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Old 04-07-2016, 03:53 PM   #1
jeremy
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Linus Torvalds still wants Linux to take over the desktop


Quote:
We all know Linus Torvalds doesn’t like keynotes. This year was the first time he kind of delivered a keynote at the Embedded Linux Conference. It took the form of a discussion with friend, fellow scuba diver and chief Linux and Open Source Technologist at Intel, Dirk Hohndel.
CIO March 2016 digital issue
Download the March 2016 digital issue

Here are some of the most interesting things Torvalds said during that discussion.

Failure of Linux on the desktop

While Linux pretty much dominates almost every walk of our lives, even on the consumer devices like smartphones and smart TVs, it has not had the same success on the desktop. What does Torvalds think about it? Is Linux a failure on the desktop? Not really. “The desktop hasn't really taken over the world like Linux has in many other areas, but just looking at my own use, my desktop looks so much better than I ever could have imagined. Despite the fact that I'm known for sometimes not being very polite to some of the desktop UI people, because I want to get my work done. Pretty is not my primary thing. 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.”

On Linux kernel

The latest Linux kernel release 4.6 -rc2, which was released just before the event, is one of the larger releases Torvalds has made in the last couple of years. This release added support for yet another file system, orangeFS, bringing the number of supported file systems to 35. (Remind me, how many file systems do Mac OS X and Windows support?)

Despite the bigger release Torvalds was happy that there was nothing "revolutionary" in this release because it has reached a "fairly stable plateau,” he said. “We've gone past that stage where we rewrite whole subsystems.”
More at CIO.com...

--jeremy
 
Old 04-07-2016, 04:10 PM   #2
astrogeek
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I actually am very happy with the Linux desktop... and my needs are very much fulfilled. That's why, to me, it's not a failure.
My own case exactly!

I do not get the continuing references to Linux not being a success on the desktop - it certainly is!

There always seems to be a good bit of word mangling and obfuscation of terms required to explain just what someone means by "failure on the desktop", and it always ends with someone else's marketing data...

Every single such article I have seen in the past 20+ years, I have seen on my GNU/Linux desktop (or laptop) computer! So tell me again, how long has GNU/Linux failed to succeed on the desktop!?
 
Old 04-07-2016, 04:53 PM   #3
jeremy
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Originally Posted by astrogeek View Post
My own case exactly!

I do not get the continuing references to Linux not being a success on the desktop - it certainly is!

There always seems to be a good bit of word mangling and obfuscation of terms required to explain just what someone means by "failure on the desktop", and it always ends with someone else's marketing data...
I think the most common context for this statement is mainstream adoption. While I've not used anything other than Linux for a *very* long time, usage has hovered around 1% of desktops for quite a while now. Of course, as you noted, it depends how you define success whether Linux is considered a desktop success. I will say that even in 2016 it is not uncommon for me to purchase a product and then have to configure it via Android because there is no way to do so under Linux.

--jeremy
 
Old 04-07-2016, 06:57 PM   #4
astrogeek
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeremy View Post
I think the most common context for this statement is mainstream adoption. While I've not used anything other than Linux for a *very* long time, usage has hovered around 1% of desktops for quite a while now.
It is difficult, even for "us" (aka full-time Linux users), to escape the trap of the language. The language itself seems to dictate that "desktop" has a singular meaning and that we agree a priori on what that meaning is. That might have been self-evident in the early years of personal computing, but in the currently well developed and much more differentiated world of personal digital devices, desktop computer is much more difficult to define!

For example, if we take desktop to refer to a category of hardware and packaging, then it would include many things not strictly called PCs. Or if we take it to mean the use case it would include many devices not strictly called desktop computers, including the laptop on which I am typing (which is my main desktop machine).

And it would seem that mainstream adoption is itself, a similarly ambiguous term when you try to pin it down.

Continuing the desktop adoption discussion only becomes increasingly confusing and pointless for all under these circumstances.

It seems to me that it would be more helpful to make a distinction by user/use along the lines of *naive users/uses and *non-naive users/uses of hardware in some category called desktop.

I am sure that would also lead to more rounds of word wrangling, but I think it would lead in a more useful direction. The reason I think so is that it would ultimately differentiate between the otherwise *computing-oblivious electronics purchaser and the computer purchaser/user with an *intelligence-based purpose for the hardware.

I think it is important to start making such distinctions as well, because both can be included under the term "mainstream desktop users", but catering to one can be overtly harmful to the other! In fact, I think that the whole mainstream desktop adoption discussion is pretty pointless without such a distinction among users/uses.

So a good place to begin making that distinction would be in discussions of mainstream desktop adoption.

Thanks for sharing the thoughts!

* - The terms I have selected for use here will probably seem elitist to some, but that is not the intent. I have used them as I think they are the most applicable to the idea I have expressed.
 
Old 04-22-2016, 02:31 PM   #5
cesarbergara
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Hi. GNU/Linux have a lot of advantages. But people thinks it is only a hacker operative system. We use GNU/Linux from year 2000. I am not a programmer or IT profesional. But people can confuse with advanced 'languaje' and think it is too many complex.
In the last years GNU/Linux advance a lot, but yet have some problems with hardware factories about drivers and licences.
And this is the first problem.
When people will use GNU/Linux in his home, it will be a great succes, because an old PC can run latest GNU/Linux version and cannot do with MS windows (some years ago i can run the latest Debian on a PC which can not run MS Windows XP). And can run programas like StarOffice (LibreOffice) quickly in the same PCs who run very slow MS Office.
But the problem is people think GNU/Linux is complex and only for advanced users. It is wrong. But peopel repeat it, and finally believe it.
Have a nice and great day.
 
Old 04-22-2016, 05:29 PM   #6
273
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I thought Linus was quite clear that he meant mainstream desktop adoption was the goal:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Linus Torvalds
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.
I am really never sure how to take statements like this. On the one hand I think [hope] he means it a little tongue-in-cheek that he'd really like to see more Linux in the desktop space but he's happy that it's decent or on the other hand does he really mean he would like to see Linux take over the desktop space to the extent that Apple has [such that it has] or more.
It's fairly common for posters to type things like "... is why Linux will never be a mainstream OS ..." and with Linus posting things like this then, perhaps, they're the ones we ought to be listening to? I would always think that most people in the open source world would hope that people would want to learn about the software and adapt rather than just have things given to them on a plate, but if Linus does want to take over the desktop space then who knows?

Last edited by 273; 04-22-2016 at 05:34 PM.
 
  


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