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Yesterday i wrote a post entitled “Has Linux on the Desktop had its day” and it got some responses. It’s not my place to name names however I do feel some of the responses I had in the post are a clear example of some of the problems with the Linux Community.
The article is ment to start a conversation and my argument is that after many years of it being “the year of the Linux desktop..” this is now slipping as the marketplace changes and the mobile telco’s take over the pushing of consumer hardware and the world is going Tablet and mobile the Linux desktop is becomeing less and less relevant.
So here are some replies i’d like to comment specifically on..
I too know many people who use Linux desktop and over the years have found it to be far less of an issue than Windows, however a few friends and “people we know” don’t make a dent in the OS World. I also know a lot of people who use XBMC on an original XBox and have fewer problems with a smartTV.. I can also show you far more people who use Linux and because of their hardware have no end of problems geting graphics cards, sound cards, wifi, network and all manner of other things to work because they are either not supported or have the wrong firmware or whatever reason.. Don’t belive me? head over to http://ubuntuforums.com and you’ll see just how many people are having issues with the simplest things. I alo could make the same statement about MacOS and still have the same impact. Actually i could make exactly the same comment about Windows Vista and Windows 7…
As a Desktop OS Linux fills a void, and some users get on with it like a hose on fire straight off the bat because of the way they use a PC.
Lets step back to when Windows XP was released in August 24, 2001.. And I offer you this simple challenge update the Red Hat from that era or even 2007 (when XP was officially surpassed by Vista to) to todays Redhat.. Oh, did it fail? Plenty of non technical people upgraded Windows XP to Windows Vista purely by the numbers of users it must have been so. As a technical user who installs software on my build, updates and gets spurious drivers working for my Laptop i’ve never managed even an Ubuntu Update from one majore release to another. In fact the only update i have ever done is a Sabayon 8 to 9 upgrade last week. A Rolling distro. How your platform updates depends on what you have installed and many other factors, I know i’m not alone in not being able to successfully update Ubuntu without an issue.
Again however I’ve mentioned this in my article because OSX does upgrade properly, and so does Win Vista to win 7.. However I’m sure i can find cases where this has failed too.. It is just an example of a failing of Linux agreed its a problem across most Desktop OS’s however were not writing about XP..
I 100% agree with this statement, come to think of it there is no technical reason why BSD, Android, OSX, Windows or even IOS in theory couldn’t be a great ruler of the desktop. The argument is never about technical reasons, no one is claiming it is.. Linux won’t rule the desktop for MANY other reasons..
Head over to the Linux Mint site (http://linuxmint.com/) and I get a choice of a Cinnamon or Maya Desktop both being Linux Mint.. or Linux Mint KDE..
Imagine i’m a new user, the choice of desktop will potentially be my first look at Linux and what i choose is going to make my mind up, followed by does it work for me, not does it work..
If i go to ubuntu.com i can’t choose KDE, LDXE, i get one distro Ubuntu, with one desktop choice, if i want the kde version that is a different website kubuntu.com. and a different experience.
I’d even go as far as to suggest that Canonical are also very aware of this as they have dropped funding for Kubuntu
Linux Mint is a fabulous exmaple of Desktop Linux which has lost its way, it’s Ubuntu spin off, it’s not an Ubuntu spin off, it won’t use unity, it’ wont use Gnome 3, it’s going down a different path and losing it’s way.. (Don’t cite me Distrowatch clicks.. as any marketeer will tell you all those clicks don’t make money)
No it won’t, i am sorry i totally disagree, the market Apple, Sprint, Vodaphone, Microsoft, Google are looking to sell to is not that which was, they are not looking to sell to you and me, the geeks, the tech users, the people who want to tinker. They are looking to sell to people who want to pick up a device, turn it on, and start using it. Over the past few years there have been a handful of open OS’s or mobile platforms which have given all the right words and amounted to nothing. Because there is no backing. You can’t walk into a Telco who lets face it are the primary resellers of these devices not Best Buy or Dixons and tell them, yes, you can sell this to a user, and the user can make all sorts of changes to it, and when you put out an upgrade it probably won’t work on the device.. Sorry, thank you there is the door. Android has been caned by just that sort of thinking and it’s got the might of Google Behind it..
There are just not enough nerds buying phones in comparison to people who want to just turn on, it works, get update, install, add app and go customers i’m sorry. So the people selling these phones want to control the experience because thier margins are tight enough as it is.. they can’t afford negative “It doesn’t upgrade” press because you or I put a mod on the phone.. they can’t afford call centres with trained staff explaining to you how to compile firefox for your mobile device.. Sell ‘em cheap, sell lots of them and in 18/24 months sell them something new..
Sure a vendor will pick up on Canonical’s Ubuntu for Android however it’s a huge risk in a market dominated by IOS and Android right now, and Auntie Bessie may have just about heard of one of these iPhone or iPad thingies.. WTF is Ubuntu on a phone? There is zero marketing budget for this sort of thing.
The question was have you used Red Hat business desktop, not is there a Red hat business desktop. I know there is one and its awful, so bad that even Red Hat don’t push it too much. SLED is about as good as it gets however isn’t great either. I’ve implemented both to 100 user estates and let me assure you its horrible. poor LDAP implementation, terrible central patch management and the desktop looks like Gnome did the same time Windows XP was released. It’s old skool with a big K.. And no i’m not talking about fedora either..
Try Implementing ubuntu as a desktop across 1000 users, ever been involved in that? biggest complaint from business users, it doesn’t look like Windows.. So we themed it, still no good.. hard hard hard work..
I’m not writing this stuff because i’ve not done it.. i’ve done it..
Good for you, way to go.. life perfect, no issues, solve all your problems? or did you cheat and install a Citrix icon on the desktop and let the user bring up a Windows desktop over the cloud? Maybe you didn’t do that and you have 7 people in an office of 10 who are running Ubuntu.. because you work at an Ubuntu development house.. maybe just 4 out of 5 of you do.. i don’t know.
This is an empty statement..
Not necessarily, in fact i might even go so far as to suggest i disagree with this statement, i’ve had a quick look around at RPi projects while ys you need a Desktop interface, most of the projects are based on the RPi as a server.. get SSH installed with Debian server will get you working with most projects..
Ok, this is just plain silly as comments go, firstly ok Red Hat makes a lot of cash off the back of Linux, it does so on Servers and maintenance contracts. This also doesn’t mean that any of this vast amount of cash is being fed back into marketing “Linux”..
Oh, and before you tell someone to do that, go look up red hat.. try it
Not looking so good…
While i love the feedback, the problem I have is all the feedback is part of the reason why I stand by my statement that Linux Desktop has had its day, telling me that a few mates or the occasional office is using Linux really isn’t doing anything to the conversation it’s just trolling in another form.
The Market place is changing, looking ahead 5 years from now, we can see that the touch interface will become just as used as the WIMP interface is now. However no one and at no point did i state that Linux is dead. As i said at the end of the article Linux in the comms room is HUGE and getting bigger. On Mobile Android has proved potential in closed source (don’t tell me its not..) Linux..