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2008 - Year of Linux Desktop?

Zonk posted about 7 years ago | from the what-year-isn't-the-year-of-the-penguin dept.

Software 659

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

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659 comments

what is linux (5, Funny)

R00BYtheN00BY (1118945) | about 7 years ago | (#19774107)

what is linux

Re:what is linux (5, Funny)

hondo77 (324058) | about 7 years ago | (#19774177)

what is linux

Something that doesn't sync to your iPhone.

Re:what is linux (2, Interesting)

GeigerBC (1056332) | about 7 years ago | (#19774323)

I was thinking along the lines of "something companies don't make drivers for." In my defense, the last two or three summers I have given Linux (Ubuntu) a go. I still hit hardware (ATI, Creative's X-Fi) and software (iTunes + iPod) that can't be easily replicated or adjusted to a novice Linux user. It's gotten better though.

Re:what is linux (1)

TheMeuge (645043) | about 7 years ago | (#19774539)

ATI and Creative drivers suck for windows too. Except for windows there is nothing you can do about how much they suck. After replacing about $400 worth of components I finally realized it was a stupid Audigy card that was making my PC crash. I tossed it out of the window (literally) and got an M-Audio revolution. Things have worked fine ever since.

Re:what is linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19774187)

you must be new here...

*looks at UID*

oh, sorry... my apologies... you _are_ new here. in that case, welcome :)

No, I'm New Here (4, Funny)

New Here (701369) | about 7 years ago | (#19774333)

No, I'm New Here

Re:No, I'm New Here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19774411)

thanks for the giggle... I'm so honored that I could bear witness to your awesomeness good sir.

Re:No, I'm New Here (5, Funny)

eln (21727) | about 7 years ago | (#19774447)

It's a crime that you start at -1. You have to respect a guy who has posted nothing but the same exact joke for 4 years straight. Truly, you are an inspiration to us all. You are a one-man Slashdot meme.

Re:what is linux (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19774261)

Best. Comment. Ever.

2027 - year of fusion power? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19774109)

It'll happen this time! Honest!

You are a flaming homosexual! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19774267)

Just saying it because it is true.

Your MOM is a flaming homosexual (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19774371)

Bleeeeeee

Your face is a homo! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19774467)

Touche!

Die (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19774509)

You are annoying, son.

You die first. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19774565)

You are more annoying than I am, troll.

You are a flaming heterosexual! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19774579)

Just saying it because it's true. Digggaaaadddeeeeeeeeeeee!!!

Re:You are a flaming heterosexual! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19774619)

Is there something wrong with that, idiot?

Re:2027 - year of fusion power? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19774369)

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

Re:2027 - year of fusion power? (3, Funny)

Fireflymantis (670938) | about 7 years ago | (#19774493)

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

Re:2027 - year of fusion power? (5, Funny)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | about 7 years ago | (#19774385)

Linux is the OS of the future, and always will be.

Ooops ... (4, Informative)

foobsr (693224) | about 7 years ago | (#19774111)

Someone missed to post the 12th anniversary [google.de] version of the story.

CC.

Re:Ooops ... (5, Funny)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | about 7 years ago | (#19774231)

So finally we have the answer.

3d Realms are waiting for the adoption of Linux before releasing Duke Nukem Forever!

Re:Ooops ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19774525)

That's a lot of stories about the same thing, maybe we better refine that search by poster [google.de]

Oh. Wait. Nevermind. Zonk really is the man...

i like (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19774115)

i like having secks in the butt with girls!!!!!

pukkus

Re:i like (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19774243)

You don't fool us by referring to females of animal species as "girls".

Nope. (5, Insightful)

khasim (1285) | about 7 years ago | (#19774127)

It's all about the applications. There are too many apps that too many people use that are available on their Windows machines.

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

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

Re:Nope. (5, Insightful)

Coryoth (254751) | about 7 years ago | (#19774429)

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

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

Games!! (1)

antdude (79039) | about 7 years ago | (#19774511)

Games for me! :)

if only linux had more games. (2, Informative)

Kaffien (635219) | about 7 years ago | (#19774135)

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

Re:if only linux had more games. (1, Informative)

DaleGlass (1068434) | about 7 years ago | (#19774203)

What library? SDL maybe? Or OpenGL? Those things are pretty standard. And even portable.

Not even on Windows there's a "standard library" of any sort, it's not like games can be written only in one language or using only one graphics API.

Re:if only linux had more games. (1)

Kaffien (635219) | about 7 years ago | (#19774325)

something along the lines of directx for linux. So that i could take any pc game and put it on linux without having to monkey with wine / cedega only to find out that it still isn't compatible.

Re:if only linux had more games. (1)

poopdeville (841677) | about 7 years ago | (#19774359)

He already mentioned it. SDL and OpenGL together do what DirectX does for Windows. Portably.

Yes, but nobody uses them. (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 7 years ago | (#19774471)

"SDL and OpenGL together do what DirectX does for Windows. Portably."

Yes, but in practice none of the big developers do it that way. They get cozy with DirectX instead.

How about DirectX...? Win32? MFC? (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about 7 years ago | (#19774421)

'Not even on Windows there's a "standard library" of any sort'

I can name dozens...and most of them are designed for maximum Windows lock-in.

Re:if only linux had more games. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19774209)

Sorry? What other games library is there on linux other than SDL? Nothing else comes even close. And of course one can use OpenGL and OpenAL (the latter being the only solution for 3D sound on Vista as well, since D3D was neutered).

Re:if only linux had more games. (5, Funny)

larry bagina (561269) | about 7 years ago | (#19774293)

The fact that OS X has unix underpinnings is irrelevant to the game -- unless that game happens to be "hunt the wumpus".

Re:if only linux had more games. (2)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | about 7 years ago | (#19774317)

Part of the problem has already been solved with OpenGL.

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

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

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

Re:if only linux had more games. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19774577)

Don't worry, use OpenAL/OpenGL/SDL and all the problems are solved.

It's just a matter of getting gaming companies to use these libraries. Why exactly would they say 'no' to higher profits with portable code other than....oh yes. MS.

MS probably has a hand in this with promotional/marketing money and their "Games for Windows" move, I'd bet.

Re:if only linux had more games. (1)

robbiethefett (1047640) | about 7 years ago | (#19774437)

You can upgrade to Vista for the latest DirectX, or you can just buy an xbox 360 and free your PC from the shackles of Windows alltogether. For me, the killer apps aren't games, they are music sequencing/production software. Thank god for Apple and Logic Pro. Once i can afford the $300,000.00* for a Mac workstation, I'll be able to format my Windows drive to be used as storage.

*Prices subject to change without warning. Some restrictions apply. Not available in Alaska or Hawaii. Soldered battery available for a nominal fee.**

**Nominal fee subject to change without warning.

Re:if only linux had more games. (4, Insightful)

misleb (129952) | about 7 years ago | (#19774625)

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


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

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

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

-matthew

Every year... (5, Interesting)

Fyre2012 (762907) | about 7 years ago | (#19774155)

... it's said 'is XXXX the year for the Linux Desktop'?

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

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

Re:Every year... (1)

poopdeville (841677) | about 7 years ago | (#19774529)

I agree. Linux isn't going to take Microsoft or Apple down anytime soon, what many people mean by the "Year of the Linux Desktop". And trying to quantify when it has become the Year of the Linux Desktop in terms of userbase is futile, as you said.

On the other hand, 2007 has been a good year for Linux adoption. Ubuntu especially has recieved quite a bit of press attention, and people are starting to realize there are alternatives to Windows. If this trend continues, 2007 or 2008 could legitimately be called the Year of the Linux Desktop. But only in retrospect.

hehe (1)

jswigart (1004637) | about 7 years ago | (#19774161)

Wishful Thinking? [wikipedia.org]
/flamebait :)

why not (5, Insightful)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | about 7 years ago | (#19774169)

I don't [slashdot.org] see any reason [slashdot.org] why it wouldn't be... [slashdot.org]

Re:why not (3, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about 7 years ago | (#19774531)

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

Also they ignore some major design decisions of Linux that run contrary to what a lot of people want on the desktop. One of the biggest is simply Linux's openess and lack of standards. To most (probably all) Linux aficionados, that's one of the main reasons to use Linux. Nobody tells you how to do it. However to many desktop users, that's a big problem. They WANT standards, they WANT one way to do things. This also manifests itself in problematic areas such as a distro including 4 media players. Users don't want 4 media players they can't figure out, they just want one good one.

Along those lines there's things like the insistence of open source drivers. Many companies aren't interested for various reasons in providing open drivers. However because of the ever changing ABI, binary drivers have to be updated all the time. This is a problem for people on the desktop. The situation with 3D acceleration is a huge pain in the ass since you have to update your driver with essentially every minor kernel update.

To brush things like this off is to really miss the point and render your overall analysis basically useless. Taking over as a desktop OS isn't a matter of just having a shiny interface or easy install process, though those things certainly help. There's a whole lot of user experience that needs to be though of from the non-tech user standpoint. Linux at its heart is still a techie OS. That's not a bad thing, and that's why it makes such a rockin' server and embedded OS but it needs to be recognised that some of those choices aren't good ones for a desktop OS. That doesn't preclude it from the desktop market, but it is something that needs to be considered and dealt with to the extent it can be.

Funny weblog coincidence (1)

PIPBoy3000 (619296) | about 7 years ago | (#19774181)

My coworker remarked today that Linux jumped from 3% to 6% in the weblogs this month. Now, odds are something else is going on, but it's an interesting little statistic. We often ponder our weblog statistics, seeing clear trends in OS's and browsers.

Re:Funny weblog coincidence (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19774225)

Others have seen a similar trend...

http://marketshare.hitslink.com/report.aspx?qprid= 5&qpcustom=Linux [hitslink.com]

Re:Funny weblog coincidence (1)

sokoban (142301) | about 7 years ago | (#19774273)

from 0.4% to 0.8%. go linux, go.

Re:Funny weblog coincidence (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19774263)

That's no coincidence. As Vista pisses off more and more users. More and more users will be finding an alternative. Linux is one of those alternatives.

Re:Funny weblog coincidence (1)

exley (221867) | about 7 years ago | (#19774501)

As Vista pisses off more and more users. More and more users will be finding an alternative.


Like XP. While some will get fed up and try something new, like Linux, a lot of people are going to stick with what works for them. Even if, in the eyes of many, what "works" for them is irrevocably broken. A lot of average computer users really just aren't going to be motivated. Of course I am basing that statement mostly on supposition... And the fact that every year is "the year" for desktop Linux.

Not to say that Linux won't continue to make inroads, because it probably will. But in the end the high barrier to entry for many (despite what the summary says; just changing would be a big deal for a lot of people, to say nothing of learning a new OS) and, as has been pointed out by many others, the issue of applications, will be amongst the factors making sure that this year isn't "the year" yet again.

And before I get any MS fanboy (if there is such a thing) flames, I'm a big fan of Linux and have been running it as my primary OS for at least 6 years or so -- I just try to stay realistic (or cynical, depending on your point of view).

Re:Funny weblog coincidence (2, Insightful)

GIL_Dude (850471) | about 7 years ago | (#19774299)

You need some context in order to make much of that. For instance, it could be that more people have installed Linux and are browsing your site. It could be that your site has been promoted on sites that Linux users tend to frequent thus skewing your hits. It could even be (not likely, but possible) that someone has finally written that DDoS app for Linux and convinced people to load it as a FireFox add-in and it is not distributed enough yet to take your site out. Really, numbers without context are just - well, numbers.

Re:Funny weblog coincidence (1)

whoever57 (658626) | about 7 years ago | (#19774357)

From my company's weblogs, Linux has gone from approximately 6% in December to approximately 11% in June (not counting the "OS Unknown" and "known robots").

Re:Funny weblog coincidence (1)

westlake (615356) | about 7 years ago | (#19774377)

My coworker remarked today that Linux jumped from 3% to 6% in the weblogs this month

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

Re:Funny weblog coincidence (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19774633)

That is because you work around Linux users and that is most likely your target audience in some aspects, which I am guessing is most likely the answer.

I would like to see stats from places like Aol.com, Myspace.com, Surfline.com, Drudgereport; let us know when those places achieve anything over 1-5% for Linux users.

Yes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19774201)

This year is finally it. Unlike all those previous years that were supposed to be finally it. Remember kids: a broken watch tells the right time twice a day.

again ? (1)

alobar72 (974422) | about 7 years ago | (#19774205)

well, dont get me wrong or so... I like and use linux a lot, but....
I just try to remember if there has been any year where this exact prediction has not been made ?
For similar reasons ?
Or am I the only one who has the impression, that every single year is said to be THE year where linux is to get enormous user attention on the Desktop ?

no offense though, one day this year might come :-)
Regards

Re:again ? (1)

nwbvt (768631) | about 7 years ago | (#19774495)

" I just try to remember if there has been any year where this exact prediction has not been made ? "

Sure, 1990. Oh wait...

Stopped clock. (1)

Ungrounded Lightning (62228) | about 7 years ago | (#19774631)

I just try to remember if there has been any year where this exact prediction has not been made ?

"Even a stopped clock is right twice a day." (Or once a day if it's a 24-hour clock.)

Some year the prediction will be correct.

Maybe this is the year.

2008 will be the year of Vista! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19774227)

Read my lips!

For how long... (1)

igotmybfg (525391) | about 7 years ago | (#19774241)

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

Re:For how long... (1)

quanticle (843097) | about 7 years ago | (#19774491)

If there's a record, it surely belongs to Linux.

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

20xx - Year of the Linux Desktop (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19774253)

We've heard this "Year of the Linux Desktop" thing for about five years now. And, for five years, end users have been using (for the most part) some flavor of Windows. Until Joe User actually cares about what his or her computer is running as an OS (let alone know what an OS actually is), there will be no "Year of the Linux Desktop".

Please, stop. (1)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | about 7 years ago | (#19774257)

I respect Linux. I really do. However, something tells me that even the hardcore Linux fans must be getting tired of "Year of the Linux desktop!?" stories, let alone the people who fall in any other point on the spectrum. Or is it the goal of the Internet as a whole to give me gray hair before 30?

How is WINE/Codeweavers doing these days? (1)

slickwillie (34689) | about 7 years ago | (#19774259)

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

Anyone know if that would be a viable path for them?

Re:How is WINE/Codeweavers doing these days? (1)

whoever57 (658626) | about 7 years ago | (#19774391)

Tell them to check out the latest versions of OpenOffice first. OpenOffice has got very good recently, but the key is to get the MS TrueType corefonts installed (on gentoo: "emerge corefonts").

Re:How is WINE/Codeweavers doing these days? (1)

ryanov (193048) | about 7 years ago | (#19774451)

MS Office is completely unneccessary for most people. Leave that one behind. Not sure about Quicken. TurboTax 2005 worked fine under wine. 2006, no dice. I don't really know why. Problem with Crossover is there's a monthly maintenance fee, no? Or am I thinking of Cedega?

Re:How is WINE/Codeweavers doing these days? (2, Informative)

Penguinisto (415985) | about 7 years ago | (#19774465)

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

As usual, YMMV.

/P

Maximum PC should stick to coolers (3, Insightful)

Animats (122034) | about 7 years ago | (#19774277)

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

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

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

Re:Maximum PC should stick to coolers (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about 7 years ago | (#19774547)

You mean DRM-protected media like Windows Media files and iTunes files?

WMP and iTunes both run fine under Linux actually.

It could well be... (1)

doublegauss (223543) | about 7 years ago | (#19774303)

...provided we take it in its proper meaning.

Until now, the share of linux users as a desktop OS are estimated by most sources to be 2-3%. This has been to little to force hardware manufacturers and software companies to care about linux. Hence, the endless problems in using very new or very exotic devices and so on.

But once this percentage gets over, say 5-6%, linux will start having more traction, and will become more difficult/risky/costly to ignore.

Clearly, it is inconceivable that anything will supplant Windows as the dominant platform in less than 10 years, if only because of the sheer size of the installed base. But if linux is to become dominant in the long run, this is the way it will start, the Dell/Ubuntu offering being only an early example.

No off the shelf third party computer games? (2, Insightful)

Culture20 (968837) | about 7 years ago | (#19774311)

I'm a local Linux/Unix advocate. That's actually my _job_ (along with support et al). But I have a dirty little secret: Even though I use Linux for just about everything, including computer games, I keep MS windows around for some games that don't emulate well. Dual-booting isn't easy for Joe Six-pack, despite the fact that creating a dual-boot system is easy for Joe Six-pack (People get confused by the boot choices [that increase in number over time on some distros] or just the idea that they have to reboot to switch between OSes).

That said, I'm amazed at the people that stop by an AIGLX/Beryl demo box and play Sudoku and Pingus, asking where I bought the games, and they always walk away happy with some Ubuntu or knoppix CDs (even after learning that it _replaces_ MS windows [but doesn't have to]). Maybe it's just the hard core gamers that won't shift.

Not optimistic about the US (3, Interesting)

rmcd (53236) | about 7 years ago | (#19774315)

As TFA suggests, perhaps Linux is poised to take off outside the US. Inside the US, I dunno.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Re:Not optimistic about the US (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19774363)

Why is 1 an issue ?
Most people play DVDs in their DVD player attached to the TV. DVD playback is not an important issue.

Re:Not optimistic about the US (1)

websitebroke (996163) | about 7 years ago | (#19774423)

GNOME - yep pretty disappointing. You might as well use XFCE. If you looked at KDE, what's the problem?

For DVDs just read through the Ubuntu forums. There's a little script somewhere on your box already that sets up a decryptor for CSS. Once you run that, you're in business.

Re:Not optimistic about the US (1)

TheMeuge (645043) | about 7 years ago | (#19774475)

1. Just download the codecs... automatix does it as a GUI. It may be illegal, but it works.
2. Can't comment on it, although setting up my Uni's Cisco VPN for WiFi is a huge pain... so I feel you there.
3. Most new machines I've installed Ubuntu 7.04 on handle hibernate without issues, if they have an Intel video card or an Nvidia video card. With regards to ATI, I still haven't managed to figure out how to hibernate from an XGL session.
4. Really? I think the layouts and menus are far more user friendly, and if you like pretty, then Beryl/Emerald either matches or surpasses anything and everything either Windows or OSX can offer.

Does this story count as a dupe? (5, Funny)

nobodyman (90587) | about 7 years ago | (#19774321)

Year of the desktop? Let's see:
  • 1994: No
  • 1995: No
  • 1996: No
  • 1997: No
  • 1998: No
  • 1999: No
  • 2000: No
  • 2001: No
  • 2002: No
  • 2003: No
  • 2004: No
  • 2005: No
  • 2006: No
  • 2007: No (pending)
So, though I may be going out on a limb here, I'm gonna say "no" for 2008. And those that think that Vista's awefulness has any sway must have not been around to see how the whole "Windows vs. MacOS" thing played out.

Re:Does this story count as a dupe? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19774535)

If you ever actually used macOS in that time you never would have said something like that. I don't like windows but OS7 and OS8 were horrible.

Never going to happen (1, Flamebait)

petrus4 (213815) | about 7 years ago | (#19774347)

I could go into why, but people will simply tell me I'm a troll and to shut up, so I won't bother. Only thing I will say is that we see these posts every year, and they only get more annoying with time, not less.

I've honestly started to believe that Windows' successor is something we haven't seen yet; not Linux, and not Mac OSX. If it *is* UNIX based at all, it will have to be in such a way that the UNIX core is buried so deeply that not even geeks can get at it...because UNIX that the mainstream consumer can see is UNIX that the mainstream consumer doesn't want; hence Linux's problem.

Re:Never going to happen (1)

LinuxEagle (1123659) | about 7 years ago | (#19774433)

Errm... may I ask what evidence you have that the main stream person does not like UNIX, as opposed to other problems (such as gaming). Thanks.

Find a specialized desktop market (3, Insightful)

athloi (1075845) | about 7 years ago | (#19774365)

Graphic artists, musicians, writers, developers or MBAs -- pick one group and love them until they love you back. Linux Year of the Graphic Artist Desktop will be followed by more desktops. That, after all, is how the Mac stayed alive and prospered, and even how to some degree Windows did it. It all starts with one type of desktop in a nice market, and from there the sky's the limit.

Why does there have to be one? (4, Informative)

DaleGlass (1068434) | about 7 years ago | (#19774379)

It seems logical that Linux will keep getting progressively better.

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

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

I don't really see a "Year of Linux desktop" happening. People seem to like their weird theories about what's holding Linux back, as if changing directory structure, or getting rid of X would suddenly make Linux become really popular overnight. It won't. People will gradually fix the problems there are, and its market share will progressively go up, as people run out of reasons not to use it.

Hate to break it to you... (1)

dosius (230542) | about 7 years ago | (#19774381)

The day Linux becomes the majority OS is the day the geeks flee to Solaris and the BSDs. Because Linux won't be the "leet" OS anymore. (We've seen it happen already, sometimes causing developer/maintainer disputes and leading to forks, like cdrtools -> cdrkit.)

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

-uso.

Checkpoint VPN (1)

javilon (99157) | about 7 years ago | (#19774415)

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

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

I write this because I am sure that this situation is stopping a lot of IT professionals from moving to Linux. Checkpoint's VPN is quite common in corporate setups.

What is really ironic is that their firewalls and VPN gateways are implemented in Linux and use a slightly modified version of IPSEC. But the fact is that if you are behind a NATted adsl connection with dynamic ip address (the usual case), you can't connect to it unless you use Windows.

And yes, they know about the situation. And yes, they are very happy taking advantage of the linux kernel without giving anything back.

Re:Checkpoint VPN (1)

Nephilium (684559) | about 7 years ago | (#19774649)

Just a side note... my workplace used Checkpoint, and we're moving away from it...

It has other issues that we've run across... and... there's also no x64 client for it...

Nephilium

No Drivers, No Configuration, No Dice (1)

Mysticweed (593354) | about 7 years ago | (#19774439)

Linux still takes way more skill and experience to run and configure than the average computer user. Telling average joe to look at the kernel sources and edit config files is _not_ an option. Linux is awesome and I use it daily, but it's years behind Win&Mac for user experience. Also, users could care less if a driver is open source, they just want a kick @55 graphics card that works. This whole mess with reconfig and xstart ..etc is unacceptable in the retail market, which is what you think your going to make ground in. No stop all this drum pounding and join a project to fix this crap. Kubuntu Rules! whoooooo.

Deja vu...again (1)

rizole (666389) | about 7 years ago | (#19774449)

Great, now the dupes are coming annually [slashdot.org]

Maybe if Thin is back in? (1)

joeflies (529536) | about 7 years ago | (#19774473)

What Unix emerged doing so well are all the labs running thin x-terminal computing all linked back to a server. We moved away from that to the work environment with the heavy desktop, which is essentially when Windows took over.

So if the thin desktop is coming back (due to the sensitivity of theft of local hard drives or laptops, lower hardware maintenance cost, elimination of software updates on the user's desktop, lower power requirements, etc), then will Linux pick up again?

Yes of course there is citrix and windows rdp, but maybe I"m biased but I'd much rather use a linux-based system for a daily thin desktop.

2008 will be the Apple's year, not Linux (4, Interesting)

Swift Kick (240510) | about 7 years ago | (#19774497)

While the article is nice and points to some great progress in a number of fronts (like Dell's recent announcement about shipping desktops loaded with Ubuntu), Linux still has an enourmous amount of ground to cover before it comes close to being a serious rival to Windows in the consumer desktop market.

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

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

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

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

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

Linux Will Be Prominant, Just Not In Any 1 Year (1)

detain (687995) | about 7 years ago | (#19774503)

Both Linux and Software commonly packaged with Linux will slowly continue to make headway, as it has always done. Linux (by linux im including software relating to linux) will continue to find its way into more homes and businesses slowly. There will continue to be great additions and optimizations to linux that competitors will blow off or try to mimick, both outcomes of course will help linux in one way or another.

Linux will not one day all of a sudden be 'THE' prominant OS, Desktop, or Server. Its something that will happen slowly. To say that it would happen quickly ( as in over a years time) would require something groundbreaking to occur for linux only (slight improvements in speed, usability, and stability are not groundbreaking), and something like that is very unlikely to happen.

I would love to see more global linux adoption, although at the same time there are inherant problems with this. A large scale change from PlatformA to Linux would cause many employment problems. Many people who have gone to school and based a career on another system would have to go back to square 1 and start training for a new carreer again. It would also cause an immediate demand for Linux systems administrators, techys, and many other jobs. This would probably lead to too many people deciding to goto school for this career, only to find out that after a few years the demand has gone way down and that now we have too many admins, techs, etc..

Im not trying to be negative, just realistic. This would be great if it would happen, but would require things to happen that probably wont, and definitly havent already. It would also cause many problems relating to jobs.

Why GNU/Linux, of all things? (1)

dircha (893383) | about 7 years ago | (#19774505)

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

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

Sure, the four essential software freedoms are great, but let's stop kidding ourselves, most PC buyers don't care about these things, and it is extraordinarily challenging to convince them that they should care. If you think Mr. and Mrs. Jones and little Johnny care more about the four essential software freedoms than they do about running their tax software, microsoft office, and Johnny's games, then it's time to venture out of mom's basement for a reality check.

So what do you have left to sell on? Price? I'm sorry, but $50 doesn't mean much when you are just about to pay $500-$2500 for a new machine at Best Buy, especially when $50 is the difference between having a computer that will run your apps and the ones on the store shelves, and one that won't.

If you as an average middle class american whose computer experience largely consists of microsoft office, internet explorer, and that old data entry system at work, want a new computer that will be incredibly easy to use and come with a great suite of software out of the box for internet, email, photos, and multimedia (which make up 99% of my computer use), then you want a Mac.

When? (1)

david_thornley (598059) | about 7 years ago | (#19774521)

Trust me, it isn't coming until some well-known PC manufacturer starts shipping home systems with some version of Linux pre-installed. At that point, provided the manufacturer gets encouraging signs, perhaps some suggestion that the manufacturer might expand the Linux line a bit, it will start gathering momentum. Of course, the only way it'll catch on in business is if Microsoft introduces a new version of Windows that will be difficult to upgrade to, perhaps rendering old applications unusable or requiring lots of retraining or high-end hardware or something. So, I guess not.

Or maybe 2009, or 2010, or maybe 2011 (1)

BitZtream (692029) | about 7 years ago | (#19774523)

Probably flamebait but ...

Linux is not a desktop OS. Its a long way from it. While things like gnome and kde are doing more than most to help get it there, too many apps still don't fit together. Start mixing X applications from KDE, gnome, and other toolkits together and you get a horrible mess of applications that follow no common theme, work in different ways than the typical desktop user will expect, and have UIs that were designed be developers with about 8 times as many options as they actually need.

For linux to be a desktop OS it needs to be a lot more consistent across the board, not just the applications, but the distros. Want to scare people away, give them 5 distros to choose from and no real defining reason as to why they should pick any of them. So they pick one, and not only do they have to get used to learning how the new apps and OS work, they also have to get used to the fact that several apps use UIs that don't act much like anything they used before or any of the new ones on thier shiny new GNU/Linux PC.

I'm sort of ranting here, but make no mistake, I'd love to see a high percentage of FOSS desktop users, it would make my life as a developer much simpler to write for platforms that I can deal with and actually FIX when I find some stupid bug in an API call or bad documentation.

FOSS developers need to learn something very important when making apps for normal users:

Do because you should, not because you can. You must start with a UI design in mind, and make it the way you intended when you started. Don't add the 15 features that 15 different people ask for while you are developing it. Add the 5 features that 300 people ask for while you are developing it. If you must add a feature, do it in such a way that it doesn't scare a normal user to see all the options they have to select from. Make things obvious, don't add a tiny little button for some feature that most people won't use, and then hope that they can figure out what happens when they accidently click it and something unexpected happens.

You want to make GNU/Linux rule the desktop world (and I know you do), you gotta fall back to Keep It Simple (and) Stupid, because most of the people using desktops fall into that catagory. To many options can kill your appeal, fast.

Ubuntu. (3, Interesting)

crhylove (205956) | about 7 years ago | (#19774527)

Yeah, this article is dead on. Except the time isn't just in 2008. It's right now. I've recently switched about 20 people over to Ubuntu from Windows, and all but one of them were ecstatic. The one exception is a very heavy illustrator user, and said inkscape wasn't good enough. Other than that though, it's been 100% rave reviews and new clients for my little bedroom/repair shop.

rhY

2008 will be the year of the rat (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19774543)

From far away a penguin does look like a rat. Come to think about it, everything looks like a rat from far away.

"teletype" was the word in the image!

I doubt we'll really know for sure when... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 7 years ago | (#19774551)

But it is coming - in my opinion this is already happening, even if the numbers don't quite show it yet. I think it will be a very gradual, but growing trend...particularly when people try to keep old (but still good) hardware running but don't really care about the 'wow' of Windows or Mac systems, and/or are unable to install Windows due to licensing/hardware requirements. E.g., my in-laws (in their 60s) are looking at getting a laptop for their kitchen-dining area...but all they want it for is to browse the web. A cheap/used laptop with Fedora or Ubuntu will meet this scenario easily...and if/when they ask me to get them setup, I'll be sure take that route on their behalf. I doubt they'd even notice it wasn't windows as long as their web browser works.

Convert website (1)

nermaljcat (895576) | about 7 years ago | (#19774557)

Last year I "converted" two Windoze users to Ubuntu. I'm not sure how they are going as I have moved countries since. They were both programmers in my team and picked it up quickly and could easily appreciate the better design. This year I have converted another programmer who also loves it and is going strong. Today I go to a friend's place (non-programmer) to destroy his vile Windoze partition and cleanse it with Ubuntu. He is very keen on trying out Beryl too. I'm hoping he will be patient on the learning curve and it will stick with him.

Once Linux is easy enough for a novice to use, the conversions will become exponential as users will introduce their friends who in turn introduce their friends. Can't wait for that tipping point. BTW - thanks to M$ for releasing Vista which is helping our cause a lot. It's nice to explain to ppl that these kind of features have been in Mac OS and Linux distros for years.

Anyhow, enough rambling... I think it would be good to put up a website listing people who have recently converted to Linux.. perhaps we could keep conversion scores :-) . It could have simply non-patronizing help and tips for Linux n00bs. Well there are probably a lot of good sites out there already doing this, but I like the idea of a list to keep track.

Linux just needs a killer app (1)

Aexia (517457) | about 7 years ago | (#19774561)

Duke Nukem Forever for Linux?

2003 (1)

vkapadia (35809) | about 7 years ago | (#19774569)

http://www.linux-mag.com/channel/back-issues/may20 03 [linux-mag.com]

"The Year of the Linux Desktop:

2003 will be marked by the emergence of three new enterprise desktop offerings. Corporations seem interested, especially with Microsoft boosting prices. So, once again, we ask: Is this the year of the Linux desktop?"

Sadly (4, Funny)

ucblockhead (63650) | about 7 years ago | (#19774575)

This will probably be the year I replace my Linux desktop with a Mac.

Linux's killer app comes out in 2008 (1)

Actually, I do RTFA (1058596) | about 7 years ago | (#19774643)

By which I mean Duke Nukem Forver.

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