I came across an article with a simple thesis: Desktop Linux needs a controller who looks out for the needs of the end-user; there isn’t one; Linux fails…
Of course, the authour presumes Ubuntu is Linux, ignoring all other distros. Of course, the authour has some pet hardware that doesn’t play well with GNU/Linux. Of course, the authour assumes that GNU/Linux is not in use by more than 100 million desktop systems, each with one or more end-users and they are happy with GNU/Linux.
So, the basic assumptions are wrong and what follows is as well. GNU/Linux has succeeded on the desktop despite the lack of a central controller. The idea that a single entity can be the end-all of IT is ludicrous. Ubuntu certainly is not it. The release on schedule idea is very efficient but it does require absent features or serious bugs from time to time to be released. The Unity interface is not for everyone. Definitely a central controller will not please everyone. You just have to look at M$ or Apple to see that. There are many who love those closed gardens but I have not met many who love it. One can accept being born and raised in a concentration camp but no one loves it.
The authour claims the success of Android/Linux is due to the magical control of Google but that is only part of the story. Google’s Android is just another distro (He derides distros…). The success of Google is not because of the central control but the energy of the hundreds of thousands of developers who tweak the systems and write applications for it and the hardware manufacturers, outside M$’s and Apple’s control, who invest in Android/Linux. With M$’s and Apple’s system that kind of environment is always shackled with the “prime directive” to support the empire. With Android/Linux the developers are totally free to create/produce. Google does not require them to be “partners” but gives them free rein. Developers love that and willingly support the system. That system works for everybody, not just a few biggies. The difference with desktop Linux is that M$ has persuaded almost all OEMs and retailers to do an exclusive deal. At first, M$ did this by compulsion and punishing deviance. Now, after decades, a whole industry assumes M$ or Apple is a must-have.
The situation with GNU/Linux on the desktop is changing rapidly this year. The success of the uncontrolled Android/Linux system on ARM makes it clear to everyone that M$ and Apple are not the only game in town. The capability of these tiny mobile systems draws into question all the assumptions of IT. 2007 or so was the crack in the dam. Ubuntu did make progress with some OEMs but they were never enthusiastic. The netbook opened the door further because the first ones ran GNU/Linux but M$ saw it was their partners producing them and made offers that could not be refused. Then the smart phone came to be. Because M$ had no product in the mix, manufacturers were not already in the camp of M$ and could freely do what they do best, produce products for consumers. The surprise that tiny chips with FLOSS could do most of what people needed doing has changed everything. OEMs are advertising their new products on prime-time TV and other media reaching wide audiences. The gadgets are portable and in the public eye. The performance is so great that they accomplish most of what users of PCs do with a fraction of the cost and hassle.
Essentially GNU/Linux and Android/Linux have succeeded as they would have on the desktop but in the mobile space. Since many people use mobile devices on their desktop, the revolution will compete head-to-head with M$’s and Apple’s stuff on desktops. We already see docking systems for smart phones as useful as anything the Wintel regime has ever produced. To assume that desktop Linux has failed in some way is ludicrous. In spite of the monopoly, obtained illegally (although given a big push by IBM early on), GNU/Linux will succeed and has already accomplished a lot. The push from Android on ARM is the final battle. Retailers are selling these things. They will sell GNU/Linux on x86 and ARM sooner or later. It’s already happening in regions and in a small way everywhere. There is no lack of central control holding it back. At the moment a shortage of parts is slowing Android a bit. Manufacturers are working at capacity cranking out systems.
For a laugh read The Desktop Linux Paradox
“The pieces crucial to making a cohesive desktop are scattered between too many different authorities, and the end result is an environment where attempting to create stable software for end users is a lot harder than it needs to be. Worse yet, it’s an environment that is hostile to proprietary software — which, for all of the bile directed at it, isn’t going away anytime soon.”
HAHAHAHA! ROFL! Last time I checked many organizations are cranking out first-rate software for end-users: FireFox, Google, LibreOffice … to name a few. They don’t seem to have any extra difficulty producing software for GNU/Linux. Even producers of non-FREE software succeed on GNU/Linux: opera, Adobe (Flash, anyway), IBM, Oracle, … The authour must be paid by the word or something and needed to get in his quota.