GNU/Linux Still Relevant On The Desktop

“As the world increasingly moves from local applications to web-based and remote apps, the opportunities for Linux on the desktop have never been greater. Many organisations lack the resources to deploy Linux based desktops on a large scale. We have had experience deploying managing and deploying many thousands of Linux desktops across a country-wide infrastructure and this session will explain some of the methodology and benefits of doing so. The lessons learned at this session will be valuable for enterprises with 20 or 200,000 desktop systems.”
See Getting to the Future: Upgrading Windows Desktops to Linux
The future is now, I suppose. Lots of folks still have fleets of PCs running That Other OS. They don’t need to spend the time, money and freedom that OS demands. They can have Free Software with GNU/Linux to access their web-applications just as they do from their smartphones and tablets. There just isn’t much reason to depend on a tyrannical single-source for software for your PCs. Free Software is software you can run, examine, modify and distribute according to the accompanying licence. What a refreshing change to more and more difficult commandments than God makes for your soul. The cost of a licence is ~$0 too. It’s a bargain. You get to keep your soul and your money.

When I was teaching the cost of maintaining That Other OS in the manner to which it had become accustomed was just too great. Instead of crippled IT with a huge share of money going to licensing, we switched to re-using older computers with GNU/Linux and laughed all the way to the bank. We had Free Software, $Free Hardware, no pain and we could put all our energy in IT into making a system that worked for us instead of some unwanted third party.

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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6 Responses to GNU/Linux Still Relevant On The Desktop

  1. Deaf Spy says:

    Kurks, you don’t get it. Robert doesn’t use laptops. For him, battery life doesn’t matter. Therefore, battery life is not important for the World, and the World is all ready to embrace Linux on their laptops. 🙂

  2. oiaohm says:


    It comes interesting when you look into power management. Laptops with pure Nvidia and AMD graphics not switch-able can match or out perform Windows on battery life these days.
    But it does not do it out box.

    The power gap between windows XP and Windows Vista is very much like the power gap between different Linux setups on laptops. If you play with windows xp power management settings and add a few background tasks and it comes as bad as Linux/vista/7 other than the switch-able graphics problem.

    kurkosdr so complaining about Linux people being lazy and not configuring power management or using distributions optimised for high performance not battery life on laptop is a big one. I have a XP era intel graphics laptop running Linux that gets more battery life than when it runs XP. But it has been configured for that. Please note that was true from new.

    So Linux on laptops is anywhere between absolutely horible performance to decent. The thing that is really bad is that the Nvidia or AMD gpu in switch-able graphics set-ups are missing the low power modes that Nvidia or AMD gpu in laptops have in not switch-able graphics mode laptops where they are only a single gpu no intel graphics. So a windows laptop with switch-able graphics at times is performing worse than the laptop with a single Nvidia or AMD gpu running windows. Just linux that cannot switch properly clearly displays the bug that the switch-able gpu are designed either to be stopped or be going at a fairly high power using mode. So switchable graphics is goofed all around just worse for Linux at this stage.

    kurkosdr basically Linux can be light on resources include battery mah but it also can be a absolute pig and it all about how it configured.

    kurkosdr what really shows the problem is when you have a one of the moden chromebooks.
    One of these that support boot from USB.

    Put chromuim os on the USB and a normal Linux on USB. This keeps power usage of hardware about the same. But you will see chromuim OS with all the power management things on running rings around lots of the stock type Linux distributions. Yet there are a few GNU/Linux out there optimised for chromebook/laptop hardware and those don’t suffer from the massive power performance hit. The fact that you can see up 80% battery perform loss with particular distributions on the chromebook. So 8 hour+ battery life taken back to 1 and 30 min and the machine getting excessively hot. Yet of course some distributions the difference between chromuim and them is basically nothing and other can be made nothing by turning power management stuff on. I would say there are a few Linux distributions that should not be let anywhere near a laptop but there are a few that are all right. Debian in the camp of you need to turn a few power management things on and choose lighter graphics solutions.

    Can you see this behaviour with XP, Vista, 7 and 10. In fact you can. If you install those OS without OEM drivers that turn on power management bits you can watch the Windows OS loss over half their battery life as well. So it absolutely critical that OS be compatible with the laptop you are attempting to run it on. So swapping Vista for XP on a laptop with drivers only for Vista would result in XP performing worse than if you had left Vista on it. One of the biggest problems with Linux is people take random laptops put random Linux on it then complain when it does not perform. Take random editions on windows and put those on random laptops you will have performance problems as well.

    Reason why lot of distributions don’t turn all power management features on by default is that some hardware when you use power management features lock up. This is why you have to install OEM drivers under windows to see best power management because by default windows does not use all power management features because otherwise it would not be able to install due to same problems.

    Basically running Linux and Windows on laptops have a lot of the same set of problems where they OS has to be configured to match the hardware and the hardware has to match how the OS works. Windows I will give is still simpler to get close to the correct configured location for battery performance just by the OEM driver installs. Is windows out box on laptops absolutely configured to best most cases no so on some laptops you will see customised Linux distributions for those laptops betting default OEM windows installs in battery performance.

    So battery performance is huge shades of grey.

  3. kurkosdr says:

    was the most scarce = wastes the most scarce

  4. kurkosdr says:

    Lots of folks still have fleets of PCs running That Other OS.

    They need the extra battery life That Other OS gets from the same hardware.

    Back when I was at uni, I could always recognize a linuxero when I saw one, without even having to look at the screen of his laptop. It was the guy who always had his laptop tethered to a power outlet or had equipped his laptop with a huge aftermarket battery that protruded from the laptop and made the whole machine heavy and ackward to carry. You see, this was the XP era (XP got frickin’ sweet battery life on every machine) so what was a 3-hour battery for XP was an 1 hour and 25 min battery for GNU/Linux. During the Vista age and later laptop manufacturers started fitting somewhat higher-capacity batteries (to compensate for the slightly worse battery life of Vista and above compared to XP), but the power management gap of GNU/Linux compared to modern Windows is still freaking embarrasing.

    Then there is the whole switchable graphics debacle (for GNU/Linux), which made the power management gap of GNU/Linux ridiculous.

    This is why I laugh when people say GNU/Linux is light on resources. Windows wastes 1GB or ram, tops (an abuntant resource nowadays, every x86 laptop should have 3GB or RAM), but GNU/Linux was the most scarce resource on every laptop (battery mAhs).

    You mean “Linux.” There is no such thing as “GNU/Linux” except in the imagination of communists like you.
    I used to believe that, but then devices advertised as “containing Linux” (not as “containing the kernel of Linux”) appeared such as Enigma Linux and Android Linux. So, it is actually a mistake to confuse “Linux” with “GNU/Linux”. GNU/Linux is one of the many OS families built on top of the Linux kernel, all of them incompatible with each other. Not that this prevent Pog from bagging all of them in the same bag.

  5. dougman says:

    GNU who?
    BOO HOO!

    Silly gimmicks

    Toe-cheese Stallman
    Dirty wall can

  6. You mean “Linux.” There is no such thing as “GNU/Linux” except in the imagination of communists like you.

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