[CS-FSLUG] Linux Today - Is desktop Linux too fragmented to succeed? A friend tells it like it is!!

Timothy Butler tbutler at ofb.biz
Sun May 3 15:49:20 CDT 2009

>>    I can't imagine giving up my iPod! (Although I refuse to walk  
>> around
>> in public with headphones in my ears, let the record show.)
> Hehehehehehehe.......here, you don't want to get caught with both ears
> plugged or covered with "anything," or it can cost you a bundle in  
> fines!

	Sounds sensible!

>>    Actually, I'm an iPod addict -- I have three. Four, if you count  
>> the
>> iPhone. Although, admittedly, I was given two and won one. If only my
>> car had an iPod dock. But, the Beetle come with either a satellite  
>> radio
>> or an iPod docking cable; mine came with the satellite radio. The
>> mini-headphone jack suffices.
> I'll take a good CD/DVD player anytime. ;)

	I actually do make the most use of my CD player, mostly because I  
don't want to have to figure out what to do with my iPod when I leave  
the car. But the iPod is nice since it has a lot more music on it.

	It's really nice for parties. When we have family get-togethers, I  
setup my iPod and we have commercial free, nicely shuffled music for  
the whole night. :-)
>>    I hope so. I think the danger is the "release it broken, and then
>> fix it" mentality. That's what Microsoft did with Vista, too.
> Yes....agreed. FIX it first, the best that can be done anyway. Another
> factor that we often don't take into account, is that the economy has
> taken it's toll on devs. as well.....not as many as there once was nor
> do they have the time to devote to it.

>>    If you make it so they can generate a profit, perhaps starting  
>> with
>> netbook focused apps, they will come. Look at the iTunes app  
>> ecosystem.
>> You had no iPhone developers at all two years ago; only "greymarket"
>> ones a year ago -- now you have the biggest mobile app ecosystem in
>> existence. A lot of it, I think, is the promise that Joe Appdeveloper
>> can make a nice bit of cash at $.99 for an app without having to deal
>> with the headaches of billing, etc.
> That WOULD be an advantage. 'Sure would make MickySoft sweat, eh? :)

	I think so. I think that would make them very, very worried.
> 'A minority, to be sure, with no criticism intended, even as much as  
> we
> like to bust each other's chops. ;) I haven't spent a lot of time on
> Macs, but the newer models with the latest OS seem to me to not be  
> like
> any other OS in design nor philosophy. I like much of what Apple has
> done, but sorry, I don't see Gnome as being even close in any way.

	Indeed, GNOME is not caught up with OS X. It actually mirrors Mac OS  
Classic more than OS X. But, both do the following things:
	1.) Minimalist configuration windows (only offer key options, not  
every option, from the GUI).

	2.) Automatic activation of changes. Many dialogs do not include OK  
or Cancel. The changes are live immediately.

	3.) Nice visual effects, but done subtly so they flow naturally  
rather than being an immediate "gee whiz."

	4.) Open/save dialogs that hide most of the details until you expand  

	5.) Rhythmbox clones iTunes, basically. Nautilus's rather simple  
design mimics Finder.

	6.) Most GNOME apps are simple, one function apps (e.g. like the old  
UNIX command line apps). Mac OS typically follows a similar approach.  
Really, KDE is coming around by dividing the browser from the file  

	GNOME definitely hasn't made it all the way, and was more focused on  
copying Mac OS X in the early part of the 2.x series...


> Now, having said all that, IF Gnome had the configurablity and  
> features
> I expect from a desktop, I'd give it a much more serious look, but it
> doesn't so I won't.

	I would note again that GNOME is very configurable, many of the  
options are just hidden from the GUI. (Which, make sense: you and I  
don't mind mucking around a bit; but the average user doesn't care if  
he or she can set emacs to check the latest stock information and pop  
up a notification that the toaster has finished toasting.)

	I can't think of a significant task I cannot do in GNOME but I can do  
in KDE (each DE, obviously, can do some things the other can't...).

	Oh, that reminds me: GNOME uses an XML-based configuration format,  
not entirely unlike the XML-based plist files Mac OS X uses.

	Here's a wild one: what if we dumped both legacy DEs? I think it  
wouldn't be too bad of idea to build an entirely new DE on top of  
GNUStep and Objective C. GNUStep's relation to Cocoa on Mac OS X means  
that many developers already use to developing for the iPhone or Mac  
OS X could program on Linux without a major learning curve.

	I think GNUStep/NeXTSTEP/Cocoa also are closer to the Haiku/BeOS  
architecture. Which brings me to another wild point: perhaps if  
everyone refocused on developing Haiku that would be a better return  
on investment. It seems like with some fit and finish it could be far  
more interesting than GNOME or KDE.

	Now, go a step farther. A Cocoa ABI layer. Imagine running major Mac  
apps on Linux! It probably would be too difficult, but given the UNIX  
roots of both, if the layer existed, at least the apps would feel like  
they fit in, rather than being fish out of water.

> NO disagreement there. If I were a dev., I'd want to mimic the Mac
> interface LONG before Vista/"7", and not just because of my dislike  
> for
> anything from the, IN TRUTH, "evil empire," but because the design and
> philosophy of the Mac is superior in every way.

	Yes, that does seem puzzling. It isn't as if people talk about how  
much they like the way Windows looks!

> I want very much to say something at this point, but can't except hope
> isn't lost..........yet. ;)

	Don't lose hope. Actually, I'm feeling better about the Linux desktop  
than I did -- as I said a few weeks ago, the last time I installed  
Ubuntu on a computer at church, it was the first time I ever had  
someone excited to get to try this beautiful new OS, rather than  
questioning what this strange thing I was using was.

	It's more the bumps they'd run into if they kept using it, my  
original list, that would scare them off. I think Linux is ready  
enough for use under a system administrator in an office environment,  


Timothy R. Butler | "Turning and turning in the widening gyre
tbutler at ofb.biz   |  The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
timothybutler.us  |  Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
uninet.info       |  Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world..."
                                                 -- W. B. Yeats

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