Cinnamon 1.4 released
Posted Mar 21, 2012 10:48 UTC (Wed) by khim
In reply to: Cinnamon 1.4 released
Parent article: Cinnamon 1.4 released
The problem with the Linux desktop is that it has _nothing_ that Joe may need or want that justifies the pains of changing the defaults. Even today, trying a live USB image requires curiosity and good predisposition.
Sorry, but this sorry tale was disproved few years ago quite convincingly. For about a year most netbooks were sold with Linux preinstalled. People rejected them en masse and either returned them or installed [pirated] Windows XP. Linux failed on desktop not because of wide conspiracy among manufacturers, but because it sucks - at least it sucks as an OS for Joe Average.
As far as Mr. Average is concerned Linux is just like Windows, colors on the screen.
Sadly it's not “just like Windows”. It's much, much poorer. Sure, the OS itself is surprisingly rich - where Windows includes toy text editor and toy image editor Linux includes quite adequate spreadsheet, vector editor and more. But at some point Mr. or Ms. Average wants to do something beyond even that rich selection… and finds out there no applications for Linux. Well, there are handful (Google Earth, Wolfram Mathematica, etc), but they are quite specialized and most of them don't even work because system does not include required libraries.
Desktop Linux still lacks a killer app.
Times of a single killer apps are long in the past. If you want to name anything a “killer app” today then it'll be Google's Play Store or Apple's AppStore. Mr. Average today expects to see selection of few hundreds thousands of apps (including games). S/he can live with any of them missing (people have switched from Symbian and Windows Phone to Android even if most applications were never ported), but when it finds total disaster which Linux desktop presents… it's easy to see why people are balking.
If you'll replace “kernel” with “desktop” and “user-space” with “third-party applications” in the following quote then you'll have succinct explanation of what is wrong with Linux desktop:
Dammit, I'm continually surprised by the *idiots* out there that don't understand that binary compatibility is one of the absolute top priorities. The *only* reason for an OS kernel existing in the first place is to serve user-space. The kernel has no relevance on its own. Breaking existing binaries - and then not acknowledging how horribly bad that was - is just about the *worst* offense any kernel developer can do.
Because that shows that they don't understand what the whole *point* of the kernel was after all. We're not masturbating around with some research project. We never were. Even when Linux was young, the whole and only point was to make a *usable* system. It's why it's not some crazy drug-induced microkernel or other random crazy thing.
The rot is deep. We are not distributing high-end software packages here, just a measly SDK which includes a compiler, debugger, handful of simple test utilities… yet even ABI used for this small set of features is still not stable: just recently we were bitten when most distributions stopped offering /lib/libcrypto.so.0.9.8 !!! Come one: this is not core feature, it's essential feature (that's why it's in /lib, not in /usr/lib)†. And now it's not just removed from default install, it's not just moved from /lib to /lib/x86_64-linux-gnu, it's not even included in main repo today! It's in “not officially supported software” repo!
†) Yes, I know: / vs /usr split goes away soon. Still today it exists and separates features which are optional from ones which should always be there for the system to even boot.
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