Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Thoughts: Where is Linux Going?

Filed under
Just talk

http://blog.therealdavidfield.com/blog/2009/9/13/thoughts-where-is-linux-going.html

My first ventures into Linux were way back in 1995 with a copy of Red Hat, and i'll put my hands up, i just didn't get it, command line, when Windows had a GUI, nothing seemed to work, and a strange command set, but even back then, not understanding Linux, and wondering what the fuss was about, i will say, i was very aware of what this ment to the industry, and knew it was important.

I have always had a penchant for "Alternative Operating systems" when people i worked with were using Windows, i would insist on using OS2, even back in the days of DOS, i was an avid Gem user.

It wasn't really until 2000 that i got an opportunity to really get my teeth into Linux, working on a project to get IT into a school, there was no buget, and Fedora solved many problems, and caused many more, however something i learnt with this mini project of setting up a SMB server, 4 Windows PC's which needed to attach to a Domain Controller (SMB Server on Fedora) and a LAMPP stack to run Moodle. has stuck with me ever since.

Linux is not Windows, you do not sit down at a Linux PC, and expect everything to work, you do not have an expectation with new hardware that the install will go a smooth as an OEM windows install. this is just a basic fact of life with Linux, and if Linux users are brutally honest, its half the appeal to Linux as an OS, it makes you think, its why we got into IT to start with, the challenge.

Linux in recent years however seems to, and this is Desktop Linux i'm referring to, taken a turn for th worst, and there is a simple reason for this.. Windows Users.

Windows is an OS found on the vast majority of PC's out in the wild, its got many well documented issues, poor security model, bugs, virus and spyware prone, apps crash and take out the whole system. However it is used by just about every company out there, because the untrained PC user, knows how to grab a mouse, double click, and open an application, and this is expected of users.

The problem starts however when it comes to general maintenance of their systems, be it in the office or at home. Most home users will be logging into thier system as Administrator, even it that account is hidden by another name, so have the ability to do most things on thier PC's and are used to that.

Also when most Windows users buy a PC, it is delivered them, if not with Windows preinstalled, then most of the system is, and its just a few licence questions on the OEM version they are using.

Microsoft does a very good job of shielding the user in the first instance from the workings of a PC.

However, the 7 year old XP system, which most computer users who are not IT related consider to be "the only OS" because they don't really know of anything else, was superseded by Vista, and this introduced a whole subsection of novice PC users to the Upgrade, which in most cases did not go very well, 20hrs, system failures, and drivers not working, cobbled together with even the popular press slating the OS in the newspapers, created a strange phenomenon, compared to the previous few years in the IT industry.

USer shift, suddenly users who were Windows XP lovers, were having issues with Vista, and started, slowly at first looking for alternatives.. and not wanting to buy new hardware, found Ubuntu, which has become the byword for Linux amongst the non technical computer user community.

This was seen as great for the Linux community, as a whole, groups of Windows users coming over to Linux, Vista was a nightmare, and on the whole all good.

Indeed there have been more improvements in the last 3 years to Desktop Linux distributions i would personally say, than in the many years before, by which i'm referring to usability enhancements, the simple things, Codecs being installed on GNOME, restricted hardware being detected on install, and downloaded and installed for you, and the recent Ubuntu 100 paper-cuts project will improve usability even further.

However, all is not good across the board, rom where i sit, this influx of Windows users coming over to the Linux world, has cause issues as well, Windows users are not used to the ways of the Penguin, you see things are different for Linux Users,

  • Systems don't come with Linux preinstalled
  • Drivers may not have been written for all the hardware on your PC
  • Codecs, we use many more than just the WMV and FLASH you may have been used to
  • The Kid next door, might not be able to tweak Linux the same way he could XP

Essentially you are now in a situation where the availability of help requires you to look on the internet, ask well formed questions, and not tell everyone how Linux should be more like Windows.

This has resulted in many people, who don't know better slating Linux/Ubuntu because it involves thinking, and they don't want to do this, it has also meant that netbooks are not the golden hardware of the Linux world.

And this has prompted my question "Where is linux going?"

It seems to me that Linux wishes to compete with Windows on Microsofts terms, it seems to be playing the trumpet of Linux if better, use it, or be stupid, and this is all wrong. in my opinion anyway.

Remember what i said before about Linux, you don't install it and expect it just to work, that is the strength of the OS as a whole, it was used by technical people, and focused on what they wanted from a desktop, and lets face it, being told by a Windows user that Linux wasn't very good, wasn't an issue, because you knew the windows user was a plank.

However in competing with Windows, Linux/Ubuntu is becoming windows, and by doing that, is going to cuase itself many problems.

Most people started to use Ubuntu back in the early days because it was innovating, changing, different at a desktop level, the last few releases however, have been unimpressive service packs, nothing providing the must have that factor, sure many fixes, under the hood improvements, but nothing WOW!!! Just when Linux needed those industry lines, conversations and plaudits, for doing it better, different and cleaner, the flagship distro seems to have decided to just roll out bland updates.

I wonder if this is a reaction to all those converts of Windows users looking to dumb down our OS, and slow down those revolutionary updates?

I also read fears of botnets based on Linux, because we have dumbed the security model down on desktop Linux to accommodate those Windows users who don't understand security models (remember, the dault user is setup as admin).

If Ubuntu, and i will say ubuntu, as it is the defacto linux "brand" Distro, keeps dumbing down the desktop, security and OS as a whole, they are going to lose those users who made it so popular, and be stuck with a whole bunch of users who want a Windows replacement.

Linux is a tech persons distro, not a home users, it requires thought, and patience. because it provides security, and peace of mind.. Linux is not Windows.

For me, BSD and Opensolaris are both looking like alternatives to Linux..

More in Tux Machines

Review: Peppermint OS 10

Peppermint is one of those delightful distributions which does what it says it will do. It sets out to be lightweight, easy to set up, and offer native-like access to web applications. It does all of these things and does them well. I also happen to really like the well-organized settings panel and the friendly software manager. I especially like how mintInstall makes it clear when it is working with Deb or Flatpak packages. While I'm not personally a fan of web applications, I do think Peppermint deserves full credit for making them as easy to use as possible and as native-like as it does. I may never like running my applications over the web, but for people who do like this approach, Peppermint's Ice and SSB features are excellent. Mostly though I'm a big fan of the distribution's combined LXDE/Xfce desktop. It is a mixture of components which works nicely, is fairly easy to configure, and it offers some of the best performance I have had with an open source desktop this year. There are some rough edges. The system installer threw out some errors towards the end of the setup process. Needing to logout and back in to see Flatpaks in the application menu was a pain, but not a deal breaker. On the whole I think Peppermint does a good job of feeling modern while offering good performance and easy to use tools. Read more

Linux 5.10-rc1

Two weeks have passed, and the merge window is over. I've tagged and
pushed out 5.10-rc1, and everything looks fairly normal.

This looks to be a bigger release than I expected, and while the merge
window is smaller than the one for 5.8 was, it's not a *lot* smaller.
And 5.8 was our biggest release ever.

I'm not entirely sure whether this is just a general upward trend (we
did seem to plateau for a while there), or just a fluke, or perhaps
due to 5.9 dragging out an extra week. We will see, I guess.

That said, things seem to have gone fairly smoothly. I don't see any
huge red flags, and the merge window didn't cause any unusual issues
for me. Famous last words..

The most interesting - to me - change here is Christoph's setf_fs()
removal (it got merged through Al Viro, as you can see in my mergelog
below).  It's not a _huge_ change, but it's interesting because the
whole model of set_fs() to specify whether a userspace copy actually
goes to user space or kernel space goes back to pretty much the
original release of Linux, and while the name is entirely historic (it
hasn't used the %fs segment register in a long time), the concept has
remained. Until now.

We still do have "set_fs()" around, and not every architecture has
been converted to the new world order, but x86, powerpc, s390 and
RISC-V have had the address space overrides removed, and all the core
work is done. Other architectures will hopefully get converted away
from that very historic model too, but it might take a while to get
rid of it all.

Anyway, to most people that all shouldn't matter at all, and it's
mainly a small historical footnote that 5.10 no longer relies on the
whole set_fs() model. Most of the actual changes are - as usual -
driver updates, but there are changes all over. I think the merge log
below gives some kind of flavor of what's been going on on a high
level, but if you're interested in the details go look at the git
tree. As mentioned, it's a big merge window, with  almost 14k commits
(*) by closer to 1700 people.

Please go test,

                  Linus

(*) closer to 15k commits if you count merges.
Read more Also: Linux 5.10-rc1 Released With New Hardware Support, Security Additions

today's leftovers

  • Mike Hoye: Navigational Instruments

    A decade ago I got to sit in on a talk by one of the designers of Microsoft Office who’d worked on the transition to the new Ribbon user interface. There was a lot to learn there, but the most interesting thing was when he explained the core rationale for the redesign: of the top ten new feature requests for Office, every year, six to eight of them were already features built into the product, and had been for at least one previous version. They’d already built all this stuff people kept saying they wanted, and nobody could find it to use it. It comes up periodically at my job that we have the same problem; there are so many useful features in Firefox that approximately nobody knows about, even people who’ve been using the browser every day and soaking in the codebase for years. People who work here still find themselves saying “wait, you can do that?” when a colleague shows them some novel feature or way to get around the browser that hasn’t seen a lot of daylight. In the hopes of putting this particular peeve to bed, I did a casual survey the other day of people’s favorite examples of underknown or underappreciated features in the product, and I’ve collected a bunch of them here. These aren’t Add-ons, as great as they are; this is what you get from Firefox out of the proverbial box. I’m going to say “Alt” and “Ctrl” a lot here, because I live in PC land, but if you’re on a Mac those are “Option” and “Command” respectively. Starting at the top, one of the biggest differences between Firefox and basically everything else out there is right there at the top of the window, the address bar that we call the Quantumbar.

  • FFQueue – SparkyLinux

    There is a new application available for Sparkers: FFQueue

  • How to install the PurpIE Gnome Shell theme on Linux

    PurpIE (AKA Rounded-Rectangle-Purple) is a Gnome Shell theme that turns your Gnome desktop from the basic black/grey/blue colors to a refreshing purple. In this guide, we’ll show you how to install PurpIE and set it up as the default theme.

Programming: Cutelyst, C/C++, Perl and Python

  • Cutelyst 2.13 and ASql 0.19 released – Dantti's Blog

    Cutelyst the C++/Qt Web Framework and ASql the ASync SQL library for Qt applications got new versions. Thanks to the work on ASql Cutelyst got some significant performance improvements on async requests, as well as a new class called ASync, which automatically detaches the current request from the processing chain, and attaches later on when it goes out of scope. With the ASync class you capture it on your ASql lambda and once the query result arrives and the lambda is freed and the ASync object gets out of scope and continues the processing action chain.

  • LLVM Lands Very Basic Support For AMD Zen 3 CPUs

    While AMD has landed Znver3 support in GNU Binutils, the company hasn't yet sent out patches for either the GCC or LLVM/Clang compilers in setting up the Zen 3 target with its new instructions or optimized scheduling model / cost table. But a basic implementation has been merged to LLVM for allowing "-march=znver3" based on the limited public details thus far. Merged to mainline LLVM 12 yesterday was a basic implementation allowing for -march=znver3 targeting that basically flips on the new instructions known to be supported by Zen 3. Beyond Zen 2, it flips on INVPCID, PKU, VAES, and VPCLMULQDQ. There are also a few other instructions supported by Zen 3 as outlined in this earlier article.

  • CY's Take on PWC#083 | Moments on Perl or other Programming Issues [blogs.perl.org]

    I found that I use "and/or" quite frequently in writing. I know, (mathematical-)logically we only need "or". It seems to me to be a language tricky part as the use of gender neutral terms.

  • Warning about Python3 update in latest -current | Alien Pastures

    Warning for people running Slackware-current and have 3rd party packages installed (who doesn’t) that depend on Python3. That includes you who are running KDE Plasma5! The “Sun Oct 25 18:05:51 UTC 2020” update in Slackware-current comes with a bump in the Python3 version (to 3.9) which is incompatible with software which already has been compiled against an older version of Python3 (like 3.8). I found 26 of my own packages on my laptop that depend on Python3 and they are all probably going to break when upgrading to the latest slackware-current. This includes Plasma5 ‘ktown’ packages but also several of my DAW packages.