Linux is Dead: What Could Save It?

Linux is Dead: What Could Save It?Linux isn’t really dead, but that bold statement has been passed around the Linux community recently after some fairly damning words from Miguel de Icaza this past week explaining the need for a revitalized, single distro to bring the Linux community together and build a viable operating system to lure in larger OEMs.

As much as his article was picked apart (even by Linus Torvalds himself), I can’t help but to find myself agreeing with the basic premise of his statement.

Hovering around one to two percent of the consumer market, Linux hasn’t really made many gains against commercial platforms like Windows or OS X. Sure, it dominates the server world and a Linux core sits at the heart of the Android operating system, but we haven’t seen a desktop Linux distro break through the market share barrier yet.

Ubuntu came very close. Branches of it were found on netbooks and installed on many Dell systems over the years. It became the most popular Linux distro for a variety of reasons. Healthy financial backing and a growing number of developers that concentrated on user experience made the project a success, but it still hasn’t become a force to be reckoned with in the OS world. Why? Simply put, people want an environment that their favorite software companies support.

Windows is all most users know. OS X is gaining here and there, but only a fraction of the larger market has ever tried Ubuntu, Fedora, Linux Mint, or Red Hat. IT professionals and fellow geeks are about it, aside from the occasional grandparent a geek set up for basic Web browsing and email use.

The Linux Community Needs a Flagship to Rally Behind

There are more distros floating around out there than most open source developers can even name. I’ve seen countless charts and infographics that have attempted to list them all out and explain how they connect to one-another, but even these attempts are obsolete before they even make the rounds. It’s impossible to really wrap your head around what makes each distro unique, let alone explain it to the average consumer.

Do you think grandma knows the difference between Ubuntu and Linux Mint? How hard is it to describe Xubuntu and Kubuntu to someone that hasn’t used either of them before?

The open source community is incredible, and most of the software I use every day is open source. I run Linux Mint on my home server, and boot my MacBook Pro to Ubuntu on a regular basis. It’s how I work and live, and I couldn’t tell you which Linux distro is best for an enterprise or a small business. Why? Because each one evolves at its own pace and there is too much fragmentation out there to for the average user to keep up with.

Give me a single Linux distro that acts as a flagship for the entire community. That would be something more technology writers would write about. Software developers would flock to it faster than you could imagine, and OEMs would almost certainly offer it on their systems.

Do you disagree? Do you agree? What would save Linux for desktops?

Article Written by

Ryan Matthew Pierson has worked as a broadcaster, writer, and producer for media outlets ranging from local radio stations to internationally syndicated programs. His experience includes every aspect of media production. He has over a decade of experience in terrestrial radio, Internet multimedia, and commercial video production.

  • qwarthon

    isn’t ubuntu the flagship? and ive heard that ubuntu is going to be offered on some dell systems again. so what’s the big fuss about?

    • Ryan Matthew Pierson

      Ubuntu isn’t a flagship. It just happens to be the most popular OS in the group. Many Linux users would state that Ubuntu is inferior to other distros in many ways.

      • Eddie Baxter

        The reason they make such claims is because they have the choice to. Ubuntu isn’t any slower, less stable, less able to run your favourite software than any other distro. The thing that separates distros are what the user can choose to do with it – Gentoo will allow you to effortlessly compile from source every package you install with every tweak you could imagine, which some people like, or with Ubuntu you can have a working install in 20 minutes that will work perfectly out of the box and won’t require you to relearn computing from the ground up.

        Ubuntu is already the flagship, it’s the one being targeted by Steam because they know it’s the one most people will try first after googling ‘what can I replace Windows 8 with?’ If users seek a more geeky, less unity-desktopped, more lightweight, more *insert Whatever you want here* distro, they will find it, but until they do, Ubuntu is the Linux for the people. It is just as capable as any other Linux, and saying it is inferior to any other distro is like saying pop music is inferior to death metal. They target different audiences, and chances are, death metal fans started off listening to pop music and decided they wanted something different. Does that make their choice right for you? Probably not, and if you like pop music then to you it’s not inferior, and no one has the right to say otherwise!

  • Matt Townley

    Dont now what Linux is.. :$

    • Ryan Matthew Pierson

      Don’t “know” what you mean.

    • ActionParsnip

      Research it, it’s an exciting subject.

    • ActionParsnip

      Research it, it’s an exciting subject.

  • Jesse Aranda

    Reminds me a lot of this video of why Linux sucks [but also how we could fix it]

    The main thing he was speaking about is the fact that there isn’t enough commercial software on Linux which is mainly opensource and freeware. Also he talks about the fragmentation.

    • Michael Hazell

      That video is quite long. I have never gotten the chance to watch all of it.

  • Guest

    Ubuntu is an option on a few Dell systems in Canada right now, it’s the OS of choice at Google (a modded 12.04 LTS aka as Goobuntu) and, most importantly, I LIKE IT… so Ubuntu is the flagship. If you don’t believe me then you just don’t apt-get it. #rimshot

  • Sherman DeForest

    So I have tried all the distros you mentioned and a few others like mandriva and scientific Linux. But I gave them all up for Ubuntu for all the reasons you give. Freedom to innovate is great, but as I said in another post, any standard is better than no standard. We should rally around the leader which in this case, for consumer desktops is Ubuntu. That does not mean it is the best–the community being what it is, you will always find arguments– but it is something that could become the flagship.

  • Oscar Roque

    Even though there are many Linux Distros, I personally believe that Ubuntu is the flagship this article refers to. Sure, it may have its drawbacks for specific applications but, if we’re talking about the average consumer, Ubuntu fits. :)

    • Bildo Baggins


    • ActionParsnip

      Have you tried other distributions? You’ll find many run just as well as Ubuntu.

      • Oscar Roque

        I have. (Mint, Joli, Puppy, Xubuntu, Kubuntu, Edubuntu)… For my needs, Ubuntu works well. :)

        • ActionParsnip

          Those are all Ubuntu based, so you only really tried ONE distro. Try Mandriva, Suse and so forth. All different and all great.

          • Oscar Roque

            I’ll keep those in mind. Thanx. :)

          • Michael Hazell

            It may be from the same distro, but they are not all exactly alike.

          • ActionParsnip

            Yes but with the same driver base, kernel and enough of the fundamentals of each being 100% identical, makes them massively the same. Trying a non-Debian based distro would constitute something different. They are all basically Ubuntu, just with different default application list and desktop etc.

        • ActionParsnip

          Those are all Ubuntu based, so you only really tried ONE distro. Try Mandriva, Suse and so forth. All different and all great.

  • Curtis Coburn

    I would agree with this. If Linux really wants to take off, people need to at least get on Linux distro out there noticed. Only then will people really take Linux seriously.

  • Uthman Baksh

    Linux should take a page from Apple and release one version/distro of Linux out there. Ubuntu is the easiest to use thus far. It can take off. This is coming from a Mac user.

    • John Doe

      The issue there is that Linux isn’t organized. What I mean by that is that if I wanted to, right now, I could go make an entirely new Linux distro. So could you. And just about anyone with a computer and an internet connection. After all, Linux is nothing more than the source code.

      That being said, if the community generally congregated around one distro, that’d be great. But limiting the amount of distros is impossible without abandoning what Linux is altogether.

      • Richard Dambrosi

        yes the thing with Linux is that the source coode has to be made avalable freely , you can invest in it and you can profite from it no different then red hat but any one its not for has the free dom to take the source and re write it making it a ” new distribution ” not really it has a slightly differ=ent look anf feel same OS same software same hardware ..

        that has not stop serveral companys from making boat loads of gold from linux :) Red hat and google are both good exsamples

    • ActionParsnip

      Yes but Mac has near zero choice so you would say that. The whole ethos of Linux is choice. So people will make their own distros as they need them to do what they desire rather than a one glove fits all approach like Mac and Windows. If you think there should only be one distro then you don’t understand Linux at all.

  • Younten Jamtsho

    I too feel that, there should be only one version/distro of Linux.. If all other linux distro agree to come up with one distro and start working on it, Linux will become a giant OS, and would kick off Windows and MAC

    • Devon Tourond

      I don’t know if it would “kick off” the other OS’s but it would definitely makes its mark.

  • Tory Wright

    The flagship could only be the kernel itself. From there it goes the two directions of Debian and Red Hat with the option of developing more. From there it becomes more diverse than most know. I like it the way it is. It evolved in that manor as a result of being in open development. It’s somewhat like a performance art in that it’s not as much about the end result as it is about the innovation and collaboration that gets it there. If it were to unify it would lose one of it’s greatest strengths.

  • No Geeks

    The problem isn’t the lack of a unifying distro, it is Linux’ insistence on archaic command-line entries to get things done. These commands might make sense to propeller-heads but not to mainstream users.

  • Craig Strachan

    Ok there are many reasons in my opinion that Linux is dead or dying

    1: Because people don’t investigate the options. They go to a shop, or online and buy a machine with Windows or OSX. They see these options and go “that is what I know, I will take that machine please” (quote from nowhere). This is more of a society problem and not Linux!

    Personally when I saw Win 8 coming along I thought f*** that! So spent months looking through distro’s trying to find the right one which leads me to point 2.

    2: So mint (my fav) has none other than XFCE, LXDE, Mate, Cinnamon and Gnome 3 interfaces available. I saw XFCE, LXDE, Gnome 2, Gnome 3, Unity, Mate, Cinnamon, KDE. all available on the many distros. Which one do I pick?? I know its easily changed later by command line but come on.


    3: A linux distro can be based on many different distros, in debian, ubuntu, slackware, red hat, fedora and so on. Then you have derivatives of those, Kubuntu, Arch, Zorin, PCLinux, Mint, Debian Mint. Too much choice!

    So lets say you have now decided I will go with Xubuntu after your months of research.

    4: My webcam wont work! ok lets find some drivers. OK webcam is now working after learning what variable I need to change to a config file. so far so good! let me just install skype. hmmm no sound from webcam. OK lets head over to the config file again nothing. Right let me check the multitude of forums available. I found something that is supposed to work and yes sound works, where did my picture go? and so on… you could apply this to any bit of hardware I suppose, but you get my drift.

    So summing up OSX and Windows is pretty much plug and play. Turn it on and it will work so you can move on to doing what you do best….. read Lockergnome. Linux is for enthusiasts who like to solve these problems, and want to have choices beyond need. So yes I agree, one linux distro please and all these problems will disappear! :-)

    • ActionParsnip

      If more companies worked closer with Linux it would work. This is not Linux’s fault. Companies like Intel and HP work very close with Linux and have fantastic support. Skype is a complete mess but the devs don’t work too close with the right Linux people so their crap only works some of the time. Don’t blame Linux when it is actually the shortcomings of 3rd parties.

  • Dallin Crump

    I think one of the strengths of Linux, and the reason it has managed to stay around as long as it has, is its decentralized nature. There are so many great distros to choose from that chances are at least one of them will have what you’re looking for in an OS. I do think it would be helpful for there to be a main website that would serve as a hub for Linux developers and users. A website that would be an enormous repository of information for ALL distros with a searchable database that people could refer to when trying to pick their preferred flavor of Linux. Maybe there is such a website, in which case, we really need to promote it as the place to go for all things Linux.

  • Wolfee Darkfang

    Linux is dead is why Valve is working on porting to it, why games run so much smoother for it, why I moved full time to it, and why it comes up a lot more often lately in conversations. Because dead things are way more popular then alive things. I guess DOS must be THRIVING!… Seriously though; I don’t like the idea of focusing on a single distro. I like choices / options / flavors. It’s not my fault the rest of the world is content with having all that taken away from them. Just my thoughts. No offense to the article or it’s poster. I usually don’t like using the most popular distro because it’s the most likely to be focused on by black hats or bad innovation choices like gnome 3’s layout. I use mint rather than Ubuntu for those 2 reasons. I prefer a familiar interface, with fresh ideas applied, while being in full control of everything.

  • Devon Tourond

    This is exactly what I was thinking. If Linux is going to be popular it needs to have a flagship distro. I think the best distro would be Ubuntu for it’s ease of use and wide-collection of apps.

  • Sandy Lubricant

    I’m liking @ZorinOS since graphically, it’s near Windows.

    • ActionParsnip

      You can skin any distro to look like that.

  • Richard Dambrosi

    First Would Like to agree in more ways with the article then I do makes some good points , the Linux community has grown a lot over the years knitted together and thought they still call them flavors the distributions have never been closer to one then they are at this point once set up changing is a matter of using a menu button at logging basically ..

    What all seem to forget is that Linux is not a OS in and of its self its just a kernel , the OS is what is wrapped around that kernel how its skinned so to speak for the most most programs all port to Linux port to any skin =(flavor) you choose each time you boot and log into your system ..

    as far as people wanting there favorite programs software there is almost nothing Microsoft or Apple other have that Linux doesn’t and most 100X better at doing the job ..

    in all the articles I have read the biggest worries that OEM’s have had over the years is not people willing to buy the order for Linux machines is over whelming there biggest issue is they fear having to actually provide real support to people who for the most part know as much or more about the software and hardware everyone in one way or another who uses linux is a tester, a developer has a say if they choose to in new feature ..

    the other issue something of it has to be made open freely :) the source people can get the source freely and if they dont like the OEM version they can re make to suit them free no more to pay they cant milk you to death like they can with Microsoft ..

    I believe you are going to see Ubuntu break out its on its way dell and HP both have ultrabook with Ubuntu in productions this year as I last read dell had 70,000 in advance orders for the Ubuntu ultrabook ..

    though the numbers for Linux distrobution can be hard to trackI read in 2010 the number was 20 million they are looking to be about 70 million this year , not counting servers or the 4.6 billion android devices in use everyday ..

    I guess in the end whatI am saying is the problem is peoples understanding of what it really is and how it really works, one way I think the open source community still has to grow is the, this flavor is better then that one there whole argument is over which skin they like the looks of better exsactly the same as those who hate the missing start button in win 8 has nothing to do with anything but where a button is located ..

    switching distrobution is even simpler the the windows issue before you long in your ssytem you can choose between mint unity and the rest once its all set up and you can use a different desk each day all the same native prgrams and your files different look and feel ..

  • JarrodSimpson

    How about a Linux National Convention where we decide what 1 distro to get behind…

    • Richard Dambrosi

      cool great Idea being as its the dieing OS we ( all 3 or 4 of us) could get together at a starbuck or Tim Hortons or something ..

  • Bugger ALL

    The end game really should be making a compelling Device(s) using the power and flexibility of GNU-Linux, w/o the constraints of Microsoft.
    Perhaps the real problem isnt a centralized Distro to rally around, rather a question is it even possible in this “Patented” World of Microsoft /Apple. Licensing terms that bind OEM’s, DRM that binds customers, etc… Can Big Business make money on Open Source under terms of
    GNU Linux, if so, then some serious push back is due on Microsoft/Apple, from both OEM’s and Developers who need and want the freedom of innovation.

    • Richard Dambrosi

      yess they can Just gave to exsample red hat and Google both are great examples of big and even bigger dollar you can make from Linux and GNU the Ereaders are other great exsample though android and Ios tablets are getting way better they are making the E readers old hat they are all in the midst of big face lifts to stay alive but great exsamples of makeing money with a GNU product :)

      look at both dell and HP who are shifting back to servers you dont think for 2 mins then servers they are producing are most Microsoft do you the better bet is that they are Linux servers :)

  • lylejk

    I agree that it would be uber nice to have a single distro, but you will pit the Redhats with the Gnomes and then even have the Ubuntus and KDEs argue about what is the best. I’ve personally (via VM) used on and off Ubuntu since Feisty Fawn and I’ve been impressed with the stability of the OS (though again a rare user). Only had issues with Maverick Meerkat (if my memory serves me correctly) and went back to Lucid Lynx (or was it Lucid Lynx that I had issues; can’t remember; lol). Anyway, I digress. Since I’m such a casual user, I can’t be the one that makes this decision. Still, I do like the new Unity interface (guess maybe because I’m a Windows user and it was quite intuitive for me; I do know folks that didn’t like unity). :)

  • Justin Stepp

    I really feel that Ubuntu could be a possibility. I have by used to many variations maybe 3 total but by far the best experience (most stable as well) I’ve had on Linux.

  • Girl Downunder

    Hi Ryan,

    Place me into the “I like the diversity” camp of Linux user. I’ve been playing around with Linux live CD/DVD’s forever, installed quite a lot of full distros, & now have settled in with Mint (currently still using v. 9 LR but switching to either Mate or Cinnamon very soon).

    My experience with Mint has been exceptionally good. Other than some sound issues (bass problem), it’s been brilliant. I’ve plugged in numerous peripherals & had them either work immediately- or with a pretty straight-forward driver install. I use WINE for a couple of MS programs & that also works well. Ubuntu, for some reason, just doesn’t run as well or feel as polished to me?

    From Miguel:

    “But we lost the chance of becoming a mainstream consumer

    I guess I don’t understand the idea of “why” people would want less choice? I read a lot of articles about how one popular Linux could “best” Windows….and? I wasn’t aware that this was a contest for world-OS- domination? What’s wrong with having MS, Apple, & Linux as options? What would happen if one Linux distro was “chosen”- but you didn’t like it or how it worked? Wouldn’t that be like Windows 8?

    I believe that Mint is ready for prime-time. I don’t see the few issues it has as being any worse than the issues I experienced in Windows. As a tech/tutor, I can tell you now that the majority of home users run only the most basic of programs- and Mint would actually benefit them by reducing the amount of viruses/malware I see every day on infected Windows machines. These people browse, email, edit the occasional photo, listen to some music. Any current Linux distro can do that.


    PS- hey Jesse Aranda- next time you post a youtube link, make it one where the person filming knows what a tripod is? It’s horrible to try to watch it.

  • Conal Duffy

    I certainly do not think linux is dead. People still use linux for many things.

  • Stephan Beal

    i’ve been in the Linux community since the mid 1990’s and can with some confidence say that very few of us listen to anything Miguel has to say anymore, given his strong attachment to Microsoft and Dot-net. (But we still use Midnight Commander, of which he was the original author.)

  • Stephan Beal

    i’ve been in the Linux community since the mid 1990’s and can with some confidence say that very few of us listen to anything Miguel has to say anymore, given his strong attachment to Microsoft and Dot-net. (But we still use Midnight Commander, of which he was the original author.)

  • Kenny MacLeod

    I’ve been using Linux since 2008.

    For years before that I’d struggled with, in particular, Win ME with which I was stuck because it was what was on the computer when bought it & I couldn’t afford a Windows Upgrade.

    I took the plunge with Ubuntu 8.04 – this involved doing some research & printing out a detailed “How-to” before sitting in front of the installer (nervously) as it fired unknown suggestions at me and I carefully examined my printed list for the answers.

    It all went well and, after a little more research, I never looked back. Since then the main distro’s have developed their installers which now hand-hold you through the whole process and it’s easy-peasy.

    If there is a problem, I don’t think it’s the number of distros (Linux OSs). The vast majority are little ‘uns and sit on the periphery or are “niche” operating systems geared for a particular use.

    There are really only five main Distros – Ubuntu/Mint, Debian, OpenSUSE, Fedora & Mandriva (struggling at the moment, the successor of which could be Rosa or Mageia).

    The easiest to use would be Ubuntu or Mint & followed by Mandriva; the most technical would be OpenSUSE (in the tools that it contains); the most solid would be Debian & the most cutting edge probably Fedora. But none of these are difficult to use for everyday/office purposes.

    Someone mentioned the number of Desktop Environments to choose from but you would just go for the default that comes with your chosen distro and then add a different one from the Software Centre/Package Manager (read: App Store) as required – no commandline stuff required).

    In many ways these Linux systems are easier to install/operate than Windows – pretty much everything is on the install disk including drivers & real software (rather than demos & trials). There will be some issues on some machines with the odd driver not being available or being out of date but in the vast majority of installs things just work.

    The main issue that I come across with Linux is that when a big distro names a particular bit of software as a “default” for their OS they should really take it under their wing and lend assistance/finance to polish it/make it bullet-proof as regarding operation on their particular system. To give an example, I use Evolution which is one of the go-to apps if you use Linux in office environment. This was the default e-mail app on Ubuntu till 11.10 and still is on many others. It works great in the most part but, in Ubuntu, it crashes when you try to copy multiple contacts from one address book to another. There are relatively easy work-arounds but for mainstream programs you shouldn’t have to do this. These bugs occur in other OSes too but little bugs like this seem to sit around in Linux programs far too long, in my view. This, I feel, will put new Linux desktop users off even though the majority of stuff works great right out of the box.

    So, for me that’s it – get the default apps looking good, make them absolutely cast-iron and the rest will follow.

    • ActionParsnip

      The most technical by far would more than likely be Gentoo or Slackware….

    • Michael Hazell

      Oh…and don’t forget Arch Linux. That seems to betting real popular with the more hardcore Linux community.

  • dean

    we as a community need to get behind Linux and at least try its knew os’s if anything but Linux need to update their software in my opinion its outdated and some people may hate that especially the younger generation

    • therapist

      “Linux need to update their software in my opinion its outdated” – are you serious? you need to see a psychiatrist. TODAY!

  • Bharat Kumar Gupta

    I agree with you and that way the product will have even more potential, linux IMO always had the promise and i truly believe the more choices we have in the market, the better it is for us consumers, thanks for giving a shout out to linux community of what can be done as an improvement and articles like these only help make a better product.

  • Cosdis

    I don’t think Linux is dead i see many people use it, even i use Ubuntu for my desktop.

  • Luke

    I’m disheartened at ever reading “Linux is dead” … this is an awful title for such a stable operating system (not to mention, most web servers use!). Ever since I made a switch from Windows, I’m loving this experience. I was once one of these users who were clueless about Linux, but I enjoy the security and productivity I get with Ubuntu.

    It’s also a bit ironic that I just read an article from the same author about Windows 8 being a success. Linux will never expire, it’s open, free and all it needs is a bit of marketing and OEMs to start being a bit more supportive.

  • Curtis Coburn

    I don’t think Linux is dead. It’s nice to have lots of distros, but it would be a good idea to have more people come to linux to use more of them.

  • Daniel Mullaly

    I use linux on a daily basis for my work. Webservers, game servers, it makes me a very decent salary. It is far from dead in my mind.

  •!/gpowerf G.Power

    Actually, I agree. And I am usually the type to come in and argue in favour of Linux. It is incredibly fragmented, too many people doing essentially the same things in slightly different ways isn’t productive.
    When there wasn’t an alternative the fragmentation wasn’t a problem, but after OS X became the *nix platform of choice the Linux community has to do something to compete.

  • lorenzo woodley

    Ubuntu is the flagship ………

  • lorenzo woodley

    Ubuntu is the flagship ………

  • Liam

    In my mind, having worked in schools and colleges, Linux just won’t ever cut it (dead or alive). Here in the UK we have to rely on heavy CAD software, schools information services from CAPITA, fully featured office suites, examination software and the like. There’s also software for controlling what pupils can/can’t see, administrating 400 machines with only 2 staff, as well as keeping ontop of network hardware issues and keeping ontop of our other staffly chores.

    No software on Linux at the moment is fully featured enough for half of the tasks we have to perform, and developers won’t commit time and resources to something that is a ‘free’ and ‘open’ market where they won’t make any money back. Plus they’ve got the entire fragmentation issue. Linux is certainly not dead, but it’s never going to make it mainstream at this rate. It just isn’t viable for the software companies or their customers.

  • Kevin de Bie

    Linux possibly needs less fragmentation but it certainly does not need one distro in my mind. There are for example quite a few things based on Ubuntu and even when they are given out and released as something different its all compatible. A distro in Linux terms is rarely anything more then a different package of bundled software. Though this may be confusing to the outsider, its just a different sort of mindset. Especially if Windows is the only thing you ever worked with.

    The only thing Linux really needs is being able to get out of Microsofts shadow. One of the biggest problems Linux still has is gaming, having just one single distro on the world will not fix this. Gaming is the sole reason i still use Windows at home, on my main rig. If there is no gaming involved I usually pick Linux as I have on my laptop. I also use it for just about any non-Microsoft server solution that I may need. If shit just works on Linux i’m 200% sure I can convince more people to use it. There are too many ifs to the operation of Linux still and only a very few of those ifs have anything to do with the 5000 options one has when it comes to using Linux. One could even argue such a Linux distro already exists with Ubuntu. Tweakers will always want their own thing.

  • LinusMan

    Linux is not dead, it’s just treading water. Linux is not good for business. Lets say you work for an accounting firm and they need software for them to do their jobs. There are so many software for them to use with Windows but name one for Linux. When something goes wrong, who do you call? The Linux forums is full of snob people who have no people skills whatsoever. You have someone new to Linux, can you please help them? No, they use unnecessary jargon and the person that needs help has no idea what the person is saying and they’re scared back to Windows. That’s another issue, the Linux help desk sucks. Is the Windows help any better? Yes, it’s better than typing on a forum with people who have no idea about nothing. Asking for unnecessary information like your specs when all the person is asking how they can play DVDs. I don’t need your specs to tell you how you can play DVDS on Linux. I would ask what distro you’re using and take it from there. Us “geeks” know how to use a computer because that’s what we do but the average person just want to do their jobs and don’t have time to sudo and wine what they could easy get within seconds with a click of a button. It doesn’t make them dumb it just the fact that they want to get their jobs completed without a hassle. Linux is not mainstream because they don’t have what the mainstream needs. Do you think a teenager who is not computer savvy or a older user will spend the time trying to do the simplest task when they could easily just do it with Windows? You can trash Windows by putting an $ at the end of Window but the fact is, Linux still has a long way to. That’s where Linux fails and if they want to compete, then create accounting software that can compete, create video editing software that can compete, create something like Adobe After Effects that can compete, create applications that can compete and be just as good but until they do that, they’re not going anywhere. They’re not compatible with a lot of hardware and if you have a printer at home that isn’t compatible with Linux then sucks for you. I like the idea someone had. They, the Linux community need to stand behind a project, 1 OS and kick MS and Apple’s ass. All these distros is uncalled for. Having special a OS like Backtrack is one thing but Linux Mint and Ubuntu? But then some of you Linux users that hate change would say, “Well that’s just taking away what Linux is all about. It’s about choice and freedom.” Freedom? “Yea, freedom! We’re into in the clutches of Windows and their expensive software and everything in Linux everything is free.” Well that obviously hasn’t helped them has it? Their free software is mediocre because there are so many projects just to do the simplest things as watching a DVD. They should come together and create 1 single OS and continue with the special OS like Backtrack but they should consider coming as one.

  • Bagz

    In order for Linux to gain traction in the commercial desktop market, they need to focus most of their efforts on one “catch-all, be-all” distro, sure. But I tend to look at Linux as an ongoing scientific research: the reason why there are so many different approach to desktop Linux is because, let’s face it, there is still no OS that can rule them all. Windows is as big as it is because they got to the software market way before the rest of the world knew what the buck software is. And yet I think we can all agree that Windows is still far from being the ideal OS that absolutely everyone can use. Apple’s total vertical control is great… for Apple users. And MacOSX is also far from perfect. As well, in terms of pricing, Apple is just not a feasible option for people who has tight budget (this is true for Windows as well). And as Windows Vista users can testify, a single monolithic OS on every computer is far from the perfect solution.

    The thing that people need to understand is that such an ideal situation is pretty much impossible to achieve. And let’s not forget that a lot of the reasons why Linux is not as successful commercially is because a lot of the software that people have gotten used to are closed-source. Games utilizing Direct X instead of OpenGL is a good example of this. Furthermore, we only need to Google the woes that Linux users have to go through in order to install codecs and such to play media content on their distro (generally speaking; the only distro that works out of the box in this sense is Linux Mint, AFAIK). No normal (i.e. non power user) would want to go through that, but it is what it is, that’s not Linux dev’s fault that mega companies are refusing to share their codes.

    Like all scientific research, the perfect ingredient that could spread Linux to bigger markets is not there yet. It’s happening though, but not in another 5 years or so. It’s not because Linux sucks. It’s because the world sucks. XD

  • Michael Hazell

    From what I see, if Windows 8 does fail Canonical and Ubuntu can swoop in and possibly get popular OEMs to ship that. That idea is out there, but totally possible.

  • gautam divekar

    fedora 16 or mint cinnamon ux for me.

  • Justinus

    If linux is dead, then Android is dead, too!

  • Michael Hazell

    Seeing that I have seen this article 2 times before on different occasions, I think this is just to try to generate click bait.