Wearing ’em Down

“I actually am very happy with the Linux desktop, and I started the project for my own needs, and my needs are very much fulfilled. That’s why, to me, it’s not a failure. I would obviously love for Linux to take over that world too, but it turns out it’s a really hard area to enter. I’m still working on it. It’s been 25 years. I can do this for another 25. I’ll wear them down.”
See Linus Torvalds still wants Linux to take over the desktop
So many people have written, spoken and believed that GNU/Linux has not and never will make it on the desktop but that’s irrelevant to FLOSSies. It’s all about control. FLOSS is an insurgency that fights central control of software and to some extent hardware.

In 1995, GNU/Linux was in the fight but was forced to the flanks by exclusive dealing and a war of FUD. In 2016, ARM is designing whole CPUs and systems and manufacturers are designing motherboards perfectly capable of running desktops and mobile thingies and IoTs while Intel fights a rearguard action, trying to stem the tide of applications that don’t involve Wintel or even Intel.

In 2016, there are whole manufacturing ecosystems thriving that don’t depend on Wintel. e.g. 96boards.org is doing for ARM what Intel did for x86 with ATX and PCI and it all runs GNU/Linux. No secret deals. No exclusionary forces. It’s all out in the open and manufacturers can barely keep up with demand.

In this ecosystem, GNU/Linux is the goto OS and while most systems are compact, limited and mobile-like, others are pushing the limits of what a CPU can do: servers with few practical limits, yes, and desktop systems that are snappy and resourceful. I will buy both a good server and desktop clients running GNU/Linux on ARM this year. The world has been doing that for a few years with Chromebooks and clouds. Now they can do the same for a complete OS without limits. I think it’s fair to claim the GNU/Linux desktop has “made it”. That Other OS and Apple’s stuff are not in the same class.

Further, there are no limits on future growth of ARM and GNU/Linux. No consumer, business, manufacturer or software developer has to do anything to please Intel or M$ these days. Even M$ has made GNU/Linux welcome on “10”. Who’d have thought that would ever happen? I did, in a way, suggesting M$ could be a better business shipping GNU/Linux… They are not there yet but that’s the first 100 miles of a 1000-mile journey.

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.
This entry was posted in technology and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Wearing ’em Down

  1. Dr Loser says:

    How are you doing with systemd, by the way?

    It’s a fair comparison. According to your numbers, there are 1.5 billion people out there who have downloaded FLOSS and are busily beavering away trying to improve it.

    Those 1.5 people are Ignorant Sheeple. Bless them. They have a part to play.

    But you, Robert, you are an Emeritus FLOSS Genius! You are one of the few, the Proud Few!

    You can’t get systemd to work to save your life, can you?

  2. Dr Loser says:

    Assuming 1.5billion desktops, that’s 22.5million satisfied customers.


    And, depending upon the statistical distribution you choose, the other 1.475 billion “less than satisfied” customers are … well, you tell me.

    Examining and modifying the code? That’s an awful lot of dissatisfied customers to do that.

    On the other hand, those 1.475 billion “less than satisfied” customers — who, what with being “less than satisfied,” would at least have the incentive that you, Robert, do not have, what with being about as “satisfied” as the Cheshire Cat, to “examine and modify the code.”

    I doubt many of them do. Which means that, through the Joy of the GPL, they can do precisely what you do, Robert: take the two parts of the Four Freedoms that do not exercise the wallet, the intellect, or even precious time, and Run and Distribute.

    Not Examine and Modify.

    As crusades go, Robert, this one is looking shabbier and shabbier by the year. All you have is a huge number of people who are even less interested in contributing to the cause than you are.

    And there’s a billion of them who are “less than satisfied.”


  3. Dr Loser says:

    My experience is that it worked wonderfully for me and my students.

    Your experience, Robert, is that it worked wonderfully for you.

    You have absolutely no evidence worth submitting that it worked at all for your students.

    Have you talked to a single one of them, now that they are grown adults of around 23 or so? Are they still cleaning the fluff out of dumpster-dived PCs?

    Did they get anything at all out of what you “taught” them?

    I have no idea. Neither do you. Put up or shut up.

    Do you, for example, still get Christmas cards?

  4. wizard emeritus wrote, “The sad triumph of hope over experience.”

    My experience is that it worked wonderfully for me and my students. The world’s experience is also wonderful. According to StatCounter, there are 44 countries with 2% or more desktop GNU/Linux page-views. Globally, they count 1.5% share last week. Assuming 1.5billion desktops, that’s 22.5million satisfied customers, not unlike M$’s installed base back in the ’90s. Was M$ not making it then? Considering the lack of salesmen this is great performance. Further, ChromeOS claims another 0.48%, also GNU/Linux, so it’s a grand total of close to 2% and 30million satisfied customers. I also think many installations in schools and offices are seriously undercounted because those folks may well not visit SC’s clients or be seen as a single unique IP address. Now we see GNU/Linux + Android/Linux joining forces on set-top and desktop machines and it’s all over. Deal with it.

  5. wizard emeritus says:

    “I think it’s fair to claim the GNU/Linux desktop has “made it”. That Other OS and Apple’s stuff are not in the same class.”

    The sad triumph of hope over experience.

Leave a Reply