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Linux on the (consumer) Desktop

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Linux

Arriving back from vacation, I read Miguel's thoughts on the state of the Linux Desktop in the race for the consumer market; I happen to mostly agree with his conclusion - that we're still facing a huge up-hill struggle there. While I have huge respect for his experience and insight, I think the causes are larger. My punch-line is that the Linux Desktop faces a huge and multi-factored ecosystem challenge, there is no single simple issue to fix. Over the last decade I've been peripherally involved in trying to tackle many of the problems in this area, here are some of my random thoughts and open questions on the topic, there are no radical new insights:

Our attractiveness to ISVs

Clearly this is a significant factor in our problem. No matter how bad and limited our APIs are, if there is market pressure to port software to the platform - it will come; hacks and all. Yes, the Linux Desktop is a horrifying thing to deal with from an ABI stability / interface perspective. Aside from the diversity of pointlessly different distribution packaging details, the Linux Desktop stack (with existing frozen / back-compatible API/ABIs) is not profoundly different from other operating systems - indeed, arguably it is better for ISVs since we have access to open the lid on the box and work with each other as some are finding out.

rest here




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Microsoft Against GNU/Linux in the Public Sector

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    Dev team quits, suggests NHS used them to get better deal with Microsoft [...] The small team behind an ambitious NHoS Linux project are calling it a day, citing receipt of a trademark infringement warning from the Department of Health's (DoH) "brand police" as the "final straw". The initial raison d’être of NHoS was to identify a way to roll out NHSbuntu, a strand of open-source Linux distro Ubuntu designed for the NHS, on three-quarters of a million smartcards. The smartcards are used to verify the healthcare pros that access 80 per cent of applications on millions of NHS PCs. The volunteer force behind NHoS wanted NHSbuntu to replace the current smartcard verification system that was running on Windows, and ultimately, have the operating system replace Windows on the desktop as well. Smart card recognition was seen as a mile-high hurdle in this grand plan. [...] Baw alleged the pair "(unbeknown to us) were also duplicitously negotiating with Microsoft about a new NHS Enterprise Wide Agreement".
  • Barcelona Council abandons Microsoft for open-source software [iophk: "again, disinfo about the reason for Munich's change"
    The Spanish city of Barcelona has announced it will phase out its use of Microsoft software in favour of open-source alternatives. Over the next few years, the city will transition away from Microsoft's services to guarantee its "technical sovereignty."

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