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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.

More in Tux Machines

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    Ever since my "tiny $20 tablet" project (see my Open-Source Classroom column in the March 2015 issue), I've been looking for more and more cool things to do with cheap Android devices. Although the few obvious ones like XBMC or Plex remotes work well, I've recently found that having Android devices around the house means I can gain back an old-school ability that went out of style in the late 1980s—namely, an intercom system.
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  • Sony's Android TV-powered 4K televisions are ridiculously thin
    Four models from Sony’s 2015 Android TV-powered 4K television range are now available for pre-order, with shipping to begin in May. The Japanese electronics giant unveiled its 4K TV lineup for 2015 at the Consumer Electronics Show in January, but kept pricing and release information to itself, only saying the new sets would be available sometime in the spring. Those details are finally here and the TVs themselves aren’t far off.
  • Android Wear v1.1 APK has Apple references in it, but when is iOS support coming?
    That Google is working on iOS support for Android Wear is nearly undeniable at this point, but even more evidence has surfaced in case you aren’t a believer. We peeked inside the latest Android Wear update APK to see what hidden bits were swarming about, and we came across some very interesting references.
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    A few weeks ago, an Android 5.1.1 update mysteriously appeared alongside an update for Google’s Android SDK. Earlier this week, Google finally confirmed the Nexus Android 5.1.1 release with an update for its Nexus Player. With an Android 5.1.1 update now on the minds of Nexus users, particularly Nexus 5 users dealing with Android 5.0 Lollipop problems, we want to take a look at what we expect from the Nexus 5 Android 5.1 release from Google.

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