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IS THE LINUX DESKTOP A FAILURE?
#1
You know what I’ve noticed lately? Lots of Linux related content creators are saying that Linux has failed on the desktop. This crap has been going around for about a year now… People say ChromeBooks will be the future of Linux… People think the only people who use Linux are developers and server jockies… Poppycock! Linux is doing just fine on the desktop, thank you very much. I use it, those Linux guru wannabes who are bemoaning its failed status are using it and you’re probably using it if you’re reading this. There sure doesn’t seem to be any slow-down of Linux desktop development, either. 

So where is all this bad mouth on Linux coming from? These folks are thinking in terms of products and market shares.  They’ve gotten caught up in the jingoistic thinking that characterizes aging tech hounds who are trying desperately to stay hip. For these folks, it’s all about numbers. They’ve forgotten something very fundamental to Open Source computing and Linux: IT’S NOT A PRODUCT! Linux is a community. 

Linux does not depend on the whims of any corporation or organization. Canonical, Microsoft, IBM, and Oracle are examples of companies that contribute to and profit from Linux. They DO NOT own it and they CANNOT take it away from you. Open Source and Free Software means that you your very own little self can learn how to take any of this openly available software and put it together anyway you see fit. If not you then someone will do just that and they will most likely want to share it with others. This ensures that their will ALWAYS be alternatives. Don’t like what Ubuntu is doing? Well, find a distro that works for you and join the community around it. Go on… It’s OK with me. That’s the beauty of Linux. 

Another thing that people get hung up on are the dubious market share numbers that get tossed around constantly. Who cares? It doesn’t really matter all that much with Linux. I have always been a big advocate for bringing new users into the fold but I also make it clear that Linux is all about choices and there are those who will choose not to use it. Fine, we don’t need ya. No, really… I’m not trying to sound snooty here; I’m just saying that we’ll be hunky dory without you. I’d rather work with those who are passionate about Open Computing and are excited about learning than try to placate some neophyte ex-Windows Power User who wants to complain about Linux being too hard to learn. No thanks.

As time goes on, I have come to realize that I myself do not really fit in with the crowd of Linux pontificators and pundits of today.  I think most of them are way to eager to cozy up with corporate stooges.  They’re cutesy, silly, inflammatory clickbait generating sycophants who operate under the illusion that just because their voice can be heard from one end of the world to the other that they suddenly have become more intelligent than when they could only be heard from one end of the bar to the other. … I heard one idiot who shall remain nameless actually proclaim on several occasions that regular Linux users were just a myth. Does the word elitist come to mind? Nauseating. 

DO these people really represent the Linux Community? I don’t think so… To be honest, I don’t think I represent it either, though. Linux is a huge world with many, many different aspects of its ecosystem. Robots, servers, self-driving cars, kiosks, point-of-sale devices, super computers and IoT devices are just a few of the places where Linux is being implemented today. I don’t know a thing about any of that stuff. We focus on the desktop here and while it’s still true most personal computers run Windows there’s not a day that goes by that I don’t hear from someone who tells me they just started out with a fresh install of Linux. Slowly but surly the number of average, non-nerd, non-developer, non-neck-bearded Linux users is rising. That, ladies and gentleman, is not failure… That sounds like success to me.
-- Your Fearless Leader!

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#2
Depends how you measure success or failure. If you count the number of Linux desktop users then Linux is undoubtedly a failure. On the other hand if you count the degree of innovation and enthusiasm that goes into developing Linux then it is a success.

For myself, a computer is a tool with a job to do and not something to get excited about, any more than I get excited about a new screwdriver or a new wrench. I am pleased when they work well and I praise good quality, but excited? No. For that reason I regard Linux more as a product. It's something I would happily pay for, and did so after downloading Mint 18, and when I upgrade to 19 I shall donate again, as I believe anybody who puts in time and effort to Linux should be rewarded.

In essence my interest lies in what the computer can do, not how it does it, so I have no interest in learning about the command line for example as long as there is a simpler graphical method available. Point & click is ideal for me. I shall always be grateful for the work that developers do but I don't want to join them. The analogy I always use is car driving, in that one doesn't need to know the first thing about the workings of the internal combustion engine to be a competent driver. I am that car driver, and though I care what goes on under the bonnet I don't want to get my hands dirty tinkering with it.

All in all the Linux desktop is a success for me and, I suspect, most folk reading this forum. Whether the rest of the computing world agrees does not really matter.
Cliff Coggin
Mint 18.3
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#3
Even going by the numbers it's to soon to say it has failed or succeeded as the numbers are still going up, only when they start to go down or level off will you know if it is a success, everything that is successful does not succeed at the same speed.
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#4
I really don't give a crap about market share or how popular something is. My concern is that it works and it works for me. Linux on the desktop works for me. The Windows desktop stopped working for me with Windows 8. I've been using Linux on the desktop as on servers since the days of Debian Sarge.

Maybe I'm a pessimist but in some ways, the Linux desktop becoming mainstream is a bit frightening. As Linux gains ground on the desktkop, I think that there will be much more corporate influence (Microsoft, Google, etc) which will eventually limit our choices to a handful of distributions these corporations work toward standardization to eliminate fragmentation in the desktop. I may be wrong and I hope I am but I see it as a very real possibility.

Personally, I see the fragmentation of Linux distributions and desktop environments as a very good thing. I love having a plethora of available choices and knowing that I can potentially customize whatever I choose to suit my needs. I hate being told "This is all that's available to you and you have to choose one of them."

On the other side of the coin, having so many choices is scary for most people because they are accustomed to being told what choices they should make or being presented with a limited range of choices.
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#5
There are several things I need to do with a computer: Creating and reading documents, email, media consumption, data storage and curation, web browsing and programming. Linux allows me to do all these things easiely and efficiently, without annoying me. It even gives me a few nice extra features, like the customisation options, free software (both meanings), extensive software repositories, scripting or a powerful and usable command line interface. And when I am bored, I can easiely kill a few minutes simply experimenting with the system. And usually it just works. I'd call that a success.

The only reason I care about marketshare is driver development: The more people use Linux, the more different devices are being used, the more drivers will be written, the higher the chance that some random device is compatible.

Linux development is however rarely exciting: The main policy is "Don't break user space", which means that the kernel must always be fully backwards compatible. This results in a quite conservative development model where quite a few things will never be improved, because that would break some applications. This means that Linux is not the best platform for operating system research and will never have any revolutionary new features. I see this is the main reason why at some point in the (distant) future another, more modern, free software operating system will be popular for desktop usage. But until then I am perfectly happy with Linux.
My website - My git repos

"Things are only impossible until they’re not." - Captain Jean-Luc Picard
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#6
Hello,

Is linux desktop a failure or a success? I like to answer both sir! Let me explain:

If you mesure success by the market share, yes, it is a failure, after 26 years (debian and suse are there since 1993) the amount of people who use it is so small that is almost irrelevante. And i don't mean to get in anyone nerves by saying that.


Now, if you mesure success by the goal is archived or not, than yes it is undoubtedly a success. Because i think the goal is to give people freedom tof choice, yes in the linux fragmented ecosystem you can pick up the desktop you like, and even by picking up a desktop, you can change pieces of it, for instance the file manager. Ok you may have some surprises if you do so, but you can!

If you don't want to use an already made DE, you can create one with some window manager (i3wm, openbox etc) plus all the tools of your liking and make you own DE. Each pot has its lid.
Linux and gnu goal is the free software, by this i mean free as in freedom, the licences all end up saying the software is yours. I can use it, edit it the way i like, i can even make a couple of changes rename the project and redistribute it. Wasn't this one of the goals? i guess it is successfully reached.


Few months back, someone (not a linux user) told me i should use a chormebook and i can use all my linux apps in it. I told him that is the windows/mac user state of mind, in general they stay in theirs platform because they need this or that app and they can only find it there. I explain to him the freedom i just exposed in the too paragraphs above and, ironically asked him if chromebooks could give me that freedom.

That is the "problem" with linux, once you tried the freedom, you can not go back. At least i can not.
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#7
There's a lot of misinformation on the internet these days...especially when it comes to Linux.   Angry

If the Linux Desktop is a failure...what have I been using and loving for over 3 years. [Image: t2803.gif]  This crap is nothing new as it's been going on for years created by Morons or Micro$oft Stooges.  [Image: t1939.gif]

We've all heard...Linux is too hard...It's all Command Line...It's only for Nerds...There's too many Distros...Linux Mint should go...Linux Mint is only for Beginners...Linux is free,must be something wrong...Software isn't as good as Windoze...etc. [Image: t9403.gif]

Not long ago it was claimed Tablets are the future and will replace Laptops and Towers...never happened...The funniest was when Micro$oft claimed Windoze Spyware 10 would only run on certain CPUs...does this mean Linux wont run on them too.  [Image: m0103.gif]

Once people who really want to learn Linux start using it...they soon realize it's much easier than Windoze ever was and you don't need to be an expert either.  [Image: t2009.gif]
Linux Forever...Windoze Never       [Image: t12701.gif]
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#8
(10-11-2019, 11:08 PM)bob777 Wrote: Once people who really want to learn Linux start using it...they soon realize it's much easier than Windoze ever was and you don't need to be an expert either.  [Image: t2009.gif]

Very true. Amen. Smile
-- Your Fearless Leader!

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