Reply to post: Same old same old.

Is this cuttlefish really all that cosmic? Ubuntu 18.10 arrives with extra spit, polish, 4.18 kernel

Pete 2 Silver badge

Same old same old.

> the obvious question is “what’s new?” The answer is… not a whole lot.

But this is true of almost every Linux [ and by "Linux" we all know that means the kernel and the suite of apps that make up a distribution ] - and has been for years.

The question that rarely gets asked and even less frequently gets a satisfactory answer is: what will I be able to do, with this release, that I could not do before?

And most times the answer is "nothing". For many years now, all new Linux releases have been merely rolling the version numbers on libraries and utilities (squashing bugs and fixing security problems), adding support for new hardware and fiddling with the UI.

The only real change that has arrived in recent years is systemd. But even that is 4 years old, is hated as much as it is adopted and makes no difference at all to the users and the list of functions they can use.

One could argue that stability is a major benefit. That being able to take a user from 20 years ago (i.e. me!) and plunk them down in front of a Linux desktop that they will instantly recognise and be able to use, is a good thing. Apart from some minor silliness, like moving the position of menus and toolbars it is totally familiar. This is very true. But it is not innovation, it is not "cutting edge" and it is not what developers want to spend their time doing.

Linux has grown fat and slow in middle age. It is no longer the inspirational "alternative" it once was. It no longer leads in terms of utility or design. Yet it contains all the old baggage that makes it a hostile environment for people to adopt. Just try adding a new package - download this, edit that, compile the other, add new libraries to satisfy installation criteria, fix conflicts and maybe - just maybe - after a full day of effort and Googling user forums that shiny new app will work.

We should be at the stage where all a user has to do is sit at a screen and say (or type) "I want to write a document" (or letter, email, flame, program, magazine review ... ) and everything just happens. And the same applies to hardware - especially stuff you can plug in like USB. None of these should be issues, but they are all insoluble due to group dynamics and office politics within the community.

So Linux will continue to increment version numbers. Giving the illusion of progress without change. And in 20 years time someone else will re-write this comment about Ubuntu 38.10. That is, if the Y2038 problem hasn't destroyed the world.

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