Linked by the_randymon on Mon 21st Jan 2013 19:27 UTC
Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu "The first computers were gigantic, filling rooms and requiring constant care and maintenance. [...] The computer stayed on the desk until the laptop computer, a smaller, more portable, but just as powerful machine, made it nearly obsolete. And then, the iPhone was released, followed shortly after by Android and the Palm WebOS, and the next step in computing was clear. What we did not immediately understand was if mobile computing was an accessory, or a replacement, for the traditional desktop machines." Jon-Buys at Ostatic believes the phone-becomes-computer paradigm is the next step.
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History Repeats
by TM99 on Tue 22nd Jan 2013 06:55 UTC
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We have been here before. No, not just the predictions of a replacement of some type, but something much more insidious and stupefying.

Decades ago, computing was not available to the masses. Mainframes and super-computers were available only to governments, academics, and large corporations that could afford them. Then the micro-computer revolution occurred. The Apple II, the Amiga, the Atari, the IBM PC, the Tandy, etc. allowed the everyday person access to computing power once only found on mainframes. People programmed their computers. They were in homes and elementary schools, and they predicted then, like now, that mainframes and super-computers were now obsolete. They were wrong. They are still with us and even more powerful than ever though similarly they often have to emulate the micro-computers that 'replaced' them.

Fast forward to the beginning of the 21st century, and now 'phones' are the new micro-computer. They are predicted to replace the desktop workstation. They will grow in usage and replace eventually some features and aspects - casual gaming, basic communications through email, texting, Skype, etc., and browsing. They will even replace some of the basic little day-to-day applications. But they will not replace things like application development, audio & video production, and specialized graphics work like CAD & Photoshop for professionals. And just like in the 70's, 80's, & 90's, people will use these at home and on the road and still need desktop workstations at least at work whether that means also at home or only at the office.

But here is the history repeating that few 'futurists' seem to get. This won't give us more freedom or control. It will give us less. Locked down systems with walled-gardens and corporate controlled application stores is in no significant way any different than the beginnings of computing history with mainframes and super-computers controlled by others. Techies yammer on about how we will all be programming in the decades to come on the super computers in our pockets. Bullshit, we will be passive consumers using computing appliances attached to cloud servers (mainframes!) and paying our 'fee' for the content they provide. We won't be creating it so much any more but rather simply consuming it.

So we are coming full circle in the next few decades. This isn't a linear progression and evolution. The men and few women who started a revolution decades ago have simply grown up and just like their fathers want to conserve and control what they developed. I do not view this development with any soft of joy or anticipation. I have used Ubuntu, and out of all the Linux flavors I have used, it has been by far the worse. Constant breakage when updating, constant changes to the UI, and constant privacy and control measures implemented year after year are more than enough to dissuade me from ever wanting to use an Ubuntu phone as a desktop replacement.

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