Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 18th Oct 2010 21:54 UTC
Linux Well, it's been a while since we've opened this particular jar (box is not historically accurate) owned by Pandora. Desktop Linux... Yes, that ever elusive readiness of the desktop that is Linux-powered. Some story on ComputerWorld argues that the desktop Linux dream is dead, and apparently, the story is causing some stir on the web. Well, paint me pink and call me a lightbulb, but of course desktop Linux is dead. However - who gives a flying monkey? Linux is being used by more people than ever!
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Nobody cares about Linux on the desktop
by IkeKrull on Tue 19th Oct 2010 01:01 UTC
IkeKrull
Member since:
2006-01-24

If people actually cared about desktop linux, we would have:

a) a departure from the cryptic UNIX FHS
b) a useful, user-configurable linux->linux network filesystem that isn't NFS3 and probably isn't NFS4.
c) filesystem ACLs by default.
d) one GUI, with one widget API, and one system services (installed components, configuration settings, device discovery) backend. Doesn't mean people can't offer different stuff on top of that, but its pointless for things to be split into such tiny bits for the desktop user.
e) a driver API which supports backwards compatibility even while new features are added

Basically, as long as Linux is a slave to 1970s POSIX standards that will never evolve, kernel developers insist that standards are meaningless for them (some of the same people that paradoxically pound POSIX like it was a bible), and the fragmentation between X.org, KDE and GNOME continues to occur at such a low level, there won't be a meaningful desktop linux.

Why would anyone want to use a 1970s-era UNIX workstation as a desktop in 2010? Linux is just that with a coat of shiny paint.

Reply Score: 6

earksiinni Member since:
2009-03-27

Perhaps for the same reason that someone would want to use a 1970's era car. Maybe the problem is that we haven't gone far enough and that Linux is a hack job (gasp!) Maybe if someone took the time to make netcat relevant, Linux would be awesome the way that DOS was.

All I'm saying is that on a scale of 0 to DeLorean, Plan 9 ranks somewhere between Queen and AC/DC.

(Yeah, the DeLorean deserved to be in the 70's.)

Reply Parent Score: 2

emoreau Member since:
2007-06-13

a) a departure from the cryptic UNIX FHS

Like end-user cares. Nobody sees it, and
"C:\Windows\System32" does no make much sense either.

b) a useful, user-configurable linux->linux network filesystem that isn't NFS3 and probably isn't NFS4.

Samba is available

c) filesystem ACLs by default.

I've managed systems with ACL since 1989
(remember Apollo/Domain ?).
No real big advantages.

d) one GUI, with one widget API, and one system services (installed components, configuration settings, device discovery) backend. Doesn't mean people can't offer different stuff on top of that, but its pointless for things to be split into such tiny bits for the desktop user.

Can you say MFC and .NET ?
Can you say XP an Win7 ?
Can you say Cocoa and Carbon ?

e) a driver API which supports backwards compatibility even while new features are added

Go read http://www.linuxdriverproject.org.
Linux driver model is superior, period.
Company just have to realize that there is no
advantages in closed-source drivers.

I am sure that you won't get it,
and call me an old farth, since I remember the
day that when you bought a printer, it came with
a programming manual.

Reply Parent Score: 5

leech Member since:
2006-01-10

a) a departure from the cryptic UNIX FHS

Like end-user cares. Nobody sees it, and
"C:\Windows\System32" does no make much sense either.


This always kills me. How is it that they new what POSIX, and ACLs even are, without understanding the "cryptic UNIX FHS"? I mean come on, really? It's not that hard. In fact when I first started learning Linux, that was the first thing the Linux Encyclopedia taught, the FHS, and I personally love it.

I am sure that you won't get it,
and call me an old farth, since I remember the
day that when you bought a printer, it came with
a programming manual.


Ha ha, I agreed with every part of your counter-post. I just had to add that I too recall the programming manuals that would come with printers! I think I still have mine. Reminds me of the 'good ol'' days when you would need to know the hayes commands to use modems and such.

Reply Parent Score: 2

IkeKrull Member since:
2006-01-24

a) a departure from the cryptic UNIX FHS

Like end-user cares. Nobody sees it, and
"C:\Windows\System32" does no make much sense either.


Users don't need to go hunting through there unless they want to do something with the Windows system files - the '32' is a little bit cryptic, i'll give you that.

However, 'Program Files' makes a bit more sense, doesn't it?

And yes, users do see it. For example, whenever firefox can't handle a protocol and the user needs to find a program to handle it, they have to trawl through /usr/bin assuming they even know what that is.

Its a stupid system, and people who for some reason have become perversely attached to this stuff cos they've been dealing with it since the 1970s making excuses for something thats barely adequate instead of pushing for something good is the problem.

b) a useful, user-configurable linux->linux network filesystem that isn't NFS3 and probably isn't NFS4.

Samba is available


Sure, samba is available, but why would the linux desktop use the Windows workgroup/domain/permissions model when none of that stuff is actually implemented in the rest of the OS? Plus shared homedirs don't work properly on samba, locking is a problem on samba. Samba is a great tool for interoperability, but why doesn't Linux have something good, something best-of-breed?

c) filesystem ACLs by default.

I've managed systems with ACL since 1989
(remember Apollo/Domain ?).
No real big advantages.


Rubbish. When some manager type comes to you and says 'I need group A to have read access to this folder and group B to have write access to this folder' and you say 'sorry, can't do it with Linux', thats not the right answer.


d) one GUI, with one widget API, and one system services (installed components, configuration settings, device discovery) backend. Doesn't mean people can't offer different stuff on top of that, but its pointless for things to be split into such tiny bits for the desktop user.

Can you say MFC and .NET ?
Can you say XP an Win7 ?
Can you say Cocoa and Carbon ?


Can you say 'none of those technologies are 'horizontally fragmented', or mutually exclusive at all?, and all go out of their way to provide a seamless look and feel on their respective OSes, as well as all leveraging common low-level services in a way that Linux doesn't?, as well as actually representing progress instead of 'it was done this way in the 1970s so it must be right'?'


e) a driver API which supports backwards compatibility even while new features are added

Go read http://www.linuxdriverproject.org.
Linux driver model is superior, period.
Company just have to realize that there is no
advantages in closed-source drivers.

I am sure that you won't get it,
and call me an old farth, since I remember the
day that when you bought a printer, it came with
a programming manual.

[/q]

I've read it, I understand that point of view, but when all your drivers have to be updated every time a kernel point release comes out, its just painful. Why can't I use the webcam driver that worked perfectly well on linux 2.6.18 on 2.6.19 without having to recompile it from source? I mean, apart from the kernel developers desire to preserve flexibility, why?

Users don't understand the reason for this, because he reason why is only relevant to kernel developers. Users just see broken stuff. And stuff breaks, even the open source stuff breaks - see recent Nouveau driver problems where kernel driver changes forced userland API changes, making it impossible to use newer kernels with older X.org stuff. Theres no mechanism in place to allow API to be gracefully deprecated as it changes, there is no way in hell this situation benefits anyone but kernel developers.

And sure, the kernel developers are important, they wrote this stuff, but this is an example of why desktop linux isn't a reality, because this 'we don't need no APIs, we'll change whatever we want, whenever we want, and if your driver isn't in the kernel tree for whatever reason, go f**k yourself' isn't working well for desktop users.

Reply Parent Score: 4

Panajev Member since:
2008-01-09


Can you say Cocoa and Carbon ?


You just chose the wrong example to criticize for lack of uniform and consistent UI design, MacOS X ;) . Even a long time Windows user like me, now programming on a Mac on a daily basis has to admit that the attention to UI's HIG rules is astounding on Apple products.

Go read http://www.linuxdriverproject.org.
Linux driver model is superior, period.


It has to prove it, not make papers and technical demos. It must be better than the competition (for example in the audio arena, providing glitch-free and low latency sound).

Reply Parent Score: 2

michi Member since:
2006-02-04


c) filesystem ACLs by default.

It is possible to use ACLs on Linux. But ACLs have absolutely no advantage for the typical desktop user. In fact, I work for a big organization and every time ACLs are used, they are causing lots of trouble and the problems could as well be solved by using Linux file permissions. ACLs are way too complex and the simple Linux file permissions are perfectly fine 99% of the time. And the remaining 1% certainly have nothing to do with normal desktop usage.

Reply Parent Score: 2

Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

Linux is just that with a coat of shiny paint.


Wow, so Linux is exactly like Windows and OSX?

Reply Parent Score: 2