Will Linux Ever Experience The Year Of The Desktop? [Opinion]

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tux big   Will Linux Ever Experience The Year Of The Desktop? [Opinion]For quite a while now, Linux users have constantly been discussing whether the open source operating system will ever experience a “year of the desktop” where Linux’s desktop market share suddenly rises in relatively dramatic fashion.

In most discussions, there are always those that are hopeful for such an event, and those who argue that it’ll never happen. But what are the actual chances of it happening, or can you even call it the “year of the desktop”?

Hardware Support

morecores gpu   Will Linux Ever Experience The Year Of The Desktop? [Opinion]
One of the most important points for desktops is the amount of hardware that is supported through Linux drivers. While a lot of people complain about how there are a lot of drivers missing in Linux that you can get in Windows (and I do admit that overall Windows has more support), there is still a heck of a lot of hardware that is supported in Linux as well. You also have to remember that most desktop users will only be using peripherals such as a keyboard, mouse, webcam, flash drive, etc.

Of course it won’t be as easy to get Linux to work well with specialized hardware such as digital turntables, but you have to think to yourself, “Will the adoption of Linux as a popular desktop operating system be affected if highly specialized hardware doesn’t have out-of-the-box support?” No. Plus in any case, if Linux gains in popularity, hardware vendors will be more willing to crank out such specialized drivers for Linux, so there is even less motivation to count drivers as a reason why Linux isn’t being adopted as much as current users hope.

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Software Selection

year of desktop linux software   Will Linux Ever Experience The Year Of The Desktop? [Opinion]
The next important point for desktops is the selection of software available for the operating system. Linux distributions usually have tens of thousands of packages that can be installed with a single command or click, all from a single location. This contrasts to Windows, where all the software is highly scattered across the Web.

While Windows’ overall software selection is still bigger, the Linux software selection is still very respectable. However, most tasks can be taken care of with software freely available in Linux, so this isn’t quite an issue either.

Commercial Backing

year of desktop linux commercial   Will Linux Ever Experience The Year Of The Desktop? [Opinion]
The main reason why the whole “year of the desktop” debate even exists is because of the current commercial adoption and what people hope will happen in the future. Currently, Linux has a small amount of commercial support on desktops, where a couple of products and games such as Oil Rush run on Linux. However, that support seems to be growing, albeit slowly.

This is the main component of whether Linux will experience a “year of the desktop”, so a year where commercial support massively improves would be considered a watershed year. I really don’t see it happening like some people hope it will, but I think it will happen rather slowly so that the change is too gradual to be considered  noteworthy. For now, software such as WINE is helping more Linux people use commercial software, but it’s far from perfect.

Conclusion

So, the final answer? Linux users won’t see a year of the desktop anytime soon, if ever. The fact that it has decent support for hardware (despite what some people have to say) as well as a large collection of usable and productive software is an indicator to me that it’s already an operating system that is good enough for any desktop. If things go the way they have been lately, more commercial support for Linux will arrive, but that will take its time. And therefore, I don’t believe there will be a sudden, magical year for Linux where desktop adoption dramatically increases.

What’s your opinion of the future of Linux on the desktop? Do you see something differently? Let us know in the comments!

Image Credits: Forrestal_PL, Stuart Chalmers

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51 Comments - Write a Comment

Reply

Triazo

The main question, to me, is what the trend is and will be. If the trend is increasingly upward, then that is good, but might not fit the description of ‘year of the linux desktop’. As this seems to be more likely the case, should we not assign the year when a certain percentage of desktops use linux, say 30%, and call that the year?

Danny Stieben

I don’t think assigning a percentage will work. The idea of the year of the desktop has been idealized into something sudden and explosive (in other words interesting). Assigning a percentage is anti-climactic to the whole idea. However, I agree with you that any upward trend is a good sign.

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Kyem Ghosh

I believe linux is much more developed than windows (as per the latest ubuntu) and open sources are abviously the best for me and for many computer crazy people…. But as you mentioned, the software available for linux is limited…. More over propularity is a big issue like for example, general computer users would never shift to any linux. They will stick to their windows or mac and also the work environment depends a lot…

Danny Stieben

I agree that popularity is a big issue. It’s hard to get the ball rolling, but it gets easier once it is.

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Rob Pilgrim

Unity for me was the changing point – and this is my desktop of choice. However, I have to dual boot with Windows because, despite what you say above regarding software choice, there are no real equivalents for Adobe Acrobat Pro or Indesign and Libre Office still doesn’t have basic functions that I use every day with Word. And I have consistent problems loading programs which

Regardless, for daily email and internet access I use Ubuntu 12.04 and live with the fact that I have to boot into Windows for almost anything more complex.

Oh and hardware support? I can neither scan nor print from Ubuntu either.

Sop my assessment is that Linux is already a capable and competent OS – but it’s the things beyond the basic OS that are the real reason it won’t replace Windows or Apple.

Danny Stieben

It’s a never ending cycle. Developers don’t make programs for Linux because not enough people use it, and therefore people are less inclined to switch to Linux. Repeat.

Sorry to hear that your hardware isn’t working as expected. Were you unable to find any answers in searches?

Dwight Francis

I can empathize with your complaint regarding software choices for the office. Considering your hardware support comment however, did you check for Linux support before you purchased your printer and scanner?

This isn’t meant to castigate. I’m not a zealot. I am curious.

It’s sort of a given that a Windows driver will come with most hardware. However, people shop for Mac hardware and peripherals with compatibility in mind, but don’t end up perceiving this issue as a shortcoming of OS. Why is it that Linux is rarely afforded the same level of leeway and mindfulness, especially in light of the fact that the user probably didn’t pay for it?

There are plenty of hardware support resources on the Internet for Linux, and the printer and scanner support information is typically the most thorough. Every printer and scanner does not have 100% feature support, but many do. Purchasing hardware with Linux compatibility in mind eliminated a lot of headaches that I see others having on message boards.

I’ve been using Linux at home for about five years now. My disappointment with hardware support has been rare. If I am disappointed, it’s usually because the hardware is low quality. I check for driver support before I buy a product. Sometimes driver installation is more involved than I’d like, but on other occasions, kernel support makes the process instantaneous. I think it balances out in the long run.

In my experience, many of the “missing” drivers in Linux are often due to two issues: (1) manufacturers won’t releases specs for development of a Linux community developed driver in spite of being uninterested in making one themselves, and/or (2) the device itself is junk hardware that performs little to no real work, but leans on Windows to do almost all the work for it.

http://www.openprinting.org/printers
http://www.sane-project.org

David

One remark: power management on Linux has always been worse. I like Linux. I do a lot of work on Linux, but I just can’t use my laptop as a furnace (Thinkpad X200), and that laptop is hardly what you’d call low quality, quite the contrary.

Just for you to have an idea… I use MingW32 as a lame substitute for most automatic console tasks that I need, among other things. I’m also an OSS supporter… I’ve shown to many people why they don’t need to pay the Office task, to name just an example.

I’d rather use the real thing, but for what I need, MingW32 compensates the much better power management that I get under Windows 7.

Danny Stieben

Power management in Linux is getting better almost every day, thankfully. I do get a bit more juice out of my laptop under Windows, but that gap is closing at a fast pace. Plus Linux tweaked especially for embedded-type systems can be very power efficient, just look at the Raspberry Pi.

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JohnBUK

An interesting article which has been voiced for many years now and nearly all concentrating on similar issues, hardware support, software availability etc.
I think, with the growth of smartphones, tablets et al the way we look at this is changing.
I use Ubuntu (having swapped from Windows some 3 years ago when I could finally get my wifi to work on it), so does my wife and several friends and relatives to whom I have introduced Linux.
None require their computers for work and are not “heavy” users (web browsing, emails, watching streamed entertainment etc) and they therefore use no more than 3 or 4 programs.
Whilst I am out I use my Android phone to connect to the web – have a sync function to link to my laptop and that keeps me happy in terms of my technology needs – I also have my excellent Kindle.
I’m not saying I am a typical user, I don’t know that, but I suspect, statistically, those that require the use of more and more programs or increased functionality gradually become a minority.
At some point in the not too distant future the desktop/OS issue will blur into irrelevance (for the user) as gadgets will need to be cheap, multi-connectible and even more portable than they are now.
My guess anyway!

Danny Stieben

Sounds like an interesting theory! I suppose we’ll find out what happens eventually.

Wyatt Epp

This is something we’ve observed already in other locales. Japan, for example, has been largely dominated by mobile devices for years. The number of people with actual home PCs there has been in steady decline for close to a decade now because one is perfectly capable of reading email and browsing on their phones.

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Ashutosh Mishra

In my experience, Ubuntu works great with almost all sorts of hardware, except those goddamn graphics cards. It never, ever works properly with any discrete graphics that I’ve tried it on. The bootsplash screen goes haywire, windows don’t move around smoothly, and everything looks unpolished.

Danny Stieben

Strange. Ubuntu has always been friendly to my graphics card up until the last release or two. I never figured out why…

Java Linux

I just love ubuntu. I use it on my dell.

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Dhruv Sangvikar

I would say the basic reason is not hardware support or driver issues. Its the software. Like commercial software makers don’t even consider linux platform for development. like if u r a designer, stick to windows because Photoshop, Dreamweaver, illustrator this won’t work directly. If u are a gamer, stick to windows because you have to do a lot of wine tweaking even for basic games. So all in all, if the softwares which are used currently on windows are made for linux, that may see an increase in linux user base.

Danny Stieben

If developers won’t write for Linux until more people use it, and people won’t use Linux until more/better/commercial software is written for it, which do you think would need to happen first so that the other happens as well?

Dhruv Sangvikar

developers will need to write first.. for example.. if today i migrate from windows to linux.. i expect my softwares to be available there.. if i have to revert back to windows just because there is no photoshop then obviously that’s the fault of developers. whats your take?

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Anon

I think the influx is finally beginning and will make way for a better and more attractive alternative to what we have now, it’s taking shape nicely. Go Linux!

Danny Stieben

Slow but steady progress?

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Clyde Atwood

I like Linux. I don’t use a lot of programs, mostly web browsers, photo organizers, and some screenlets.

What I really like is the sense of security I have since I am not using Windows.

Danny Stieben

I have to agree with you on that. Sometimes I just like knowing that I’m running Linux instead of Windows, which takes a lot of worries off my shoulders.

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Andy

The idea that making software for the average Joe makes a difference is a persistent myth in the Linux Community. People ignore that the average Joe will look for inspiration and support from the highly-productive-Joes of the world. And these rarely use Linux.

There are things you can only do in Windows, things you can only do on a Mac but nothing can be done only in Windows, except setting up a server very easily.

Once Linux finds a unique advantage it will make a dent in the Win/Mac domination, as there will be people who want to use it no matter what. And (please!) freedom is not an unique adbantage: it is the framework where this advantage might eventually occur.

saywha

Some kind of super-nuclear-windows destroying-malware would give linux a unique and distinct advantage.

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Scutterman

Hardware support is important, it’s what’s driven me away from Linux every time I’ve tried it. No operating system will become mainstream if the user has to do things to make it work. Linux would do well on a system where the hardware is tied down, and the drivers are all working perfectly.

Multiple monitor support is still terrible, the GUI needs to be more intuative, and there needs to be less config editing to do basic functions.

Office suites needs a lot of work. Libre Office is good right now, but until people can open a word document in it and have it display the same as in word, the mainstream won’t consider it.

There aren’t enough games on Linux, though this is slowly changing. The gaming market is large.

The reason I use windows is that it just works, and I can rely on it. If I could have that with Linux then I would use it exclusively. When I first installed Linux I was prepared to put in some work to get things running, but problem after problem and numerous dead ends have worn me down to the point where I’m not going to put any more time towards it.

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Dan

Linux hardware support will always be second rate. First, hardware vendors are reluctant to support a niche OS, and even if they do, the drivers will be a binary blob that linux fanatics will bitch and moan about. Second, if the vendor won’t support linux, the developers would code their own drivers, which will at bare minimum work, but you won’t get any extra features from the hardware that you will get in Windows. Third, even if someone managed to write a good driver for the hardware, there’s no guarantee that it will be included in the kernel. Which means you, dear user, will have to recompile the kernel yourself. Good luck and have fun!

I had the misfortune to have had an Acer netbook that needed a “Poulsbo” driver for the IGP to work fluidly. Go google it and see how badly linux “supports” it. Oh, and the wifi also didn’t work and X won’t default to its native resolution (1366×768). One needed a kernel upgrade, and I had to edit the X config file a few times to get the other to work. And a random crash later (yes, Linux crashes too), and I lost my changes to the config file.

The original post reminds me of a joke posted by an anonymous commenter at the Linux Hater’s blog:

1998: Early in January, lintards claim that this is going to be the year of Linux on the desktop, despite Linux being way behind mainstream desktop operating systems in respect of usability. During the next 12 months, the share of Linux in the desktop market raises by an amount that could be easily mistaken for a rounding error.

1999: Early in January, lintards claim that this is going to be the year of Linux on the desktop, despite Linux being way behind mainstream desktop operating systems in respect of usability. During the next 12 months, the share of Linux in the desktop market raises by an amount that could be easily mistaken for a rounding error.

2000: Early in January, lintards claim that this is going to be the year of Linux on the desktop, despite Linux being way behind mainstream desktop operating systems in respect of usability. During the next 12 months, the share of Linux in the desktop market raises by an amount that could be easily mistaken for a rounding error.

2001: Early in January, lintards claim that this is going to be the year of Linux on the desktop, despite Linux being way behind mainstream desktop operating systems in respect of usability. During the next 12 months, the share of Linux in the desktop market raises by an amount that could be easily mistaken for a rounding error.

2002: Early in January, lintards claim that this is going to be the year of Linux on the desktop, despite Linux being way behind mainstream desktop operating systems in respect of usability. During the next 12 months, the share of Linux in the desktop market raises by an amount that could be easily mistaken for a rounding error.

2003: Early in January, lintards claim that this is going to be the year of Linux on the desktop, despite Linux being way behind mainstream desktop operating systems in respect of usability. During the next 12 months, the share of Linux in the desktop market raises by an amount that could be easily mistaken for a rounding error.

2004: Early in January, lintards claim that this is going to be the year of Linux on the desktop, despite Linux being way behind mainstream desktop operating systems in respect of usability. During the next 12 months, the share of Linux in the desktop market raises by an amount that could be easily mistaken for a rounding error.

2005: Early in January, lintards claim that this is going to be the year of Linux on the desktop, despite Linux being way behind mainstream desktop operating systems in respect of usability. During the next 12 months, the share of Linux in the desktop market raises by an amount that could be easily mistaken for a rounding error.

2006: Early in January, lintards claim that this is going to be the year of Linux on the desktop, despite Linux being way behind mainstream desktop operating systems in respect of usability. During the next 12 months, the share of Linux in the desktop market raises by an amount that could be easily mistaken for a rounding error.

2007: Early in January, lintards claim that this is going to be the year of Linux on the desktop, despite Linux being way behind mainstream desktop operating systems in respect of usability. During the next 12 months, the share of Linux in the desktop market raises by an amount that could be easily mistaken for a rounding error.

2008: Early in January, lintards claim that this is going to be the year of Linux on the desktop, despite Linux being way behind mainstream desktop operating systems in respect of usability. During the next 12 months, the share of Linux in the desktop market raises by an amount that could be easily mistaken for a rounding error.

2009: Early in January, lintards claim that this is going to be the year of Linux on the desktop, despite Linux being way behind mainstream desktop operating systems in respect of usability. Lolz, you fucking idiots.

manmath sahu

rightly said!

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Sachin Kanchan

furthermore windows supports a huge huge variety of softwares and games…
that makes it stand over mac and linux

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Wyatt Epp

“…and I do admit that overall Windows has more support…” I’m rather curious where this comes from. What hardware have you encountered that is unsupported recently?

In any event, usually when I see talk about “Year of the Linux Desktop”, it’s always some besotted chap who just had a good experience or some unfortunate bloke who didn’t like what he found. Within the community of users who have been using it for years, it’s something of a joke, to be quite honest. Part of that is we already have dominance in servers and pretty much every embedded device you can imagine; the other part is sudden dramatic shifts are a myth in computing as much as in science.

The thing to always keep in mind is this: Every user has different needs of their hardware and software. That’s why we have an ecosystem of choice.

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Chris Hoffman

This is a funny title. I’ve been hearing about “the year of the Linux desktop” ever year for ten years now — it’s a joke at this point.

The end of the desktop computer will probably come before the year of Linux on the desktop. That’s okay, though — open-source software and Linux are well situated elsewhere (Android, servers, embedded systems, Chrome OS).

The most interesting development on the horizon is Valve’s forthcoming Steam for Linux. Still — Linux gaming support is worse than it used to be. I remember playing Unreal Tournament 2004 and Doom 3 on Linux. Big-name commercial games don’t come out on Linux anymore, though — ID stopped supporting Linux and so did Epic. Epic’s drop in support was particularly egregious, promising a Linux client for UT3 and telling their fans “soon” for 3 years before admitting that it would never come. Of course, UT3 was a stillborn commercial disaster, anyway.

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pd

What a highly amusing concept. Of course the answer is no. There’s no compelling reason for users to switch and there’s plenty of reasons not to.

I find it both entertaining and sad that anybody is still posing this question, let alone expecting it to be taken seriously.

That’s not to say Linux is a failure. On the contrary, it’s beaten the evil crApple empire into submission in the smart phone market and may yet have a similar future in tablets (at least until people realise tablets are just the newer nettops).

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BoloMKXXVIII

This is a well worn joke…even in the Linux community. For me, it has been the year for desktop linux for more than ten years. Most people who bash linux haven’t really given it an honest try. I find Linux Mint to be much easier to install and maintain than any version of Windows. The OS and all the installed programs update together without me having to do anything except to “OK” the process. I am not a linux fanatic and have Windows 7 installed on a couple of my PCs. I just usually prefer to run Linux. I haven’t had to open the command line for years to make anything work. I laugh every time I hear people talk about the command line when they talk about installing linux.

I just added a bluetooth USB dongle to a HP laptop that is 2-3 years old. The laptop dual boots Windows 7 and Linux Mint. In Windows 7 you have to run an install disc, tell Windows it is ok to install the unsigned driver, reboot. In Linux Mint I just turned the laptop on and it was automatically configured.

So no year will be “the year of linux on the desktop”. As long as it continues to progress the way it has been, I will be happy.

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ray weeler

For me, it was a relatively easy answer.
I scribbled on a paper my needs and expectations from a PC.
Photo editor, Flight simulator, normal “office” applications, scanner software.
I ended using Ubuntu’s 10.04 and avoided to update to Ubuntu’s latest version due some changes on their desktop and problem with certain drivers.
I don’t regret a single minute changing from XP to Ubuntu.
Startup using an Intel 128 Gb SSD takes exactly 16 seconds, turning the PC off takes 4 seconds, while using XP, somebody at Microsoft had to program the logo “windows is shutting down”….
There is no way back to Microsoft. All Microsoft’s software is far too expensive, plus the time you have to loose “defragmenting” your drives, etc… I never had a blue screen in Linux. Just think how much would you spend allone buying Windows 7 plus Office. I prefer to invest that money in hardware.
One way to quicken the trend to Linux, would happen if the important Linux makers, would offer their distributions to the PC industry.
For a normal home user, it still represents a challenge to install Linux, he will first have to learn new expressions as e.g. “mount” a drive, the file system has different looks than Windows.
Whoever reads this, I propose : get your self an old hard disk, install either Ubuntu or Mint and play with it, these operating systems are fantastic and you allways get help , if needed, fromtheir forums.

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ray weeler

with Linus I edit photos, scan film and pictures, use “office” applications, Flight simulator, start within 16 seconds, and turn off in 4 secs. ByeBye to defrag and all the rest of Windows arcaic reactions. Never had a blue screen, The hundreds of dollars needed to buy Windows 7 and Office is better invested in hardware.!!!

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Java Linux

I use ubuntu on my dell laptop and liked it more then my earlier widows versions. The ubuntu still has long way to go for few things, however I feel more safe with that type of OS as compared to windows.

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Souheil Bahhady

It’s already dominating mobile, server and multimedia markets (Android, LAMPs, Raspberry Pi, homeservers, etc.).

Also, a lot of (minimalistic) users AND govts. are switching to Linux, the Ubuntu distro is very popular.. if you don’t have the money for a Windows license and you only use word processing and an internet browser, it’s an interesting step to try it, Live-distro’s won’t harm your system :)

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michael howard

I just observe the difficulties people have with adopting Linux on the desktop. Just listening and taking note, and try to solve those problems. Little use to preach. I think that has to be done more. Newbies have common difficulties. Can’t figure out their “msn messenger” is a very common one.

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Bill

I’ve just about given up on Linux. The problem is that I want to use my computer for what its there for and not spend hours reading up on things that just work in Windows. I’ve had success with a few distro’s but why do I ,in 2012 have to add lines to a text file just so I can install a GUI for my firewall? Once I got that done I then had the fun of Iceweasel crashing every 30 seconds. Apparently its because of Flash which I’ve read is a bit of a mess but it works in Windows. Linux is a great OS if you are into playing around and have an interest in programming but for the 99% of the world its just not worth the effort. Despite my whinning I hope to prove myself wrong one day.

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manmath sahu

I don’t believe in that above points. What’s holding Linux distributions back is its bad integration, shoddy software quality and chaotic development.

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Ahad Shabbir

Linux is a very stable and safe OS. With a GUI, it makes it even better, However I do agree on the software for linux support. But I do still think that liux will one day dominate the computer markets one day. Because it just getting better and better everytime.

Danny Stieben

Ubuntu seems to be steadily gaining market share, so let’s hope you’re right! :)

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Tom Sobieski

The year of the Linux desktop is 2012, because that’s the year I ditched Window, on all my machines, in favor of some flavor of Linux. Eight year old single core, non functioning, laptop? Xubuntu to the rescue. Etc, etc.

Danny Stieben

I’m glad to hear about all your Linux success! :)

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Java2UNIX

Well, the year of Linux is rapidly approaching. ANDROID PHONES, KINDLE FIRES, MAC OS X (okay, that’s UNIX), iOS (again, UNIX, but with a modified GNOME3). But you get the point! It is coming, and it is here!

People say tablets are the next computer. All the tablets (except those running Windows) already use Linux, or unix.

So, it’s not the “Year of the Desktop”, it’s the “Year of the Tablet!”

Danny Stieben

I suppose you’re right. :) People have always been asking about desktops specifically, however.

By the way, iOS does not have a modified Gnome 3 interface. If I remember my dates correctly, the iPhone first came out before Gnome 3 development even started. And we all know how much the iPhone’s interface has changed…

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Robert

I have been using Linux for a number of years now and currently dual boot with Windows 7. I run Linux for most things however there are still some major omissions (at least for me personally). I am a gamer and there just are not many current commercial games running natively under Linux so I still use Windows. This may be gradually changing due to the efforts of Valve porting their Steam Client over to Linux along with some of their games. They have already identified some Open GL problems in the Nvidia and ATI drivers that I believe has spurred these companies to fix their Linux drivers, Valve’s developers have also identified some issues with the Linux kernel The other problem for me is on my Home Theater PC, there is no easy way to play commercial blue ray movies and I cannot play Netflix under Linux. Yes I know this is because of their use of Silverlight and not a Linux issue per say however it is still a fact that if I want to subscribe to Netfilx then I cannot use Linux. This is due to the resistance of many of the Linux distros to having any form of DRM. Yes I understand the arguments and in a perfect world I would never have it on my systems, however I am also a pragmatist; I just want my stuff to work and preferably with my OS of choice but alas it does not in all cases. I know that a lot of these reasons are of a personal preference but there is one that is not and has been a source of confusion for new people looking at LInux for the first time.

This one area is that there are several different ways of doing package management. You have Slackware’s system, Debian .deb, Red Hat’s RPM and a few others not as widely used and source based distros like Gentoo. All of these have their pros and cons. However because of all the differences between distros it makes Linux a very unattractive platform for Commercial software and games because there is no universal way of installing software. I have had many people over the years ask the same question, “what is the best Linux distro for a new person to try” We all have our favorites that we recommend but I find the question of why there are so many different ones to choose from a difficult question to answer and it usually takes some time to try and explain the differences. I have often felt that there is a lot of redundancy in the Linux camp, the different distros seem to constantly be reinventing the wheel. For example they all want to have their own utility for configuring WiFi, or sound when there are several already in existence that work well. They also all have their own software repositories requiring many developers just to keep them maintained. It seems that the major players could get together and combine all the best features of all the different package management systems already in existence and create a “Unified Linux Package Management System” you could call it a .ulp package. If this were done then you could have one central software repository for Linux that all the different distros could then tap into. I feel that if this occurred then this would free up each development team for each distro to concentrate on innovating the features of their distro without having to worry about package management. If you had a centralized software repository it could also have a commercial section where an end user could purchase software or games that commercial companies wanted to supply to Linux. Something similar to Steam but not limited to games for Linux, if the repository sold commercial software some of the profit could go for paying the costs of maintaining the repository for everyone to use.

I know that a lot will not agree with me but these have just been a few of my thoughts over the years. One of the things we the Linux user needs to ask is what we want Linux to be, if we want it to be fully functional with respect to all the various games and commercial media then Linux will as a result become more and more commercialized with all the evils that this brings, on the other hand if we do not wish Linux to fundamentally change then we better hope that there never is “The Year of the Linux Desktop” for if there is our favorite OS will never be the same.
Robert

Danny Stieben

It’s true that Linux is far from perfect, and that some things do need to be figured out in order for things to make more sense. I believe the idea came up once to have a ULPMS, but I’m not sure what happened to it.

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Aaron

Hardware is still a huge issue for linux because it has problems with regular hardware, not just exotic devices. I run Ubuntu 12.04 on two laptops, both less than 5 years old. It has problems with the Intel wifi card in one of them, and with power management and the Nvidia graphics card in the other one. All this hardware works fine under Windows, but under Ubuntu if I wasn’t a “power user” I’d never have gotten it working. Linux will never take a big chunk of the desktop market as long as it has problems with recent, mainstream hardware.

Beyond that you need to recognize that it really can’t just be “as good as” to get adopted, it needs to be BETTER in some way that’s meaningful to the mass market and/or the supply chain. I’m not sure the “less malware” argument is a convincing one vs a Mac or PC with decent security software, but I think being free could be a major appeal to OEMs especially on lower-end netbooks where licensing Windows is a huge part of their total cost.

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Backtrack5er

I really don’t understand why Linux struggles for market share. Some would say that’s a dumb statement, but after 10 years of using windows and now about 5 with Linux I can truly say Linux wins hands down once you get past the initial learning of the OS.
The reason more manufacturers don’t ship with Linux is because there’s a lot of lazy, brainwashed people in the world that don’t like change, even if it puts money in there pocket, and gives them something more secure. Bottom line, Linux is for the fairly intelligent and up, creative, curious types, that can handle and figure out problems. Windows is for the lazy, brainwashed, scaredy-cats, that help Bill Gates become the multi billionaire he is today.

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George Isaksen

I am transitioning to linux with a limited knowledge on the subject. From what I have seen so far, I think it is highly unlikely that “The year of the desktop” will ever happen. I say this because there are no universal conventions among the many distros out there. There is no STANDARD package managers that all vendors can design for. And I don’t know for sure, but I suspect that also applies to adding drivers, which is at the kernal level (I think).

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Jeff Fisher

Will Linux Ever Experience The Year Of The Desktop? Not in the very near future!
Users are not prepared/able to spend time fixing any breaks that may happen. I have been fortunate in that since Ubu 8.04 I have not had one serious fault occur. If you can afford to run Linux (even if it’s only on a second PC) – do it. You will not regret it. And you may just save some cash.

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