Linus still believes in the year of the Linux desktop
Much has been written, over and over again, about the fabled (and some would say mythic) year of the Linux desktop. But Linux creator Linus Torvalds has not given up on the idea. Linus thinks that someday Linux could come to dominate desktop computing.
Adrian Kingsley-Hughes reports for ZDNet:
Speaking at the Embedded Linux Conference, Torvalds was bullish about the idea that Linux could become a dominant player on the PC desktop, and he's willing to put the next 25 years into trying to make that happen.
"I would obviously love for Linux to take over that world too," said Torvalds during the keynote that was reported by CIO, "but it turns out it's a really hard area to enter. I'm still working on it. It's been 25 years. I can do this for another 25. I'll wear them down.
"I actually am very happy with the Linux desktop, and I started the project for my own needs, and my needs are very much fulfilled. That's why, to me, it's not a failure."
Given that hell has indeed frozen over, and Ubuntu and the Bash shell are indeed coming to Windows 10, Torvalds might be right to be so confident. Also, given that hundreds of millions of consumers are already happily running the Linux kernel on their Android devices, that could offer Linux an attractive way into the consumer space.
How Remix OS will eat the world
Speaking of Linux on the desktop, Remix OS is a desktop-oriented version of Android (which of course is based on Linux). A writer at The Register is impressed with the ability of Remix OS to bring Android apps to desktop computers.
Andrew Orlowski reports for The Register:
Which platform will the next billion people on the internet use? Is it more likely to be Microsoft's Windows squeezed onto low-cost mobile hardware, or a mobile OS given some steroids? Three former Google executives are betting it's the latter.
And based on Jide's early showing, a revved-up Android called Remix OS is a serious contender. Jide's Remix OS adds multitasking, windowing and other productivity smarts to open Android, and packages it up nicely. It's free and runs on cheap ARM or x86 hardware, and as I found in my recent hands-on, the apps are already there. It isn't hard to imagine this taking emerging markets by storm.
It's Microsoft who has most to worry about, as a multi-windowing, multitasking Remix OS with Google Play Store has something rather important that Windows 10 Mobile doesn't: apps. And lots of 'em.
My Remix OS installation on an old Thinkpad didn't care that the apps were Android apps, they just ran because they're written in write-once-run-anywhere Java. And once I'd got the Play Store running, I had a rich selection of my usual apps, running nicely, without being nagged once.
Goodbye open source, hello free software
Labels do matter in terms of how people perceive things, including software. And some feel that the term "open source" would be better off retired in favor of "free software." A writer at Medium recently explored the meaning of these two labels.
Hellekin O. Wolf reports at Medium:
15 years ago, Eric S. Raymond published "Good bye "free software"; hello "open source"", that changed the face of the Free Software community. In that article, the author defined "the next phase": to have free software accepted in the corporate world. 15 years later, it's time to reposition.
Looking Back In 1998, free software still was marginal. Although widely accepted in technical and academic circles, it could not break MicrOracSAPple's oligarchy over the corporate world.
So it's time to reposition. We need to get back to the roots. Open-source vs. Free Software has a bitter taste of Us vs. Them. Truth is: we're one big family, on one little planet, and competition won't lead us anywhere else — at least not any time soon, and we have more urgent problems to tackle than to ponder the next Faster-Than-Light travel engine. The layman starts understanding the importance of transparency in public processes: the United Nations made it a point to recognize Internet access as a Human Right, but free software does not enjoy such recognition yet; Wikileaks keeps demonstrating the proprietary secrets of publicly-funded governments' covert ops; and as more unethical practices unfold in the media, the awareness of the general public raises sharply about the ethics of foreign policies and globalized businesses.
More than ever, we need freedom. If we ever want to live in a world beyond short-term-profit, we need to expose and address global issues globally. In order to achieve such a Global Brain magnitude of human interaction, we need to embrace computing as a mind amplifier, alike the Computer Science and Internet pioneers. In the next few years, as the old world is still rushing at full speed toward a solid wall, geo-strategic tensions will increase.
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