Desktop Linux's Future

Larry Grover lgrover at
Tue Jul 19 13:58:38 UTC 2005

John Lambrechts wrote:
> The following is a quote from timdorr on, 
> "
> Well, here's an interesting concept on the costs of OSS:
> A Small Orange runs all our servers on Linux, Apache, Pure-FTPd, PHP, MySQL 
> and a host of other freely available and open-source software. To us, this
> software is essentially not free. However, we devote a portion of our
> monthly revenue to donations to these open-source products. So, in
> essence, we've removed the "free as in beer" element of OSS. In exchange
> for our donations, we are fueling the development of the software and
> improvements. Short of devoting a developer to work on these projects,
> it's one of the best methods we can use to ensure we keep high quality
> software available for us to use.

This is a very good thing to do.

> I don't have an arguement, or even much of point, I just think it's
> interesting that we essentially pay for this open source software, even
> when we do not have to. Honestly, I don't think an Office for Linux
> product would sell very well, since there is an ingrained desire to
> maintain only an open-source set of software on Linux machines. Also, I
> still think desktop Linux sucks (the quality, non-beta software selection
> is less than even my Mac), so it's like eating filet mignot covered in
> dung. You may have one of the best meats to eat, but it's still wrapped in
> crap.
> "
> I would like to hear everyones point of view on this statement and what
> the future of desktop linux holds. 

There already is an office for linux.  Several, actually.  Openoffice, 
kde office, "gnome office" (abiword, gnumeric).  And they all work 
quite well.

Oh, and desktop linux doesn't suck.  The gripes about linuix desktop 
quality and usability had some validity 4 or 5 years ago, but really 
aren't true anymore.  I've used (and paid for!) plenty of really 
crappy proprietary software.  In general, free/open desktop software 
is just a good as commercial/proprietary software, and typically 
better:  less buggy and just as usable.

The Ubuntu desktop is at least as good as any other major contender 
(OS X, windows).  Better, at least in my opinion.

The default Ubuntu desktop and other linux desktops are not perfect: 
some things don't yet work with 100% reliability (automatic mounting 
of removable media, for example), some programs are not yet finished, 
and some programs crash (occasionally).  On the other hand, I have 
similar problems on OS X (occassional crashes/system freezes and 
failure to automount removable media, including apple's own iPod!!), 
and as for windows...

Finally, and best of all, the rate of improvement in linux desktops 
surpasses any of the major proprietary desktops.  They're really good 
now -- they'll be even better in another year or two.


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