[TriLUG] Where is Linux today?
maxpublic08 at maxwellspangler.com
Tue Jun 17 12:56:16 EDT 2008
A thread on dc-lug asking why there aren't any Linux conferences or many
install fests got me thinking (and writing) about where Linux is today.
My answer to why there are no linux conferences is this three-parter:
1) We don't need Linux conferences to promote Linux. Linux gets enough
press and peer to peer discussion as an accepted operating system that
we don't need to fight our way up that hill: we're already up there with
the other operating systems, in general. It's now time for Linux to
show what it can do and it will win or lose users and organizations
support based on practical abilities the way any other operating system
2) We don't want Linux conferences any more. The excitement and
momentum of the earlier Linux community has gone (or greatly diminished)
the way the energy of any start-up organization or political movement
dissipates over time. When the idea is young, the possibilities are
infinite, but when the idea starts to mature into solid forms, the
reality of what it will be in the future brings people down to earth.
Linux is amazing today compared to what we started with but it still has
significant flaws, limitations and is starting to trail other operating
systems in some key ways causing a drain on the community of supporters.
3) A successful Linux conference today would require a big effort and
big money to produce. Without the energy and excitement about Linux
this kind of event requires corporate backing and that seems
contradictory to what a classic Linux user is interested in. The Redhat
Linux shows in Raleigh in the past were, to me, a rare balance between
the corporate need and the community love. Redhat 98 and 99 were really
cool events but I don't think we'll see them again.
These are my opinions, and I think I'm right about them, but I'm
interested in your opinions.
At the heart of my perspective is my long term history with Linux and my
less energetic attitude towards it today. I use Linux every day for
work and home and have no plans to change. I'm very comfortable with it,
but rarely do I get excited about it. I recently recommended that a
good friend get a new laptop WITH Vista (for a high quality yet
inexpensive out of the box experience) and I generally tell anyone
asking about selecting a computer to look hard at Apple Macintosh (for
an excellent overall hardware + software experience.)
I don't recommend Linux. Why would I recommend Linux to a typical user
who wants to do simple tasks that OS X and Vista both do so well and
require no specialized training or support with? I especially don't
want everybody's brother calling *me* personally to support their Linux
system when it can't get on the net or "runs really slow" (as every
computer seems to do over time.)
If you put your personal politics and preferences aside, you have to
admit that Linux, Mac OS X and Vista are all very powerful and capable
operating systems. It's a much better computing world than it was just
over ten years ago when Windows 98 would have been the default operating
system used by the world. Back then I would have said Linux multi-tasks
better, crashes less, has a mountain of freely available programs, etc.
But now all three operating systems multi-task in multi-CPU environments
extremely well and the quality of applications available for Mac and
Vista seems to be easily surpassing Linux.**
I think Linux is stalled and I think that's why we don't see community
So what do you think? Are you excited about Linux? Why?
** Linux has always been a technie's environment and it's techie
oriented tools are probably as good or superior to those found on the
other operating systems. I believe that. But it's things like burning
a DVD from a home video camera that I find vastly easier and more
productive on those operating systems than Linux.
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