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re: Years of Linux and FLOSS desktop? VIEW POST

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re: which isn't that easy right now It has been for two decades now, starting with KDE 1, assuming that end users rarely could afford SGI or Sun work...

(1) Well yes - but in 2018 (compared to the late 1990s), most of the means of getting to work with GNU/Linux desktops are by magnitudes easier. Hardware support seems less an issue now, most of the distribution installers are self-explanatory, and at least some of the desktops provide a good experience out of the box. Actually I've been into quite a load of Linux Install Parties in the late 1990s and early 2000s helping users to do just that - but at the very least with Knoppix and Ubuntu appearing, this virtually came to an end. Getting into a GNU/Linux desktop is not that much of an issue anymore.

(2) That's again personal experience. Two examples here: I have a community of people among my friends who are into sustainability and ecology, and they use Windows laptops. They might as well use GNU/Linux and they actually and really much would like to do so, but they have a very special software for managing their activities which is Windows-only - a small specialized tool built by a small dev team somewhere in Germany. We tried getting this to work with Wine and Crossover a while ago but it didn't really work. Other thing: Internally, part of our company started adopting an arcane tool for managing document templates in office environments, which (of course ...) is built as a Word addin and doesn't work at all with Word running on any other platform. So far, it was pretty easy to work with internal documents on my GNU/Linux host using LibreOffice, but with such a tool in my tool chain, this gets a bit more difficult and requires a VM locally or remote.

The problem I see here: Right that "unless you need software..." is not an edge case but the actual problem in keeping a lot of people from really having a choice. If you want or need work to be done that eventually is tied to a particular application and this application is Windows-only, there's not much you really can do. And I'd really like to see some change in that. ;)

ad 1): I never understood why people would want to make a party about installing software. I'm not enthusiastic enough about using a tool, I guess. (And an operating system is nothing but a tool.)

ad 2): You have a point here (because you confirm mine 😏), having to use a Windows-only software leaves you no choice. Simulating Windows on non-Windows sounds wrong to me. Why would they want to use something else at all?

Yes, of course.

I was and still am enthusiastic enough about that to bother dealing with these things. Yes of course, it's just a tool. There are reasons, however, why I have seen people wanting to "not" use Windows or Apple. People who don't trust both and consider GNU/Linux a better choice if they care about privacy. People who want to keep using older hardware that still is usable yet doesn't work well with recent Windows variants anymore. People like me who consciously want to have Software Libre on their machines for whichever non-technical reasons. There are different reasons - but at the very end, having even one single special application forcing me into an operating system choice seems not a good thing. ;)

There are reasons, however, why I have seen people wanting to "not" use Windows or Apple.

And even then, a stronger drive towards Linux (be it GNU, be it any other userland) would be a bad thing for variety, as it would inevitably lead to less market share for the BSDs, Solaris/illumos and Haiku.

Maybe so, yes. A better move, from that point of view, would be a stronger drive towards programming models, APIs, libraries that support all these platforms. Maybe a new approach towards something such as POSIX but with a wider set of features. Not sure...
I always liked what Java intended to do, here (even though they failed to deliver most of this vision). For making current developers of "proprietary" software aware that there's a valid and usable world outside Windows and Apple, focussing on (GNU/)Linux might be a good first step here.

Maybe a new approach towards something such as POSIX but with a wider set of features.

There is nothing wrong with POSIX, except that most Linux distributions violate it. Luckily, they tried to make their own "new approach with a wider set of features", called the Linux Standard Base - and most Linux distributions violate that as well.

If we need standards, we should look further from Linux.

Agree. Yes. That seems way more desirable indeed. But even way more difficult to achieve. That's where this diversity issue hits things again: There are things such as POSIX or LSB, but people and distributions violate these either out of ignorance or consciously because they don't agree with the ideas. That makes things difficult - both for standards in general and for a more "homogenous" (GNU/)Linux desktop environment as well...

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