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Well it's been a tempestuous week here in the Linux blogosphere, thanks largely to a violent brawl that broke out unexpectedly down at the Broken Windows Lounge. It all started with a blog post over at PCWorld last weekend on a topic that might sound familiar. Any guesses? Yes, that's right:
"Why Linux Is Dead on the Desktop" was its name, and a collective groan could be heard in blogobars across the land as soon as it appeared on the horizon. It's baaa-aack! Linux fans everywhere were forced to put down their beers and take up arms once again.
I would agree with hairyfeet that linux on the desktop has never really been alive. It's a lot more useful then BSD and Hiaku, but still sucks in certain ways that makes it difficult to mainstream.
I disagree with two points from the PCWorld article. Lets gather up the 100 most deployed desktop models (50 laptops, 50 towers) and install retail windows 7 and count the number of driver issues. Then repeat with some distro with a 3.2 or 3.3 version kernel. Linux just works on a large portion of hardware because most of the drivers are first-party. (Even halfway functional graphics drivers are on by default for the first boot) Sure you'd probably be able to bring up 90% of the computers to work with 7 and 80% with linux but it's in no small part to a distribution dominance of 7.
Also the rise of Mac has make Linux as a development platform more attractive. If you already are running a cross-platform library, it's not a epic endeavor to add one more platform.
Ferniez, the explosion of desktop environments is a good thing. It shows a lot of creativity, interest and completion in the desktop. Eventually the best ideas will filter though and we may even get something fantastic.
Also in the ARM world, which may bleed into low end or cheap desktops, Microsoft doesn't have an overwhelming user-base or legacy apps in the niche. Whereas Ubuntu has the source and porting while not painless is quite practicable.
One of the more recent problems has been the confusion over desktop environments. I am a long time Linux user and only use Win when I absolutely have to. That said, it has been very confusing recently with all of the different desktops like Gnome, Unity, KDE and Cinnamon. Granted they are very pretty and strive to make the desktop easier to use but they have largely failed to provide anything really useful.
Back in the days of Gnome 2 it was much easier to help friends and relations that wanted to make a change to Linux. Now I would rather not. There are so many varients floating around and with all of the changes it is hard to recommend any of them. The other problem is stablility, lots of these are still really beta, they feel really experimental. Monitors and graphic cards sometimes work and sometimes don't. There are so many bells and whistles being added to these desktops that I can't keep up. And, the don't do a damn thing to improve my productivity or ease of use, in fact sometimes they hinder same.
It might be too much to ask but maybe someone might convene a desktop summit and have all of the major desktop environment developers meet to agree on some common frameworks. Right now the Linux desktop is severely fragmented and going in many different directions. For the time being I will slog my way through Linux Mint hoping that at some point it will stablize. Right now I would only recommend Linux to someone who is fairly expert in desktop computing.
As for me I am currently using Linux Mint 12 with Cinnamon. But I am still not as happy as when I was using just plain Gnome 2. Thinking seriously of regressing back to Gnome 2.
Wikipedia's numbers show GNU/Linux has been flat the last few years is correct, but the numbers do show that other OS has declined from 89.5% in 2009-04 to 73.8% in 2012-2. Those changes/non-changes are in installed base, not shipments. That means GNU/Linux has increased shipments/installations in a period when that other OS has been flat in shipments or decreasing. M$ has been touting numbers of about 50 million sales per quarter ever since "7" came out. Meanwhile the Earth is shipping 90 million x86 PCs and tens of millions of ARMed devices. Wikipedia's mobile share is about 18%. On the non-mobile part, GNU/Linux has increased 18% in 3 years to 1.8%. Not too shabby. That other OS has decreased to 85% of the non-mobile traffic from from 91% of the non-mobile traffic, a decline of 7%. Part of the "noise" is mobile traffic. Don't let it fool you into thinking GNU/Linux is not doing well.
Just as GNU/Linux is not usually counted from businesses, Wikipedia will not be counting it in many installations in schools and government offices where it may be blocked as a time-waster. I have worked in a place that blocked anything not on a white list.
Still got Voldemort syndrome i see pogson, you DO realize that makes you and the entire community look like nutters when you do that, right?
And i love how you just ignore the elephant in the room trying to snatch "invisible" Linux users and that big fat elephant is...dum dum dum...PIRACY! that's right, just as I said people would rather steal the other guy's product than take yours for free, what does that tell you? Look up any list of PCs on Craigslist and you'll see listing after listing of $100 PCs running Windows 7 ultimate, a $400 OS, think those are legit? give me a break!
But yet again you are a perfect example with your Voldemort syndrome of why Linux is flatline (its even right there on the Wiki, look it up, use Google trends, nobody cares that one teeny tiny place in the valley uses Linux, if you want to pick nits THAT small by placing the area into only a single city block I can prove WinME is still popular...don't make it so) and that is because it is NOT an OS but to you and too many of the devs it is a RELIGION and just like all religions any dissension shall be crushed for the "truth of the one true way'.
ALL you bring is excuses. Pulseaudio don't work? Excuse #156-Ur doin it wrong. Update/grade breaks drivers? #418 blame the user or/and the hardware. DEs are a mess? #754 Its "innovation". Nobody wants to deal with forum fixes? #872 They are 'noobs" and "not worthy of the four freedoms!"
But please, keep on ignoring the will of the masses, your type is the reason why MSFT doesn't even pretend to care about linux anymore. you are making them and Apple boatloads o' cash because you treat the OS as some idol to be worshipped and bugs are just 'trials to prove your faith" instead of what they actually are, which is maladjusted devs scratching itches and not caring what they break. tell me pogson, where is even the most basic of features, like a "find drivers" or a "rollback drivers' button, things the competition has had for TWELVE YEARS now? that's right, they don't exist. because that would make things actually pleasant for users, can't have that.
I used to root for Linux, for 3 years I even ran it 24/7 on my laptop but then I realized a great truth...its not getting better. its really not. things will ALMOST get stable and then the devs with get an itch and throw it all out and start again. Linux has been "80% there" for years now and never gets any better, if anything pukeaudio and the DE wars have made things worse. So like many I gave up. And THAT is reality pogson, the vast majority aren't gonna care about your "free" OS if its like keeping a 75 pinto on the road, more trouble than it is worth.
A PC running that other OS is not worth $100. I count the value of that other OS as negative. The work required to patch and re-re-reboot the thing while fighting malware is worth more than the use one could get from the PC. Conversely, one could install Debian GNU/Linux and get value from the purchase but why not buy a no OS or GNU/Linux system to start? A couple of years ago I worked for a school that received 40 PCs with XP. I re-imaged them to GNU/Linux and they were wonderful, better than a dozen new PCs we bought with XP and "7".
"All hail the one true god!" that is EXACTLY what you sound like, you KNOW this right? I'm really starting to think you are a Microsoft shill because frankly you make the entire Linux community look like a bunch of crackpots and tinfoil hatters.
Anyone who thinks the Linux desktop is dead has to be either smoking the wacky weed or has their head up their butt.All my computers,including my home machines,run Linux.I gave up on Micro$oft years ago.