Is the year of the Linux desktop finally here?

Today in Open Source: Intel thinks the year of the Linux desktop is here. Plus: Linus and Moore's Law, and Tiny Core 5.0 screenshots

By , ITworld |  Open Source, moore's law linus torvalds, tiny core linux 5.0 screenshot tour

Is the Year of the Linux Desktop Finally Here?
Intel CTO Dirk Hohndel thinks that the year of the Linux desktop is finally here.

In his speech to top Linux engineers and developers, Hohndel said, "Outside of the community, most people don't see Linux's impact. Linux is usually invisible. When you go to any large Web site--Google, Facebook, Twitter--you're using Linux."

It's not just that even the most die-hard Windows users are invisibly using Linux every day, Hohndel said that Google, which Intel is working closely with on Chromebooks (Gootel?), "has seen Chromebooks race to a quarter of all computer sales and one fifth of all new PC school deployments.

More at ZDNet

While I've always been enthusiastic about desktop Linux, I find it somewhat odd that he cites Android, Facebook, and Twitter as examples. Using those services or using Android is not the same as running a desktop Linux distro, though the Chromebook is a step in the right direction.

Still, Linux keeps getting better and better on the desktop. So I'm hopeful that it will eventually hit a critical mass that moves it far beyond where it is right now in terms of desktop numbers.

Linus, Linux and the End of Moore's Law
Linus has some thoughts about Linux and the end of Moore's law, on Ars Technica.

In the panel, Torvalds said he's worried the possible end of Moore's Law might finally be within sight, providing challenges to both hardware and software developers.

"On the five- to 10-year timeframe scale, I'm very interested to see how the industry actually reacts to the fact that soon we will come against some physical limits," Torvalds said. "People used to be talking about having thousands of cores on one die because it keeps shrinking, and those people clearly have no idea about physics because we won't be shrinking for much longer."

Both physical and financial limits could prevent the frequent doubling in transistor density that was observed by Moore's Law, he said. The impact of hardware advances on Linux software has been huge. "The reason Linux runs really well on cell phones is cell phones grew up" and are now thousands of times more powerful than the first machine Linux ran on more than two decades ago, Torvalds said.

"In five, 10 years it's going to be tough," he continued. "That's going to affect us in kernel land because we are the layer between hardware and software. What happens when hardware doesn't improve and magically make us faster? That's going to be interesting. It might not be five or 10 years, it might be 15, but it's going to happen."

More at Ars Technica

I suppose the question becomes: How much speed do we really need? At what point does additional speed become simply gratuitous, particularly for your average desktop or mobile user?

I'm not going to worry about this in the short term. Technology has a way of turning everything on its head when you least expect it, so it might be with Moore's Law at some point.

Tiny Core 5.0 Screenshot Tour
The Coding Studio has a screenshot tour of Tiny Core Linux 5.0. You can get more details about it in the announcement thread in the Tiny Core Linux forum thread.

Team Tiny Core is proud to announce the release of Core v5.0
http://www.tinycorelinux.net/5.x/x86/release

Changelog for 5.0:
* kernel update to 3.8.10 with (u)efi boot enabled
* option to use vmlinuz + rootfs.gz + modules.gz or vmlinuz64 + rootfs.gz + modules64.gz (where boot loader permits)
* aterm, freetype, imlib2, jpeg and libpng factored out of Xlibs/Xprogs
* glibc updated to 2.17 and recompiled against 3.8.x kernel headers
* gcc updated to 4.7.2, recompiled against 3.8.x kernel headers and cloog, gmp, mpc, mpfr and ppl
* e2fsprogs base libs/apps updated to 1.42.7
* util-linux base libs/apps updated to 2.23.1
* scm extensions have been dropped
* /usr/sbin/fstype modified for new blkid output (supress "/dev/sda" type output in /etc/fstab and mount gui)
* fixed copy2fs bug with tc-load
* localhost.local domain added to /etc/hosts, /usr/bin/sethostname for avahi compatibility/libcups printing
* 50-udev-default.rules adjusted to allow rw access to /dev/rfkill

More at The Coding Studio

What's your take on this? Tell me in the comments below.

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