The future of Linux
Over the years I've dabbled in and out of Linux and whilst I think that its a great OS, (especially for servers - I use it myself on my servers) I still personally prefer Windows on the desktop. Why? Well partly because its better the devil you know (and lets be honest all operating systems can be little devils at times) but also because up until recently Linux was lacking a bit of polish. Its starting to come on in leaps and bounds though so does it have a future?
What could help Linux gain ground?
Well apart from the crazy legacy file-system security modes (rwx) (which badly need to be ditched entirely in favour of ACL's) and a couple of other niggles, the core of Linux and its underlying structure is actually pretty good. In many cases far better than Windows. So why has adoption remained so low for so long, for whats essentially a free operating system?
Well, it's my opinion the main problems with Linux currently lie with its GUI framework (you know stuff like X-Windows, the Window Managers, GTK that sort of thing) and its applications. One might even say this was evident by the fact that Apple took the BSD system (which shares many similarities with Linux) bolted on a decent GUI and Window Manger, wrote some applications and made a success with OSX.
So what if we took Linux, scrapped X Windows, GTK and all the other horrid legacy systems which have held back Linux for years and started again with a new look and new applications? You know, got rid of all the ugly, bloated, buggy, inconsistent applications which currently lumber the repositories (such as those awful Geko based browsers they insist on shipping by default) and replace them with some slick, nice to use apps and a decent webkit browser followed by a simple re-brand? A quick rename away from the fruit-loop titles of the past (such as Linux, Red Hat and Ubuntu, etc) to something more palatable, you know like "Android" or something like that and you could have all the manufacturers clambering over themselves to get the new OS on all their latest tablet PC's by xmas!
...oh wait, that's already happening...
Could there really be a better way forward than the traditional X Windows based Linux?
Although the above was meant to be a bit tongue in cheek you have to wonder why Android has achieved mass end-user market share in less than 2 years with pretty much nothing more than Linux and a new GUI on a different hardware platform - whereas the traditional Linux market share has remained stagnant for decades. Perhaps there is some truth behind my above jest?
I can't help but think that as computers migrate to true 3D gesture based interfaces over the next 5-10 years, Androids widget based touch interface may be a more appropriate starting point to build on than the antiquated X-Windows/GTK platform of the past. Who knows the future of Linux could be in the palm of your hand?...
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