back to article You'll get sick of that iPad. And guess who'll be waiting? Big daddy Linux...

After such a banner year of Linux releases it might seem overly pessimistic to pause and ask this question: is there a future beyond this? The answer is, of course, "yes" – or rather it's yes, but... The qualifying "but" can take many forms, depending on who you talk to and what their stake is in the game. Even if you take …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'd try Linux mobile

    Have 2 high-end Andriod tablets (his 'n' hers) here. Identical. One rooted, one not. They both suffer the same childish, sucky, frustrating and poor user experience. Apps hang, updates forever needed, running out of space on the internal partition ...

    Other halfs unrooted Android phone sucked donkeys too. Apps crashing, refusing to update apps because of "low memory". Maybe I can't blame google for the carriers insistence on a shedload of apps we didn't want, need, nor could remove (Facebook being the worst).

    So our - admitted limited, but hardly narrow - Android experience has set a low bar for the competition.

    Windows Mobile, btw (foisted on me at work) has been 100% rock-solid. Probably a lot easily with no apps, but it's really clean thought out UI. With a couple of features which I'm amazed haven't made their way into Android.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Happy

      Re: I'd try Linux mobile

      I agree, switch from a "decent" Samsung Android to a cheap Win8.1 and I'm amazed at the difference I've rebooted it once since I've had it. I NEVER had to kill an app, don't even know how to. Unlike the Samsung, where it was almost the norm to do and a reboot was required at least once a week.

      The "basic" apps are way better than the stock android ones Here being MASSIVELY better than Google maps (Google WHY do you think I can park on a motorway?), Xbox Music is better than the stock android one, the People app is better than anything I've found on either Android or iOS, and the navigation and settings just seem so more sensible.

      BUT, the big downside is the lack of 3rd party apps such as shopping, utility bills and so on.

      1. The Original Steve

        Re: I'd try Linux mobile

        Same experience here. Moved to Win Pho 8.1 after getting tired if having to manage my partners and my own android phones. We haven't looked back since.

        Apps are an issue still, but much better than it was. Most apps I want such as for utility bills I've pinned the web page to start and enabled autocomplete for the credentials - works nearly as well.

        I hear Droid is getting better, but a few extra apps and starting to try and match iOS and WP8.1 stability just isn't enough of a lure right now.

    2. Lee D Silver badge

      Re: I'd try Linux mobile

      Have not used the Samsung tablet much but have Samsung Android smartphones. Killing app is a rarity. Rebooting is unheard of (admittedly, a couple of times a year I forget to charge it, but that's probably WORSE as it's a hard-crash when it does that).

      Not sure what you're doing differently, but I've not had that experience. With my old Galaxy Ace, yes, I ran out of space all the time. But that was because the space was so pitiful and things insisted on going on the internal RAM first even if you used apps to move them to SD later. And, yes, Facebook is one of the worst culprits - it seems to grow madly over time, requiring you to Clear Data and log back in. God knows what's it doing.

      But I've deployed other Android tablets in schools and we don't have these problems either.

      This Christmas, I went to my Italian girlfriend's family. At one point in the room there were three new Samsung tablets, four new Samsung phones, and whatever we had in our pockets (almost entirely Samsung). We were teaching people how to use some of them, but others had been using for years. I don't think we killed a single app or rebooted once, even with the kids taking over and installing every free app they could get their hands on.

      As resident techy guy - even with a language barrier - I got called on for all sorts. But the tablets and phones never figured except to show people how to use them. I did have to fix two iPhones that had gone muppet, however. And nobody even had a Windows phone. Bear in mind that dozens and dozens of relatives and friends came and went over the period and they all know me as the techy guy who fixes things for them.

      And, no, I've never rooted anything either. The biggest problems I've ever had with Android tablets were the cheap ones not coming with Play Store so I had to fudge an old APK onto them and then update.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I'd try Linux mobile

      "You'll get sick of that iPad. And guess who'll be waiting?"

      Microsoft with a Surface Pro?

      A move from IOS to Android is surely a downgrade.

    4. John Sanders
      Linux

      Re: I'd try Linux mobile

      """Apps crashing, refusing to update apps because of "low memory"."""

      Note I'm not defending Android here.

      If you take away the concept of storage & file system from any modern multi-purpose computer system, and make the OS assume all sort of things as to what it its that the end user wants to do with the device, you end with these problems.

      Add those concepts back and the wife struggles to understand the concept of backing up the device, removing old pictures and videos and cleaning the logs of Whatsarse, and she will complain that she doesn't have to study IT to be able to use the mobile phone.

      People is lazy and they want all the benefits with none of the work.

      Having said that, Android sucks, but it sucks less because it lets me do with the phone what I want, sucking less just means that, not that it is good, I find appalling that it comes with almost no search capabilities at all, and no, the google search APP does not count.

    5. thames

      Re: I'd try Linux mobile

      "Windows Mobile, ... Probably a lot easily with no apps"

      Well, if having "no apps" makes it easier to use, why not just buy a feature phone then? They're a lot cheaper, the battery lasts a lot longer, and they "no apps" either. Pretty much everything that comes built-in with a smart phone comes built-in with a feature phone.

      Oh, and did I mention feature phones are a lot cheaper? As in you can buy one outright for less than what a lot of people are paying per month on their multi-year mobile phone contract which they signed to pay for that smart phone that they don't need because they don't buy loads of stuff from the app store anyway?

      1. mdava

        Re: I'd try Linux mobile

        "Well, if having "no apps" makes it easier to use, why not just buy a feature phone then?"

        A fair point, but when the OP says no apps he means (and you know that he means) "only the basic apps".

        I use only a fairly limited set of apps but I am both happy with them and wouldn't give them up: Email, Browser, Maps, eBay, Calendar, What'sApp, Camera/Editor and MP3 player is probably 95% of what I use my smartphone for, the other 5% being made up of other apps, calls and texts.

    6. Talamasca

      Re: I'd try Linux mobile

      In my somewhat unique profession, I do route surveys for oversized loads. Which means my contracted employer gives me dimensions of an object that needs to be transported over public thoroughfares, from here to there, and it's my job to determine how to get it there.

      I still use an LG Nexus 4, from what, two years ago? I can print maps, routes, location pics, Google Earth, and anything else I want or need from this phone, in 99% + of anywhere in this country.

      OS management/understanding is paramount with any flavor of any modern device.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And when we get back, desktop Linux will be there waiting with open arms.

    Indeed. Windows is no longer a desktop OS, I've clung onto Windows 7 for too long - the last desktop OS by Microsoft - The Win10 preview was no better so I've ditched Windows in favour of a proper desktop experience that Linux Mint provides.

    Let me thank Microsoft for repeatedly stabbing me in my eye, making me get off my arse to find something better.

    1. NumptyScrub

      The majority (by far) of the vehemence I've seen directed at Win 8 is from having a touch optimised interface on a non-touch device (TIFKAM on the desktop). And then I read this in the article:

      It's still a ways off, but Melamut reckons Ubuntu for phones and Ubuntu desktop will "ultimately… converge into a single, full operating system that will work across different form factors from mobile to tablet and PC."

      Which is exactly what MS tried with Win8, have the same experience across phone, tablet and desktop, and which (due to the interface) annoyed so many people. I've already seen echos of the TIFKAM vehemence aimed at Unity, so it's up to Canonical to avoid all the mistakes and pitfalls MS faceplanted into if they don't want the same level of revulsion at this converged (device agnostic?) Ubuntu.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I'm not a fan of Unity (or Ubuntu for that matter), but Unity does look a lot more tasteful than Metro. It's "nasty non-traditional desktop" done right. Also, Linux allows different interfaces.

        Perfect "convergence" should be:

        - Is there a keyboard + mouse? Show the taskbar and a decent menu that doesn't take over the screen.

        - Is there just a <15" touch-screen? Then give them a screen full of large icons.

        - Does the user have a difference preference? Then give them what they want.

        It's not hard.

        1. mmeier

          Lenovo Thinkpad Yoga: What will you show? The unit has a 12.5'' touch screen (Actually WACOM+touch) AND keyboard/mouse (Trackpad). Depending on the mode it is a tablet pc or an ultrabook. And then there is docking and the two external 2x'' monitors... And there are more units like that.

          Win8 may not be "best possible" but IMHO it is very decend in both jobs without needing guesswork from the system "what display is right now". And once one account uses multiple boxes (say with an AD style system of centralized login) "setting user preferences" gets a hassle of it's own. What is the preference?

          1. Paul Kinsler

            Re: Lenovo Thinkpad Yoga: What will you show?

            er ... some sort of customizable ui with buttons/icons/menus/whatever allowing the user to easily switch between profiles (e.g. per interface type)?

            Then, even if the system's first guess (or last state) is wrong, it can be swiftly changed.

            In a simple sense, I/we already do this on my home linux box where a quick ctrl-alt-Fn swaps between consoles and various resolutions of X and/or user accounts. Likewise, I could easily (I suppose) run a touch-based thingy on vt9 on my yoga, should I want to.

            1. mmeier

              Re: Lenovo Thinkpad Yoga: What will you show?

              Win 8.1 can do that. It works as long as you do not use more than one computer with the same account. Otherwise you may well end up switching your current maschine to the other mode. OR simply say "start in Modern" since that works on ALL devices as a starting point.

        2. John Sanders
          Pint

          And AC is...

          The winner of Friday's pint!

        3. Peter Simpson 1
          Thumb Up

          I'm not a fan of Unity (or Ubuntu for that matter)...

          Try Mint MATE. I used to be a big Ubuntu fan, but then they went down the Unity path and I went looking for something more traditional. Mint seems to be it.

        4. thames

          "Perfect "convergence" should be: - Is there a keyboard + mouse? Show the taskbar and a decent menu that doesn't take over the screen."

          The version of Unity that gets shipped with the desktop version is a desktop UI. It is keyboard and mouse oriented, not touch.

          The new stuff in Unity has been going into the mobile version. When that's ready, it will get incorporated into the desktop version.

          How it is supposed to work is that it automatically detects a keyboard, mouse, monitor, etc. You can even hot-plug them. When you plug the device into a desktop (keyboard, etc.), you get the keyboard version of the UI. If you unplug those and just have a touch screen, you get the mobile touch oriented version. Both UIs are similar, but they're not identical. They're similar enough that you are supposed to be able to switch between them without too much mental gear changing.

          The apps are supposed to be written to automatically adapt between the two modes. So, if you are using a Twitter client in mobile mode and then plug in a keyboard and mouse, it is supposed to adapt itself to desktop mode. You don't have to use one client for phone and a different client with a different feature set for desktop mode.

          There are videos on Youtube which you can search for if you want to see how it all works. I suspect that everyone will go this way, to unify the desktop and mobile app markets if for no other reason.

          1. wdmot

            What if you want to use keyboard, trackpad, *and* touchscreen? There have been times, particularly when playing a certain game, I've lost track of where the pointer went (often because the trackpad interpreted palm touch as finger movement) and it would be much quicker to just tap the screen than to look around for the pointer.

        5. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          It's not hard.

          It's just that's no-one has come any where near accomplishing it yet.....

          I don't expect they were trying that hard. Once a random group of self important open source nerds get their hands on the problem it'll be sorted. For them. Because they like editing configuration files and piping things to grep.

          Your Nan's mileage may vary....

  3. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge
    Trollface

    So, 2015

    Is going to be the year of Linux?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So, 2015

      It's been the year of Linux for some time.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Trollface

        Re: So, 2015

        Every year since 2001 heard...

      2. Michael Thibault
        Trollface

        Re: So, 2015

        >It's been the year of Linux for some time.

        Obviously, very large values of "year" involved here. Or what was originally said, long ago, was "ya hear of linux" and it's yet to be put right.

    2. Naich

      Re: So, 2015

      It's been the year of the Linux desktop in our house since about 2008. It's been the year of the Linux desktop in my parent's house since 2012.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The end of (insert popular device name here)! Finally, this will be year of Linux Desktop!

    "With Windows 8 proving unpopular with power users and OS X Yosemite eliciting pointed criticisms and even talk of Apple losing some of its "just works" magic, the Linux desktop may well be the refuge power users and developers are looking for."

    Are you aware that power users and developers worth their salt already know enough about computers to decide the OS and tools they want? I'd even say some power users can change the OS they work as long as the tools they need are there.

    "When Apple’s iPad arrived, pundits proclaimed the end of the PC and so forth, but what we learned from dabbling in mobile is just how valuable our laptops really are. And when we get back, desktop Linux will be there waiting with open arms."

    So you're describing the vast amount of power users that decided to throw their laptops in a volcano when the iPad came out and now are longing to "get back" to real computing so they will run desktop Linux? "we"?

    I have an iPad for light browsing and Angry Birds, Linux Mint on a workstation and Linux VMs for Real Work (tm) -- development, number crunching, image processing and data visualization. I know the differences between the devices and their limitations, even so I don't feel I am one of your so-called power users.

  5. wheelybird

    Now I'm sure there's a mobile "version of Linux" knocking about some shops somewhere. Now I think of it, I recall there was an amazingly successful crowdfundy thing to produce a tablet for it to run on. Now what's it called again? HoverfishOS? SailpigOS? No, it's gone. If only I was a technology journalist writing about Linux on mobile devices then I'd be bound to have heard of it.

    And then there was that other one, netOS? webOP? You know, the one that used to be in phones and tablets in the shops, and is now on TVs and Audi watches.

    And that new one just released in India that'll be on phones, tablets and TVs soon. Tizer? Tiger?

    I recently bought a Nexus 4 in order to try out other Linuxy-based OSes. Ubuntu easily trounces FirefoxOS, but I found the UI to be a bit of a mess - a half-hearted implementation of gestures, a confusing home screen system with "scopes" that offered difficult-to-get-to home screen personalisations.

    No mobile OS around at the moment beats the user experience of webOS. Shame no-one's reviving that for phones and tablets.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    iOS and OS X

    As a long-time Apple user(/fanboi), I don't think it's quite fair to say that iOS (or OS X for that matter) have 'lost their way' entirely, but it is true to say that every Apple release now brings a slew of irritating user experience bugs and these bugs just don't seem to get fixed any more. Apple does need to try harder here.

    I'm just pleased we've got past the Scott Forstall era of tacky, excessive and unwanted skeuomorphism (a calendar application with fake stitching, ugh! What were they thinking...) During the Forstall years, Windows Phone looked very modern. Now - not so much.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: iOS and OS X

      Header in the article: Windows and iOS lost their way..

      .. which was then totally NOT underpinned by any valid argument, at least not on the iOS front. You could argue that Windows has lost its way, but I think that's a matter of interpretation - it's more accurate to state that it's trying to claw back on the rails after the double train wreck of Vista and the Office ribbon interface. But iOS? No.

      As I have said many times before, the year of Linux is really the year of the better UI. The key issue with Linux is not technology, the whole "movement" (no, stop thinking about your bowels) is replete with tech people. No, the problem is that there nobody listening to users (I first wrote "talking to", but that's exactly the problem) and translating that into a UI that actually delivers. There is an opportunity there because Apple has dropped a few stitches in OSX (alongside practically borking DNS resolution), and has partially gone the Microsoft way of features over functionality. No doubt that will be corrected at some point, but there is now an opening for something that is SIMPLE and EFFECTIVE. As a matter of fact, it would not be a stupid idea to just enrol a couple of old folks into UI discussions - they tend to be direct, and will make the exact mistakes you have to help the user with.

      As a slight aside, I'm presently dealing with some older folks and despite that being a growth industry - the population in most countries is aging, not just in Japan - I have been astonished at how little support there is for them in terms of readability and ability to lock a device down so that a simple wrong move won't result in a call to Support because the device no longer looks like what they are used to and they have no way to return to a known state. Even large TVs are stacked to the rafters with crap you cannot lock out (yes, Samsung, I'm talking about Smarthub). It's appalling.

      Anyway, back to topic: listening to the user could indeed make 2015 the year of Linux. But it requires a willingness to actively listen to criticism from the one group that is traditionally ignored in IT: the users. Personally, I think that's a bridge too far but I'm willing to be pleasantly surprised.

      1. DropBear Silver badge

        Re: iOS and OS X

        Bwahahaha, non-commercial developers listening to complaints from users... go on, pull the other one! Not that commercial devs always do listen (far from it), but in my experience the OS mantra is, overwhelmingly, "that's supposed to (not) work like that, wonfix, now BUGGER OFF - yeah, we mean all several hundreds of you complaining about the same exact issue and by the way you're all idiots".

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: iOS and OS X

          "non-commercial developers listening to complaints from users... go on, pull the other one! Not that commercial devs always do listen (far from it)"

          Six of one and half a dozen of the other in my view. If either side were to produce what every user agreed was the ideal product they'd still go ahead & try to fix what wasn't broken. Commercial devs need to have the next version to sell, non-commercial just because they want to.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: iOS and OS X

        listening to the user could indeed make 2015 the year of Linux

        Linux is already geared towards it's users - that's why millions of people have jumped through hoops and make an effort to install it, it's not given to people on a plate - it's not even given as a choice.

        For me, it's good the way it is.

  7. solo

    Been there, done that.

    "..getting you search results, Facebook updates and simple ways to share photos.."

    Will these 99.99% of guys still be doing only social updates 10 years from now? What then?

  8. Necronomnomnomicon

    Linux is possibly the only platform where the same OS on PC, server, mobile and tablet make sense

    As so many of the applications are command-line first with a GUI stuck on top. Means that porting an application is just a matter of re-designing the GUI, not the functionality beneath.

    I look forward to seeing an actual proper Linux tablet, but I still think it's going to take a lot of effort from someone (Canonical?) to get an actual physical product into a store where people can actually see, try and buy it.

    1. TheOtherHobbes

      Re: Linux is possibly not the only platform

      Most users don't care about the OS. They care about features that work for them.

      So the idea that mobile Linux is going to sell to the hordes because it's Linux is disconnected from reality in every possible way.

      At best it's going to sell to a small nerd herd. No one else is going to care, unless it looks amazing or does some supercool things, which - being Linux - it won't, because Linux has never been about doing supercool things for people who don't spend their days hacking web servers.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Linux is possibly not the only platform

        Most users don't care about the OS. They care about features that work for them.

        Yes, that is pretty much the problem in a nutshell. I'm not sure who said this, but I was once told "people don't buy a drill, they buy the hole in the wall" and that is one of the simplest truths out there.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Linux is possibly not the only platform

          "people don't buy a drill, they buy the hole in the wall"

          But does buying a better drill give you a better hole?

          I don't know where I'm going with that... discuss.

    2. mmeier

      Re: Linux is possibly the only platform where the same OS on PC, server, mobile and tablet make

      The benchmark I would currently set for a non Win/x86 tablet pc would be "performance, hardware and software support equal to a Thinkpad Tablet 10 with Wacom". Anything less is simply not good enough. So

      Mature support for ALL Wacom (or NTrig) features like pressure support

      Self-Learning Handwriting recognition on all levels of the OS

      Software that supports handwriting and post-writing conversion AND is available on the standard office platform(s) so at least Windows support needed

      Free access to the system up to "root" access without jailbreak/rooting/special tricks

      Free instalability of software (Add-on appstores acceptabel)

      Seamless integration in the company and privat networks

      User accounts an access rights at least on the Unix Level, preferably ACLs

      Choice of programming languages and development platforms for easy construction and testing of privatly written software

      All that at less than 800€ and with a guarantee that I get updates and security patches for at least the next 5 years (better next 10).

      ==============

      As for the rest: Win8.x (as well as 7) works fine on desktop and tablet pc. It also is more than "good enough" for in-house servers. The only stuff I'd run on a UNIX box (Solaris or AIX for long term support/stable API and ABI etc) would be outward-facing stuff like Webservers.

    3. jbuk1

      Re: Linux is possibly the only platform where the ...

      Linux is a kernel.

      Do you mean GNU userland?

      1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
        Go

        Re: jbuk1 Re: Linux is possibly the only platform where the ...

        "Linux is a kernel....." Exactly! Finally, someone remembers the difference between Linux and "Linux", the latter being The Movement made of differing OSs that use that kernel in one form or another, the users of those OSs, their app providers, and businesses hoping to make a killing off the freetards efforts.

        Indeed, the most annoying line in the whole article - ".....The most visible face of Linux in mobile and, let's face it, the most likely to succeed beyond the small circle of the Linux faithful, is undoubtedly Canonical....." - just shows the author's fixation with "Linux" The Movement rather than Linux. The actual most visible face of Linux in mobile land is Android which uses a modified Linux kernel. Linux is already a massive success in mobile land (and tablets) because of Android, but Android (and Google's machinations with hardware suppliers) are exactly why "Linux" is failing in mobile (and tablet) land. Canonical? I'm a big supporter of Ubuntu on the desktop, but Ubuntu on mobiles or tablets as a commercial venture? Pull the other one, it's got bells on it!

  9. Lyle Dietz
    Coat

    Linux on mobile.

    I have this memory of a mobile phone with a slide out keyboard that ran Linux; must have been my imagination if Canonical is going to provide for those of us that "[have] been waiting for the power of Linux to make its way to [our] hand[s]."

    Mine's the one with the N900 in the pocket.

    1. DropBear Silver badge

      Re: Linux on mobile.

      As someone who spends multiple minutes cursing every single time I need to use a console of 4-5 lines on an Android phone (the rest being covered by the "soft" keyboard) I whole-heartedly agree. If only there was a decent recent Android phone with a FULL qwerty (no, not those "portrait" Blackberry style abominations), preferably on THIS SIDE of the pond ('murrica seems to get all of them)...

      1. wdmot

        Re: Linux on mobile.

        @DropBear

        Pray tell, what new(ish) phones *anywhere* have a full QWERTY slide-out keyboard, let alone in "'murrica"? I've been looking for a replacement for my Samsung Moment for ages with no luck. The closest I got was 2 years ago I saw a Kyocera (I think) with a slide-out keyboard, but the keys sucked so I didn't get it. I haven't seen one with a physical keyboard since, even in reviews (except the Blackberry phones, which aren't quite full QWERTY and as you say are portrait which isn't optimal for me). I don't mind a phone being a bit thicker to accommodate a proper keyboard but it looks like the only option at this point is a clip-on bluetooth keyboard.

    2. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: Linux on mobile.

      Funnily enough.

      I bought a N900 second hand two years ago or so, having always wanted one, but never having gotten around to it. Odd, because I bought a Sharp Zaurus (a linux based pda) from the US quite promptly when that came out.

      Switched to the community ssu a year ago, and it's really brought it back to life.

      After several years of use...

      I love the skype integration (not a fan, but contacts use skype a lot)

      I don't bemoan the lack of apps.

      I dislike the hildon desktop ui, it's clunky. Thee app list is too long, have hunt to find anything.

      The app manager is slowwww, with long waits to any operation.

      Have 'almost' decided it's time to replace it, probably with an ubuntu phone, and probably a BQ, depending on reviews.

      I've even been playing around with the Unity8 session on desktop ubuntu, it's coming on, even on a Radeon embedded graphics card (many, many glitches due to this)

      1. mm0zct

        Re: Linux on mobile.

        I replaced my N900 with an N9 after the USB port went and I got fed up swapping the battery every morning with the one in the external battery charger. It works brilliantly as a phone/messaging/email reader/web browser, and I especially love the "feeds" screen, which with a few free/open apps contains not only my twitter, facebook and RSS feeds, but also my upcoming calendar events. With Billboard I can also put a lof of information on the idle screen, such as time, current song, and IP address, which the N9 keeps displayed at all times with the low power OLED display. The 1GB of RAM over the 256MB of the N900 means it's much better at multi tasking and web browsing (the N900 couldn't use the web at all when I gave up on it).

        Unfortunately I sorely miss the keyboard, that was one of the main reasons I hung onto the N900 for so long. The N9 can still ssh with X forwarding, but it's not nearly as useable without a physical keyboard. Swype helps with SMS messaging, but it's still a long way from a physical keyboard.

        In summary the N9 is a fantastic phone, but the keyboard is what made the N900 great. I'd be more interested in Jolla if it wasn't so much bigger than the N9.

  10. Tom 64

    Fedora 21

    I've been using redhat linux derivatives in the datacentre and cloud for a while now, so I thought I'd give Fedora 21 a go in a VM. Its a solid solid workstation OS, and next time I get to choose what goes on my office workstation/laptop it will be this distro.

  11. Tom 7 Silver badge

    It may very well be the end of the desktop.

    Most people seem to be more than happy with phones and small tablets for 99% of their requirements.

    Assuming some of the big on-line presences work out how to sell shit on a phone most people aren't going to want a desktop at home - a walk round a town gives you a glimpse into living-rooms where the sofa is populated by a grown up watching the telly and two kids on phones.

    The desktop may continue at work but if it does I dont think its going to be new windows - I've still not actually seen anyone using 8 and a 75 year old yesterday told me she'd gone back to 7 on her new PC she hated it so much!

    I dont think there will be a year of the Linux desktop but if I can run my linux apps on my phone and use it on a large screen when I need apps that need screenspace (not a desktop just access to apps) then I can see that becoming my major device.

    Now anyone got a bluetooth HDMI chip set in the offing?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It may very well be the end of the desktop.

      Most people seem to be more than happy with phones and small tablets for 99% of their requirements.

      People are happy with their phones and tablets because they don't have the associated hassles and maintenance problems with PCs (or more specifically, Windows - but that's just PCs to them).

    2. Phuq Witt
      Thumb Down

      Re: It may very well be the end of the desktop.

      *"...Most people seem to be more than happy with phones and small tablets for 99% of their requirements..."*

      The day job aside, that would be me too. I'd be quite happy to use a tablet for most of my day-to-day content consumption and basic content creation [blog posts / forum comments etc.] but for two things which are still awful on mobile devices:

      1: Transferring data between apps.

      and a thousand times...

      2: Basic text-editing functionality.

      Every new version of Android or iOS adds pointless new bells, whistles and eye-candy but it seems like the awfully cack-handed method for selecting text by moving those stupid wee beginning/end handles [which never seem to go or stay where you want them] has been handed down by Moses on stone tablets and must never be 're-thought' again. Likewise with the other text-mangling functions [copy / paste / drag etc.]. The fisrt mobile OS to make working with text feel as smooth as it does on a desktop gets my upgrade £££s.

      I'm not holding my breath though. I'm sure the boffins who could bring such things to pass are much too busy working on the latest technology for updating your Facebook status via accelerometer-powered dance moves, or suchlike.

      1. mmeier

        Re: It may very well be the end of the desktop.

        Try Windows Vista/7/8/ with a proper pen. Works perfectly for the copy/past functions (the stylus as a mouse) and quite a bit better than even the Note series of Androids.

        1. Phuq Witt
          Unhappy

          Re: It may very well be the end of the desktop.

          *"...Try Windows Vista/7/8/ with a proper pen..."*

          Sound good, but you lost me at "Windows"

  12. ninjatjj

    Laptop/convertible+smart phone

    IMO that is the foreseeable future. I can't imagine it being just tablet and smart phone. "Surface" style (i.e. convertible with horsepower) and a phone yes.

    Operating system wise would like to see a Linux distro on both.

    1. Lee D Silver badge

      Re: Laptop/convertible+smart phone

      I could work that way today, it's not really "future".

      The holdback for years was Office (been a LibreOffice user since day one, it's more than good enough) and games. 1/3rd of my Steam library is on Linux now. If Windows were to go away tomorrow, I would barely notice, personally. It would mess up my workplace for a few months until we got the alternatives in, but at home, who cares?

      I've invested more money into VMWare at home than I have Windows operating systems. And most of that was for development purposes. Though Linux can build and compile a Windows 32/64-bit app, you really have to test it ON Windows to get a feel for it working properly.

      There will be no "year of the Linux desktop". Desktops are dead already. Year of the Linux hypervisor running a bunch of whatever you want is more likely. It won't be long before I'm recommending that people just run VM's in their daily lives. Imagine the hassles that grandma could avoid if you could just roll her back to yesterday's snapshot with one click?

      For five years, I managed without Windows at home, while running Windows networks. It was Slackware (Ubuntu was around, but I like Slackware). Then I had an employer-laptop provided with Windows. It made little difference, I still ran the same software. (and, yes, often had to open stuff in LibreOffice that MS Office didn't stand a chance of opening - even MS Works!). Now, work-wise, everything is going cloud and web-based so it's even easier.

      If I didn't already have a 7 Home Premium and 8 Pro install loaded on the machine at home, I'd probably not bother with it. Gimme remote desktop for work, a web browser that works on modern sites, a decent chunk of my Steam library, LibreOffice and Eclipse and I'm done. None of that is dependent on Windows any more.

      When all my employer requirements include iPad and Android compatibility anyway (so everything is web-based even if the server that makes it so is on Windows), and everything on the server end is a VM, there's not much room for Windows itself except for convenience, familiarity and licensing.

      1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: Lee D Re: Laptop/convertible+smart phone

        ".....there's not much room for Windows itself except for convenience, familiarity and licensing." I agree with 99% of what you posted, but you forgot support. It's great supporting yourself at home on Linux, but when you're a business you really want good support, not maybe-good-enough support, and you will pay good money every year for dependable support to ensure your workers are concentrating on working. IMHO, I only see Red Hat and SuSE providing the levels of Linux server support required for business, and that is why MS will remain the king of desktops and Google will be king for "Linux" mobiles and tablets for the foreseeable future.

        1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

          Re: Lee D Laptop/convertible+smart phone

          @Matt

          Canonical also nominally provide support (through Ubuntu Advantage) though I've not heard much about it, and what I have had hasn't been entirely endearing.

        2. Lee D Silver badge

          Re: Lee D Laptop/convertible+smart phone

          In my experience, places that care about support aren't using Microsoft for it. They are using a myriad of technicians, consultants and specialists.

          Sure, it may be more difficult to find Linux tech support, but you wouldn't necessarily be looking to the companies themselves.

          When was the last time you called Microsoft? In 15 years of MS support, I've ever only done it to resolve licensing issues. When I have an error, the chances are the first 20 hits are random websites, not the MS KB. And the MS KB will likely be outdated, incomplete, have no real solution, or be referring to something else entirely.

          Support, in general, doesn't come from the manufacturers. If your business is big enough to hire an IT guy, the IT guy is your support. The number of times he has to fall back to talking to Microsoft, or Red Hat, or whoever is going to be few. And there, I'll find he'll gain much better support from the Linux side than the Microsoft side.

          Hiring in-house support for Linux may be more tricky. But past that, places not big enough to hire an IT guy don't really have enough IT to worry about (and will never hear of Linux anyway).

          1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
            FAIL

            Re: Lee D Laptop/convertible+smart phone

            "In my experience, places that care about support aren't using Microsoft for it. They are using a myriad of technicians, consultants and specialists......" Yeah, for stuff like security patches? I thought not.

    2. mmeier

      Re: Laptop/convertible+smart phone

      I am using that since before Win8 came out. Thankfully not with Linux (zero support for the Pen) but a Fujitsu T902 with a dock is my "one unit fits all" work maschine. I would not mind loosing a kilogram but that means switching to a ULV CPU and 8GB main memory so I rather keep on with Godjira and it's powerfull hardware.

      If one does not need what is a mobile workstation transforming into a tablet pc than units like the TP Yoga or the new HP unit can do the same IF you choose Windows. OTOH - why not, fits nicely in 90+ percent of the company networks.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Windows and OSX may be having some slight issues. But Linux desktops have awful usability, ugly apps and often require a trip to the shell to fix any problems.

    Linux desktop configurations are too diverse to become widely adopted by normal computer users. Who are they going to turn to when they have problems?

    1. Neil Alexander

      "What do you mean you don't understand the output of dmesg?"

      "I only bought the mouse, I didn't build it..."

    2. Lee D Silver badge

      There are issues in these areas, certainly.

      But similar issues also plague "new" Windows. I admin Windows networks and the amount of things you have to drop into the shell for are amazing. Activating Windows / Office on a network? VBS scripts run on the command line. Deleting an email from networked Exchange inboxes? Powershell commands. Have you seen what you have to do to get the Windows 8 "user logo" to be their photo from Active Directory? Logon script, basically, that downloads from AD, resizes to various sizes, sticks it in a certain folder on the local machines, and has to be rerun on every logon in case they changed their photo.

      99% of users don't use that stuff and 99% of users of Linux wouldn't need to either. You can install software from the GUI, you can create users, modify your network, all the stuff that's GUI on Windows is GUI on Linux too. The difference is that it's ALSO available in the CLI as well, which is no longer true of Windows.

      And the issue is moot. With VM's, you have no idea what you're really running anyway. Linux or Windows is then nothing but a pretty interface to the real machine underneath. And with VMWare etc. it could be Windows, Linux or NO OS AT ALL underneath the VM.

      P.S. Defaults on installing Server 2012? It wants to give you a CLI only. You have to SELECT the GUI option. The only way to run bare Hyper-V hypervisors that aren't Server 2012 themselves? CLI only - inside a normal Windows GUI that you can't use.

      1. John Sanders
        Linux

        For me windows is...

        For a long time now Windows for me is that 10GB File thing I run on a KVM or Virtualbox VM when I need access to something weird or test stuff for a customer. (KVM Base images are awesome for spawning windows servers for testing purposes)

        Since Steam came out for Linux I got rid of the Windows partition. Even Wine is good enough now to run some Windows programs if the need comes, that is happening less and less.

        There is nothing I can not do from a Linux desktop now.

  14. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

    OS wars are so last decade

    I personally do not care. I have worked on (and fumed at) very many versions of Windows, Linux, Unix, Android, and OS-X. I am old enough to have worked on VAX-VMS, RSX-11 on PDP-11 and CDC Cyber NOS (nicknamed either No Operating System or Nasty Operating System), CPM (2.0 and 68K), and more DOS version than I care to mention.

    I just want a tool that works. Android works nicely on my HTC phone, and ASUS transformer pad, Windows 8 (with classic shell) works for my kids and missus, and for me in data acquisition behind me telescope, and Linux works on many (non-mobile) machines I need to get my work done. Try processing some of my image and volume data on a mobile device: giga-pixel and tera-pixel range (single images, not a database that size). On the other hand, I don't do web browsing on a cluster. I have considered getting a MacBook Pro as a replacement for my ancient Sony Vaio (lack of nVidia card on their 13" bothered me, not the OS). Different tools for different tasks.

    1. mmeier

      Re: OS wars are so last decade

      You are right, best tool for the job is the way to go. But also "least amount of different tools for the job" since that reduces the amount of data conversions, changes in "work mode" amd learning time. If one OS can do the job on say server and desktop - that is the choice to go.

      I.e I recently sold my more than decend Canon "Kit lenses" (18-55 and 55-250) and went for a heavier Tamron zoom (70-300). Not because it is much better(1) but because ALL other lenses in my kit are Tamron and the fact that they work opposed (Turn left to zoom/focus/narrow appretur vs turn right) is "unneeded added complexity". So I lug an extra few hundered gramm an "all work the same"

      (1) Well using a lens designed for the 36mm sensor on a 22.5mm "APS-C" sensor DOES offer some benefits

  15. LDS Silver badge

    THere's a missing "Sponsored: Canonical" at the bottom of this article...

    And as usual you'll see some Linux phone/tablet aimed at the usual Linux nerds. Everybody else will keep on using Windows/OSX/iOS/Android. Especially as long as Linux application keep on being a pale imitation of true professional applications (or no application at all beyond the general ones...)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      FAIL

      Re: THere's a missing "Sponsored: Canonical" at the bottom of this article...

      You seem quite ignorant.

      1. LDS Silver badge

        Re: THere's a missing "Sponsored: Canonical" at the bottom of this article...

        You also, given you can write no more than four words without any useful content... keep on dreaming - Linux is not going anywhere where user applications matters. As long as there are no useful, successful, applications for user-oriented devices, Linux won't go anywhere. And because most successful applications are *commercial* ones, they won't target Linux and its (and its fanboys base) obsession for open source software - sure, you could write open source commercial apps, just somebody forks it and you're screwed because Linux users are greed and don't want to pay for applications. Just look at what happened when Oracle bought Sun. OpenOffice and other projects went immediately in "paranoid mode" and forked to avoid to be touched by an "evil commercial company".

        You can also deliver closed source applications for Linux - it means - besides all the screaming because they are closed soruce and not available from the standard repositories - there's a big risk they stop working with every release of Linux because Linux cares very little about backward binary compatibility - after all you should be able to recompile them, right?

        The whole Linux business model is flawed to support user devices. That's the reason because despite being free it never went far ahead - people needs applications, not OSes. And will keep on using those OSes for which the application they need are available. Even if they screw up with the GUI for one release. Just, ignorant people still believe user should choose an OS because they're told it's superior by some Linux ayatollah....

        Android is successful despite its Linux roots because it got rid of all that open source obsession, and built a business model where you can actually deliver commercial applications without open source talibans in the way, although Google exploited the open source code as much as it could to keep development cost low. But it replicated the Apple business model, not the Linux one.

        Maybe the day we'll see an OS built on the Linux kernel but away from the FSF/GNU "business" model, probably it will have more chances to become an end-user usable OS - but if - and only if - someone starts to develop real useful applications for it. Otherwise, keep on dreaming....

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: THere's a missing "Sponsored: Canonical" at the bottom of this article...

          Microsoft! Microsoft! RA! RA! RA!

          WOAH!

          Do you hate Linux, open source, or just everything non-Microsoft? Your self-contradicting mouth-throthing rant, fuelled by ignorance, doesn't make that distinction.

          Microsoft are changing, they're starting to embrace open source, 20% of Azure's VMs are Linux, and they're not only publicly using products from other companies, but they're even releasing their flagship applications on competing platforms.

          They're able to change, and accept the new (or real) world; It's a crying shame their fans can't and instead they continue to give Microsoft a bad reputation.

          1. mmeier

            Re: THere's a missing "Sponsored: Canonical" at the bottom of this article...

            Smart people choose by needs not by ideologie. So one makes a list of "must haves, should haves, nice to haves and can not haves" and uses what best fits. For clients mine has stuff like:

            Single OS for ALL client computers capabel of software development including J2EE

            Single client OS at home and on the job

            Support for inductive stylus on at least Win7 level (Win8 level preferred) in hard- and software

            Support for voice input on at least Win8 level (Dragon Natural level preferred) in hard- and softwar

            System must work fully offline

            System must work without non-company servers (Cloud etc must be fully in-house/under control)

            Integration in company network (Windows based in my case)

            Software must be freely installable

            Full access to the system without special and potentially warrant voiding methods (so no Jailbreak etc)

            Must run all software required by the job without workarounds (no WINE etc)

            Must run all software required by my interests without workarounds (no WINE etc)

            and with software I add:

            Libraries etc. must be useable in company developed software without forcing the publishing of the software source (so NO GPL! but Apache etc. would be totally okay)

            Long term stability for API/ABI (5+ years minimum, 10+ preferred)

            Long term support for the OS (10+ years) by the same company

            Any system that can supply the above makes it into the selection. The others don't.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: THere's a missing "Sponsored: Canonical" at the bottom of this article...

              I just have one requirement for my OS:

              - It must respect my intelligence.

              I can provide the rest.

        2. AJ MacLeod

          @LDS

          Rubbish. Even over a decade ago in my previous job we were using fully supported commercial desktop applications on Linux - very expensive engineering related applications, several of them. Just the same functionality as was available in the (then) NT version, only they ran far better on Linux both in our testing and in the developer's benchmarks. And they must have been fairly successful as they're all still available...

          The real reason that there aren't a vast number of commercial "desktop" oriented applications on Linux is that there basically isn't a need; open source software has been good enough for 99% of users, 99% of the time for years and years.

          I support "desktop" users in all sorts of businesses on Windows, Mac and Linux, using all sorts of both commercial/closed source and free, open source software and I can assure you that in the real world commercial, closed source software does not run more smoothly and does not have better support than free, open source software. I can't think of one single instance where a commercial software supplier has provided a real fix for their software in direct response to my requests (despite massively expensive yearly support contracts), but I can think of several where open source software authors have...

        3. CFWhitman

          Re: THere's a missing "Sponsored: Canonical" at the bottom of this article...

          Well, obviously you don't actually mean "no useful, successful applications for user-oriented devices." It's too obvious to point out one, like Firefox, for example. You actually must mean some minumum baseline that you have in mind, which may not match someone else's requirements.

          What makes you think that people thought Oracle was "an evil, commerical company," but not Sun? What actually happened with OpenOffice was that updates weren't happening anymore, and Oracle was dragging its feet about what they intended to do with the project. So the pent-up updates that people had developed ended up in a forked project.

          There are commercial applications available, for instance, in the Ubuntu repositories.

          In actuality Linux probably has the longest backwards application binary compatibility of any popular operating system. It's one of the general rules of coding with the Linux kernel to never break user space.

          I'm not sure where you're getting the idea that Linux doesn't maintain a backward compatible ABI (which again is not true), but here are a couple of possibilities:

          1. Binary driver compatibility: Linux doesn't maintain binary driver compatibility between versions. Drivers exist in kernel space and should be portable to other architectures where Linux runs. The kernel developers don't concern themselves with drivers that are not portable.

          2. Open source applications and libraries/widget sets: Open source apps use open source libraries so when the libraries get updated then the app has to get updated as well or the old libraries need to be available. Of course a binary application that included all its own libraries would continue to work, but open source apps don't usually work that way. On the other hand, closed source applications work that way a lot, so a lot of old closed source applications run just fine on new versions of Linux. As long as you include its dependencies a Linux application from 1995 will almost certainly work, which is not necessarily the case with a Windows application from then (though several do work, which is good). Ironically, a Windows application from then that doesn't work in Windows anymore may work through Wine in Linux.

          Of course there is not really a "Linux business model." The software development model used in Linux is about pooling of efforts and works well enough for the system to thrive.

          The comparisons to terrorist organizations are really an insult to the intelligence of everyone reading this.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: THere's a missing "Sponsored: Canonical" at the bottom of this article...

      "And as usual you'll see some Linux ...Android."

      Just think again about what you wrote there.

  16. Alister Silver badge

    I still think the "Desktop is dead" idea is premature, and possibly will never be true, although the form factor may change. Desktops/Laptops are not just for business edge-cases, they still have real benefits as a form factor for home use, in my experience.

    My kids have both smartphones and tablets, but if they want to do their homework, they choose to use either a desktop or laptop - primarily for the full keyboard, and the ability to print stuff.

    I use a desktop, partially because I'm from the TRS80 generation, partially because for work I need to manage servers from home, but also because to do household accounts, play games like Warcraft, edit my photos, and various other needs, a mobile device is just not the right tool for the job.

    I surely can't be the only person who has a household like this?

    1. Anonymous Bullard

      I surely can't be the only person who has a household like this?

      You're not alone. The old "desktop is dead" mantra is from two things:

      1 - The growth of the desktop (and laptop) market is slowing. A small part of it might be due to tablets replacing desktop for some activities, or it could just be because there is no reason to buy a new computer (they're all capable as they were 5 years ago), or we've spent our "computer fund" on a tablet instead.

      2 - As a platform, the desktop is becoming less popular in favour of the web.

    2. Teiwaz Silver badge

      I am inclined to agree

      Before computers, if you were writing a letter, you might use some sort of book or hard surface on your lap while seated a sofa or 'chaise lounge' (prolly spelt wrong). However if you wanted to write well, you'd find a desk and sit at it.

      Same today, in order of best suited for best writing/typing/studying concentration..(in order of effectiveness, least to best)

      phone -> tablet -> netbook/notebook/laptop -> desktop

      What you should really use is the best orientation for the job at hand. Texts and emails (including whatsapp etc) can easily be done from a phone, comfortable reading and light editing from a tablet, more detailed work needs a laptop or desktop/laptop (at a desk or workstation).

      Most people will find a phone sufficient, with maybe a tablet, a smaller number of others will find they need a better working infrastructure.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: I am inclined to agree

        Before computers, if you were writing a letter

        You old git, aren't you dead yet?

        1. Teiwaz Silver badge
          Childcatcher

          Re: I am inclined to agree

          Wayyyy, to many anonymous cowards on here today.

          Probably way to young to reach daddy's keyboard, or spell their own names yet.

          Away and play with the duplo bricks, snot nosed brats 'cause even lego is way to above your level.

    3. Stevie Silver badge

      I still think the "Desktop is dead" idea is premature

      How can you be so blind after the way we got rid of all the mainframes in 1990?

    4. thames

      @Alister - Well, the whole idea of what Ubuntu is trying to do is based on the idea that the desktop isn't dead. When your device is plugged into a keyboard, mouse, and monitor, you have a desktop and it will use a desktop UI. When you unplug it to carry it around, you get a mobile touch UI.

      The author of the article thinks that this is the way the industry in general will go, and I have to say that I agree with the reasoning.

      However, what may be pining for the fjords in future is traditional open desktop hardware. If the mass consumer and office drone market is satisfied by "converged devices", then eventually, there simply won't be any traditional "desktop" hardware on the market to buy, except perhaps at eye watering specialist prices (think back to the days of the Unix workstations as an example). Most desktop oriented Linux distros have got their heads stuck in the sand over this issue (e.g. Mint), while others (e.g. Red Hat, Suse) couldn't really care less as the server market is what they do. Ubuntu is the only one who is really tackling this issue head on.

      1. Dana W

        'However, what may be pining for the fjords in future is traditional open desktop hardware. If the mass consumer and office drone market is satisfied by "converged devices", then eventually, there simply won't be any traditional "desktop" hardware on the market to buy, except perhaps at eye watering specialist prices'

        With the blessing of content providers, with all of our media licensed, monitored, and in the cloud so the swell folks in marketing call tell us once and for all what we like this year.

  17. jbuk1

    I stopped read and had to post something at "Given Linux's long history of outstanding support for underpowered hardware."

    I can only assume the writer hasn't actually used a full distribution of Linux on underpowered hardware in the last 5 years as this is really not the case unless you're suggesting the future is still something like LXDE in which case you're wrong.

    1. wheelybird

      Try ElementaryOS on a old Acer netbook. :) Or if you want to stick to Ubuntu, switch your Desktop manager to something like Enlightenment. I think we should all be well pas the time when you mistake "Linux" (i.e. the kernel, which supports loads of older hardware) for "Ubuntu with Unity".

      I imagine these days you might even be able to get a Linux distro with a GUI running on something as underpowered as a RaspberryPi!

    2. codejunky Silver badge

      @ jbuk1

      "I can only assume the writer hasn't actually used a full distribution of Linux on underpowered hardware in the last 5 years"

      Ubuntu 12.4 installed and runs reasonably well on a 1ghz celeron, 512mb DDR, 10G 5400 HDD no problem. I installed that to replace a winXP system for an older family member. It was a default install with Unity and apart from slower boot/shutdown (couple of minutes) it ran fine. Apps started in reasonable time (obviously not fast) and she was happy.

      This is for someone who wrote letters in libreoffice and accessed the web.

  18. SidF

    Desktop

    With the awful W8 or 8.1 user interface modified by Classic Shell to make it look like W7, W8 is fine for this low power mouse and keyboard user and is much faster than Windows 7. I can't imagine what new features W10 could would bring for me except for a better back up system to a network attached drive.

    Like a lot of commenters here, I have not enjoyed the Android experience on an HTC Desire X from O2 and I am seriously considering joining my wife on MS/Nokia windows phone if I can find one with two cameras and a flash.

    As for some of the very useful Android apps, a budget tablet with a mid sized screen will probably do the job, mainly to run fancy astronomy simulations.

    And for the very little and simple computer work I do, there is always Ubuntu running flawlessly on a 7 year old AMD desktop.

  19. Stevie Silver badge

    Bah!

    Entire article predicated on universally available persistent internet.

    So you are SOL if that is the problem you are trying to fix.

    No, not trolling, just exasperated at yet another techie who sees the net as so obvious it doesn't need factoring in to the "mobile or not" question - a stupid question anyway as are all eggs-in-one-basket propositions. The real world rewards diversity at every granularity you care to notice. The wise SA takes this into consideration when planning.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can we revisit this article/dicussion in a years time and see if Linux has finally broken the 2% barrier. If as expected the answer is no can we all tell Scott, 'it's time to wake up, smell the coffee and get out into the real world'

    Linux (not Android) is still Vapourware as far as 'phones are concerned despite what Canonical say. It's been the Year of Linux on the Desktop since I first installed SuSE 5.2 in 1999 IIRC (a PC Plus Cover disk). It ain't happened so far and I don't see that changing

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Reminds me of the Mac vs Windows arguments of the past

    I haven't read all comments... one thing I find so dumbass about the first few was the reason why Android does have crashing is the same reason why windows still crashes. Google doesn't not have an iron grip on what language is used, what api's or frameworks are used, quality control ... unlike apple and microsoft who have a much higher level of scrutiny.

    This is what made MS who they are today, so I guess this is a bad thing, no wait MS is great according to these commentators wow maybe 20 years from now these same dumbasses will have the same fluffy feelings for Google.

    Try this, wipe your android, don't install anything on it and tell me if it crashes? Get back to this comment board and let us know your experience.

  22. ScissorHands
    Coat

    What? This isn't written by Andrew Orlowski?

    Good. They I can remind everyone that Nokia had a full-touch successor to the N900 that massively improved the interface for touch while keeping the same Linux underpinnings, called the N9. Three years ago.

  23. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Unhappy

    No Change

    So many environments where people try to push a 'one size fits all' concept. It takes time, but eventually you get so many different 'one sizes' that you're back to square one.

  24. W. Anderson

    The article writer is positing his Linux desktop proposition squarely at the USA experience, since several country governments, regions and cities in Europe and South America in particular, some in Asia and Africa are presently and have deployed Linux and BSD UNIX-like based desktops very successfully and productively for some time now.

    It is important to state and keep perspective on this topic, unless one has a very Anglo-USA and myopic viewpoint.

  25. John Smith 8

    Hmmmn, I've found linux in a right state...

    Been running it as my main desktop since, well, 2001? Mandrake, Mandriva, Ubunt and now Mint.

    And it's never been as shit as it has been recently. Ubuntu 14 is bloatware, completely unstable. Slows a fast machine with plenty of memory to a crawl. Mint while better, still has me in the position of a REBOOT once every FEW days.

    I just took down my pogoplug running archlinux from 2 years ago, and it was up 105 days since last power cut around here.

    I know you are talking mobile devices, but, I'm talking of stability and bloat. Its gone the way of windows now. Used to love it. Had to kill it.

    If only they'd keep supporting the old ones. Ubuntu 10.11 was great, but the LTS edition was a bit shit. Take me back to the days when they weren't trying to be windows, please.

    1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

      Re: Hmmmn, I've found linux in a right state...

      I've found Gentoo has stayed reasonably stable in that respect over the years, and Slack always deserves a mention for that too.

      Mind you, I'm reasonably easily pleased, as long as there's a terminal and browser I can do most of what I need to do (and enjoy doing).

      Do have a Kubuntu install (for Wifey) and will admit I've been getting increasingly frustrated within it with each 'upgrade'.

    2. itzman

      Re: Hmmmn, I've found linux in a right state...

      Odd. I used to keep mint running months sat a time. These days I power it down at night to save leccy a little.

      Never NEEDED a reboot. except after kernel upgrades

  26. pbarill
    Boffin

    On YaST "rewrite"

    @the author,

    You mention "Over the past couple of years, openSUSE has completely re-written YaST in the more developer friendly Ruby language". That is not correct. It has been _translated_, not re-written. To that purpose, they have developed a translator (y2r) for a direct translation from their "single-project-language" to ruby, with some adjustments. A rewrite of 594 680 lines? I think not!

    Indeed, the idea is to ease development, and could also allow to eventually shrink the code base (I'm not even a developer, and I find that awesome!) by delegating lots of stuff to standard ruby libraries and exploit the language's features, indubitably far beyond the past one.

  27. roger stillick
    Linux

    Desktops ??= Bring back the SS-100 Buss...

    Or perhaps a 4U Blade Server cheapened up to be a super desktop with all the peripheral thingies in psuedo blades (my old 32bit MSI AT-type gaming system comfigured as a Workstation worked as well as a SGI workstation at Work)... played w/ a SS-100 industrial control system b/4 ordering a MSI grey box mule from a Guru in Gearhart, OR... best workstation ever using MS-98 SER-2... obsolete years ago, but definately the way to go for a desktop (actually lived on an extra printer table's paper shelf).

    lots of space for extra plug in's... was going to add video cards when a Korean Business 64 bit laptop was chosen for DVD authoring on the then new Win-XP OS... moved photo pix stuff off mule to laptop... years ago.

    IMHO= Over the years it has been shown that desktop actually means a Work Station of a size that is affordanle and highly expandable and re-configurable just for the heck of it... No Gallon Can full of packed mystery parts... No Grade School lunch box w/ ATX card n pwr supply... Desktop means Workstation + Linux OS / IBM Lotus Sympony / Apache open office / tons of application software / database lashup's...RS.

  28. Harry Anslinger

    Windows is increasingly less relevant.

    Disclaimer: I got my MCSE in Windows NT days, and worked at Microsoft through the Windows 2000 and XP days.

    Today my work issued hardware runs iOS, my personal computers have Linux Mint 17.1 and my personal devices are Android based. I can accomplish all my tasks with less hassle and overhead.

    For me now Microsoft Windows is just not worth the cost and maintenance involved.

  29. John Klos

    Reminds me of a quote about VMS...

    One of the questions that comes up all the time is: How enthusiastic is our support for UNIX?

    Unix was written on our machines and for our machines many years ago. Today, much of UNIX being done is done on our machines. Ten percent of our VAXs are going for UNIX use. UNIX is a simple language, easy to understand, easy to get started with. It's great for students, great for somewhat casual users, and it's great for interchanging programs between different machines. And so, because of its popularity in these markets, we support it. We have good UNIX on VAX and good UNIX on PDP-11s.

    It is our belief, however, that serious professional users will run out of things they can do with UNIX. They'll want a real system and will end up doing VMS when they get to be serious about programming.

    With UNIX, if you're looking for something, you can easily and quickly check that small manual and find out that it's not there. With VMS, no matter what you look for -- it's literally a five-foot shelf of documentation -- if you look long enough it's there. That's the difference -- the beauty of UNIX is it's simple; and the beauty of VMS is that it's all there.

    -- Ken Olsen, President of DEC, 1984

    Different people have different needs. I'd be fine with a GNU/Linux tablet so long as it had a real shell I could run on the underlying hardware and working X11 support. For the most part, though, it'd be a glorified Unix terminal. But I know better - people working on GNU/Linux for end users forget about the real system and primarily care about trying to make something with feature parity to Windows and OS X / iOS. If that's what people are offering, my iPad works just fine, thanks.

  30. itzman

    Making the desktop experience

    ..converge with a mobile interface ...

    seems about as useful as equipping the space shuttle with a steering wheel and hand brake.

    'A Computer' covers as many bases as 'A Vehicle' does.

    FFS let's have the interface appropriate to the user and the intended function.

    Linux/Unix the kernel is the result of years of development and is now a stable versatile and ubiquitous beast. No reaosn not to use it.

    Linux the user interface simply doesn't actually exist.

    Instead we3 have various mobile and desktop UIs competing for space on a variety of devices.

    Frankly, Microsoft should port the windows UI to linux as well.

    In the end there will be power users on desktops doing things one way, and consumers who need to consume content and communicate and very rarely generate new code or content, on a completely different class of device altogether.

  31. crayon

    "I NEVER had to kill an app"

    Very good for you. Meanwhile my Galaxy Note 2 always insist on killing apps as soon as I glance away. Even something seemingly innocuous like going into settings would kill my currently running program. When I go into settings to check the RAM usage I always have around 800-900MB free (that's because it kills all the apps that it can and hence I can't check how much RAM my killed app used!). Most times it's not a major problem because when restarted the apps will resume where they left off. The major annoyance is the browser (it starts reloading the tabs again), and with the file manager (say I am copying a bunch of files from my server and because it's going to take a good few minutes I want to do something useful meanwhile, but I can't switch away from it otherwise it get killed and the file transfer along with it).

  32. Jeff Lewis

    You know - the two things I love most about Linux fans are their almost indefatigable optimism and the fascinating parallel universe in which they live.

    People aren't flocking to Linux because Windows 8 sucks and Yosemite sucks almost as much. They're delaying upgrading from Windows 7 and MacOS X 10.9 and waiting to see what Windows 10 and MacOS X 10.11 will be like.

    Moreover, why would a Mac user jump to Linux when they have BSD Unix right there? (You DO know MacOS X is built on top of BSD Unix, right?)

    Ironically, if you wanted to make your case, you could have dragged out the usual 'Look! Android! Linux!" argument - but then I'd have to remind you that in the one and only case where Linux has actually taken off like a rocket in a consumer space product - it's hidden away so deeply that no one can get to it. In other words, it's so ugly they had to put a bag over it's head before anyone would talk to it.

    As for the other commentors inane 'desktop is dead' rubbish - if we include lappies in the 'desktop' group - since most laptops are basically movable desktops - then what's left? Tablets? Which are experiencing the same stall that led people to claim it's over for desktops?

    No, sorry. 2015 isn't likely to be the Year of Linux either. Simply put, Linux just doesn't offer anything more of what people actually want (as opposed to what Linux fans think people *should* want) than the other OSes offer... and actually offers less of what they do want.

    Until the Linux boffins get that - and build an OS real people want, Linux will remain third place.

    1. 420Penguin

      @Jeff Lewis

      I guess it's my turn to repeat that Linux is a kernal. The order, from bottom up, is: kernal (Linux), operating system (GNU), desktop (Unity, Gnome, KDE, etc). All together is called a distribution (i.e.: Linux Mint). Windows is built along similar lines: kernal (NT), operating system, desktop (Metro, Aero).

      Yes, we understand that BSD Unix underlies OS X and iOS. Keeping consistent, the Linux kernal (a flavor of Unix) underlies Android, Chrome OS, and Firefox OS, as well as the various distributions of GNU/Linux.

      Now that that has been explained, yet again, let me mention the "parallel universe" that Linux lives in is the one where most of the web servers, smartphones, embedded devices, supercomputers, and coming wearables and smart TVs (and that Internet of Things thing) all run Linux. I can live with Windows (NT) left with running games and Excel.

      1. Matt Bryant Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: 420Penguin Re: @Jeff Lewis

        ".....I can live with Windows (NT) left with running games and Excel." Yup, totally parallel universe.

    2. Dana W

      I am a Mac user and multiple Mac owner. I was loving Linux, and planned on replacing my Macbook Pro with a Lenovo when Gnome 3 came along and pretty much Killed Linux for me. Canonical's newfound love of lock down left me cold. Linux wants to give me the amazing workspace customization I had in the early 2000's I'll change my mind. I'll head right back to Linux when Unity is buried in the same pit with Metro.

  33. Joe Gurman

    Erm....

    Got my first iPad in March of 2011. On an iPad Air (first gen.) now. Guess I'm just a stupid wanker, because I haven't gotten bored yet. Most useful computing device I own or use.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ubuntu >> Windows 8.1

    I use Ubuntu as much as I can, because "modern" Windows just sucks and everything is so clumsy. Let's take the fullscreen PDF reader as an example...oh god... On Ubuntu the integrated PDF reader just works.

  35. This post has been deleted by its author

  36. KurtB

    User Friendly

    "... very sysadmin-friendly YaST as one of its big selling points."

    Spicy tea just blew out of my nose! Thanks for the laugh, Reg!

  37. Hans 1 Silver badge
    Childcatcher

    GNU/Linux Touch Displays

    I have am abomination of a desktop from HP with a touch screen, came with Vista, put 7 on it with an SSD - the thing works pretty well ... I do have Debian on it as well and the touch screen is detected and drivers loaded automatically.

    This means that I can use either, mouse and touch screen.

    I have not tested it on unity, but the unity ui is a touch-centric ui - say what you want, guyz, but half inch by half inch icons are for touch devices, not pointing devices - the same holds for the default menu in gnome 3 as well - this I tested and it works pretty well. Now, I never use the touch screen (except for the tests), nor do the kids except for the 2 year old, she loves it - mainly because she still has coordination issues with pointing devices!

    Tuxpaint on a 17" touch screen is great for toddlers, but touch screens on desktops are otherwise useless.

    So Metro/Unity/Gnome 3 have become toddler uis.

  38. E 2

    "The tightly controlled, rarely compromised world of app stores and mobile contracts is not limiting if that's all you wanted in the first place. "

    Yet on my android devices almost every app wants to read identifying info about my phone, wants to read my call logs, read who is on the other end of a phone call, read my address book.

    That's apps ranging from messaging apps to 3rd party soft keyboards and simple games.

    Tightly controlled indeed.

  39. securecomment

    Tablets are dead. The future's Chrome!

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