back to article YEAR of the PENGUIN: A Linux mobile in 2015?

It's nearly impossible to sum up an entire year of developments in something as large and nebulous as the world of desktop Linux, especially in a year like this one which has seen some the best releases that projects like Mint, Fedora and openSUSE have put out to date. At the same time the distro that's closest to being a …

  1. Warm Braw Silver badge

    SystemD

    I know its detractors claim it's turning Linux into Windows, but surely they've not eliminated case-sensitivity?

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: SystemD

        FreeBSD - is that a daemon for Free BS?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: SystemD

      Possible confusion with the French term "Système D" which means to kludge a solution together with whatever you have to hand, McGyver-style? Not so inapproriate for Linux, really...

  2. LaeMing Silver badge
    Linux

    Linux and its OSS cousins will likely be the last desktop environments

    Which doesn't they are going anywhere, possibly ever*. Just as the workstation-class machines of yore generally ran on some Unix variant or other, the workstation-class machines of fore (needed to produce a good chunk of the nifty stuff for the populist phablet platforms to consume) will still be around long after the mainstream commercial space has largely abandoned the sector as too niche and low-margin to be worth their effort. At that point, the free *nixes may be the only ongoing choice left in which case we (including the phablet-based consumers of workstation-created content) will be glad the OSS options are in fit shape for task.

    *for certain values of 'ever' only

  3. Andy Non

    Very pleased with Linux

    Having made the leap to Linux Mint Cinnamon this year away from Windows; I'm very pleased with my choice. Originally I tried Kubuntu but it was a bit too clunky for my tastes. Cinnamon just seems so smooth and comfortable to use and has all the customisation I need to refine the experience that bit more.

    I won't ever be going back to Windows and if I buy any new hardware with Windows on it, the first thing I'll do is make it dual boot and leave Windows there as an unused relic; with Linux as my primary operating system.

    I hope (proper) Linux reaches the mobile / tablet. I'd be very interested in such a beast.

    1. Grifter

      Re: Very pleased with Linux

      I'm sorry your logic escapes me, you've decided to never run win again, yet say if you get a device with win on it, you'll leave it there... what? Better to format the disk and reclaim the unused space, yes?

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: Very pleased with Linux

        I think that's a "just in case" maneuver, in case there is a need for an essential Windows-only software that's not WINE-friendly.

        1. Andy Non

          Re: Very pleased with Linux

          Disk space doesn't tend to be so much of an issue nowadays; there is room to leave a minimal installation of Windows. I've not had recourse to use Wine for anything yet; however, I'd leave Windows in place just in case I had a critical need for something that was not available (yet) under Linux or that subsequently ceased to function. The example springing to mind of Skype, which I use to call relatives abroad. Not just those with a computer but those without, as Skype allows me to call land line numbers too. This feature is important as I no longer have a land line myself. Since Microsoft took over Skype the Linux version hasn't been updated in aeons and there is always the possibility that Microsoft could discontinue connections to the Skype network from Linux or maybe someone will find a critical security bug in the old Linux version of Skype, rendering it too risky to use.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Very pleased with Linux

            Yes when I made the switch last year, I also kept my Windows partition as a "safety net".

            When using Linux, disk space just isn't as much of an issue (my OS+apps and data are separate); the entire OS probably takes less space than a default install of Visual Studio.

            When I hadn't booted it for about 6 months I then realised it was more a "safety blanket", so I killed it - just to make a point to myself. I felt slightly better, and a little more free. A little bit like deleting your ex's number.

            1. Captain Hogwash Silver badge

              Re: deleting your ex's number.

              You're a brave soul. Much better to keep it in your blacklist and remove the risk of answering what your memory will soon reduce to an unidentified number.

              1. e^iπ+1=0

                Re: deleting your ex's number.

                This doesn't work if your ex uses burner phones to reach out to you.

          2. Grifter

            Re: Very pleased with Linux

            @Andy Non

            Aha I misunderstood then, I took your statement to never run win again as literal =)

            I haven't used skype in forever, and with microsoft's acquisition I'm expecting the guillotine to come down on the linux version any day; in the meantime there are alternatives though I have not tried these myself, does anyone have experience with things like "Viber" and "Brosix" for voice/video communication (specifically relating to the linux platform)?

      2. getHandle

        Re: Very pleased with Linux

        There's always someone producing stuff the kids want to use that only runs on Windows and sometimes Mac. Looking at you VTech...

        1. vagabondo
          Unhappy

          Re: There's always someone

          Yup! This is year-end time and HMRC insist that Corporation Tax returns have to be made using a version of Adobe Acrobat Readerthat is only available for some versions of MS and Apple OSs. So much for the Cabinet Offices "open standards".

      3. AndyS

        Re: Very pleased with Linux

        Better to format the disk and reclaim the unused space, yes?

        At the back of my garage, on the wall, I've got a collection of old number plates.

        Undoubtedly they are useless. They're a waste of space really. But I keep them there because, well... It's not much space, and I've got plenty. And I don't need the space for anything else. And they hold some memories. And maybe, just maybe, they will be useful for something one day.

        Maybe similar?

        1. frank ly Silver badge

          @AndyS Re: Very pleased with Linux

          I've got a collection of very nice empty cardboard boxes in my garage and lots of wood offcuts. I _know_ they'll be useful one day.

      4. Jack of Shadows Silver badge
        WTF?

        Re: Very pleased with Linux

        I can't speak for anyone else but drives are plentiful so why unnecessarily kill Windows? Are you something of a barbarian arsonist? Simply reduce it to a postage stamp and ignore it would be my approach. Having looked at the direction Microsoft is headed, one having no value, I'm having a bake off here with pretty much every option under consideration. However, just as I haven't burned my bridges with legacy Windows, let alone non-compatible OS's, Windows 7 & 8.1U1 will be available as a VM and a small bootable partition. I just finished standing up a 15 TB array so space isn't a premium here but even my laptop with a 500 GB drive has excess space. Lots of excess space. So I have to wonder what is driving your zeal around reclaiming every byte possible. Hmmm?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Very pleased with Linux

          Apart from Pulse audio .....aaargh.

          1. Roadcrew
            Happy

            Re: Very pleased with Linux.... Apart from Pulse audio ....

            I'd have agreed with that some 18 months ago, but then was pointed at the excellent Pulse Audio Volume Control (pavucontrol) which does more than the label on the box. Fixes all our probs, might help yours?

      5. e^iπ+1=0

        Re: Very pleased with Linux

        'Better to format the disk and reclaim the unused space, yes?'

        I always find it curiously satisfying to wipe away the included Windows installation.

        The only times recently I've needed Windows for something was an archaic tool to reflash a couple of old Android phones, and that was probably almost 2 years ago.

        1. druck Silver badge
          Happy

          Re: Very pleased with Linux

          I like leaving the Windows partition on there, and running it up in a VM occasionally, so I can laugh at it.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Very pleased with Linux

      "if I buy any new hardware with Windows on it, the first thing I'll do is make it dual boot and leave Windows there as an unused relic; with Linux as my primary operating system."

      You may find that Windows Genuine Disadvantage no longer likes you doing this. I've been doing it for years (since Suse 8 and NT4 or thereabouts), but on two recently acquired and more recently dual-booted Windows 7 laptops, now that I've repartitioned, the nice WGA thing tells me I'm not running genuine Windows. It hasn't stopped me using it (yet).

      Just sayin', like.

    3. Lars Silver badge
      Linux

      Re: Very pleased with Linux

      Silverlight is a piece of shit still used by some sites that does not run on Linux. Incidentally you can use the space in a Windows partition from Linux, no problem at all. I do, however, understand those who feel it's a problem to choose which distro to use. My advice is to put what ever distro on a R/W DVD or a stick and try it out with no stress. It will of course be slower if you run Linux from a DVD. You will have to understand what to do in the setup to make the PC boot from say a DVD, of course (ask).

      And even if you are a happy Windows user it's not a dumb idea to have a Linux on a stick if you are one of those who sometimes have to use a PC out of home. A lot safer that way. Part of the fun with Linux was in fact this possibility to compare and try different distros.

      1. James 51 Silver badge

        Re: Very pleased with Linux

        Re: silverlight there is a kludge out there to get it to run on firefox. It's how I watch prime on ubuntu. Does tend to crash the plug in if you leave it paused for a while though.

      2. JEDIDIAH
        Linux

        Re: Very pleased with Linux

        Silverlight runs on Linux through a layer of WINE. Crossover office did this years ago with the Quicktime plugin when Apple had it's little short lived (Sorenson) codec monopoly.

        If your machine is beefy enough and you can't quite get yourself to erase Windows, then turn it into a VM and run it in Virtualbox or VMware.

  4. AndyS

    Year of Linux on the Mobile

    Isn't it a few years since Android (you know, Linux) became the world's number one mobile operating system?

    OK, it's a bit dressed up, but shouldn't the article have mentioned that?

    1. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese Silver badge

      Re: Year of Linux on the Mobile

      Exactly what I was thinking.

      I remember asking a questionin these forums a while ago, about the profileration of different distos - to cut a long story short, the answer was that if the OS/distro was built around a Linux kernel, then it was Linux, regardless of whether it was actually Debian, Ubuntu, Mint or, in this case, Android.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Year of Linux on the Mobile

        I agree that Android is Linux, but it is rather different from the others as Android does not even pretend to be POSIX-compliant: there's no /bin/sh, for example, and Android apps are not executables, and Android has its own special kind of interprocess communication. If you were going to make up a classification tree then you'd probably put Android on its own branch coming off the root. You might then split the rest into non-glibc (various embedded systems used in satnavs, routers, ...) and glibc (where you'd put Debian and Ubuntu and so on but probably also lots of exotic and embedded systems).

  5. petur
    Unhappy

    Sorted the desktop out?

    It's a fragmented mess, getting worse by the year... We used to have the gnome/KDE camps - look what we ended with now: gnome/unity/cinnamon/MATE/KDE/...

    1. AndyS

      Re: Sorted the desktop out?

      Yes, the car market is the same - there's Ford, Vauxhaul, BMW, Peugeot/Citroen, Porche, Audi, Skoda, Nissan, Toyota...

      It's a complete mess. If only there was only one, it would be so much easier.

      1. Stuart 22
        Happy

        Re: Sorted the desktop out?

        "Yes, the car market is the same - there's Ford, Vauxhaul, BMW, Peugeot/Citroen, Porche, Audi, Skoda, Nissan, Toyota...

        It's a complete mess. If only there was only one, it would be so much easier."

        Don't they all have a start button?

        1. AndyS

          Re: Sorted the desktop out?

          Don't they all have a start button?

          Well mine does, but my wife's has a small piece of metal encased in a plastic container, which needs inserted and rotated in a special receptical. Buses tend to start with a simple rocker switch. The telehandler on the farm has a ratating switch, and the two tractors are different again. One of them even has 5 pedals, and the accelerator is duplicated in a hand-operated stick!

          Honestly, I don't know why they can't all just be the same. It's a complete mess of proliferating standards (each of which fill their own niche well, while bringing competition and rapid development to their respective markets - but let's not get bogged down.)

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Sorted the desktop out?

          Yeah, I agree. I would be a damn site easier if car manufacturers consolidated down to just a couple of vendors. And it would make even more sense if those couple of vendors finally forced through some commonality of UI. Like making the indicators/windscreen wipers operate in the same manner globally. There are too many car manufacturers, we need less.

    2. phuzz Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Sorted the desktop out?

      You're right, we need ONE standard linux, that will work out just fine.

    3. John Doe 6

      Re: Sorted the desktop out?

      But I still can run Gnome application in KDE and vice versa... so You choose your environment but it does not limit your choice of applications.

      1. petur
        FAIL

        Re: Sorted the desktop out?

        "But I still can run Gnome application in KDE and vice versa... so You choose your environment but it does not limit your choice of applications."

        I'm amazed by the downvotes...

        And mixing the environments isn't as nice as you think, some stuff works, but the mix of client side decorations and server side decorations results in a horrible experience.

        Opening a reference to a file from an application build for one environment to another one? No go.You might as well run two VMs next to each other....

        1. JEDIDIAH
          Devil

          Re: Sorted the desktop out?

          > Opening a reference to a file from an application build for one environment to another one? No go.You might as well run two VMs next to each other....

          I am not even sure what that's supposed to mean. It sounds like gibberish.

          Meanwhile, I have always ignored the naysayers to great effect.

          1. petur

            Re: Sorted the desktop out?

            I'm talking about one filemanager having no clue how to open a file because the tool is part of another DE - best they can do is let you hunt for the correct binary in /usr/bin

            I'm talking about each DE picking a different place to mount network locations

            A nice examples: AcetoneISO - a GUI for easy ISO mounting. It even offers a selection to pick your filemanager (fixed selection, too bad if you use another one), this causes the ISO to mount in a different location to try to fix this confusion of end users.

            If we're going to talk 'year of the desktop', stuff should work together.

            All systems I have setup for linux newbies, I have made sure NOT to mix DE apps

            Go ahead, ignore the issues and downvote some more. You downvoters clearly are not using linux everyday :/

            1. ricegf
              FAIL

              Re: Sorted the desktop out?

              My first thought on reading your comment was "AcetoneISO? What the heck is that?" I've used Linux full-time at home since 2000, and mostly at work since 2011, and I've never even heard of it.

              Found it on Sourceforge (I remember Sourceforge!). Last release was 18 months ago (!). 332 total downloads EVER. Says this about itself: "It is a feature-rich and complete software application to manage CD/DVD images. AcetoneISO will let You mount typical proprietary images formats of the Windows world such as ISO BIN NRG MDF IMG and do plenty of other things."

              So... It's a little-maintained app that deals with obscure optical media formats, which most people have probably never even HEARD of.

              So tell me - have you honestly never seen a badly written Windows shareware application? THAT'S what you picked as an example of "what's wrong with Linux"?

              Sheesh!

            2. itzman
              Facepalm

              Re: Sorted the desktop out?

              I use linux daily, but I dont randomly mount filesystems from the gui,

              I hard mount the home server and have scripts to mount my cloud server and they mount the systems in defined places.

              USB mediais mounted by the OS as well,. Its not under gui control.

            3. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Sorted the desktop out?

              Stick to your distro's repository unless you have a specific need!

  6. BobChip
    Linux

    Don't write off the desktop

    While it would be silly to argue that the world is not going small screen and portable - because it is - this does not mean the end of the desktop, or it's close cousin the large screen laptop . The desktop remains the place where almost all productive work is done, such as CAD, architecture, large scale mapping, process control - just to name a few. None of these tasks work on your mobile or tablet. Do you really want to fly on an aeroplane designed by someone shuffling parts about with their fingers and thumbs on a screen the size of a mobile phone.........

    However, since MS appear determined to abandon the desktop, the way is open to Linux to underpin what may be a small(ish) but still critical sector. Which is why I use it (Mint 17) for my workstation.

    The next couple of years will be interesting.

    Small screens for consumers, large screens for producers.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Don't write off the desktop

      since MS appear determined to abandon the desktop

      Oh no... they're actually killing it. Although not on purpose.

      1. Michael Habel Silver badge

        Re: Don't write off the desktop

        Not ON PURPOSE!! Well you could have fooled me. But, I suppose this has to be the natural evolution of things for MicroSoft. I mean its One thing to bitch about (the), TIFKAM. But lets assume for just One Second that that, they'd just had been sane enough to ship Windows 8 out... Al-la Windows 7, by proxy Vista, again by proxy XP. Then everyone would have bitched about another useless re-imaging of XP again. And, no I'm not even trying to defend that POS that was otherwise known as Metro.

        Now if you look at what they've done to Office, and essentially made it a Rent-ware by removing, or stopping all support for most Off-Line versions. After nearly as many Years as XP has been 'round without any real change sans the Take-it-or-leave-it Ribbon Interface. (Personally I say LEAVE IT). How exactly do you see this as "unintentional" on their part NOT to kill the PC? When now suddenly you can run Office 365 pretty much on anything that can touch it on the Wibbles?

        Yes Coders will code, and CAD/CAM Artists will draw stuff on bulky Beige Boxes for Years to come. The Story I think isn't quite so much about that, as it is about MicroSoft's "Retail Presence" which is evaporating fast. My guess is its the XBone/Failbox360 that's got any real relevance left. Unfortunately for them though. That part of the Company is bleeding Red!

        I don't think I ever quite appreciated just how much good faith MicroSoft has lost in the time between Vista, and 8. Which no doubt has no small part in all of this. But, the fact also remains that Electricity isn't getting any cheaper. And, you Nan would probably be better off switching to a NUC, or an ARM (Linux) based SoC Computer to do the bit of browsing, Fleabay'ing, and VoIP / Video Conferencing, that She'd may go though on any given Day. No this may not be "Your Life!". But, it is still very much the larger Non-Business reality of the mid-10's. And, again MicroSoft have missed the Boat. Only problem this time... The Boat was largely overbooked anyway. So nobody will likely miss 'em when they're gone.

        Plus, the fact that you now have Office in the "Cloud" they [MicroSoft] do not actually have to be on that Boat as such. The question then becomes can Libre / Open Office step up to the task for most People. Enough so, so as not to miss the MicroSoft Office Version? I guess that's what we have yet to see.

        But the "Beige Box", by any other Colour is dead, as far as I'm concerned.

        Signed a Home Luser...

        1. Sandtitz Silver badge
          WTF?

          Re: Don't write off the desktop @M.Habel

          "Then everyone would have bitched about another useless re-imaging of XP again."

          When XP was released people bitched how it was just a prettier version of Win2000.

          "Now if you look at what they've done to Office, and essentially made it a Rent-ware by removing, or stopping all support for most Off-Line versions."

          That sentence does not compute.

          Yes, O365 needs subscription but they still do offer Office 2013 and neither needs online connectivity.

          1. Michael Habel Silver badge

            Re: Don't write off the desktop @M.Habel

            When XP was released people bitched how it was just a prettier version of Win2000.

            Well to be pedantic about this... Then why not go all the way back to Square One, and cite Windows95 then?

            Yes, O365 needs subscription but they still do offer Office 2013 and neither needs online connectivity.

            I said MOST... Not all! Then what of Office 2016 then? Do you still think for even a Second that'll ever "hit"? 'cause I don't

            To the "Power Users" out there... Its a non-issue when your Employer is flipping the Bill to keep the Lights on. Undoubtedly being such Highly skilled Employes you could even afford to run such a Machine in your own Homes. Sadly the Majority of us don't have such nice jobs, or can continue shelling out on ever increasing Electric Bills. Something has to give. And the NUC seems to fill that new need. As the fabled Desktop replacement. No it may not do your Jobs well. And, I doubt the Mustard Race will care much about it either. But all I need is a Terminal to the Web, a REAL Keyboard, and a decent Monitor. For the tasks that I do, do!

            And in such instances, Things like Gimp, and Libre / Open Office are generally "Good enough".

            The fact of the matter is its not the size of the Beige Box that matters anymore. Oh the fun times back in the 90's when my Box was Bigger then the next Guy's. lol!! Its about what you can do with it. And, the majority only bought these things to get on to this thing called the Interbuttz. And well you no longer have to plant your butt, at such a Terminal to do that anymore.

            For me the "Next Evolution" of the Internet is IPTV / Streaming Video / VoIP ~ Skype... So why should I as a consumer prop up Wintel's Beige Boxes. When a small sub-100€ Black Box, with an ARM Chip inside do absolutely everything I ask of it. For a micro-fraction of the wasted energy it takes to run it. ca.~10w as opposed to say nearly 500w it now takes to run a "Decent" Machine? Not even taking into consideration of what the latest & greatest ATi/nVidia Card is going for these Days. For that alone I could kit out my entire extended Family with Generic Chinese Android TV Boxes.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Don't write off the desktop

          Microsoft. You spell it like that....

    2. P. Lee Silver badge
      Megaphone

      Re: Don't write off the desktop

      Indeed. Some confusion over sales vs usage.

      I bought a washing machine 8 years ago. I haven't bought one since, though it might be a bit premature to suggest that washing machines are dead and everyone has is using Nespresso devices.

    3. P. Lee Silver badge

      Re: Don't write off the desktop

      >Small screens for consumers, large screens for producers.

      Not even that. Small screen for consuming. Can you download a video to your ip*d yet without buying it from Apple, or do you need to download it to a proper computer and then sync it across? Do you really want to be forced to always manage playlists on your mobile device?

      The model of one supplier works in the tech's infancy, but it isn't going to work at a large scale. Even if Apple's servers can handle it, people won't put up with it once the novelty has worn off.

    4. Richard Plinston Silver badge

      Re: Don't write off the desktop

      > The desktop remains the place where almost all productive work is done, such as CAD, architecture, large scale mapping, process control - just to name a few. None of these tasks work on your mobile or tablet.

      It used to be that those tasks were done on a different class of machine called a 'workstation'. These were often desk sized machines (rather than something small enough to sit on top of a desk). It happens that the desktop toys got more capable. Now workstations and top end desktops are about the same.

      With vehicles most productive work is done with trucks, buses, tractors and cranes. None of those tasks work well with cars, yet there are many more cars. That doesn't mean that trucks will disappear and no one has said they will.

      > Do you really want to fly on an aeroplane designed by someone shuffling parts about with their fingers and thumbs on a screen the size of a mobile phone.........

      Interestingly many, perhaps most, pilots carry a tablet or similar to manage their flight plans, check lists and other procedures.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Don't write off the desktop

        "most pilots carry a tablet or similar to manage their flight plans, check lists and other procedures."

        An "Electronic Flight Bag" is a read-mostly device, there is very little need to enter or manipulate data. Even so, depending on the device and the intended usage, approval from the authorities may be needed before the device can be formally accepted for use as an EFB.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electronic_flight_bag

        " an aeroplane designed by someone shuffling parts about with their fingers and thumbs on a screen the size of a mobile phone......."

        It's not really the same as an EFB is it.

        1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

          Re: Don't write off the desktop

          > It's not really the same as an EFB is it.

          No, but there are many more pilots than designers. Thus there are many, many, more tablets and other mobile devices than workstations associated with designing, building and flying aircraft.

          You seem to be arguing that 'desktops will never die'. 'Desktop' is merely where the device is placed, just as 'mainframe' refers to the structure that supports the electronics (ie the main frame), and does not describe the class of computer except by association. 'Workstations', which are used by designers, architects, and other professionals, happen to now fit on desks and may use the same components, or be the same machines, as 'desktop PCs'.

    5. itzman

      Re: Don't write off the desktop

      Spot on. Content consumption moves to the BYODS but content and design creation will stay with a desktop.

      However there is probably a 100:1 ratio between the two. So the desktop will be abandoned to all but Linux, whereas the mobile arena will be full of overpriced chrome-and-tailfins 'user experience'

  7. Michael Habel Silver badge
    Linux

    Are Canonical still waiting for Intel to make x86 Phablets a "Thing"?

    So whatever happened to to that Tablet Edition of Ubuntu? That was all the rage Two-odd Years ago now? I know I was, and practically still am, waiting for that to "hit". I'm just kinda left to wonder if Canonical are just in Chill Mode till Intel get their Numbers up. Or if they actually have plans to run on ARM.

    In fact I kinda surprised that "Pairing" hasn't already happened.

    An x86 Phablet that can run, an otherwise tweaked up Desktop Linux on a Phablet... Or to put it more simply. A Phablet that can run an x86 Linux OS (of sorts), along with all the other x86 Applications available. e.g. Libria / Open Office, WINE etc... etc... Comes with a S-Pen Clone type of Stylus, and I'd be over that in a second!

    As it currently sits though... x86 Android Phablets, are just a plain mystery to me? When like 98% of everything else is compiled for ARM. But, such must be the Magic of Java I suppose. Opps I meant Delvik.

    1. Thecowking

      Re: Are Canonical still waiting for Intel to make x86 Phablets a "Thing"?

      Ubuntu Touch was RTM a few months back. It's meant to be hitting the markets in the next month or so (well, so Meizu say).

      Of course you can put it on a wide variety of devices yourself already. Oh and it definitely runs on ARM chips.

      I don't actually like the UI, but I do follow the mailing list.

      1. Michael Habel Silver badge

        Re: Are Canonical still waiting for Intel to make x86 Phablets a "Thing"?

        I guess I should google up that Mailing List sometime. I've been mostly following it off Sites like this, and XDA-Devleopers. And, I'm not sure that they had much to say about it lately. Which made me doubt its um future. Still though... I'm left to wonder why those Two haven't gotten together to announce some Intel x86 Phablet that can run Ubuntu. If anything... It might shift more Intel Chips Seeing as its a Linux purpose built Machine. ARM Compatibility (such as say Samsung's finer Phablets of late), wouldn't need to be an issue. As it is though... I'd avoid anything with an x86 in it for Android.

    2. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: Are Canonical still waiting for Intel to make x86 Phablets a "Thing"?

      Isn't an Ubuntu tablet effectively just chasing what Microsoft have done with the Surface?

      I joke of course, because actually Microsoft have been building tablet computers for about fifteen years, but no one ever buys them.

      1. Sandtitz Silver badge
        WTF?

        Re: Are Canonical still waiting for Intel to make x86 Phablets a "Thing"?

        "I joke of course, because actually Microsoft have been building tablet computers for about fifteen years, but no one ever buys them."

        What tablet computers have they been building for about fifteen years?

        1. Michael Habel Silver badge

          Re: Are Canonical still waiting for Intel to make x86 Phablets a "Thing"?

          What tablet computers have they been building for about fifteen years?

          Old assed Laptops that had reversible Twist 'round Displays, and generally were shipped with XP. If you ever stopped to take pause as to WTF the XP Sniping Tool was and, why it was under the Tablet Tools Section. That you couldn't uninstall. Then now ya know.

          1. Sandtitz Silver badge

            Re: Are Canonical still waiting for Intel to make x86 Phablets a "Thing"?

            >> What tablet computers have they been building for about fifteen years?

            > Old assed Laptops that had reversible Twist 'round Displays, and generally were shipped with XP.

            Oh - those.

            All those computers (and that early 90's Windows 3 model) were built by OEMs. They were not built nor sold by MS. The only MS tablets I know of are the Surface tablets.

            That you couldn't uninstall.

            Well, boo-hoo. My current Windows installation came with the (uninstallable) snipping tool and it takes a grand total of <500k of space. Big Fecking Deal.

        2. Captain DaFt

          Re: Are Canonical still waiting for Intel to make x86 Phablets a "Thing"?

          "What tablet computers have they been building for about fifteen years?"

          Maxwell Smart voice "Wouldja believe Twenty three years, chief?" /Maxwell Smart voice

          http://readwrite.com/2012/10/25/meet-microsofts-first-surface-tablet-from-21-years-ago (two year old article)

          And they've tried (and failed) with every version since.

          1. Michael Habel Silver badge

            Re: Are Canonical still waiting for Intel to make x86 Phablets a "Thing"?

            "What tablet computers have they been building for about fifteen years?"

            Maxwell Smart voice "Wouldja believe Twenty three years, chief?" /Maxwell Smart voice

            http://readwrite.com/2012/10/25/meet-microsofts-first-surface-tablet-from-21-years-ago (two year old article)

            And they've tried (and failed) with every version since.

            Those old Videos of Mr. Gates yapping his trap off like that, is a great demonstration of what is, and what has since gone wrong for MicroSoft after he left. Though why a Microphone should make noise... instead of say start Voice Recognition.... Is a mystery it me?

            Watching these Videos I can understand the desire from MicroSoft Fans that he should return.

        3. ricegf
          Meh

          Re: Are Canonical still waiting for Intel to make x86 Phablets a "Thing"?

          "What tablet computers have they been building for about fifteen years?"

          Microsoft and their manufacturing partners introduced their first tablet PC back in 2002, which was about 12 years ago. Read all about'em at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Microsoft_Tablet_PC.

    3. thames

      Re: Are Canonical still waiting for Intel to make x86 Phablets a "Thing"?

      Canonical's tablet efforts are directed at the ARM market. Ubuntu has had official ARM support for a while (as well as Power).

      They've got a bit of a different take on the market though. They are aiming at "converged devices", where your tablet (or phone) is a touch device and uses a touch UI when you are carrying it around. However, when you plug it into a dock with a keyboard and mouse (and monitor), the UI turns into a desktop UI. The two UIs use similar elements, but are not identical. They don't think it's possible to have a single UI which works well in both environments, like Windows 8 tried to do. They do however think it's possible to have two UIs which are closely related enough that you can switch between them without too much mental effort.

      Canonical has been aiming for this goal for several years now, but they've found that it has taken a lot longer and a lot more effort than they had originally thought. This however is what is behind their switch to the Unity desktop UI, and their work on the Mir display server. The Unity desktop UI is not a touch UI, but you can recognize the relationship to it in the touch UI demos that they have on Youtube.

      The Mir display server is supposed to be a mobile device display server that is expanded to support desktops, rather than a desktop display server that might be shrunk to support mobile like Wayland would be. The idea is that if you optimize the design for applications with limited processing power and battery life, then using the extra horsepower on a desktop is easier than going at it from the other direction. Android uses something called "Surfaceflinger", but that isn't designed to be able to work with desktops.

      Right now Canonical's efforts for Unity and Mir are focused on the mobile end of things, and as a result the PC versions are on the back burner. That may change in either the next version of Ubuntu, or the one after that.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Gateway drug

    Naturally that's a very subjective statement, but go download Ubuntu 8.04 (the gateway drug, if you will, for many of today's desktop Linux users) and install it alongside Mint 17.1. Suffice to say that these are great days to be a Linux user.

    Now try putting Ubuntu 8.04 against my gateway drug, Red Hat 4.0. (NOT RHEL 4.0, the old one circa 1996.)

    It has come a long way. Arguably further than Windows has.

    1. Gary Heard
      Go

      Re: Gateway drug

      Pulling together a couple of other memes on this thread.

      I switched to Suse at Suse 7.0, had a few problems getting it going but been with it since. Just gone to Opensuse 13.2 and it's very, very good. There are a few things I have to run in Windows, as a result I've just virtualised my Windows using Virtualbox (pre Oracle) and still use it tothis day, but quite a bit less than I used to.

      The good things? It's pretty if you want it to be, but you still have the power to control every part of the system at the command line if you want to.

      The bad things, Sound -- PulseAudio is only just getting there, but at least it works out of the box now.

      1. Teiwaz Silver badge

        Re: Gateway drug

        I must have switched around the same time.

        I bought a book on Linux that came with Suse 6.3 on a CD. It took you through installing from the disk including compiling the kernel. After I'd run through that i obtained a copy of Suse 7.0 and kept with Suse until the Novell aquisition. Can't recall which release, but suddenly started having issues with sound after several releases of it working out of the box with no issues so I switched to Mandrake on the assumption Suse was now aiming for servers at the expense of the desktop.

        I burnt my safety net (kept no windows partition) to force myself to switch and had losts of fun getting DVDs to play on Suse 7.1 by compiling xine from scratch.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Gateway drug

          I burnt my safety net (kept no windows partition) to force myself to switch and had losts of fun getting DVDs to play on Suse 7.1 by compiling xine from scratch.

          That seems to be a common theme… I liken it to packing one's bags and moving to a foreign land. You can go there for a holiday by booting up a LiveCD, but then you can't really make any permanent changes and you don't really get the full absorption effect that one gets by moving over there and staying put a few months.

          These days I've got citizenship in the Linux land (have done for years), and only come back to Windows on occasional business trips or sometimes social trips. (e.g. this morning, I stumbled on my Half-Life disc, so I booted up Windows, installed it and had a quick game.) I still have a flat there, but it's a basic affair with most of my furniture being in the Linux residence.

          In my high-school years I thought my money would be made from proprietary applications on Windows. Today, I make vastly more money coding Python on Linux.

          Windows is almost irrelevant to my day-to-day working life. The appliances I help build can be managed from just about any OS with a reasonably capable web browser and/or SSH client. The only time I use Windows at work, is mainly to connect to some company's VPN gateway to manage some Linux box under a support contract.

          If Microsoft were to disappear, I think I'd manage as there'd suddenly be a big rush on for people who knew something other than Windows.

          The bonus about Linux is that it's close enough to many other systems such as *BSD, and bears similarities to MacOS X that the skills carry across quite well. However there is no OS quite like Windows, if that's all you know, then anything else will look foreign.

          Making one's self solely dependent on a single-vendor proprietary ecosystem has always been dangerous. Many years ago it was mainframes, in the 90s it was Novell, soon it will be Microsoft, then probably Apple. No idea how long it will take, but don't be surprised if it happens tomorrow or next week, take the plunge now and you'll thank yourself later.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    He said it. He said OpenSuse.

    It really must be Christmas. It's not very often OpenSuse rates a mention from a journo.

    Well done Scott. Merry Christmas!

  10. Tom 7 Silver badge

    The desktop will liver again.

    I find it fascinating seeing how much people can get done on a castrated device like android or iPad and I'd guess for most people that will be sufficient. However if people want to do a bit more then you do need some more GUI space. A phone plugged into a telly or other HD device, along with keyboard brings a 10 year old development space into ergonomic reality.

    Many linux programs that would take huge amount of effort to roll over to android will run acceptably on a phone - if you have a decent zoom app to allow you access to long DD menus and to move around a screen you already know. It should be possible to re-write the GUI's for these for small screens in months rather than tens of years to rebuild the whole app for android.

    I'm going to get one of the new ubuntu phones to see if I can turn it into a mobile recording studio/guitar effects setup - the core code should be a piece of piss but the gui ergomonics is going to be interesting - but then even a phone should do 5 finger mixing desk stuff which would be nice...

    But the coding will be done mainly on two 24" screens with a nice keyboard and an ergonomic chair with lots of drink holders.

  11. Frankee Llonnygog

    A level of polish and sophistication

    "the Linux desktop hit a level of polish and sophistication that quite frankly, well, surpasses what's available from Windows 8 or OS X Yosemite"

    In much the same way, once I had resprayed my Vauxhall metallic turd brown, fitted some leopard-skin seat covers and halogen headlamps, it's easily as good as a BMW. After all, a car is just a vehicle to get from A to B, via KwikFit and Halfords.

    1. Michael Habel Silver badge

      Re: A level of polish and sophistication

      I think you got it ass-ackwards pal... Think of your Voxhall as the MicroSoft OS, and Linux as, as high-end a Kit Car your prepared to invest in. Where you have the choice to fit in that old Dino Engine should you just have One laying 'round.

      While that analogy might not fly so well with all those pre-made Distros. This is, or was more or less the general idea behind Linux.

      1. phuzz Silver badge

        Re: A level of polish and sophistication

        I think under this metaphor this would make that old Windows XP machine that your relatives still use the equivalent of a Toyota Corolla.

        It's old, smells funny, and you'd rather they stopped using it for their own safety, but it gets them to the shops/receives email from the grandkids, so they can't understand why you want them to trade it in for a newer model.

      2. Frankee Llonnygog

        Re: A level of polish and sophistication

        That is undeniably true - just as it's also true that the Linux distros do not have the 'fit and polish' of OsX and perhaps of Windows. Where 'fit and polish' means a user experience that's been designed by interaction and usability pros.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: A level of polish and sophistication

          "Where 'fit and polish' means a user experience that's been designed by interaction and usability pros."

          Like, for example, the Ribbon, and Windows 8.

          :Look, you started it... they may have been 'designed by pros', but so was the Titanic. Amateurs designed the Ark. Take your pick.

          1. Frankee Llonnygog

            Re: A level of polish and sophistication

            The Ark? Do you also believe Linus created Linux in six days and had a good kip on the seventh?

            I'm no Windows advocate (my first comment prefixed it with 'perhaps') but it at least goes some way towards a coherent design.

            Linux does many, many things very well but the article talked of 'fit and polish'. Just to give one example of the lack, linux font rendering still makes everything look like it was knocked up by the bloke who sign writes for kebab shops.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: A level of polish and sophistication

              I don't look at the mantel piece while I poke the fire.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: A level of polish and sophistication

              "Just to give one example of the lack, linux font rendering still makes everything look like it was knocked up by the bloke who sign writes for kebab shops"

              Does it, still? And is it the rendering or the fonts, or both? [Actually I had the kebab-shop reaction on moving to some recent ribbonised version of Outlook at work earlier this year, as did many others, but that's another story]

              Either way, fonts and rendering has not been a concern for me for many years, partly because my Linux of choice (Suse) has for many years offered the opportunity to agree to the licence for, and then download and use, the MS Truetype core fonts. Job done, nice looking (and MS-compatible) fonts on the Suse system for when essential.

              Yes it means the system is polluted by non-free software. It also fixes an irritant. That's one of the reasons I like Suse; it gets the job done. (Perilously close to "the end justifies the means" though).

        2. itzman
          Paris Hilton

          Re: A level of polish and sophistication

          May the lord preserve us from 'interaction and usability pros'.

          The main attraction of linux is its been designed by people who use computers a LOT for real stuff.

          Not graphic designers and other redundant burger-flippers.

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

          2. Frankee Llonnygog

            Re: A level of polish and sophistication

            Or, as I prefer to call them, consumers. Which is absolutely fine, but does contradict the point made by the article. And that's my point. It's a bit like the difference between making a music streamer from a Raspberry Pi or buying a Western Digital. One is more fun and more configurable - but you have to read the docs. The other is a consumer product

  12. AmGnothiSeauton
    Linux

    WYSIWYG

    Linux is an OS kernel -- not what the end user interacts with -- so Android should be included in an OS dialogue.

    Smartphones and tablets are now quad-core, 64-bit computers, and you can easily hook up some Android devices to a full-size monitor, keyboard, HDDs, etc -- and run productivity (e.g. office) software -- so where/how do you draw the line at what is labelled a "desktop" experience?

    1. JEDIDIAH
      Linux

      Re: WYSIWYG

      Turning an Android Tablet into a franken-desktop is really far too much bother. It makes more sense for data to be in the "local cloud" like some 80s Sun network and to not "fiddle" with devices to force them into some other form factor.

      Perfectly serviceable light duty PCs are already cheap and small. They are almost as small as some tablet devices (by volume). It's better to just fire one of those up that's always connected to the usual PC desktop inputs rather than trying to force a phone or tablet into that mold.

      Interaction between different types of devices should be more seamless rather than forcing everyone to put up with the likes of Android.

  13. Chika
    Flame

    systemd of a down

    OK, so things have been looking up for Linux this year, but the last couple of years have also seen a number of things that have been incredibly annoying. One of those things appeared in a few places in this review; "The Desktop Is Dead!"

    It's been in more than one story this year and the last, partly surrounding the advent of the Window system and partly because of the doings of some Linux distros, not to mention Android. "The desktop is dead, the desktop is dead, the desktop is dead..." yet in another report, I mentioned that the possible reason is that users are hanging on to their desktop (and laptop) machines longer than the market likes, driving down the figures when they do. Could it simply be that certain folk behind the scenes who have a vested interest either in driving the desktop system into the ground to allow for a rise in feelables, or the same sort of person who wants to panic the market into grabbing new hardware before it disappears, are simply pressuring the media (any media, not just El Reg) into a whispering campaign? I've said it here before - repeat something often enough and people will start to believe it.

    It wasn't so long that a report here on this very organ stated that tablet sales had levelled out and that the desktop had started to rise again. Make up your minds! Or has Regina's eggsplosion distracted you?

    And that's before I even get to Poettering and his systemd crap. But that has been discussed at length elsewhere.

  14. Steve T

    Linux Desktop surpasses Windows!

    I was recently on a visit to the US with my laptop, running Kubuntu 14.04, and needed to print something in the office I was visiting. In the same office was another visitor, with Win8.1 on his laptop., who also needed to access the printer.

    And for the first time ever, in my experience, the Linux system found and installed the network printer, with the correct drivers, on the first attempt, while the windows system failed completely. I had to tell the poor guy all the correct settings which my laptop had auto-discovered so he could hand configure the printer on Windows.

    1. Salts

      Re: Linux Desktop surpasses Windows!

      I have had this a few times this year, Linux just works, Windows just won't.

      I also had a few edX & Coursera MOOC's that you could only complete with Firefox, Chrome or Safari, IE explicitly would not work, in addition a number of courses required the use of a Linux Client VM, this was more to allow everyone to have the same environment, however still makes a point it could only be done free with Linux a Windows Client VM would need students to purchase a license.

      On only one course was Windows mandatory because of the software required, for that Windows XP in a VM was a common solution as many students used OSX or Linux.

      How things have changed :-)

      1. itzman

        Re: Linux Desktop surpasses Windows!

        yeah. a first for me was that a usb scanner Just Worked, for the first time ever...

    2. BobChip
      Linux

      Re: Linux Desktop surpasses Windows!

      Not only does Linux (I'm writing from a Mint 17 desktop) recognise and support recent peripehrals, but it will also support older kit such as my Canon LIDE20 scanner, long since abandoned by Microsoft and not supported since XP, but still a perfectly good scanner. Why should I have to rush out and buy new kit every time MS "upgrades"? (OK. That was a REALLY stupid question.)

      It is also worth noting how many major manufacturers, e.g. HP, Canon, Epson etc., are now providing Linux drivers for their devices. Why would they bother doing that if they did not see a future in a Linux environment?

  15. djack

    Jolla Have Produced a Mobile Device

    "If nothing else there's at least a large market of Linux enthusiasts clamouring for a Linux-based [mobile] device."

    Whilst they haven't yet produced the tablet, Jolla produced a phone based on Salilfish last year.. and don't forget the venerable N900 and lesser-spotted N9. Going further back, the 770, N800 and N810

    'True' (not Android) Linux mobile devices hit the shelves a long time ago.

    1. Paul Kinsler

      Re: Linux mobile devices hit the shelves a long time ago.

      True - in about 2004, I bought a Sharp Zaurus (still works, btw).

  16. Flywheel Silver badge
    Linux

    Will it .. could it..

    .. boot straight to the command line (login prompt) ? I'd be very interested in one of those, especially if it was optionally possible to start the desktop from there!

    1. pyite

      Re: Will it .. could it..

      I'm looking forward to a phone that can run as an X server with an attached monitor & keyboard. Then you can just plug it into whatever hardware you have and get the same desktop. I don't think they're quite powerful enough to do 3840x2160 yet, though.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Will it .. could it..

        "a phone that can run as an X server with an attached monitor & keyboard"

        There are plenty of tablets with HDMI out that should work at decent resolution, and work with kbd+mouse. It's been on my list of things to try ever since I had such a tablet, but has never reached the top... basic HDMI out was tried and 'just worked', Some Acer or other, I forget.

        Would something like the Motorola Razr Dock suit?

        Surely someone's done this X on a tablet thing, on something more generic than the Razr?

        E.g. a quick search finds this, anybody tried it?

        http://www.cnx-software.com/2014/03/07/xserver-xsdl-x-window-server-for-android-allows-you-to-run-linux-apps-in-android/

      2. John Hughes

        Re: Will it .. could it..

        I'm looking forward to a phone that can run as an X server with an attached monitor & keyboard.

        You can do that with an n900.

        The monitor output is composite TV, so you actually get lower resolution than on the built in screen :-)

  17. Richard Lloyd

    Can you easily buy a Linux desktop/laptop from a major OEM yet?

    Apart from the odd model that Dell sells that's well hidden on their Web site (often with different specs from the Windows model, also doesn't get any of the Dell offers and usually costs the same too!), Linux on the desktop still sticks around a stubborn 1% because you simply can't buy a desktop/laptop easily from a major OEM with Linux pre-installed.

    It really doesn't matter how easy Linux is to install and run (and it does both admirably now) if virtually nothing comes with it pre-installed! The average WIndows user *never* does anything "technical" with their OS other than Windows Updates and almost all of them never bother upgrading to the next major Windows release either (they buy a new PC with it pre-installed instead). So the chances of them installing Linux on a Windows PC is near to zero - it's amazing that Linux even has 1% share to be honest.

    So this article about Linux desktops/laptops was mostly hot air and some hopelessly wishful thinking about Linux on mobile platforms tacked on the end. Still, you've got to remember that Linux powers much of the Internet and several devices in your home (routers, TVs and PVRs in particular)...

    1. Chemist

      Re: Can you easily buy a Linux desktop/laptop from a major OEM yet?

      "virtually nothing comes with it pre-installed"

      I'd settle for being able to buy without Windows being installed. Building a new desktop and installing Linux from scratch is easy, but laptops have been a problem. Now there seems a few enlightened smaller suppliers who will provide some quite powerful systems. I'm writing this on one such (4-core i7/8GB/matte HD screen). Case is a bit cheap but the screen is beautiful. OpenSUSE installed and runs a treat.

      And that's easily powerful enough to support me logged-in as 3 simultaneous users ( for security reasons) with several VirtualBox VMs running as well as all the browsers/editors/photo processors/video editors/players....etc.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Richard Loyd - Re: Can you easily buy a Linux desktop/laptop from a major OEM yet?

      Now would you take the extra step and explain why OEMs were and still are so close to Microsoft ? Like for instance HP who was pressed into shipping PCs loaded with FreeDOS because for some obscure contractual clause they can't sell naked (a.k.a. with no OS at all) PCs. I mean come on, taking the steps of installing an obscure OS very few people will ever need instead of just inserting a virgin hard disk ? What makes OEMs freak out whenever I ask for a PC with an empty hard disk, with no OS at all ? What makes Dell offer Linux but making it really hard to get, why bother with Linux at all then ?

    3. ricegf
      Linux

      Re: Can you easily buy a Linux desktop/laptop from a major OEM yet?

      EVERY major laptop vendor in North America sells at least one Linux-based laptop model, actually, most with the Chrome user environment pre-installed (i.e., Chromebooks). They sell quite well, too. They were the most popular product for education in the 2014-2015 school year, beating the iPad and leaving Windows in the dust, and 3 of the top 5 Amazon best selling laptops are Chromebooks as I write this (just checked).

      The Gnu environment doesn't seem to attract mainstream users - or perhaps it's just lack of consistent marketing thus far - but like its smartphone Linux sibling, Chrome is certainly selling well!

  18. pyite

    Careful with the "systemd" comments, Eugene

    It is not fair to rip on systemd in Debian without pointing out how Ubuntu added the worst startup system imagineable - known as "upstart." systemd would be a huge improvement.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Careful with the "systemd" comments, Eugene

      Compared with the feature creep in systemd (did I spell it correctly ?) upstart is quite elegant. All this in the name of servers booting up faster ? Excuse me but I have to laugh out loud on this.

  19. enerider
    Linux

    As a PC game-playing individual: have not needed Windows for months now

    Currently running Linux Mint 17 (have not yet gone to 17.1), but a lot of the previous comments echo here e.g. plug in printer, printer gets found and works.

    I use PlayOnLinux (a handy WINE wrapper) to handle my library of games on my machine. I have been playing MechWarrior Online quite successfully inside a WINE 64 bit prefix after getting .NET 4.0 installed, more so now that PGI finally got a 64 bit client out the door (also Community warfare looks great).

    For the inevitable LAN game weekends my friends partake in, CoD4 works, The Ship works, StarCraft works, Battlefield Vietnam works better than what it does under Windows versions post-XP (for example, the in-game music blaring from the vehicles works without resorting to various Compatibility mode tricks. "Surfin' Bird" never loses its appeal while hurtling into a mob of bots). Enemy Territory: Quake Wars works (used WINE for this because the native installer refused to work. Didn't seem to slow the game any.), as do all the Quakes (WINE not needed), and UT (WINE used because I'm lazy).

    One lovely part about all this: All the games have their own personal registry to mess with as much as they want. If they somehow stuff their own registry, it doesn't affect any of the other games (or OS as a whole). Uninstallation of games is a breeze, they simply get deleted. No meddling with uninstallers or registry cleaners.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Heh heh heh,

    Linux on the desktop indeed. You have to wonder how many thousands upon thousands of hours of human effort has been wasted over the last 12 years chasing this utterly failed dream.

    Churchill would summarise it along the lines of ‘never have so many spent so much time writing software used by so few’

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Heh heh heh,

      Looking at current marketshare stats, the number of people using Linux on the desktop is pretty much on par with those using Windows on the phone.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Big problem with Linux on desktops is

    that the industry at large doesn't like the business model imposed by all GNU/Linux distributions. Let's make this clear, there is no technical issue that could prevent widespread Linux usage on desktops. The big problem is that GNU/Linux does not offer a clear way of monetizing the end-user in the way Android/Linux does. With GNU/Linux, OEMs would be reduced to nothing more than hardware suppliers at the mercy of the replacing cycle. They already have this with Microsoft but they don't have the balls to walk away from it because, hopefully for Microsoft they are looking at a safe way for transitioning.

    Ubuntu is a clear illustration of Linux problems. Canonical is still unable to find an OEM that will accept to sell systems preinstalled with Linux desktop or mobile. Google on the other hand is making tons of money and at the same time handset manufacturers have their share but in order to achieve this they had to discard the GNU userland and go with something more restrictive in terms of end-user freedoms. One other attempt made by Canonical to monetize their users via those search results sent to Amazon failed when outraged users found a way to disable it because the GNU license allows it.

    By guaranteeing end-user digital freedoms, Linux made itself totally unattractive for anyone interested in making it thrive on Desktops. A free user is way much more difficult to monetize than a locked one and I have really bad news for you: Microsoft has just find out about it!

    To me each of the past ten years was really the year of the Linux Desktop. I enjoy running it and the fact that it is around 1% of all desktops makes me comfortable that I not the only one.

    Oh, and I have nothing against Windows because I'm paid to use it.

    1. itzman
      Linux

      Re: Big problem with Linux on desktops is...

      ...what the man said.. You cant make money out of it.

      Or can you?

      Free software, paid for support?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @itzman - Re: Big problem with Linux on desktops is...

        This works for servers in medium and large enterprises, also over there desktop support is usually the job of internal tech support teams either Windows or Linux. Now how many regular consumers pay for Windows support ? That many ?! Then divide that by 100 and you'll have your answer.

        Paid support for free software is a viable business model but it doesn't work with desktops/tablets/mobiles and consumer tech in general. You need to have a way to extract money from your customers on a regular basis that's why software vendors are considering subscription-based licensing and herding users into anything_as_a_service. Linux is not good at this but it was damn good at building the cage.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Big problem with Linux on desktops is

      "the industry at large doesn't like the business model imposed by all GNU/Linux distributions."

      The *corporates* don't like the business model...

      There is a small and not yet particularly visible army of small businesses working together to change the way their IT things are done. Small businesses moving off Windows to Linux, other small businesses offering them paid-for support. Instead of support money going to Dell, HP, SCC, and MS, some of it goes to the Linux bloke from down the road, and his chums. What's not to like?

      In some ways it's similar to what happened in the early days of Windows before the corporates moved in (remember those days? I do, vaguely...).

      As this continues to happen, more and more Microsoft certified people will realise their SME support days based on Windows are numbered, and that alternative income plans are needed. For some it will be a bit of a shock, especially as there are already Linux-aware people out there, invisible to El Reg, but quietly offering services to businesses and organisations who have come to know and trust them.

      Trevor Pott is one of the more visible people who has written about MS, their plans for the cloud, and the effect it is having on the MS Certified network. He's not wrong.

  22. myflywheel
    Linux

    Don't know.....

    I do not know if there will be another Linux mobile in 2015, but I know there will be a Linux tablet to match a great mobile released in 2013 - The Jolla.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2019