Linux has died as a desktop system?

According to Miguel de Icaza, Creator of GNOME, it looks like it is. The controversial developer performs again explosive statements.

Let us remember that Icaza has dedicated its last years to the development of MONKEY , a group of free tools for creating applications compatible with the platform . NET from Microsoft.


It's difficult to say exactly what percentage of desktop and laptop computers run Mac OS X, but it is clear that Apple's operating system has made slow but steady advances, undermining the considerable lead Microsoft established in the 90s with its operating system. Windows. Some figures put Mac OS X at around 6 to 7 percent of the desktop market.

But one thing's for sure: OS X has been more successful than Linux, the open-source operating system that has found a home in data center servers, but remains a rarity on desktops and laptops. Linux may have seen an increase in user numbers in the past year, but it has yet to see the kind of growth that OS X has, nor the growth that Linux supporters have long come to expect.

Why does this happen? Miguel de Icaza - one of the original creators of GNOME, a desktop interface that has been struggling lately to establish itself - believes that a large part of the software developers who could have taken Linux to a higher elevation have switched to other platforms including not only Apple OS X, but -even more important- the web (HTML 5, CSS 3, etc.).

Some might blame the slow progress of Linux desktops on the fragmentation of desktop user interfaces or the plethora of available distributions. In 2010, Canonical announced that it was replacing the popular GNOME desktop environment with its own homegrown environment (Unity) in the Ubuntu distribution, much to the chagrin of many Linux geeks. However, many are unhappy with the direction GNOME has taken, including Linux creator Linus Torvalds, who posted a tirade about it on Google Plus last year.

Torvalds changed to Xfce, a desktop environment originally created as a lighter alternative to GNOME and KDE (Update: It has since switched back to Gnome, but is not happy with it). Other distributions have decided to switch to Xfce, such as Ubuntu Studio or even Linux Debian Edition (LMDE).

But de Icaza says the desktop wars were lost to OS X the moment the latest shake-ups started to happen. And he believes the real reason is that Linux has lost developers who started to defect to OS X as the developers of the tools used to build graphical Linux applications did not do a good job ensuring compatibility between the different versions of their APIs. "For many years, the code of the people was broken," he says. "OS X did a much better job of ensuring backward compatibility."

But at the same time, development was shifting to the web. Open source on the desktop became much less important than open source on the server. The need to develop native applications was diminishing and at the same time OS X provided a Unix-like environment in which programmers can develop on a Mac and then deploy it on a Linux server.

The web is where open source is truly developing now. Even Steve Ballmer acknowledges that Linux is beating Windows in the web server market. Even if you don't have a single open source application installed on your laptop, but you use the web, you are probably using various open source technologies, including web servers like Apache and Nginx or programming languages ​​and frameworks like PHP and Ruby on Rails, all running on an open source operating system. The latest trends in web technology, from cloud computing to big data, are also based on open source technologies such as Apache Hadoop, MongoDB and the Xen hypervisor.

Open source powers the server side of the web, but there is no guarantee of openness on the user side. And that's where open source advocates are focusing much of their efforts now, even though they have started using Macs. "Many people who talked about free software are the people who talk about the open web now," says de Icaza.

One of them is Stormy Peters, the former CEO of the GNOME Foundation. He's still on the GNOME Foundation Board and like Icaza he still keeps a few Linux machines around him. But as the director of the Mozilla Foundation websites that encourage developer participation, her focus is now on the open web.

"The reason I'm personally at Mozilla is that I saw a lot of websites that weren't designed with free software principles," she says. Thanks to AJAX and HTML5, the web has become the dominant platform for applications, he says.

How can the principles of free software be applied to the web? Peters says that one of the most important aspects of open source software is that you, or someone you trust, can examine the source code of an application and see what it is doing. One way to bring this to the web is to help users control their data and discover how it is used by web applications. That is the goal of the Mozilla Identity team, who are working on Mozilla Person, a browser-based identity and authentication system.

Another big change from the early days of the Linux desktop is the rise of the mobile web. "There is a huge portion of the world that is going to experience the internet first through mobile devices," says Peters.

To do this, Mozilla is working on its open source mobile operating system called Firefox OS, but possibly even more important is the next to appear Mozilla Market. These applications will run anywhere the Firefox web browser can run.

Development for mobile devices is also on Icaza's mind. Since 2001 he has been working on Mono, an open source framework for running Microsoft. NET on non-Microsoft operating systems such as Linux and OS X. Now the project is available on Android and iOS as well.

In the meantime, through all of this, GNOME and the Linux desktop still chugging. GNOME 3.6 will see the light soon and resonate airs of expansion.

You. What do you think? Is Icaza right?

Source: Wired


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  1.   Rikardo Belluz Solís said

    I have installed Ubuntu to many people (not very experienced) and they have loved it and they no longer like Windows, I think what is missing is to encourage and spread it more ...

    1.    Sunday said

      My father-in-law loves Ubuntu and prefers it to his "other" dual boot operating system.

  2.   Javier García said

    Gnu / Linux is expanding in many sectors, in PCs it is very likely that it will find a boom when public institutions adopt it and become more known. Ubuntu I think that in this sense it is doing very well, for users with little experience in Linux.

  3.   Saito Mordraw said

    I consider that you have to take things from who they come from, Icaza has been known for making these types of comments for years.

    An old teacher (the one I have respected and loved the most) was his friend, I say it was because Icaza himself is very difficult to deal with, he used to say that Icaza has a histrionic personality and with that we can already understand his years of wild comments 😉

  4.   Courage said

    Ubuntu's goals are Icaza, pasta, pasta and more pasta

  5.   Paul E Nunez said

    I just installed linux ubuntu 11.04 on my computer, as a new user, I consider UBUNTU a very good option to start

  6.   Fernando said

    Give a clown microphones and he will start telling jokes ...

    1.    mmm said

      The most accurate thing I have heard. Although I would add to the one who wrote this note. I like this blog but sometimes it has every stupid note.

  7.   Richard said

    I believe that Icaza has a limited point of view because his world is gnome and cute, the first is losing interest lately and the second is a copy of Microsoft that contributes little except giving better access to the web universe.
    Perhaps in the web universe it will be the next great revolution for the masses but the operating system will continue to be the base and the programs that allow the web part to be of quality. But mono is also a technology to disappear, but ask Microsoft that it is leaving aside silverlight and .net, and is opening its platform to be compatible with open source projects… ..

    1.    Soledad said

      I share the opinion!

  8.   Alberto said

    It seems to me that it is all a matter of perspective. Icaza, which has gone more to the side of Windows and such, has ... must make more publicity to what it considers most viable.
    I don't see why you should make such a fuss about it, if you are looking to arouse controversy, and that is precisely what you have done, but nothing more. As long as I continue to use my Debian 😉

  9.   lolo said

    I am in a course for doctoral and post-doctoral students, 80% have linux (practically all ubuntu) the rest is shared between mac and windows ... but it may not be a representative group 🙂

  10.   Courage said

    Miguel de Icaza = Hypocritical clown.

    First it has been from the Gnome team and now it comes with these.

    You give him some money and he starts doing regaytón in the street and naked.

  11.   Andrew Forero said

    Will there not be or will be able to develop a desktop based on web languages? Perhaps this way it is easier to focus many efforts on just one.

  12.   Guest said

    Some time ago I attended a presentation by a Professor, who was close to Icaza, and he told us how the idea of ​​Gnome came about, and how Icaza started this project. That anecdote

  13.   Miquel Mayol i Tur said

    In MS they are very nervous with the arrival of the ARM64, Samsung has just released a chromebook with ARM good, nice cheap, and ASUS laptops € 60 cheaper with ubuntu pre-installed - it was about time - everyone knows that in the ARM and most likely In the future ARM64 Linux is much better than MS WOS, and in price there will be no color, it only remains to see which flavors triumph, as the output of the ARM64 Tizen Chrome OS Android and Ubuntu will probably coincide with Wayland / Weston, even Open WebOS win on desktop, consoles and Smart TVs to SUSE Archs and Gentoo / Sabayon.

    The recent opening of Samsung and Rasberry Pi drivers indicates a future great improvement of the GPUs for ARM in linux even a competition in performance with the AMD and NVIDIA GPUs, Intel, behind in performance, in drivers for Linux is more advanced than them, opening that or ahcen soon or will catch them little prepared for Linux games with the arrival of Steam to Ubuntu, and then to others and Android with OUYA.

    Almost 50% of XP computers, especially in corporations, would deserve a marketing effort from Red Hat, SUSE and Ubuntu to conquer those enterprise markets, especially by providing virtualization solutions with access to hardware such as XEN VGA Passrhorugh - possible in modern machines and future ARM64 machines that promise to reduce server space by more than 90%, now that they have announced, after several extensions, the end of support for MS WOS XP.

  14.   viko said

    Icaza could be = a gnome …… but Gnome is not = Linux ..
    If Gnome fails it is because Icaza failed, it was his project.
    as the OSX programmers say they are better ... how?
    Refers that many linux programmers migrated to OSX..may be obvious $$
    The desktops I use the most are enlightenment and KDE and I stopped using Gnome in the Shell entry a long time ago.

    Your comment makes me absurd, Icaza was only a grain of sand at Playa de Linux.

    good luck in your Next Projects and comments !!

    because these have been very unwise.

    sds ...

    1.    elav said

      This item is older than a flea .. 🙂

      1.    mmm said

        and why the hell did it come by mail ???

        1.    let's use linux said

          Good question… why?
          Is it because our friend Viko commented? And all of us who were subscribed to the comments on this post received an email?
          Hug! Paul.