Broken Logic Around GNU/Linux Desktops

Jay Layman is the latest to lose his way. He finds 4 predictions showing FLOSS going everywhere except on the desktop in 2012.

“With all of these other predictions, it will be hard for Linux to do much of anything in terms of the desktop, so I think it probably won’t in 2012.”

It’s not a zero-sum game. FLOSS doesn’t get used up somehow because it’s successful in the cloud, and mobile. FLOSS gets excited, drawing in new talent and more users sharing the joy. FLOSS is on fire and it will grow as long as there is fuel and oxygen. The fuel is the utter failure of M$ to innovate and the oxygen is the dramatic uptake in mobile. The same distros that have been wildly accepted in the mobile space can work on the desktop. That’s why M$ is attempting to make “8” cross-platform. FLOSS is way ahead of M$ in that game. FLOSS is way ahead in getting developers excited about the platform. There’s no growth for Wintel and small cheap computers running Linux on ARM are accelerating rapidly from an already huge installed base. More computers running Linux were sold in 2011 than that other OS. Developers know that and they will go where the action is. M$ is selling vapourware.

It’s like a game where the quarterback is throwing bullets, and the receivers are catching impossible balls. Are the linemen going to quit? No way. They will be inspired to push harder than ever. The GNU/Linux desktop keeps getting stronger, more widely used and loved. Ubuntu is being sold on millions of PCs per annum. Is Mark Shuttleworth quitting? No way. He’s aiming for 50 million per annum. Debian GNU/Linux has very few commercial entities pushing it on the desktop. Is GNU/Linux quitting? No way. Debian GNU/Linux has over 1000 developers and hundreds of mirrors/repositories around the world working harder all the time. The Debian organization has it’s own organizational chart. These guys are in it for the long haul and are not going away any time soon, Layman.

see Opinion – Top 5 Linux Predictions for 2012

About Robert Pogson

I am a retired teacher in Canada. I taught in the subject areas where I have worked for almost forty years: maths, physics, chemistry and computers. I love hunting, fishing, picking berries and mushrooms, too.
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18 Responses to Broken Logic Around GNU/Linux Desktops

  1. Kozmcrae says:

    Elementals like Hanson will try to move the discussion to desktop Linux, the last line in the sand. They will even try to insult your personal desktop (see his previous comment to me) while ignoring the vast success of Linux, GNU/Linux and FLOSS everywhere else. This is an old trick used by the Cult of Microsoft around here.

    They need to be abruptly turned around and put back in line.

    “Amen. That’s my experience in individual migrations.”

    All of us who use GNU/Linux here have had these personal experiences of success and joy with the OS. These experiences are not isolated as the Cult of Microsoft would like to pretend. They are merely a reflection of the larger success of FLOSS in markets that were once the dominion of Microsoft. Good-bye Microsoft.

  2. oiaohm wrote, “one battle at a time. Each one brings the FOSS desktop closer.”

    Amen. That’s my experience in individual migrations. First comes the seed of the idea, then the demonstration, then the migration and occasionally some minor tweak to perfect the result.

    My first migration was my own classroom more than a decade ago. I was a complete newbie who had never even burned a CD before. That other OS was completely breaking daily. I had met a man who told me GNU/Linux wasn’t broken. I read that on the web as well. It tooks a few days to choose a distro, ten days to download the CD image, and then I had to figure out how to burn the CD on a Mac. I did have to configure XFree86 or whatever it was called and it worked perfectly. No more crashes for months. I never did get NFS working but went around to the five machines with files distributed via e-mail for my lessons… Chuckle. The good old days. Since about 2003, I have been using the full glory of GNU/Linux and it has not let me down except rarely with a few bugs that got fixed. My philosophy now is that everything is fixable and the first step is migration. The main fixes I have lately needed are just the documentation. Even kernel building is still not perfectly plain…

  3. oiaohm says:

    http://www.h-online.com/open/news/item/Microsoft-opens-Messenger-up-to-XMPP-1396024.html Another road block to migration biting the dust. Ie the I cannot use MSN argument.

    Ok little bit of kicking and screaming. But nothing out of normal. Remember when MS was locking out anyone who as not there client.

    Hanson its basically one battle at a time. Each one brings the FOSS desktop closer.

  4. oiaohm says:

    Hanson FLOSS on desktop is a slow process.

    http://www.h-online.com/open/news/item/European-IT-authorities-want-better-OOXML-in-Libre-OpenOffice-1395595.html

    This is coming from outside the normal FOSS world. Hanson. Result less pressure to use MS Office.

    Linux is everywhere. Is true but its different now Hanson. Linux has been everywhere for over 10 years. Yes most of the 10 year old everywhere did not have graphical interfaces or at least something people were expected to directly interact with.

    The question is how long. Multi Touch formally enters the Linux world next X11.

  5. Hanson says:

    “There are actually elite universities in Bavaria? I thought most of them were here in the Ruhr.”

    Well, obviously you don’t understand a certain meaning of quotation marks. You know, like this: “elite”. And if you look at the map in this article:

    http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Exzellenzinitiative

    does then something dawn on you? There’s just one university, the RWTH Aachen, that is as “excellent” as LMU and TUM. (And before you cry me a river, yes, the quotation marks are there for the same reason as before. I won’t spell it out for you, though.)

    “BTW I generally gave up active advocacy of FLOSS software so there is not much more for us to argue about besides whether Bavarians or Westfalians are better, or whether Bavarians are Germans at all.”

    Funny, I never was an advocate of FLOSS in the first place. I don’t vote CSU, and I don’t speak the Bavarian dialect. Judging by that I’m not really a real Bavarian.

  6. Kozmcrae says:

    “I have a Bayerisches Abitur and I have graduated from a Bavarian “elite” university.”

    By the way you speak of this “Bayerisches Abitur” you seem very proud of it. I wouldn’t boast of it around here or attach your name to it. Your language and manner here would bring shame upon any technical school let alone any school you attended in Germany.

    “If said service uses Linux to get things done it is of no consequence to me.”

    Whether it bothers you or not, whether it’s of consequence to you or not, you still cannot escape FLOSS (Which was my point, not how you feel about it.). Does it make you a bad boy? I don’t give a rats ass whether it does or not. I use proprietary software in my GNU/Linux distro. Does that make me a bad boy? Who gives a crap?

    Your world of proprietary influence is getting smaller by the day and the rate is accelerating. You are defending a dead horse Hanson. Good luck with that.

  7. lordtoran says:

    There are actually elite universities in Bavaria? I thought most of them were here in the Ruhr.

    BTW I generally gave up active advocacy of FLOSS software so there is not much more for us to argue about besides whether Bavarians or Westfalians are better, or whether Bavarians are Germans at all 😀

    @Pogson: German history is unfortunately a story of mostly dismay and desaster, which is to a large part grounded in the geographical location in the center of Europe. Especially gruesome was Thirty Year’s War (1618-1648), when entire German regions were razed and depopulated by the clashing armies of nearly the entire continent (due to religious reasons, so it was a kind of djihad or crusade too). Some call this the actual first world war.

    Also had both my grandfathers fight in WWII, one at the eastern front (USSR) and one in North Africa. That was surely not fun and it was generally not talked about, especially since that time period was still a strong taboo 20 years ago in my youth.

    In times of peace however, Germany has always been a socially progressive and culturally influental country. Where would Europe be today without the writings of Marx and Engels and the 1848 revolutions?

  8. Hanson wrote, “sadly that still doesn’t sell lots and lots of computers with Linux on them.”

    Well, one doesn’t need to buy or sell GNU/Linux PCs to use GNU/Linux:

    They also sell both no-OS and operating systems. None of this “We recommend that other OS” crap. Just here it is and here’s the price. I like it.

  9. Hanson says:

    @Kotzmcrae:

    “Linux is freakin’ everywhere and you know it.”

    Ahem, where exactly did I deny that? (No, writing about Linux not being pre-installed on computers being sold is not a denial of this point.)

    I own, for example, a WD TV Live. So I’m not only aware that Linux is everywhere, I’m actually using devices that are powered by Linux. Here’s the firmware source code of said device:

    http://support.wdc.com/product/download.asp?groupid=1011&sid=161&lang=en

    I use a modified and improved version based on this code. Modified by “hackers”. Uh, am I a bad boy now? Having a Microsoft OS installed on my computer and using Linux-powered devices? Can your brain process this?

    “You are using Linux and open source because you can’t escape it.”

    No, I’m not. I’m using a service accessible through the Internet. If said service uses Linux to get things done it is of no consequence to me. Nor does it bother me in the least. Because I’m not a sick ideologue.

    Your funny technicalities are also quite ludicrous, because they aren’t compatible with the natural use of language. “I use a graphite core encased by wood for writing”. Ever hear people say such funny things? No. They say: “I use a pencil for writing”. Incidentally, if I use Google Mail, then I just say that I use Google Mail. I’m not blabbing about using an IMAP server which uses Linux.

    But perhaps you’re also of the opinion that I “use Freetype” because my iPod’s OS uses it. Chuckle.

    “Enjoy.”

    I do. When it makes sense to me. On my desktop it doesn’t.

    “Hanson you asshole.”

    Well, shove it up your ass, Kotzmcrae.

  10. Hanson says:

    @lordtoran:

    “He probably attended an inferior form of secondary school, or is not even old enough to have finished school at all.”

    So sorry. Wrong answer. I have a Bayerisches Abitur and I have graduated from a Bavarian “elite” university. Being from a bürgerliche Familie, I’m soooo very proud of this achievement. Chuckle.

    And the nonchalance with which you speak about “inferior form[s] of secondary school” tells me that you are an über-smartass. “Inferior” forms of secondary school In Germany aren’t inferior by choice or due to inescapable fate. Their “inferiority” is quite willingly socially constructed. But making you understand the huge problems of Germany’s (in)famous tripartite school system would require a very large hammer, and even then it could be very possible that you still would not understand a thing. A rotten brain can’t be easily mended.

    But I’m a little surprised that Pogson, himself an educator, would rate such drivel as yours as “creative”.

    @Pogson:

    “The same country that gave us Einstein and Beethoven also gave us ‘total war’.”

    And that surprises you why? If you want to get a glimpse into the “German mind”, read Heinrich Heine’s “On the History of Religion and Philosophy in Germany”. It’s from the 1830s, but strangely timeless.

    Oh, and you don’t have to speak in the abstract. The German people gave the world “total war”. To say anything else would be not only an understatement, it would be a fat lie. Civil war would’ve been a realistic option. We chose another path. But it wasn’t that there were no alternatives. But after 1945 we were quite the masters in returning to “normal”, after the bad dream and Uncle Adolf had vanished.

    “It seems to me that Germany is a major contributor to GNU/Linux.”

    Absolutely. But sadly that still doesn’t sell lots and lots of computers with Linux on them.

  11. He saw the horror and had the nightmares but by great good luck the rate of casualties was much lower than they should have been all else being equal. At Falaise, the USA bombed the hell out of them and they lost all their equipment, every rifle, vehicle and gun and they lost not a man. I guess they knew how to dig good foxholes. The regiment on their flank, Polish, was virtually wiped out. They had several other very close calls but lost more men to “misadventure” than enemy action. Another time they were defending a forward post under attack and by mistake called in artillery on the roof of the house they were in. The Germans saw that and fled. Casualties: one cat. At the same place they almost walked into a German ambush but their sergeant suspected something and they ambushed the Germans instead. Zero casualties in a close encounter. The German shore batteries were turned on them as they passed Verdun and they did lose one truck. The war aged him a lot and he died much too early.

  12. Kozmcrae says:

    “During the second world war, my late father was paid $1 a day to fight Germans.”

    I have read dozens of books about WWII. Each time the Canadians are mentioned it involved some horrific battle. A similar case with the Australians. It was said that the Canadians tenacious nature at holding positions against all odds were because many of them came from rural areas and were raised on farms. Very hardy men.

    I don’t know if your father ever talked much about his experiences in the war but I can tell you this, he saw the worst of the worst. He fought in some battles where units lost more than half their men, more than once.

  13. lordtoran wrote, “As a German I feel the urge to apologize for failed existences like Hanson. He probably attended an inferior form of secondary school, or is not even old enough to have finished school at all.”

    Chuckle. Harsh, but creative. Welcome.

    During the second world war, my late father was paid $1 a day to fight Germans. Those were horrible days. The same country that gave us Einstein and Beethoven also gave us “total war”. Today, my favourite rifle for hunting deer is a Mauser 98k sent to Spain early but never used in war, still like new and shooting better than new rifles.

    It seems to me that Germany is a major contributor to GNU/Linux.

  14. lordtoran says:

    As a German I feel the urge to apologize for failed existences like Hanson. He probably attended an inferior form of secondary school, or is not even old enough to have finished school at all.

    That said, I have been a happy Debian GNU/Linux user since, well, the stone age or so, because I want stuff to just work how I naturally expect it. I have to live a life after all and there is absolutely no point in unproductive tinkering or needless fixing for me. I’ll leave that to users of that other OS, may they be masochistically happy with it.

  15. Kozmcrae says:

    Hanson you asshole. Don’t try to pull that shit with me. The desktop? My desktop? My little old desktop? Why would you even mention my desktop unless you were trying to pigeonhole GNU/Linux down into some meaningless little shithole. No, you dipstick. Linux is freakin’ everywhere and you know it.

    You are using Linux and open source because you can’t escape it. Enjoy.

  16. Hanson says:

    “servers, mobile, Internet, in-flight movies, ATMs, super computers, stock exchanges”

    No shit! How many of those do you have in your little basement, Kotzmcrae?

    I’m not using Linux because I’m using Google. But perhaps that’s too much for you to understand.

  17. Kozmcrae says:

    “Hahaha. Where? Not in Germany…”

    Where did you go to school to be that dumb? What’s the population of Germany these days? What’s 5% of that. Not millions I would gather. You come here to drag GNU/Linux down and all you do is reveal your own ignorance Hanson.

    Millions of people do use GNU/Linux on the desktop and far, far more use it every day on servers, mobile, Internet, in-flight movies, ATMs, super computers, stock exchanges and a lot more. So of course not millions in Germany on the desktop. Looks like you’re a dipstick too. Now @ldman has some company.

  18. Hanson says:

    “FLOSS gets excited, drawing in new talent and more users sharing the joy.”

    Quote or statistics needed (henceforth QSN).

    “The same distros that have been wildly accepted in the mobile space can work on the desktop.”

    QSN.

    “FLOSS is way ahead in getting developers excited about the platform.”

    QSN.

    “More computers running Linux were sold in 2011 than that other OS.”

    QSN.

    “Developers know that and they will go where the action is.”

    Strangely enough they do. Luckily for them Microsoft has a sizeable market share, which allows developers to actually sell software. With the exception of Android (it’s not Android/Linux) I don’t see a whole lot commercial software for Linux. Or are you expecting developers to give up selling software and join the free software slave camp? Incidentally, that’s what’s happening on Android. Rovio, the maker of “Angry Birds”, noticed very soon that you can’t sell stuff on Android. That’s why they decided on giving away the game for free in exchange for in-game advertisement. Nothing has changed.

    “The GNU/Linux desktop keeps getting stronger, more widely used and loved.”

    QSN.

    “Ubuntu is being sold on millions of PCs per annum.”

    Hahaha. Where? Not in Germany, I can tell you that much. It would be surprising to me if the short-lived Dell-Ubuntu cooperation had even spawned as much as 10000 sales. (By the way, since when is Ubuntu sold? Isn’t it free?)

    “Is Mark Shuttleworth quitting?”

    He will once his money has reached such a low that his second “African in Space” mission is in danger of not happening.

    “He’s aiming for 50 million per annum.”

    50 million what? Disappointed Ubuntu users? Could work.

    “The Debian organization has it’s own organizational chart.”

    Wow, an organizational chart? Amazing. That proves everything.

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