[Dclug] Where is Linux today?
serge at wroclawski.org
Tue Jun 17 13:29:52 EDT 2008
> 2) We don't want Linux conferences any more.
I don't agree.
We don't want as many conferences but technical conferences are still
appreciated, but over time the conferences shifted from technical, to
a wider audience, to business oriented, and we're seeing a shift back
to smaller technical conferences. They're necessary for the health of
the community, just not in the old way.
> 3) A successful Linux conference today would require a big effort and
> big money to produce.
As someone who seriously considered organizing a conference in DC, I
can see why you'd think this, but I don't agree. It's about your
If you wanted to run Linux Expo (as we went to back in the late 90s)
then yes, it's a huge effort and lots of money, but there's value in
smaller events, and if you work at it, you get the community to
support you ala LugRadio, a relatively new conference but a very
> 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?
This is a separate issue I'd love to talk about in another thread. The
community has a lot to offer the average user still, in new and
innovative ways. I rail against people who sell GNU/Linux the "old
way"- ala with FVWM and Emacs + LaTeX to average users, but there are
plenty of "average people" I know using Ubuntu and happy with it, and
only some of them asked me to help them.
> 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.
Yes, but there's a good argument to be made that the things that tied
a user down have decreased as well as we've made better tools and
moved to an online model.
> 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,
If your only reason for using GNU/Linux was this, then I'd agree with
your assessment, but this is fundamentally where Open Source folks split
with Free Software people such as myself. Technical superiority was
only one of many goals.
> I think Linux is stalled and I think that's why we don't see community
> events anymore.
I think you're not paying attention.
> So what do you think? Are you excited about Linux? Why?
About "Linux", no. I haven't found anything exciting in the kernel for
years. The ecosystem of Free Software gets more exciting every day.
* Now with my music player I can listen to music directly from
artists around the world, DRM free and contribute directly to
them. I can connect to multiple online stores and pay with each
one, or use tools to help me find new artists.
* My photo manager software has an API to connect to multiple online
sites to see and store photos. Not only can I see and store, I can
even order photos online or interact with the sites in new ways.
* The GNOME Live project is working to let me store my profile
online safely and completely, giving me the fundamental power of my
computer while convince of more restrictive operating systems
* The OpenMoko project is working on a 100% Free Software phone
platform, opening the way for new applications to be written which
replace existing functionality (aka the old PDA) along with new
applications which integrate with online services using geolocation
and social networks.
* If Wikipedia wasn't exciting enough, the WikiMedia project is
working on a Semantic version of WikiMedia, if this were applied to
Wikipedia, it would create the largest semantic web application in
the world, and could form the basis of a new "Web 3.0", which in
turn could allow the future vision of the world we've been talking
about since the early 90s in regards to intelligent searching and
* New low-cost hardware platforms such as the Arduino are making
embedded computing available for very low cost and providing a
hardware and software stack for single purpose embedded
computers. These could do anything from be simple sensors to meshed
into complex systems we're just starting to explore.
What's not to be excited about?
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