and not populars. Nobody going to run shitty faget operate system even if it free. Beter to buy the Mack or even run Windose that use this brocken faget piece of shit operate system I am think.

Re:NO !! NEVER WERE !! (1, Troll)

fluffythedestroyer (2586259) | more than 2 years ago | (#40456993)

So your the kind of guy that wants to order some guys or a corp around to force them to make sure your OS works ! Your the kind of guy that complains, bitch and screams at your IT, forum or whoever you can get a hold of and ask (order by threatening their family if you don't get help) for help ! Your the guy that cries that he lost millions in contract cause your email (free of charge by the ISP) doesn't work. yeah I know you...

Linux is not for the lazy....plain and simple. It's for people that when they have a problem, they can use their brain cells, observe the problem and try to solve it, if it doesn't work, they ask for help...nicely since the linux community (like me) are not paid to do so ...were happy to help that's all

So before you said idiot things like that (like always) remember that windows, mac and all other operating systems are not perfect and they do have their fair share of problems.

Re:NO !! NEVER WERE !! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40457033)

Little faget butthurt much, I am think? Haha, yes, I am think so.

Fucken faget.

Re:NO !! NEVER WERE !! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40457115)

screw off, Steve.

Re:NO !! NEVER WERE !! (5, Funny)

NoNonAlphaCharsHere (2201864) | more than 2 years ago | (#40457055)

Fill in the blanks:

"Don't feed the ________".
Obvious ______ is obvious".

Re:NO !! NEVER WERE !! (1)

Mordok-DestroyerOfWo (1000167) | more than 2 years ago | (#40457025)

Wow! I've heard of trolls that write like they're 5, but never of one that writes like they're in-utero. Kudos, sir! You have raised the bar for everybody!

Re:NO !! NEVER WERE !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40457229)

Wooosh..

Re:NO !! NEVER WERE !! (1)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 2 years ago | (#40457321)

Wow! I've heard of trolls that write like they're 5, but never of one that writes like they're in-utero. Kudos, sir! You have raised the bar for everybody!

Or lowered it to the floor, for the would-be limbo dancers.

Of course, it could have been Balmer. What else can he do for amusement on a non-monkey-dancing non-chair-throwing day?

fbdf (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40456845)

fhdfgh

In other news... (-1, Offtopic)

DeTech (2589785) | more than 2 years ago | (#40456849)

OMG no one is buying dot matrix printer paper! the computer industry must be crashing.

Re:In other news... (-1, Offtopic)

MyFirstNameIsPaul (1552283) | more than 2 years ago | (#40456901)

The other day I noticed that the auto parts stores use dot matrix printers to print receipts.

Re:In other news... (-1)

DeTech (2589785) | more than 2 years ago | (#40457037)

That's weird. I thought thermal paper was the norm for those things.

Re:In other news... (4, Informative)

Ironhandx (1762146) | more than 2 years ago | (#40457463)

Carbon Paper copies.

When signatures are required in triplicate all forms of printing that are not dot-matrix lose. This particular purpose is essentially the entire reason dot-matrix printers still exist.

Re:In other news... (0)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#40457039)

Car rental joints still use ye olde dotte matrixe. At least Enterprise as of about 6 months ago. Supposedly a really high speed dot matrix with carbon paper is still, even in 2012, faster than than printing 6 copies or whatever on a modern laser. Also you only have to sign once instead of all six copies, or doing the signature capture hardware, etc.

Partially a lack of interest by users (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40456871)

*nix users have been moving to OS X on the desktop for a long time. If you defend the X desktop in a lot of circles where it would have been popular in another time, prepare to be mocked, ridiculed and told to just "buy a Mac".

Under these conditions it doesn't surprise me that KDE is stagnant. Fewer people are interested in it these days.

- Still an X11 user when I have the choice.

Re:Partially a lack of interest by users (1, Informative)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#40457003)

OSX would be better if it had more Xisms. For one the only competent focus follows mouse I could find costs money. The lack of middle click paste is also very annoying.

Re:Partially a lack of interest by users (4, Insightful)

Githaron (2462596) | more than 2 years ago | (#40457009)

I hate the global menu bar in Mac. I want my menus as close to my mouse as possible.

Re:Partially a lack of interest by users (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40457303)

I used to feel the same way, until I realized the whole point is that you can just slam your mouse to the top of the screen. Try it, the clickable region goes to the very top of the screen, meaning you dont have to worry about targeting the mouse between y1 and y2, just as high as it'll go, then focus on left and right. Just like the windows icon is in the bottom left corner, just slam the mouse to the corner and its there. In early windows they screwed the pooch however, and left a non clickable area below and left of the start button (facepalm)

Re:Partially a lack of interest by users (4, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#40457401)

Hmm, not working. I guess that would be because I have two monitors and I am not always on the primary one.

Re:Partially a lack of interest by users (3, Informative)

Hatta (162192) | more than 2 years ago | (#40457227)

Don't worry. We'll get our chance to ridicule Mac users when Apple does something stupid with OS X. The lack of software freedom will bite them eventually.

Re:Partially a lack of interest by users (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40457289)

Not sure why this is rated off-topic. I have seen the trend and it is there. It explains a lot of this.

Re:Partially a lack of interest by users (4, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 2 years ago | (#40457311)

I really don't see the great appeal of the Mac desktop. While some complexity is hidden, other things are crippled to the point of being not useful. If you have demanding requirements, you may find yourself right back at the console.

Perhaps there are more things you can BUY for MacOS, but Windows is much better in that respect.

Buy a Mac? Why bother?

Are open-source desktops losing? (1, Troll)

Russ1642 (1087959) | more than 2 years ago | (#40456903)

You guys really do live in basement caves with little to no grasp of reality.

Re:Are open-source desktops losing? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40456931)

It's going to be the year of Linux on the desktop... any year now!

Re:Are open-source desktops losing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40457131)

It's going to be the year of Linux on the desktop... any year now!

For me it's been the year of Linux on the desktop since '96. I've recently been forced to use a Mac at work and I miss Awesome's speed and effectiveness. Less eye candy, but lots of useful operations with simple key combos, very little waste of screen real estate and a more efficient use of the mouse for moving/resizing.

Re:Are open-source desktops losing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40457351)

Everyone laughed about Duke Nukem Forever... it's just a matter of time..

Re:Are open-source desktops losing? (3, Insightful)

bky1701 (979071) | more than 2 years ago | (#40457377)

It has been the Year of the Linux Desktop since I started using Linux primarily. Everyone else I attribute to measurement errors.

Don't tell me I don't understand statistics!

Re:Are open-source desktops losing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40456973)

It's a great time to rally for the year of the linux desktop! We can push through and make it a reality! With enough effort, within the next 10 years, you'll be able to install your favorite software without the help of a man page! :D

Re:Are open-source desktops losing? (1)

georgeaperkins (1715602) | more than 2 years ago | (#40457021)

You guys really do live in basement caves with little to no grasp of reality.

Agreed. KDE in particular. I think that since Ubuntu's Unity fiasco, KDE/Kubuntu have gained momentum and enjoy a much wider user-base. Open source desktops are increasingly being used by normal folk, not programmers. Even my mum has heard of Linux.

Re:Are open-source desktops losing? (1)

Banichi (1255242) | more than 2 years ago | (#40457253)

Funny you should mention that.
I installed Mint and Kubuntu in succession over the weekend. I liked them both at first, and then liked Kubuntu better, and wound up keeping it in a dual boot setup with Windows 7.

Figuring out how to mess with the bootloader to change which OS booted first was nervewracking, but ultimately both simple and empowering. I wound up renaming exactly two files, and didn't need to reformat or reinstall anything. The fact that I can now see and copy files from Windows to Kubuntu is just Icing on the cake. That wasn't possible the last time I tried a Linux distro.

I'm going to be doing a lot of testing to see what Wine can do for me, in preparation for abandoning Windows as my main OS.

Re:Are open-source desktops losing? (4, Insightful)

cpu6502 (1960974) | more than 2 years ago | (#40457199)

+1 A teachable moment.

The real reason if you RTFA is "I'm doing this project in my spare-time and usually have spend around one evening per week on Dolphin. Especially during the last 2 years this time has increased." -- So basically this guy has a life. He was willing to volunteer one day per week, but nothing beyond that, so he's decided to stop participating.

Also: "As user I always had the impression that I can do my regular tasks..... in a more efficient and comfortable way than on the other desktop-environments. But at least for my regular tasks as user this has changed during the last couple of years." -- I suspect it's because both Apple and Microsoft have improved their user friendliness over the last half-decade (well except for "where's the damn command?" Ribbon interface). Maybe he should try LXDE (lubuntu) which is not only lightweight on memory, but also nice and friendly.

"No" (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40456939)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Betteridge's_Law_of_Headlines

This is a really bizarre troll-baiting headline, and based on sample size of 1? By an "anonymous reader" nonetheless. Y U NO require a pseudonym, at least?

No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40456941)

Peter's just getting old. That's ok, though; it happens to all of us.

No thanks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40456943)

I've been using virtual window managers since the late 80's. I don't want my UI changing just because some young dev wants to force some "feature" of the week on me. Or they don't care if they break my config preferences, etc.

For the past ten years or so, it's been Enlightenment. Shrugs.

No problem here (5, Interesting)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#40456945)

My productivity has never been higher using "awesome" at home and work
http://awesome.naquadah.org/ [naquadah.org]
Installation was quite painless, apt-get install awesome and its all done, pretty much. It is... awesome

Oh wait, were they talking about those gigantic slow clunky things that include a kitchen sink and everything? Yeah, those can just go away... please.

I kind of liked xfce4 also but thats getting a bit too desktoppy. Too much extra junk I'll never use. I want my apps not the desktop environment's selection.

Re:No problem here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40457083)

+1
Using awesome on Arch, and it's great. Extremely quick and gets out of my way.

Re:No problem here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40457141)

In a similar place except I've migrated to i3 as it sounds like Awesome is on its way out.

Re:No problem here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40457213)

This. I just started using xmonad recently, only installing the apps I actually use.

A tiling window manager in a multi monitor setup is the most productive change I've had in a long while.

Re:No problem here (1)

gajop (1285284) | more than 2 years ago | (#40457325)

Biggest problem I had with awesome (some 2-3 years ago) were the big changes that would brake any custom config/widgets I wrote.
The main thing was that switch to Lua, but it didn't stop there, I would end up spending an hour or so after a big change - even when running it in xephyr to help with debugging the new errors.

Personally, I use Openbox and trays/panels that haven't changed much and still compile fine for the last 4 years. If i need tiling I just use tmux.

Re:No problem here (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40457367)

I misread "desktoppy" as deskcrappy and agreed.

Not a chance (5, Funny)

dyingtolive (1393037) | more than 2 years ago | (#40456953)

Rest assured anonymous writer, Open-Source Desktops are staying just as competitive in their constant fight to make your favorite GUI just as unusable and obtuse as those produced by Microsoft or Apple. I am confident that, be it KDE or GNOME, you'll have just as frustrating of a time using the latest versions as you would using Metro or OSX.

Re:Not a chance (4, Interesting)

bky1701 (979071) | more than 2 years ago | (#40457449)

I still toy with the idea of going back to KDE 3 every once in a while. I probably would if I thought I could pull it off without breaking everything. 4 still seems slow, buggy, and lacking anything worthwhile other than gloss (that doesn't work right, and seems to cause just as many problems when disabled). That's not even to say it took several minor versions over several months to re-enable major functionality not shipped with 4.

Blah blah video drivers, KDE3 never had issues with them, and yet 4 does, regardless of if composting is enabled or not. Why does Linux have to play follow the leader while breaking core functionality? People aren't going to start using Linux because it can do the Apple desktop cube spin, it's as simple as that.

Bahahahahaha! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40456963)

Is this a serious question?

Re:Bahahahahaha! (1)

Russ1642 (1087959) | more than 2 years ago | (#40457121)

I swear there are a significant number of people here who think the answer is a flat out NO. And the rest of us are looking around at each other wondering if we should leave before we end up with a pet penguin to take care of.

Re:Bahahahahaha! (1)

Russ1642 (1087959) | more than 2 years ago | (#40457193)

I meant to say the answer to the question in the summary, not your post. Sorry. So I'm saying it's not a serious question and that YES open-source desktops are losing. Now, what's the best marinade for a penguin?

I was a skeptic on Ubuntu's Unity... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40456979)

But I spent a bit of time delving into this interface, and I have have now given up my Windows unless I absolutely MUST use it. No more hunting through menus looking for files or software functions. One hot key, followed by a few letters in the name, and up it pops. Wonderful!

Re:I was a skeptic on Ubuntu's Unity... (4, Insightful)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 2 years ago | (#40457067)

So it's exactly like Windows 7?

Seriously though, I actually like Unity's interface quite a bit. What I don't like is the bugginess of Unity (and Compiz) which makes it nearly impossible to use with more than a few windows open. You wind up with windows flying every which way, like one of those cheap video games with a broken physics engine.

Re:I was a skeptic on Ubuntu's Unity... (5, Funny)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#40457153)

No more hunting through menus looking for files or software functions. One hot key, followed by a few letters in the name, and up it pops.

There's this crazy thing on my Debian box that works the same way, but its even faster and marginally cooler. The UI is a little different though, you type a couple letters THEN hit the "hot key" which happens to be the tab key and then the enter key if the tab guessed right (kind of like Siri, sometimes it gets it wrong). So its like oct-TAB-ENTER and in instants you're running octave. I believe they call this desktop environment "bash" although theres 80 million clones like csh tcsh dash and even this weird operating system called "emacs" or maybe it was "vi" I don't remember.

Speaking of octave, it has a fascinating user interface too, where you use that row of digits on that old fashioned keyboard thingy to enter numbers, instead of clicking colorized, styled, fonted, widgeted "buttons" on the screen.

Its an interesting change of pace, but I do warn that this "CLI" user interface thing is way too new and experimental for all but the newest, most 'leet, early adopter hipsters, like if you only own a iphone 3gs instead of a 4, don't bother with this trendy new fangled CLI fad.

OEM Investment (2, Insightful)

Microlith (54737) | more than 2 years ago | (#40456981)

Now that Microsoft has thrown sand in the face of their OEMs, perhaps the OEMs won't be so afraid of pursuing and investing in non-Microsoft operating systems. Microsoft may have a legacy, but much of that legacy could be emulated or relegated to VMs if necessary. And here's a perfect example of such an opportunity.

If anything, now's the time to do it as Microsoft won't be able to punish the OEMs without being blatantly anti-competitive. And it'd breathe some life into the stagnant PC space.

Re:OEM Investment (2)

Githaron (2462596) | more than 2 years ago | (#40457047)

*crosses fingers*

The importance of open sores (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40457011)

Is FROSTY PISS!

Yes (5, Insightful)

geek (5680) | more than 2 years ago | (#40457019)

Of course, by "yes" I mean, "never had a prayer."

I love Linux. I have a great life thanks to Linux. But Linux on the desktop is complete shit and always has been. Especially now with Gnome 3, Unity and KDE 4 giving the finger to users and designing craptastic interfaces.

I'm using Cinnamon at the moment just for a semi usable desktop experience. XFCE is also good. But by and large, desktop environments on Linux are a disaster and it's only getting worse with Gnome pushing systemd on us and Fedora fucking everyone by forcing restarts all the damn time.

I'll stick to server OS's with crappy window managers that I can tweak myself from now on and keep a Mac around for anything desktop related I really want to do. I'm tired of fighting with the fucking desktop environment. I have real work to do.

Gnome devs and KDE devs pissed away promising interfaces and aren't even taking community feedback into consideration anymore. The best thing anyone says about these environments these days is "It's not as bad as it used to be." or "It doesn't crash every 15 minutes like it used to"

People like me moved to Linux because we were sick of Windows 95 crashing all the damn time. We laughed at Bill Gates when Windows 98 crashed during a live demo presentation to the world. Now suddenly we have desktop environments that are worse than 95/98 ever were and we're expected to stick around for this shit? Fuck no.

Re:Yes (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40457247)

I love Windows, its the best works right out of he box and pretty much self configures. The Linux thing is just dog poop, with extra corn thrown in for good measure. Mac? WTF didn't that die back in the late 70's? Windows baby, it rules!

Re:Yes (5, Insightful)

igb (28052) | more than 2 years ago | (#40457393)

If you've spent any time around amateur theatre or amateur orchestras, you'll know that the real objective is to provide entertainment for the participants, and the interests of the audience come a long way down the list. If you go along to a concert by an amateur orchestra (and you don't, unless it's your wife or your child playing), then you simply don't have the same expectations as if it's professional, because the orchestra wants and audience so long as it doesn't have to compromise its own interests.

And so, Linux desktops...

Re:Yes (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40457421)

> Gnome devs and KDE devs ... and aren't even taking community feedback into consideration anymore.

Anymore? I tried to get involved with Gnome in its early years and was told roughly to submit patches, but otherwise go the fuck away.

Is it really all about ego? Where are the people who really care about free software?

From what I could get before a 503.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40457031)

He goes on to explain how the user interfaces are becoming simpler while the functionality of the applications are increasing without an effective UI, increasing complexity of non-UI elements of applications, etc.

Yes. And it's a Good Thing (TM Some Slashdot guy).

UIs have gotten so complex that the learning curve of an application has gotten to be almost like a programming language.

Good Grief!

That's where Apple's current theme of KISS has been winning and F/OSS needs to keep up or get out of they want to "compete".

And how many of you Linux guys just chuck the UI and go for the command line because it's actually easier? *raises hand*

Go online, google the problem you want to solve, copy and paste the command line instruction and away we go!

UI? Bring up the instructions. Click on some menu item and then a sub menu item and then click on attributes" brings up dialog that has a bunch of tabs, GO to the tab that says Advanced. Click on button that says .... you get the idea.

I've have been working on a desktop app BUT I am making the UI like a phone/tablet/whatever app. Just two menu items and some entry fields.

That's all - and it's still too much!

UNIX once had this them of simple small apps to do one task. That's all the phone/portable/tablet guys are doing - aping the original UNIX paradigm. It wasn't until Mac (1980s - 1990s) and Windows that we got this UnHoly mess of overly complex applications and the subsequent UIs.

Re:From what I could get before a 503.... (2)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 2 years ago | (#40457431)

Ironically some Linux interfaces are more simple because they don't have a lot of this upgrade treadmill driven cruft.

Those interfaces would have previously been eviscerated for not having a "rich set of features".

Maybe its time to consolidate on one of the them? (0)

Marrow (195242) | more than 2 years ago | (#40457045)

I mean, really, there are like 8 competing standards for open source desktops now. The division of labor cannot be helping. Merge. Or park the current desktops at their current levels, and converge to create one new master desktop. All new technology that people can get really excited about. And aim the new one higher than where the corporates will be in 10 years.

Re:Maybe its time to consolidate on one of the the (4, Insightful)

geek (5680) | more than 2 years ago | (#40457117)

Getting FOSS developers to merge projects is like herding cats. The vast majority of it is ego driven, merging and potentially taking a backseat to someone else is rarely an options.

Re:Maybe its time to consolidate on one of the the (2, Insightful)

The Master Control P (655590) | more than 2 years ago | (#40457397)

Like the herd of wandering drunken sailor-cats we call "open source developers" could agree on anything more meaningful than that the analog clock app should have a hundred dozen different skins so you can always find one you like.

Everyone critisizes the horrors of proprietary software development where some dumbshit schizophrenic customer jerks your chain around constantly and you can't actually write good code as a result. Or your idiot boss gives you half the time you would've needed to do it right at the start, then changes course halfway through and shaves several weeks off the due date along the way. Unfortunately the Linux desktop environments have gone the exact opposite way and it's just as bad - now with no one to make difficult decisions, we get horrible interfaces that stay horrible forever because there's no one to tell the developers (who of course don't see what's wrong with it, they fucking wrote it) "this piece of shit interface needs to be completely rewritten" and no one to make them actually do it, no matter how badly it needs to be done.

So you get these little groups, disconnected from reality, floating along in their own virtual stasis (try playing bzflag and suggest after a while that tanks should have hitpoints. Just try) having no idea that no one outside their little in-group who isn't a masochist can possibly use their programs. And just wait, I promise you I'll get a "Well you should be thankful for whatever they give you" response from the same group who complains so loudly that people don't use FOSS... Well which is it:: Do you want to do your own thing or do you want to write software people will use?

/Rant over. ps, love you xfce, you saved me from the horror of kde4

Re:Maybe its time to consolidate on one of the the (5, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#40457459)

create one new master desktop

That's the mistake. There is no one master desktop. Its like convincing a bunch of book authors instead of writing a bunch of pulp, they should all cooperate to write the one great american novel.

10000 religions all claiming the other 9999 are wrong? Eh, they should give it up and all cooperate on the one master religion. (with our luck, unrestrained crony capitalism?)

Why is complexity happening? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40457087)

Yes, I love my Win7 laptops at home, but at work we're all still very comfortable running XP. I have less than no interest in adopting Win8, or even The Ribbon. Meeting increasing challenges of hardware, web standards, etc. is necessary (maybe,) but the thing that XP-7-8 has taught me is that needless complications are needless. Maybe it's time the open source community starts asking *why* a particular change is desirable or necessary to the userbase. (Are you listening, Mozilla???)

Honestly, probably 80% plus of my Word Processing work I could still do in WordPerfect 5.1, if only there were an OS that could handle it.

Figured this out in 2003 (5, Interesting)

Yeechang Lee (3429) | more than 2 years ago | (#40457103)

I figured this out on the day in 2003 when I first tried out OS X. I've been using LInux since 1995 and had tried every available desktop: CDE, KDE, Gnome, Enlightenment (The horror .. the horror ...), Window Maker/AfterStep, fvwm, and even older ones like Motif and twm. I'd used Mac OS 7 and 8 in college and hated it, but OS X was a revelation.

I still use Linux as a server, but for a Unixlike desktop that actually works and runs a lot of applications, OS X is it. Period.

Re:Figured this out in 2003 (5, Interesting)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#40457155)

You like the OSX desktop?
I hate it. It is like it was designed for children and gets in the way too often. I want focus follows mouse, I want to get rid of the idiot dock bar thing, I want menus on every screen not just the main monitor.

On top of it, SHIP WITH THE FUCKING GNUTOOLS YOU MORONS. The half baked commercial versions of these tools lack way to many features.

Re:Figured this out in 2003 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40457243)

I always been under the impression that I was the only person in the world that felt like that. Specially the dock. that thing is so useless, and such a pain

Re:Figured this out in 2003 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40457345)

There are at least three of us.

Re:Figured this out in 2003 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40457301)

I want focus follows mouse

I have never figured out why anyone would want this. Maybe I'm just a newbie, because I didn't start using X until fairly late in the 80s. Maybe if I had been using it from the very beginning, focus-follows-mouse would make more sense.

SHIP WITH THE FUCKING GNUTOOLS YOU MORONS

Why? Maybe I'm just a newbie, because I got used to compiling my own versions of the gnu tools on systems back in the late 80s, but I never figured out why anyone ever expected the gnu toolchain to be available by default

Re:Figured this out in 2003 (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#40457469)

Because it makes sense that is why. The mouse is where I want to be. Why would I want to have to click to raise a window?

I hated building them on solaris to replace the crap tools there, and I see no reason why in 2012 we can't just have them everywhere.

Re:Figured this out in 2003 (1)

Wovel (964431) | more than 2 years ago | (#40457519)

Turn the dock off? Make it auto-hide? Install a mod?

I would like windows on every screen. I however don't want focus to follow the mouse. The way it is I can type in the window with focus and scroll in another.

Do they even have anything to lose ? (3, Informative)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 2 years ago | (#40457129)

Apart from drivers/compatibility issues, sucky desktops are what's keeping me away from Linux. Not only are they not very good in theory, they are mostly buggy and not.. play-tested. Honestly, the next-to-latest Unity, KDE, and Gnome were unholy horrors that, as a user, made me not only not want to use them, but also lose confidence in whatever governing bodies are driving features and validating code. My next Linux desktop will probably be lxde or xfce.

Re:Do they even have anything to lose ? (1)

igb (28052) | more than 2 years ago | (#40457447)

I used SunOS/Solaris as my desktop for twenty years, with everything from SunTools and NeWS through various X window managers through to their Gnome port. It was the Gnome port that finally made me realise I was wasting my time and (like a lot of Solaris developers) I switched to OSX on my desktop. It just works so well.

Re:Do they even have anything to lose ? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#40457495)

Any idea how to get a sun keyboard to work with a mac? I want the extra buttons. I already put capslock where it belongs, at the bottom.

Not going anywhere (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40457181)

In the past week I have used GNOME, KDE, Win7 and OS X. I found KDE so far ahead of the other three for usability that it would be hard to tell who came in second, the difference was so amazing. KDE was faster, far more easy to configure and had less annoying notifications. Obviously this is subjective, but I would say open source desktops in general and KDE in particular are doing just fine.

Sorry, I can't resist (2)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 2 years ago | (#40457187)

Two relevant sayings:

1) You can't fall off the floor
2) You can, however, hit rock bottom and continue to dig

he should start his own project (1)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 2 years ago | (#40457189)

maybe start his own window manager, i prefer the lightweight window managers and no longer use Gnome or KDE, and i dont even use XFCE anymore, i tend to bounce around between icewm, openbox, dwm, and sometimes windowmaker, yes windowmaker is not dead anymore it seems to have picked up active development again :)

maybe because we re-implement working stuff. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40457201)

Why did they feel the need to reimplement a fraction of Konquerer over again in Dolphin? Konquerer is a more feature complete program, and no harder to use. The purpose of spending huge amounts of development time to recreate PART of it again was what exactly? All it does is confuse people and create a bunch of programs to pick from for the same task.

The philosphy seems to be, "Instead of one program to do a thing very well, we'll make 30 programs that all do it poorly".

What competition? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40457211)

I don't see there being a need for competition amond DE/WMs. Alot of people say "OS X is the best." Perhaps, but I want a system and a DE/WM for which there is no hegemony. I want to have a free license and the ability to customize how I like.

I use FOSS for a reason. It's not always "best" technologically, but it's best morally and free from hegemony, which these days is a dying thing. Supporting these small developers who make cool stuff is always a nice thing to do.

Love KDE (5, Insightful)

TheNinjaroach (878876) | more than 2 years ago | (#40457223)

Am I the only one who loves KDE? I like the desktop. I like Dolphin. I think kio_slaves (if they are still called that) provide enormous out-of-the-box connectivity to nearly every remote system I need to connect to.

And KWrite rocks.

Re:Love KDE (1)

c0d3g33k (102699) | more than 2 years ago | (#40457307)

You're not the only one ...

Re:Love KDE (1)

ahodgson (74077) | more than 2 years ago | (#40457317)

I love KDE. And Kmail is the best email client, ever.

Not suprised - The future is always uncertian (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40457277)

The linux desktop experience has always been an interesting beast. It's always been great in a professional and development environment where power users can get a level of configuration and customization that you can't find with a commercial OS.

Linux never "won" the desktop because, really, Apple and Microsoft really stepped up their game. OSX, XP, and windows 7 are good products and the market has proven as such. Linux has always had some great options, but lacked the untold millions of man-hours that Microsoft and Apple put in to R&D, and product testing.

There was a point, in the bad old days of Win 3.11, 95, NT, and classic macOS where linux/unixlike/X11/wm of choice was looking to be a real contender. Linux was stable and had rich features and you could do things that were amazing.. And you would not crash while doing it!

Linux almost certainly would have taken over if Microsoft just sat around and apple didn't get Jobs back.

On the other hand, Microsoft strongarm PC vendors in to excluding competitive OSs. Maybe the pushed Linux out of that space at a crucial incubation stage, cementing windows on the PC desktop.

Pretty much... (1)

tjstork (137384) | more than 2 years ago | (#40457297)

Gnome 3, for all of its detractors, is pretty nice... but Windows file dialogs and shell explorer dialogs are simply miles ahead of it, and the gap seems to be widening. I mean, simple things like rename a file within a file save dialog, let alone copying files, seem to forever elude Linux desktops, and on Windows I take it for granted. Gnome has a pretty rough story when it comes to fonts, for sure.

And yes, not only is Windows 7's U/I more stable than Gnome 3 or KDE (would you like to send us a crash report ) 4, but Windows 8's latest preview is as well.

KDE and Gnome are losing (3, Insightful)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | more than 2 years ago | (#40457305)

KDE tries to be too much like Windows and actually does it. There are soooo many services, extensions, config files, dot directories (aka crap strewn all over the place) that it's simply become a bloated buggy mess. Gnome/Unity did some really strange and confusing things but in the end ended up being railroaded into the Mark Shuttleworth Agenda and is pretty much a tablet UI on a PC desktop now.

This is the evolution of FOSS. Things which start to suck tend to get replaced by things which suck less. The open source desktop isn't losing, it's just KDE has jumped the shark and Gnome (Unity) has gone insane. Two of the earliest game changers of the FOSS Desktop. Luckily, people with more time than I have saddled themselves with the task of changing what sucks (Thanks guys/gals) about these two Desktops and we've got some alternatives. You can't do that with Windows or Apple. You get only one and if it sucks, too bad. Buy the next version and hope.

PS: have a look at LXDE [lxde.org] or Cinnamon [linuxmint.com] for something similar, yet different.

Stick with what's familiar (1)

curty (42764) | more than 2 years ago | (#40457353)

I think it's a pity if FOSS desktops really feel the need to compete with Microsoft and Apple. Those companies need to keep "innovating" in order to drive sales of their latest products -- something that FOSS is unhindered by.

Instead of bounding towards some super-slick desktop nirvana, more emphasis should be given to settling on a familiar and stable working environment.

People are adaptable and they can be extremely productive using systems with which they have grown familiar.

The qwerty keyboard is nothing like the perfect layout, but it is familiar. Imagine if every time you upgraded your PC you were forced to learn the latest "ergonomic" keyboard layout. It may be progress, but I'm happy with what I've got thanks.

The same goes for desktop environments.

Win8 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40457355)

KDE losing competitiveness to Apple and Microsoft

With the introduction of Metro, the competition from Microsoft will be gone. The new 'desktop' looks plain ugly (obviously done to make Metro look more attractive in comparison). Apple people should be left alone anyway, they pay through the nose but get a nice, slick system.

What? CWM! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40457381)

cwm(1) !
why would you need more? too used to the microsoft windows paradigm?

no (1)

Eponymous Hero (2090636) | more than 2 years ago | (#40457403)

if they were, the headline would say Open Source Desktops Are Losing Competitiveness

Part of the trend (2)

wrencherd (865833) | more than 2 years ago | (#40457425)

Desktop environments in general are losing ground aren't they?

In favor of cloud-clients and tablet-specific os's, no?

Does ubuntu gnome-classic count as a DE? (1)

Duncan J Murray (1678632) | more than 2 years ago | (#40457435)

Apologies for going slightly off topic, but I think I've a personal anwser to all this desktop dystopia discourse. Like a lot of others, I really liked gnome 2. And I find Unity and Gnome-Shell a step back (despite at least 5 months of perserverance). I've tried XFCE, and was planning on giving KDE and Cinnamon a good go, until I installed gnome-session-fallback in Ubuntu 12.04, which is, as far as my testing so far has seen, almost identical to gnome 2.

Is this a proper 'destop environment'. Is it even gnome3? Can it be used on other distros? Does it have a future?

I can at least anwser the last question, which is that from now on, it will be the 5-year future for anyone asking me to install linux on their computer.

C++ Puts Me Off (3, Interesting)

turgid (580780) | more than 2 years ago | (#40457457)

Given that KDE and its applications are written in and married to C++ (and QT) I'm not surprised that few people want to contribute.

I know that C++ is the Big Thing and Right Thing in mainstream industry, but it is extremely complex with an enormous learning curve [yosefk.com] and huge demands on development resources, and developer time.

I, for one, certainly wouldn't contribute to a C++ project for fun. I only do it when I'm paid, and only if I can't avoid it.

the solution is anathema (2)

swframe (646356) | more than 2 years ago | (#40457471)

It is hard to be competitive without funding... We need a yearly funding drive effort like NPR. The biggest problem (and strength?) is that we have a lot of duplicate solutions. We are a large fragmented democracy fighting a well-funding dictatorship with a great PR department. If only we could elect a leader for 2 years and unite against Apple and MS. The irony is that we can't beat them without becoming them...

Were they ever? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40457477)

Exactly who were they competing against in the first place?
Were they competing against Each other on how bad they can make the experience?
The best desktop experience I ever had was with fluxbox but it took me too dam long to tweak.

I used one once (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40457513)

And it was total garbage. I installed the free (as in beer) version of Windows 7 Ultimate that Microsoft provides to Pirate Bay members. I just don't see the point in punishing myself with the crappy product of unpaid labor.

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