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Former Compiz Developer: Free Software Desktop Might Enter A Dark Age

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  • #31
    Really we are leaving a dark age. Many things are going on.
    1) Android working on using standard DRM/DRI drivers.
    2) Servers needing GPU support because services are using GPU for acceleration.

    Both of these means graphical support has to be taken serous by all users of Linux and using the same driver stack.

    Mir gone will put focus on Wayland. This will put more pressure on Nvidia to make a driver that properly works. It a very simple thing that has trouble with Nvidia closed source drivers it displaying kernel panic when something fails. . I call this a dark age because your computer fails and you are in the dark why.

    Its really simple to forget enlightenment desktop that is used in Tizen. So there are still two competing convergence on Linux KDE and Enlightenment. Unity gone simplify the race for now. Do note the for now. A long time ago Gnome had a convergence project as well ubuntu going back to Gnome could bring that back from the dead.

    Claiming nothing has changed recently is really wrong. AMD moving to open source gpu driver core with that kernel panics do at least work.

    People complain about how much of Linux is administrated from the command line. Think about it for a second. If I am administrating command line locally and something is wrong hardware and it throws a kernel panic you see it. Also over the wire using command line requires less bandwidth. So it bottom of the graphics stack that has need fixing for years without it fixed fully graphical administration has been highly unlikely.

    Wifi there is work to fix the bottom of stack issue there as well. Wpa_supplicant is the common fault that most Wifi faults in Linux trace to. There is a new wireless deamon under development to replace Wpa supplicant because the IOT world cannot stand how broken Wpa supplicant is.

    Now audio we need a alsa re-factor really badly. I am not seeing that coming up soon.

    Order 9 pages allowing Linux to use in memory larger than 4k blocks is going to speed things up on the desktop but this is coming from server world.

    As other parts of Linux world start need and using features the desktop needs those sections have serous existing markets and serous funding to fix the faults. Of course Ubuntu being NIH was causing major friction between those existing markets now needing desktop features on what way should they go.

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    • #32
      What are we, a bunch of drunken (American) football fans! "Cowboys suck!!!!!1111111" "No, Giants suck!!!!!!1111" Really?

      I use Unity on my work laptop and like it, but I have Xfce on an old laptop I use when traveling, MATE on my server/workstation, and Elementary OS on my gaming desktop. So the death of Unity neither thrills nor upsets me.

      I think the thing that will bring the dark age to the free software desktop is Android. The version of Android 99.9% of the public uses is so locked-down and loaded with proprietary apps and firmware that it's effectively as closed as iOS or Windows 10. And my wife, my kids, and my extended family and friends are using their Android devices more and more and their desktop computers less and less. We the power users will continue to run traditional desktop operating systems, but most people won't, and getting someone to switch from Windows 10 to Xubuntu or Elementary OS is a million times easier than getting someone to switch from Android to Replicant.

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      • #33
        Originally posted by debianxfce View Post
        It will be bright age without companies dictating open source code. As Debian user, I see redhat being my enemy when forcing crap software to Debian, pulseaudio, networkmanager, systemd, gnome3 etc. Xfce is true open source desktop and that is why it is stable, ready, fast and freely configurable.

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        • #34
          Originally posted by phoronix View Post
          Do you think the Linux desktop could enter a "dark age"?
          Granted, Sam Spilsbury ended his post on a positive note, but the talk of the possibility of a "dark age" for the free software desktop reminds me a little bit of the hyperbolic headline, "What Killed the Linux Desktop", or, on a different topic, the hyperbolic headline, "systemd: Harbinger of the Linux apocalypse". Free software continues to thrive.

          Free software hasn't been trounced, so reassurance that "free software will rise again" is unneeded. Canonical is concentrating its focus in areas where it has a chance of continuing financial success. That is all. The free software desktop is on the same trajectory, more or less, it's been on for years. It's not conquering the world in a decisive martial push nor is it falling to Earth in a fiery blaze. It's not always smooth sailing, but the ship isn't in danger of sinking anytime soon.

          I'm not always on-board with Canonical's initiatives, but I've never been so put off by Canonical that I wished it would cease to exist as a company, which is more than I can say for Oracle.
          Last edited by eidolon; 07 April 2017, 06:46 PM.

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          • #35
            Originally posted by starshipeleven View Post
            I'll channel Griffin for a moment and boldly state: GNOME is the Enterprise Linux Desktop!!! All bow to its awesomeness and to its mythical QA team.

            Because GNOME is already a standard for businness-oriented distros and has been for a long while already. RHEL and SUSE and even Debian are using GNOME by default. Ubuntu didn't decide to switch to GNOME (against most of its userbase, again) by chance.

            So no, while your argument is valid, (companies don't like UI changes), this isn't an issue for Linux distros used by companies anyway as they have already adopted a standard.

            Who the fuck cares about DEs used in distros not used by companies, let them live free.
            You're too far in the weeds, I'm talking simply about creating a standard, much like LSB. Nobody is forced to adopt LSB, but it exists for those who wish to conform to it. Likewise, a GUI standard could be devised for those (RHEL, SuSE, other business-focused desktop/workstation distros) who wish to conform to it. Until a standard exists, any documentation, training, and other corporate-centric materials will be forced to be distro-specific. I don't understand the beef over developing a standard?

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            • #36
              What will we ever do without Unity and Mir, the world has ended... /sarcasm

              Meanwhile I'm very happy on my manjaro kde system, and this is coming from someone who has tried almost all the ubuntu releases several times over...

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              • #37
                With the end to Unity and Mir what will happen to snappy. Like will we see unity around flatpak now? So starting to close off a historic problem of cross distribution of applications?

                I don't see how Linux Desktop is entering a dark age. It more in the progress of leaving it. LSB has basically failed because it attempted to-do the impossible. Like it or not you need multi version of Libraries when you are running programs across distributions. We have had no common standard for providing multi versions of libraries.

                Systemd is a clear sign that things started changing. Like pulseaudio before it. People forget before pulseaudio having 6+ different sound server competing for the desktop was not particularly fun. Before systemd we had like 9+ init systems all broken in different ways with one of the most broken as default. Without systemd starting use and get the defects in cgroups and namespaces fixed something like flatpak or snappy would not be possible. It funny even that docker came first docker did not work on fixing up the kernel side defects instead worked around them.

                There is a common on going problem of userspace living with kernel defects instead of getting them fixed.

                https://wiki.gnome.org/Projects/SandboxedApps

                Yes gnome has it flag for cross platform package solution at this stage clearly behind flatpak not snappy. We might at long last have true unity around a working cross distribution package system.

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                • #38
                  Well, I remember still when Ubuntu started, with the promise that they were going to be a standard Gnome desktop based on Debian Sid, and snapshot it for release every 6 months. That very 6 month release cycle was based upon the gnome release cycle. It still is to this day. Once Ubuntu decided to ditch Gnome and go their own way was when I started to ditch them as well. Seemed right around that time that it started to become less stable overall (not just the desktop, but things like kernel upgrades would break the whole system). I indeed switched full time to Debian, and not only that, I started re-installing other people's systems that I had set up with Ubuntu (because they were becoming corrupted even though they were hardly used..).

                  So for them to go back to Gnome is good in reality. Same with them ditching upstart for systemd, and mir for wayland. It makes them so they're 'just another distro' but that's actually a good thing, so people aren't attempting to write for Ubuntu and.. others.

                  I do have to wonder if they'll go the RHEL/CentOS way and setup Gnome Classic by default, or will set up Gnome-shell, or Gnome-shell with extensions enabled by default. I currently use Debian Stretch, and the only extensions I use are the monitoring stuff, and the weather. Otherwise Gnome stays out of my way and works great! Never understood Unity, since it's basically the same as Gnome, but with a permanent dock by default? Was there any other real differences from a users point of view?

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                  • #39
                    The Linux desktop has been in a dark age for awhile now. It's practically an unusable pile of crap.

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                    • #40
                      Originally posted by leech View Post
                      Never understood Unity, since it's basically the same as Gnome, but with a permanent dock by default? Was there any other real differences from a users point of view?
                      I never could get used to operating without a dock, so the difference was big to me. I gave GNOME Shell a try for weeks at a time more than once, and just couldn't get used to it. No offense or disrespect to the people that are fine with it.

                      Originally posted by johnc
                      The Linux desktop has been in a dark age for awhile now. It's practically an unusable pile of crap.
                      Really? It's been my main desktop for years without problems. What's wrong with it?

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