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Well, it pains Linux Girl to have to write these words, but it looks like the "Death of Desktop Linux" story is back for another round. Yes, after countless debates and discussions of the topic ad nauseum over the years -- the most recent being just a few short months ago, in fact -- it recently reared its ugly head again, like a zombie that just won't quit. The culprit this time? None other than
Miguel de Icaza, of GNOME and Mono fame. The claim? Essentially, that Apple killed the Linux desktop.
Linux is a technology. It is products that gain market share. For example, Red Hat holds a major portion of the server market, Android holds a majority share of the smartphone and a third of the tablet markets, and Canonical is aggressively targeting the desktop and consumer markets with Ubuntu.
Ubuntu may well double their desktop installs next year, to 40 million, with a global focus, excellent vendor relationships for pre-installs, deep pockets, and some actual marketing savvy - and in a stagnant desktop market, that would represent actual market share growth.
As touch comes to the desktop, Android may also gain traction based on its massive mobile fan base. It's seeing a growing presence in smart TVs already, a market Canonical is also keen to win.
Certainly, Windows 8's underwhelming reception thus far indicates an opportunity in the marketplace for non-Windows systems - and don't be surprised to see Windows 7 get a reprieve and marketing push when the other shoe begins to fall, as we saw with XP on netbooks.
I hear no fat ladies singing for Linux, de Icaza's usual bluster and the anti-Linux crowd's increasingly worried bell-ringing notwithstanding. We'll have to wait to see what 2013 brings.
Chris Travers wrote, "in the end this doesn't matter if you can't convince users to switch, and you can't do this by merely building a great desktop environment".
Users are being convinced to switch to GNU/Linux every day. For me, more than a decade ago, it was the rare ability of that other OS to crash that made me switch. For others it was the waves of malware or stifling interoperability problems. For other it is cost. There are many reasons to switch and millions have found theirs.
The last place I worked half the PCs would not boot. I re-imaged them but the mean lifetime in the work-place was a few months. XP was a make-work project for me and malware. It was a school and students seem to know how to find malware in spite of expensive anti-malware software. I got fed up, installed Debian GNU/Linux and never had another problem with software even while doubling the number of PCs. Users were damned pleased with the increase in reliability and the performance. They had a reason to switch. A few were reluctant but they in the end could not deny GNU/Linux was a step forward and easy to use.
Why am I not surprised Pogson? You switched to Linux because you were a LOUSY Windows admin...wow, what a shock. Meanwhile I have 8 and 9 year old XP systems in the field, no bugs, and the amount of malware since everyone switched to 7 has been falling like a stone.
Linux is DOA on the desktop because the devs REFUSE TO LISTEN and that goes for Torvalds on up. Quick, what do BSD, Solarios, Windows, OSX, iOS, and even OS/2 have in common? A stable ABI, which Linus says YOU can't have! Does anyone here TRULY believe that Linus Torvalds is smarter than the combined OS devs of all of those companies?
Its nothing but arrogance, an arrogance that frankly isn't deserved nor earned. the ONLY reason Linux has gained on servers is because MSFT practically gave them the business, they made their license more confusing than a hedge maze and went insane on the prices. Companies sink millions of dollars constantly fixing drivers and cleaning up the messes Torvalds makes only because the MSFT licenses would cost triple that, that is all.
On the desktop nobody is gonna spend those millions, because you are competing against a product that is only $80, so thing simply don't get any better. Pick a distro pogson, ANY distro, and go to their bug tracker. How many bugs are over a year old? 2 years? Do I hear 3? In Ubuntu there are SIX YEAR OLD BUGS that still aren't fixed!
So don't blame Windows because you are a lousy admin pogson, try reading a book on the subject.
Pick any operating system and go to their bug tracker (if they even have one). I'm sure you, too, will find bugs as old as 1/2/3/6/(arbitrary number here) years. In Powershell *alone* I'm seeing bugs from 2006 that are still "Active". Lots of them. I can't imagine how many bugs there are in Windows itself from even further back in time.
If you're going to bash Linux like you always do, at least hold Windows to the same standard.
One BIG difference YellowApple, with Windows the old bugs are in NICHE PRODUCTS and while irritating are NOT show stoppers.
I could provide several lists with huge lists of truly show stopping bugs, bugs that any for pay OS would NEVER allow out the door on a supposedly finished product. But I don't have to, Dell gives us a perfect example. Just to have functional drivers on Linux they have to run their own repo and block the Canonical repos, why? Because if you use the actual repos...the drivers break! Great job guys, Dell has less than a dozen units being sold with Linux and you can't keep from breaking the drivers.
But in the end it ALL comes down to arrogance. We retailers have been pointing out for years the problems and have been ignored, so we ignore you, simple as that.