While I agree with the general sentiment in the article, this kind of stuck out at me. I get that Dvorak is referring to some form of user-facing “killer app”, but I’m of the opinion there already is a “killer software package” on Linux: the LAMP stack. Being able to take a stock Linux system, run a few commands, and end up with a fully featured, vastly customisable web application stack is, to me, one of the main draws of Linux.
In my mind, the chances of Linux as a desktop user environment are slim to none, beyond that of the enthusiast, academic or engineering realms. I’ve been saying this for a while now; if you want a featureful, reliable, UNIX-friendly user-facing environment, buy a Mac.
I understand the generally restrictive and expensive nature of the Macintosh hardware ecosystem can be an issue, but take a Mac mini, add a Thunderbolt expansion chassis (e.g. using PCIe), and in theory, the sky’s the limit.
For the power user, with OS X, you have access to modify system configuration by GUI or command line (and another point: you actually have a decent command line rather than nasty old
CMD.EXE!), you can install a large swath of applications from first-tier development companies (e.g. Adobe, Microsoft), indie developers (cf most of the App Store) and FOSS (i.e. via Homebrew or MacPorts). It ships with a very good development environment. It’s regularly updated, including not just bug fixes but advanced technologies (64-bit, multi-threading, memory compression, timer coalescing, etc etc).
The desktop, to me (and I appreciate this is not everyone’s view, but this one is mine), the desktop is a solved problem. The server end is where all the fun begins