Linux Desktop!!!!!

February 15, 2011 at 12:48 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , )

I think its time to start weeding the garden of bad info concerning “is Linux ready to dominate the desktop market”. Until someone makes and funds a distro in the right manner it will never be a reality in the way the public is expecting. Most Linux users especially Ubuntu users, of which I am one. I will say I’m not sold out to Ubuntu anymore then any other distro that you hear is the one that “just works”. Obviously Linux as a kernel is far beyond ready as a technology to dominate the market. Linux as a technology gets blamed for every wireless driver that stops working, every laptop display that will not allow you to brighten the back-light. Whoever compiles the distro makes the choice to put bits out in the public that are at the very least unpredictable. Then you see all the articles, and blog posts rolling about how Linux hosed their laptop or their Windows partition etc etc. As valiant an effort Ubuntu is and will be I still think until someone has a purpose to sink their teeth and money behind building a stable desktop environment with free software it will remain two steps forward and three back. Don’t get me wrong things have improved greatly but when three releases ago all your drivers were perfectly fine and now you upgrade or even do a clean install and blam, “what happen to my wireless, why dont my dimmer switch work for my laptop etc etc”. That is not Linux failing, it is the process failing of the distribution. I know Mark Shuttleworth has done great things for the reputation of Linux as an alternative desktop to Windows but some of his crusades he has gone on has to me been a a shot from left field. The worst part of the regressions that most users suffer through is that they are scripts that have been setup to suddenly blacklist your driver and off you go to the races finding out why your laptop is suddenly not Linux friendly. The kernel community has a part in this mess but no where near the blame they get. Ubuntu is a commercial product now, whether you use semantics to say it is totally free blah blah blah. No company or business will use an operating system without support. Someone has to be responsible for breakages and guess what Canonical is looking for a way to make Ubuntu profitable but not by selling it directly but selling you the service you can not do without, if your business depends on your computers working as expected. The way things are setup Red Hat is closest to what works for free software but Mark chose to condemn them as just another proprietary OS. I completely disagree. Red Hat understands that the bits their customers are using and paying service contracts on do not have to line up with every new kernel release etc. Fedora is there contributing heavily to the bottom line of free software while Red Hat’s business grade distro is kept stable by the team that understands what customers expect. That to me has been shown to be the business model that will move us forward. It’s not about a race to the newest and brightest untested kernel if your trying to satisfy “Joe Microsoft”. I know there are alpha releases and they beg for bugs but people are starting to see that as going through the motions for nothing. Developers are overwhelmed or just plain bad people persons (i know, its bad English). There are bugs open for years that were never bugs to start with. If you want to release something as your distro, then don’t blame, the new kernel, the newest gcc etc. You released it. It is a tremendous responsibility I’m sure to get this right but until we acknowledge what the problem is it will never be “The Year of The Linux Desktop”. Linux gets accused of not being ready to run a desktop yet is running super computers, ISP servers by the thousands, Google to name a few. Just stop the blame game. Even Ubuntu’s long term support release is plagued by the same system that is still broken. I don’t mind most of the time to make fixes but when you turn your computer on and want to get work done you don’t feel like playing joe hacker. Get this right and we’ll see Linux shine in the desktop market.

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