Welcome!

Linux Containers Authors: Elizabeth White, Harry Trott, Pat Romanski, Ashish Nanjiani, Yeshim Deniz

Related Topics: Open Source Cloud, Linux Containers

Open Source Cloud: Article

The Linux Desktop Marches On

There was a time when you couldn't shut me up about the Linux desktop

There was a time when you couldn't shut me up about the Linux desktop. I was a fanatic. In 2000, I made the switch to a full-time virus-free Linux desktop and weeks of crash-free computing. I was a zealot. However, I did suffer from a few of the alternative operating systems shortcomings. My preferred desktop vendor deemed my Linux laptop1 unsupported, so if I ever had a problem, I had to boot into Windows to receive assistance. When someone sent me a macro-laden spreadsheet, I was forced to run Excel within a virtualized Windows instance2 to read the document as intended. Finally, when it came to wireless, I suffered a multitude of connection problems. While I loved the speed, the stability, and the security, it lacked convenience.

In the fall of 2006, I sold out; I flipped to another operating system - Mac OS X. I still had a bash shell, UNIX stability, and many of the benefits of my Linux desktop, but I also got manufacturer support for peripherals (specifically my EVDO broadband card to which I have become addicted) and support for my operating system. I didn't go cold turkey; in fact I continued to run a Windows and an Ubuntu Linux virtual machine on my desktop thanks to Parallels. I justified my move to OS X as an open source-inspired operating system3 owing its lineage to BSD. At the heart of my move was a combination of a need for applications and for support for a number of peripherals required for my day job. However, I think I might have acted to quickly.

Despite my personal sellout, I have become even more bullish on the Linux desktop than ever before. You see since my acquisition of a shiny, silver MacBook Pro, the world of the Linux desktop has changed. First, and foremost, Ubuntu - the wildly popular Linux desktop - has come on like gangbusters in the last two years. In January 2006, I published a book4 offering advice for business users on migrating to Linux desktops. I meticulously spelled out all the advantages - stability, security, low cost - and warned of pitfalls - application availability and manufacturer hardware support. In that time I talked about Red Hat Enterprise Linux, Novell SuSE Linux, Debian, Linspire, Xandros, and a few others but made little, if any, mention of Ubuntu. Shortly thereafter I started using Ubuntu, and since then I can't think of single conversation on the Linux desktop where I haven't mentioned the community-driven, financially backed Canonical creation.

On May 1 2007, Dell5, through a partnership with Canonical, the company that sponsors Ubuntu, announced that they would be shipping desktop and notebook products with Ubuntu 7.04. This was a big coup for desktop Linux as this is not Dell's only desktop Linux offering, but pre-installed Linux laptops also implies support for all included hardware from the manufacturer. That's a huge step forward in desktop Linux adoption. Many organizations want to procure their desktop and laptops from a single source. Now, at least those that use Dell can procure both Windows and Linux laptops from a single source. Availability in existing supply channels, in my opinion, is critical for corporate adoption that progress has been made through this deal.

Another point of encouragement is the high-profile philanthropic desktop Linux program - One Laptop per Child (OLPC). OLPC is as much an education initiative as one for Linux desktop adoption. This project aspires to put low-cost computers into the hands of children in developing countries, giving them access to online learning. On May 12, 2007, Uruguay President Vasquez inaugurated the first laptop school in Villa Cardal where 150 children received OLPC laptops. Over the course of the upcoming years, the goal is to put Linux laptops into the hands of children throughout the world. Should OLPC be successful, they will put millions of Linux computers into hands, increasing the ranks of open source users substantially.

In addition, based on lessons that they learned while partnering with the OLPC project, Red Hat launched a new desktop product on May 9, 2007: the Red Hat Global Desktop, a new commercial client operating system. This was a divergence from former Red Hat Linux desktops that consistently mirrored the Red Hat server products. The Red Hat CTO ushered in the new desktop product saying, "Users, requirements, and technologies have changed so dramatically over the past few years that the traditional one-size-fits-all desktop paradigm is simply exhausted. Our strategy is to deliver technologies that are specifically appropriate to these varied constituents, all based on open standards." In addition to this new product, Intel announced that they would, in partnership with Red Hat, offer pre-certified, cost-effective PCs in Intel's reseller channel running the new desktop Linux product.

A final encouraging note is the emergence of cross-distribution application vendors. Specifically an offering announced by Linspire in January to bring one-click deployment of Linux applications to not only their own distributions, Linspire and Freespire, but also Debian, Fedora, OpenSuSE, and Ubuntu. This is an interesting step as it eases adoption of open source and commercial applications uniformly across Linux distributions. It also provides a legal way for desktop users to download commercial codecs for playing Windows Multimedia files and solves other problems associated with delivering commercial or proprietary applications to open source platforms. While I am a fan of Linspire, the truly interesting point is the emergence of cross-distribution desktop vendors. This would almost be analogous to having Windows Update work for Mac OS and Solaris as well as Windows.

My prediction is not that there is an upcoming flood of desktop Linux users. Nor am I trying to position Linux as a David to the Goliath we know as Microsoft. What I do know is that Linux will continue to improve and become a viable alternative to today's mainstream desktops; that support from companies like Red Hat, Dell, Intel, and Canonical will cause slow and steady expansion into the developed and the developing world.

Other Links
• Ubuntu: www.ubuntu.com
• Parallels: www.parallels.com
• Linspire: www.linspire.com
• One Laptop Per Child: www.laptop.org

Endnotes

  1. At this point I was using a Dell Inspirion 9100 running SUSE Linux.
  2. I would typically run Windows 98, with Microsoft Office from within Win4Lin. I was COO of Win4Lin Inc. at that time.
  3. Mac OS X release 10.0 Cheetah was released in March 2001; it was based substantially on the BSD operating system.
  4. Windows to Linux Business Migration by Mark R. Hinkle. Charles River Media, January 2006.
  5. Announcement was made via Direct2Dell Blog - http://direct2dell.com/one2one/archive/2007/05/01/13147.aspx

More Stories By Mark R. Hinkle

Mark Hinkle is the Senior Director, Open Soure Solutions at Citrix. He also is along-time open source expert and advocate. He is a co-founder of both the Open Source Management Consortium and the Desktop Linux Consortium. He has served as Editor-in-Chief for both LinuxWorld Magazine and Enterprise Open Source Magazine. Hinkle is also the author of the book, "Windows to Linux Business Desktop Migration" (Thomson, 2006). His blog on open source, technology, and new media can be found at http://www.socializedsoftware.com.

Comments (1) View Comments

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


Most Recent Comments
Infernoz 06/25/07 07:12:17 PM EDT

Did you even try OpenOffice 2.2 or Wine, or is this just another fluff piece?

@ThingsExpo Stories
In his session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Lachapelle, CEO of the Professional Evaluation and Certification Board (PECB), provided an overview of various initiatives to certify the security of connected devices and future trends in ensuring public trust of IoT. Eric Lachapelle is the Chief Executive Officer of the Professional Evaluation and Certification Board (PECB), an international certification body. His role is to help companies and individuals to achieve professional, accredited and worldwide re...
SYS-CON Events announced today that TechTarget has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. TechTarget storage websites are the best online information resource for news, tips and expert advice for the storage, backup and disaster recovery markets.
The current age of digital transformation means that IT organizations must adapt their toolset to cover all digital experiences, beyond just the end users’. Today’s businesses can no longer focus solely on the digital interactions they manage with employees or customers; they must now contend with non-traditional factors. Whether it's the power of brand to make or break a company, the need to monitor across all locations 24/7, or the ability to proactively resolve issues, companies must adapt to...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Datanami has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Datanami is a communication channel dedicated to providing insight, analysis and up-to-the-minute information about emerging trends and solutions in Big Data. The publication sheds light on all cutting-edge technologies including networking, storage and applications, and the...
SYS-CON Events announced today that EnterpriseTech has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. EnterpriseTech is a professional resource for news and intelligence covering the migration of high-end technologies into the enterprise and business-IT industry, with a special focus on high-tech solutions in new product development, workload management, increased effi...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MobiDev, a client-oriented software development company, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MobiDev is a software company that develops and delivers turn-key mobile apps, websites, web services, and complex software systems for startups and enterprises. Since 2009 it has grown from a small group of passionate engineers and business...
SYS-CON Events announced today that GrapeUp, the leading provider of rapid product development at the speed of business, will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Grape Up is a software company, specialized in cloud native application development and professional services related to Cloud Foundry PaaS. With five expert teams that operate in various sectors of the market acr...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Ayehu will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on October 31 - November 2, 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara California. Ayehu provides IT Process Automation & Orchestration solutions for IT and Security professionals to identify and resolve critical incidents and enable rapid containment, eradication, and recovery from cyber security breaches. Ayehu provides customers greater control over IT infras...
Artificial intelligence, machine learning, neural networks. We’re in the midst of a wave of excitement around AI such as hasn’t been seen for a few decades. But those previous periods of inflated expectations led to troughs of disappointment. Will this time be different? Most likely. Applications of AI such as predictive analytics are already decreasing costs and improving reliability of industrial machinery. Furthermore, the funding and research going into AI now comes from a wide range of com...
In this presentation, Striim CTO and founder Steve Wilkes will discuss practical strategies for counteracting fraud and cyberattacks by leveraging real-time streaming analytics. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Steve Wilkes, Founder and Chief Technology Officer at Striim, will provide a detailed look into leveraging streaming data management to correlate events in real time, and identify potential breaches across IoT and non-IoT systems throughout the enterprise. Strategies for processing massive ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Conference Guru has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. A valuable conference experience generates new contacts, sales leads, potential strategic partners and potential investors; helps gather competitive intelligence and even provides inspiration for new products and services. Conference Guru works with conference organi...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Cloud Academy named "Bronze Sponsor" of 21st International Cloud Expo which will take place October 31 - November 2, 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Cloud Academy is the industry’s most innovative, vendor-neutral cloud technology training platform. Cloud Academy provides continuous learning solutions for individuals and enterprise teams for Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform, and the most popular cloud com...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CA Technologies has been named "Platinum Sponsor" of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place October 31-November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. CA Technologies helps customers succeed in a future where every business - from apparel to energy - is being rewritten by software. From planning to development to management to security, CA creates software that fuels transformation for companies in the applic...
SYS-CON Events announced today that TMC has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo and Big Data at Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Global buyers rely on TMC’s content-driven marketplaces to make purchase decisions and navigate markets. Learn how we can help you reach your marketing goals.
Internet of @ThingsExpo, taking place October 31 - November 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, is co-located with 21st Cloud Expo and will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most profound change in personal and enterprise IT since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago. All major researchers estimate there will be tens of billions devic...
"MobiDev is a Ukraine-based software development company. We do mobile development, and we're specialists in that. But we do full stack software development for entrepreneurs, for emerging companies, and for enterprise ventures," explained Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
SYS-CON Events announced today that IBM has been named “Diamond Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st Cloud Expo, which will take place on October 31 through November 2nd 2017 at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, California.
SYS-CON Events announced today that Telecom Reseller has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Telecom Reseller reports on Unified Communications, UCaaS, BPaaS for enterprise and SMBs. They report extensively on both customer premises based solutions such as IP-PBX as well as cloud based and hosted platforms.
We build IoT infrastructure products - when you have to integrate different devices, different systems and cloud you have to build an application to do that but we eliminate the need to build an application. Our products can integrate any device, any system, any cloud regardless of protocol," explained Peter Jung, Chief Product Officer at Pulzze Systems, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA
Multiple data types are pouring into IoT deployments. Data is coming in small packages as well as enormous files and data streams of many sizes. Widespread use of mobile devices adds to the total. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists looked at the tools and environments that are being put to use in IoT deployments, as well as the team skills a modern enterprise IT shop needs to keep things running, get a handle on all this data, and deliver...