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Linux vs. Linux: The Battle for the Desktop

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Linux

So, you have mastered every aspect of computing (or maybe not), and you are bored with the Internet. What can you do to bring back the thrill that you had the first time you fired up the latest Windows operating system? How about downloading or purchasing Linux? Linux is an "open-source" operating system that is mainly built by a dedicated community. Even for the most literate users, experimentation into new areas of computing can be a fun and an interesting challenge; therefore, trying out one of the latest Linux distributions is an excellent way to venture into the world of Unix based operating systems.

Many Linux advocates claim that Linux is now ready for primetime, stating that even the novice users can get around in Linux without too many headaches. In the past, it could take days for a new user to figure out how to "mount" his CD drive and access it. Of course in Windows all you need to do is click on the icon and your drive is "mounted" and ready for use. Is Linux really this user friendly today? When they say Linux is ready for novice user, are they referring to someone with absolutely no experience? How do we define "novice users"? What are the qualifications and experience needed to install and use Linux?

The good news is that Linux seems to have reached a point where it can begin to compete with Microsoft Windows, to an extent. The open-source operating system offers a variety of free software that is equal to and possibly superior to some professional level software for the Windows platform. Linux can be molded and configured with your choice of GUI (Graphical User Interface) and allows you to control your system to a much higher extent than Microsoft Windows ever will. Many distributions even come with developer tools for you to develop software for the operating system. It's almost a dream come true for someone who wants no restrictions in his computing environment (including licensing fees). All of these advanced features and serious system tweaks require the knowledge of an expert user. What about those who could care less about such tools and only wants to check their e-mail, browse the Internet, do a bit of word processing and maybe use the computer for some multimedia activities?

Let us not forget that the vast majority of computer users would qualify as novices; those who know enough to accomplish the basic tasks (check e-mail, browse the Internet, etc.). These users, in most cases, don't care about how a computer works or how software and hardware are inter-related. As long as the computer works, they are fine with it, but as soon as they experience something out of the ordinary, these users are on the phone with technical support personnel or a knowledgeable friend or relative.

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today's leftovers

  • DRM display resource leasing (kernel side)
    So, you've got a fine head-mounted display and want to explore the delights of virtual reality. Right now, on Linux, that means getting the window system to cooperate because the window system is the DRM master and holds sole access to all display resources. So, you plug in your device, play with RandR to get it displaying bits from the window system and then carefully configure your VR application to use the whole monitor area and hope that the desktop will actually grant you the boon of page flipping so that you will get reasonable performance and maybe not even experience tearing. Results so far have been mixed, and depend on a lot of pieces working in ways that aren't exactly how they were designed to work.
  • GUADEC accommodation
    At this year’s GUADEC in Manchester we have rooms available for you right at the venue in lovely modern student townhouses. As I write this there are still some available to book along with your registration. In a couple of days we have to a final numbers to the University for how many rooms we want, so it would help us out if all the folk who want a room there could register and book one now if you haven’t already done so! We’ll have some available for later booking but we have to pay up front for them now so we can’t reserve too many.
  • Kickstarter for Niryo One, open source 6-axis 3D printed robotic arm, doubles campaign goal
    A Kickstarter campaign for the Niryo One, an open source 3D printed 6-axis robotic arm, has more than doubled its €20,000 target after just a couple of days. The 3D printed robot is powered by Arduino, Raspberry Pi, and Robot Operating System.
  • Linux Action Show to End Eleven Year Run at LFNW
    Jupiter Broadcasting’s long-running podcast, Linux Action Show, will soon be signing off the air…er, fiber cable, for the last time. The show first streamed on June 10, 2006 and was hosted by “Linux Tycoon” Bryan Lunduke and Jupiter Broadcasting founder Chris Fisher. Lunduke left the show in 2012, replaced by Matt Hartley, who served as co-host for about three years. The show is currently hosted by Fisher and Noah Chelliah, president of Altispeed, an open source technology company located in Grand Forks, North Dakota.

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