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How Would You Refocus Linux Development?

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the if-money-were-no-object-and-politics-didn't-matter dept.

Linux 821

buddyglass writes "The majority of Slashdot readers are no doubt appreciative of Linux in the general sense, but I suspect we all have some application or aspect of the platform that we wish were more stable, performant, feature-rich, etc. So my question is: if you were able to devote a 'significant' number of resources (read: high-quality developers) to a particular app or area of the kernel, and were able to set the focus for those resources (stability, performance, new features, etc.), what application or kernel area would you attempt to improve, and what would aspect you focus on improving?"

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821 comments

Three things. (4, Insightful)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358567)

Better hardware support
Better performance
Maintain excellent reliability.

What else could you need?

Re:Three things. (4, Interesting)

stemcel (1074448) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358603)

  • Visual coherency and a refined GUI. Taste in UI's vary between people, but most linux GUIs that aren't very minimalist tend to suffer from wasted space.
  • In interests of making linux more accessible, more configuration utilities that don't require specific knowledge and in-errant editing of configuration text files.

Re:Three things. (5, Insightful)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358729)

Visual coherency and a refined GUI. Taste in UI's vary between people, but most linux GUIs that aren't very minimalist tend to suffer from wasted space.

Granted, this is important to the Linux community, but when I hear Linux development, I think kernel, modules, and organization (like what goes in /etc, what goes in /bin, what goes in /usr/bin, and so on). Things like KDE, Gnome and other window managers are merely applications as far as I'm concerned and should be considered no more Linux development than, say, Open Office. Of course, I don't mean to say your view is wrong in the least. I just considered the question more narrow than you did and wanted to explain why I didn't consider any X development as part of the question.
Also, since X relies on video hardware, I'd consider X and XGL/Compiz-Fusion/Beryl to be categorized under hardware support.

In interests of making linux more accessible, more configuration utilities that don't require specific knowledge and in-errant editing of configuration text files.

Good point, or better yet, make these files standard across distros so the same configuration utilities works as well on Gentoo as Ubuntu.

A standard method for installing applications across distros would be nice too. I forgot to mention that!

Re:Three things. (3, Insightful)

omeomi (675045) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358811)

when I hear Linux development, I think kernel, modules, and organization (like what goes in /etc, what goes in /bin, what goes in /usr/bin, and so on). Things like KDE, Gnome and other window managers are merely applications as far as I'm concerned and should be considered no more Linux development than, say, Open Office.

How is a window manager less a part of Linux development than basically anything other than the kernel? I mean, just about anything else *could* be considered an "application"--even something as basic as 'ls'--and could potentially be left out of a distro. Like you, I'm not saying you're wrong, but to the Linux-desktop community, things like KDE and Gnome are pretty important.

Re:Three things. (2, Insightful)

Tom9729 (1134127) | more than 6 years ago | (#20359001)

Not everyone uses Gnome/KDE or even X. Everyone who uses Linux, uses a kernel though. I think that was the point he was trying to make.

Re:Three things. (1)

omeomi (675045) | more than 6 years ago | (#20359037)

True, but he said Kernel, Modules, and Organization. I'm asking how Gnome/KDE is substantially different from "modules", not "kernel"

Re:Three things. (2, Interesting)

pcnetworx1 (873075) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358621)

If I could refocus Linux Development... I would try to pool all the development into 1 distro to reduce duplication of so much effort.

Re:Three things. (5, Insightful)

The Mad Debugger (952795) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358653)

1. Better GNOME usability for Ubuntu (with delivery of Bulletproof X and the GTK Xconfig ASAP, please)

Seriously, the desktop lacks stuff that has been in Windoze since '95. The kernel works pretty good. We have pluggable storage okay.. but there's still basic holes in the usability (like changing the res on the fly when I move my laptop in and out of my office) that just need to get fixed.

2. Spend whatever time is left over to make OOo faster and easier to use.

The MS Office import filters are so *almost* there, but this app really needs to close the usability gap with Office. I have a semi-decent machine running Ubuntu, and even with Java disabled, it still takes what seems like forever to open a simple document that someone emails to me.

I know these aren't *really* linux-specific, especially OOo, but it's what needs to happen to make linux a real, legitimate desktop force. I'm an easy sell, I love open source, but right now there are too many excuses for why this stuff isn't gettin' fixed, and not enough fixin' it, and right now I'm not telling my computer-illiterate friends that they should go order a Dell machine with Ubuntu preloaded.. I'm telling them to buy a Mac, so I don't have to tell them how to fix basic stuff.

Re:Three things. (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358715)

There not Linux specific (they're not even "Linux"), but you're right. Microsoft or Apple has someone that can make sure the parts all work together to provide a consistent experience. "Linux" doesn't have that (remember a few months back when gnome developers rejected Linus' patches?) Distros package stuff together, but they're primarily cat herders.

Re:Three things. (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 6 years ago | (#20359027)

Having some sort of GUI authority would be pretty cool. I'd like to see something like a single GUI committee that could even go so far as to unify GNOME and KDE. (I know that's asking a lot...)

But I'd also like to see more program and data compatibility. Wine has a LONG way to go and it's an constantly moving and morphing target. But hey, now that MacOSX is on Intel, I'd also like to see some project work on getting Mac stuff to run in Linux too.

There is definitely one drawback to the spirit of the open source community and that would be because the developers are often emotionally involved with their work. Making suggestions or attempting to steer these impassioned developers is like adding salt to a master chef's dish. It'll be tough to work through that. And these same developers are less likely to want to develop based on some model decided upon by a committee. Yes, there are exceptions. Yes there are paid developers who do the bidding of those who pay them too. Frankly, what I'm saying is perhaps we need more of exactly that.

Re:Three things. (3, Insightful)

ageoffri (723674) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358679)

And those 3 reasons are a huge part of why desktop Linux has been on life support for years, way too much effort has been devoted to them. Nerds concentrate on those features and don't get me wrong they are important. What constantly gets left out is usability, installation needs to be simple enough that I can give my parents a CD/DVD and let them install it. There needs to be a consistent UI between applications and components. Installing software must not require editing config files and if additional components are needed then it should just be a click Yes to install additional components.

Re:Three things. (1)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358765)

And those 3 reasons are a huge part of why desktop Linux has been on life support for years, way too much effort has been devoted to them. Nerds concentrate on those features and don't get me wrong they are important. What constantly gets left out is usability, installation needs to be simple enough that I can give my parents a CD/DVD and let them install it. There needs to be a consistent UI between applications and components. Installing software must not require editing config files and if additional components are needed then it should just be a click Yes to install additional components.

I wholeheartedly agree, but I just considered that type of thing more Distro development than Linux dev. On that same train of thought though, I would like to see a easy to use, consistent software installation manager across distros.

Re:Three things. (1)

TW Atwater (1145245) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358993)

"installation needs to be simple enough that I can give my parents a CD/DVD and let them install it."

Why? Could you give them a naked box and a Vista DVD and have them get it up and running?

Re:Three things. (5, Insightful)

timeOday (582209) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358709)

You know what I'd love more than further improvement in any of those areas? Comprehensive, well-written documentation.

One Word (0, Offtopic)

infonography (566403) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358731)

Ninjas

Face it its an excellent way to deal with all sorts of troublesome issues. If you don't believe me go on Youtube and ask a Ninja.

I'd use a combination of convex (4, Funny)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358569)

and concave lenses, with a relatively low refractive index and arranged in an optimum series for magnification of subtle surface-details, at quite a close range - say between 200 and 400 mm.

Thanks. I'll be here all week.

Re:I'd use a combination of convex (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20358665)

Thanks. I'll be here all week.
That is assuming that you aren't murdered for making horrible jokes.

Re:I'd use a combination of convex (1)

Glowing Fish (155236) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358757)

Tip your waitress?

Re:I'd use a combination of convex (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20358881)

Why not? If she can carry the burden.

start over from the gound up (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20358919)

The whole linux kernel is a stinking shit heap. It just needs to be scrapped and started over from scratch. I mean, it doesn't even support most wireless networking cards for crying out loud. How long has wireless been supported on Windows and Mac OS? Since 2000 or 2001? Linux is currently at about a Windows ME level of development in terms of it being ready for prime time.

common ui standard (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20358581)

Take a page from the MSFT playbook and work on a 100% common UI toolset, one that works with KDE, GNOME, and the rest.

Obvious examples: Make cut and paste work the same everywhere, same for file management.

Basically, if I open a GNOME app in KDE, it should be have the same as every other app on my screen. And vice-versa.

Re:common ui standard (1)

irc.goatse.cx troll (593289) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358619)

To extend on that idea, I'd also add common keybindings and a central place to register global keybindings. Maybe even mix it with some kind of app api structure (i.e "this keybinding calls this function, or this menu entry, or this button")-- The kind of stuff that Leopard's new scripting is promising, and Microsoft's new console (MONAD?) bragged about but didnt yet deliver.

The other thing I'd personally spend some developers on is picking up XMLTerm, the abandoned mozilla Xterm project that was capable of inline rendering whatever Gecko could render. For example letting you have a shell script spit out a html table, or images.

Unification (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20358583)

I know a lot of people do NOT want to hear this, but what Linux needs is an official "desktop distro" that regular people can use (in plain english: don't even think about "compilation", "scripts", "command-line" and all that computer mombo-jumbo). One GUI, one packaging system (or whatever you call that), etc.

And I don't mean "copy whatever that huge lazy corporation in Redmond is doing", either. If you can only copy, you will never lead.

The defacto desktop distro for the general public (1)

the_rajah (749499) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358821)

seems to be tending toward Ubuntu. Simple to install, no command line needed for the casual non-geek user, intuitive GUI for the convert from Windows. I'm using it right now on my Dell desktop that came pre-installed with it. I already had it running on another machine, but I wanted to vote with my wallet for linux to be available Joe Public as already installed on a commodity computer.

Additional software is easy to install. I'm using Opera to post this and, even though it's not available through the Ubuntu add/remove, getting it downloaded and installed required no CLI use.

I've got another machine with Fedora 7 and have played with a lot of other distros including SuSE, Knoppix, Mepis, and some of the Ubuntu forks like Kubuntu, Xubuntu and Mint.

We have a guest room in our house that is complete with a guest computer.. It runs Ubuntu Feisty and our guests have not had a problem using it. I just tell them that it's not Windows, it's Linux. Here's the browser and feel free to use any of the networked printers if you need to print something.

Re:Unification (1)

Paradigm_Complex (968558) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358907)

It's called Ubuntu. "Out of the box" it doesn't require "compilation" "scripts" "command-line" etc. There's still a few wholes, but they're being plugged quickly (a GUI to manage X, for example, is scheduled for the next major release). It's quite easy to use, I've gotten a few people to dual-boot (although I haven't seen them boot into 'doze in quite some time). Hell, the motto is "Linux for humans," humans being regular people. Compilation, scripts, etc still exist for those who aren't scared off by them, but "regular people" can get around fine with Ubuntu without them. I agree Ubuntu needs continued work, but it really doesn't need as much focus as other things in the Linux world - many of the "regular people" I know are quite content with it.

I know that this stuff is not in the kernel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20358585)

But I would focus on package management, so that software install is uniform accross the top distros. I know that is a lot to ask for, but one thing I think is necessary for the increasingly new user.

Make everything "Just Work" (5, Interesting)

vonFinkelstien (687265) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358587)

Find out all the things at take too many clicks, or require editing text files and make them "Just Work" in a simple and easy way.

Re:Make everything "Just Work" (1)

Orthuberra (1145497) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358703)

Thank god somebody is with me on the command line cruft. So tired of the "but the command line is a powerful tool!" Yeah it's a powerful tool to the 1 percent of the population that doesn't mind learning or using it. To the other 99% of desktops out there, Linux will just be a 'worse' alternative. Listen up slashdotters please, (almost) nobody wants to type in rpm/apt-get/emerge somepackage -u -r /dev etc etc in the command line to install a program. They want something that just works (i.e. clicking to install, maybe a login and password, maybe a pop-up menu with options of types of installs that can be done with explainations). Also better out of the box support from the wi-fi folks and graphics card folks (although this relies on said companies and not ourselves). Don't worry about the games situation, the gamer community is small anyways, don't believe me, the Wii is outselling the 360 and PS3 combined and it's not trying to appeal to them at all. Things like synaptic are a good start, but their is still a lot of work that can be done to make it just work.

Re:Make everything "Just Work" (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358797)

Find out all the things at take too many clicks


But, how would you fix that? It's not like finding out things in Windows takes any fewer clicks, but then, we shouldn't be using Windows as our benchmark. The idea is not to copy Redmond, but do better than Redmond.

require editing text files


Very few things require text file editing anymore. Most common system administration tasks have a GNOME GUI now in most distros. The only egregious example I can think of is in switching video cards. Get a new video card that requires a different driver, and you'll find yourself hand-hacking /etc/X11/xorg.conf with vi[m] or nano.

The worst thing is permissions editing in Nautilus. Despite the fact that it's SUPPOSED to work, I still can't change permissions recursively on all files and directories from Nautilus without resorting to the command line. I'm about this close to writing a Python-based GTK GUI script and adding it to Nautilus' action menus in Ubuntu Feisty.

The other egregious example of forced command-line usage for me was cleaning my Epson printer, aligning its cartridges, etc. This is now handled for me by my GUI-frontend to escputil, Stylus Toolbox [sf.net]

GUI integration (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20358589)

I would focus developers on integrating a GUI into the kernel. It makes the OS more stable, right?

Re:GUI integration (1)

khellendros1984 (792761) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358627)

It would make it higher performance, but less stable. Tie something into the kernel, and there's a bigger chance it'll hose the system as it goes down.

Re:GUI integration (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20358647)

I would refocus your speech so it no longer originates from your ass.

That's easy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20358593)

Kill desktop Linux since it's already DOA.

Stop wasting time and develop for Mac OSX instead.

Re:That's easy (1)

khellendros1984 (792761) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358669)

Unless Mac OS opened itself up (both source code-wise, and in regards to the hardware it will run on), it just wouldn't be the same.

Disk throttling (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20358597)

Stop disk hog processes from slowing everything else. If it's disk-intensive it is expected to take a while anyway.

UI Consistancy (1)

sqrt(2) (786011) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358609)

Al the time on Linux it seems every program looks different and out of place, the only ones that fit are the ones that come with the DE and so are made to look all the same. Take a look at KDE apps on Gnome or vice versa. On windows everything uses standard widgets and themes. And I'm not talking about stuff like Winamp that uses a skin, but take a look at Pidgin on the windows platform, an open source project that looks completely at home on a Gnome desktop. In XP or Vista, the menus and windows aren't drawn the same as other apps. It's more of an annoyance than a mission critical problem, but it really detracts from the professional and complete image that I know Linux is capable of showing.

Re:UI Consistancy (1)

scapermoya (769847) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358655)

except that KDE and gnome apps, in a UI sense, are kinda sorta mutually exclusive, no?

Re:UI Consistancy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20358691)

"On windows everything uses standard widgets and themes"? WTF? Do you even use Windows at all?

Re:UI Consistancy (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358767)

Well, the original poster did repeatedly say "kernel," not UI widgets.

(Personally I think common *functionality* (such as all programs using the same sound subsystem, e.g. alsa vs. oss, or printing) is far more important than widgets and other eye candy anyways, but to each his own!)

Real time desktop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20358617)

I'd like a system where audio and video never glitch, and the GUI is always responsive.

Re:Real time desktop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20358921)

I'd like a system where audio and video never glitch, and the GUI is always responsive.


QNX [qnx.com]

Next?

Software development tools (1)

iplayfast (166447) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358623)

I know that gcc is a great compiler, and vi and emacs are wonderful, but I really miss the convenience of select and drop gui development. I also like IDE's, with context sensitive help, and class completion and all the other things they do.

It seems to me that windows development tools are ahead of Linux in these regards, and it would behoove Linux developers to make development as easy as possible.

Re:Software development tools (1)

jeevesbond (1066726) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358819)

I also like IDE's, with context sensitive help, and class completion and all the other things they do.

Honestly not trying to flame you here, but have you tried Eclipse [eclipse.org] ? Am pretty sure it does what you need: for Java anyway, it certainly has basic support (syntax highlighting etc.) for other languages like C/C++ and PHP too. If you're into .NET there's Monodevelop [monodevelop.com] , which is an IDE for that.

Re:Software development tools (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20358911)

There is also REAL Basic if you want a cross-platform, VB-like, "simple" language.

I refuse to answer that question. (1)

drolli (522659) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358629)

and so should al large part of the slahsdot readers. I think the Bazar is a good development model. Without doubt "devoting a large number of devolopers to a task" is the opposite of that. Again thing which have a factor of 100 in man-years will show up in the lists of the readers.

Re:I refuse to answer that question. (1)

iamdrscience (541136) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358979)

Are you insane? Developers are developers and how they come together to work on an open source project means nothing, the point is that they're working on the project. If you really believe from reading "The Cathedral and the Bazaar" that ESR intended to kick out developers who don't totally fall in line with FSF ideals then you're crazy. In fact, I think you'd have to be crazier than ESR himself which is a truly amazing feat.

Fix RPM Dependency Hell (1)

Chlorus (1146335) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358643)

Ensure greater collaboration between RPM repositories/distros so we don't have errors such as mess as we do right now. As is: "You installed Program 1. It needs program 2." **installs program 2** "You installed program 1. It still needs program 2. It looks like you installed program 2A. "

Re:Fix RPM Dependency Hell (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20358713)

Umm... when was the last time you encountered this?

Re:Fix RPM Dependency Hell (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20358823)

Seen it before. Usually, compiling program 1 from source fixes it. Never seen one that ./configure;make;make install as root wasn't good enough.

Re:Fix RPM Dependency Hell (2, Informative)

Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358927)

Install Debian? Install anything that's been released within the last 2 years?

The Hurd (2, Interesting)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358659)

if you were able to devote a 'significant' number of resources (read: high-quality developers) to a particular app or area of the kernel, and were able to set the focus for those resources (stability, performance, new features, etc.), what application or kernel area would you attempt to improve, and what would aspect you focus on improving?
I'd budget $1M/year for a minimum of five years for full-time work on the Hurd. No, it isn't Linux but it is an alternative kernel with interesting features that is sadly stagnating.

Its been in development for almost 20 years (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20358787)

There may be more problems than just time and money can solve with the Hurd.

Obligatory (1)

qweqwe321 (1097441) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358801)

While you're at it, you can fund the development of Duke Nukem Forever, too!

Games (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20358661)

Get me my popular Windows games on Linux, and I'll switch in a hearbeat.

Might I Suggest... (5, Insightful)

bealzabobs_youruncle (971430) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358673)

that anyone who thinks that CLI usage is not a feature of Linux think again? This topic is 12 minutes old and three post have already suggested we bury the command line; part of what makes Linux so fast, flexible and customizable is access to virtually every setting from a text editor. This is not something that needs to be changed, instead change your mindset that this is not Windows.

If you are looking for a completely GUI drive *nix I would say OS X is your best bet (yes, I know you can use the CLI in OS X, but you never have to unless you so desire).

Re:Might I Suggest... (1)

mikesd81 (518581) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358719)

I agree. I do alot of work from shells or xterms even when I'm trying to customize something instead of clicking through dozens of windows and screens I can just edit a config file make a setting save it and presto. Actually, the only thing I really require X for is surf the web and grab mail.

Re:Might I Suggest... (2, Insightful)

grumbel (592662) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358813)

We definitively shouldn't bury the command line, but on the other side we shouldn't just let it stay the way it currently is forever. Currently there is a huge gap between the command line and the GUI, the most you can do in terms of interaction between the two might be copy&paste of a file name, but thats basically it. What I would like to see is some more monad/msh or XMLTerm'ish stuff where you don't just deal with lines of text, but have proper objects that you can move around between command line and other applications freely. It might also nice to have more elaborate output then just text, i.e. thumbnails and stuff. And most importantly the GUI simply should work better together with the command line, for every thing that I can do with the GUI, I want a way to access that with the command line and visa verse.

Re:Might I Suggest... (1)

avanderveen (899407) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358869)

I agree with you in that the command line is amazing and should be kept, but we should not have to always deal with it. A good example would be some installers in Linux that are completely GUI based and meant to be user-friendly, but in order to launch them you have to chmod them or whatever and then run it. Basically, if people expect Linux to be adopted and to still be Linux at heart, the command line should exist and not be crippled, but developers should create more user-friendly apps that focus on the UI and useabiliy. That's why people are switching to Macs, apparently they "just work" (I disagree, but that's another topic) and Linux needs to do this too.

Re:Might I Suggest... (1)

smallpaul (65919) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358959)

that anyone who thinks that CLI usage is not a feature of Linux think again? This topic is 12 minutes old and three post have already suggested we bury the command line; part of what makes Linux so fast, flexible and customizable is access to virtually every setting from a text editor. This is not something that needs to be changed, instead change your mindset that this is not Windows.

You've set up a false dichotomy. The other guys are saying that every setting should be available from a GUI. They did not say that the settings should be unavailable from the command line. Can we put away the "You're with us or you're against us" mentality? A person could be in favour of BOTH more powerful command lines and text files AND more powerful GUIs. The two are very complimentary. Most of the progress Linux has made over the last decade is because people have put aside those false dichotomies. In fact, this is often true for the technology industry in general...

Re:Might I Suggest... (4, Interesting)

jeevesbond (1066726) | more than 6 years ago | (#20359029)

This topic is 12 minutes old and three post have already suggested we bury the command line; part of what makes Linux so fast, flexible and customizable is access to virtually every setting from a text editor.

Whilst I totally agree with what follows after the semi-colon in this sentence am not so sure about the part prior to it. All we're seeing is that people do not want to be forced into changing settings--am assuming, on their desktop machines--using the command line. This does not mean we should 'bury' the command line, or stop using text files to hold settings! In fact you've made my point for me:

If you are looking for a completely GUI drive *nix I would say OS X is your best bet (yes, I know you can use the CLI in OS X, but you never have to unless you so desire).

Aye, there's the rub! The user should be able to choose between a GUI configuration interface or editing a text file: everyone's a winner! Also a GUI should be able to read/write text configuration files whilst handling seperate user changes to those files gracefully.

In fact I'd spend a lot of the money on getting everyone (or as many projects as I could) to agree to a configuration file format that could easily be interpreted by an application. A one-size-fits-all library could be written to get the settings from file into memory and back again, then it would just be a matter of organising that data into a front-end that's meaningful for the user. The real joy is that with a standard file format, and library to support it, a rudimentary GUI for a new application could be created in minutes.

This is not something that needs to be changed, instead change your mindset that this is not Windows.

This is a very conservative viewpoint, why can things not change? Why can't we have the best of both worlds, with both GUI configuration tools and text files?

One universal install method... (4, Insightful)

mikesd81 (518581) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358683)

That just freaking works. I never understood why every distro can't just use the same install method. Whatever it may be, rpm, apt, yast whatever. And I don't mean the 3 step make install method. Wouldn't it be great to go grab a package from freshmeat or sourceforge and...oh look that's the package type I need....

Re:One universal install method... (2, Insightful)

tajmorton (806296) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358879)

Wouldn't it be great to go grab a package from freshmeat or sourceforge and...oh look that's the package type I need....
See the Autopackage [autopackage.org] project, and there's a fairly large amount of software packaged using it. It works, but distros don't like it because they're afraid that the developers packages might mess up your system, so they refuse to support it. *shrug*

Re:One universal install method... (1)

garcia (6573) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358883)

I never understood why every distro can't just use the same install method.

Because none of them are setup the same way and honestly, I don't want them to be? apt-get update ; apt-get install foo. Looks like a two step method where I don't have to think all that much and I still feel like I have control over my system.

Let's not fuck up the way things are just because some believe it would be better. Choice is a big part of the draw to Linux, why make it more like Windows when a lot of people want it to be anything but?

Re:One universal install method... (1)

Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358969)

The problem is that "Linux"[1] is not a single operating system, and there are subtle binary incompatibilities between various distros. Use Debian for a while, then switch to something like Mandriva. You'll get the idea pretty quickly.

-

[1] or "GNU/Linux"---it doesn't matter here

Digital Video Editing (1)

RockHorn (896105) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358695)

Digital Video Editing - hands down.

We have converted to Ubuntu for all computers in our house now, and the only reason I'm looking elsewhere is for a stable and *easy to use* digital video editing solution. Surprising really, given the amount of video people record lately.

The hopeful projects are Kdenlive (still seems immature), and Cinelerra (can't for the life of me get it to install/run). Kino isn't an option, as you can't include still images.

With DV editing, Linux would indeed be desktop ready.

WINE (4, Interesting)

jstomel (985001) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358699)

Admit it, wine sucks and there are lots of programs that will never be ported. I want wine to be integrated and almost invisible, like the Classic interface in OSX.

Re:WINE (1)

Paradigm_Complex (968558) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358997)

Wine's awesome and I'm often surprised at how well any given application works. Double-clicking on a windows executable runs it like any other program; it's easy for someone not to even realize that it isn't native. True, WINE lags behind the ever changing Windows landscape, but if you don't need the absolute newest programs out there (considering this is compared to "classic" a little age seems acceptable), you'll be fine.

UI needs a lot more consistency (3, Insightful)

Whuffo (1043790) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358717)

One of the GNU / Linux weak points is the wide variety of user interface implementations. Simple and common functions should be accessed in the same way in every application. Look how many different keystroke combinations / menu selections are used to exit a program - sure, us nerds can keep them all straight without any trouble but what about the unwashed masses?

Why is it that all the developers seem to be able to code to a standard API - but they can't even come close to agreement on the way a program is operated? Maybe it's time to create a UI standard for Linux apps?

This would go a long way towards making Linux the favored choice for desktop machines. Ease of use is a great way to unseat the dominant OS; it's not exactly easy to use and it's very possible to beat them at this game.

A Common GUI and a Linus-like Dictator for same (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20358721)

Many development projects benefit from competing teams and an open marketplace of ideas. UI design is not one of those areas. Its far, far, more important to be conistent than it is to be "optimal" for any given task/operation.

With Linux right now, there's one kernel, because Linus runs that end of the house as a dictator, and it works.

The GUI world is a nightmare of competing standards, mish-mashed interface concepts, and generally poor design. Apple has proved that you *can* put a beautiful, conistent UI on top of a unix kernel. They did it by ruthlessly enforcing standards, and they did it by having one guy ultimately calling the shots.

It's time for the Linux world to do the same thing.

Unfortunatly... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20358733)

....if I had to pick, I'd have them spend their time reverse engineering drivers for popular hardware from manufacturers who don't publish their API's. Like it or not, significantly more hardware "just works" on Windows that doesn't work on Linux. And if (and maybe it's still an if) Linux wants to be a real competitor on the desktop market, we need to realize unpacking hard-to-find tarballs and tweaking your system configuration isn't viable.

Re:Unfortunatly... (1)

SEWilco (27983) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358777)

Before they start reverse-engineering drivers, first clearly document the manufacturer's failure. For years I've been avoiding giving such manufacturers any of my money. I'm quite willing to help them fail faster in the marketplace.

Re:Unfortunatly... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20358941)

A good idea, and good for you on this. But misses the point.

The linux community is not large enough, and currently never will be large enough, to dictate the hardware marketplace. Vocal minority, sure. But most computer buyers/users get "whatever Dell/HP/Gateway/etc" installs in the machine. They may know the more expensive graphics card will play games better, but darned if most of them have a bloody clue where they'll get drivers.

The point being made is that if Linux wants to compete for Microsoft's territory on the desktop, it needs to do at least as good a job supporting whatever hardware is out there. Not just the ones from enlightened manufacturers.

Kernel and Xorg Usabilty (1)

grumbel (592662) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358739)

KDE and Gnome do a lot of things for usability, but some usability quirks have their root deep down in the kernel (awkward handling of CD/DVD, lack of stable ABI for kernel modules, userspace-fs could need some additions, kernel features that need a kernel recompile instead of just a module, etc.) or Xorg (hot-pluging of input devices isn't supported, no real graphical configuration tool, way to easy to get a non working configurations, etc.) and can't be fixed elsewhere no matter how much wrapper magic you throw at them. Lack of a real widespread distribution portable package format would be another major issue.

Mod article "-1, Troll" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20358755)

Seriously. what do you expect by this "article?" The author does not even attempt to make this an interesting / productive discussion, by narrowing a focus or even distinguishing between "linux" and "GNU/linux" or F/OSS software.

It's like asking, "What don't you like about your life? How would you improve your life?"

Open Source 3D and better interactivity (4, Insightful)

Omnifarious (11933) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358761)

The first of those two is self-explanatory. High-quality, high-performance Free 3D drivers for good hardware.

The second...

I want some (not all) kernel developers to stop using throughput based metrics to measure performance, and instead use a metric based on interactive performance. I have a suggestion for such a metric...

The time between user input and the user input having a noticeable affect on an output device like a display. And I don't think this time should be as short as possible, though that's a good goal. The time should be as consistent as possible while remaining short. I propose a metric that measures this latency and plots the standard deviation of the latency and uses that as the main metric with that average latency being a secondary metric.

Preferences, doc files and print settings (1)

JoeCommodore (567479) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358763)

I've seen some great preferences and some lousy ones, and then there are a bunch that are still only accessible via text editors. Getting some of the guys that are doing a bang up job on the good ones to help with the bad ones would be a start (i.,e. get the RH guys from system-config-samba to help on the gsambad project.) Also get a nice recoverable video preferences system (to go back to a one-size-fits most mode if you totally mess up the monitor settings).

How about including some of the documentation files WITH the app packages (sometimes they are there as an often overlooked separate install, sometimes there are none included. :-/)

Last but not least would be print settings - some are nearly great (Open Office) where everything just about works (i.e. Tiling should not loose stuff in the print margins). And other are near non-existant (Inkscape).

Those are the things I think are past due.

Most linux problems are "desktop" issues... (4, Insightful)

bytesmythe (58644) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358773)

1) Wifi networking
    Too many wifi cards (especially the Broadcom chipsets) are painfully difficult to get working correctly. WPA2 encryption support is flaky. Wired and wifi should switch gracefully.

2) Better sound support
    There are too many conflicting ways of producing sound, some of which dislike working together. Midi support should be built-in. Currently, it's a pain to install. Hopefully KDE's Phonon subsystem will help here.

3) Better a/v
    Too many movies have unsynced audio and video. Also, many codecs are unsupported. Yes, I know they're proprietary, but I don't really care. Ubuntu is making codec installation easier, but frequently the codecs only work with some particular backend. (For instance, even with mp3 support installed for gxine, Amarok (a KDE app) still needs to install it's own. The desktop environment should provide a generic way for apps play audio, and if a KDE app is running under a Gnome environment, it should be able to "just work".) Don't forget the wonderful closed-source
graphics card drivers!

4) Easier windowing subsystem
    No one should have to edit xorg.conf to get anything working. Fortunately, the next release of X windows is supposed to finally do away with this by adding dynamic configuration with xrandr. Also, it will be nice when CompizFusion is more robust. Lots of people really like the eye-candy, and I find some of the features useful.

5) Applications
    It should be easier to keep applications up-to-date. I love Ubuntu, but it drives me nuts seeing bug fixes or major enhancements to applications that I can't easily obtain because either the OS updates don't include application upgrades, or the OS repositories are simply not adequately maintained. I don't want to have to
litter my package manager with repositories, or manually install packages just to keep my apps updated.

6) Laptop support
    Suspend and resume don't always work very well. Some laptops don't come back, and frequently networking
is messed up.

Fix-up the standard toolchain (1)

Hoplite3 (671379) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358775)

There are lots of exciting new things in linux: HAL, DBUS, UDEV, etc. These have changed the way hardware is detected and activated, mostly for the best.

But many of the new tools that deal with this stuff are GUI programs like network manager. Now, network manager is a good program, but wouldn't it be cool for it to coordinate with ifup/ifdown? You know, update the classic commands so they use the new systems. I think there could be either a new generation of CLI tools or a re-vamping of the old.

I'd also like to see more development of client/daemon type programs, where large pieces of the execution are separated from the GUI/CLI interface. This could make a lot of programs more fault-tolerant. Like bit torrent clients that could continue to download when the user logs out, etc.

Linux? What's Linux? (1, Insightful)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358781)

I don't know where to get Linux...

I can get Ubuntu, Gentoo, Debian, RedHat, etc., etc... I can't get "Linux".

There's your problem...

Better developer tools for creating gui apps (1)

ErikThompson (1049896) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358785)

Creating gui apps should be as easy on linux as it is on windows. gtk and glade are pretty good but aren't as easy to control the layout and size of the widgets as they are in windows. If there was a Python IDE that was as feature rich and similar to Visual Studio it would make the transition for Windows developers writing programs for Linux a whole lot easier and more attractive.

Thourough context sensitive help... (4, Insightful)

AmazingRuss (555076) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358789)

Seems like everytime I click the help menu, I get some skeleton outline, if anything at all. I don't mind googling around for the information, but if usage is going to grow outside of the techie segment, the help systems are going to have to catch up with Windows 95 era chm files, at least. I'm not talking about technically, but rather actually having some useful content in the systems. I understand that writing documentation is no fun, so I don't hold out much hope for this.

Sure would be nice though.

Educational software (1)

psherma1 (1082607) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358795)

For students and teachers. Make it so useful for the schools they'd be crazy not to use it. All else would follow...

refocus Linux? (1)

guardia (579095) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358835)

or the free software movement? We're talking about the "bazaar" here... It's fine the way it is now. We've got great distros like Fedora, Ubuntu, etc. Everything's working pretty well, really. The problems are mostly political (read: multimedia codecs, patents and such) and somewhat technical (read: Microsoft Office proprietary files, etc.)... that won't go away easily even if you put thousands of hours of the best programmer or lawyers on them. I hope the rumors about Red Hat's effort on some licensing deal for codecs is true, that should make for some interesting evening news. :)

Build more doghouses (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20358845)

One quote I've heard is that programmers want to build palaces, not doghouses. What this usually leads to is "roll your own" approaches to items that should be done in a standard way (case in point: print handling). And, like it or not, Open Source is very prone to building palaces.

In many ways, this is because of the "do it yourself" spirit that made open source great. People are passionate about their software, and they want it to be as good and as "can you top this?" full featured as it could be. But, regrettably, this means different projects will handle the same thing differently, or have different priorities. The wheel gets reinvented more in open source projects than it does in general. I've seen a lot of really good programmers spend hours writing a framework that's exactly what they want rather than take something off the shelf that's perfectly servicable but has features they don't want, or has a few quirks needing coding around.

How would I use 100 good programmers to fix this? By stepping back from the project-by-project trees and seeing the forest. What's usually used together on the same system? How do two otherwise similar programs implement similar concepts differently? Then, take the best (or an amalgam of the best of multiple approaches), and contribute it to the projects that are off rewriting what's been written before.

"Every project for itself" is in many ways an approach that's outlived it's usefulness.

Do everything at the same time... (2, Insightful)

martijnd (148684) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358847)

I think Linux has always had this "everything at the same time" feeling to it; so things move ever so slowly. Some languish, some die, sometimes people get angry about it and things get fixed. So many people pulling in different directions ; many projects died but their best ideas live on.

It used to be a nightmare to configure hardware -- its now easier than installing XP on a Vista machine. X had (and has) so many problems it wasn't funny; but these days you can click around for days and it mostly just works. Wine was a joke for years -- but I can run my favorite online (DirectX) games at decent frame rates and progress is fast. For years it felt like all Linux coders lived in the USA; now proper Unicode support & multi language support make for example Chinese/Japanese input much easier.

Linux is a giant wave always moving slightly behind the edge, companies can make money by living on the bleeding edge. But slowly all of them get washed away.

Junk the cruft. (1)

gwern (1017754) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358853)

We could ask for a lot of stuff, but let's face it, most of what is going to be suggested wouldn't really help and would have short-term benefits at best: Linux already has plenty of device drivers, those developers couldn't do much more than is already being done, and certainly not the several percent needed for a real shift; the various desktop environments are just not going to merge, let's face it, and so we're stuck with the horrors of diversity in our visual interfaces; new software certainly isn't desperately needed cf. all the people living perfectly happy with existing software; and so on. What would be useful would be if those developers could go around and either: figure out some way to make X not suck. There are better ways out there, guys; if X really is the best way to provide a GUI, then we might as well cut our wrists open now. Heck, X wasn't even the best solution back when they were first writing it in the '80s. A lot of our GUI and usability complaints can be either directly or indirectly traced back to the fact that X is so dominant. Let's have them write a better system (a Y, perhaps), add in a compatibility layer, and reap the benefits. More radically, we could have them go around and try to persuade people to adopt a reasonable proposal: don't explicitly support any hardware created or software written before 1990. How much cruft has built up on the altar of backwards compatibility? How much disk space is taken up for APIs, programs, options etc that were deprecated back in the '90s? We should simplify and cleanup; should your pre-90s whatever still work, that's swell. But we need to move on! This is a radical proposal, I know, but the unseen weight of all that old shit is a hidden tax on every innovation and every process that occurs in the Linux world. A good long-term investment would be to try to pay off some of that debt, if you will. Clear out the rubble and build our modern stuff on a clean foundation.

osx like desktop (1)

ZipprHead (106133) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358857)

On the desktop, hands down. If there was an awesome, advanced, easy to maintain and use ui ( cough osx like cough). It would take hold.

Yes I Am writing this from my iphone.

Better removable media support, and... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20358871)

I haven't used Linux since Fedora Core 4, so maybe some of my suggestions aren't applicable now, but here they are:

* I know there's auto-mount, but inserting and removing CD-ROMs always seemed to cause problems, particularly if the drive was a USB drive that was spontaneously added.

* Try to improve upon the block device numbering scheme; "/dev/hdc#" is mostly fine, but
the numbering is arcane.

* Clean out some of the ancient junk in all of the configuration files. It's time to get rid of terminal definitions (e.g., VT100, etc) and all of the crazy modem definitions (e.g., some ancient 300 baud thing, etc).

Graphics Card Support (1)

Ledsock (926049) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358873)

One of the most lacking things in Linux is out-of-the-box GPU support. Yes, they will usually work, but rarely to their full potential. I feel that this is one of the biggest things holding Linux back from mainstream adoption. Like it or not, eye candy sells people. Look at OS X or Vista. Both are loaded with eye grabbing features (not that it's helped MS's sales of Vista as much as they've wanted).

The other reason decent graphical support is key is due to games. Windows supporters often say that they need it to play games and there aren't any games for Linux or OS X. OS X is slowly gaining support since its switch to Intel, and Mac sales have improved likewise. Linux may arguably support more graphics cards than OS X, but the big difference is with OS X, you can tell by looking at the box whether it'll work or not. Linux often involves more detailed searching with Google to find compatibility. Not an issue for most slashdotters, but for our friends and relatives who don't like to tinker with forums, the dreaded command line, and technical settings, it can be a major headache.

Aside from persuading people to try Linux, graphics can be a bottle neck on systems and lead to performance and stability issues. Having a better graphical support system may also help developers in creating a more unified UI layer.

Make syscalls more orthogonal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20358899)

I'd try to add various non-posix syscalls that make the kernel more orthogonal.

Examples:

Versions of fork() and exec() that return a file descriptor that you can poll/select/epoll on to wait for a return code, instead of having to wait/waitpid for SIGCHILD.

Similarly, a tid could be changed into a file descriptor as well so that threads could watch each other's status in a simpler way.

Change brk() so that you can give it an offset like sbrk(), and make it return a pointer to the start of the added memory. This would allow use in multithreaded programs without locks.

Also, I'd love to have scatter-gather read/write calls. readv/writev are nice, but what if you want to read from multiple offsets in a file into multiple non-adjacent buffers? Or write multiple data chunks into "random" places within a data file. Currently you need to do a data copy first.

An aio barrier of lighter weight than fsync() would be nice to.

Finally, an interface for something like the solaris "iotop" would be really helpful. I'd like to know what program is accessing disk, or the network at any given time, or even which user.

Fire the freetards. (0, Flamebait)

sakusha (441986) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358923)

The biggest encumbrance I see in linux is the radical freetard mission, which is expressed in the licensing. Licenses like GNU have eliminated the possibility of real commercial development where it most counts. Nobody can create proprietary improvements and capitalize on their investment.

Let me give an example. Apple is the largest unix vendor today because they picked the BSD distro, which is under the MIT license. This allows them to create a proprietary GUI layer (Aqua) while still contributing freely to the underlying open source OS code. MacOS X works because a commercial enterprise has devoted significant development efforts into the weak spots of linux, specifically, consistency of operation and function.

Change the license. Fire the freetards like RMS. Get real commercial development going, and get everyone paid for what they're coding. For linux to succeed, it has to be an ecosystem where everyone makes money.

great commercial software on the desktop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#20358943)

That's the problem in a nutshell, isn't it?

There's no ecosystem in place for it. Vendors like Adobe probably think, if we did port our flagship apps to Linux, people would just stick it on a DVD along with 200 FOSS packages and pass it around to their friends as free software. And they'd get stuck with a massive tech support burden where often as not, the problem would be with hardware compatibility and driver problems, rather than with their applications. Sure, they have to deal with these type issues on Windows, but Microsoft has close to 95 pct share so it's worth their while.

question sabotages the answer (1)

epine (68316) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358973)


The people responding here do realize, almost by definition, that "refocussing" Linux involves a hypothetical mode of intervention that stands at complete contrast to everything Linux has so far represented. There is no vagrant pool of talent at this level, nor is there a mechanism to confine this pool of talent to pie-in-the-sky wishlish thinking.

As a point of reference, this text has been in the OpenBSD dhcpd man page for as long as I can remember:

We realize that it would be nice if one could send a SIGHUP to the server
and have it reload the database. This is not technically impossible, but
it would require a great deal of work, our resources are extremely limited,
and they can be better spent elsewhere. So please don't complain about
this on the mailing list unless you're prepared to fund a project
to implement this feature, or prepared to do it yourself.


So far it has been extremely effective in scaring off any useful contribution. There are plenty of dirty jobs that need doing. Many small dirty jobs is worth more than a heaping serving of pie.

From a personal computing standpoint. (1)

sdfad1 (880883) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358975)

Your questions concern things we can add to today's software to improve them. Let me flip that around. Why not REMOVE some software to improve the computing experience for humanity as a whole?

Why, in the 21st century, are we still stuck on 1970's paradigms? Why Linux? Why Unix? Why do we still work on layered and opaque systems? Is the dominance of the C-language, Unix-operating-system duo today a historical accident? Or was it purely evolution: survival of the fittest (fittest may even be far from the best technological solution).

Let me play the devil's advocate here by suggesting that we need to now rethink the old technology that is a systems environment that is not well integrated and extendable. Operating systems today are 'dead' and static (once compiled) monolithic programs. To bring dynamism to the platform, we then layer on abstractions like shells, (bash, csh, zsh, etc), scripting languages (sed, grep, awk, perl,+ newer friends), windowing systems, etc. Our compiler toolchain consist of separate tools that don't talk to each other except through what they see in front of them, on the 'bit conveyor belt'.

Eg the autotools -- M4, autoconf, automake, configure, make (roughly in that sequence). Here's a quick test, is there a way we can define a variable that is checked in each of those stages, to control certain (compilation, configuration, other settings) options? No. Instead, we pass on values through multiple languages/interfaces or filesystems in the form of strings, macros, environment variables, files, etc. Who's gonna maintain all these software, to fix and sometimes perpetuate(!) bugs?

May I suggest that this is not a problem with the userspace apps, but rather a systemic defect in the system we use today. I wish the operating system is open all the way (and I don't think this conflicts with the need for security in the system). I wish for a system that is extensible at runtime, one with a single language all the way, simple models of abstraction and no unnecessary barriers between programmer and user. I wish the computer would take care of the details, and help me do my work. I wish life was good.

Disclaimer: I do not have all the solutions to my complains, so I'm just a sufferer ranting. Ok, this is also not quite what you asked for, but it's probably not that offtopic, I'm just off on a slight tangent.

3D (4, Informative)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358987)

While it has been said before, I believe 3D is the path. Please, please, provide support on par with Windows for any 3D graphics hardware, whether inside a computer or a console.

That is the path to success on the desktop. Today, I cannot even run OpenGL apps or any 3D apps on the lastest and greatest 3D graphics hardware from AMD (formerly ATI), the Radeon 2900XT. Why? There are no drivers. They have focused entirely on Windows, and consider Linux a niche market not worth the effort. Because of that, my family do not have a Linux only machine, which is also why I dual boot. The Radeon 2900XT support may well come to Linux, "when it is ready".

Please, take 3D support in Linux more seriously, whether you are hardware manufacturer or a software developer.

The Elektra Project (4, Interesting)

Thaidog (235587) | more than 6 years ago | (#20358991)

http://elektra.g4ii.com/Main_Page [g4ii.com]

I think it's at least worth trying such an implementation. Ok... now bring on the "It Windows again" haters...

It's so easy! (3, Insightful)

copponex (13876) | more than 6 years ago | (#20359003)

If you want to win the desktop war, you can, in a few years, by asking yourself a single question:

Could my grandmother (who is already "sort of" computer savvy) use this without calling me every five minutes?

It's been a minute since I've used Linux as my desktop, but if users are still being forced to edit text files to change common program preferences, you'd better get used to your third seat behind Windows and OS X. I'm not telling you to have some crazy xml schema with a billion pieces fronted by a hefty GUI - I'm just asking you for the option of using a lightweight GUI to parse and store my preferences to the same text file.

Keep your CLI, and -color-code-for-Klingon-language-support options, but don't even try to force that on every day users. Leave stuff exposed so you can work your admin magic, but build some sane GUIs for everyone else unless you enjoy end-user support.

It's Beautiful Just the Way It Is (1)

scruffy (29773) | more than 6 years ago | (#20359007)

Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

Unified packaging system... (4, Insightful)

644bd346996 (1012333) | more than 6 years ago | (#20359025)

...with good support for building from source. We obviously need a standard package format with robust support for complex dependencies. The build-from-source part is also really important: right now, no distro (not even Gentoo!) makes it easy to, for example, compile your own Mesa libraries and have them used by the pre-compiled X server. Right now, you can pull a project from cvs/svn and do a make install. But it will overwrite the version from the package and break dependencies. This greatly raises the barrier of entry for testing new code, making the "open source" aspect of Linux software far more accessible.

Once we have a unified packaging system, the meaning of a "linux distro" will change. There will be a lot more sharing of work for the base system, and separate distros will really become sets of config files with just a few changes from the upstream code. Kubuntu is a great example of this: it is a low-maintenance specialization of Ubuntu.

Reduce the amount of kernel-space/root code (1)

Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) | more than 6 years ago | (#20359031)

There's still way too much code that runs with elevated privileges. I want to be able to run downright *malicious* code on my machine, under X11, and not be worried about it compromising my SSH keys, for example.

If this doesn't happen, we're eventually going to see the malicious screensavers in Linux that we've in Windows throughout the last decade.

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