Linux optimize

2011: A year full of right and wrong for Linux

Jack Wallen reflects on the high and low points for Linux in 2011. Do you agree with his take on the year that was not so great for the Linux operating system?

The year was 2011. The world's economy was still in the tank, the publishing industry was in full-on meltdown mode, the tablet was finally accepted, smartphones were catching up to PCs in power, Steve Jobs passed away, the Indianapolis Colts were running down the perfectly imperfect season, and Linux had some major ups and downs.

It's been a strange, strange year that might well go down as one of "those" years in my book of books. It seemed for every step forward there was one or two steps backwards to be taken -- no matter what your focus or industry. Naturally I only want to address Linux, this being an open source blog and all.

Low points

I'm fairly certainly most of you will agree, the lowest of the lows was the release of Ubuntu 11.04 and its default desktop Unity. Unity simply didn't unite. In fact, it did quite the opposite. Long time Ubuntu users were leaving in droves for distributions that would deliver a desktop that was more stable, more familiar. XFCE, KDE, and Enlightenment saw an upswing in usage. Users were refusing to leave Ubuntu 10.10. And Ubuntu forged on. 11.10 was released with an improved version of Unity, but the desktop continued to lose ground. In fact, the long-time stranglehold Ubuntu had on the Distrowatch number one spot was taken over by Linux Mint (more on Mint in a moment).

Related to the Unity fiasco was GNOME 3. It's not so much that GNOME 3 was as big a failure as Unity (it at least enjoyed more stability), as it was that so many loud voices within the Linux community came out to publicly denounce GNOME 3. The old-school, hard-core users didn't want change -- they wanted to stick with their old ways of vi, LaTeX, CDE (a bit of an exaggeration on my part there), and mounting/unmounting of removable media. Although it was reported that the state of the Linux desktop was a tragic nightmare, those reports were overblown as they neglected many alternative desktops that were still chugging along, unphased by the fiasco that was Unity/GNOME 3.

Outside of the desktop, one of the biggest "wrongs" to plague the Linux operating system was that it still had yet to find its way onto a tablet. Yes, you can virtualize a Linux environment and Android is still (in my opinion) considered to be built on Linux, but with tablet popularity growing exponentially, Linux, an operating system perfect for the tablet market, should have already gained some ground. It hasn't and (much to my chagrin) probably won't. Both iOS and Android have pretty much taken over the dominant positions in the tablet market and Linux will ultimately fail to make a splash in the arena. Sure, someone will ultimately get Linux running natively on a tablet, but it'll never catch on and no hardware manufacturer will adopt.

Last, but certainly not least, I hate to admit that the majority of Linux mailing lists and forums still seem to be stuck in the past. Filled with rude, temperamental, anti-social users who could easily take a moment to help their fellow Linux users and shut down the idea there is no such thing as Linux support, many of them, instead, would rather complain about "top posting" or remind the incoming users of the benefits of LaTeX rather than instructing them on modern tools that new users can actually grasp.

That attitude will continue to rub me the wrong way and get Linux nowhere.

High points

Conversely to the low points, the high points for Linux were quite high. And from my perspective, the highest of the highs was the release of Linux Mint 12. Although it came late in the year, "Lisa" proved that GNOME 3 could, in fact, be made to overcome all of those problems users were complaining about. With the help of GNOME 3 extensions, a complete make-over to the login, and numerous other improvements, Mint managed to not only take over the number one spot in Distrowatch, it also brought a breath of fresh air to the Linux desktop. The naysayers couldn't continue shutting down GNOME 3, because everything they complained about had been addressed. Linux Mint was a huge success and earned the right to be the number one Linux desktop distribution.

2011 was also the year that saw Mandriva come back to relevance. For many years Mandriva floundered in the background, relegated to the few fanboys and fangirls that refused to jump ship. But along comes the 2011 Power Pack to prove that Mandriva had a few tricks up its sleeve that could (along with Linux Mint) revitalize a waning love affair with desktop Linux.

Bodhi Linux was probably one of the biggest highlights for me, because it helped to get me away from a Ubuntu Desktop I couldn't work with and back to one of my favorite desktops of all time -- Enlightenment. But the highlight here is that a small group of passionate, dedicated developers proved that Linux will always survive. With just five main developers, Bodhi 1.2.1 is already an incredibly stable, production-ready desktop.

Server sales. It was reported that the second quarter of 2011 saw an explosion of Linux server sales. According to numbers released by IDC, server sales for Q2 increased by 47.5% (compared to the same quarter 2010) to reach $ 2.7 billon USD. Compare the percentage of income spent on Linux servers (20.5%) to Windows server (12.4%) and you can easily draw the same conclusion as I -- 2011 was a good year for the Linux server. If you're not convinced, try on these numbers:

Linux server income increased by approximately $870 million dollars while Windows servers sales increased by some $650 million dollars.

Go Linux!

Outside of server sales, I can't really say it was a great year for Linux. The fiasco that was the Ubuntu desktop really put a vast dull spot on the shine Linux had begun to build for itself. It will take some time to rebuild, but with the help of distributions like Linux Mint, Mandriva, and Bodhi, I'm fairly confident 2012 will be much, much better.

What do you think? What were your low/high points for Linux in 2011?

About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

67 comments
skudera
skudera

Gnome 3 is part of the 11.10 distro; I guess I don't understand all the hoopla about Unity and tossing Ubuntu because of it. If you don't like unity just install the gnome packages that are included in the distro and log in to gnome. It is simple, and you can customize gnome to your taste, just like any other distro. Sort of amazes me that people have this Ubuntu hate going all over Unity; seems like a knee jerk reaction to me, when they give you total choice; if you don't like Unity you do not have to use it. Ubuntu is and will always be my number one distro; it is the Linux distro that introduced me to linux and got me interested. Still IMHO the easiest and best for the non Linux geek. I tried MInt, but have to say it can't compete with Ubuntu in ease of use.

zMarcel
zMarcel

I have seen many deep insights as comments. All, it's about the servers... If there is any place where Linux has a fat chance of becoming a top 3 finalist, it's on the server side. Around me, I see more and more companies seriously looking at Linux on z/OS, not just a few, but hundreds of servers. The new IBM zBX box that runs Linux as well offer great alternatives for expensive Unix servers and Windows servers. Serious companies do this, only to see that the Linux community seems more interested in the fact that Mint is a better Gnome is a better Ubuntu. Stop. Please. We want the industry to take us seriously, so we have to focus at the things Linux is recognized for, not for what a lot of people WANT it to be...

plunson2
plunson2

Only one of my pc's will run unity, and I don't like it. It doesn't give me the firm feeling of comfort and control that Gnome does. I have several pc's running linux as dual boot, one with xp, one with Vista, and my wife is running puppy 525 happily on a netbook. Her stuff is 90 percent Facebook, so for her a quick boot (45 seconds) and fast running puppy is good for her. Booting up windows 7 on the netbook is a really dreary experience after puppy. But the shining light of reliability, stability, and usability is ubuntu Lucid Lynx on my Acer 5315 laptop. My experience convinced me to finally ditch windows Vista completely on that one. Mint? I've tried several versions on several machines, always looks good and gives good multimedia results, but I have problems with Video drivers, particularly if I want high res, on my LCD tv. Also wireless lan is slower on my machines under mint for reasons I haven't been able to fathom.

sehamon
sehamon

... time I've seen such a reaction praising Unity. Over all the majority of Linux users I know have tolerated it at best and jumped ship at worst. And yes, Unity was a terribly low point for Linux this year, and it will continue to be well into 2012. The Unity interface isn't unified at all, its unintuitive and clunky. Many of the things that were easy to do became difficult, and there was a huge amount of problems overlooked and passed over by Cannonical. Heck, the application didn't even feel finished. It was disappointing for me as an Ubuntu user, and has sent me looking for possible alternatives. I haven't jumped ship yet, as Ubuntu was the distribution that converted me over to Linux finally, and I don't think Cannonical is a zombie like the Linux Foundation. I'm just having to hedge my bets against further disappointment.

mitcoes
mitcoes

This year is a great success for Linux, Android is world smartphone leader and sooner or later will be at tablets too . At servers Linux is even growing every day. Ubuntu is making phone and tablets versions - there are an ARM version that can be installed native or inside Androids. At desktops and at future phone or tablets versions as Android or Chrome OS did IT MUST BE PREINSTALLED in order to grow. Normal computer users buy a product with whatever OS is installed on it an if it works, they do not replace it. Only a few install other OSs, even newer versions of the OS. The great news are that Google is betting for Linux, and even games for chrome native client will make grow the casual or even hard gamers Linux users. Perhaps a 64 bit Chrome OS version would make Linux grow even more. Ubuntu has recently been sold preinstalled at an ATOM machine that - as every ATOM - does not work well with MS WOS and Intel that knows this is investing in Tizen a special Linux for ATOM machines. HP has recently make WebOS opensource and the trend is going this way. A lot of govs are migrating to Linux desktops, as Venezuela or Cuba, and some big enterprises are in their way. The desktop linux year perhaps never will arrive, because desktop computers market will be the less important one, but it is the leader at almost all every other segment from pocket computers to servers.

apotheon
apotheon

According to the email alerts I'm getting for this discussion, a number of comments are being posted that do not show up on this page, and (judging by the email alerts) are not spammy in content.

babbageghost
babbageghost

Bodhi Linux is from 2011, so I'd consider it a good year for Linux!

anthonie
anthonie

In online discussions regarding Linux, be it a support forum or an email-list, I think it would be wise to take into consideration that a vast number of Linux-adepts tend to be somewhat autistic as well. ;)

alfielee
alfielee

Completely disagree with you about Unity. I don't love it but I certainly don't hate it either. It's just a basic GUI to cover the needs of use on a tablet. The prejudice you express is just that, prejudice. Grow up...

WhiteLotus1
WhiteLotus1

Distrowatch is not an accurate representation of distro use. net-a-holics and distro-hopers often visit distrowatch. The website also explains that the figures only show the link to that distro. To accurately know the actual usage is not possible by seeing distrowatch ranking or facebook or twitter. I can have both facebook and twitter a/c. So I will give 2 votes. After a month, I try Mint 12 and give it a like on facebook. Not even the number of downloads or CDs sold or distributed can accurately give the number of users. Some may copy CDs and give it to friends. Some share single CD to install. Not every user register at forums. In short accurate figure cannot be obtained from Online resources. Best way to gain accurate statistics, IMO, is to have a registration from the OS. Like Ubuntu friendly. Just like windows programs and windows have an activation key. Since everything is free, so after every fresh install, if Ubuntu can automatically send statistics with all the data like version number and PC architect. This will give near accurate results, atleast much better than all these fuss. The point is will to Community accept this step, or is it too much privacy intruding. To a certain point, I agree to the author and the negative remarks about Gnome 3 and Unity made me to visit distrowatch. So obviously, i will not look at Ubuntu, since I already have it installed. I am going to look for another distros and begin with *buntu derivatives. It is natural that Ubuntu's rating will stay or decline and hits of all other distros will increase. These negative comments made me to look for an alternative. Had Gnome 3 and Unity did not received negative comments, I would not have bothered to go for another distro. I have 10.04 and plan to upgrade to 12.04. As an end user, I do not tweak much than changing wallpapers :) Regarding switching from Windows to Linux, I was prepared to learn new things. There is also a learning curve if you upgrade from XP to Win 7. IF Gnome 3 and Unity are not good DEs than better shift to another distro, mostly Mint.

hector_pasi
hector_pasi

Call me too much conservative, but to me Slackware is still the best dirtribution. And keeps adding new useful features! Regards fron Hector

wa7qzr
wa7qzr

At the risk of being tagged another "rude, temperamental, anti-social user" who's "stuck in the past" (not that I care, really), I think finding new environments to which Linux may be applied is always a good idea. However, this whole "my desktop is better than yours" nonsense, combined with the current SOP of throwing what works under the bus because it's not "new" should end, before Linux usage, outside of pure hobby and/or super techie realm, ends altogether. Honestly, these idiotic graphical desktop distros are not what makes Linux, Linux. The Kernel and the collection of UNIX-mimicking binary applications are what make Linux the OS to be reckoned with. The GUI stuff, more often than not, creates just as many problems as it professes to solve. Heaven forbid that someone should get it right, even once, because there'll be some troublemaker waiting along the sidelines with a "fresh" version of Glib or GTK+ that obsoletes all previous versions (and all the proper working applications that used it), and the usual herd of lemmings will chase after that new, shiny thing, crying "Upgrade, upgrade, upgrade ...". What was done? Oh, the case of the externs was changed (not in the release notes).The order was rearranged, too. Some stuff was added in the middle, and at the end. You can't build older applications against it now, unless you want to spend weeks modifying them. But who cares? Nobody of account uses those old applications anyhow. Right? Oh bother. There's nothing inherently wrong with the concept of GUI interfaces, but the competition to have the "best" and to have it on corporate and government desktops around the world, would be better were it a quality-driven task, as opposed to the propaganda-driven one which presently exists. Referencing Distrowatch makes me giggle, something I do very little anymore, and Mandriva in particular, who have decided to shove sluggish KDE4 down their user's throats. What fun! And, just how many new distros appear each year that are merely repackaged Ubuntu-something? Take a basic Ubuntu and juice it up with your favorite applications and presto! You've got a new distro. Just make sure you give it a really silly name - one that'll stick in everyone's mind (like the Oscar Meyer wiener song), or you'll never make the list. It isn't really new, but it's yours and if you hawk well, you'll be very popular: high on the list; That is, until next month when your nemesis dethrones you. Or, you could be like Fedora, with your own little group of devotees who do nothing more with their computers than install your latest releases, and no sooner have they done that, then they begin salivating for the next one. Seriously, people who want to develop and produce a Linux distro should be more concerned about bug-free releases, perpetual support for primary system libraries, (you can add on to them, but don't modify or rearrange the external references, symbols, and entry points), maintaining reasonable backward compatibility, instead of worrying so much about the artistic qualities of the desktop display while trashing everything you don't like. Someone should try it and see what happens, since what's been going on doesn't seem to foster anything but peeing contests.

apotheon
apotheon

"Naturally I only want to address Linux, this being an open source blog and all." That's not natural at all. Linux is not the sum total of "open source", it is not synonymous with "open source", and it is damned far from the only thing interesting about "open source". Firefox, Chromium, MySQL, and OpenOffice.org are all open source applications with name recognition in the same general league as Linux, and some of those are probably more widely deployed. LibreOffice and PostgreSQL are quickly catching up as regards name recognition as well. SQLite is not so well known, but is probably more widely deployed than all of them put together (especially considering it is a dependency of Firefox). The various BSD Unix systems collectively comprise the invisible giant in the realm of other open source OSes. Darwin OS is a far more widely deployed open source desktop OS than all the Linux distributions put together (if we neglect Android), as the basis for Apple MacOS X. As horrible a piece of software as it is, let us not forget WordPress, which powers a substantial percentage of the "blogosphere", including TR. It's fine you decided to write an article about Linux-related news in 2011. Go for it. It's the subject you know best within the realm of open source software, and it's great at drawing eyeballs to TechRepublic. Claiming, however, that it's somehow natural for you to focus specifically on Linux just because this is the "open source" column at TR is to give the world of people who know better the impression that you probably don't know much about open source software at all. You might want to watch that, in the future.

jrredho
jrredho

First, I'm at a complete loss why LaTeX rated two negative assertions. It is a text-processing language fercrissakes! (And any *true* hardcore would be using Plain TeX anyway, but that's another story, which is my point.) Secondly, I've got to say that other than a couple of X-Windows changes to the Synaptics touchpad drivers, Ubuntu 11.10 with Gnome3 seem just fine to this old user. Yeah, sure, I had to go fetch Synaptic Package Manager, etc, but I do whole-disk encyption on my laptops and the Ubuntu Alternative CDs make that pretty darn easy.

yaseennoorani
yaseennoorani

For me, Bodhi Linux was the best thing that happened to Linux in 2011. It gives what unity and gnome don't give, flashiness, customizability, productivity and lightweightness in one package. I'm really loving my experience with it especially with its e17 WM

billyg
billyg

I respect your opinion in what I'm sure will continue to be a shouting match. I'd like to challenge you and everyone in this debate to direct your criticism as constructively as possible to the distro managers, because I see this as a tectonic rift and a good one at that. The industry at large, not just the linux community are sorting out what the next generation gui will look like and how (if) it will function across devices with keyboards, touch screens, multi-touch screens and other inputs. This is no simple feat. I don't think that incremental steps from existing popular desktops will reach that goal in any reasonable time. I actually give credit to Canonical for taking a swing at the problem with Unity, though I agree with the general sentiment that it came out of the labs WAY too early, making alpha testers out of all of us (its REAL fault). Let's not forget, the Linux we all know and love is the heart that beats in all of these distros and it is solid. What everyone in the industry is trying to come to grips with is how to best layer a desktop/mobile user experience on an OS (let's not buy in to the oversimplification that an OS includes the presentation layer). In the past, success has come from parroting what Apple or Microsoft do. Unity took some baby steps away from that model. A swing and a miss, perhaps, but I still say, "Hooray!" Someone in the Linux distro world is stepping out from behind the big shadows!

walks.in2.trees
walks.in2.trees

I read somewhere that Android is technically a Linux distro I'm really loving Mint11, I've been holding off on upgrading to 12 to let some of the bugs settle out since 11 works fine for me. My only issue with using strictly open source is that most opensource software can't compete for quality. The well developed software works great, such as open office and web browsers and media players, things that everyone uses but GIMP is the best offering for the graphics/desktop publishing community and while it's much better than most other competitors in the field it still doesn't touch Corel Photopaint or Adobe Photoshop... what it does have is effects plugins though... many are better than the mainstream effects :) Scribus and Inkscape are the other two top open source graphics apps available and they don't even come close to the commerial offerings of Corel or Adobe, and niether Corel nor Adobe work well under wine, if at all. And that's true across the entire open source world not just graphics. So at present all Linux has to offer to the casual user is basic entertainment and office functions so WHY WOULD any manufacturer choose an OS with such limited usefulness even if their product was so hot that buyers wouldn't care? In the end, if we want Linux to go mainstream, AND maintain the open source perogative, we have to overcome the spare-time mentality that goes with opensource Developers might consider using services like Kickstarter.com for instance

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

"...one of the biggest 'wrongs' to plague the Linux operating system was that it still had yet to find its way onto a tablet. Yes, you can virtualize a Linux environment and Android is still (in my opinion) considered to be built on Linux,..." I still don't get this. Why is Android not Linux? No, it's not a full distribution. But every time the subject of market penetration comes up, someone always points out all the gazillion dedicated-purpose computers that run Linux. Cars, DVRs, GPS, etc. Those devices sure aren't running full user-configurable distros either. If those devices are cited by the community as running Linux, what makes Android any different? I would think the explosion of Android devices would be viewed as a plus. It's probably the only Linux variant that most people can name.

nowave7
nowave7

Also lets not forget Intel and its current project with Samsung Tizen. Based on Meego, collaboration with Nokia (that didn't go as planned, but still a very, very promising OS), Tizen could potentially be a fourth player in the tablet arena.

sysop-dr
sysop-dr

As much as we would all like Linux to replace the existing OS giants on the desktop and tablets like it has on servers we seem to forget that open source is not about taking over the world, except for super villains, but is about choice. Unity is just another choice as is KDE or Gnome. People choose to make software. Some of them then choose to make it open source. Then people get to choose what they want on their system, what system to buy and if they want Linux on that system. It's just a few clicks away on the net or you can choose to build your own system and put your choice of OS and window manager(s) on it. To me the reason that Linux is doing so well in Servers is because the people buying them know they have a choice. Face it IT guys are the only real group out there that knows Linux exists. And a few ads or billboards are not going to change that. But if say Google or other high profile company plus say a few BIG PC makers started doing a lot more educating and advertising for Linux then people might start to learn about it and learn of the benefits and our economic benefits and the open source economy would start to take over. Until everyone knows they have a choice and that the choice is not just the mac kid vrs the PC windows tubby guy, Linux will just be a choice for us and not really a choice for everyone. Open source is about choice but if no-one knows they have a choice then there really is no choice.

water-man
water-man

You are totally right about users stuck in the past and defending their history with bashing and rude language as the lowest in 2011. However: defining Ubuntu/Unity as the absolute low of Linux in 2011 makes you a user also stuck in the past and resisting change. I admit: there are a couple of things that could improve Unity but I'm absolutely sure that this will happen in 12.04. In the mean time, since 11.10, I'm a happy Unity user. And with regards to Linux on tablets: I consider Ubuntu the only candidate that is taking the right course towards this form factor. Why? guess what: because of Unity.

WhiteLotus1
WhiteLotus1

Whereas there is no second opinion about Linux capturing server (70 %) and now android is leading the way in smart phone and tablet market, Linux based better GNU/Linux based Distros for desktop is still 1 % or may be 5 % (acc to one net survey). There are many advantages of FOSS, still it has many weakness too. This is the reason why Linux Distros are not widely used i home / corporate and small / micro business sector. Easiest is to convert home users who use PC for simple works like net browsing, emails, watching movies, ripping / converting mp3s and burning CD / DVDs and occasionally edit photos.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

More people eat at McDonald's than at other burger joints. That doesn't mean they supply the best hamburgers, just that they're the most accessible.

mitcoes
mitcoes

As we have special packages upgrades, yo can count in a week, how many upgrades you had, and this way know how many - connected to internet and up to date users have - That is not public, but they know how many are really using their distros.

wizard57m-cnet
wizard57m-cnet

However I enjoy giving Slackware a workout every now and again myself!

cwarner7_11
cwarner7_11

Meh- "...people who want to develop and produce a Linux distro should be more concerned about bug-free releases, perpetual support for primary system libraries, ...maintaining reasonable backward compatibility, instead of worrying so much about the artistic qualities of the desktop display while trashing everything you don't like." I could not agree more, and this is what I have found with CAELinux (built on Ubuntu 10.04- even the latest release which came out late this year).

apotheon
apotheon

That deserves a standing ovation.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

It's considered VERY poor form to mention open source applications that degrade themselves by running on non-open operating systems. We'll overlook your faux pas this time, dear, but we don't do that in polite society, dontchaknow?

paulfx1
paulfx1

If it does not suit you then feel free to add onto it. That is why the source code for FOSS is freely available you know? The last time I ran Corel Draw it didn't wok too well under Windows. There wasn't a whole lot I could do about it either, other than quitting to run Windows, so I did. It was Corel Draw 6 though to give you some idea of the time scale I'm talking about. I've no plans of going back either. InkScape and the GNU Image Manipulation Program are good enough for my casual uses. There do not seem to be a whole lot of closed source buyers that run Linux either. I'm afraid we just don't buy into that whole deal.

cwarner7_11
cwarner7_11

I have to disagree that "...at present all Linux has to offer...is basic entertainment and office functions..." Begin with graphics. Have a look at Blender, for example, or Salome (both of which may be a bit too sophisticated for the "casual" user, but both of which can run circles around many of the commercial offerings). CAD? Dassault Systemes now offers DraftSight2 for Linux (*.deb and *.rpm). Although not SolidWorks (also from Dassault), quite sophisticated for the "casual" user. Next, let us have a look at Open Source math options- Scilab, Octave, R, Maxima, KNIME, Eureqa, NIST Dataplot (yes, Open Source from the US National Institute of Standards and Technology)- these are just the ones I have used. There is a whole universe of finished "professional" quality math applications that can do anything Matlab can do (and some things Matlab hasn't figured out yet), and quite often does it better/faster. One will likely find these applications on University servers. Now let's talk about some SERIOUS Open Source software- too many to list here, but have a look at the CAELinux distro- "CAE" being "Computer Aided Engineering"- for some very serious Finite Element or Computational Fluid Dynamic applications that can also run circles around the commercial offerings (in the right hands). The Linux world is full of fully functional, sophisticated software that goes way beyond the needs of the "casual user". Another point- when one visits the quite active forums for many of these specialized packages, civility and helpfulness dominates...

paulfx1
paulfx1

A distribution. All Linux is is the operating system kernel. If it didn't originally come from kernel.org then it isn't Linux. I know lots of people make this mistake but doing so opens yourself up to all sorts of misunderstandings. GNU/Linux is closer to a distribution. GNU/Linux != Linux though.

apotheon
apotheon

Jack is, apparently, unwilling or unable to admit in any systematic way that he knows the difference between the Linux kernel and the various OSes based on the Linux kernel. Notice, for instance, that he said "one of the biggest 'wrongs' to plague the Linux operating system was that it still had yet to find its way onto a tablet." He refers to "the Linux operating system" when, in fact, there's no such thing. There is no single Linux operating system. There are craptons of separate operating systems that are built on the Linux kernel, which is why I refer to "Linux-based systems" and "Linux distributions" and the like, but "the Linux operating system" does not exist. Before anyone gets on a GNU high horse, it should be noted that there is not a "GNU/Linux" operating system, either: there are, however, many operating systems based on the Linux kernel that use the GNU utilities as the basis of their userlands. This unwillingness or inability to differentiate between the kernel and the OSes based on it in a meaningful way is very widespread, and I think it is behind the problems we see with people referring to how to do something "on Linux", where the explanation only works on a very small subset of Linux-based systems (primarily Ubuntu). One especially widespread example of this sort of thing is the practice of explaining how to do things at the shell, where commands start with "sudo". The majority of useful configurations out there for Linux-based systems (and other Unix-like OSes) still do not even have sudo installed as a universal sysadmin authentication tool; many such systems just use sudo the way it was meant to be used, as a way to carefully control what people are allowed to do when they need elevated privileges for some very specific tasks that happen to be critical to their job functions. Confusion arises at times when people using the "wrong" system (usually more "right" for their purposes than Ubuntu, though) run across such examples and can't figure out what's up with this sudo command that keeps erroring out. In short, Jack Wallen is not saying that Android doesn't use the Linux kernel; he's saying it's not "the Linux operating system", a convenient fiction leveraged by propagandists and a gigantic myth that makes it difficult for the less knowledgeable to communicate meaningfully with others. Android isn't "the Linux operating system" specifically because it is not a full-featured Linux distribution in the tradition of Slackware, Fedora, Debian, Arch, or (of course) Ubuntu.

paulfx1
paulfx1

People know about Linux. They choose not to use it because it isn't mainstream, or it cannot run the applications people demand.

paulfx1
paulfx1

The supercomputer market where Linux enjoys a 94% share. All of my supercomputers run Linux :)

apotheon
apotheon

I do a lot of things that rub the orthodoxy the wrong way. Screw them. I'm a heretic and proud of it; I describe things as they appear, not as the orthodoxy insists we must.

paulfx1
paulfx1

Like you may understand the subtle difference between what Linux and a distribution are. Actually the difference isn't subtle, but it escapes many as if it was.

walks.in2.trees
walks.in2.trees

Except it's not that the software isn't out there for Linux, it is, it's more that 90% of the open source software is dead, unfinished, low on the development timeline or even just not very good. Plus like the author says, the forums for most projects like ghost-towns, and if you do finally get an answer, you've either figured it out on your own, or left it as a bad idea. Really I think that the answer lies more with making it easier for major software developers to port Linux versions, especially for game developers. I know, there's Wine and Virtualbox, etc... but those still rely on the existence of Windows, and Wine just doesn't work for so many apps and most that do work with it require a lot of playing around to get there, plus it's not like there's one version of Linux, no one can say "yes it'll work no matter which Linux distro you're running"

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Because I haven't met any outside IT that know anything about Linux. Name recognition is better than it use to be, but even those folks just know, "It's not Windows".

darkduck
darkduck

It's not [business] users who select software they need to work with. Yes, there are OSS alternatives to many Win-applications. But not all, that's a very valid point. Have you ever tried to run SAP from Linux? How about SAP BEx? Without proper support from software vendors... what are we talking about?

paulfx1
paulfx1

top500.org where Linux dominance is awesome!

WhiteLotus1
WhiteLotus1

Hi, Never knew this fact. Pleasantly surprised :D You area super guy

apotheon
apotheon

Your repeated questions are so far apart, and separated by so many reasonable statements and questions that do not repeat themselves without addressing previous answers to them, that my own advancing age and deteriorating memory makes me forget you ever asked before, generally speaking.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I'm down to asking only one more time when my memory fails me again. I better bookmark this one so I can come back to it. I don't want to wind up as 'an example'. :D

apotheon
apotheon

I find myself having to deliver the same message over and over again. After about the third time one person makes the same mistake despite my previous explanations, I stop trying to correct that person and use him or her as an example when explaining things to others instead.

CFWhitman
CFWhitman

If you can say "more than 90% of the open source software is dead, unfinished, low on the development timeline or even just not very good," then you can say it about proprietary software as well. That doesn't really mean anything. There is a significant core of good, quality open source software available. I know there is because I use it all the time. Usually, the issues with software availability with a Linux system are about either software to manage or connect with specific devices or services (e.g., I use a Virtualbox Windows XP install to manage my hiking GPS), or else about a specific software that's very popular (like AutoCAD or Photoshop). Major software vendors can port Linux versions if they want to. That's what install scripts, static dependencies, and the /opt directory are for. It's no more difficult to make a scripted install for Linux than it is for Windows, and that was the major way Windows software was distributed for a long time (a lot of it still is distributed that way). I used to run games from Loki on whatever Linux distribution I wanted, and it wasn't a problem (making sure I had Nvidia drivers available was a much bigger deal at the time). People have this odd idea that the issues with using an open source package for one distribution on another somehow relate to proprietary software. They generally don't. Open source packages expect certain dependencies and expect to communicate with the package database. Closed source software installs include their own dependencies, except for possibly listing some more general requirements like accelerated OpenGL support, and they don't care what else is on your system.

paulfx1
paulfx1

It is really hard to get the original Quake to run on a modern Windows version. I have a wicked Quake setup going on my Linux boxes. If you're into the original Quake get an engine called Darkplaces. It is unbelievable! Some mods I like are Quoth, Warpgate, and Nehahra.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

"I meet people all the time that have heard about Linux when I tell them I use it rather than WIN or MAC, and usually that's the limit of their knowledge and interest." That's what I said; they may have name recognition but they don't know anything beyond that. I agree that web-based apps are becoming the way to go, especially in the consumer arena. (See Justin James' blog entry on this subject: http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/programming-and-development/why-html5-makes-justifying-native-applications-more-difficult/4903?tag=mantle_skin;content ) But the average user doesn't switching OSs; he runs what came on the system. (Your presence on an IT site raises you above the 'average'.) Until pre-installed Linux systems gain a much wider market share, the public will continue to run Windows.

walks.in2.trees
walks.in2.trees

I'm not an IT pro, I know a bit more than the average user, but I'm no IT guru for sure. I meet people all the time that have heard about Linux when I tell them I use it rather than WIN or MAC, and usually that's the limit of their knowledge and interest... they don't know what open source is, and if they have, they don't trust it, thanks to free-ware and malware. But they've heard of Linux all the same. A lot of the people I play QuakeLive with run Linux, more than I would have thought... probably because QuakeLive is a quality FPS that is written in Java and Browser-based, so OS is not an issue with it as with so much other software. The most important lesson that developers can learn from QuakeLive and Google is that software doesn't HAVE to be OS specific... Because Google Docs and other Google services are so portable, I've begun switching as much as I can to google. Anywhere there is internet, I can access and edit my documents... I don't need to store them locally. This demonstrates that the same thing is possible for ANY software... anyplace where there is a java enabled web-browser, I can play QuakeLive, and I can access my documents. With the proliferation of handheld devices, like cellphones and tablets, it's only a matter of time before ALL software is web-based