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Screenshot from 2015-08-25 01:10:15Update: I think Richard Stallman left a comment on my blog!!! OMG.

I remember very precisely that it was in the spring of 2008 that I finally transitioned toward being a total desktop Linux user. Basically I’d been in Linux for a few days…forgotten, and tried to watch something on Netflix streaming. I then realized I wasn’t in Windows! Now that Netflix works on Ubuntu I don’t really use Windows at all. I still have a dual-boot notebook, but I have two desktop computers than are Linux only machines.

Well, it looks like I’m somewhat of an outlier. I think the rise of Mac utilization among nerds over the past 10 years has really had an effect. Since you can go into the terminal on a Mac it removes a lot of the advantage of Ubuntu, which after all is still somewhat less “turn-key” that Windows or Mac OS.

Then of course there’s Android. So in a way Linux has won. Just not in the way people were imagining in the mid-2000s.

 
• Category: Miscellaneous • Tags: Technology 
    []
  1. Chuck says:

    There’s no money in it. The main idea of Linux is that no single entity is in control of it. Which means no monopoly rents. Outsize profits (or at least the promise of) allows you to hire the best talent.

    Android succeeded because it was backed by a massive company with a large incentive to prevent Apple from monopolizing the phone space.

    I am dismayed by the rise of Facebook, but what is the alternative for the average person? Start their own blog/website with RSS? Too complicated, doesn’t scale and not profitable. But if you aggregate all these small worthless sites and data mine it, then you’re getting somewhere.

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  2. Yes sometimes I feel it’s a shame that the adoption of macs by tech people has taken away much of linux’s raison d’etre, with the consequent loss of potential desktop application development.

    However a consumer tech ecosystem such as we have now where proprietary *nix OSes can outcompete windows, especially on mobile, among non technical people, is a much better ecosystem than one where there’s windows for the masses, and a minority of angry open source enthusiasts swimming against the tide.

    I don’t see much danger that linux desktop will die, so I’m happy for it to remain a minority pursuit. Ubuntu may one day have to give up their dream of a widely adopted desktop / mobile OS though.

    Read More
  3. anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    If you count Linux in servers, Android and MacOS, you could say that UNIX won. The move to the cloud also helps to mask Linux’s rise, as much of the “plumbing” up there is Linux-based. If you could track actual processing power usage, I bet Linux would win by a mountainslide.

    Desktop Linux won’t go mainstream, I agree, but it should retain its coterie of power users though—people who actually enjoy writing scripts, customizing drivers and tweaking kernels.

    For a description of Linux/UNIX culture, including its origins and its democratic but antipopular nature, see The Elements of Operating System Style (available free online). Although it has a bit too much UNIX propaganda, it very much explains why people use the OS’s they do.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Anon

    If you count Linux in servers
     
    Don't forget routers!
  4. Bryan Bell says: • Website

    Since Valve started working on SteamOS, almost any game I’ve wanted to play has already been ported to SteamOS/Linux & is only a click away on steam.

    It’s a strange situation since only 1% of steam users are on SteamOS/Linux.

    Read More
    • Replies: @BurplesonAFB
    Steam Machines, my boy. You can't include a copy of windows if you're trying to sell a gaming PC for $500 and the whole thing will fail if there's no games.
  5. I’m a mix of Linux and Mac OSX (Fedora on personal laptop, OSX on work laptop), of course I also got an old SGI Unix workstation (IRIX) sitting in my parents house! So it’s UNIX all way for me.

    I’d say I’ve been by and large *nix user on laptops since about 2003 or there abouts. Even ran OpenSolaris as my main laptop OS for quite a bit time before Oracle bought Sun and shuttered OpenSolaris project.

    Work in comparison is about 70% RedHat Linux, 20% VMware (ESXi) and 10% Networking (Cisco IOS etc.)

    Read More
  6. Anonymous says: • Disclaimer

    It doesn’t matter if people run desktop linux. Desktop computers are dying. Young people who aren’t software developers, physicists or graphic designers interact with the computing world through a web browser or native mobile app. We are headed back to the days of dumb terminals, in some sense. And the backbone will be Linux.

    Read More
    • Replies: @IanM
    Precision pointing (fingers against mouse), the inherent awkwardness of on-screen keyboards (loss of valuable screen real estate when probably you need it more), drag and drop operations that hide the drop target (because you must move both your finger and your hand over the target!), just one window at a time...

    There are lots of reasons why your dream won't ever come true. For blogging and browsing, tablets are fine, but for real computing you still need a PC, not for the CPU or the larger screen, but because the mouse and the well tested principles behind it. Maybe with more mature voice-controlled interface tablets could outperform PCs, but it won't happen tomorrow morning.
    , @Tobus
    Desktop computers are dying.

    I really don't think so. People have been saying "the desktop is dead" for at least 5 years now (http://www.zdnet.com/article/the-desktop-is-dead-long-live-the-desktop/, from 2010) and yet despite sales declining for the last few years, still some 50% more PCs were sold than tablets in the last 3 months (http://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=prUS25811115 and http://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=prUS25742015, 44.7mil units cf 66.1mil... last 12 months is similar with 229mil cf 308mil)... and it's worth noting that tablet sales have also started declining.

    I think the reason for this is that the biggest user of PCs are businesses, and there is just nothing else that will give you as much productive bang for your $ as a PC - they are simply faster and better for anything that requires typing, drawing and pretty much everything else. Regardless of what trendy teenagers and novice users are buying, PCs are here to stay - at least until some other interface arrives that can improve office worker productivity.

    The most interesting thing I find about the chart in Razib's post is that over 10% of PC users are still using XP - an OS that hasn't been available for general retail sale since 2008!

  7. AnonNJ says:

    There are two things holding back widespread use of desktop Linux:

    1) Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, etc.)
    2) Games (DirectX)

    Read More
    • Replies: @Numinous
    Open Office is highly compatible with Microsoft office now, so I'm not sure reason #1 still holds. Reason #2 is valid, but that should not be a problem for middle-aged and older users.
    , @Shriner's Convention
    MSOffice is living on borrowed time; OpenOffice and LibreOffice both work fine and are free.

    Google Docs is good for collaborative stuff, and intra-company messaging apps like Slack are doing that, too.
  8. @Bryan Bell
    Since Valve started working on SteamOS, almost any game I've wanted to play has already been ported to SteamOS/Linux & is only a click away on steam.

    It's a strange situation since only 1% of steam users are on SteamOS/Linux.

    Steam Machines, my boy. You can’t include a copy of windows if you’re trying to sell a gaming PC for $500 and the whole thing will fail if there’s no games.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Bryan Bell
    That's the idea. Whether it'll see adoption is still unknown. The announcement was a couple years ago. Personally I have no idea if it'll be successful.

    An ex-Valve dev spilled the beans on Linux graphics driver quality in "The Truth on OpenGL Driver Quality". It was particularly amusing to me because I wrote graphics drivers at one of the big name vendors (Vendor C in the post).
  9. Bryan Bell says: • Website
    @BurplesonAFB
    Steam Machines, my boy. You can't include a copy of windows if you're trying to sell a gaming PC for $500 and the whole thing will fail if there's no games.

    That’s the idea. Whether it’ll see adoption is still unknown. The announcement was a couple years ago. Personally I have no idea if it’ll be successful.

    An ex-Valve dev spilled the beans on Linux graphics driver quality in “The Truth on OpenGL Driver Quality”. It was particularly amusing to me because I wrote graphics drivers at one of the big name vendors (Vendor C in the post).

    Read More
  10. Numinous says:
    @AnonNJ
    There are two things holding back widespread use of desktop Linux:

    1) Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, etc.)
    2) Games (DirectX)

    Open Office is highly compatible with Microsoft office now, so I’m not sure reason #1 still holds. Reason #2 is valid, but that should not be a problem for middle-aged and older users.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Bill
    No, it is not compatible. Try jointly authoring a document with two people using word and you using open office. Track changes? Marginal comments? Merging? None of this works properly. Formatting never renders the same. Tables look different. It's hopeless.

    Do people jointly author documents like this on tight deadlines? Only constantly.
  11. @AnonNJ
    There are two things holding back widespread use of desktop Linux:

    1) Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, etc.)
    2) Games (DirectX)

    MSOffice is living on borrowed time; OpenOffice and LibreOffice both work fine and are free.

    Google Docs is good for collaborative stuff, and intra-company messaging apps like Slack are doing that, too.

    Read More
    • Replies: @AnonNJ
    As someone who used Linux as my primary desktop in the mid-to-late 1990s, long used Macs. And is a big fan of Open Source software, the free software that replaces what I mentioned is getting closer, but still isn't quite there. For example, the grammar checking is painfully simplistic on LibreOffice. It seemed unable to detect subject and verb number agreement problems, among other things. Maybe in another 5-10 years, things will be different, but right now, I'm still going to pay Microsoft to put Office on my computers and I'm still going to have a Windows PC for gaming.
  12. I haven’t followed this in years, but I am amazed that to this day the market penetration for the Mac OS is so small — not even 5%.

    I guess I had thought that with the rise of all the iThises and iThats, and the general rise of Apple as a company with a stupendous market cap, that the Mac would have captured a far larger share of the market.

    Is it really true that the Mac is still such a small player?

    Read More
  13. Jacobite says: • Website

    I’m going to move to a different BSD if Apple continues to muck up OSX. The new Apple windowing system has flat 2D rectangles for buttons and much else instead of the shadow edged round corner ones that were used in the Aqua interface. Who wants to have to hover over a “button” in order to determine it is in fact one. I liked the brushed stainless version that had contrasting backgrounds to each line of info when in list mode.

    Even worse, Apple has stopped utilizing a standard interface and behavior for all its apps. Has anyone else noticed the inconsistent mess that iTunes has become? Apple’s strong point had always been in its good graphics and consistent behavior of the UI regardless of the application.

    Worst of all I hear that in the upcoming OSX 10.11 (El Capitan) there is no user accessible root account. You can’t modify anything in /System, /bin, /sbin, or /usr (except /usr/local). Only Installer and software update can modify these areas, and even they only do it when installing Apple-signed packages. This is a deal killer for me.

    They are locking up the system like an iPhone!

    Read More
  14. Anon says: • Disclaimer
    @anonymous
    If you count Linux in servers, Android and MacOS, you could say that UNIX won. The move to the cloud also helps to mask Linux's rise, as much of the "plumbing" up there is Linux-based. If you could track actual processing power usage, I bet Linux would win by a mountainslide.

    Desktop Linux won't go mainstream, I agree, but it should retain its coterie of power users though—people who actually enjoy writing scripts, customizing drivers and tweaking kernels.

    For a description of Linux/UNIX culture, including its origins and its democratic but antipopular nature, see The Elements of Operating System Style (available free online). Although it has a bit too much UNIX propaganda, it very much explains why people use the OS's they do.

    If you count Linux in servers

    Don’t forget routers!

    Read More
  15. I’d just like to interject for a moment. What you’re referring to as Linux, is in fact, GNU/Linux, or as I’ve recently taken to calling it, GNU plus Linux. Linux is not an operating system unto itself, but rather another free component of a fully functioning GNU system made useful by the GNU corelibs, shell utilities and vital system components comprising a full OS as defined by POSIX.

    Many computer users run a modified version of the GNU system every day, without realizing it. Through a peculiar turn of events, the version of GNU which is widely used today is often called “Linux”, and many of its users are not aware that it is basically the GNU system, developed by the GNU Project.

    There really is a Linux, and these people are using it, but it is just a part of the system they use. Linux is the kernel: the program in the system that allocates the machine’s resources to the other programs that you run. The kernel is an essential part of an operating system, but useless by itself; it can only function in the context of a complete operating system. Linux is normally used in combination with the GNU operating system: the whole system is basically GNU with Linux added, or GNU/Linux. All the so-called “Linux” distributions are really distributions of GNU/Linux.

    Read More
    • Replies: @candid_observer
    So, if GNU is the real body of the operating system, and Linux just a kernel, does that mean there's a version of GNU that uses a different kernel?
    , @toto
    Difficulty: I'm typing this on a Chromebook!

    In the unlikely case that you're really RMS: Thank you. For everything.

  16. @Richard Stallman
    I'd just like to interject for a moment. What you're referring to as Linux, is in fact, GNU/Linux, or as I've recently taken to calling it, GNU plus Linux. Linux is not an operating system unto itself, but rather another free component of a fully functioning GNU system made useful by the GNU corelibs, shell utilities and vital system components comprising a full OS as defined by POSIX.

    Many computer users run a modified version of the GNU system every day, without realizing it. Through a peculiar turn of events, the version of GNU which is widely used today is often called "Linux", and many of its users are not aware that it is basically the GNU system, developed by the GNU Project.

    There really is a Linux, and these people are using it, but it is just a part of the system they use. Linux is the kernel: the program in the system that allocates the machine's resources to the other programs that you run. The kernel is an essential part of an operating system, but useless by itself; it can only function in the context of a complete operating system. Linux is normally used in combination with the GNU operating system: the whole system is basically GNU with Linux added, or GNU/Linux. All the so-called "Linux" distributions are really distributions of GNU/Linux.

    So, if GNU is the real body of the operating system, and Linux just a kernel, does that mean there’s a version of GNU that uses a different kernel?

    Read More
    • Replies: @Tobus
    does that mean there’s a version of GNU that uses a different kernel

    Yes, GNU have their own kernel: GNU/Hurd, not that anyone I've ever known has ever used it.
  17. toto says:
    @Richard Stallman
    I'd just like to interject for a moment. What you're referring to as Linux, is in fact, GNU/Linux, or as I've recently taken to calling it, GNU plus Linux. Linux is not an operating system unto itself, but rather another free component of a fully functioning GNU system made useful by the GNU corelibs, shell utilities and vital system components comprising a full OS as defined by POSIX.

    Many computer users run a modified version of the GNU system every day, without realizing it. Through a peculiar turn of events, the version of GNU which is widely used today is often called "Linux", and many of its users are not aware that it is basically the GNU system, developed by the GNU Project.

    There really is a Linux, and these people are using it, but it is just a part of the system they use. Linux is the kernel: the program in the system that allocates the machine's resources to the other programs that you run. The kernel is an essential part of an operating system, but useless by itself; it can only function in the context of a complete operating system. Linux is normally used in combination with the GNU operating system: the whole system is basically GNU with Linux added, or GNU/Linux. All the so-called "Linux" distributions are really distributions of GNU/Linux.

    Difficulty: I’m typing this on a Chromebook!

    In the unlikely case that you’re really RMS: Thank you. For everything.

    Read More
  18. IanM says:
    @Anonymous
    It doesn't matter if people run desktop linux. Desktop computers are dying. Young people who aren't software developers, physicists or graphic designers interact with the computing world through a web browser or native mobile app. We are headed back to the days of dumb terminals, in some sense. And the backbone will be Linux.

    Precision pointing (fingers against mouse), the inherent awkwardness of on-screen keyboards (loss of valuable screen real estate when probably you need it more), drag and drop operations that hide the drop target (because you must move both your finger and your hand over the target!), just one window at a time…

    There are lots of reasons why your dream won’t ever come true. For blogging and browsing, tablets are fine, but for real computing you still need a PC, not for the CPU or the larger screen, but because the mouse and the well tested principles behind it. Maybe with more mature voice-controlled interface tablets could outperform PCs, but it won’t happen tomorrow morning.

    Read More
  19. Tobus says:
    @candid_observer
    So, if GNU is the real body of the operating system, and Linux just a kernel, does that mean there's a version of GNU that uses a different kernel?

    does that mean there’s a version of GNU that uses a different kernel

    Yes, GNU have their own kernel: GNU/Hurd, not that anyone I’ve ever known has ever used it.

    Read More
  20. Tobus says:
    @Anonymous
    It doesn't matter if people run desktop linux. Desktop computers are dying. Young people who aren't software developers, physicists or graphic designers interact with the computing world through a web browser or native mobile app. We are headed back to the days of dumb terminals, in some sense. And the backbone will be Linux.

    Desktop computers are dying.

    I really don’t think so. People have been saying “the desktop is dead” for at least 5 years now (http://www.zdnet.com/article/the-desktop-is-dead-long-live-the-desktop/, from 2010) and yet despite sales declining for the last few years, still some 50% more PCs were sold than tablets in the last 3 months (http://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=prUS25811115 and http://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=prUS25742015, 44.7mil units cf 66.1mil… last 12 months is similar with 229mil cf 308mil)… and it’s worth noting that tablet sales have also started declining.

    I think the reason for this is that the biggest user of PCs are businesses, and there is just nothing else that will give you as much productive bang for your $ as a PC – they are simply faster and better for anything that requires typing, drawing and pretty much everything else. Regardless of what trendy teenagers and novice users are buying, PCs are here to stay – at least until some other interface arrives that can improve office worker productivity.

    The most interesting thing I find about the chart in Razib’s post is that over 10% of PC users are still using XP – an OS that hasn’t been available for general retail sale since 2008!

    Read More
    • Replies: @Sean the Neon Caucasian
    "I really don’t think so. People have been saying 'the desktop is dead...',"

    Hell, I remember that being bandied about in he early 2000s, before the netbook boom and laptops overtook desktops in sales.
  21. Bob123 says:

    Hmm. I just spent a two-week vacation using a Kindle Fire (with keyboard) instead of a real laptop. It was just barely okay—but it was okay. The Kindle, like Android devices, uses the Linux OS.

    Re: RMS’s comment above. I would be interested in understanding how much of the code executed when I use my Kindle is from GNU. As I understand it, the file system is not GNU. Utilities like grep, find, etc are from GNU as are a number of shells. But, I don’t know if the Kindle uses them mutch.

    Back to the main point, there are more phablets out there every day—most of them running Linux. Linux may not win the desktop, but it’s won the hands and eyeballs of many consumers.

    Bob

    Read More
    • Replies: @Paul Ó Duḃṫaiġ
    As Kindle Fire OS is based on Android very little to none of it is GNU software. Android uses a BSD license LibC (Bionic) as well as "coreutils" equivalent based on NetBSD code (Toolbox). I believe next version of Android will actually switch to using "Toybox" (BSD licensed equivalent to Busybox) for this. It also uses mksh (BSD licensed clone of Korn Shell) as it's default shell.

    There's also some general movement to LLVM and clang for compiler build chain.

    When it comes to embedded world most Linux devices (routers/wireless etc.) tend to use ucLibc (LGPL) and Busybox (GPL v2) for libc and userland, both are non GNU projects.
  22. soren says:

    I’m optimistic that in 10-15 years almost everyone will be running an open source operating system of some sort on their desktop(even if it’s just a browser based on like Chrome OS). There are a few things that give me this optimism.

    1. The Rust Programming language – I think this will bring a renewed focus to desktop development.
    2. Web Assembly – Will allow applications in the browser to run close to native performance.
    3. Steam OS – Bring games to Linux… but also renewed focus on development tools.

    Read More
  23. j mct says:

    I guess the thing that GNU is rather than the thing it is not, is linux!

    I think linux already has made it’s fortune, so to speak. In the 90′s lot’s of people said that it would destroy Microsoft, but since in the 90′s Microsoft was the new IBM, the big corp it was de rigueur to hate, that that was definitely an aspiration. The companies that linux did destroy were the unix workstation companies, the biggest one of them being Sun Microsystems. Sun had a market cap over $100B during the tech bubble and was a major player, but linux killing Sun wasn’t talked about since no one hated Sun like they hated Microsoft.

    Linux is on all the machines that 20 years ago would have been Suns, and the reason is that once linux was relatively kink free, around 2000 or so, a pc running linux was better than a sun workstation, let alone cheaper. So even if linux doesn’t explicitly conquer everything it’s still a huge deal.

    Read More
  24. jacobite says: • Website

    OpenBSD has the most correct and complete man pages of any other operating system. Period.

    Read More
  25. In the corporate world Exchange and Active Directory are Microsoft’s enforcers.

    I more or less have to use Windows in order to run Outlook. Thunderbird + Lightning kind of works, but is unsupported, so falls over every time the IT guys change things. Also, functions like shared diaries and booking meeting rooms just don’t work.

    So, I end up using a Windows desktop running cygwin X11 server and using an xubuntu box to actually do all my work.

    Read More
  26. AnonNJ says:
    @Shriner's Convention
    MSOffice is living on borrowed time; OpenOffice and LibreOffice both work fine and are free.

    Google Docs is good for collaborative stuff, and intra-company messaging apps like Slack are doing that, too.

    As someone who used Linux as my primary desktop in the mid-to-late 1990s, long used Macs. And is a big fan of Open Source software, the free software that replaces what I mentioned is getting closer, but still isn’t quite there. For example, the grammar checking is painfully simplistic on LibreOffice. It seemed unable to detect subject and verb number agreement problems, among other things. Maybe in another 5-10 years, things will be different, but right now, I’m still going to pay Microsoft to put Office on my computers and I’m still going to have a Windows PC for gaming.

    Read More
  27. AnonNJ says:

    As someone who also first used emacs on a TOPS-20 system, the stickier “viral” GNU licenses simply seem like trading one form of usage control for another. They talk about thinking in terms of free speech rather than free beer, but I think they have that backwards. The software costs nothing (like free beer) but restricts what you can do with anything you write or say that quotes it, which is not like truly free speech because it limits what you can or can’t do with it. Freedom in the free speech sense is the absence of limits.

    The authors can certainly make an argument that such restrictions are fair and justified, because one benefits from their work and those who do should share their work back, but that is not freedom in any meaningful sense. Manditory sharing is not freedom. More true freedom can be found in the BSD-type licenses.

    Read More
  28. Bill says:
    @Numinous
    Open Office is highly compatible with Microsoft office now, so I'm not sure reason #1 still holds. Reason #2 is valid, but that should not be a problem for middle-aged and older users.

    No, it is not compatible. Try jointly authoring a document with two people using word and you using open office. Track changes? Marginal comments? Merging? None of this works properly. Formatting never renders the same. Tables look different. It’s hopeless.

    Do people jointly author documents like this on tight deadlines? Only constantly.

    Read More
    • Replies: @Numinous
    If you are saying that "my doc editor doesn't interoperate seamlessly with a Windows doc reader" is a reason for people choosing to stay away from Linux and Open Office, I guess I'd agree with you. But collaborating authors can always choose to start with Linux and OO, instead of trying to port a Windows doc to OO and then ironing out the kinks. And if a Word document doesn't already have changes tracked, it's fairly easy to make slight modifications to get the same look and feel in an OO editor.

    When I said "highly compatible", I didn't mean completely compatible. Sure, porting across OSs and word processors requires some manual work. Try porting docs and ppts across Windows and Mac boxes, both running MS Office; you still won't get a consistent experience and will have to edit your files. I suspect that cross-OS interoperability is something the commercial software companies don't want.
  29. @Bob123
    Hmm. I just spent a two-week vacation using a Kindle Fire (with keyboard) instead of a real laptop. It was just barely okay---but it was okay. The Kindle, like Android devices, uses the Linux OS.

    Re: RMS's comment above. I would be interested in understanding how much of the code executed when I use my Kindle is from GNU. As I understand it, the file system is not GNU. Utilities like grep, find, etc are from GNU as are a number of shells. But, I don't know if the Kindle uses them mutch.

    Back to the main point, there are more phablets out there every day---most of them running Linux. Linux may not win the desktop, but it's won the hands and eyeballs of many consumers.

    Bob

    As Kindle Fire OS is based on Android very little to none of it is GNU software. Android uses a BSD license LibC (Bionic) as well as “coreutils” equivalent based on NetBSD code (Toolbox). I believe next version of Android will actually switch to using “Toybox” (BSD licensed equivalent to Busybox) for this. It also uses mksh (BSD licensed clone of Korn Shell) as it’s default shell.

    There’s also some general movement to LLVM and clang for compiler build chain.

    When it comes to embedded world most Linux devices (routers/wireless etc.) tend to use ucLibc (LGPL) and Busybox (GPL v2) for libc and userland, both are non GNU projects.

    Read More
  30. Numinous says:
    @Bill
    No, it is not compatible. Try jointly authoring a document with two people using word and you using open office. Track changes? Marginal comments? Merging? None of this works properly. Formatting never renders the same. Tables look different. It's hopeless.

    Do people jointly author documents like this on tight deadlines? Only constantly.

    If you are saying that “my doc editor doesn’t interoperate seamlessly with a Windows doc reader” is a reason for people choosing to stay away from Linux and Open Office, I guess I’d agree with you. But collaborating authors can always choose to start with Linux and OO, instead of trying to port a Windows doc to OO and then ironing out the kinks. And if a Word document doesn’t already have changes tracked, it’s fairly easy to make slight modifications to get the same look and feel in an OO editor.

    When I said “highly compatible”, I didn’t mean completely compatible. Sure, porting across OSs and word processors requires some manual work. Try porting docs and ppts across Windows and Mac boxes, both running MS Office; you still won’t get a consistent experience and will have to edit your files. I suspect that cross-OS interoperability is something the commercial software companies don’t want.

    Read More
    • Replies: @AnonNJ
    You can't always control who you collaborate or share documents with because documents are shared across companies and independent individuals. As long as MS Office is dominant, it's the standard and the expectation. It may not be fair or technically justified, but it is the way it is.
  31. AnonNJ says:
    @Numinous
    If you are saying that "my doc editor doesn't interoperate seamlessly with a Windows doc reader" is a reason for people choosing to stay away from Linux and Open Office, I guess I'd agree with you. But collaborating authors can always choose to start with Linux and OO, instead of trying to port a Windows doc to OO and then ironing out the kinks. And if a Word document doesn't already have changes tracked, it's fairly easy to make slight modifications to get the same look and feel in an OO editor.

    When I said "highly compatible", I didn't mean completely compatible. Sure, porting across OSs and word processors requires some manual work. Try porting docs and ppts across Windows and Mac boxes, both running MS Office; you still won't get a consistent experience and will have to edit your files. I suspect that cross-OS interoperability is something the commercial software companies don't want.

    You can’t always control who you collaborate or share documents with because documents are shared across companies and independent individuals. As long as MS Office is dominant, it’s the standard and the expectation. It may not be fair or technically justified, but it is the way it is.

    Read More
  32. @Tobus
    Desktop computers are dying.

    I really don't think so. People have been saying "the desktop is dead" for at least 5 years now (http://www.zdnet.com/article/the-desktop-is-dead-long-live-the-desktop/, from 2010) and yet despite sales declining for the last few years, still some 50% more PCs were sold than tablets in the last 3 months (http://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=prUS25811115 and http://www.idc.com/getdoc.jsp?containerId=prUS25742015, 44.7mil units cf 66.1mil... last 12 months is similar with 229mil cf 308mil)... and it's worth noting that tablet sales have also started declining.

    I think the reason for this is that the biggest user of PCs are businesses, and there is just nothing else that will give you as much productive bang for your $ as a PC - they are simply faster and better for anything that requires typing, drawing and pretty much everything else. Regardless of what trendy teenagers and novice users are buying, PCs are here to stay - at least until some other interface arrives that can improve office worker productivity.

    The most interesting thing I find about the chart in Razib's post is that over 10% of PC users are still using XP - an OS that hasn't been available for general retail sale since 2008!

    “I really don’t think so. People have been saying ‘the desktop is dead…’,”

    Hell, I remember that being bandied about in he early 2000s, before the netbook boom and laptops overtook desktops in sales.

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