back to article Laugh all you want. There will be a year of the Linux desktop

It has become a running joke. "20xx will be the year of the Linux desktop." The punchline is, of course, it will never happen. But the real jape is that there will soon be a year of the Linux desktop. It's just not going to happen the way Linux fanboi have believed it will. The Linux desktop dream has been that companies and …

  1. karlkarl Silver badge

    The Windows desktop will regress so much that whatever the open-source community churns out will win by default.

    It is a result I suppose...

    Though more and more I strongly feel that a startup specializing in brand new Windows 2000 capable hardware will do very well.

    1. Oh Homer

      re: Windows 2000 capable hardware

      Just "web browser capable hardware" would do it, frankly.

      Our entire business is run on cloud services, accessed via a browser. Literally everything, from accounting to customer support. Nobody here has even heard of Active Directory (except me, the resident geek).

      Every PC at this company runs whatever version of Windows it shipped with, plus Chrome.

      Local storage requirements are basically zero. With the right login, we can access everything from any of those PCs. Add any new device at any location in our business, and it's fully operational without installing anything, other than Chrome and the right login.

      Any system goes titsup, we don't even bother wasting time with a diagnosis, we just redeploy from a standard image, or pull another box out of the warehouse as a last resort.

      We could literally run bare-bones kiosk systems with barely any operating system and a browser, and we'd not notice even the slightest difference.

      For us, the OS is literally irrelevant. It's just a delivery vehicle for the browser, which in turn is just a vehicle for cloud services.

      OK so what happens when the internet goes down?

      Well the reality is that, without various forms of internet-based coms, and especially electronic payments, there wouldn't be much for us to do anyway, at least nothing that generates any actual revenue.

      So worrying about the internet going down is like not buying a car because sometimes the roads are flooded by freak weather. Only worse, because typically public roads don't come with guaranteed Service Level Agreements and compensation packages.

      Of course, this whole line of reasoning falls apart if you have permanently crap internet, like I do at home. I can barely stream a 480p YouTube video, much less an entire operating system plus AAA games. So for home users like me, and there are plenty of us out there, DaaS is nothing but a distant dream.

      1. LybsterRoy Silver badge

        Re: re: Windows 2000 capable hardware

        Sound like you've gone back to the good old mainframe days just with someone else owning the mainframe - I know lets call then computer bureaus

  2. Binraider Silver badge

    Desktop: fine. Lots of GUI options and most of them pretty good. Software? Lots available, of highly variable quality. When it comes to killer applications though, I do not need to preach that without support, users will not come. And support will not come without users.

    Libreoffice > MS Office; for a lot of things yes. However, GIMP != Photoshop. Ardour != Reason (or other DAW of choice). Games support - highly variable, often unsupported. And yes, I am a that rare self-flagellating linux gamer. I fully accept a whole bunch of stuff I cannot run because of that choice.

    The real killer though, above all, the enemy is Active sodding Directory. Enterprise deployment tools for MS and especially package managers are mostly crap and require third party stuff to make fly... But , AD is incredibly embedded in desktop IT. The only way to break this is either some sort of compatibility layer with AD, or building a complete replacement with equivalent capabilities.

    I'd be happy to see a project try the latter; and I am not holding my breath that RHEL or SUSE are going to do it themselves. Do they seriously want to offer a full blown desktop and administration alternative to Win/Exchange/AD?

    I still think a more likely scenario for mainstream linux desktop is Windows 13 becoming the bastard spawn of Canonical/MS. MS is involved in Linux distros already of it's own spin, so it is not beyond wit to see this coming.

    The other possible route is web applications getting good enough to not care about local desktop. This, I am not holding my breath on for any number of reasons.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Having tried Microsoft's spin on a Linux distro, I can tell you they are trying to make it as much like the Windows experience as they can. And by that, I mean even so far as to screw up simple patching (deleing a directory it needs, then failing to apply an update because said directory is missing - and it was security related).

      <sigh>

    2. werdsmith Silver badge

      MS Windows as a wrapper/bridge interface providing AD services and legacy app support to a Linux desktop in the form of a much enhanced and in the foreground WSLx. WSL standing for Windows Supersystem for Linux.

      1. georgezilla Silver badge

        " ... WSL standing for Windows Supersystem for Linux ... "

        Huh.

        And here I was thinking it stood for ............... Windows SUCKS, use Linux.

        Thanks a lot.

      2. LDS Silver badge

        Actually - you need it the other way round - a Linux system that can run Win32 applications or user won't switch for years to come. Users don't use OS or desktops, they use applications. Not all applications can be turned into web ones easily - because latency may matter. Even MS is selling you subscription of applications that runs locally.

        Linux desktop applications simply sucks because there are only amateurish GUI libraries and development tools - and because there is not a single stack, it's a bunch of different technologies glued together somehow - that's at least something macOS doesn't suffer and that's why there excellent desktop applications for macOS. Plus the GPL issue of many of them, and lack of backward and forward compatibility.

        It is true that MS itself is trying to follow the Linux Way To Make Things Ugly trying again and again to replace Win32 with something uglier, less friendly and less powerful. The fact that with all that help from MS itself Linux can't go anywhere should make Linux fan think twice - maybe there's something deeply wrong in Linux itself that need to be solved instead of just whining.

        Sure, maybe if most desktop applications move to the cloud and web interfaces more people will access them through a Linux machine - just it will look more like ChromeOS that a Linux desktop. After all, what MS is trying to achieve is the same Google did with Chrome.

        1. LybsterRoy Silver badge

          -- a Linux system that can run Win32 applications --

          Upvoted for this and not mentioning WINE

    3. theOtherJT Silver badge

      Not sure I agree about that...

      We've been operating without AD perfectly well at my current place for years, and my previous job, while we had it, it was a vestigial stump of a thing and all our actual desktop management was done through puppet and powershell.

      Outlook, on the other hand, is impossible to fucking kill. You will prise Outlook from an office drone's cold, dead hands. Excel too. If we used O365 as our mail provider then maybe we could get away without desktop Outlook, but we don't.

      We use google as our mail provider, Macs as our primary desktop, and still we have people demanding Outlook - and then when they discover that the Mac version of outlook isn't quite the same as the Windows one, they demand a Windows VM to run Windows Outlook in on their Mac.

      ...they get it too, because these people include the PA's of senior executives, and they'll just order us to do whatever the PA wants for the sake of a quiet life. It doesn't matter how insane it is, until we can run the MS office suite in it's entirety on Linux it's a dead end.

      There are now an entire generation of PA's, Accountants, Legal assistants, HR bods - back office staff of every kind - who have used MS office for their entire careers and they will commit cold blooded murder before they're prepared to give it up now.

      That goes double for the kinds of people - and you have met them, we've all met them - who will call the helpdesk if they accidentally re-order the icons on their desktop. They have no idea how to use their computer. They've memorized a handful of tasks inside Office that they do day in, day out, and they simply will not be trained to use something else - and since that most definitely includes many of the aforementioned senior executives, good luck getting management buy in on the idea that we should try and force them to.

      1. Snake Silver badge

        Re: MS Office

        "There are now an entire generation of PA's, Accountants, Legal assistants, HR bods - back office staff of every kind - who have used MS office for their entire careers and they will commit cold blooded murder before they're prepared to give it up now."

        More like:

        "There are now an entire generation of PA's, Accountants, Legal assistants, HR bods - back office staff of every kind - who have used MS office for their entire careers and they won't, can CAN'T, worry about and give up compatibility with their saved data just to switch to an OS and matching office suite that does not guarantee any real benefits in productivity or benefits!".

        FIFY.

        I'm horribly sorry, but in August I just PROVED that LO is *still* not compatible with the latest MS Office .DOX formats.

        https://forums.theregister.com/forum/all/2022/08/19/libreoffice_7_4/#c_4517657

        So why should these back office staff switch both their OS *and* their office productivity suite if they can't guarantee that they'll be able to open their documents and continue with their work unimpeded?? Just to satisfy the [false] promises of the F/OSS community about some proposed "benefit"?

        It's bullshaite. And, no, it is NOT MS's responsibility to create a .DOCX format that allows others a guarantee of compatibility. They don't have to - it's their format, their software, to call the shots on.

        1. theOtherJT Silver badge

          Re: MS Office

          And, no, it is NOT MS's responsibility to create a .DOCX format that allows others a guarantee of compatibility. They don't have to - it's their format, their software, to call the shots on.

          In this you are entirely correct. Which is why .docx format should never be used in order to remain compliant with the document standards requirements laid out in the Equality Act 2010. The UK government goes as far as to explicitly recommend .odt or html in their accessibility guidelines.

          So, no, it's not Microsoft's responsibility to comply. But it may well be yours if you work in the UK.

          1. Snake Silver badge

            Re: Equity Act 2010

            But we must remember that the foundations of .DOC[x] go back several decades before the Equity Act. So demanding standards that do not including a decades-old legacy format, then complaining that said format doesn't meet the (new) standards, is a choice that ALL parties are responsible for not simply pointing the finger solely at MS for blame.

        2. Adair Silver badge

          Re: MS Office

          And it's nobody else's responsibility, or obligation, to use a proprietary, exclusionary and non-archival compliant document standard. If people choose to use such, either through ignorance or pig headedness, well, on their heads be it.

          Other people, having stepped away from the hype and the FUD, simply tell <proprietary shit flinger> to 'do one', and use what actually makes sense.

        3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: MS Office

          "It's bullshaite. And, no, it is NOT MS's responsibility to create a .DOCX format that allows others a guarantee of compatibility. They don't have to - it's their format, their software, to call the shots on."

          Didn't MS force it's formats through as "open standards" or something? Don't they have a responsibility to that? Or can we just say it's yet another example of MS setting and then moving the goal posts for their own benefit?

        4. Zolko Silver badge

          Re: MS Office

          not compatible with the latest MS Office .DOX formats

          well, MS-Office isn't compatible with MS-Office either. Try to exchange a Word file in different versions across different languages and you'll have lots of fun

          .DOCX ... it's their format

          hold-on: isn't it an ISO standard ? Wasn't this the entire reason they managed to cancel governmental obligations to use the ISO standard ODF format, because their format was also an ISO standard ?

        5. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: MS Office

          Eh? What is this madness?

          If they need to access an old archive of documents for reference they can us the online version of the Microsoft Office suite for compatibility.

          You don't need a full office suite to maintain compatibility with your old documents. Microsoft already provided a platform agnostic way to do this.

        6. Adair Silver badge

          Re: MS Office

          PS - we could just as easily moan that MS Word isn't compatible with .odt - which it isn't as MS defines the Open Document standard according to its own lights (obviously not wanting to encourage usage of the format).

          So, basically no one is completely compatible with anyone else's format because self interest, stupidity, and ideological purity always get in the way.

          Maybe I'll just stick with ASCII and LaTeX. :-D

      2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Not sOutlook, on the other hand, is impossible to fucking kill. ure I agree about that...

        We just got orders from corporate IT not to use Outlook locally and to delete any PST files.

        I'm assuming somebody got caught with saved evidence of something that the Office365 version could have deleted.

        All the Office365/Teams/sharepoint stuff works perfectly from Edge under Linux.

        Ironically it's mostly hardware that need to keep a Windows dual-boot, there are no good CAD / FPGA / PCB tools under Linux

        1. martinusher Silver badge

          Re: Not sOutlook, on the other hand, is impossible to fucking kill. ure I agree about that...

          >no good CAD / FPGA / PCB tools under Linux

          The irony being that the typical FPGA environment (that's the sort I'm most used to) is a Linux application that just happens to be running under Cygwin.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Not sure I agree about that...

        I am also scared that the next version of outlook will only support office 365 exchange and they will remove IMAP (which they have nerfed setting up already) and the ability to run other email servers then their own. (MDaemon,Zimbra.)

        When the happens a large part of my income will dwindle down to a trickle.

        So if Linux can give me an alternative to AD that I can use in small SMB environment, then maybe I can deploy it and save some money for my clients by using Linux.

        1. IGnatius T Foobar !

          Re: Not sure I agree about that...

          So if Linux can give me an alternative to AD that I can use in small SMB environment, then maybe I can deploy it and save some money for my clients by using Linux.

          I assume you've looked at FreeIPA? It's feature equivalent to AD and can set up two-way trusts and replication if you're trying to supplant AD in an existing environment.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Not sure I agree about that...

            picking nits: I'm not sure "supplant AD" (replace it) is the recommended way to look at it.

            AIUI, the FreeIPA folks recommend adding FreeIPA service with trusts etc. to existing AD environment, for Linux client auth, rather than trying to replace AD altogether.

            ... unless you're dispensing with Windows entirely, in which case do carry on with FreeIPA, and cheers to you!

          2. Mr. Flibble

            Re: Not sure I agree about that...

            Hmm, not sure it's feature equivalent at all - I tried it as I really didn't want a Domain Controller at home, but wanted something similar.

            The equivalent of AD Users and Computers GUI is rubbish, and there's no way of creating OUs easily. All users are just shown in a massive list, with not heirarchy.

            You have to use something like "Apache Directory something" as a client instead to get the structure.

            It also uses Dogtag for SSL certs for clients, and I thought, great, I can also use it for my CA, and asked in forums/IRC (can't remember) on the best way of doing this, and was told in no uncertain terms that this would be a bad idea and to use a separate instance for my CA, which adds complexity for no reason.

            I'd like to like it, but gave up as after a while, a reboot would destroy the LDAP indexes and I would have faff about sorting it out before any auth services would actually load.

            Ok, it was the Turnkey Linux image, so maybe if i had used something else it might have been more stable, but it in general if was pretty disappointing.

            As much as I hate MS, I do like AD, it's just a shame they are trying to get rid of it so eventually you will only be able to useuse their cloudy crap....

            If anyone else can recommend a decent OSS (LDAP) alternative to AD, I'm all ears....

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          You know tthat samba can emulate AD since v4.0

          You know that samba can emulate AD since v4.0, do you, no only it works and works well (except on some enterprisey extremes) but it can be managed from windows using RSAT – Microsoft Remote Server Administration Tools.

      4. LDS Silver badge

        "We've been operating without AD perfectly well at my current place for years"

        And what IAM are you using? Puppet and poweshell can't replace AD fully - the authentication and authorization part.

      5. Mockup1974

        Re: Not sure I agree about that...

        >We use google as our mail provider, Macs as our primary desktop

        But why? Outlook and Windows are just better products than Gmail and Mac.

        And I say that as a Thunderbird/Linux user.

    4. tekHedd

      DAW of choice?

      "Ardour != Reason (or other DAW of choice)."

      Bitwig is in fact my DAW of choice, and would be even if it didn't run great on Linux. Which it does.

      1. jonathan keith

        Re: DAW of choice?

        As does REAPER, my DAW of choice. My big problem with DAWs on Linux is the lack of linux-native instrument and FX plugins.

    5. MrReynolds2U

      AD doesn't need Microsoft.

      Samba has come a long way and I use it for some clients as a drop in replacement for AD. Sure the tooling could be more friendly but if you want centralised control of authentication, file shares, printers and policies, then Samba already does it. Even if the best way to configure it is a cross between Windows RSAT and Linux command line.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Samba and Windows server.

        One of the hidden gems is linking a samba server to your windows AD structure. It plays nice as a member server in your DC pool. From there you can have it export your AD config and accounts in a save and portable format. If the actual widows DC falls down you can Restore the 'NIX box, sync back to your rebuild windows DC, and then promote windows back to the FMSO master faster then trying to do a [DANGEROUS AND UNSAFE] restore of your DC, or rebuilding everything using powershell scripts, which you mostly have to do from scratch.

        As a caveat, we are still taking backups of the DC's even if we plan not to use them, as it is possible the Samba restore could cough up a hairball.

        Why still use Windows server at all? Some of the Azure/365 stuff is moving fast enough that I'd trust things like the AD/Azure sync tool a little more then a fresh alpha/beta test feature on Samba. Ad corruption is a real bitch. Also, you have a stable system where if you have a staff change, if the new admin is not a unix fan, you can just down the 'nix box and go back to doing everything the windows way.

        1. bazza Silver badge

          Re: Samba and Windows server.

          Samba certainly is pretty good, though it is a (deliberate) subset of the full gamut of what Windows Server can do. And backup up the domain content from a Samba DC is a very cool trick, which I use. All in all, starting off with Samba knowing that you can migrate to full-fat Windows Server if necessary is also pretty cool.

          One of the absent things is that GPOs are not synchronised between Samba servers and anything else (out of the box). There are ways and means - a cron rsync works well between Samba DCs, and there are other ways to sync to a Windows DC - but it'd be really nice if it participated in syncing just like a Windows server does.

          What I find hugely amusing is that, for a number of system development projects I see, people keep piling up requirements around user management that ultimately end up being a description of AD. Sometimes I just wonder why on earth people don't just admit they need AD, and drop in a Samba server to do it (if they don't want Windows). Even in very small systems you can run a Samba DC; just drop it on an RPi running Ubuntu (if you can get one), and that's perfectly capable of serving up a lot of AD activity no problems at all.

    6. Robert Grant Silver badge

      I am also a Linux gamer! I don't play the most cutting edge games at high settings, but loads of games work with Steam compatibility these days, and Gabe Newell seems hell-bent on improving that situation more and more.

      I agree with your points though, except I'd just buy a Mac for people who need Photoshop! And Ubuntu just released quite a few more AD features (https://ubuntu.com/blog/new-active-directory-integration-features-in-ubuntu-22-04-part-1), so perhaps this will remove that objection a little.

    7. StrangerHereMyself Silver badge

      Active Directory is merely a database containing user information plus some challenge response mechanism to authenticate the users stored in that database. There's nothing special about it.

      It's so trivial no one has ever bothered to replicate it.

  3. Piro Silver badge

    Microsoft is working hard to make it a reality

    It's rather impressive, really.

  4. Howard Sway Silver badge

    the Windows 11 Insider Preview Build now incorporates your credit card information into Windows

    I think this, more than anything else will have more people moving to actual Linux desktops, rather than any cloudy stuff. So,as opposed to the arguments made in this piece, it might well happen the old fashioned local installation way rather than the cloud virtual desktop subscription racket. Even a moderately comfortable family, running a desktop system, with additional laptops for both parents and kids are going to face quite a monthly cost to be able to access both desktops and office software.

    This will make them far more open to the idea of a traditional standalone desktop OS and office suite, especially if they can be helped to discover that they can get it for free and it's easy to install. Of course there are still obstacles to this, the main ones I've found being the non inclusion of media playback codecs and software that supports them. However, times are tough for many people right now, and forcing an eternal subscription on them can only push more people to give Linux a try, and discover that it indeed is a much better desktop experience than bloaty greedy naggy Windows these days, as well as being a big money saver.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: the Windows 11 Insider Preview Build now incorporates your credit card information into Windows

      Just don't count on that, OK ? Windows users are going to take any imaginable abuse from Microsoft. They've proven it for more than two decades.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: the Windows 11 Insider Preview Build now incorporates your credit card information into Windows

        Right, the windows user base has hammered M$ into submission on multiple occasions. (really, almost every other full version windows release).

        The torches and pitchforks don't come out for every slight or outrage, but they do force features changes.

        Mandating a CC isn't going to last outside of a preview build. A huge part of the windows user base are biz machines, where most empoyees aren't getting their hands on a company card without prying it out of a dead managers hands.

        Parents are going to be equally unhappy about entering them on their kids gaming machines. That's a slow death on two fronts.

        1. Dan 55 Silver badge

          Re: the Windows 11 Insider Preview Build now incorporates your credit card information into Windows

          Really? There are people who pay monthly or yearly for Office 365 and then do practically nothing with them apart from open DOC and XLS files.

          There are parents who put their credit card info into Android or iOS then get reemed when their kid buys DLC and loot boxes.

          It will catch on because 99% of people will just shrug and say that's what Windows needs to work. They can barely tell the difference between their CC info in microsoft.com and their CC info in the Microsoft Store app as it is. Putting their CC info in Settings is practically indistinguishable.

          Mandating a CC isn't going to last outside of a preview build.

          That's what we told ourselves about telemetry.

    2. captain veg Silver badge

      Re: the Windows 11 Insider Preview Build now incorporates your credit card information into Windows

      My own brother, I recently discovered, depends on Apple Pay for ordinary shopping. To the extent that he was worried, while we were in Spain, whether it would be accepted there. It was, of course, but the point is that he had no backup plan if it did not.

      Frankly I despair, but I'm afraid that this is the new normal.

      Once you've got the public used to the likes of Apple taking monthly variable payments directly out of their bank accounts it's a small step to start charging an initially insignificant levy to make that convenience work. To encourage sign-up this token payment "buys" you software that you used to have to pay fairly serious money for. Windows, for example. Or Office.

      Once quasi-universal, jack up the monthly charge!

      I'm afraid that this is clearly the intention. Put everything online and charge for access, In that world it matters not a jot which O/S, free or not, you're running locally.

      I doesn't need to be like this. FOSS on the desktop is an admirable objective. FOSS mediating online transactions, whether or not there's money involved, is absolutely crucial. We desperately need a federated micropayment system.

      -A.

      1. 桜沢墨

        Re: the Windows 11 Insider Preview Build now incorporates your credit card information into Windows

        Isn't cryptocurrency a FOSS federated transaction system? It's obviously not perfect, since things like proof of work are not ideal, but I can't really imagine how a federated as in one person can host their own server for transactions would work. It seems like it would have either too much centralization or too much fragmentation for it to be that useful. If that's what you meant by micropayment system anyways.

        Anyways, I totally agree with you about pretty much everything else that you said. It's very sad that it's the new normal. I suppose even with people, companies are still embracing, extending, and extiguishing.

    3. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: the Windows 11 Insider Preview Build now incorporates your credit card information into Windows

      If they did that, I think you'd actually just see a lot more use of Apple devices and Chromebooks, not lots of people switching to Linux. You're also just not going to see that. The predictions that Microsoft will conveniently do something to completely destroy their market are unlikely and usually wishful thinking from those people who hate anything Microsoft does, including but not limited to their stupid things.

      Microsoft would love everyone to use a virtual desktop in Azure for home machines. They also have more than two brain cells and know that's never going to happen. It's a viable product for businesses who want to scale machines or who do in fact have a BYOD policy, but it's not going to go down well with hardware manufacturers who are told to build dumb terminals, nor with customers who would immediately find a good way to break the dumb terminals. Suggesting that Microsoft will do something like that as the only option, rather than as a business-focused feature that they're happy for you to also buy, is akin to suggesting that they'll just give up on having Windows and update all their customers to your favorite alternative. You might like it if they did, but it's not going to happen, and for more than ideological reasons.

  5. JimmyPage
    FAIL

    Nope. Ain't gonna happen.

    I've been using various flavours of Ubuntu since 2005. That's nearly how long a child born then needs to wait to vote.

    In then I have repeated seen the Linux desktop kyboshed by the community.

    No Exchange server client (so no Outlook equivalent).

    Breaking Bluetooth.

    Ignoring Miracast.

    are just 3 mis steps that have killed every attempt I have made to interest my employers over that time.

    1. badflorist Silver badge

      Re: Nope. Ain't gonna happen.

      There's a lot of truth to this but "Exchange server client" and "Outlook equivalent"?? The last year I connected to a Exchange server using Linux was ~2001 (it was before 9/11). Outlook is the equivalent of a client so?

      Your example of Bluetooth and Miracast is valid as it seems anything radio related on Linux is problematic. The Bluetooth is getting better but, unless you put something in .bashrc for the startup routines of bluez, I don't feel it's dependable. Miracast, even if it works flawlessly on windows, is kind of a bad example as Google made it extremely picky to initialize on hardware that wasn't Google made. Miracast is essentially a proprietary wall garden application :-/.

      Is it "Linux _on_ the desktop" or should it be "KDE _for_ the desktop"?

      I've run KDE as my main desktop since KDE 2 and outside of my taskbar I don't often realize it's KDE and not macOS or Windows or whatever... I only care that I have Dolphin, Kate and the rest of the GNU load out (a bazillion things to name). As far as Linux specifically, I really don't utilize what Linux offers besides enabling a Unix like shell (No... PowerShell isn't an equivalent).

      It's not that Linux is more technical, it's that Linux offers full technical assistance so, you hear a lot of technicalities about it. Windows is notorious, NOTORIOUS for not opening** anything up about their O.S. In fact at one point, their own developers didn't know half of the APIs that existed, both userland and system!!! So, it's no surprise Windows isn't advertise as a technical O.S. because how could you ever be technical with it?

      ** You can't claim Window is more "Open", nobody really know half the shit they're funneling out under their users with that spy game telemetry crap.

      1. captain veg Silver badge

        Re: Is it "Linux _on_ the desktop" or should it be "KDE _for_ the desktop"?

        Hmm.

        I like KDE.

        I don't use it habitually. I use Cinnamon, because that's the line of least resistance on the distro of least resistance*.

        It's a bit brown, but otherwise just a graphical desktop much like any other. That's kind of the point.

        -A.

        * I last changed distro back in 2017. From openSuSE to Mint, if you must know, I'd been using Lubuntu in parallel, which is where I realised that DEB packages just work better than RPMs.

        1. bofh1961

          Re: Is it "Linux _on_ the desktop" or should it be "KDE _for_ the desktop"?

          I'm using Cinnamon on Fedora 37 for the better Bluetooth experience more than anything. I wouldn't expect anyone who isn't tech savvy to use it though. My biggest beef with LM and Ubuntu is that the automatic updates get frozen when the updater package itself requires an update. The average end user would never know that the updates aren't happening.

          1. ICL1900-G3 Bronze badge

            Re: Is it "Linux _on_ the desktop" or should it be "KDE _for_ the desktop"?

            Really? I've been on Mint and Debian for many many years. Never seen this problem you mention. Mint tells you the updater needs updating, then shows you the updates when it's done it.

          2. Col_Panek

            Re: Is it "Linux _on_ the desktop" or should it be "KDE _for_ the desktop"?

            "I wouldn't expect anyone who isn't tech savvy to use it though."

            You mean like my wife, who can't change the stations on her car radio? I got news for you. Mint is easier than Windows nowadays.

    2. cornetman Silver badge

      Re: Nope. Ain't gonna happen.

      I do wonder if a "significant" event could change that situation. Like how remote working and video software got a huge boost by the coof.

      A significant upheaval in the computing industry, the likes hinted at in the article, could be the push to make a lot of software companies make that happen. The coof made some companies become very rich, very quickly like Zoom for instance.

      I'm in two minds on that though. A lot of said companies are already working to convert their offerings into remote rental products, so maybe not. :(

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Nope. Ain't gonna happen.

        "coof"

        What? I'm guessing, from context, you mean Covid. But coof? Where does that come from?

        1. cornetman Silver badge

          Re: Nope. Ain't gonna happen.

          > What? I'm guessing, from context, you mean Covid. But coof? Where does that come from?

          It has been the go-to euphemism for Covid used by a lot of YouTubers these days since a lot of content producers have been finding that even *mentioning* the pandemic in passing seems to increase their chances of demonetisation regardless of the actual main content of the video. It has become just too risky to use the real word, so it's just easier to use euphemisms instead.

          It has subsequently entered to common Internet parlance.

    3. _olli

      Re: Nope. Ain't gonna happen.

      Broken Bluetooth support harassing user still in Ubuntu 22 is the thing that annoys me enough to stay in Windows 11 for now also. Would be so cool if my wireless headphones and loudspeakers would some day work longer than 20 seconds at a time. It took years and years for Microsoft to get wireless devices support right in Windows, so eagerly waiting Linux to get that right any decade now.

      As the article pointed out, Outlook runs nowadays well enough in web browser.

  6. vtcodger Silver badge

    #@$Drivers

    One problem for many (most?) businesses and individual users is the lack of unix drivers (that actually work) for many older peripherals. Linux is good with networking, file systems, and monitors. Printers,scanners,etc? Not so much. Custom hardware? Forget it. And unix is a hell of a lot less aggravating for system administrators to work with than Windows. (No Registry for starters). But if your workflow depends on some older piece of gear, you may be stuck with Windows pretty much forever.

    1. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: #@$Drivers

      I will not purchase any printer that is not CUPS-capable, nor a scanner that is "not SANE". As for the rest, it is true that SOME hardware vendors play the windows-only game, but nowadays [with some exceptions] even cheap garbage from China seems to have Linux support, particularly when it comes to bluetooth and network things.

      as for older gear, you are probably right. There are industrial systems out there that have Windows 98 control software (and no path for upgrade)

      1. Binraider Silver badge

        Re: #@$Drivers

        I've seen such industrial control systems with WIndows 98 installed on high-value instrumentation, with ethernet connections that definitely make their way onto the open internet.

        "Never" been a problem so sayeth the owners. Until the day it is.

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: #@$Drivers

        "even cheap garbage from China seems to have Linux support,"

        Isn't China in another drive to switch from Windows to a home-grown Linux distro at the moment? They;ve tried a few times with varying levels of success so I can imagine Chinese hardware havine Linux support as standard either because someone has strongly recommended that from high up in the party, or because it's an actual requirement. Anyone know how that's currently going over there these days?

    2. BenDwire Silver badge

      Re: #@$Drivers

      I've never had a problem with printer support in Linux, but then again I only use decent older single-function printers (My HP Laserjet 6p is still going strong!). Scanners support is very hit and miss though, and I resorted to using Windows in a Virtualbox VM just to use the flaky Epson software. (Wine coudldn't cope with it).

      I had a plan to convert my entire business to Linux as they were already using cross-platform programs, but I decided that I couldn't be arsed to deal with all the "personalities" involved and got someone in to "upgrade" to Win 10 instead.

      1. James Anderson

        Re: #@$Drivers

        Never had a problem with printer scanner drivers with Linux. However have had to discard a couple of working devices as windows upgrades trashed the drivers.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: #@$Drivers

          Happened to me too. I had to discard a perfectly functional Canon scanner and a Microsoft joystick when Windows 7 refused to support them. Not to mention about a 15 year old Dell Latitude laptop that Microsoft abandoned when Windows XP reached EoL even though it worked (and still works) beautifully on each and every of the last 5 Linux Mint major versions (17 up to 21).

      2. vtcodger Silver badge

        Re: #@$Drivers

        Well, let me give you an example of the kind of problems that I, and many others, have had. Our family doesn't do a lot of printing, but I have two printers on our network -- and Inkjet (HP1112) and a very low end LaserJet (HP1102W). The Inkjet hasn't been a problem as long as I print a test page every two weeks to keep the jets from clogging.

        The LaserJet? Mechanically it's great. Reliable. Supports many network protocols. Warms up in seconds. Feeds paper even in the occasional periods of North American Summer tropical humidity. In fact, it's our standby printer and gets used not only by me, but by the whole family every time Microsoft screws up and kills their printer setups. They just email the print file to me, and I print it from Linux until someone finds the time/inclination to reinstall the printers in Windows.

        Software wise? Not so good. Two problems. Initial Setup and Printer Protocol.

        Initial Setup. Presumably to get around the fact that not all PCs have floppy or CDROM capability, this thing fresh from the box pretends to be a storage device. You need to connect it to a Windows computer which can then read the Windows (but not Linux) drivers from the device, install them and reconfigure the thing as a printer. Is there a Linux program to do this? As I recall, yes. But it didn't work. No problem. We just set the printer up from Windows and once set up, it'd talk to the Network. (But USB from Linux still thinks it's a storage device. No matter. Network only is good enough for us). I attribute this design to forebrain destroying contaminants in the drinking water in Silicon Valley.

        Printer Protocol. The HP-1102W uses the relatively uncommon ZJS protocol instead of PCL or Postscript to stream data to the printer. One needs a a driver to convert other representations to ZJS. For Linux HP provides a driver (which works--Yeah) and an automatic installer which in the tradition of automatic installers everywhere and always, didn't. So I had to dig out and download a copy of the #@$driver (hpijs I think) and a ppd file that I had to tune to my configuration. This took a bit of time and modest amount of cursing.

        My current problem: I have a chromebook that I'd occasionally like to print from. HP, to their credit, supports printing from chrome to many of their printers. BUT, the HP1102W is one of the ones they don't seem to support. Probably can't just copy the driver from my Intel Linux machine to the chromebook and I am afraid to try. What could possibly go wrong? Don't know and don't want to find out the hard way. So I'm thinking in terms of a server on some unused port on the Linux machine that will look like a printer to the chromebook and can then print via my existing software. Can that be done with existing Unix tools plus perhaps a bit of Python? My guess is yes. How? Haven't the slightest. Maybe I'll work it out someday. Or not. In the meantime, I print to pdf on the chromebook, copy the pdf to a usb stick. Move it to the Linux machine and print the pdf. OK for once a month or so.

        1. BenDwire Silver badge

          Re: #@$Drivers

          Why not set up a shared watched folder on the linux box? Save a PDF in there from the chromebook and it will print out automagically. Have a search for 'incron'.

        2. cornetman Silver badge

          Re: #@$Drivers

          > Initial Setup. Presumably to get around the fact that not all PCs have floppy or CDROM capability, this thing fresh from the box pretends to be a storage device. You need to connect it to a Windows computer which can then read the Windows (but not Linux) drivers from the device, install them and reconfigure the thing as a printer.

          Perhaps the Windows driver is sending firmware? It's common for some devices to be pretty dumb until volatile firmware is loaded up. They just need the barest of interfaces to permit the firmware transfer.

      3. cornetman Silver badge

        Re: #@$Drivers

        Printing has always been a bit of a shitshow in Linux, and this coming from a staunch Linux user for *many* years. It is improving though. If you have a printer that has good support, then life is good. However, I still find situations where stuff just doesn't work.

        At home, all of my printers work OK: Canon MF4770N, OKI MC561 main workhorses.

        The OKI has Linux driver support through proprietary SANE drivers, but they don't work on my latest Linux Mint 20 because of some changes to Python support: the driver installation package doesn't really work out-of-the-box because of that so you have to set it all up by hand. In previous installations, their driver worked flawlessly and one of the better Linux experiences with proprietary drivers.

        The Canon has proprietary Linux drivers for printing, but *not* for scanning. For that we have to go to SANE. There is support, but this machine has a firmware bug which causes it to crash on certain use cases with the ADF.

        Downstairs however, I have a Konica Bizhub 200 which doesn't have a driver: I had to reverse engineer one from a PPD files for another of their machines for Mac support. It works most of the time (including the stapling and duplexing) but every now and then, something that I send crashes it requiring switching it off and on again. :(

        There is also a Canon imageRunner with a (ironically Linux) Fiery that has no support for Linux at all. So I have to run the original software in a Windows 7 VM. If there was no Fiery, then I could possibly find a driver that would print to it directly (e.g. generic PCL5), but it probably would not have support for all the features of the machine.

        This is pretty much the story I suspect of a lot of Linux users. Some of it is great, some not so great. Other stuff, a bit shitty. :D

        1. Roland6 Silver badge

          Re: #@$Drivers

          For 'basic' printing just use a Postscript printer and the Apple Laserwriter II drivers.

          Obviously, for Postscript 3 compatibility a more recent driver is required.

        2. 9Rune5

          Re: #@$Drivers

          Printing in general has always been a shitshow. Perhaps with the exception of dot matrix printers. The ribbons would wear out for sure, but today's ink jets will apparently burn up and explode if you run them on empty cartridges (my Canon Pixma even refused me access to its built-in scanner because I ran the ink bone dry once)

          Hopefully MS have improved their printer DDK. I remember they moved printer drivers from kernel to user mode over a decade ago. That was a good move. The complexity was still massive at that point IMO. If you add all that monitoring crap on top of that (ink levels) and a new printer model every year that is slightly different, I can only imagine what toll it takes on developers. I notice that "old" printers naturally run out of support driverwise (luckily there remains a basic support in the OS). How much difference is there between the new model and the one two "generations" ago, really? Is the new model 3D capable all of a sudden? I bet it is not. Its ink is probably costlier and better DRMed.

          I'm a windowsite, but even for me it makes sense to buy a printer that is supported under Linux.

      4. TVU

        Re: #@$Drivers

        "Scanners support is very hit and miss though"

        That is where I thoroughly recommend Vuescan scanner software which has a Linux version in addition to the Max and Windows versions. While it does cost, the standard version should do for most users.

    3. rfrazier

      Re: #@$Drivers

      For scanners. try VueScan. It supports a whole lot of scanners. It isn't free, however. My wife uses the Windows (pro) version, and I use the native linux (pro) version. I've used it for years, including with a rather industrial SCSI scanner (Epson?) and with a Canon LiDE cheapo scanner. I now use it for my reasonably modern Epson V700.

      Best wishes,

      Bob

      1. cornetman Silver badge

        Re: #@$Drivers

        Vuescan is free as in beer, but not free as in freedom for personal use. They do have a "pro" version which you have to pay for that provides some additional features.

    4. Version 1.0 Silver badge
      Terminator

      Re: #@$Drivers

      It seems like these days the driver environment is a mess, back in the early Windows days it wasn't that big a deal to write a new driver when something didn't work or you had created a new thing.

    5. cornetman Silver badge

      Re: #@$Drivers

      > One problem for many (most?) businesses and individual users is the lack of unix drivers (that actually work) for many older peripherals.

      There are actually two aspects to that. I believe that you are only partly right.

      In that a lot of older hardware *never* had Linux support, then it is only supported if someone in the community took the time to reverse-engineer comms with the device and implemented a driver for it.

      However, a *lot* of older hardware that had Windows drivers were never updated when Microsoft changed the driver architecture, for example when they started to require signing. That hardware is effectively dead to Windows users unless they virtualise an older Windows installation. For much of that hardware, Linux is now your own only hope since the drivers are either part of the kernel (and therefore probably kept up-to-date), or part of an external project like SANE for scanners. Once there is open source software to support the hardware, it can be resurrected even if nobody is currently building binary drivers for it.

    6. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: #@$Drivers

      "But if your workflow depends on some older piece of gear, you may be stuck with some older version of Windows pretty much forever."

      FTFY.

      neither MS nor the hardware suppliers are interested in updating drivers for anything other than popular hardware for the latests version of windows. There's a steady stream for printers and scanners (to name but two hardware families) heading for landfill because there's no Win10 drivers for them. Or Win8 drivers. Or Win7 drivers. It happens every time a new version of Windows comes along. Industrial and instrument control are other areas where people are running old hardware and an old OS because the £million kit is no longer supported with updated drivers for newer iteration of Windows because they can't afford to replace that kit and send it to landfill.

      My own 2400dppi scanner is one such "rescue from landfill" a friend was going to bin because there are now drivers beyond Win7. It worked immediately with Sane on Freebsd 9. And still does on FreeBSD 12. Now, don't get me wrong. I know there are many printers and scanners out there that have never worked on any version of *nix and never will. But support for those drivers that do exist does seem to just keep chugging along, usually because the entire subsystem never changes, so just a few tweaks to an existing driver to bring it up to date.

  7. mmonroe

    I guess I have been doing it all wrong for the last 23 years...

    One of the schools that I worked in had Linux on all of the student PCs and we never had a problem. Students really only need an office suite, a web browser and some disk space to store their work on.

  8. Steve Button Silver badge

    ruined the joke.

    "20xx will be the year of the Linux desktop." The punchline is, of course, it will never happen.

    That's not how jokes work. That's not a punchline. It goes like this...

    NEXT year will be the year of the Linux desktop! And it always will be.

    There, FTFY.

  9. bombastic bob Silver badge
    Unhappy

    what they really want people to do is rent a cloud-based Desktop-as-a-Service

    (title is quote from article)

    If the future for MS "services" to be online AND subscription "time sharing", then we're full circle back to the same old mainframe/mini and dumb terminal model.

    There is no clear advantage to using a time-share over a local PC unless you are a mega-enterprise that wants to limit hardware costs.

    And the TRUE INNOVATION from MILLIONS of independent software developers (working on their OWN stuff, much of which ended up as open source software) that has been made possible by local PC's running the OS that most people are using, can NOT be ignored. Micros~1 (particularly Ballmer) *USED* *TO* *SAY* "Developers Developers Developers Developers", because it really DID put them at the top of the market.

    WILL THERE BE THAT SAME CAPABILITY IN THE FUTURE? Or would the cloudy new "services" model lock EVERYONE in to Micros~1-only coding?

    Android is by far more popular than iOS especially for developers like ME that do not want to pay "the Apple Tax". It is ExTREMELY open and the cost of starting development (other than your time) is the bandwidth to download it all and a PC (possibly running Linux) to run it on. If Micros~1 abandons developers (aside from those willing to pay for the privilege) they may be reduced to a 'niche' market, quickly.

    And once again I am faced with an immediate choice: Pay out $800 for another year of "what used to be MSDN", or ABANDON MICROS~1 OS DEVELOPMENT ENTIRELY (seeing as my ability to run Windows 11 is flaky at best inside of a Vitrtual Box VM, even JUST for testing, and I can continue to target 7 indefinitely without their downloads)?

    But if windows desktop is subscription only AND "in the cloud", will the applications that I write (that run just fine on 7) EVEN WORK ON THAT PLATFORM???

    1. Someone Else Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: what they really want people to do is rent a cloud-based Desktop-as-a-Service

      Ahh! There's the bombastic bob we all know and love1, sticky caps lock and all!

      1For various values of "love"...

  10. 3arn0wl Bronze badge

    DaaS is not for me

    I seem to be increasingly out of kilter with the rest of humanity.

    I don't want to put my data on their clouds, never mind use their apps to do my work in! Nor do I want them snooping on every key stroke I make, every website I use, every file type I save etc.etc.

    I want control of my computing : my choice of desktop and the apps I want to use. And I want the assurance that I don't have to rely on the internet, or that their servers won't go down because it's too hot, or there's some power supply problem etc. etc.

    I'm pleased to be a Linux-user, and can't see a time when I won't be.

    1. Someone Else Silver badge

      Re: DaaS is not for me

      I seem to be increasingly out of kilter with the rest of humanity big tech's marketing droids.

      There, FTFY.

      Humanity has nothing to do with it....

  11. Snake Silver badge
    Stop

    No. Stop it.

    "The real problem remains that Microsoft retained its first-mover desktop operating system advantage by forcing PC companies to only offer Windows to its customers in the 1990s. Combine that with the simple fact that people don't like to change, and you have the real reason why neither Linux nor macOS has advanced beyond niche desktop roles"

    NO. Stop playing Linux victim and continuing the lie that the reason that users still use Windows is because 'evil Microsoft forces PC companies to sell it to you!'.

    Linux, STILL, does not have the end-user application support necessary to win the desktop. PERIOD. END OF DISCUSSION.

    As earlier poster have said, "GIMP != Photoshop. Ardour != Reason", and I'll even add "[blank space here, no Linux alternative] != Adobe suite" *and* "Kdenlive != Final Cut Pro" (even though it shouldn't be relevant, Mac, but it is relative to desktop comparisons).

    The F/OSS end-user desktop application landscape is generally vastly inferior to closed source alternatives except in certain fields (STEM being one of them, where it excels). This makes sense: the greatest F/OSS supporters are in the IT tech field themselves, so they develop end-user desktop applications to suit their own needs, solve their own problems. Those IT tech gurus then share their work with the world in hopes that someone will be helped by the solutions they created for themselves.

    But all too often those same IT tech gurus are not very good at understanding non-tech user design, and the GUI suffers as a result. So the F/OSS desktop user experience suffers from programmers that are excellent in coding but not very good in designing great user experiences - and users who may try out a F/OSS alternative see this.

    Good desktop application design is hard, a balancing of both skill and art. The F/OSS community needs concentrate more on solving desktop user problems in a skillful, "artistic" and user-friendly way - simple, pretty, easy to use, and attractive to the user who sits in front of that app screen for the first time - and stop thinking that their focus on the science of coding - "elegant and beautiful code" - matters to average users. Average users don't SEE your "beautiful and elegant" code and simply don't care that your source code is readable. They. Don't. Care. All they care about is if the application does what it is supposed to, in a way that they can use it.

    1. tiggity Silver badge

      Re: No. Stop it.

      @Snake said

      "Good desktop application design is hard, a balancing of both skill and art. The F/OSS community needs concentrate more on solving desktop user problems in a skillful, "artistic" and user-friendly way - simple, pretty, easy to use, and attractive to the user who sits in front of that app screen for the first time "

      Well, for me, The Office software, Photoshop and many other huge windows applications do not fit those criteria. They are a PITA to use as a first time user (& with Office does not improve much over time unless you use the software frequently & so get used to on-intuitive "areas" that some functionality is to be found). I speak as an occasional user of the Office suite at work (my home kit does not run the office suite as it would mean spending £ when I can do what I need with other software).

      Work involves heavy use of Windows software, but, for non work use, there is no compelling reason for me to use Windows on my personal laptop (I do run it sometimes as laptop came with Windows, but its set up multiboot and so I more frequently run Linux).

      .. However, as I live in the arse end of nowhere with dismal copper ADSL internet connectivity, OS in the cloud does not appeal with poor bandwidth - and I can happily use my laptop (on "local" files) anywhere I want to without needing an internet connection. A "Cloud OS" does not appeal with poor connectivity, nor does the idea of having to potentially hook up to wifi I'm not in control of when out and about with a "Cloud OS" as I like to keep MITM attack risks low.

      .. Because although I'm sure the "Cloud OS" will be marketed with offline working will be fine with the occasional connectivity needed to "sync", in reality it will be a clusterf**k without near 24/7 connectivity.

      So, I really don't see a "Cloud OS" being great for my personal home use ... and thats without even getting into areas such as my backups being local and quick and easy to backup and restore irrespective of connectivity (& if I want to I can back up stuff in the cloud without needing a "Cloud OS")

    2. phands

      Re: No. Stop it.

      "Good desktop application design is hard, a balancing of both skill and art. The F/OSS community needs concentrate more on solving desktop user problems in a skillful, "artistic" and user-friendly way "

      It's a skill that M$ have never developed. Windows apps and the desktop itself are clunky and old-fashioned looking. But worse...just as soon as you get used to the latest slew of changes to the desktop UI/UX, Microsoft change them completely, negating what they previously claimed was the best way to do this. Look at the appalling messes that were Vista and Windows 8. And now W11 has changed everything around from what we had got used to in W10, and not for the better.

      If you want skillful and artistic (sometimes downright beautiful), look at the KDE desktop, or Gnome or XFCE or many others, all of which can co-exist and be switched between at will.

    3. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: No. Stop it.

      Or as recently happened to me, the OSS (GIMP) just stops working.

      I discovered this the hard way when I couldn't print a check for my heatpump contractor. Every time I typed the info into GIMP, it either turned it to (literally) Greek or just plain segfaulted.

      Turns out to actually be a problem with glibc, at which point instead of coping with it, the GIMP guys just throw up their hands and say "NOT OUR PROBLEM"

      1. alisonken1
        Facepalm

        Re: No. Stop it.

        ... using GIMP to print a check ....

        Last I checked, GIMP was for graphics.

        For printing checks, there's Accounting and Finance Software ("30 Best Accounting and Finance Software for Linux" - UbuntuPit).

        Or - you can even use LO or Office apps (with the correct template).

      2. Al fazed Bronze badge
        Facepalm

        Re: No. Stop it.

        Yes they have redesigned the interface in GIMP once again, so now I cannot even crop an image without finding the HELP manual first and re learning how to fucking do something for about the fourth time.........

        FOSS ? Up to a point you had me...........

        ALF

        1. rfrazier

          Re: No. Stop it.

          I've been using GIMP for a long time (20+ years), and have edited thousands of pictures with it. They do change the interface sometimes. ;) I cropped and altered levels for 25 images yesterday. No problems with the interface.

          Never tried Photoshop. I probably would find its interface weird, given what I'm used to. Did use Bibble for a while when Pentax RAW files weren't well supported and I was mostly using a Pentax K10D. I thought that Bibble had a weird interface, but got used to it.

          Best wishes,

          Bob

    4. Dr_Bingley

      Re: No. Stop it.

      I've heard this argument before, of course. Yet the real problem, I think, is not that the Gimp does not have all of the features Photoshop does, or that Kdenlive isn't identical to Final Cut Pro - it's that many users think they need complete equivalence. The vast majority of people can do all the things they used to do on Windows or Mac on a Linux PC. For instance, I used to run Photoshop through Wine until I discovered that I could achieve the same results using Krita + Darktable.

      Something similar applies to MS Office versus LibreOffice: people still draw comparisons between the two whereas LibreOffice does all the things regular and 'power' users need it to. MS Office does, of course, have an edge when it comes to online collaboration, but even that is available through companies like Collabora.

      Sadly, my employer still believes that they need the full suite of MS products. The increased reliance on MS Teams for online collaboration hasn't helped, as people are now used to being able to access MS 365 products through its interface.

    5. IGnatius T Foobar !

      Re: No. Stop it.

      Linux, STILL, does not have the end-user application support necessary to win the desktop. PERIOD. END OF DISCUSSION.

      Ooh I see, you're playing the 1990s Slashdot argument game. I'll play the other side?

      HOW MUCH DID MICROSOFT PAY YOU TO SAY THAT?

  12. Missing Semicolon Silver badge

    cloud pc

    So why would we ever need a new local pc. All it has to do is be an RDP terminal. So having juiced the PC makers' sales with Win11, they will never sell another.

    Expect this to get deep-sixed soon!

    1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

      Re: cloud pc

      So why would we ever need a new local pc. All it has to do is be an RDP terminal.

      I'm getting a flashback to 30 years ago. X terminals for the win!

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: cloud pc

        And at least 16 years ago, I was installing Wyse WinTerms for a client in NE UK which ran on VMs at their London HQ. Have also done this for at least two other very large nationally operating clients in more recent years. The only difference of course is they were running their own servers on-prem. Mind you, in every instance, the external bandwidth was calculated by the client for "normal" usage. In every instance, the users were complaining about how long it took to start up and get logged in on a morning as everyone switched on at about the same time causing quite high bandwidth demands. I wonder how many companies will take that into account if they go with this MS idea of "everything in the cloud, including the OS"? And just how much will (not) get done when the connection goes down.

    2. AndrueC Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: cloud pc

      So why would we ever need a new local pc. All it has to do is be an RDP terminal.

      What goes around (in IT) comes around. I've been saying this for a while now.

      Mainframe+terminal -> local PC -> Cloud+terminal -> local PC

      The only thing that changes is the power of each component. I therefore predict that sometime over the next 50 years some seriously powerful kit will appear to service some application that just has to be done locally. Or maybe a flaw will be found with cloud computing. Either way there will be a shift of data back toward local processing.

      1. M.V. Lipvig Silver badge

        Re: cloud pc

        When it happens, let's hope M$ gets caught with their pants around their ankles and their ties caught in the industrial paper shredder with the missing guard. I don't mind paying for a product, but I expect to own it when I do.

      2. Someone Else Silver badge

        Re: cloud pc

        Or maybe a flaw will be found with cloud computing.

        Like maybe...oh, I dunno...security?

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Missing Semicolon - Re: cloud pc

      Not quite! You will still need a 12 core CPU and 32GB RAM and 1TB storage to stream and play the cloud desktop. Microsoft will take care of that, trust me.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
        Facepalm

        Re: @Missing Semicolon - cloud pc

        "Works best with XBOX For Business"

        You may need the XBOX For Business Pro if doing CAD, Video Editing or other high CPU intensive tasks - Only 5 times the price

    4. rfrazier

      Re: cloud pc

      Peripherals! That's why we might want a local computer. Here are mine.

      1. Keyboard / mouse

      2. Graphics tablet

      3. SDR dongle. (Software Defined Radio).

      4. Microphone 1 voice / PreSonus PD-70

      5. Microphone 2 specialized wristwatch

      6. SSL Digital Interface. (for 4 and 5 and standard audio, e.g., music)

      7. Camera 1 - webcam - Panasonic HC-V180 camcorder and Flint Lx capture device

      8. Camera 2 - document camera - DIY from webcam

      9 Camera 3 - digital microscope - used for watchmaking

      10. Main monitor

      11. Watchmaking monitor

      12. Printer

      13. Scanner

      I probably missed something.

      Best wishes,

      Bob

      1. rfrazier

        Re: cloud pc (Postscript)

        Just wanted to add that it is a linux (debian testing) desktop local computer.

        RLF

  13. Alan Bourke

    You still need to be far more tech savvy

    to be a Linux user than a Mac or Windows user. It's got a bit better, but not that much better.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: You still need to be far more tech savvy

      Not sure on that. When I got an M1 Mac I had to google for hours to find a command line trick that properly disabled the screen saver on the Mac. There's a GUI option to do it, but it doesn't actually work. It works through the GUI last time I did the same thing on Ubuntu.

    2. phands

      Re: You still need to be far more tech savvy

      Not remotely true any more, and not for at least 10 years.

      I went Linux in 2000 (Suse 5.3) and it was a bit rough around the edges - especially printer support, graphics card drivers and a lack of mature alternatives to many windows programs. A bit alter, it was lacking in WiFi drivers.

      None of that applies now. You can test a distro from a USB stick on almost any arbitrary hardware, and be assured that it will run, support all the hardware, and often be faster and more stable than windows. If you like it, just press the "install" button, and it'll be added alongside your windows setup, dual-boot. The learning curve is not steep at all, especially if you choose one the many window managers that look like windows or mac os.

      After that, it's learning what the alternate programs are called on Linux and clicking on the right icon or menu pick.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Oh, we have, and several flavors of them.

        The GUI, much like windows, is great for the surface layer it covers. Get anywhere past that, and it's right back to the 90's.

        Even if in reality your office drones will roll you up in the break room throw rug and dump you in the skip, in theory as a basic user it would be fine. IF you have a bullpen of unix admins you may be able to keep your users machines chugging along. There aren't enough of them to go around of course, especially good ones.

        If your users have to self support, that's another story. Even on the latest and greatest Ubuntu, you can run out of GUI support quite quickly. Worse, if the machine has any kind of hardware hiccup, there is a good chance that not only will there be no GUI tools to fix it, that the GUI may not boot, and command line recovery mode and manual volume mounts/remounts will ensue. Better hope it wasn't payroll on there.

        If you were the person who recommended that OS swap, be prepared to then be carted out with your limbs laced through a burning wagon wheel, and for your smoking remains to serve both as fodder for the crows and a stark warning to the next guy about the dangers of angering the villagers for your own edification.

        1. LionelB Silver badge

          Re: Oh, we have, and several flavors of them.

          "The GUI, much like windows, is great for the surface layer it covers. Get anywhere past that,..."

          ... and in Windows you're desperately googling for a route to a dialog that doesn't quite do what you're trying to do, because that functionality is hidden in a different semi-duplicated dialog. Then you're into obscure corners of the registry, and... wait for it... arcane command-line hacks.

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: You still need to be far more tech savvy

        "After that, it's learning what the alternate programs are called on Linux and clicking on the right icon or menu pick."

        Until the inevitable Windows re-install, at which point, at best, it will re-write the boot loader and hide Linux from you, at worst, it will spitefully wipe the Linux partition and use the whole disk for Windows, either way, requiring the user to know how to restore the boot loader or re-install Linux :-)

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @Alan Bourke - Re: You still need to be far more tech savvy

      Yes, but it helps keeping your brain in good shape. It's something like using physical exercise to fight against obesity.

      Sorry, but in this context the words tech savvy mean nothing more to me than the ability of reading some text in plain English. In case you don't understand the notions you can either put some effort in it or stay out of it altogether. I'm telling this from my own experience with learning how to pilot a B-737 (simulator of course) without having any piloting qualification/experience (the only flight controls I've ever touched were in a museum on a non-flyable aircraft).

  14. Alan Bourke

    "Libreoffice > MS Office"

    *wipes eyes*

    Ahahahahaha. Ahahah. Ah man thanks for that.

    1. LionelB Silver badge

      Re: "Libreoffice > MS Office"

      Have to agree. MS Office makes a pig's ear of just about any odt file you ever try to open, or just refuses completely to even try. It doesn't seem to do that much better on its own formats, mind - even assuming you can get your head around the brain-scrambling UIs.

  15. ChoHag Bronze badge

    > Instead, it will happen because Microsoft is abandoning the traditional PC-centric operating system for a cloud-based one. Why? Because that's where the money is.

    Last week it was linux on somebody else's desktop, now it's linux on the left-over desktop scraps that nobody wants?

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I play games and media under Windows 11, and occasionally client-requested development, but my personal information and life and work are all in Ubuntu 22.04 VMs, and have been for over a year. Prior to two years ago, I was running Ubuntu for a decade.

    Windows is not needed if Linux can ever run ALL the game catalog that a PC can as good as or even better than a PC.

    1. butmonkeh

      I've got a couple of games that will only reliably run in Windows, and I used to dual-boot Fedora and Win10 to accommodate those.

      My laptop now only runs Fedora, and I play those games in my Win10 VM at pretty much native speed. With Virt-Manager / QEMU and passing the dGPU to the VM I then get the display back to my laptop screen with Looking-Glass (https://looking-glass.io/). Forza Horizon 4 runs at 60fps locked, on high settings - just as it did when I was dual booting. There are plenty of guides out there, if that's something you'd find useful.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Would you setup work on a desktop? My CPU has iGPU. Thanks

  17. 43300 Bronze badge

    I'm not convinved that they will go full-cloudy in the near future, simply because too many internet connections are too crap for it to work reliably enough (even by the low bar which Microsoft sets for reliability). I have a lot of experience of terminal servers so I have seen the issues a lot!

    Certainly expect the local Windows install to have ever-more hooks into Microsoft cloudy services though, as is happening with W11.

  18. CatWithChainsaw
    Stop

    Says The Same Guy Who...

    Hey Steven, this you?

    https://www.theregister.com/2022/07/13/microsoft_linux_company/

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Sorry; not until...

    Office is not the be-all and end-all. Have Adobe release Linux native Lightroom and Photoshop; then follow that up with the other apps for the creatives from a few other major vendors and Linux will have a real chance of becoming at least as popular as macOS (probably more).

    1. Stork Silver badge

      Re: Sorry; not until...

      Or even Affinity, or Capture One

  20. Lorribot

    Whilst I agree MS is busy shooting itself in the foot and leaving the door wide open for Linux, I feel that the Linux ecosystem is not joined up enough, cohesive enough and way to splintered to actually take advantage, Debian has been a mainstay of stability upon which the likes of Ubuntu have built a good ecosystem but your still have differences of opinion about the direction even Debian should take let alone the rest of the distros that can't even decide which desktop to use, why would anyone "buy into" something that even the providers can not agree upon ro may not even be around in a year or two let alone get any security fixes?

    Linux is not ever going to the future of the masses as it is built by geeks for geeks, not for their parents and grand parents.

    The future in the consumer market will be fought over by Apple MacOS/IOS (if it can be bothered) and Google Chrome/Android.

    In the business market there too much other stuff going on for the next 10 year (some minor security stuff, move to cloud and many outer TLAs that may o may not yet be around to worry about moving its user base wholesale over to a new desktop OS (+cost for qualified device replacement) when they need to have training because someone changed the layout of a menu. If it were to jump many woudl go for Apple and MacOS rather than Linux and we could just end up with the same situation (and Companies) we have in the phone market.

  21. DJ
    Unhappy

    I don't love Windows...

    ... and the idea of DaaS from anyone (especially Microsoft) is repugnant beyond description.

    Sadly, I use my computers to do things (I do not own any games, consoles, etc.) that require certain pieces of software, almost none of which are currently available for anything other than Windows.

    I hadn't even considered the printer issues others have encountered.

    What are people like me to do?

    Apart from asking software vendors if they wouldn't mind awfully to stop fixing bugs and adding features to create a version of their software for the handful of us Don Quixotes, pretty please?

    Like those odds? Me neither.

    Is this a bridge too far for Microsoft? Philosophically, yes. Practically, I fear not. And they know it.

    I have seen the future, and it is sad.

  22. david 12 Silver badge

    Clickbait garbage about the linux desktop being 'better' than Windows, but clearly true about Windows being a legacy platform (aimed at small business) being replaced by mainframe ('cloud') solutions aimed at enterprise.

    The PC was originally a niche product aimed at the space between enterprise (green screen) and home (playstation etc). Once MS got into the main game, it's gradually vacated the PC space, leaving it for legacy/amateur players

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      "The PC was originally a niche product aimed at the space between enterprise (green screen) and home (playstation etc)."

      Er...what? Playstation? That was over a decade after the PC came out. And even small businesses were using computers before the PC and long before Windows, which is what I think you may have meant when you said "PC".

  23. M.V. Lipvig Silver badge
    Holmes

    Suddenly it all makes sense

    After years of fighting Linux, M$ suddenly reversed stance and started participating. It would not surprise me one bit if Microsoft didn't forsee businesses stampeding for the exits once they went to a subscription based model. After all, who wants their employees to not even have a desktop to work on if the internet fails or a server goes down? DaaS means no internet, no computer at all. At least with the OS on the local machine SOME work can be done. And don't get me started on secret stuff. Does your company really want all their classified shit only accessible from a Redmond based server when M$ is well known for ignoring security breaches until they're slammed publicly for it?

    Anyone who does deep Linux OS work really needs to look at any M$ contributions to make sure their goal isn't to bork Linux once M$ kills the desktop.

  24. 桜沢墨

    The ideal linux desktop will never happen, I think we all understand that. There's no non-evil corporation that's even close to fighting with microsoft, and google, and apple, and there never will be. Since free software operating systems make it hard to be evil, it's incredibly hard to try and break compatability to force people into using your software, like apple, microsoft, and google do all the time.

    I think the real reason why people are starting to use chromeos is because it doesn't require them to learn anything, and is being preinstalled in cheap computers. They don't use it because it's better, as this article would have you believe, but it just doesn't require them to think. In some ways, it might actually be better, but that's not why they use it. People have been conditioned into accepting having to install the new version of windows, and make a microsoft account, suffering through all the bugs and slowness, and buying a new computer when windows slows things down, but that's been happening for years, and until now, with chromeos being preinstalled, everybody has kept using windows, even if they would do better on a good linux OS.

    The truth is that your average person is just fine with clicking large windows telling them to update, pay to use the full version, sign into their google account, run some awful antivirus, because they don't want to learn how to use anything better. If you put your average person in front a linux installation with lots of clicky buttons that works how they're used to, if anything that they want isn't already there then they won't bother to look up how to install packages on X distro, they're going to call tech support to install windows, where you download the first executable that comes up on a google search, or it's going to all be there already, like with the google and apple suite.

    This is sort of why I'm opposed to people coming up with the latest clicky button applications that are supposed to make ex windows users happy because they look and work the same. Unless you have the funding to compete with google, apple, and microsoft, you're going to get nowhere. The only people who use linux or will switch to it are people who are willing to learn, and those people would probably much rather prefer using their package manager on the command line, or using the find command to look for types of files then have a gnome gui with 4 total options to toggle because it tries to emulate windows. Not totally against clicky buttons but please don't try and make linux distros closer to windows.

    Many people would call this "linux elitism," but frankly, if you aren't willing to learn anything then you'd actually just do better to stick to windows, chromeos, or macos in the first place. That way you're less likely to have to learn, even if you have to deal with annoying pop ups, long updates, and slow spyware.

    Side ranting, if the linux desktop means that people are using android phones and chrome os, then I would rather never see it happen, ever. It's criminal that schools across the US are requiring the use of chromebooks and google accounts for all students.

    1. Will Godfrey Silver badge
      Happy

      FTFY

      The ideal desktop will never happen

  25. aerogems Silver badge

    Not buying it

    Linux has definitely come a long ways over the years, but it is perpetually in an "almost there" state. And it's a self-inflicted wound at that, because every time something approaches complete, someone else comes along and convinces everyone that they need to rip it out and replace it with something that will be even better... as soon as it's finished... which will never happen. How many sound servers has Linux had? The old proprietary one, then ALSA, and I forget the rest, but you also have situations where GNOME and KDE have their own competing sound servers... It's a giant mess and one that doesn't need to exist. The past few years someone got the idea that they should rip out X11 and replace it with Wayland before Wayland was even at an approximate feature parity with X11 or even all that stable.

    Then we get to the fact that Windows is just a more seamless experience. It may seem like with every major release there's some new vision for how Windows will be going forward, but it's at least consistent within that release. Linux is just a total hodgepodge of cobbled together solutions.

    Next up is the software. LibreOffice is great and all, but it's not a serious competitor to MS Office and probably never will be. There's nothing that quite compares to VisualStudio for Linux either. Proton is great and all, but there are still a lot of games that only run on Windows and OpenGL just doesn't quite compare to DirectX.

    If you know what you're doing, and more importantly, what you're getting into, Linux can be great. If you do your homework ahead of time and make sure that your specific set of use cases will be possible, you're golden. For everyone else... you may not have to scour obscure message boards or FAQs as often, and editing your XF86Config file to manually enter in modelines so your monitor image displays centered on the screen are largely a thing of the past, but it's still just a game of whack-a-mole. For every problem they solve, they go and create (at least) one new one.

  26. vincent himpe

    Sure ...

    The day commercial software has been ported to it.

    There simply is too much software that is windows only. And no, alternatives are not an option. Businesses use application xyz and will not switch to something different. The invested time and money and retraining is simply too large and disruptive. Hardware and OS is much cheaper than retraining the workforce

  27. gedw99

    Web apps on your Linux desktop will add to the move .

    Web apps are becoming quite powerful.

    Wasm running in Web Worker and Service workers allow multi threading style architectures.

    Even Microsoft with Blazer which heavily embraces WASM will mean that there are going to be a large swathe of them .

    The same goes for Mobile too or course.

    The Linux desktop killer OS could end up looking a lot like a Chromebook.

    The critical part will be file sync services because users tend to prefer own ship of the files , rather than being held hostage to Cloud based Web / WASM Apps.

    The added advantage is that these web style apps give capability based security and sandboxing , thus eliminating the fake screening that app stores pretend to offer. And so another pillar of OS lock-in falls.

  28. Wyrdness

    Meanwhile...

    There is a company that has reportedly sold around a million Linux PC's this year. I've just ordered one for home use. Can you think who?

  29. HKmk23

    Windowns or Crapple?

    I am still happily using Office 2010 (offline of course) and posting anything from my standalone internet machine. My networks are all air gapped. All I am waiting for is a Linux edition of my favourite programs: Visio, Jiosoft Money Manager, Myinfo database. I have tried Cinnamon and Mint both Ok, but limited software.

  30. mdubash

    It's not the users who choose

    What's often forgotten is that the hardware vendors have a huge incentive to package Windows with their devices. Users get what makes vendors the most profit, not what they want.

  31. Jur

    The Year of the Linux Desktop is already here (in INDIA)

    Anyone seen this?: https://gs.statcounter.com/os-market-share/desktop/india

    ALMOST 9% !!!

    Anyone knows what that 'Unknown' can be? It's a pretty large portion...

    1. Mockup1974

      Re: The Year of the Linux Desktop is already here (in INDIA)

      Might also be inflated by Android browsers using desktop mode?

  32. Al fazed Bronze badge
    Thumb Down

    Really ?

    Linux devs will need to fix Libre Office first...........

    What a load of Linullox............

    I'm currently trying out MX Linux which is a great little desktop, er except for one or two small things..........

    As a user of Microsoft products I agree with the drift about the cloud only stuff, but honestly you need to be more honest with the glossing. I have already run into issues with MX-Linux because I am unable to format external hard drives or indeed a hard drive internally attached......

    Am I using the wrong disk partition manager ? Which partition manager should I use ? If I want to delete and make new partitions ?

    FFS? All this was sorted out in Debian Linux so why is it so fucking hard to get another Linux distro to have the same basic features that any normal person would wish to have......

    Instead I get an Ubuntuish distro with a host os limited apps and Libre Office crashing every few rows of data entry, without it having SAVED the most recent data entries, which I had even used the SAVE menu item at the end of each fucking row.

    And when it recovers ..... the last few rows missing !!!!!!!

    No Linux will not take over the desktop until using an word processor is so 90's..............

    ALF

  33. bazza Silver badge

    Well there is a lot to do then...

    I'm finding that a fair amount stuff in the Ubuntu software store segfaults at startup...

    If Ubuntu can't get it right...

  34. IGnatius T Foobar !

    The problem with a cloud-hosted Windows desktop...

    The problem with a cloud-hosted Windows desktop... is that it then becomes very easy to have several of them. One for work, one for home, one for some special project ... and the next thing you know, some of those users begin migrating to "no desktop" (basically Chrome OS or something equivalent) or even a cloud-hosted Linux desktop ... in addition to the Linux that's running their thin client.

    In other words, "dual boot" becomes something you do by just signing your thin client on to a different account, instead of messing with your computer's boot settings and potentially wrecking the existing OS if you get it wrong.

    That's a "vulnerability" to Windows dominance that Microsoft would have fought with everything it had twenty years ago. Today, they don't care as much, because the bulk of their revenue now comes from cloud services. Their desktop monopoly is a sideshow now, and with desktop revenue decreasing it will eventually change from an asset to a liability.

    1. John Sanders
      Linux

      Re: The problem with a cloud-hosted Windows desktop...

      Windows doesn't have that vulnerability there thanks to Office being only able to run on Windows, as someone else pointed out you will take Office from the cold dead hands of the normies and only at that moment.

      I have always been impressed by most people who depend on Word/Excel/Outlook, etc not being able to use anything but the most superficial functionality. Very few of these users can justify why or how they need specifically Office to do their work. Through my career I've known 2 or 3 people who knew how to use it and depended on Office. The rest just memorised where things are and click on one or three buttons.

      I use LibreOffice since it forked from OpenOffice and I always get asked how to do stuff in Excel that I do in LO, I always have to figure it out for them, even a basic googling is out of the reach of most normies.

      Most of the real requirement for Office used to come from 3rd party software who would use Office's DLLs to generate documents and reports and send emails via Outlook ActiveX/DCOM components. I wonder what will happen now that this software is going to be cloud based (because reasons).

      I'm fed up with all this bullshit propaganda of "all revenue comes from the cloud" yes, that is not difficult if you move your player base from one product to the other, it is not that most people buy the cloud product, it is that the cloud product has been made deliberately cheaper and more convenient and publicised more because it is more convenient for the publisher. This is the same as adobe making CC a subscription, of course all their revenue now comes from the cloud edition of photoshop, they don't sell any other version.

      https://blog.conradchavez.com/2016/01/06/can-you-buy-adobe-software-without-a-subscription/

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: thanks to Office being only able to run on Windows

        Ahem, Microsoft Office also runs on mac OS, not just on Windows.

  35. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

    Just in time ...

    ... for the last remaining person to actually do work sitting at a desk. This isn't how I thought we'd win the war. But technically it's correct.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    *YAWN*

    I'll be retired and dead and it still won't be "the year." Problem One: No "standard" GUI interface. Orgs may choose to use Gnome or Xfce or MATE or Cinnamon or Endarkenment or LXDE or KDE or FOAD, all of them just annoyingly different to confuse users and changing employers that much more troublesome. For the pedants that don't like my (ab)use of names, the last one is for you, you're part of the problem. FWIW, I have shifted from decades of Win UX immersion to OS X in the past few years, in part because of MS's futzing around and inconsistent UX as of Win10. Linux with GUI makes a good kiosk.

  37. Chris Thomas Alpha

    Wishful thinking

    I wonder if I can use this wishful thinking to give me a pony too? Seems like after 25 years people are still incapable of just accepting defeat.

    The Linux desktop can’t happen, I wish it would, but it won’t. They can’t even decide how to install software, how on earth are they going to present a unified desktop that’s universally usable when they don’t even have a unified configuration system?

    MacOS stole the Linux desktop by being Unix with a first class desktop and professional app support.

    Windows finally nailed the coffin closed by making WSL2 and now there isn’t any reason why you’d run a Linux desktop with a substandard desktop when you can do everything linux wants to do, but without the desktop problems that the Linux guys can’t seem to figure out.

    Linux has its place on servers and inside containers. But it doesn’t have the unification necessary to present itself as a serious desktop apart from if you’re a sufficiently motivated technically inclined person

    1. John Sanders
      Linux

      Re: Wishful thinking

      Used to think like you. Linux is not sub-standard, once you accept that it is not a copy of Windows but its own thing you start having less friction everywhere. The freedom in Linux is real. it has a steep learning curve perhaps but it is the difference between knowing how to cook and being able to just eat from a restaurant. Eating in a restaurant is nice, but what if there is no restaurant? What if the restaurant is forcing you to eat bugs?

  38. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge
    Linux

    Been using it for a while

    I got tired of the Apple fanatics attitude. The MacOS kernel is locked down on multiple layers and digitally signed. Despite all that, experts will still tell you to wipe the computer clean and not restore backups (as if Time Machine worked) because your filthy bits are corrupting the system. Or maybe you're using it wrong because it works fine for a thousand web-surfing evangelists. Don't dare mention mystery slowdowns related to paging or APFS.

    Linux sometimes has technical problems but solutions follow. I've been using it for a few years and most of its problems are rooted in the thinking that it must always be "free." An OS isn't very useful unless it has as much free and commercial software as people want. The selection of commercial software for Linux is thin. I've purchased some Steam games. I really, really, really want a streamlined RAW photo editor but there's not much besides Darktable (clumsy) or Corel AfterShot Pro (ancient, buggy rendering). Getting technical tools running usually means booting a Windows Developer demo in a VM.

  39. Doctor Evil

    For some definitions of "easy"

    "Linux is also easy to use. Even now, people claim that Linux is hard to use. That just shows they haven't used Linux in decades. Once upon a time, you had to master shell programs to install programs and get work done. That hasn't been true this century. Just like everything else, today you get Linux software with a click and install front-end."

    Erm, no. When the "click and install front-end" fails with a relatively cryptic message about a missing piece and you have to google for what it means and what to do about it and then "sudo apt get" from the command line for the missing piece, you have just crossed a line that the average user will not put up with. And yes -- that still happens today.

    Mint Cinnamon v.21 user

    1. LDS Silver badge

      Re: For some definitions of "easy"

      Linux doesn't even have a standard way to setup a network connection... how many systems did Linux try? Many settings dialogs are designed for geeks (some looks not even designed at all, just put together somehow), not for people who use computers but doesn't like to tend to them.

      1. LionelB Silver badge

        Re: For some definitions of "easy"

        Linux has many standard ways to set up a network connection ;-)

    2. LionelB Silver badge

      Re: For some definitions of "easy"

      Odd... I've been a full-time Linux user (work and home) for over two decades - mostly Debian/Ubuntu derivatives - and can honestly say that in the last decade at least I have not experienced any of these "missing pieces" when installing software from official repositories.

      Sure, back in the day apt/dpkg (and more so rpm) were flaky, but they got their shit together some ways back.

      I also remember "DLL Hell" rather well - and recently experienced a week of pain helping my son install a well-known (paid-for) DAW package on Windows. ("Missing pieces"? Tick. Cryptic error messages? Tick, tick. Googling for frequently contradictory fixes involving shunting DLLs around, trying a zillion driver combinations, poking around in the Registry? Tick, tick, tick.) Yup, that still happens today.

      Anyhow, sounds to me like there's something flaky about your hardware or Linux set-up?

      1. Doctor Evil

        Re: For some definitions of "easy"

        Anyhow, sounds to me like there's something flaky about your hardware or Linux set-up?

        Not impossible, but it's a vanilla-grade relatively ancient Acer laptop which ran under XP just fine for well over a decade until I formatted the disk followed with a clean Mint Cinnamon install (1 version back). The update to v21 this year went smoothly. But it could be my set-up ...

        I've run into other issues besides software installs -- mainly occasional system freeze-ups when reviving from sleep. The main cause I ran down and resolved (I thought) but once in a while it still happens. So it could be my hardware ...

        Or it could just be Linux. Nah -- it doesn't happen to you, so that can't be.

        1. LionelB Silver badge

          Re: For some definitions of "easy"

          Defensive snark unnecessary. Of course I've had the odd problem with Linux - as has anyone with any OS, and certainly less than I've had with Windows - but software installation doesn't happen to be one of them.

  40. Scene it all

    And when the internet goes out during the Great Collapse you lose all of your photos, all your saved music, all your documents, all the saved PDFs of user manuals for your emergency generator, your lists of passwords, telephone numbers, on and on, because nothing is saved locally.

  41. StrangerHereMyself Silver badge

    No way

    When desktop PC users are greeted with a dialog demanding their credit card information to annually charge them for Windows, users will not flock towards ChromeOS, but Linux Mint.

    Switching from Windows to ChromeOS is like choosing to be eaten by the wolf or the lion, but are unsavory.

    I do agree Microsoft will most likely overplay its hand. OTOH I also see them reverse their decision as soon as they see their customers leaving in droves.

  42. Karmi Seaberry

    Ridiculous

    Hard to believe that anyone is still beating that dead horse...geez, where's PETA when you need them!? ;) Even Linus says Linux Desktop isn't for "normal people," and has been saying it for a long time. Microsoft Windows is a Full Service OS (Retail, Enterprise, and OEM) and has been for decades, especially since CEO Satya Nadella has been running it, i.e., Microsoft Windows is always going to cater to the needs of "normal people" (Retail) & OEM's. Huge money there...*HUGE*! Under Microsoft's recent earnings report, under "More Personal Computing," they show $14,356,000,000 in the June ending quarter. $59,655,000,000 for 12-months ending in June. Yeah, Microsoft is going to throw away their Personal Computer income...NOT!

  43. John Sanders

    Using Linux here full time since 2011, both at home and at work. I used mostly Ubuntu and lately migrating desktops to Arch. I'm not going back to the IT prison known as Windows.

    I have no problems printing, no problems with hardware, no problems with anything but some old CAD software that I run on Wine (although this improves every now and then, that CAD software doesn't run in Windows itself anymore since vista) Once a piece of hardware works on Linux it keeps working forever. The sole exception NVIDIA Cards, Nvidia does not really support Linux, they let you use their cards under some circumstances and if you meet certain requirements.

    Mac People buy hardware compatible with Macs. So if you're in the Linux side of things: Buy hardware that works with Linux, almost 0% issues guaranteed.

    Don't expect Linux to be a 1:1 replacement of Windows, it is not.

    Take your time, it is not that Windows doesn't have problems, it is that you know how to solve them in Windows. Often what on Windows means a full reinstall on Linux is a couple of commands.

  44. Basmman63

    Been using it for a long time

    It's been the year of the Linux desktop around here, for at least 15 years. Have used (or tried) them all. Used Mandrake KDE, for a few years, then SuSE/openSuSE KDE for a few years. For the last 3 or 4 years, I've been on Manjaro KDE. It's quite simply, the best. Everything just works... printing, scanning, office (LibreOffice or onlyOffice), GIMP, Kodi, SMB to my NAS boxes. I have Win10 in a Virtualbox VM, but can't remember the last time I fired it up.

    Thunderbird for mail, Vivaldi or Firefox for web. There's nothing I really need Windoze for.

  45. BPontius

    If you build it, doesn't mean they will come

    Linux has been in single digit market shares on the desktop for decades. Windows updates every second Tuesday of each month with out of band or smaller releases near the end of the month and Windows security is improving. If Linux is so much more secure than Windows, then why are more and more hacking groups specifically targeting Linux systems? Because Linux users\administrators rarely add or harden security after installation. Seems Linux users\administrators have become over confident of Linux security, which has made them less secure and a bigger target.

    Ransomware, infections and hacks on and into Linux systems have had triple digit increases over the last several years. All verifiable with a Google search.

    Microsoft is having to force users to use their Microsoft account with Windows, doesn't seem likely that businesses or users will flock to a cloud desktop when they won't even use a Microsoft account login on a PC. Don't see dumb terminals making any kind of a come back, nor have thin clients ever taken off. Windows may not be the cash cow for Microsoft it once was, but I don't see it leaving the PC anytime soon, nor is Linux likely to take over even if Windows did vanished. More likely Mac would become dominant, even though they are more expensive and a closed system, as Apple already has support, drivers and mainstream companies producing software for it.

    I won't be switching to Linux or a cloud based desktop, nor will I log onto my PC with a Microsoft account. I have yet found any benefit for me to do so. Tried Linux several times over the years and does not suit my needs, is not a simple switch over from Windows, is a splintered mess of distros, distro compatible apps/software, GUI interface overload, script files to configure the system\software and the awful hobbyists, hacker style development of programs/apps. But if it works for you, great!

  46. garub
    Headmaster

    Google is the elephant in the room

    This article conveniently left out the impact, of Google.

    ChromeOS is the most successful distro atm.

    They did what some of the most well known distros could not accomplish.

    Easier to use than Windows, more secure.

    Faster, safer.

    365 was a response to Google Docs (Drive).

    Like most things, MS was late to the internet party. Then the cloud.

    Too busy trying to protect their existing platform.

    And look what happened. Lost the mobile paradigm shift.

    I have used Linux since Mandrake, over 3 decades.

    And before I knew it, I found I was using my Chromebook more than my Mint desktop.

    It just works.

    I have never EVER once had to download OR install a device driver in ChromeOS in the 12y I have been on it. Imagine that.

    I even have it running for friends and family on iMacs, vintage Dell, HP, Compaq, Acer, Gateway, Thinkpads with ChromeOS Flex.

    No drivers needed. How did they accomplish that?

    And the slow file copy in linux, that has NEVER been addressed. Don't get me started.

    I do most of my file transfers with ChromeOS or Wintel TeraCopy.

    Let the downvoting begin. lol.

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