Follow Slashdot stories on Twitter

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Get HideMyAss! VPN, PC Mag's Top 10 VPNs of 2016 for 55% off for a Limited Time ×
Open Source Operating Systems BSD Linux

PC-BSD: Set For Serious Growth? 393

Artem Tashkinov writes: Luke Wolf, a KDE developer, argues that PC-BSD might become a serious desktop OS contender by year 2020, since Linux so far has failed to grasp any serious market share. He writes, "Consider this: In the past 10 years has the distribution you run changed significantly in what it offers over other distributions? I think you'll find the answer is largely no. I do have to give a shout out to openSUSE for the OBS, but otherwise I've used my desktop in the same exact way that I have always used it within the continuity of distribution X,Y, or Z since I started using them. Distributions simply aren't focused on desktop features, they're leaving it up to the DEs to do so." He continues, "PC-BSD on the other hand in fitting with the BSD mindset of holistic solutions is focused on developing desktop features and is moving rapidly to implement them." What do you think?
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

PC-BSD: Set For Serious Growth?

Comments Filter:
  • by CohibaVancouver ( 864662 ) on Monday February 16, 2015 @09:03PM (#49070457)
    Well, that clinches it for me. 2020 is *definitely* the year of the Linux desktop.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 16, 2015 @09:22PM (#49070551)

      Stupid joke aside, the year of the Linux desktop is the year that you choose to run Linux on your desktop. The end. People have been running Linux on desktop machines long before it was convenient or even sensible (Red Hat's early releases and broken GCC's come to mind)...now you can download something like Linux Mint and be up and running, fully patched, faster than you can with most Windows systems.

      So yeah, the year of the Linux desktop? Whatever year you want it to be. All I can say is that I hope you're not as old and tired as your sense of humour because if you are, I doubt you'll live to see 2020 anyway.

      • by murdocj ( 543661 )

        In that sense, every year is the year of the DOS command line desktop.

        • by TWX ( 665546 )

          In that sense, every year is the year of the DOS command line desktop.

          Which is actually partially why it doesn't really matter to me what my distribution does, when I primarily use it as a vehicle for a shitload of terminal windows to SSH to the equipment and servers that I have to maintain. I need decent fonts (which there are tons of them out there now), a good window manager (and they all have the same window managers basically), good web browsers (plural, since I need to keep some mutually-incompatibl

      • by Joosy ( 787747 )

        now you can download something like Linux Mint and be up and running ... faster than you can with most Windows systems

        I can't count how many times I've read this same comment. And it is true, but do you really think the reason someone picks an operating system is because they can save a few minutes when they first install it? What I think would be most frustrating for end users is installing and updating software. For some apps that can be a nightmare.

        • by r_a_trip ( 612314 ) on Tuesday February 17, 2015 @08:49AM (#49072807)

          What I think would be most frustrating for end users is installing and updating software. For some apps that can be a nightmare.

          Are we talking about a Linux distro or Windows here?

          A distro has everything neatly managed in the repository. Click, install and it updates automatically with the rest of the system...

      • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

        The year of Linux on the desktop has come and gone and most people didn't even notice (M$ certainly did). That was the year when the majority of people put their Android smart phone down on their desk after using it. M$ didn't buy Nokia for nothing, they certainly managed to buy it on the cheap though, after it was crippled by an ex(nudge, nudge, wink, wink) M$ employee. It sort of all tied in with the change in nature of what roles computer fill and how they fill it.

    • You see, the reason Linux has failed to make inroads on the desktop is the lack of non-GPL compiler toolchains...

      SAID NO ONE EVER

    • Depending on your definition, the "Year Of The Linux Desktop" could be any year from, oh, about 2003 or so to now and into the future. If your definition means: " the year that Linux has greater marketshare than Windows", well that's not likely to be aytime soon at all. OTOH, Apple is the most valuable company in the world by current market valuations - hardware, software, oil, you-name-it, by relying on non-Microsoft OSes, and they are obviously pretty successful. Me? I've been dual-booting for several yea
      • If your definition means: " the year that Linux has greater marketshare than Windows", well that's not likely to be anytime soon at all.

        Since Android is Linux, that has already happened in some markets. Chrome OS is also Linux, and over one million Chromebooks ship every quarter.

    • by mozumder ( 178398 ) on Monday February 16, 2015 @10:21PM (#49070821)

      It already has about 13.4% [techcrunch.com] US desktop market share already.

      I have no idea why Mac OS X isn't called out for being the MOST UNIX operating system out there.

      Why bother making a Linux desktop, when you ALREADY have a top-notch Unix desktop environment, with origins in BSD Unix (via NextStep), a proper Unix-shell, and every other command-line tool, with the ability to run real commercial software from Adobe and Autodesk.

      Additionally, it seems like Mac OS X has officially won all the developers. I don't recall seeing any developer using anything BUT Mac OS X over the last couple of years.

      Unix won the desktop.. it's just called Mac OS X.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by steveg ( 55825 )

        I tried using OSX to replace my Linux desktop. Some parts were pretty usable, but inability to set a useful focus policy and the really cumbersome way that cut and paste works made it ultimately too hard to get anything done.

        I like being able to copy text from a window that is *not* on top and paste it into a window that may or may not be on top -- without them re-arranging their order. With MacOS each copy and paste involved multiple clicks, all of which invlved the Z-order flipping all around. Slowed m

      • by raymorris ( 2726007 ) on Monday February 16, 2015 @11:46PM (#49071247) Journal

        That is a good point. OS X is indeed Unix, officially certified. I've run all Linux for many years. When someone handed me a Mac Pro I thought I'd dislike it, based on my experience with iOS. I was surprised how comfortable it was to use, just like my familiar Linux for day-to-day work at a bash shell. For coordinating with my coworkers, I also have all the Microsoft Office, all of the Adobe developer products, etc. Not bad at all.

        Whenever I mention I'm a Linux guy who actually likes OS X, someone goes "no true Scotsman" on me. Open the Linux kernel changelog. See my name, Ray Morris. Look around at some of the Linux storage stack. You'll notice I'm the maintainer for Linux::LVM, for example. So yeah, I'm a real Linux guy - perhaps more so than any other regular commenter on Slashdot.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          You've got to admit, it is a bit sad/disappointing the number of people who are invested in Linux but actually like (and often prefer) OS X. What does that say for the rest of us who are wondering if expending the time and effort to learn Linux is worth it if many people who are influential in its development prefer OS X?

          And yes I know, you didn't actually say outright that you prefer OS X, you merely said you liked it. I wonder how long it'll be before that changes though...

          • by ToasterMonkey ( 467067 ) on Tuesday February 17, 2015 @02:46AM (#49071911) Homepage

            You've got to admit, it is a bit sad/disappointing the number of people who are invested in Linux but actually like (and often prefer) OS X. What does that say for the rest of us who are wondering if expending the time and effort to learn Linux is worth it if many people who are influential in its development prefer OS X?

            And yes I know, you didn't actually say outright that you prefer OS X, you merely said you liked it. I wonder how long it'll be before that changes though...

            You don't marry an operating system, you can date all of them. How would anyone know what they really like if they limit themselves?

            If you can't say five good things about an operating system, then you probably don't know it well enough to judge. Take that as a challenge to learn more. If you have fun doing that kind of thing.. otherwise go by whatever shows up on monster the most for all I care.

          • It isn't sad. People don't have to be mad Linux zealots. Linux makes a good server OS.
            OS X is a good desktop OS.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by gl4ss ( 559668 )

        13.4% is winning now?
        using OSX is a WIN? what does it matter at all that it has unix roots? seriously, since you can get all those commandline and shell apps for windows as well.

        fuck no, fuck no.

        move out, plenty of devs use other computers than macs, using operating systems legal to use on other computers than macs.

      • Why bother making a Linux desktop, when you ALREADY have a top-notch Unix desktop environment, with origins in BSD Unix (via NextStep), a proper Unix-shell, and every other command-line tool, with the ability to run real commercial software from Adobe and Autodesk.

        So that we could download it for free. If you got most people to mumble out the truth, that would be it.

      • I don't recall seeing any developer using Mac OS X over the last couple of years.

        FTFY.
        Ok, I lie. I know two but they run linux in a virtual machine on the Mac, so I guess that doesn't count?

        Last time I was maintaining a cross-platform project it felt like every single non-trivial commit broke the CI, and always on the Mac. Many times because Mac doesn't yet support POSIX 2001 fully.

        Ignoring its quirks, I do agree that OSX is a great operating system, but it could use a decent desktop environment. On Linux, I can change it so it suites me, not you.

        I just realized I probably got trolled.

      • Those of us who actually worked on NeXT will never touch MacOS X with a barge pole. I still have nightmares about that steaming pile of shit.
    • I don't get why people keep bringing that old meme up. The year of the Linux desktop was a good while ago. I'm using Linux, on a desktop, right now, and I can use it just fine. There is nothing that's really missing. I even have games running on it. What more do you want? It does everything 99% of what people need to do. I really don't understand why people keep bitching that only 1% of the market uses this kind of system. It's all about free choice. If you want more people to use Linux on the desktop, just
    • Well, that clinches it for me. 2020 is *definitely* the year of the Linux desktop.

      Even if it's not "on my desktop" it'll be in my router, my server and the box over in the corner that I use to offload effects-processing and rendering chores for my digital audio workstation.

      I may not run Linux on my "desktop", but it still seems to have surrounded me.

    • I want 2020 to be year of the *n?x Workstation.
      We don't need a Desktop OS. We need a good Workstation OS.
      The PC role is changing from the Personal computer and towards a more professional tool. Something not everyone will need.

      I would like to see UI advancements going towards Workstation productivity, not towards Desktop user friendly, or worse Desktop/Tablet hybrid.

      UI designed for Big high resolution screens, where users can manage and maintain multiple apps easily without hunting for windows. When resiz

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 16, 2015 @09:13PM (#49070505)

    I'll have my stuff ready for it.

    -- Lennart Poettering

  • The war was fought decades ago, a winner was declared and for some reason the Unix/Linux neckbeards still sit around railing about how they'll take that hill someday..

    The desktop is increasingly unimportant, or mostly an adjunct to where people do their primary computing which is portables. Give up on the desktop and accept that you have a niche, hold onto that niche and nurture it instead of constantly beating your heads against the desktop, it's not going to happen. Even Apple kind of half-asses their de

    • Only too true.
      and Apple's desktop OS is based on BSD.
      funny that
    • by Grishnakh ( 216268 ) on Monday February 16, 2015 @10:11PM (#49070779)

      Lemme see if I understand your logic here:

      Linux on the desktop isn't sufficiently popular yet with mainstream users, so Linux users should just give it up and go out and buy brand-new Apple or MS computers running half-assed desktop OSes, as you put it.

      Huh?

      I've been using KDE for over 15 years now, and it works just fine, quite well in fact. Why would I want to give that up and switched to a "half-assed" (you said it, not me) desktop OS like MacOSX or Windows? KDE isn't half-assed at all, and has only been getting better and better, while staying quite stable and not removing any useful features the way those two proprietary OSes have. So why exactly should I switch?

      If you're just saying we should stop trying to convince everyone else to change (it's a little vague), why? Sure, most people are dumb and are going to continue to buy into the big corps' crap, but Linux on the desktop has only been getting better and easier to use, so why not? Lots of people have switched their family members over to great effect (my wife gets along just fine with KDE on Linux Mint). Who cares if Linux never gets to 95% marketshare? As long as it's popular enough to not be as completely unknown as, say, PC-BSD (my wife and my elderly mother both know what Linux is, though to different degrees,, but if I ask either of them about BSD I'm just going to get a blank stare), and users are able to use it without a lot of roadblocks throw in the way like back around 2000, that's good enough. It doesn't need to become a monopoly-of-sorts, it only needs to be strong enough to be a viable alternative, not just for techies but for anyone who has enough technical ability to plug a USB drive in and follow some simple on-screen instructions. And as far as I'm concerned, it already is.

    • The desktop is increasingly unimportant, or mostly an adjunct to where people do their primary computing which is portables.

      Sure, if by "computing" you mean consumption. All the great things people buy and consume weren't created on portables or the OSes they run. There are still important markets in which to make gains.

    • I have no idea why people are arguing with you about this. The evidence (not least from the desktop computing industry) is everywhere, with catastrophically declining sales over the long term, offset by increases in mobiles and tablets—which, incidentally, Linux has already won, though in large part by leaving the distro community behind.

      Linux could actually conquer the desktop in the end—a few years down the road when desktop computing is a specialized, professionals-only computing space. The u

    • by Sir_Substance ( 3966527 ) on Tuesday February 17, 2015 @01:01AM (#49071559)

      The desktop is increasingly unimportant, or mostly an adjunct to where people do their primary computing which is portables.

      Maybe my viewpoint is skewed by overexposure to the real world where people need to get stuff done, but when people have work to do, they use laptops or desktops.

      Right now is the perfect time for linux (or BSD) to attack desktop exactly because everyone else is attacking portable. Apple is a side case, having never taken the desktop world either, but Microsoft is making a strategic blunder that we've sadly already need from another actor in the last decade: Blackberry.

      Microsoft owns business. They don't own server, they don't own portable, they don't own entertainment, but they damn sure own productivity.

      That's not new, or jazzy, or flashy. However, it is profitable. Businesses have pockets. The last time I needed a license for visual studio, my employer said "as long as you're going through the acquisition process, get three copies so we have some spares and don't have to do this next time we want one". Business, people. It's where the money is.

      Blackberry had that, once. They owned the phone you use when you're on a deadline. They used to be the only phone company whos devices had certification to be used by the USDoD, because although they lacked myspace integration, they did have strong disk encryption.

      But then do you know what they did? They lost it. To Apple, of all people. Apple got the encryption certification, and now only iPhones can be used by the USDoD, no Blackberrys allowed. Blackberry spent so much time trying to be a competitor to Apple and Android in the "phone you use all the time" field, they neglected a key business feature that gave them total monopoly over a department with nearly bottomless pockets, and now they have nothing because newsflash, Blackberry isn't apple and never will be.

      Microsoft is now busy doing the same thing. Turns out that voice recognition software that listens to and uploads everything in case you talk to it and file uploading software that syncs everything in your my documents folder without asking aren't features that the business world wants. I'm sure consumers want them, but consumers have never been the mainstay of Microsofts income.

      If Microsoft had any brains, they'd take a leaf from Adobes book. They'd return to boring and invisible, but comfortable and indispensable, totally ignore piracy by individuals (or better yet, free for non-commercial & non-educational use) for all their software, and aim to sell exclusively to businesses. Photoshop is the premiere editing suite because everyone knows how to use it because it's freely available on torrent website and Adobe never bothers to crack down on it, so all the tutorials are for Photoshop. BAM, lock-in.

      As it stands, it's looking increasingly likely that businesses will start moving to Apple, because Linux is still too hard for most people, but Microsoft is compromising business needs. I'm already beginning to see the transition happening.

  • by MikeRT ( 947531 ) on Monday February 16, 2015 @09:18PM (#49070533) Homepage

    Make KDE into a full OS. Fork Kubuntu, tell all other distributions that KDE will provide them access to the sources and patches, but KDE intends to become a full competing desktop and tablet OS. Ubuntu vs Mint vs Fedora makes no sense to the casual users I know. If I could hand them a copy of KDE and say "run this" that would improve things tremendously.

    • by thebes ( 663586 ) on Monday February 16, 2015 @09:57PM (#49070719)

      This. The interface is what defines the OS from a desktop user standpoint. Not only does it define ways of doing things, but also defines a great deal of UI driven software packages that a desktop user needs.

    • That's utterly ridiculous. There's a lot more to an OS than just the desktop environment (DE): there's the kernel, the init system and other low-level daemons, the display subsystem, the package manager, and of course lots of apps (beyond just what KDE (or Gnome) include in their software collections). The KDE team has enough work to do, they certainly don't want to become their own distro, when there's already several distros that feature KDE as a prominent DE (Mint, Debian, OpenSUSE for starters).

    • To make this work, some big company, like google or Intel, would have to throw its weight behind this idea (basically, like what happened with Android).

    • KDE is as ugly as windows.

      For me, beauty is part of useability.

  • by iggymanz ( 596061 ) on Monday February 16, 2015 @09:18PM (#49070535)

    My distro is not jumping on the systemD bandwagon for the next year at least; and they have two far superior alternatives to that GNOME rubbish.

    • by armanox ( 826486 )
      You're using Slackware?
      • No, he's most likely using Mint. And he miscounted: there's 4 far superior alternatives with Mint: KDE, Cinnamon, MATE, and XCFE. Mint isn't yet using systemd, but is planning to move to it in a future release; hopefully by that time the furor will have died down and it'll have been proven stable and reliable.

        • That and it's more than two years out before they consider systemd. And yet many systemd fans point to Mint as an example of modern linux that just works.
  • Looking at it's Desktop environment (lumina), there is no way in hell PC-BSD will ever become widely adopted. It's a jarring shitfest of Windows-95 wanna-be hell designed by amateurs. If any OSS *nix has a shot at becoming mainstream by 2020, that would be Ubuntu. While they have their own issues, at least they understand how to put together a good looking UI, and their installer works quite well on consumer grade gear unlike most OSS *nix distros.
    • by armanox ( 826486 )
      I don't know, Slackware's installer always worked well for me :). The old Anaconda on Red Hat worked pretty well too.

      I've not tried any BSD on a laptop. I have, however run Solaris/OpenSolaris on my laptops in the past, and that handled surprisingly well.
      • OpenSolaris and its decedents: OpenIndiana, OmniOS, SmartOS have been all been great for me. I measure the uptime in years. I'm currently looking at 387 days since the last reboot.
    • by norpy ( 1277318 )

      This is based on FreeBSD, so are they using it's installer?
      It's been a while since I've installed freebsd from scratch (freebsd-update from release to release is pretty seamless*) but isn't it still a horrible curses nightmare?

      * except for that time that for whatever reason my network driver didn't work after the kernel update until I'd updated the userland libs, forcing me to go find the physical box and dig up a keyboard/monitor for it.

      • PC-BSD has its own installer. It's really quite nice and should be very familiar to anyone who is used to Ubuntu/Fedora/RHEL/CentOS

    • Looking at it's Desktop environment (lumina), there is no way in hell PC-BSD will ever become widely adopted. It's a jarring shitfest of Windows-95 wanna-be hell designed by amateurs. If any OSS *nix has a shot at becoming mainstream by 2020, that would be Ubuntu. While they have their own issues, at least they understand how to put together a good looking UI, and their installer works quite well on consumer grade gear unlike most OSS *nix distros.

      Looking at the PC-BSD reviews on Youtube I'd have to agree. I moved to OS X partly to escape the Windows 98 UI and while Aqua isn't perfect it is IMHO (your milage may vary) a helluvalot better than any iteration of Windows up to and including version 7. I'm always interested in new ways to interact with computers and the thing that continually disappoints me about many attempts by the FOSS community to come up with desktop environments is that so many fall into the trap of copying Windows. Ubuntu with Unit

    • PC-BSD started Lumina very recently and haven't taken it out of Beta yet. Probably best to give it a little more time.
  • It would require a radical shift among BSD developers and the companies that sponsor them to make any serious inroad into the desktop. AFAIK, there are almost no BSD developers contributing to DE's like KDE or Gnome.

    This is probably because the focus for BSD's are servers; their sponsors pay for making server software that may be close sourced. All the major DE's are using GPL toolkits, so BSD developers are unlikely to make any contributions besides the minimal required work to make the DE's work on BSD.

    In

  • "Consider this: In the past 10 years has the distribution you run changed significantly in what it offers over other distributions? I think you'll find the answer is largely no."

    Unfortunately, the answer is yes, and in a negative way. Distros got better for a while, but then they maxed out around 2001, and it's been a gradual decline ever since. Luke may have the best of intentions, but his solution is no solution.

    Frederick Brooks had it right - there are no silver bullets.

  • by thebes ( 663586 ) on Monday February 16, 2015 @09:24PM (#49070557)

    You have a computer prediction (and a software one at that) that is attempting to look 5 years into the future. Yeah, good luck with that. Any article talking about the future in such a way is simply a marketing ploy. Nothing more. Nothing less.

    A reasonable road map demonstrating how this could possibly be achieved on the other hand would have some credibility.

    Compared to this article, the Mars folks look a little less crazy.

  • by QuietLagoon ( 813062 ) on Monday February 16, 2015 @09:28PM (#49070573)
    I've been playing with various GNU/Linux distributions lately. Since I'm looking to run KDE, I can settle on a reasonable feature set that needs to work.

    .

    On a lark, I happened to install FreeBSD with KDE. It worked just as well as any of the GNU/Linux distributions. I wanted to look at PC-BSD, but my test notebook is 32-bit only, So I'll have to save that test for another day.

    So now I'm wondering, since everything I need to do is available so long as I am able to run KDE, why does the underlying OS matter at all?

  • by Tablizer ( 95088 ) on Monday February 16, 2015 @09:35PM (#49070615) Journal

    Linux failed to catch on at the desktop because of too many distros creating confusion and lack of standardization, and not enough device support from vendors etc.

    How will PC-BSD change those issues?

    • It won't.

      As far as standardization goes, sure, there's only one PC-BSD, but at least with Linux there's various commercial and open-source software available for it. For instance, if I want to run the official Google Chrome (so I can watch Netflix videos without a lot of trouble), on my Linux computer I can just go to Google's Chrome web page and download the Linux version, conveniently packaged in a Debian .deb file, and install it. Can I do that with PC-BSD? Of course not; I'm stuck with whatever PC-BS

  • ...if something other than OS X or Windows managed to make its way on to mainstream desktops. Despite all the improvements, it still seems to be a half-assed solution to a largely solved problem.

    It's more usable than it used to be, but still nowhere near where it needs to be.

  • by guacamole ( 24270 ) on Monday February 16, 2015 @09:56PM (#49070711)

    I came to this conclusion back in the year 1999 or so, when I saw the emergence of two major GUI systems for Linux, Gnome and KDE. Since then, the Linux desktop was an always changing hydra consisting of numerous GUIs, fast changing APIs, etc. Linux distributions fill pretty nice the nice of a power desktop user's OS. The kinds you run into academia, engineering, etc. But I don't see how it could become a mainstream OS. The only way for Linux distro to become mainstream is to have some kind of benevolent dictator in the form of a large company (like google) to create a working GUI and make all hardware vendors to ship it (e.g. Android).

  • Will it run my databases and dev tools? If not, it's a user environment and I could care less about that.

  • About 4 years ago. I now use a Mint install at work and a mint install at home. So does my wife, MIL and my parents. Open Office does what I need it to for work and steam for linux has given me most of the games I want to play. What's more is steams streaming capability meant I swapped to a laptop for my primary machine and stuck my old desktop into the garage for when I want to play windows only games.

    Is it perfect? God no. Is it better than Windows for what I or anyone I know uses it for? Absolutely

  • I'll wait for MS-BSD.
    • That happened, you missed it. When Microsoft went to the Interix subsystem for Windows Services for Unix, much of the code was jacked from OpenBSD

  • The desktop market is shrinking. Market share != user share. By market, I mean the amount of money that's spent on desktops.
    There's the trend to use mobile devices (iOS and Android) over desktops for many functions. It's not necessarily that people are getting rid of their desktops, but they are relying on them less and it's no longer seen as essential to have the latest and greatest on the desktop because the emphasis is now on phones.

    Even Microsoft will giving free upgrades to Windows 10 for home users of

  • by jbmartin6 ( 1232050 ) on Monday February 16, 2015 @10:52PM (#49070967)
    I don't use "desktop features" I use applications. The only features I am interested in as far as a "desktop" are features that keep it out of my way.
  • You could cannibalize some Linux desktop installs.

    But it will never be The Year of the *nix on Everyone's Desktop until you get devs and UI people who actually have any idea how normal clueless users work (or even care) and completely shelter them from the *nix underneath. That's anathema to normal *nix devs, so it would take someone like Apple to do it again. But even there almost no OSX users have any clue they're using BSD, and the giving is all one way -> BSD to Apple. Is it really The Year of BSD on

  • by m.dillon ( 147925 ) on Monday February 16, 2015 @11:07PM (#49071039) Homepage

    Linux and the BSDs have been chasing desktop usability for ages. Hell, I've been chasing desktop usability for ages.

    Microsoft has it easy. The produce windows and all the laptop, desktop, and server vendors spend hundreds of millions of dollars making sure their designs work with it.

    Apple makes their own PCs, they don't have to chase hardware.

    And us? Every time a new machine comes out (which is often). A new model, a new chipset, a different combination of on-board devices, whatever.. every single time that happens we developers have to write new drivers or modify existing drivers. We have to work out the kinks, the broken mobo hardware, the broken ACPI implementations, the broken sound hardware that doesn't follow vendor specs or has major exceptions because vendors are lazy. We have to glue the whole mess together not just once. Not just twice. But 20 or 30 times a year. Every year. Forever.

    Until that equation changes, the general population simply can't depend on any of our open source code to work on whatever new cool computer they want to buy. And that puts us in the backseat in terms of adoption. Every time.

    We can make our stuff work with specific machines, at least if the stars align (that is, if we have the chip specs for the chipsets that have changed and we can write drivers for them fast enough). Making our stuff work with everything, out of the box... it just doesn't happen on a macro scale.

    In some small way the collapse of the external chip vendors into a much smaller set of companies has helped. Only two major video companies that we have to worry about now, plus whatever Intel is doing (which they at least provide some specs on now, finally). Only two WIFI chipsets that really matter, maybe three. Only a half dozen ethernet chipset families really matter now. Only two cpu vendors really matter. It's getting better but not because the companies are altruistic. Simply because there are fewer of them and we don't have to write as many drivers or make as many driver mods whenever new hardware comes out. But it isn't enough. Not nearly enough to make us competitive.

    That's the #1 problem.

    The #2 problem we face is that there is no suitable desktop that works as well as either Windows or Mac desktops. I've tried them all. In linux even. They ALL SUCK. They all break in one way or another and it's just as bad in the linux community as it is in the BSD community due to rampant N.I.H. syndrome. The desktops fail on many levels. Apple doesn't have this problem because Apple enforces a unified ABI for accessing major media subsystems such as audio and video. Microsoft doesn't have this problem either, for the same reason. Linux and the BSDs have no unified ABI, essentially forcing application writers to target their apps to specific user interfaces or hardware subsystems.

    It annoys the hell out of me but I don't see anything on the horizon that can really solve the problem.

    -Matt

    • It's *never* been about the OS, but the *applications* and the support surrounding them.
      OS wars are a complete waste of time when you consider that most people need to get work done - not monkey around with technology. You use the best tool for the job, and if the tool you want is supported on OS X, you run OS X and not OS Y, or OS W. Simple as that.

      Find me something that competes with the features and enterprise support of Exchange, Office, Lync, Sharepoint, Outlook ... that runs on Linux.

      Go on.... I'll wa

  • by lophophore ( 4087 ) on Monday February 16, 2015 @11:28PM (#49071157) Homepage

    It's not the kernel that the source of the problem. It's the desktop. Changing the kernel away from Linux is not going to do diddly squat if we are still saddled with KDE or Mate or Cinnamon or Gnome or Xfce or blasted Unity.

    Linux has not won the desktop because the the Linux desktops all blow. I use Xfce, I like it the best because it stays out of my way more than the rest.

    Why do so many hackers prefer Mac? It's not for the overpriced hardware. Is it because the suspend works so well? It cannot be for the GUI because the OS X GUI really blows.

    Then there's Windows 8, an utterly unusable abomination...

  • What a strange question to ask in the summary. Have distributions changed compared to each other? Of course not. Have they changed significantly as a group over the past 10 years? Of course and in big ways. I not to fondly remember digging through text based config files to make the basic desktop work. Not anymore. Networks seen to work reasonably well. The interfaces are no longer confusing, package management from a graphical interface is now useable by grandma, and for the most part I'm finding more and

  • Sounds like marketing bullsh^H^H puffery to me.

Uncertain fortune is thoroughly mastered by the equity of the calculation. - Blaise Pascal

Working...