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What Happened in Mobile is Happening in Desktops

Filed under
Linux

Free software everywhere

Touchscreen computer
Photo by Barney Livingston from Brighton, UK

Summary: Tablets and smartphones, where Linux is the standard platform, are not the only form factors where freedom-respecting software is good enough for everyone

GNU/Linux is no underdog anymore. HP currently pre-installs GNU/Linux and it does not charge "Microsoft tax" [1]. As one who uses an HP laptop to write this, the feeling of saying it is pretty good, putting aside some of the negative sides of HP (no company is perfect). Almost any bit of hardware can run GNU/Linux [2], so excuses like technical difficulties (e.g. drivers) no longer pass muster and demand from the public is definitely growing (Google and its hardware partners sell many machines with GNU/Linux pre-installed). In this age of GNU/Linux with Steam and Android with Play, even gaming is hardly a valid excuse [3] (neither for game developers nor gamers). There are plenty of decent (user-friendly) desktop front ends, and even the notorious Unity is liked by some [4]. Some would go as far as saying that "Linux [became] too easy" [5,6] for the shrinking market which is desktops [7,8]. It is safe to say "shrinking" because even Intel, the company which cashed in on desktops, is feeling the pinch [9] as hardware becomes smaller and more efficient in the ours rooms and the back rooms also [10]. Tablets and smartphones, suffice to say, are an area dominated by Linux already. That is a growth area.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Workstation Computers From HP

    They do supply that other OS pre-installed but you can see the price difference between that and installing GNU/Linux.

  2. Create custom Linux-based systems regardless of the hardware

    Jeff Osier-Mixon is a community manager at Intel for The Yocto Project, an open source collaboration project that provides templates, tools and methods to help you create custom Linux-based systems for embedded products regardless of the hardware architecture. Basically: The Yocto Project allows development to happen without the worries of what hardware the code will run on.

  3. Windows 8.1, Linux, Android, and "The Next Big Thing"™

    Slightly off-topic from typical gaming related news, but I thought I would start a conversation since many devs and gamers I talk with often discuss this OS or that OS as “The Next Big Thing”™. The general consensus I get from the public is that Windows 8 got off to a rocky start given the changes they’ve made to the interface. From a gaming perspective Microsoft has only added incremental updates to DirectX 11 since the release of Windows 8.0. Microsoft today has released Windows 8.1 RTM and it comes with DX 11.2 (IMO nothing big, but some convenient updates). Despite public backlash against tiles and Windows apps, Microsoft decided to release the update via the Windows Store app (oh the irony). They also forgot to mention that you need a special update for Windows 8.0 in order to download 8.1. Not off to a good start. So I just finished the update and after waiting just a little over an whole hour for it to finish, I’m regretting it big time. My standard desktop account was replaced and I’m now logged in using my online Microsoft account. Seriously?

  4. The Linux Setup - Tynan, SETT Developer

    I just use the default Unity interface. It’s not perfect, but it doesn’t do anything egregiously bad like Windows does. I don’t like the launcher (I rely on Synapse instead), but I love the top bar with the unified messaging/audio/etc. The indicators on the sidebar are great, too.

  5. "Fed up with Windows? Linux too easy?"
  6. Fed up with Windows? Linux too easy? Get weird, go ALTERNATIVE

    It's hard to believe, looking at the modern computing world, but there is still more to life than Windows or Unix… and today, most of the alternatives run on vanilla x86 hardware and are free.

  7. The PC Industry Is Thriving

    Tablets and smartphones are PCs! The real problem, for some companies, is that they have been producing what Wintel wanted and not what consumers wanted, small cheap computers. Naturally, if you’re trying to sell these people big expensive computers, they won’t be buying. The market for personal computers is thriving, according Statista. Look at shipments per annum (millions):

  8. PC sales in spiralling death dive
  9. Intel to Play Fab for an ARM Chipmaker: Understanding What the Altera Deal Means

    Decision is puzzling given Intel's potential to catch up in the tablet market

  10. New supercomputer uses SSDs as alternative to DRAM, hard drives

    A new supercomputer being deployed this month in the U.S. is using solid-state drive storage as an alternative to DRAM and hard drives, which could help speed up internal data transfers.

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Leftovers: Software

  • Are you Struggling With Finding Text In Files Or Locating Files? Try 'Recoll' Program In Linux
    Recoll is a full text search QT based free, open source program especially made for Unix-like and Linux but it is also available for Windows and Mac systems, licensed under GPL. It provides efficient desktop full text search from single-word to arbitrarily complex boolean searches, basically it indexes the documents data (along with their compressed versions) and huge number of files then let you find quickly whatever you search for. Recoll updates its index at designed intervals (for example through Cron tasks) but if desired, the indexing task can run as a file-system monitoring daemon for real-time index updates.
  • New Inkscape 0.92 breaks your previous works done with Inkscape
    I hope this type of blog-post will shake the mindset a bit, and make developers more serious about compatibility. The users shouldn't be prompted with a dialog with jargon. The artwork or rendering shouldn't be broken. Inkscape should do the auto-conversion to keep the artwork as it was (especially because the software can). Isn't it the task of Inkscape to be able to read SVG? to properly read itself? I hope a version 0.92.x will happens and solve this serious bug [1] . For those who have been following my work for the last ten years, I like to promote the release of new Free/Libre and Open-Sources Software versions. It costs me a lot emotionally and in production-time to have to make this type of blog-post against a project I love. But what else can I do?
  • Ardour + Cinelerra + 4 Cams + Heavy Blues
  • Albert Quick Launcher 0.9.0 Released With External Extensions Support
    Albert is a quick launcher for Linux inspired by Alfred (Mac). It can be used to run applications, open files, search the web, open bookmarks in your web browser, calculate math expressions, and more.
  • MKVToolNix 9.8.0 Open-Source MKV Manipulation App Adds Support for DVB Subtitles
    Moritz Bunkus released today, January 22, 2017, a new stable release of his popular, multiplatform, and open-source MKV (Matroska) manipulation utility for all supported platforms, including GNU/Linux, macOS, and Microsoft Windows. There are bunch of exciting new features added in the new MKVToolNix 9.8.0 release, which comes three weeks after the previous version, namely MKVToolNix 9.7.1, but first we'd like to inform package maintainers about an important change in the build system as parallel builds are now enabled by default.
  • Libvirt 3.0 Released With Various Improvements
    The libvirt virtualization API saw a major 3.0 release this week to succeed its earlier v2.5 milestone.
  • 5 Highly Promising Terminal Emulators
    The terminal emulator is a venerable but essential tool for computer users. The reason why Linux offers so much power is due to the command line. The Linux shell can do so much, and this power can be accessed on the desktop by using a terminal emulator. There are so many available for Linux that the choice is bewildering.
  • What Spotify Takes Away, the Open-Source Community Brings Back…
    One of my favourite bands has just released a new album, which means I now have 11 new songs to learn the words to before I go see them play next!
  • Skype for Linux Alpha Video Call Support Begins ‘Rollout’

today's howtos

Wine Staging 2.0 RC6