Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Year of the Linux desktop? Who cares!

Filed under
Linux

The words "This is the year for the Linux Desktop" has become a cliche. Its a serious over-simplification of a large issue.

The key thing though, regardless if "This is the year for the Linux Desktop" or not, is that we really should be focusing on improving and contributing (directly or indirectly) to the community, instead of getting ourselves involved in these types of never-ending trivial discussions and issues that drag out to an area of pointlessness.

We waste a lot of time trying to defend Linux when we don't need to. Let people think what they think. BUT, let our contributions speak for themselves. And finally, let the user decide if Linux is right for their desktop. The ultimate decider has, and always been the user. People and companies can trick them for now, but eventually, the truth or benefits of alternatives will spread to them. (Whether it be by word of mouth, or some clueless journalist just realising a change in tide of the IT industry).

Remember, the difference between open-source and companies like Microsoft, are that they corner or "encourage" the user into their specific way or solution. (often with the ultimate goal of profit). We don't. We stand for the right and freedom to choose. Just remember that when someone is talking about MS Office 2007, and how they are unable to go back to the older user-interface that they are familiar with. (That's right, people have to re-learn Office 2007's way of doing things.)

Everybody knows open-source is inevitable. (Even Microsoft).

If you don't believe me, just look at these examples...

(1) Microsoft Shared Source Initiative
=> http://www.microsoft.com/resources/sharedsource/default.mspx
(Its like open-source...But not).

(2) MS Research Facility to study Open-Source solutions.
=> port25.technet.com
(To fight and kill your enemy, you must understand and study him).

(3) CodePlex
=> www.codeplex.com
(Microsoft's attempt to copy SourceForge.net)

(4) Novell and Microsoft — Working Together for Customers
=> www.novell.com/linux/microsoft

Need I say more?

What we should be focusing on, is ways that we can help improve things for everyone. That's what open-source is about. The community. It could be coming up with an idea that fills a current niche in open-source, etc. Even if you want to make a business or money out of it, it doesn't matter. If we all put a little bit in, it doesn't matter what some weenie from an ad-filled tech site says OR even what Microsoft does/says.

So avoid and ignore blogs, opinions, editorials, forum posts that don't specifically ask for help or provide useful information, but bring up trivial discussions. They're time wasters, that's a fact. You don't actually learn anything out of them. (such that you can use the information in the future). IF you really want to be productive, focus on looking at or making guides (even for newbies), online technical stuff, maybe learn to program, etc.

By the way, you don't have to be an engineer or a computer scientist to learn how to program. You can do it as a hobby. A self taught thing...Some of the most skilled and influential people in the world are self learners. Take for example, guitarists like Eric Clapton and Jimi Hendrix. (Both taught themselves how to play a guitar). And what of "DVD Jon" (Jon Lech Johansen)? He is a self-taught software engineer. Look at his contributions!

I'm using these to start off...

How to Think Like a Computer Scientist: Learning with Python
www.ibiblio.org/obp/thinkCSpy

How To Think Like A Computer Scientist: Learning with C++
www.ibiblio.org/obp/thinkCS/cpp/english

ShowMeDo
http://showmedo.com/

...And look at examples. (This is where downloading the source code comes in handy...Don't you just love open-source?). Be sure to post your own code in programming forums. Ask for criticism and feedback, as you learn. (Always question: Why does my way suck? Why should I try someone else's suggestion? Are their's better? In what way?)...The difference between a winner and a loser, is the winner learns from their mistakes and understands the goals of what they want to do and never let up.

We can clearly see the weaknesses of Linux for the mainstream, non-techie user. (If you don't, just visit any newbie section in forums of any distro)...The biggest one is compatibility with Windows applications. (Games for enthusiasts and specific apps that businesses rely on).

So what do you folks want to do? Talk about trivial subjects until the cows come home? Or actually do something about it, and make a REAL difference. (You never know, you may even end up making your mark in open-source history books!)

There are two kinds of people in this world. Those who complain about the weather, and those who do something about. Question is...Which are you?

Its about what we do right now, that will make a difference for tomorrow. In this case, if you really want Linux to get a good foothold on the desktop; you, me, and any other experienced Linux user needs to step back, clearly identify issues and the problems faced by the non-techie Jane/Joe PC user, and figure out GOOD solutions for them and anyone else who can benefit.

There will never be a clearly defined year that will be the year for the Linux desktop. Such discussions are pointless and trivial, as its a gradual thing to see over time.

I'll think I'll end with some words that have inspired me...

The most important thing the hacker community does is write better code. Our deeds are the best propaganda we have. Most of us, most of the time, shouldn't be distracted by worrying about beating Microsoft's PR or countering their political moves, because writing good code is in the long run a far more potent weapon than flackery. -Eric S. Raymond

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

re: Year of the Linux desktop? Who cares!

Nice article, I agree full-heartedly.

stmok wrote:

There will never be a clearly defined year that will be the year for the Linux desktop. Such discussions are pointless and trivial, as its a gradual thing to see over time.

This about sums it up.

You need to be heard

I'm sure this idea was said, discussed and even fought over repeatedly. You, and many others like you before, are of course right. We should stop this senseless propaganda and concentrate more on what we can do to help, even if it is just to assist a newbie into the familiarity of a Linux desktop.

People who have read you and heard this idea, should think it over long and hard, and perhaps that would be the time we would have a strong, united community of Linux users.

Registered Linux User No. 401868

More in Tux Machines

Barbie the Debian Developer

Some people may have seen recently that the Barbie series has a rather sexist book out about Barbie the Computer Engineer. Fortunately, there’s a way to improve this by making your own version. Thus, I made a short version about Barbie the Debian Developer and init system packager. Read more

Automotive Grade Linux Adds Industry Partners for Open Source Cars

Cars may still not be the first thing that comes to mind when one thinks of Linux and open source, but the Linux Foundation's Automotive Grade Linux (AGL) project continues to expand. This week, it announced three new members, bringing the total number of industry partners and academic collaborators to 46. Read more

Kubuntu CI: the replacement for Project Neon

Many years ago Ubuntu had a plan for Grumpy Groundhog, a version of Ubuntu which was made from daily packages of free software development versions. This never happened but Kubuntu has long provided Project Neon (and later Project Neon 5) which used launchpad to build all of KDE Software Compilation and make weekly installable images. This is great for developers who want to check their software works in a final distribution or want to develop against the latest libraries without having to compile them, but it didn't help us packagers much because the packaging was monolithic and unrelated to the packages we use in Kubuntu real. Read more

How SanDisk is Becoming an Open Source Player

Earlier this year SanDisk committed to becoming an open source player, created an open source strategy office and joined the Linux Foundation. Since then, the flash storage company has begun contributing to open source projects in the three main areas of its business: mobile, enterprise and hyperscale computing, and consumer products, said Nithya Ruff, director of the open source strategy office at SanDisk in an online presentation yesterday. Read more