1x27: Buffalo Wild Wings Dollars

I figured we might disagree. :smile:

That tumblr is awesome. I shall share this now. :smile:

Yeah, me too.

@sticksabuser makes a really good point there.

I’m solidly with you too. We’re solid. We’re some really… really… solid… guys…

I… uhhh… I’m gonna count this one as a win, too!

Side note: Anyone else find it amusing that it was that jerk-face “Linux Sucks” dude that was the sole defender of desktop Linux in this episode?

Isn’t it? I especially dig the screenshot for that podcast manager. I can’t put my finger on why… exactly… I just know I like it!

Matthew Paul Thomas spoke about this informatively a few years ago. As he points out, taking Ubuntu as an example desktop Linux, the first version of Ubuntu in 2004 had 375 graphical apps; poking at my copy here there are some thousands. Maybe 5,000? Let’s double that to include lots of apps which aren’t packaged for distros, so 10,000. That’s a nice trend up, but in the time since 2004 Android and iOS have both been created, been released, and hit a million apps a piece. The Mac app store has been created and released and has 21,670 apps, the day I wrote this.

But that wasn’t really the point I was trying to make in the discussion. If any measure of success includes mainstream popularity, among mainstream app developers or mainstream users, then the Linux desktop has failed dramatically by comparison with its competition. But is that actually the measure of success? Most people on this thread are using desktop Linux, happily. Mainstream success doesn’t enter into it. So my question is this: if we acknowledge that we haven’t had mainstream success (rather than trying to claim that we have, or that it is just around the corner), and we decide that we don’t want mainstream success, what changes about how we build the Linux desktop? What would our priorities be? Would they be any different to what they are now? It doesn’t mean that we would suddenly scrap all efforts to make the desktop pleasant; I don’t want to have to write shell scripts and bash commands for everything, and neither do @danrabbit or @jonobacon, so there’s three at least. But would anything we do change? If what we do wouldn’t change after saying “we are no longer concerned with mainstream success”, then presumably our existing plans aren’t aiming towards mainstream success. So what are they aiming towards? And should we change it?

That is a lame argument. I think it is somewhat like saying; “If I want to chop onions, how do I do that? I take my Santuku knife. Which is my best bit of gear ever, but it is what I have been doing for thirty years.”

If the Gimp was universally acknowledged as the best tool for the job by everybody, then that response would be perfectly reasonable; if it’s the best now and was the best ten years ago, then it doesn’t need changing. But the Gimp is not acknowledged as the best tool. And there are, to a first approximation, no alternatives; Krita’s not bad, but other than that that’s it. On other platforms if you don’t like Photoshop there are lots of alternatives you can try. We’ve spent years assuming that people who say “I don’t like Gimp, I like Photoshop” are somehow wrong or biased against the Gimp because it’s open source, and I don’t think that’s the case; it’s not the best tool in everyone’s estimation, and we don’t have alternatives to offer for people who think that.

If I want to chop onions, how do I do that? You may use a Santuku knife, and good luck to you. I use a food processor.

Okay - now I understand your argument better.

Don’t need luck when you got skills. :wink:

Indeed. Maybe that’s what we should do: tell people that they need mad skillz to use a Linux desktop. I personally don’t like that idea, but perhaps it’s what should happen.

To be honest I do not know what the solution is. But I fail to see, why it would be a bad thing to be straightforward and say; “It is a complex system and you will have issues, but they can be solved, if you do a bit of research and ask informed questions here, here and here.”

There is the time factor. But, then, I am sure glad nobody has ever had to spend time working on Windows issues! :smile:

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I think what people really what, is a system that is so powerful and versatile that it can do everything on anything, so simple and easy to use and run, that a three year old can operate it, without any support. It is a nice pipe dream, but it will never happen.

I am not sure I would agree. I think the closest device I have seen to this is an iPad.

My son, Jack, will be two next month and he has been able to use an iPad for about six months. He can unlock the device, use it to scroll between different apps, load them, quit apps he is bored with, and play with the apps and how they work. The iPad is extensible to hundreds of different use cases from watching media, creating art/music, editing video, and more.

I would argue that Apple has created pretty much about that.

I was there for that talk. It’s still one of my favorites and still very true. But like we spoke about previously, how many of those apps are actually Ubuntu apps? Maybe 20? And the same is true for basically any DE. So yes absolutely I agree there’s a problem we have with why developers aren’t writing and releasing more apps for our platforms as compared to proprietary ones like Apple’s.

I think the thing is that “mainstream success” isn’t like a real goal. What does that even mean? That old people and kids can use it? We already have that. That I can work from it? Already have that too. That I can play from it? Yep. So what exactly are people fighting for? Is it fame? Or money? That’s definitely an interesting question indeed.

For me personally, I’m just looking to make it better than it is. Fix the things that annoy me, and build cool new things that you can get excited about. And honestly I think that’s the same thing everyone has always been trying to do. We just all have different ideas about what that means and what the most important things are to do next.

At least for me, 12.04 was unstable to the point of being almost unusable at times. With that as a bar, yes 14.04 is more stable. That said, is 14.04 more stable than some Linux desktops I used 5, 10, or even 15 years ago? Not really. Considering the amount of engineering work I know for a fact went into it, that seems disappointing to me (and yes, I will concede that many configuration and compatibility issues have significantly improved in the interim, but that was not my point).


This is a really great point…what do we really define as success?

In my mind I see success as the range of tools available for the user to do things - namely apps - but in a way that is simple and effective.

Someone else’s success criteria may be entirely different.

Agreed, and I think what is important for us all to remember, is that as volunteers everyone has the right to hack on what they like. If someone wants to spend their hours working on a desktop, platform, video game, it doesn’t matter; they are pushing Open Source forward.

I think I failed to accurately articulate my thoughts worse during this segment than perhaps any previous segment on the show. I am a huge fan of the Linux desktop. I wouldn’t have used it as my only desktop for 20+ years if that wasn’t the case. That said, I think we missed a majority opportunity by focusing on the wrong things. For example, there is no reason that Linux should not be the de facto development environment for many categories of developers, with web developers as a primary example. So called “power users” are another area that it would seem would be an obvious fit for Linux. Instead of focusing on those areas and then growing the base from there, however, we have spent an inordinate amount of time and resources on both porting existing environments to new toolkits/frameworks and focusing on the mythical “typical desktop user who wants to use Linux” which I think 1) doesn’t exist and 2) has sometimes been done to the detriment of people who actually do use Linux.

So to sum things up a bit, I think the Linux desktop is awesome. I will continue to use it and espouse its benefits on the regular, which I have done for quite some time. I still can’t help but feel however, that proper focus and vision a few years back could have resulted in significantly more real world gains in both mind share and market share. Because I believe in Linux to the core, that seems like a net loss to me.


fair enough. even wtf to Ubuntu. I used to always upgrade to the new release late alpha or early beta. Maybe on app would have a hicup, but it was usually fine. then 11.10/12.04 hit and even the main release for months after was falling all over itself. even now I find myself waiting for a week or two after release before upgrading. but yeah, at least unity isn’t crashing daily or hourly on me. Ubuntu burned a lot of stability cred with me in that period :confused: I also had to stop recommending them to people. even now with their insistence on using only the latest openGL magic to power their desktop rather than support older graphics version (hell, I mean enlighenment EFL can do most of the limited animations and GUI stuff they do CPU only with out busting a gut) but meanwhile even now unity will explode some people’s hardware or just not work, or work appallingly (like dash takes multiple seconds to open, everytime).

so yeah, you are actually really right. on a 2-3 year time line the ubuntu desktop has gotten more stable, but it is still way down on what it was say 4 or 5 years ago :frowning: and I’m still more hesitant to run it, cus the dream of it running on all and old hardware is still super dead. I’m not happy about it but my parents run fedora because of this (the period when the got the new box, the vintage of their hardware, unity has NEVER worked on it :frowning: ) And that’s not a great solution either. So yeah. Stability wise, hardware wise. And it sucks, it’s JUST unity. Any sanely coded thing could use and support more older GL versions nad work on everything. games do. windows does. The rest of linux does. But the unity desktop doesn’t. and it’s hard to run Ubuntu without it lest I recommend maybe Xubuntu. What a mess indeed.

So this is what we get when we decided the desktop is lost. we take what traction we were making pre 2012 and we throw it away to get unity. and gnome 3. which doesn’t appear to be solving many new problems, could have be implemented better, and lost some of what little market share there was (my girlfriend was almost getting comfy with Ubuntu and then the upgrade to 11.10 or 12.04 just stopped working at all on her laptop… and that was it).

I’m a really much bigger fan on building on what you have. not tossing it away. it actually usually has a lot of value.

I very much agree. The pursuit of becoming “mainstream”, which is both nebulous and comes with at times conflicting definitions, has sometimes been a distraction.


A lot of the problem with the Linux desktop is apathy. Most people don’t care what OS they have as long as it works. I’m guessing most of us here use Linux in some form or other though for those who don’t it’s not a requirement of being part of the Bad Voltage Community.

We are not on the whole typical end users however: most people go to there local computer shop, note that unless they want to spend a fortune to buy a Mac the only option in town is Windows, spend their money and go home and use the PC as is.

Very few people will go to the bother of installing a new OS and unless it becomes the norm that you go to the shop buy your PC and the shop sets it up for you using your OS of choice and making sure any relevant drivers are installed and set up so you have no hardware incompatibility issues I don’t think this is likely to change soon.

It is a pity because I love Linux, My tablet runs Android, both my servers run Ubuntu as do both my laptops though I don’t use the Unity desktop as I am not keen on it

Continuing the discussion from 1x27: Buffalo Wild Wings Dollars:

Its a pity that the debate divebombed so far away from these questions. As much as I don’t want to start a flame war about the new desktops (Gnome 3, Unity etc), I do often feel that there is often an awful lot of weight put on a “new linux user” experience.

The reality is that with the miniscule market share that linux has, new adoption must surely be severly outweighed by people upgrading from older versions who are perfectly capable of using Linux Desktop.

As you mention, a Desktop not focused on bringing Linux to the masses but instead focusing on bringing the best possible experience fo the very passionate niche market share that Desktop linux occupies is an exciting prospect.

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