Archive for December 2010

Interesting Linux News for the Day – December 7, 2010

Never Say Never…

After my last post regarding the constant talk about the “death” of Linux, a friend of mine said something to me that I thought was worthy of a follow-up post.

“Linux is almost 20 years old. If it hasn’t even made a dent in the desktop market by now, it’s never going to overtake it.”

While I’ve known my friend for almost fifteen years now, it’s sometimes hard to find things that we actually agree with each other on.

Even though Linux is on the verge of it’s twentieth birthday, there are a lot of exciting things coming our way that could have a huge impact on Linux in the market. The one that I want to talk about right now is “The Cloud”.

There’s been a large number of commercials on TV lately about “The Cloud”, showing off Microsoft’s products and showing you what they can do for you. Microsoft is putting a huge effort into associating “The Cloud” with Internet Explorer and Windows. The reason for this is pretty simple. “The Cloud” is the best opportunity for the computing world to finally escape Microsoft.

More and more applications are moving to the cloud these days, and web based services  are doing everything from helping you type out your documents to playing video games. Few of these cloud based apps rely on Windows. They run the same on Linux as they do on the Mac, as they do on Windows. So, in a world where applications are finally cross platform, why stick with Windows? Any “good” reasons that can be put forth start to be whittled away. Linux is cheaper (a lot), just as easy to use, and more secure. Without the application lockout that Microsoft has enjoyed for the last thirty years, Windows is in real trouble from it’s competition.

Of course, there is always risk. As I said before, Microsoft is putting an enormous amount of effort and money to make the cloud into just another extension of Windows. They want to tie it to Internet Explorer as closely as they can. This is one of the reasons I watch the browser market so closely. The browser is the next platform war to watch. Applications that are moving out into the cloud, or are already in the cloud may be tempted to focus more on Internet Explorer than on Firefox or Chrome. This year did see a steady if small decline in Internet Explorer usage, but it still maintains over fifty percent of the market.

Should Microsoft be successful in it’s efforts the computing market will be stuck under Microsoft’s rule for the foreseeable future, but if it’s not, this could lead to the opportunity Linux needs to make a significant dent in the desktop market. Of course, it’s not hard to guess who I’m rooting for.

Interesting Linux News for the Day – December 6, 2010

Interesting Linux News for the Day – December 5, 2010

Interesting Linux News for the Day – December 4, 2010

The Death and Life of Linux

It seems that every time I turn around there’s another article out there about how the “dream” of Linux on the Desktop is “dead”. The most recent one I’ve read can be found here. Usually they contain some pretty graphs comparing market share or something similar. This particular one asks a question that I think needs to be addressed.

“Should Linux distributors put more effort into making Linux better for the non-desktop space or continue their seemingly uphill battle in the desktop space?”

There’s something I want to address right up front. The very fact that this question is being asked shows a failure to understand the Linux development environment. First of all, Linux is not like Microsoft or Apple.

By current estimates Microsoft currently employs 89,000 people.  Apple is estimated at 49,400. Both of these are pretty big numbers, but even if every single one of those employees were actively developing code (which it’s more than safe to say they’re not), it wouldn’t compare to Linux.

A recent study claims that Linux kernel development may be slowing down. The reason being is the estimated number of companies that are currently contributing to the Linux kernel has dropped from 245 to 184.

184?!?

You read that right. There are currently 184 known companies contributing to the Linux kernel. Microsoft is one company. Apple is one company. Linux is not.

Should Linux distributors put more effort into making Linux better for the non-desktop space? Yes they should. Should Linux distributors continue their seemingly uphill battle in the desktop space? Yes they should.

While Linux is usually the environment that prides itself on letting you choose, this is one area where there’s no need to do so. They’ve got more than enough resources to do both, and they should.

Interesting Linux News for the Day – December 3, 2010

Interesting Linux News for the Day – December 2, 2010