Linux

My open source Christmas wish list


I figured since the holiday was fast approaching I should probably pull my old OSCWL out and see what it has to offer this year. So, without further ado...

1) Please Steve Jobs - just open up the SDK for the iPhone. I know, I know...you're worried that if you open it up that it will become a security nightmare for the iPhone. I say, "Not so!" Linux has been open since inception and do you see a plague of security issues? Windows, on the other hand, has been closed since inception and, well, need I say more? And, Mr. Jobs, if you're that worried about it - set up an accountability program. Have everyone wanting to create apps for the iPhone be required to send them to Apple for inspection. Sure it would be time consuming but it would be well worth it. Once a program was inspected, post it for users to install. Simple, effective, safe. Open that puppy up!

2) And while I'm on that topic - release a version of iTunes for Linux! Don't get me wrong, I LOVE gtk-pod and numerous other audio players/organizers for Linux. But it sure would be nice to NOT have to have a machine set up who's only use is syncing my iPhone.

3) Red Hat - please come out with a non-enterprise desktop OS again. I was such a huge fan. You were, after all, my first. But now you give us Fedora - a cutting edge distro that isn't worthy of "cutting teeth" (newbies need not apply.) Fedora is fine but every time a new release comes out, it's one headache after another to get it up and running to the users' satisfaction. Let Fedora be, but release something stable and useful for the new to average user.

4) For the developers of Enlightenment: For the love of TUX hurry up and release E17 to the wild! Yeah, yeah I know I can check it out via CVS or get a live distro with E17 but I want E17 my way - with apt-get or yum. I've been waiting for this release for so long, I can't remember the first time I saw screenshots of the release. It looks uber sweet but it's doing me no good by just being a screen hot on someone's server. I want E17 and I want it now!!!!!

5) For the developers of GNOME - catch up. It seems like every other time you release GNOME, you take a step backwards. Sure it's nice and stable, but it still looks like a desktop circa mid '90s. Take a gander at where KDE is going. They are about to release KDE 4 and, when it comes out, people will be wowed! What do you have in store for us? A more stable release of Nautilus?

6) Better WEP support. Need I say more?

7) More pre-installed Linux on machines sold at Walmart. This was really a huge step forward because it brought Linux to a user-group that probably wouldn't know what an OS is if it slapped them across the face with a Jeff Gordon leather jacket.

8) Prosperity to companies like Zonbu. You've heard my pitches for this company. They are bringing the true "missing link" to the PC community at large - you know, those millions of people who think a PC is used for nothing more than surfing YouTube, MySpace, and eBay, sending e-mail, and MAYBE writing a paper or two. The likes of Zonbu are doing the Linux community a HUGE favor. So to include in this wish, I would like to add support to Zonbu (and the like) from the open source community.

So there you have it. It's a pretty simple list but it covers a lot of bases. Now, it's your turn. What is on your Open Source Christmas list?

Thank you all for reading my column this year. Have a happy and healthy holiday!

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.

12 comments
lastchip
lastchip

That hardware manufacturers provide drivers for Linux and stop burying their heads in the sand, hoping Linux will go away. Or at the very least, help the talented developers out there with sufficient information about their products, so open source drivers can be written. Multi-function printers in particular are notorious to try and get working (particularly the scanner element), but are by no means the only victims of this narrow minded attitude.

mvenn
mvenn

I have to agree with you about GNOME development with regards to KDE but what about the old adage, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it"? Gnome is a robust desktop manager with enough bells and whistles to keep a lot of people happy. (And I am a KDE fan by btw, looking forward to version 4, rc2 just won't work on my suse laptop at the moment tho...)

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I wish the radical wing of the open source movement would lighten up and acknowledge that "proprietary" doesn't always equal "junk" or "sacrilegious".

boxfiddler
boxfiddler

Programs built in to the various Linux distros that allow me to EASILY (eny) via the GUI configure my 5 button mouse and specialty keys on my keyboard. (Yes, I know the latter is there in some distros but that gui makes no sense to a total noob.) edit: eny=emphasis not yelling

Tig2
Tig2

I could only choose one? What's up with that? When Apple started down the Unix path, I had hoped to see the OS go "wild". When they hopped on Intel, I had hopes again. I am learning to love this desktop and am integrating the workflow. But I would also like Apple to know that I would have bought this hardware for... the hardware! The OS, and the fact that my Leopard upgrade was in the box with my source disks was FABULOUS! But what I knew about Apple is that they figure that if you buy the hardware, you should get the software- and not just the OEM laden with crapware. So my biggest Christmas wish- at least as far as this thread is concerned- is that Apple become a choice for all Intel platforms. Honest Steve, the power of the FOSS community will come to play. And love you for it!

roaming
roaming

and not WEP? Or is is that acronym doing double duty for something else?

jlwallen
jlwallen

even using WEP on wireless Linux isn't easy. it's come a long way but not for the average user. typically when i have a wireless network, and use a linux client on that network, i have to disable WEP. not safe. but sometimes it's the only option.

lastchip
lastchip

I use WPA-PSK on my laptop without any drama. So, what is it I'm doing that's different to everyone else? Frankly; nothing! But after trying a number of distros, PCLinuxOS was the only one I found that will allow an encrypted wireless connection without any *extra* configuration. In fact, if you asked me to configure a wireless connection on Linux, I wouldn't know where to start. I suspect it's the development team at PCLinuxOS that has used (horror, shock!) proprietary software to make it work. Their aim is to make the distro as user friendly as is possible and they have succeeded. I'll be interested to find out how PCLinuxOS is regarded in the "World Series" on Thursday.

Neon Samurai
Neon Samurai

I've a liveCD I run on the work computer when it's not being used for work. With both Mandriva 2007.1 and 2008 wireless networking was as easy as Windows; look at available networks, enter applicable psk and connect. I don't see why WEP would be any harder since it's less configuration steps than WPA (or same but different at least). If I get bored, maybe I'll drop one of the extra routers down to WEP (aka.. wide open to the world) and give it a hammering. I actually took the point to mean wifi kernel module support as it's still lacking.

kingttx
kingttx

I've been using Ubuntu since last year, and I haven't had the issue of WPA or WEP. I purposely got a laptop with no internal wireless card so I could pick a card supported under Linux (a Netgear WG511T using the madwifi driver). WPA and WEP both work with Network Manager, no sweat.

jlwallen
jlwallen

so far PCLinuxOS is one of the few distros that can get wireless right. what i don't understand is how, when the OS is open source, one can get it so right and the others can get it so wrong?

Penguin_me
Penguin_me

I have to say, getting WPA-TKIP was a bit of a pain on my Debian box, however provided you get a *supported* wireless card you should have no major issues, the rt2x00 (Link: rt2x00.serialmonkey.com/ )is a stable driver with WEP and WPA support, and a nice GUI for those who need one (I found one on the card manufacturers site, it works quite nicely with the rt2x00 drivers). A good place to look for supported hardware is "Linux Emporium" (Link: http://www.linuxemporium.co.uk/ ). One irritation is that you either have to jump through hoops to get your hardware to work, or buy "certified" hardware for a guarantee that it will work.