Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The year of the Linux Desktop rode out on a Unicorn

The year of the Linux desktop is a myth.  It will never happen.  It has not happened.  And it isn't in progress either.

Oh, make no mistake.  Chrome OS is not even the second to latest entrĂ©e.  Right after Canonical's Edge Ubuntu Phone came the Free Forever Steam OS.

Of course canonical is a little evil: They want to make money off of Linux.  We used to hate Red Hat for that, we turned our backs on them, and they went ahead and captured the internet server market regardless.  I can't help it, even yours truly is Red Hat certified.

Canonical arguably single handedly put Linux on the Desktop market.  It is much, much easier to install software on Linux than it is to do so on Windows.  If you are not already used to the Windows convoluted way of doing things, then learning how to navigate your way around a Gnome or KDE desktop is certainly a lower learning curve.  These days even printing and scanning works better on Linux, and PDF's just stops being impenetrable and immutable solid files.

To put a case in point: When the Windows "Fix Network Connection" function doesn't work, go ahead and try to figure out why.  When your (wife's) Windows system (again) doesn't want to print, go ahead and try to figure out why.  After all she didn't change anything and it worked yesterday.

Kubuntu is beautiful without the new-fangled desktop paradigm that realy doesn't belong on a non-touch based system.  Linux is beautiful.  Ubuntu made Linux user friendly.

But we can not give Canonical all the benefit.  Google took a page out of Microsoft's book and gave us Android with Games.  Yes, when 1989's Windows gamers grew up and went to work in corporates they did not expect OS/2 on their office PCs, they wanted Windows.  Because Microsoft neglected to prosecute them in the nineties and let them play games when they were teenagers.

And Yes, Google is also a little bit evil (aka trying to make money out of us, trying to prevent us from going anywhere else with our data, spying on our search and email and buying habits)... but in the mean time they are building out on the Linux base, and I bow to them for that.  More users = more justification for big players (AMD, Intel, nVidia) to support Linux.  Not that there are any real alternative options, but still.

I must say I honestly do not care whether my Device Drivers are open source or not.  For all I care the driver can secretly use my GPU to generate BitCoins for AMD whenever my PC is idle.  All I care about is that my Device driver works well, supports all the hardware features, works on Linux, be supported and updated, and be included with the cost of the hardware.  As if I ever read the code to make sure there are no backdoors.

Linux is so prevalent these days that it is becoming nearly a household name.  I do blame Google a little for not making it more obvious that Android is based on Linux, but that is just PR - Linux has got a stigma that it is not for the average Joe attached to it.  Which android is.

Which reminds us of Java.  Can anybody remember who created Java.  Up until 3 years ago we all had Java.  It was something on any phone that could download and run apps.  It ran web based games and it did everything in between.  Those with very keen eye sight might have noticed the minutely small Sun Microsystems logo in the bottom right corner of the Java web page.  I call it a glaring, stupid failure to capitalize on an opportunity to market.  Sun Microsystems were in everybody's homes, but IBM were buying full page adds in Computer and gaming magazines.  Everybody knows IBM = Computers, but sadly Sun Microsystems, the original graphical workstation makers, are now little more than a memory for many, and essentially never were known outside of the core industry.

The Desktop came and went without Linux making it.