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Wednesday, June 30, 2004

LINUX: 2004 Not The Year of the Linux Desktop, 2005 Probably.

MyLinuxNews.Com - News

Posted by corey on 2004/6/29 8:27:05 (1640 reads)

So people said that 2004 is the year for Linux. Surely there have been a significant number of developments that the fruits of are now just being seen. Things from Kernel 2.6, Novell buying Suse and Ximian, and IBM's involvement are a few of the bigger things to have happened to Linux over the last year. Other companies are now coming on board to the Linux way of thinking and millions if not billions of dollars are now being dumped into Linux to develop it as the premier business and home computing solution. Microsoft has finally taken notice though they're not following the traditional business model of make a better product they've just fallen back on the usual FUD of how Linux costs more and is less secure. Personally as a worker in the computer industry (My paying job) I've seen that Windows each month has less of a leg to stand on.

So is 2004 the year of the desktop? Not quite since there is still a bit of a problem in how Linux is being handled on the corporate and home front. Your 2 biggest players are now Novell and Redhat but it's my belief that they're spending too much time focused on profiting from the product instead of services. Some of the brightest minds are now working on Linux but were still suffering from a few of the bigger problems that still have not managed to solve itself.

For instance, product installers such as RPM, DPKG, E build, and others have yet to settle on something that works across the board. So even today in the midst of all this co-operation in Linux you are still faced with several ways to install packages on each distro. Linux is in dire need of a way to solve this so installing anything is the same from one distro to the next with the exception of specialty distro's such as Gentoo, unless the same packagers could also implement the E build strategy as a command line switch enabling on the fly recompiling of those packages to satisfy that crowd. Are there any attempts to solve this specific problem? Not really. Programs such as Apt and Yum and other systems have mostly solved the dependency issues that arise from installing packages but that is far from it being a total solution.

Other things that are holding Linux back but are quickly being solved in some cases are hardware compatibility issues which the 2.6.x Kernel is quickly solving. More and more Linux CE type devices such as the Sharp Zaurus will begin to surge in sales and give Linux a more public view at businesses. Even software being developed by Lycoris the company that makes Desktop/LXto run on the iPaq PDA will eventually mean support for these products on the Linux platform. Lindows has made the Dell DJ work with their Lsongs product and that's a start in the right direction on both the consumer and business front respectively.

Along with the multitude of cities and governments that have switched to or are in the process of switching to Linux you have enough of a catalyst to propel Linux far beyond OS-X and into the area that makes us a real competitor for the desktop vs. Windows. It has been expected that Linux desktop installations would exceed Mac's sometime this year. I think were still waiting on that announcement to come soon.

IBM has been one of the most expensive backers of Linux over the last few years and they're working night and day to bring in many ISV's to support and write software for the Linux platform. Programs such as WineX(Cedega) are now reaching a level of maturity that are now enabling one of the biggest problems with cutting the cord to Windows to go away. If you want to play your games on Linux every month it's getting better with that specific product. One of the Largest MMORPGS Star Wars Galaxies is now supported on that platform and many are finally wiping that windows partition off their drives for good. Not only that but gamers drive the demand for the most complex computer components so more gamers means that higher end hardware such as sound and video devices will get even more attention. Nvidia and ATI are no longer ignoring those that are using Linux. Both have room for improvement but they're getting a lot better than what we've had over the last few years.

So what's in store for the rest of the year and 2005? A lot. It's my prediction that many of the investments of individuals and companies such as IBM will begin to pay out with products, enhancements, and just plain cool stuff to make Linux a better and cheaper alternative for the business and individual alike. Kernel 2.8 will probably be the big talk for support of all the next generation hardware that are very close to mass adoption at home and at work. Also our desktops are getting revamps into the 3D world with SVG and products like Sun's Project Looking Glass and a Linux port of SphereXP to bring a new generation of ways to work on the Desktop. Along with the expected continued success of Transgaming's WineX(Cedega) product and my other prediction that a Major Gaming house will begin to include Linux ports of their newest games. That my friends means 2005 may indeed be the year of the Linux Desktop.

So it's almost July 4th and as we head out for the lakes, fireworks and fun over the next week it should be remembered that 2004 while not the year of the Desktop it may be the year that a large number of corporations, cities, and individuals have finally won their freedom from Microsoft and are now in the open embrace of the penguin and all the promise of the future ahead of us.

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