×

Announcing: Slashdot Deals - Explore geek apps, games, gadgets and more. (what is this?)

Thank you!

We are sorry to see you leave - Beta is different and we value the time you took to try it out. Before you decide to go, please take a look at some value-adds for Beta and learn more about it. Thank you for reading Slashdot, and for making the site better!

Linus Torvalds: 'I Still Want the Desktop'

Soulskill posted about 3 months ago | from the go-big-or-go-home dept.

Operating Systems 727

darthcamaro writes: Linux has clawed its way into lots of places these days. But at the LinuxCon conference in Chicago today Linus Torvalds was asked where Linux should go next. Torvalds didn't hesitate with his reply. "I still want the desktop," Torvalds said, as the audience erupted into boisterous applause. Torvalds doesn't see the desktop as being a kernel problem at this point, either, but rather one about infrastructure. While not ready to declare a "Year of the Linux Desktop" he still expects that to happen — one day.

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Nobody else seems to want it (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47714739)

If he waits a little longer, he can probably just take it without anybody noticing.

Re:Nobody else seems to want it (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about 3 months ago | (#47714813)

If he waits a little longer, he can probably just take it without anybody noticing.

Great point. Maybe we can take over tablets and cell phones with Linux, er, Android, er, whatever... It's not like Microsoft is making much of a play for these... (Windows 8, 8.1, and 9 not withstanding)

Re:Nobody else seems to want it (1, Troll)

hairyfeet (841228) | about 3 months ago | (#47715259)

Actually Google is taking a page from MSFT and is going EEE on Android [arstechnica.com] and if the rumors are true Win 9 will either be free or insanely cheap so...good luck with that.

BTW what Torvalds SHOULD have said was "I want the desktop....but not enough to give up my shitty 1970s throwback driver model" because you look at the forums and a good 90% of what the problems in linux get boiled down to is that shitstorm of a driver model, it'd be like MSFT trying to build Windows 9 on top of the old DOS .INI drivers because when you have such a fundamental thing old and shitty it makes all the new stuff on top just new and shitty. BTW this is NOT a FOSS thing, its a LINUX thing, as nobody in the FOSS world besides Linux uses his shitty driver model, not BSD, not Android, NOBODY.

Re:Nobody else seems to want it (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47714949)

Except the people who bought 200 million "desktops" last year?

Infrastructure? (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47714751)

Torvalds doesn't see the desktop as being a kernel problem at this point, either, but rather one about infrastructure.

Is this a kinder, gentler Linus saying that it's everything but the kernel's fault Linux isn't on the desktop? Sounds like it to me, but I will have to see if I can watch the whole takl to get the correct context.

Re:Infrastructure? (4, Interesting)

TWX (665546) | about 3 months ago | (#47714969)

Well, to an extent he's right; the kernel does what kernels do, and that is, talk to the hardware at the lowest level. It does that just fine.

Unfortunately the stuff piled on top of it is either not keeping up with trends (X and the way modern video changes on the fly), or not really good at handling what a user would want automagically.

I attempted to use the most integrated desktop with vanilla Ubuntu 14.04, but I found its window manager to be so restrictive as to be useless to me. It handled a lot automagically, but not what I wanted, and it was also very unclear how to go about getting to what I needed to change. It wasn't even intuitive on how to bring up a terminal window, for example, which is basically the bulk of what I use Linux for.

The lack of documentation is also hurting, badly. I'm working on building a multiseat box at home and LightDM was redone sometime between Ubuntu 12.04 and 14.04, and there wasn't any good support documentation explaining how the configuration files now work. I ended up switching to kdm even though I'm not using KDE, just so that I could configure a display manager that would actually work right.

I think that the golden age of FOSS documentation is over. For a long time Linux and other FOSS docs were based on how commercial UNIX documentation was written, but slowly more and more developers aren't creating volumes of use or configuration docs in the UNIX model anymore, and as few UNIX-era developers work on Linux and other FOSS, there are less people who remember how those documents were made and why. I think that is what will hurt FOSS the most, simply being unable to figure out how to do the things that one wants to do because the docs don't exist.

Re:Infrastructure? (4, Interesting)

SQLGuru (980662) | about 3 months ago | (#47715093)

I think the main problem is that Linux is *TOO* configurable. "Normals" don't want hundreds of options. They want people to tell them which of a limited number of options will work for them.

Which distro should I pick? Which window manager should I pick? How do I configure my computer to be optimal for *ME*? I'm a techie and I can't tell you which distro is really the best for most people. I can tell you which ones are more stable.....but it isn't just ONE.

With Windows....and even Apple.....those choices are more or less made for you. All a "normal" needs to do is decide which apps they need to run and whether their OS supports those apps.

Too configurable? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47715193)

Now be honest: when was the last time you "configured Linux"?

Re: Infrastructure? (1)

jd2112 (1535857) | about 3 months ago | (#47715303)

There lies the problem. Many Linux distros have gone from being over configurable a few years ago to bring even more tightly locked down than Windows or MacOS. Often there is a way to change the behavior of the of the window manager but often the option is deeply hidden within the bowels of the configuration manager that you will never find it unless you know where to look, assuming it is there at all.

Re:Infrastructure? (2, Interesting)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | about 3 months ago | (#47715059)

No. He isn't saying that. Of course, a big reason he isn't saying that is because Linux is on the desktop, and has been for more than a decade. Linux has also been superior on the desktop for quite some time. I have two laptops. One dual boots to Win 7 and Mageia Linux. The other dual boots to Win 8 and Fedora Linux with Secure Boot / UEFI. I occaisonally boot into Windows to apply updates so that if I ever actually need Windows I won't have to wait an hour between clicking "Shut Down" and the computer actually turning off if I ever do need it. I don't use Photoshop, so I haven't actually needed Windows in years.

Several years ago I installed a new DVD Drive and k3b was crashing. I needed Windows then to see if the hardware was bad or if I had a driver issue. When Windows hung hard the minute I tried to use the drive, as opposed to Nero merely crashing, I knew I indeed had a bad DVD Drive. So yes, Windows has its use, but being productive in 2014 isn't one of them.

People who purport to know about computers need to stop asking stupid questions like "When will Linux be ready for the desktop ?", and start asking intelligent questions like "When will the general populace get a clue ?"

Re:Infrastructure? (2, Insightful)

Wycliffe (116160) | about 3 months ago | (#47715245)

Linux has also been superior on the desktop for quite some time.

Superior by what definition? Stability? sure, I'll give you that. ease of use? I doubt it.
I've been a linux only user for over a decade but it still doesn't work as smoothly as windows out of the box.
I occasionally still run into random problems like wifi failing to connect, can't read a cd which windows has no problem with,
wifi card is not supported, etc... Granted most thinks come with windows drivers but even when they do happen to
include linux drivers the linux drivers are often an afterthought and subpar. These small little rough edges are a fine
trade off for a geek but a huge turn off for a "normal"

Buy a chromebook and install Linux on it ... (2)

perpenso (1613749) | about 3 months ago | (#47715357)

I've been using Linux part-time for twenty years. I build my own desktops so its been easy to build systems that are compatible between windows and linux.

However laptops have always been very troublesome. I have figured out a solution. Buy a chromebook and install Linux on it.

Re:Infrastructure? (2)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | about 3 months ago | (#47715321)

When I had my first linux installation, Slackware, 1992 or 1993, I ofc. had a desktop ... X Windows, don't remember which windows manager. And I believe I also played with OpenView, or at least a windows manager that looked like it.

However I never really worked with a linux desktop (except in companies where my Java Development environment ran on a Linux machine, and Firefox and Thunderbird, ofc.).

The main reason is they brain dead idea how yo configure such systems.

If you edit a config file, next boot some automatism overwrites it, because it gets regenerated out of a DB which is managed with a GUI tool, e.g.

Then there are linuxes where you still can edit the config files, but every distro has a different idea how services are configured. (And I'm an old *real unix* programmer)

So bottom line I'm tired in the moment to find a distro that suits me, as I'm back on the mach since 2003 or so ...

Otherwise I basically use linux only on servers ...

Re:Infrastructure? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47715065)

Linus sucks cock. (but only open source cock!)

Re:Infrastructure? (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 3 months ago | (#47715119)

Well, it's a Completely Open Computer Kernel.

Why focus on the desktop? (4, Insightful)

Joe Gillian (3683399) | about 3 months ago | (#47714755)

Linux has so much going for it in the device market that I don't see why Linus doesn't just double down on it. The future of Linux seems to make more sense as a kernel used for other things (like Android) rather than trying to break into the standalone desktop OS market.

Re:Why focus on the desktop? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47714805)

The desktop is something that a user interacts with every day. That extended usage turns into familiarity with the processes, limitations, and querks of a technology. That familiarity turns into a desire to develop new functionality or to conquer limitations which breeds developers.

Without that Linux will always have a high barrier to entry, a steep learning curve, and a niche audience.

Re:Why focus on the desktop? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47715227)

The desktop is something that a user interacts with every day. That extended usage turns into familiarity with the processes, limitations, and querks of a technology. That familiarity turns into a desire to develop new functionality or to conquer limitations which breeds developers.

Without that Linux will always have a high barrier to entry, a steep learning curve, and a niche audience.

The desktop is something that a user interacts with every day. That extended usage turns into familiarity with the processes, limitations, and querks of a technology. That familiarity turns into a desire to develop new functionality or to conquer limitations which breeds developers.

Without that Linux will always have a high barrier to entry, a steep learning curve, and a niche audience.

Speaking of niche audience, the only users who are wanting to get familiarity with the processes, limitations, and querks of a technology are the nerds and geeks knee-deep in it already.

The other 95% of the corporate social media crowd is too busy buried in (pick-a-random) browser session, laughing hysterically at the idea that you think the desktop behind it is still even remotely relevant to them. These are users who work on Windows at work, a Mac at home, and a tablet and/or cell phone in between, with little or no issue moving between them. That liquid movement is because the underlying OS has become even more irrelevant than ever before.

In a nutshell, good luck with that whole Desktop idea Linus. Gut feeling that ship has sailed long ago. You would probably have better luck becoming the Year of Your Browser.

Re:Why focus on the desktop? (3, Informative)

Your.Master (1088569) | about 3 months ago | (#47714855)

What's he doubling down though? That term implies some stakes are being allocated.

It goes on to say he doesn't think the desktop is a kernel problem. Well, that kind of means he's not spending specific resources on desktop, which means that wanting the desktop doesn't contradict "doubling down" on the device market.

The actual part of the article that talks about investing is when he talked about shrinking Linux and about addressing the embedded market.

Re:Why focus on the desktop? (2)

bulled (956533) | about 3 months ago | (#47714975)

Because Linux started as a project to fill a need he had, a Desktop OS that he could afford as a student. I presume he wants to see the desktop continue to because he still wants to work with one and I applaud that because I do as well.

Re:Why focus on the desktop? (1)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | about 3 months ago | (#47715031)

>rather than trying to break into the standalone desktop OS market.

It's there and dominant in a whole host of industries. The western world would collapse if Linux ceased being available on the desktop. For example we couldn't make chips.

Re:Why focus on the desktop? (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 3 months ago | (#47715073)

Linux has so much going for it in the device market that I don't see why Linus doesn't just double down on it. The future of Linux seems to make more sense as a kernel used for other things (like Android) rather than trying to break into the standalone desktop OS market.

Where would you code the kernel without the desktop? On your tablet?

Re:Why focus on the desktop? (3, Insightful)

bird (12361) | about 3 months ago | (#47715117)

We need a free desktop OS. Linux is the only contender.

Re:Why focus on the desktop? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47715131)

That's because unless Linus reins in all the different variations of Linux distros into some kind of "one Linux" , there never will be a Linux desktop.

Hell there still is no such thing as a Linux Desktop. ChromeOS, FirefoxOS aren't desktops, and KDE/Gnome don't work with each other without both being installed.

Like it's somewhat ironic in a way, that to get a Linux Desktop, you need to install everyone's flavor-of-the-week libraries and frameworks, so you end up with a much more bloated mess than had you simply developed the application for OS X if you needed UNIX support or Windows if it's not important.

Re:Why focus on the desktop? (3, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | about 3 months ago | (#47715163)

Well first of all Linus has never been overly concerned with market share, just building a technically damn good kernel so I doubt this will have much practical influence on his work. It's got to be frustrating though, Linux works on massively huge and complex servers. It works on the smallest mobile and embedded devices. But a regular desktop that from the kernel's side is rather simple, one CPU and usually one GPU and pretty much no exotic devices (from the kernel side all USB devices look the same, for example) and no absurd limits being pushed in any direction.

I think the last real significant desktop feature was when they increased interactivity by changing the default time slice from 100 Hz to 1000 Hz and that was in 2004 or so. Heck, I would say it was at least as ready as the BSD kernel was when Apple created OS X in 2001. It's quite telling that the one thing Google did not want to rewrite when they made Android was the kernel. All else they ripped out and replaced with Apache licensed code, but not that. Well that and a bunch of Google proprietary APIs, but that's another flame war. I think I'd feel just the same in his shoes.

Torvalds is true to form.... (-1, Troll)

bobbied (2522392) | about 3 months ago | (#47714781)

In true Torvalds fashion, he blames Linux's failure to take the desktop on.... What exactly?

Torvalds doesn't see the desktop as being a kernel problem

Now that's a shocker.. It cannot be HIS fault.

Re:Torvalds is true to form.... (2)

i_ate_god (899684) | about 3 months ago | (#47714793)

perhaps you can enlighten us as to why he's wrong, and what the linux kernel has to do to better support desktop environments?

Re:Torvalds is true to form.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47714833)

A stable binary driver interface would help for starters.

Re:Torvalds is true to form.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47714917)

So that device makers can start spamming users with crappy binary drivers that break all the time so we end up in Windows land all over again? I think your suggestion is a really bad one.

Re:Torvalds is true to form.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47715129)

A user space device development kit.

Re:Torvalds is true to form.... (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about 3 months ago | (#47714939)

> A stable binary driver interface would help for starters.

No. Probably not. Lack of stable interfaces never harmed the WinDOS market. That's because these kinds of things are driven by market share and have little to do with "platform quality". Either a vendor thinks the market is large enough to bother with or not. The "level of bother" factor is largely irrelevant.

That's why much software is still Windows-only despite there being a mythical commercial platform that's supposed to do everything right.

Re:Torvalds is true to form.... (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about 3 months ago | (#47714851)

perhaps you can enlighten us as to why he's wrong

I never said he was wrong... Only that he's true to form..

Re:Torvalds is true to form.... (1)

Bacon Bits (926911) | about 3 months ago | (#47714903)

perhaps you can enlighten us as to why he's wrong

I never said he was wrong... Only that he's true to form..

So he's right, but for the wrong reasons? How do you know when he's right for the right reasons?

Re:Torvalds is true to form.... (1)

bobbied (2522392) | about 3 months ago | (#47715263)

perhaps you can enlighten us as to why he's wrong

I never said he was wrong... Only that he's true to form..

So he's right, but for the wrong reasons? How do you know when he's right for the right reasons?

Boy, you just insist on reading into my post what's not there, twice now. I think you are doing it on purpose....

Torvalds is right... I just find it amusing that he is quoted to be blaming somebody else and being "True to form." Clear yet?

Re:Torvalds is true to form.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47714897)

Stable ABI at the very least.

Re:Torvalds is true to form.... (-1, Troll)

macs4all (973270) | about 3 months ago | (#47714945)

perhaps you can enlighten us as to why he's wrong, and what the linux kernel has to do to better support desktop environments?

How about "Coalesce into the 'One True Distro(tm)' "? At least for the Desktop.

Seriously. The problem is, there isn't just one "Linux", but rather a plethora of "Linuces".

So, from the (non-Kernel) Developer POV, it's just like the horseshit that goes on in HTML to support multiple browsers.

Until the DESKTOP Linux babies quite thinking they have "THEWay", there will NEVER be significant outside (that is, outside of the Linux-Cult Community) Application Development. Period.

Re:Torvalds is true to form.... (1)

armanox (826486) | about 3 months ago | (#47714993)

As the GP said though, what does that have to do with Linus and his kernel?

Re:Torvalds is true to form.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47715081)

You have absolutely no fucking idea what you are talking about.

Re:Torvalds is true to form.... (3, Interesting)

WaywardGeek (1480513) | about 3 months ago | (#47715021)

It's GNU/Linux's fault. Android, still based on Linux, could likely win the desktop if Google got their act together and stopped pushing ChromeOS. Notice how my binary applications run on *very* many Android devices without recompilation, even when I write in C using the NDK. Notice how Android does not introduce bugs in my applications by swapping in a buggy shared library which I never tested. Notice how nearly impossible it is to publish a GNU/Linux app in comparison. In one case, you just publish your app to Google and wait a day or so. Notice how my app simply installs in a comparitavely secure jailed directory rather than having to disperse crap all over the file system. For Linux, you need to write and test different and binary incompatible installatoin packages for RedHat, Arch, Debian, Suse, then wait a few years for your package to be accepted and migrate from unstable to testing to stable, and even then you don't run everywhere.

Just freaking stupid.... year of the GNU/Linux Desktop my butt!

On a completely unrelated note, WTF is up with the new slashdot site? I had the newly dumbed-down ads disabled with a check-box. The check box is gone, and the ads are back, and dumber than ever! I miss the days of Barracuda ads that made sense on slashdot. The new ones aren't targeted at geeks at all.

Re:Torvalds is true to form.... (1)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | about 3 months ago | (#47715069)

Yes. In other news it isn't your Doctors fault you're stupid.

Re:Torvalds is true to form.... (2)

orasio (188021) | about 3 months ago | (#47715213)

It's not his fault.
Linux is a kernel, an a great one at that.
GNU is a desktop, and isn't dominant right now, but it's very popular among large groups of users, some corporate included.

Oh, the timing... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47714789)

Working out of a coffee shop - just hit the slashdot page when one of the passer-bys looked over my shoulder and said "Slashdot? Is that site still around? Are they still talking about the Year of Linux on the Desktop?" ... and then we noticed the first story simultaneously...

Re:Oh, the timing... (5, Funny)

namgge (777284) | about 3 months ago | (#47715011)

And a techie's definition of 'working', i.e. drinking coffee and reading slashdot is still the same too.

Re:Oh, the timing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47715313)

Of course: that's why I still read Slashdot :)

Re:Oh, the timing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47715231)

It's not as much a timing issue as it is a basic statistic question begging to be answered. How many times passers-by overlook a Slashdot screen per year, how many times they recognize it for what it is, and say what your one said to you, and how many times there happens to be a "Year of the GNU/Linux Desktop" headline...

There's also to account for the eventuality your passer-by actually was looking at Slashdot on his own, between the time the headline hit, and the time he came to you, having noticed you were on it too.

And of course, you may have invented all of it. Although it sure would not change anything to the possibility of the same story actually happening 2.47 times a year.

In fact, I do remember reading something similar maybe three or four years ago...

Re:Oh, the timing... (1)

geekmux (1040042) | about 3 months ago | (#47715283)

Working out of a coffee shop - just hit the slashdot page when one of the passer-bys looked over my shoulder and said "Slashdot? Is that site still around? Are they still talking about the Year of Linux on the Desktop?" ... and then we noticed the first story simultaneously...

You should have just told them that Linus is looking to give Duke Nukem Forever a run for the record. I'm sure they remember that one too.

Chrome OS or Android (1)

Henriok (6762) | about 3 months ago | (#47714803)

I think Chrome OS or Android is the only way to go. Both Apple and Microsoft is trying to go in the same direction, and hide all the arcane intricacies and really simplify the computing experience for the common computer user. To varying degrees of success, I must admit, but I think it's the way forward for most of the users.

Re:Chrome OS or Android (3, Insightful)

jcdr (178250) | about 3 months ago | (#47715115)

Actually Chrome OS or Android are toys compared to a full desktop experience. Gnome 3 and Unity has go into the direction of toys for simple applications resulting in the frustration if so much users that projects like XFCE and Mate get attention like never before.

Would be awesome (2)

penguinoid (724646) | about 3 months ago | (#47714819)

Would also require that people be able to run most of the apps they want in Linux. Note that though this has long been a problem, the increase in web-based apps is slowly eroding the relevance of any specific OS. Even for games, though the quality of web-based games will always be inferior. And (nearly) everyone likes to play games.

Re:Would be awesome (0)

TWX (665546) | about 3 months ago | (#47715003)

The apps will follow the proliferation of the desktop environment, as developers will write for a widely-adopted architecture.

An architecture will follow the availability of killer applications that justify using that OS/machine when there's a need.

Right now Linux doesn't really have either, as far as desktops go, and even in server architecture a generation of Microsoft users-turned-admins are looking to Redmond for server solutions even though the underlying OS is less reliable, because point-and-click.

Linux could own the desktop... (4, Interesting)

WaywardGeek (1480513) | about 3 months ago | (#47714827)

All Google has to do is dump that stupid steaming pile called ChromeOS, and admit that Android wins. A desktop customized version of Android (complete with a real desktop) is still based on Linux (at least Google's fork of it), already has hundreds of thousands of apps, and could be better in nearly every way than Windows or Mac OS-X in 2 years, IMO.

The other broken OS, GNU/Linux, needs a major overhaul before it will ever be popular among anyone but geeks who are willing to accept that their OS is hostile to sharing new apps, or too blinded by fan-boy-ism to notice. I write this from my Ubuntu laptop, where my code contributions are far lower than Android or even Windows, even though I put in most of my effort here. It's just easier to publish an Android app. It's even easier to publish software for Windows. If Mark Shuttleworth were just a bit smarter, I think he'd realize he needs to abandon managing .deb packages and start this whole mess over based on a more git-like aproach. He's done a lot in that direction - user PPAs for example, but it's still not there. No RPM or .deb based Linux OS will ever become the basis for the Year of the Linux Desktop.

Re:Linux could own the desktop... (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 3 months ago | (#47714973)

Chrome OS and Android are different things that have a different focus.

" needs a major overhaul"
what needs top be overhauled?
Publishing apps for Linux is trivial? Or do you mean having a company that can hold you hand?

Re:Linux could own the desktop... (1)

rasmusbr (2186518) | about 3 months ago | (#47715083)

If that's the case, then why is it that every single time I find out about some interesting software I have to jump through all sorts of hoops to get a reasonably up to date version of that software?

This is on the latest version of Ubuntu.

Re:Linux could own the desktop... (1)

NotInHere (3654617) | about 3 months ago | (#47715025)

True, its too hard for most new open source software to become accepted by debian. I like it rather this way than the microsoft app store way: full of scamware. That doesn't mean I like it the way it is right now. I agree think that desktop linux is only something for geeks and the only-mail-and-internet grandma. Still I use kubuntu.

KDE shouldn't waste their resources to redesign with every release, but they should rather work on exposing more system features through the GUI, and make it more stable. The average user shouldn't need to use the console.

And I want... (1)

prisoner-of-enigma (535770) | about 3 months ago | (#47714829)

And I want a week long orgy with the Victoria's Secret supermodels, but I'm intelligent to know the likelihood of that happening is pretty damned small. Linus should be exhorbitantly happy Linux has made the inroads it has in the server and mobile markets. Desktop, if it ever does follow, will probably not resemble "desktop" as we now know it.

Well, you have mine. (2)

doti (966971) | about 3 months ago | (#47714841)

My desktop computer at home is running Linux for more than a decade now.

Re:Well, you have mine. (1)

bswarm (2540294) | about 3 months ago | (#47714909)

Since 9.04!

Re:Well, you have mine. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47714929)

You should reboot more often than that.

Re:Well, you have mine. (1)

Flavianoep (1404029) | about 3 months ago | (#47714959)

Without never shutting down or rebooting? O.o

Re:Well, you have mine. (4, Funny)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | about 3 months ago | (#47715099)

Yes. Without never shutting down or rebooting.

Re:Well, you have mine. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47715325)

Without never shutting down or rebooting? O.o

Well, yeah. This is Linux we're talking about, meanwhile as a Windows user I have to deal with these stupid blue scre

Re:Well, you have mine. (1)

jasno (124830) | about 3 months ago | (#47715043)

Yep... and my work machine as well. It all depends on the apps you use. If you are like most people nowadays and only need a web browser then Linux is probably sufficient as a desktop OS.

I should admit that my work desktop does host a windows 7 VM, but that's only because my company chose an IE-only solution for our timetracking tool.

Re:Well, you have mine. (1)

spacefight (577141) | about 3 months ago | (#47715153)

Right, so is mine. Even though a fresh Ubunutu 14.04 install is still not handling multi monitor setups flawless, and by that I mean that I don't want fullscreen video on the other screen from where it launched, same with gtk apps, wrong QT tooltip color schemes and what not....

Linux has already had 10 years of the Desktop (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47714853)

Been using Linux exclusively as a traditional desktop for over a decade.
Today the problem with Linux taking over the Desktop is mostly bundling linux and apps.

Re:Linux has already had 10 years of the Desktop (1)

TWX (665546) | about 3 months ago | (#47715063)

You meant, "bungling", right?

I've seen several apps and window managers "get it right" only to jump the shark when updated.

Linux has already had 10 years of the Desktop (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47715125)

And user lethargy as well as outside org dependencies sometimes.

We move users from Windows to Linux all the time now. The only internal problems are around users giving it a good college try to learn and integrate. A good number of our clients have external LARGE entities they are beholden to that force them into the hands of Office.

Outside of that, it's a done deal already.

Linux fanboys ftw (2)

rcht148 (2872453) | about 3 months ago | (#47714875)

We Are the Linux fanboys.
You Will be Assimilated.
Resistance is Futile.

- Linux fanboy :)

Re:Linux fanboys ftw (1)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | about 3 months ago | (#47715109)

I'll grant you that M$ now claims to embrace Open Source, but they haven't taken it that far ... yet.

Oh it'll happen... (3, Interesting)

MikeRT (947531) | about 3 months ago | (#47714887)

The day that the various desktop environments decide to cut out the middlemen. When I can go grab an official KDE install disk that gives me a polished KDE experience with the latest kernel and Wayland from kde.org, that's the day Windows will start really hurting. Then I can say to my relatives "Linux? Just go get KDE" and there'll be no confusion anymore. If it's KDE compatible, it's KDE compatible. Load the binary, off you go. Just like OS X and Windows.

Re:Oh it'll happen... (4, Interesting)

armanox (826486) | about 3 months ago | (#47715053)

They used to have a link to an OpenSuSE live CD to do just that (well, with XFree86/X.Org. Wayland isn't a priority for KDE). It would appear that is no longer present on the site. Also, KDE doesn't really care to be Linux - they target UNIX compatible systems (AIX, FreeBSD). GNOME, on the other hand, wants to be just Linux, and is largely in bed with the Fedora Project.

Re:Oh it'll happen... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47715249)

I guess that explains the half-assedness of GNOME, and why I'm using KDE on my Ubuntu desktop at work (and why I keep using it on my FreeBSD desktop at home).

Re:Oh it'll happen... (3, Insightful)

Zero__Kelvin (151819) | about 3 months ago | (#47715205)

"The day that the various desktop environments decide to cut out the middlemen."

Right. Because a Window Manager is the OS. All that threading, management of processes, filesystems and the like are just uneeded cruft!

"Then I can say to my relatives "Linux? Just go get KDE" and there'll be no confusion anymore. If it's KDE compatible, it's KDE compatible."

You have what you are asking for available today. You just don't know which distribution to recommend. Your recommendation to relatives should be: "Find someone with a clue and they can help you." Your problem is that you are pretending to have when, when you actually don't

Give your relatives a computer sans OS and try recommending : "Just go get Windows!" and see how far they get before they ask Which version? Home? Premium? 7? What is this Server 2008? Or should I get Server 2012? Maybe I want MS-SQL? What's the difference between 32 bit and 64 bit? How many Gigabytes should be CPU be? The Hard Drive is the box with all the cables coming out, right?

Am I Missing Something? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47714889)

I've been using Linux as my desktop system successfully and happily for over 10 years. My productivity, aside from a few small areas, beats anything I can accomplish on an MS Windows machine.

What, then, am I missing? What is this "Linux desktop" that everyone claims is not yet here?

Re:Am I Missing Something? (1)

thoriumbr (1152281) | about 3 months ago | (#47715085)

What, then, am I missing? What is this "Linux desktop" that everyone claims is not yet here?

Yes, you are missing something...

I am a Linux desktop user since 2001. Things now are way better than then, when ./configure && make && sudo make install where required to almost anything. When drivers where a problem, and other quirks.

But the Year of Linux on Destop will happen when Linux marketshare hits double digits. When you see hardware with stickers featuring a small penguin and "Linux compatible" bellow it. Before that, there's no Linux on mainstream desktop.

When Linux ceases to being "nerd's operational system", we would be there. But not yet.

But with Microsoft messing up with every OS release, tablets and phones dominating even the console area, web apps doing almost everything, and the PC market disappearing, I think we will be there soon. As soon as we realize that the desktop market is not that important anymore...

And Russia wants to be the USSR again ...... (2)

who_stole_my_kidneys (1956012) | about 3 months ago | (#47714891)

Neither are going to happen, so move along and focus on something that CAN happen.

Easy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47714905)

All someone needs to do is make a F/OSS version of the XP desktop - with all the functionality.

User: "Gee, I can have an up to date 'Windows XP' like computer without having to buy a Windows 8 machine? Sign me up!"

And I mean, they start it up and the desktop is almost identical to a XP machine - the 'almost' is for not being able to use the 'Microsoft' name or other trademarked names.

Desktop? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47714907)

Figure out how to stop the need to drop into command prompt and mess with Grep etc... we can talk desktop after that.

careful what you wish for (5, Funny)

slashdice (3722985) | about 3 months ago | (#47714923)

Linux "won" mobile in the same way Michael Moore "won" the war on anorexia.

Re:careful what you wish for (1)

geekoid (135745) | about 3 months ago | (#47714983)

SInce the vast majority of in use devices run and Linux variant, I'm not sure of you point.

Re:careful what you wish for (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about 3 months ago | (#47714985)

> Linux "won" mobile in the same way Michael Moore "won" the war on anorexia.

So then what's the bit in that analogy of yours that corresponds to Microsoft's failed attempts to dominate? Or Apple's faultering position?

"Year of the Linux Desktop" is... (1)

Flavianoep (1404029) | about 3 months ago | (#47714979)

... a dead joke, isn't it?

Re:"Year of the Linux Desktop" is... (1)

Cid Highwind (9258) | about 3 months ago | (#47715105)

Maybe, has Netcraft confirmed it yet?

It's not a kernel problem (5, Interesting)

91degrees (207121) | about 3 months ago | (#47715001)

Successful desktop operating systems have been based on various kernels. Apple used a pretty crummy one before switching to a BSD derived one. The Atari ST and Commodore Amiga each used their own, and they had certain success in their niches.

The problem is the GUI. People don't like X, and Linux people have no desire to give us anything else. Engineers and enthusiasts may well argue that it's better from various objective reasons but the end user doesn't care. They use it and they think it sucks. Perhaps the problem is that it still pretty much needs the shell. Perhaps it's large, slow and clunky. Perhaps it's the poor support for games.

Android doesn't have these problems because the developers didn't cripple themselves with X. TiVos and Tomtoms (before switching to Android) used Linux without X and people were quite happy with them.

Give us a nice, simple, standard GUI without a bazillion customisations, and with the ability to to just install an app from the GUI and run it from the GUI, and Linux might actually work on the desktop.

Re:It's not a kernel problem (3, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | about 3 months ago | (#47715137)

> The problem is the GUI. People don't like X

A stupid noisy minority of techno-hipsters don't like X. For the rest of us it's invisible and no more bothersome than the graphics subsystem on any other platform.

The problem with your rant is that the still marginal market share of Apple refutes it. Linux in other forms was able to gain traction because of lack of an entrenched monopoly (or being the monopoly).

Apple demonstrates that applying the "one true way" approach to the desktop won't help you get away from Microsoft.

So there's no real point in sabotaging Linux just to suit some delusion that ignores reality on the ground.

Re:It's not a kernel problem (1)

orasio (188021) | about 3 months ago | (#47715349)

Give us a nice, simple, standard GUI without a bazillion customisations, and with the ability to to just install an app from the GUI and run it from the GUI, and Linux might actually work on the desktop.

You can find all of that at http://www.ubuntu.com/download/desktop/ [ubuntu.com] .
Millions of people are already using it, for years now.
The only challenge it might have, is that it complies with the simplicity and ease of use you demand. But that's for hardcore users to care about, and they have alternatives.

Comparable GUI experience (1)

buckfeta2014 (3700011) | about 3 months ago | (#47715009)

I had linux on my desktop for several years at one point. I wasn't a huge gnome fan, but kde 3.x was a pretty decent experience. Then gnome and kde nastified their GUIs and I was left without a decent GUI. Xfce was close, but it's not mature enough in my opinion. So windows 7 it is. I still use linux on servers.

Re:Comparable GUI experience (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47715281)

Try Gnome Flashback [gnome.org] for a proper desktop. Gnome 3 is garbage

Linux will NEVER be a Desktop - Every Day OS. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47715017)

Linux is was not, and is not meant to be anything but a hobby OS for someones spare time, or a companies spare time that they can develop a UI for and deploy their own flavors (android, Red Hat, Ubuntu, etc.) Linux is far too complicated for the everyday user to understand. Even something as simple as entering a static IP address sometimes requires going back to the terminal windows (command prompt) and setting it the hard way. And THAT's the problem with Linux! It was never meant to be a GUI OS just like it's parent, UNIX. It reminds me of the DOS days with Windows running on top of DOS. There are WAYYYYY too many files in Linux for a human to possibly remember by hand. The drivers for Linux SUCK and that's because it's an open source OS and there's no one "single" distro.

I could go on, and on, and on. It's just NEVER going to be an everyday Desktop OS because of these basic issues that it was born with.

You want an Everyday OS? Create one that's built with a GUI in mind from the ground up.

There are too many linux distros for desktop to (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 3 months ago | (#47715029)

There are too many linux distros for desktop to work good also package maintenance needs to be more windows like.

Where as you can install 3rd party apps with out braking stuff / have them be able to point to / bundle with the needed run times with out them needed to be part of the main app store / package manger system.

  As well being able to have things like use ones that are build for package manger systems. Like on windows as you can use app that use install shield, Installer VISE, apple update, Windows Installer, etc side by side without hitting major Dependency hell

Infrastructure? (1)

Loopy (41728) | about 3 months ago | (#47715033)

He mentions something in the article about devs having newer hardware and everyone else having older stuff. That's a point, to be sure, but in my experience, there's enough info on the web to make fixing drivers doable. The bar to adoption is mostly user interface design. Lack of offline help, inconsistent UI guidelines, inconsistent context-menu-access, difficulty in figuring out why you can't enable certain options (because the GUI doesn't tell you that other options are available with a package download), inconsistent hotkeys, etc. On any windows machine, I can blindly press a few keystrokes and both launch apps and navigate their menus. Not to mention that menus and common buttons are almost always in the same place and look pretty much the same.

My family has expressed lots of consternation over some of the changes even within the Windows ecosystem (start menu layout changes, control panel layout/submenu changes, Office quickbar, etc.).

But instead, we're focused on the latest new shiny thing rather than making it all work consistently and intuitively. I mostly use bash consoles so I don't really bother with the GUI but you'll never get anywhere by trying to revert today's typical OOOSHINY wanna-be nerd to use that when they can just pay a few hundred extra bucks and get something that does the same thing the same way every time they click or tap in a specific spot.

kernel does crash on desktop (1)

short (66530) | about 3 months ago | (#47715047)

While Linux kernel is solid on servers for whatever reason on desktop it always was crashing and/or required occasional reboots. Flashdisks plugging/unplugging creates allocated un-unmountable devices. Desktop machines just randomly reboot. Screen occasionally goes black or garbage forever (it may be X bug). Keyboard becomes unresponsible. OOM problems where the system locks up or some fundamental process gets killed. etc.

Re:kernel does crash on desktop (1)

rasmusbr (2186518) | about 3 months ago | (#47715251)

While Linux kernel is solid on servers for whatever reason on desktop it always was crashing and/or required occasional reboots. Flashdisks plugging/unplugging creates allocated un-unmountable devices. Desktop machines just randomly reboot. Screen occasionally goes black or garbage forever (it may be X bug). Keyboard becomes unresponsible. OOM problems where the system locks up or some fundamental process gets killed. etc.

Do you have a swap partition and is it reasonably large? A lot of strange stuff can happen if you decide you don't need a swap partition (think again), or if you use a really small swap partition, i.e. 2GB.

Re:kernel does crash on desktop (1)

rasmusbr (2186518) | about 3 months ago | (#47715265)

That should read smaller than 2GB. 4 gigs is usually a good size.

Apple as a model (4, Insightful)

LessThanObvious (3671949) | about 3 months ago | (#47715051)

Apple's success is an interesting model for what it would take to make Linux mainstream on the desktop. The average non-techie Apple user doesn't know or care that there is BSD running beneath the GUI or that a UNIX command line even exists on their Mac. Granted there is a legacy there where people are already comfortable with the idea of a Mac being a legitimate alternative to the Windows PC, but it is the seamless user friendly GUI and fully developed application ecosystem that make it desirable. The argument can be made that Ubuntu and maybe others are pretty usable and are getting close to mainstream useability, but we aren't quite there yet. Until there is a GUI that is so fully featured and bulletproof that the user never needs to do anything at the command line to achieve reasonable efficiency at all common tasks and the application ecosystem is developed to have decent parity with current mainstream OS in use, Linux doesn't stand a chance in the desktop. I'm not sure that the financial payoff is there for any business to undertake the investment needed, but I certainly hope we get there someday.

Re:Apple as a model (1, Redundant)

jedidiah (1196) | about 3 months ago | (#47715229)

Apple's success is hardly a good model for Linux. Despite a great deal of effort, having a GUI platform that nearly predates MS-DOS, having a BRAND that does predate MS-DOS, lots of focused resources, effective advertising, Super Bowl ads, and even dedicated stores they still only managed to eek out a small minority of the market.

Apple's current success is based on NOT being a computing company.

If anything, Apple is a pretty conclusive demonstration of how "doing everything right" will really get you nowhere in the desktop market.

As far as non-technical users go. Apple products are just quirky enough to be annoying and off putting.

It's in the pipeline (1)

tyggna (1405643) | about 3 months ago | (#47715139)

Dividing out compute functions into mobile devices might have been the key to this happening. Tablets/smartphones do a lot of the leisure activities associated with computers, and can do some of the minor business features too.

This means that, increasingly so, the market for desktop computers will be for heavy business uses, and for heavy gaming. The marginal stuff will move to mobile as it's able to.

The day the Linux desktop comes is when it becomes easier for the majority of people to use Linux in the office than the alternative.

So, how is that going? What are some of the heavy-use applications that will likely never move away from a desktop computer?

Office applications - Openoffice and libreoffice are considered a viable alternatives to Microsoft Office. The fact that you can write macros in python gives the FOSS stuff a bit of a longevity advantage as new office workers come into the labor force and don't feel like learning Visual Basic. Where it lacks is the Exchange server market, where there's no viable FOSS software to handle email, organize meetings, allocate resources, and have it all work natively with single-sign-on credentials.
Gaming - OpenGL has seen huge improvement over the years, and it gets easier to work with every release. If it isn't already equivalent to DirectX, then it's well on its way. I see OpenGL as having more potential as well, since there are more interested and intelligent parties involved with its development than DirectX. The rendering library is just one component though. You also need top-notch hardware and drivers to match. The NVidia drivers are equivalent from Linux to Windows and are pretty good, if a little unstable. The FOSS drivers for NVidia have a long way to go still, as do the ATI drivers. NVidia is on-board with maintaining Linux as diligently as Windows, but ATI tends to lag behind in that area. Most major gaming engine components already work for Linux, like Havok, or the Source engine. With Steam picking up the banner of Linux gaming, it will certainly grow more viable over time too.
Interface - This is a big one. No matter how proficient you are, this one has to be learned. Linux has hundreds of different interfaces, and all of them require some amount of training to use and customize. Windows has this one because it has been essentially the same since Windows 95, and the paradigm and prior knowledge from all previous Windows OSes tend to transfer over from release to release. The only solution to this one is making streamlined workflows a priority inside of the interface, and then training people on it. As odd as this might sound, I think the best candidate for Linux gaining more ground on the PC interface is a window manager that focuses on ease of user customization, rather than ease of use. For me, that's fluxbox or openbox, with xfce making strong ground. Teaching people how to edit a text file and customize their menus and hotkeys takes me about 10-20 minutes, and the person learning it usually can get far enough with it to make it their own after an hour or two of use. Add in a program that turns your interface into a drag-and-drop to customize mode that's easy to use and it might start making some serious ground. I mean, Linux's real interface is the command line, and bash largely put to rest our ancient shell holy war. Once we can intelligently combine the advantages of gnome, kde, and xfce (which are the three biggest contenders for user space) and make all these paradigms work together, then we'll be on track for taking the desktop.
Anyways, just my two cents.

Linus does not understand the size of the effort (3, Interesting)

sproketboy (608031) | about 3 months ago | (#47715197)

Microsoft probably has somewhere between 6 and 20 thousand engineers working on device drivers for various windows versions out there making about 80k a pop. Sorry but Linux simply does not have these kinds of resources. It would be nice but I don't see it happening.

Windows 8 (1)

Dwedit (232252) | about 3 months ago | (#47715223)

Windows 8 basically handed Linux an opportunity on a silver platter. Now they just need to make the desktop significantly better than what Microsoft is currently offering.

Linux people do what they do because they... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47715329)

hate Windows. We do what we do because we love unix. --Theo de Raadt.

It's the applications stupid (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47715351)

When it's as easy to develop and deploy an application on Linux as it is on Windows then it can be the year of the Linux desktop and not before. The notion that I should spend my time creating rpm and deb packages instead of working on my application is absurd.

For most applications the Windows the installer is a simple thing that can be created in a couple of hours. In Linux land creating installers is a difficult, painful, and time consuming job. A waste of scarce resources that has little or no value. I won't waste my time on it.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?