Desktop Linux: The Dream Is Dead

jimmyb

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The problem with these articles is that the word "dead" is so poorly defined for non-biological entities, such as computer software. Then you get a bunch of assholes arguing over whether the software is dead or not.
 

heatlesssun

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The author was fairly specific by his definition of "dead":

It kills me to say this: The dream of Linux as a major desktop OS is now pretty much dead.
I think that it's hard to argue that Linux is ever going to be a desktop OS that gets top treatment by third party vendors. That's never been the case and with the rise of smart phones and the cloud why would it all of a sudden become something it's never been?
 

jimmyb

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Um that's not a definition of the word "dead". It's a thesis statement which includes the word dead.

It offers no metrics for evaluating whether the subject of his thesis "the dream of Linux as a major desktop OS" is dead.
 

phide

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Then you get a bunch of assholes arguing over whether the software is dead or not.
Yep. Assholes like me!

(I'm perfectly fine with being called an asshole, by the way. "If the shoe fits", as they say)
 

jimmyb

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It offers no metrics for evaluating whether the subject of his thesis "the dream of Linux as a major desktop OS" is dead.
To this end, what does it mean for a dream to be dead? Does it mean people are no longer dreaming about it? If so, it strikes me as a major omission that the author offers no evidence or studies relating to what people are dreaming about.
 

heatlesssun

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Um that's not a definition of the word "dead". It's a thesis statement which includes the word dead.

It offers no metrics for evaluating whether the subject of his thesis "the dream of Linux as a major desktop OS" is dead.
I think it's pretty obvious what major means. Support for iTunes, Netflicks, games, etc. Think of it this way, the dream of having all of the software and services available to Windows and OS X on desktop Linux are pretty much all but gone. I think that's ultimately what this post is saying and as I said, how to you argue against this logic considering that Linux has had many, many years to accomplish this stuff and now we're on to other platforms, the whole desktop space itself is perhaps in danger, let alone one of its smallest players.
 

jstnomega

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you have to admit that a free operating system having 1% market share when competing products cost hundreds of dollars is disheartening to say the least.
Bullshit. That 99% of PC users aint yet that poor is a good thing.
 

Sabrewulf165

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The problem with these articles is that the word "dead" is so poorly defined for non-biological entities, such as computer software. Then you get a bunch of assholes arguing over whether the software is dead or not.
Excellent assessment :D

Personally I find the amount of delusion from linux fans in this thread to be staggering. "Oh it's just one more thing and Linux will come thundering down the mountain to rescue the desktop!" Even though most of the just-one-things posted by people in this thread are completely trivial in the big picture. Special "LOL" to the guy who claimed that a 10% market share for Linux would mean linux ports of every game. "If only this or that had happened!" - well it didn't. Some of the things said border on tautological.

I had no doubt that the "response" article linked by another poster is similarly delusional, but I decided to check it out anyway. Her argument basically boils down to bullshit implications that she probably knows are bullshit or she would've just stated them outright instead of dancing around them. I especially like the common argument that you can't know the true number of Linux desktops. As if that margin of error doesn't apply as much or more to Windows or Mac boxes. I wonder if she spends a lot of time questioning US census data, too? :rolleyes:

She then actually lists the mountain of crap that Linux has to overcome, and yet completely trivializes it - like several in this thread. She then wraps it up with this gem:

Marketing may be helping Windows dominate in the short term, but ads can only take Microsoft so far--particularly given the financial and security costs of its products to users. It won't be much longer before Linux is generally viewed in the mainstream as a compelling and attractive alternative.
Yes, 15+ years of dominance is such a blink of the eye in the computer world. But next year is sure to be the year of the Linux desktop! :p

Ugh... a linux kool-aid drinker AND a woman. That's like an exponential decrease in logical reasoning skills ;)
 

jimmyb

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I think it's pretty obvious what major means.
I don't think so at all.

heatlesssun said:
Support for iTunes, Netflicks, games, etc. Think of it this way, the dream of having all of the software and services available to Windows and OS X on desktop Linux are pretty much all but gone.
That's one particular dream relating to desktop linux, but certainly each individual will have their own personal dreams and aspirations for what they want it to be. I've submitted a few bug fixes in my time, and I was really only trying resolve some annoyances that I had personally encountered - if anything my desktop dream has turned to a reality.

Furthermore, I've never cared for marketplace domination or best-in-class ease-of-use, so both these factors have been a complete non-factor in my linux dream, apparently they are for others.

My point is only that the author writes an article with an utterly nebulous thesis, and then a 7 page thread emerges when people are so obviously (and yet doing so unaware) disagreeing over what they consider to be "dead", or what they consider to be the "desktop dream", when their is probably very little disagreement over any factual.
 

Falling Anvil

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I'm sure Android does a decent job of making up for the "death" of Linux in a fairly stagnant desktop market.
 

heatlesssun

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That's one particular dream relating to desktop linux, but certainly each individual will have their own personal dreams and aspirations for what they want it to be. I've submitted a few bug fixes in my time, and I was really only trying resolve some annoyances that I had personally encountered - if anything my desktop dream has turned to a reality.
You're over analyzing it. What you're describing is the geeky nature of Linux like it's always been and that's fine, nothing wrong with it. It won't help get Linux on tens of hundreds of millions more desktops.

Most around hear like something that's not market leading, I'd rather have my tm2 over an iPad, some love their Macs and hate Windows, hell this site is still primarily targeted at PC gamers, and we definitely don't get the love and have the market that consoles do.

But let's face it. The games aren't coming to Linux. The productivity apps aren't coming to Linux. DRM content isn't coming to Linux. And if that suits people once again nothing wrong with it. But once again, without the things that make desktops intresting and useful for average folks the numbers won't be there, the support won't be there, and no, Linux on the desktop can't be a major force.
 

heatlesssun

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I'm sure Android does a decent job of making up for the "death" of Linux in a fairly stagnant desktop market.
You're confusing more mature with stagnant. There's plenty of interesting stuff on Windows devices these days, but some of the tech is VERY expensive. My Windows devices since Windows 7 have taken on capabilities that dramatic. 3D Surround gaming, touch screen interface now on two screens, and hopefully one day a CableCard tuner. No phone has seen this kind of high-power tech boom in the last year, it's all really just around cheap apps. Not saying that's a bad thing but nothing like the capabilities that Windows desktops have taken on in the last year. And tomorrow Jobs will be reminding us just how magical OS X is once again with some pretty major stuff no doubt.
 

jimmyb

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But let's face it. The games aren't coming to Linux. The productivity apps aren't coming to Linux. DRM content isn't coming to Linux. And if that suits people once again nothing wrong with it. But once again, without the things that make desktops intresting and useful for average folks the numbers won't be there, the support won't be there, and no, Linux on the desktop can't be a major force.
I agree with most of what you've said in this paragraph, but what does that have to do with the desktop dream of linux being dead?
 

heatlesssun

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I agree with most of what you've said in this paragraph, but what does that have to do with the desktop dream of linux being dead?
The dream of Linux being a MAJOR player on the desktop is dead. Without the leading apps for dekstops that you agreed probably would never be on desktop Linux how can it be?
 

lightp2

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Dear JimmyB,

Western Markets are built on capitalism.
1. Google just announced reaching 1B mobile revenue, yep very relevant on Android.

So per Linux Desktop. Ubuntu/Novell/Redhat are able to address corporate Unix/Linux workstation/corporate markets, but relatively little influence on mass market consumer Linux Desktop. There are other deployments, but the scale is not as big.

I think it is currently a practical fact they are trying to find a sustainable business model for mass market consumer Linux desktop.

For large scale Linux Consumer Desktop, track Google Chromium. Google has proven they have expertise/resources/intention/scale/business models with results to show. It will take some time as it is facing a highly developed matured environment. People have different needs so each will have their particular place.
 

Aaron11

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They stop casual pirates. I remember when Microsoft was offering Windows at a discount to those who had a pirated version of Windows. MS will gladly make money where ever they can.
Wow, sounds kinda like when the government gives those that are poor free money. M$ is practically it's own government..I guess.
 

jinjuku

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I really like the versatility of linux and overall think it is very usable. BUT, there is always at least one issue that is a huge pain in the ass to find a fix for. This kills the deal for me every time.
++ That. There is always something that f'ing doesn't work and is a total bitch to work around.

I gave Ubuntu 9.10 a shot and the time it took me to get XBMC up and running I could have already installed Win7 and watched Iron Man.
 

Steve01S4

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I used Linux as my desktop OS for a decade, and as much as I hate to say it, I'm back on Windows now. There are a few reasons for this, none of which would have been enough on their own...

1. Blu-Ray playback
2. Netflix streaming
3. Steam
4. Microsoft finally made an operating system (Windows 7) that I didn't find agonizing to use.

On top of that, I'm moving away from Linux on the server side, because of ZFS. At least I still have an Android phone... I'd love to have seen Ubuntu gain significant market share and take care of those first three points, but I can't wait forever. My computer is a tool, not a religion.
 

jimmyb

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The dream of Linux being a MAJOR player on the desktop is dead. Without the leading apps for dekstops that you agreed probably would never be on desktop Linux how can it be?
1) Because that's not necessarily a requirement for it to be a "MAJOR player", which as I mentioned earlier is a very poorly defined expression. One might reasonably define the requirements for being a "MAJOR player on the desktop" as having > 0.1% market share, since this is quite a feat and suggests that it is a viable alternative even if not the preferred one.
2) Even if it were, the probability of something happening has little bearing on whether people will dream about it. In fact, people frequently dream about improbable situations. My guess is that many people still hold aspirations/dreams for Linux becoming a "MAJOR player on the desktop". I would also guess that many people already feel it is.
 

heatlesssun

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1) Because that's not necessarily a requirement for it to be a "MAJOR player", which as I mentioned earlier is a very poorly defined expression. One might reasonably define the requirements for being a "MAJOR player on the desktop" as having > 0.1% market share, since this is quite a feat and suggests that it is a viable alternative even if not the preferred one.
2) Even if it were, the probability of something happening has little bearing on whether people will dream about it. In fact, people frequently dream about improbable situations. My guess is that many people still hold aspirations/dreams for Linux becoming a "MAJOR player on the desktop". I would also guess that many people already feel it is.
Well there’s always the contrarian, at this point you’re just arguing against common sense and reason. A platform that doesn’t have mainstream apps and 1% to 2% market share by definition isn’t major. No apps mean few users and developers, hardly major.
 

Dr. Righteous

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DEAD?

What the hell is wrong with you people? I can see that being a legitimate summation if you only use you PC to PLAY GAMES.
I use linux PC 90% of the time. 8 hrs a day. 5 Days a week; sometimes more if I'm on a special project. I have NEVER looked back and NEVER needed windows anything to be productive at work.
I have a different PC for gaming, which I use maybe a few hrs a week. Which is MORE RELIABLE? The LINUX machine hands down.
 

Staples

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As long as Linux hugs the open source and shuns closed source and commercial software, Linux will never be big on the desktop. If there is no incentive to develop for it, then it will always be used and supported by geeks.
 

Meeho

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I wonder if anyone has seen the rebuttal to the assertion that Linux on the desktop is dead, posted by Katherine Noyes this morning. http://news.yahoo.com/s/pcworld/20101019/tc_pcworld/reportsoflinuxsdesktopdeatharepremature_1 She raises some points that I think are valid. How are we to know how many Linux installations there are? Since only Linux SUPPORT is actually sold, and since Linux is freely and legally distributable, many if not most installations might fall under everyone's radar.
No, she doesn't. From the article itself:

"W3Counter, for one, gives a 1.5 percent share for Linux in September--a marginal improvement over the figure from Net Applications, but still a little better. Wikimedia's Visitor Log Analysis Report for this summer, meanwhile, puts Linux at 1.9 percent"

Web access logs can be a good estimate.

At this moment, I type this reply in Firefox under Linux Mint 9 (a derivative of Ubuntu Linux 10.04). I downloaded my copy. Many users do likewise. How do we establish how many installations stem from these downloads? After all, there is nothing to prevent a user from downloading a distro, installing it, then passing the CD or USB key to a friend to install from.
How do we establish how many millions of Windows pirated copies are currently in use?


I can now get LM9 to provide me with desktop effects that I never heard of for Windows. How easy is it for a Windows user to get his windows to wobble and shake when moving them, maximizing them or restoring them from maximization? Does this capability come stock with Windows, or is a third-party program necessary? If you need a third-party program, don't you take a risk of installing malware along with it? Is it even possible?
Don't know, but useless eye candy anyway and only hinders productivity.


Another example: I have no buttons representing applications on my taskbar! Instead, I can use a window list to restore or shift between windows. This is a great way to promote screen privacy. If I walk away from my machine, I can hide any open windows from prying eyes simply by minimizing all windows. Once it's done, little or no hint of their presence shows anywhere on the desktop. This power is included in LM9. Can you do that in Windows? If so, how much does it cost?
I can not think of a single useful application for this. Autohide taskbar would provide that.

I have thought several times about converting to Linux on my desktops, but couldn't think of one single reason to do it. Stability, security and speed (other than hardware limitations themselves) have never been issues on any of my Windows desktops. I'm familiar with it, used to my favorite applications, can do office work, multimedia, HTPC, gaming...everything I need. I'm guessing it's similar for most users. There simply isn't any reason to change their OS, even if there would be minimal adjustment needed.


DEAD?

What the hell is wrong with you people? I can see that being a legitimate summation if you only use you PC to PLAY GAMES.
I use linux PC 90% of the time. 8 hrs a day. 5 Days a week; sometimes more if I'm on a special project. I have NEVER looked back and NEVER needed windows anything to be productive at work.
You yourself don't make a large market share. You could read the article first.

I have a different PC for gaming, which I use maybe a few hrs a week. Which is MORE RELIABLE? The LINUX machine hands down.
That statement has as much merit as Apple's I'm a Mac adds.

I love this picture, it's so true :)
 

soulesschild

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DEAD?

What the hell is wrong with you people? I can see that being a legitimate summation if you only use you PC to PLAY GAMES.
I use linux PC 90% of the time. 8 hrs a day. 5 Days a week; sometimes more if I'm on a special project. I have NEVER looked back and NEVER needed windows anything to be productive at work.
I have a different PC for gaming, which I use maybe a few hrs a week. Which is MORE RELIABLE? The LINUX machine hands down.
I take it you don't use Win 7.
 

Exavior

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DEAD?

What the hell is wrong with you people? I can see that being a legitimate summation if you only use you PC to PLAY GAMES.
I use linux PC 90% of the time. 8 hrs a day. 5 Days a week; sometimes more if I'm on a special project. I have NEVER looked back and NEVER needed windows anything to be productive at work.
I have a different PC for gaming, which I use maybe a few hrs a week. Which is MORE RELIABLE? The LINUX machine hands down.
first off you gaming machine is broke and you need to fix it.

But one or two people don't matter much when you look at the entire collective of all the people in the world. I could say fuck you to all of you that think that the atari 2600 is dead as a gaming platform as i still have a working one thus it is just as alive now as it was back in the late 70s early 80s. Or say the same of the NES as somebody made a pc to play nes games. It doesn't matter though as MOST people aren't using those platforms. same here. Nobody is saying that linux itself is dead, what they are saving is that the dream of lunix being on as many if not more desktop computers then windows one day is dead. You are not going to walk into a store next week or next month find all the shelves filled with linux software, linux OSs and computer running linux and find windows software, OSs, and windows based computers reduced to the end of a row in the back corner of the store. That is what they are saying. The hope that linux will be on 30%+ percent of desktops isn't going to happen. Things will more or less stay how they are. Linux will be a desktop OS for the minority not the majority. They have had more enough time to take over as the OS on every computer in the world and make it so that windows is only on 1% of the computers instead.
 

jimmyb

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Well there’s always the contrarian, at this point you’re just arguing against common sense and reason. A platform that doesn’t have mainstream apps and 1% to 2% market share by definition isn’t major.
By definition? What definition of "major" is this? I presume yours, but the word "major" is incredibly subjective - it is also commonly interpreted in the context of a comparison, which the author never defines as part of their claim. I am not contrarian just because I have a different, yet equally legitimate interpretation of the what constitutes a major desktop OS.

Compared to the little toy OSes I've worked on, Windows, Linux, and OSX are all major desktop players.

The thesis is incredibly ambiguous in using subjective and euphemistic language. To vehemently arguing it, without any qualifying metrics is pretty obtuse.
 

qbanb8582

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I've tried a few different versions of linux and the biggest thing that doesn't keep me using linux is game support. If there were native linux clients for WoW amongst other games I would be willing to really use linux as an everyday OS on my home computer.
 
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eh, linux on the desktop has given us some genuinely excellent software, and a great community of intelligent, hardworking people....

and it sure as hell isn't dead on my desktop (and many others), so headline is misleading :)

it is interesting though, you hear of reports of other countries (namely Russia and China) pushing Linux on the desktop very hard (and in the case of china, on mobile too, in the form of their android ripoff), and you realize that the story of linux on the desktop still isnt written dammit....

but I digress, linux on the desktop is dead to most people on this forum, and everything Apple is evil....
 

Quake

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This discussion has turned into (NO MY OS IS BETTER, NO!!! YOURS SUCKS!!!! MINE IS BETTER!)

Choose the one that fits you. Whether it's Mac, Windows or Linux. And oh, as long as there are Linux supporters, the OS won't go away.
 

KatalDT

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DirectX is a major barrier for Gamers.

If Linux supported DirectX natively (or if DirectX supporting Linux, rather) I would switch in a heartbeat. For many gamers, the OS is simply a layer between their game and their hardware - it doesn't matter all that much what it is, as long as it works and lets us browse forums/email etc.

And yes, gamers are at the forefront of the technology. We are the early adopters, and if we don't adopt, generally the mainstream doesn't ever see it.
 

heatlesssun

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I've stated quite a few times that "major" is a very subjective term. Different people will have different metrics for determining this. Do you understand what I mean?
With your rationale it seems that anything could be considered major. Clearly the author of this article was looking at conventional metrics like market share and third party applications, particularly commercial apps as Linux has made very little headway in those areas over the last decade.

The metric to look at is that Linux on the desktop is free to obtain and yet it has yet to break out of the single digits of market share in over a decade of existence. Why? If the Linux community looked more at simple reality instead of esoteric things like the relative meaning of major I have a feeling that Linux would be a major desktop OS without question and we wouldn’t be having this discussion.
 

Elledan

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DirectX is a major barrier for Gamers.

If Linux supported DirectX natively (or if DirectX supporting Linux, rather) I would switch in a heartbeat. For many gamers, the OS is simply a layer between their game and their hardware - it doesn't matter all that much what it is, as long as it works and lets us browse forums/email etc.

And yes, gamers are at the forefront of the technology. We are the early adopters, and if we don't adopt, generally the mainstream doesn't ever see it.
Actually it'd be far easier for games to switch to using OpenGL, OpenAL and other open, non-proprietary and cross-platform solutions. There's absolutely no good reason to use DirectX at all.
 

gaspah

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where does Linux fit in? basic users? no. whilst there are distos that work out of the box with all the basics for documents, web, email and media that i'd say are sufficient where are they supposed to turn for help when inevitably something goes wrong or they need to learn how to do something? nobody's really out there. what about more advanced users? no. my experience showed me a world of needless complexity and time wasting, massive range of compatibility issues such as leading software, networking, drivers/hardware and filesystem. most windows users don't need a second os running in a virtual machine or dual-booting unlike most Linux desktop users. a world that wastes resources by hoarding them away like a demented old hag in a nursing home hiding 10c coins in her vag convinced it's still the 1930's leaving basic programs with a painful loading time of at least 10 seconds. i mean something as basic as making a raid array takes like 20 mins AFTER figuring out how to use the needlessly complicated software because intel raid driver don't work on Linux. i mean all that's left are webserver admins, Linux programmers and diehard fanboys. seriously let it go already.
Posted via [H] Mobile Device
 

KatalDT

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Actually it'd be far easier for games to switch to using OpenGL, OpenAL and other open, non-proprietary and cross-platform solutions. There's absolutely no good reason to use DirectX at all.
Missing the point for most people... they don't care about the politics of OpenGL vs Direct3D, open source vs proprietary, they just want it to work with the least amount of hassle.

DirectX not running on Linux is the main barrier and will be for some time even if ALL games start getting programmed in OpenGL for some reason. Most people don't only play brand new games. What if I wanted to fire up any of the dozens of games I play sometimes that have been made in the past ten years?
 

BladeVenom

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Linux did fairly well on netbooks, it beat MS on phones, and is expected to do well on tablets.
 
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