Linux offers real diversity on the desktop
Today in Open Source: Diversity and the Linux desktop. Plus: Linux IT popularity, and Linux hobbyist developers
Diversity and the Linux Desktop
eWeek has a short but interesting article about diversity in the Linux desktop. The slideshow demonstrates some of the many different options available to desktop Linux users.
While many in the Linux community have long speculated on when "The Year of the Linux Desktop" would finally arrive, the reality is that there is no single such entity as THE Linux Desktop. The Linux desktop ecosystem is diverse, with multiple options and choices to suit different user needs and user preferences
I know that some have lamented the "fragmentation" of the Linux desktop, but I disagree with this completely. Fragmentation can be considered another word for real diversity and choice, and that's what makes Linux so incredibly useful and powerful.
There are simply so many different options for desktop users. Nobody is locked in and forced to use a particular distro or desktop environment. Desktop Linux users can float from distro to distro, depending on their needs. Or they can simply use whatever desktop environment they prefer within their distro of choice.
Now compare the range of choice offered by Linux with that of Windows or OS X. There's no comparison whatsoever, Linux wins hands down. Sure, in some cases, a particular distro may not be as "slick" as Windows or OS X, or it may even require some work on the users part to make things work in the preferred way. But the real choice is there, and the user makes the final decision about how his or her desktop computer works.
I think it's really this diversity of choice that has protected Linux, and given it its strong niche outside the control of one company or entity. You can't say the same about Windows or OS X, which are solely controlled by Microsoft and Apple. Whatever choices Apple or MIcrosoft make, you're pretty much stuck with them, and that just isn't true about Linux.
Thank goodness for that!
Linux Popularity in IT Rises
The popularity of Linux among IT departments just keeps rising. CIO has some interested details about a survey done by SUSE in the UK. It seems that more and more businesses there are using Linux in one way or another.
UK businesses have conquered their "irrational fears" of Linux and the majority now depend on it for some part of their mainstream business applications, a survey of 200 IT executives has found.
The survey was carried out on behalf of Linux stalwart SUSE, so it was hardly going to report poor uptake or interest but the central findings are nevertheless plausible.
More than two decades after its first appearance, an impressive 83 percent of respondents said their organisations were using Linux in their server installations, with 40 percent as the primary server OS.
While I'm very happy to see this, I'm also forced to ask the question: What took you guys so long? Heh. Seriously though, it's quite heartening to see more and more companies coming around and recognizing the real value of Linux to their businesses.
We'll see more and more of this in the years ahead. Count on it.
Linux and Hobbyist Developers
SJVN has a column about the Linux Foundation offering travel reimbursement to hobbyist developers to attend the Linux Kernel Summit.
That said, The Linux Foundation is well aware that there are still programmers who are living on a student's scholarship or are still living in their parents' basement. So, the foundation, wanting to reach out to a younger generation of programmers, is looking for three good developers to send to the next major Linux Kernel Summit in Edinburgh, Scotland.
Theodore "Ted" T'so, a leading Linux kernel developer, announced that, "The Linux Kernel Summit Program Committee would like to put out a call for hobbyists/ This year, we have up to three places to give to people who do Linux Kernel development as a hobby rather than a profession." The foundation's definition of "hobbyist" is anyone who doesn't get paid to work on Linux.
I really like the idea of involving young Linux developers in such conferences. It's a way of seeding Linux into the next generation, and laying the groundwork for tomorrow's Linux leaders. Kudos to the Linux Foundation for doing this, it shows some vision on their part.
Good luck to all who apply, I hope you enjoy the conference.