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Linux Software

Linux in 2004? 456

An anonymous reader writes "John Terpstra and Eric S. Raymond have started the ball rolling on LinuxWorld's poll of the community for what they think will happen in the world of Linux in 2004. Terpstra says 'I predict that during 2004 at least one significant USA government body will adopt Linux on the desktop.'" Depending on how you define "significant", this has already occurred.
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Linux in 2004?

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    ...and not answering them himself.

    Windows will be obsolete when PCs cost less than $350: http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=02/02/28/132424 8 [slashdot.org]

    MS monopoly to collapse in 6 months: http://slashdot.org/articles/00/12/13/216237_F.sht ml [slashdot.org] (predicted in Dec. 2000)
  • Apt (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rf0 ( 159958 ) <rghf@fsck.me.uk> on Sunday November 23, 2003 @03:22AM (#7540791) Homepage
    I found the following intresting

    "I think 2004 is going to be a big year for Fedora and Suse, and a challenge for Debian (because Fedora now offers apt for RPM)."

    Well apart from the fact that apt for rpm has been around for a while [freshrpms.net] and also debian packages usually come configured a lot better than fedora are aren't as buggy.

    Of course with the recent Debian security breach things might not be that easy


    • Re:Apt (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mhesseltine ( 541806 ) on Sunday November 23, 2003 @03:30AM (#7540809) Homepage Journal

      Agreed. The power of apt isn't necessarily the tool, it's the repository that apt connects to. After all, it's the thousands of packages that are tested against each other that creates a cohesive system.

    • Re:Apt (Score:5, Funny)

      by LnxAddct ( 679316 ) <sgk25@drexel.edu> on Sunday November 23, 2003 @03:40AM (#7540840)
      I run Fedora and Debian and apt for Fedora is pathetic compared to apt for Debian. Its mainly because the repositories aren't as large and I could probably fix that with some configuration changes, but go to freshrpms.net, the entire list can be viewed all at once. I know that on Debian I could type "apt-get install GodLikePowers" and in seconds I'd have god like powers, but if I were to type that in Fedora I'd get:
      Reading Package Lists...

      Done Building Dependency Tree...
      Done E: Couldn't find package GodLikePowers

      Once the sources for apt for rpm become more robust, then Debian may have something to worry about, after all, the installation of Fedora actually made me smile it was so easy.
      P.S. I know that GodLikePowers also wouldn't work on Debian, it was simply an example.
  • My Bet Is On 2006 (Score:5, Informative)

    by dalutong ( 260603 ) <djtansey@@@gmail...com> on Sunday November 23, 2003 @03:23AM (#7540792)
    Partly because it will be my 10 year anniversary of using GNU/Linux... but practically, too.

    I can't really put my finger on just why that year sticks out, but it does. I suspect that it will take a year+ for 2.6 to mature/be accepted to the point where most major distros are shipping it and most howtos are being written for it. I also suspect that both GNOME and KDE will reach another major version by 2006 (haven't checked their road maps... just hoping.) I also hope that device support will continue to grow as it has, configuration tools will mature more, and the "your mama" test will be more easily passed. I doubt all that will happen in the next twelve months.

    As for what I think COULD happen? I think a major U.S. gov't agency could start putting GNU/Linux into major use. I think we will see a lot more adoption abroad. Maybe even a first world national government promoting it in some way. I understand GNU/Linux desktop usage will top Mac desktop usage (was a /. article on that before.. that or linuxworld.com)...

    Now I'm just rambling. This made very little sense. sorry. It is 2:30 AM EST... I'm going to bed.

    • accepted to the point where most major distros are shipping it and most howtos are being written for it

      I think it won't be read until howto's are a thing (primarily) of the past.
      • Re:Howto's.. (Score:3, Informative)

        by Trepalium ( 109107 )
        Howtos will likely remain forever... I'd be fairly happy to see the howtos for rather mundane things go away or at least lose some of their utility. Today, things like the CDROM HOWTO, Ethernet HOWTO and ISP-Connectivity HOWTO are unnessesary for most people. Other things like the ADSL HOWTO, CD Writing HOWTO and DVD HOWTO are still nessesary evils.
    • Does Germany Count? (Score:5, Informative)

      by cookie_cutter ( 533841 ) on Sunday November 23, 2003 @04:09AM (#7540917)
      Maybe even a first world national government promoting it in some way.

      Like, say, Germany? [bbc.co.uk]

    • by Qweezle ( 681365 ) on Sunday November 23, 2003 @04:18AM (#7540945) Journal
      Lower-education will be the short-term future of linux in my opinion. It's already hit the corporate server level, the governmental level, the ranks of high education, now what?

      I've suggested to our [poor] school district that we should switch to Linux, using the old hardware we have, and they liked they idea but said it would be "too hard to implement". Oh, come now. I think that any kid could easily circumnavigate a Linux interface, especially if it is an easy one, like Mandrake 9.x or Lycoris! I sure would want my kids to learn Linux, and this is a cheap(free, actually) solution for those school districts that just can't seem to raise any money. In addition, get a good IT guy at the helm, fire all the low-waged IT guys who don't know what they're doing, and get that network running smoother than ever with Linux!

      It's a SHOCK to me that school districts haven't at least started putting in an "Operating Systems 101" class in high school for everyone to learn about alternative OS's. Linux, Macintosh OS, Solaris, FreeBSD, UNIX, just imagine how much that would open up the minds of those kids!
    • by Billly Gates ( 198444 ) on Sunday November 23, 2003 @04:20AM (#7540955) Journal
      I personally think it will never happen. Remember the past stories about the NSA using and giving away software for linux?

      Well Microsoft threw a fit and is one of the biggest lobbiests. They pressured dozens of senators with the phrase "Lost jobs" and "Communist" and they wrote legislation to ban code being release to the GPL and Linux at the NSA. Now are tax dollars are used to buy copies of Windows to help Microsoft.

      Gotta love corporate influence.

      Other governments its a different story because they are not all whores like ours.

      • by Rimbo ( 139781 ) <rimbosityNO@SPAMsbcglobal.net> on Sunday November 23, 2003 @06:29AM (#7541231) Homepage Journal
        Other governments its a different story because they are not all whores like ours.

        I'm afraid that other countries' reluctance to use Microsoft has very little to do with being whores.

        I mean, put yourself in their shoes. You can use a foreign OS that you can't see the insides of to connect to the internet made in a country that is a superpower and wants to stay that way. Or, you can pick Linux, which may be made partially in the USA but at least you can look on the insides, modify it, and have your geeks keep an eye for any trojans.

        Deciding not to use Windows has little to do with whether or not they're whores and everything to do with nationalism and national security.

        In fact if anything, other countries are just whores to their own businesses instead of USA's businesses. Which makes sense, obviously.

        Generally corporate interference with and influence on government increases -- out of necessity -- the closer a country is to Socialism. This should be obvious: In a Socialist system, influencing the government is the ONLY way for a business to be successful! For that reason, the US government isn't the big whore it's made out to be compared to the rest of the world.
  • US Gov't on Linux (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CompMD ( 522020 ) on Sunday November 23, 2003 @03:24AM (#7540794)
    The NSA has their own spiffy modified linux kernel which is actually pretty nice. I haven't had any problems with it. Interesting how they won't say if they actually use it internally or not. With budgets the way they are I don't doubt that there will be some significant moves toward putting linux on the desktop of government officials in the near future. In fact, I bet there are lots of folks in the FBI computer crimes division that would be pretty happy to see that happen.

    • by Soko ( 17987 ) on Sunday November 23, 2003 @03:34AM (#7540819) Homepage
      A distro from the NSA? Whoa.

      That just has to be called TinfoilHat Linux.

      • by mickwd ( 196449 ) on Sunday November 23, 2003 @09:08AM (#7541542)
        ...or Feds-ora.

      • Re:US Gov't on Linux (Score:3, Informative)

        by doodleboy ( 263186 )
        Actually, there already is a Tinfoil Hat [shmoo.com] linux. It's a bootable single-floppy distro for gpg-signing and/or wiping files.

        The NSA's version is called SE-Linux [nsa.gov], for Security Enhanced Linux. It has a "strong, flexible mandatory access control architecture incorporated into the major subsystems of the kernel. The system provides a mechanism to enforce the separation of information based on confidentiality and integrity requirements. This allows threats of tampering and bypassing of application security mechani
    • I cant see the NSA giving information on ANYTHING they do internally; thats just good security.

      I was reading something about them wanting to have completely separate OS's running in multiple instances (with no shared memory addresses) and separate networks, but on one machine. Never heard anything beyone the statement of what they were developing, however. It would be pretty interesting to see.

    • by Billly Gates ( 198444 ) on Sunday November 23, 2003 @04:22AM (#7540960) Journal
      I thought Microsoft banned it

  • by mhesseltine ( 541806 ) on Sunday November 23, 2003 @03:24AM (#7540797) Homepage Journal

    It's not about having "good enough" software. It's about having feature-for-feature replacements that are open and secure. It isn't enough that sendmail, procmail, spamassassin, ical, etc. can be put together to implement most of the MS Exchange features; it's going to be the drop-in replacement that drives adoption.

    Once people are used to using the drop-in replacements, they will be able to migrate away from closed and proprietary solutions. Until the drop-ins are available, Linux will not make huge inroads. (all IMHO, of course)

    • I have to disagree with you on that.

      Linux is already making huge inroads, and the more businesses and government agencies that switch, the more others out there will begin to budge.

      Most businesses haven't "tipped" yet because Linux is still in the "maven" stage of adoption, meaning that only businesses actively interested in this new OSS phenomenon are even experimented with it yet. I don't think the reason most companies haven't switched yet is because they need a step-by-step process; I think the reaso

      • Intresting. But, since when did
        the Microsoft operating systems proved themselves?
        Very many of you, have not yet forgotten
        the Blue Screen of Death. It is still all over
        the place, and Windows has never proved it itself;
        and yet, Windows has been widely adapted.
    • by spitzak ( 4019 ) on Sunday November 23, 2003 @03:54AM (#7540871) Homepage
      No. There seems to be this big delusion that somehow OpenSource has to rewrite virtually every commercial application.

      Maybe commercial companies will port to Linux!! Oh no, you say, isn't that illegal by RMS's communist manifesto? Sorry to break your fantasy, but it is legal, only Microsoft wants you to believe otherwise.

      Take a look at the special effects industry and you will see that there is lots of commercial, closed-source, for-profit software being written for Linux.

      PS: What Linux really needs is to be pre-installed on machines in a store. However it appears that Microsoft is still disallowing dual-boot machines to be sold.
    • Taking your comment one step further...

      Multimedia might also be another roadblock. And by multimedia I am including games and the like. Joe just wants to use the computer, and most likely his computer usage consists of about %90 games and web browsing. Two good examples are RealMedia and Flash. I realise that there are solutions to both of these, but the quality is nothing compared to what is available for Mac or Windows.

      Also, there are still some hardware issues to work out. Digital cameras, printers,
      • Two good examples are RealMedia and Flash. I realise that there are solutions to both of these, but the quality is nothing compared to what is available for Mac or Windows.

        Really? My experiences don't agree with your observations.

        I haven't had any problems with Flash [macromedia.com], it's just as annoying as the Windows version when displaying ads, lets me play the little flash games, navigate all the flash sites, and see all the flashtastic content on the web.

        As for RealMedia, their new Helix Player [helixcommunity.org] has been working
        • I've never seen the Helix Player. I'd given up on running real under linux a while ago. By looking at the build instructions it seems that it might even work on my computer (you see, I'm running linux on a powermac...). I'll have to give it a go, thanks for pointing it out. :)

          But don't forget about the "moms" out there who won't want to take the time to learn how to seek software like this. Perhaps a simple distribution (there might be onw) where there are fewer things geared towards the techie, like DDD,
    • by darnok ( 650458 ) on Sunday November 23, 2003 @04:56AM (#7541054)
      Actually, I'd like to think 2004 might be the year Linux gets a feature-for-feature equivalent to MS Exchange, that supports MS Outlook, Evolution and a few other key clients.

      When such a solution appears, that will mark a major milestone for Linux in potentially replacing Windows in many organisations.
    • by RoLi ( 141856 ) on Sunday November 23, 2003 @06:40AM (#7541248)
      Actually if you look at all the "new" markets that were irrelevant or didn't exist at all 10 years ago, Linux dominates them all:

      • Webservers (irrelevant in 1993)
      • Clusters (also irrelevant and not widely used in 1993)
      • Embedded systems operating systems (only recently the bulk of embedded systems has enough power to run a full blown OS)

      That's why Microsoft is so afraid. All new stuff is going the Linux-route while Microsoft is basically stuck without any new revenue sources.

      But on established stuff, you are right, drop-in replacements are very successful, probably the best example is Samba which may be already used more often than Windows files servers...

  • I think... (Score:5, Funny)

    by LnxAddct ( 679316 ) <sgk25@drexel.edu> on Sunday November 23, 2003 @03:27AM (#7540803)
    I think that there will be at least three computers in my house with Linux installed on them... Oh wait...
    Depending on how you define "in my house", this has already occurred.
  • DRM will have been adopted (albeit forcibly) in the kernel to cope with the Fritz chip. We'll be on about kernel 2.6.4 or thereabouts. KDE 3.2, possibly even 3.3, will have been released, and GNOME will be up to about 2.8, maybe 3. Around 15 governments will have taken on Linux in some way or form. MS's FUD is beginning to weaken.

    And there are still Soviet Russia jokes on Slashdot. :)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I thought that DOD went out and purchased 10000 licenses of Star Office from Sun... Weren't those for Linux? Or were they for winders?
  • by toddestan ( 632714 ) on Sunday November 23, 2003 @03:32AM (#7540816)
    Maybe having Linux being "good enough for government work" isn't exactly the image we want Linux to have. Just like I think having Linux on cheap, disposable, sub-par computers from places like Wal-mart may not be the best thing either.

    The real goal is to have people see Linux as a viable alternative, not a cheap Windows imitation or some eccentric thing the government uses.
    • Being low-cost is a good way to win people over. The software quality will speak for itself. If a distribution feels quirky, slow, and unpolished, that alone will make Linux look "cheap." If it is Done Right (TM), people will actually just think that Windows is too expensive.
    • VERY good point. I've heard so many stories about "Oh, I've tried Linux and it's slow", and then questioning further, I find out that they've installed it on their old Pentium1 box - well D0H, of course it will be slow compared to Windows running on a P4!

      The image needs to be: If you have a GOOD computer in your home, use it for Linux! Give the trash computer to Windows. Most people will quickly realize that Linux outperforms Windows and is snappier to use if the hardware is equivalent.

      (I actually have 2
    • But, remember around 1990~ or so that the reason that so many people went PC was for economic reasons? The .edu market slipped and fell into the corporate save a buck regime.

      I think Sun may have a winner with the Java Desktop... though the Java in the desktop is suspect... it's Linux... You show people how to save money AND get the job done and they're converts...

      We do still have to plug away at high performance in a few areas that make the most gains... Keep the storage, I/O, and a few emerging gadgets s
  • I see a year of peace for everyone and linux....errmm except, may be
    Darl and gang.
  • My thoughts... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by danielrm26 ( 567852 ) * on Sunday November 23, 2003 @03:46AM (#7540851) Homepage
    # Which Linux application area do you believe will grow the fastest in 2004?

    If not strictly meaning desktop applications, I'd say overall infrastructure. Web servers, mail servers, etc. And this will take place mostly in governments that can't afford MS licensing (it's already happening).

    # Will 2004 *finally* be the year when Linux makes significant in-roads on the desktop?

    No. The new X movements are just now gaining momentum, and it will take quite a while before it starts really biting into MS marketshare. I'd say 2006 maybe, like a previous poster. And that's *if* things go well.

    # Which distributions will show the greatest growth in 2004?

    I'd say Fedora (corporate), Knoppix (safety of cd distro), and Gentoo (great distro, great community).

    # Will the SCO debacle slow Linux adoption over the next year?

    No. I think it will die soon. It is just a matter of time before the whole thing is brought before a judge who is able to sort through the SCO lawyer crap, and when that happens, they'll throw the whole thing out.

    # Will Tux finally get a girlfriend?

    Yes. The hottie in Matrix 3. (he can have anyone)

    # Or, make your own question(s) up...

    Q: What is the single most annoying thing about the Linux community?
    A: Irrational trash-talking about Microsoft. There are plenty of *rational* ways to criticize them, and people should stick to those arguments rather than ranting on and on about the same old tired issues. At some point the Bill Gates and Blue Screen jokes just lose their luster.
    • At some point the Bill Gates and Blue Screen jokes just lose their luster

      Yeah, for you maybe. But for those just joining the comunity they're still shinny and new :).
    • Re:My thoughts... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by zurab ( 188064 ) on Sunday November 23, 2003 @06:08AM (#7541171)
      Q: What is the single most annoying thing about the Linux community?

      A: Irrational trash-talking about Microsoft. There are plenty of *rational* ways to criticize them, and people should stick to those arguments rather than ranting on and on about the same old tired issues. At some point the Bill Gates and Blue Screen jokes just lose their luster.

      Interesting post up to that point. The main reason being that you can't view community as a single entity. The Linux "community" you are speaking of includes millions of Linux users worldwide. You can't judge everyone under one "community" umbrella. Obviously, by the virtue of the size of the "community", if you listen, you will hear almost all kinds of opinions - some of which you agree with, some of which you may view as disappointing or even annoying and irrational. And, in my opinion, that should be expected. What would you have otherwise? That everyone had a single voice? Only one type of opinion on everything? That's not only unrealistic, it's outright bad.

      The growth of Linux users will only result in more diversity in what you refer as "community", and that's a good thing (tm). Sure, some attitudes are annoying, some opinions stupid, others are clever and reasonable; yet others flaming everyone else in sight. It's exactly the same as in every other "community" of sufficient size, Mac, Linux, Windows, or anything else.
  • top ten (Score:5, Funny)

    by geekoid ( 135745 ) <dadinportland @ y a h oo.com> on Sunday November 23, 2003 @03:48AM (#7540854) Homepage Journal
    10) certen people will still froth at the mouth if you don't stamp GNU in front of it

    9) people still won't spell well on slashdot

    8) Bill Gates will spread FUD

    7) A slashdot poster will get sued by David Lettermen for top ten copyright violation

    6) Microsoft will announce that Linus T. uses windows. This will be true, except they will fail to add "to look out of."

    5) SCO will disappear.

    4) A major exploit will be discover in Linux.

    3) Apple will stop supporting anything they released in 2003.

    2) DOOM III will be released for Linux.

    and the number one thing that will effect the linux world: You.
  • by EmCeeHawking ( 720424 ) on Sunday November 23, 2003 @03:49AM (#7540857)
    I was really starting to miss your witty editorial commentary.

    I think I speak for everyone here when I say "welcome back!"

  • Not him again! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by benna ( 614220 ) * <mimenarrator@g m a i l .com> on Sunday November 23, 2003 @03:52AM (#7540865) Journal
    While ESR seems to be very zealous and into the (GNU)/Linux scene, he's it's worst enemy. While Microsoft may spread FUD, people look at this guy and "wtf is this idiot doing? what's he talking about?" if i didn't know better, i'd avoid linux for the sole reason i wouldn't want to be associated with that nut.
    • I think you're mistaking ESR for RMS. RMS is the flaming GNU-fetish driven, EMACS-writing madman. ESR is the more practical of the two. I picture ESR as more of a clueful John Dovorak (I think that is/was his name - the guy that writes/wrote for PC Magazine) for the linux community.
    • Re:Not him again! (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Feztaa ( 633745 )
      Have you ever read the Cathedral and the Bazaar? ESR is brilliant, he perfectly describes how and why the Open Source development model WORKS!

      It's RMS that's going to repell people from the community; his uncompromising principles really turn off people who don't understand why Freedom in software is important.

      Hell, ESR is one of the people who coined the term "Open Source", and as a result he's been bringing more people INTO the community (ie, people who were previously repelled by RMS's obnoxious ethics
  • by ratpick ( 649064 ) on Sunday November 23, 2003 @03:52AM (#7540867)
    Openoffice file conversions from MS Office work better. Yeah, they work pretty well now, good enough for probably 99% of files/users, but that small portion left creates a lot of headaches. Like it or not (I certainly don't) MS Office is the standard, and office app file compatibility is an absolute requirement for widespread adoption of Linux OTD.
    • by Micah ( 278 ) on Sunday November 23, 2003 @05:09AM (#7541077) Homepage Journal
      No, the answer is education and, in the meantime, PDF for preserving formatting.

      We need to educate people of the value of open standards for file formats. Fortunately, this is starting to happen. Sitting back and saying "Microsoft's proprietary bloated file formats are standard and will always be" is suicide. There's nothing about them that is superior to the OOo formats.

      Keep advocating and give it time. Interest in OOo keeps increasing. As more governments consider its use, more individuals and corporations will also need to try it.

      But until that happens, send PDF files. They usually work better than going from one version of Word to another anyway.
  • Unfortunately, I think that all this SCO garbage is going to have an impact in the data center. I don't think very many CIO's are going to be jumping to adopt Linux. Even though it's all a bunch of bullshit it's still a risky move until all this blows over. No one wants to become a target for some sue-happy company that can't compete in the current market if it can be avoided. No flames please. Just imagine a CIO pitches Linux as a huge money saver. Then by some insane turn of events SCO wins and char
  • by EmCeeHawking ( 720424 ) on Sunday November 23, 2003 @03:58AM (#7540884)
    I think there needs to be more unification and simplification over the way things are installed in , not only Linux, but the BSDs as well.

    I think everyone agrees that rpms suck. Most of the good code comes in source tarballs - configurable for any *nix... but this is where the user experience falls apart. What person is going to want to dig out the command line to compile source code, and will he or she know about all the ocnfigure options... and then, will there be dependency issues (or should the source contain the dependencies too?). Then there are the legal issues of bundling dependancies... and then there will be future commercial Linux apps which won't want to include source code.

    In an ideal world, packaged installs will be a compressed single file, containing all source code, configurable on any *nix like normal source code EXCEPT that now there's a graphical interface so that setting compile options, creating desktop shortcuts, and "Make clean, make install, make uninstall" now all work under X with a point-and-click.

    PLEASE! Will someone serious about standardizing Linux installs do something about this... or desktop Linux will never take off.
    • This is why I like Slackware's simple packaging system. But I am no longer a newbie.

      RPMs are dire, unless they are the common ones included in the distro. On my Mandrake box, I seriously prefer tar.gz packages because they are just more reliable.

      The problem is maintaining an accurate database of what depends on what. Debian have rigorous testing procedures, they test everything so many times that it get out-of-date.

      Two ways out of it:
      1. sell CD-ROMs containing collections of packages proven to work
    • RPM sucks? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Kashif Shaikh ( 575991 ) on Sunday November 23, 2003 @07:55AM (#7541394)
      "I think everyone agrees that rpms suck."

      Really? Who? Have you looked at the feature-list for RPMs? It has a *LOT* of good features that makes it a joy for packaging software programs. It's very well defined and easy to write spec file format(yes its nit-picky -- but that's good), package signing, package integrity checking(i.e. missing files), package querying, dependent lib checking, SRPMS format, idea of prestine sources, package roll-back(very cool), etc.

      What sucks about RPMs is that rpm *installation* utilities are stupid. RPM was designed by Redhat as a format to install/upgrade distro-packages - so all dependencies would already be satisfied. Meaning you have to explicitly provide all dependent RPMs during installation. This is the part that sucks. The higher-level utilities are not smart enough to satisfy dependencies by themselves, and we experience dependency hell.

      Using a tool like apt will solve this problem, but it doesn't know if a particular RPM is 'pure' or has been 'tainted'. A 'pure' RPM only uses libs/packages provided by the distro-vendor, while a 'tainted' RPM contains custom "external" dependencies. In the latter case, apt will not be able to figure out dependent RPMs without the user providing an additional repository. However 'tainted' RPMs are the fault of the packager - and it's the packager's responsibility for dependency checking -- not RPM.

      Finally, many rpms cannot work interchangibly on different distros(i.e. SuSE and Redhat) or even across multiple vendor versions(i.e. RH9.0 rpm --> RH7.2). Who's fault is this: packager and rpmbuild for making package building too damn easy.
  • Moving that way (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ImTwoSlick ( 723185 ) on Sunday November 23, 2003 @04:07AM (#7540913)
    I work at a USGS mapping center, and about 75% of us programmers use Linux almost exclusively. The IT department also has quite a few linux servers running too.

    The real influx of Linux is due to the hiring of university students. Push Linux in the schools, and it'll end up in businesses and the gov.

    • Mod parent up.... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Slashamatic ( 553801 ) on Sunday November 23, 2003 @07:39AM (#7541365)
      That is why MS will do almost anything to get into the education amrket and to lock other systems out. An example is the flat rate license - you have paid for as much microsoft software as you want so why 'waste' money on other software.

      Create a pool of Linux trained students, and they won't need 'conversion' to handle it in their workplace.

  • im sooooo gonna get modded to hell for this but, the #1 reason linux sin't going mainstream anytime soon is the community. its greatest strength is also its greatest weakness.

    its been said before, and i'll say it again, until my mom and dad can run linux without calling me every day, and they can just install something or simply copy and paste from one app in X to another, linux is just gonna stay a hobbist/server OS.

    sorry to say it, but its true, dont give me the "its more stable, its more secure" stuff, you're preaching to the choir here, especiallly at slashdot.

    Linux isn't going anywhere for awhile, im sorry, you just have to deal with it.
    • Umm... how long has it been since you've used linux? Copy and paste works just fine gnome, for example. And considering the fact that I never even have to LOOK for an installer for what I want, I would say installation is easy (for the curious, emerge on gentoo using kemerge-- so don't give me any of that 'you have to install from the command line' stuff).
    • agreed.

      I use SuSE 8.2 for work because I "ssh -X" to a shared parallel computer and having multiple desktops is almost necessary with all the windows I have open. Windows cannot touch linux in terms of usability for me.

      but the only things I have installed apart from what's on the DVD's and internet updates are Firebird and Thunderbird. I can just unzip them and run. I haven't been able to update or install any programs manually because of all kinds of libraries and development packages being needed too. t
    • its been said before, and i'll say it again, until my mom and dad can run linux without calling me every day, and they can just install something or simply copy and paste from one app in X to another, linux is just gonna stay a hobbist/server OS.

      Bzzz.. wrong. It's true that Linux/OSS isn't quite ready to become the standard home desktop OS, but for mid-size/corporate business desktops, it's an entirely different story. Fact is, IT staff can very easily deal with administering Linux boxes even if your pa
    • Gnome comes off as very polished, its a shame there's so much mindshare involved into KDE. Frankly , I think when people have to deal with KDE they get a little nervous. The default is ugly, it feels tacked on, lots of thing tend to not work, etc.

      I think it'll take corporate backing to really push Linux into the desktop and the community probably won't be happy writing tons of GUIs for everything that can easily be done on the command line because Joe-Sixpack doesnt or can't learn all those arcane command
  • by DynaSoar ( 714234 ) on Sunday November 23, 2003 @04:14AM (#7540930) Journal
    Terpstra says 'I predict that during 2004 at least one significant USA government body will adopt Linux on the desktop.'

    Not with Homeland Security showing how absolutely retarded they insist on being and going with WinXX. This is clearly not a security based decision, and any "significant" attempt to go counter to it will bring the HLS pseudo-spooks down by the thousands to protect their investments ^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H The Nation.

    michael sez: 'Depending on how you define "significant", this has already occurred.'

    Pray tell, what agency might that be? In my years inside the beltway (up through less than 2 months ago) I didn't see any with any appreciable (let's define that as, say 5%) Linux desktops on desks. All I've seen, besides individuals setting up their own for number crunching, is piles and miles of MS systems "supported" by clue-deficient federal employess constantly in fear of replacement by contractors for extremely good reasons. Even NIH was mostly MS on the desks, and what wasn't was Macs. The necessarily more powerful research machines we used were often *nix, but these were not desktop machines.

    Offering a secured version of Linux for D/L is not the same as an agency's internal deployment of same.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 23, 2003 @04:14AM (#7540931)
    First, the linux installer must be as easy as windows. Looking at the beginnings of the new Debian Installer, that is a definite possibility. They have the autodetection and the automation down. With a spiffy interface and maybe Synaptic in the installer that's about as easy as it gets.

    Second the linux desktop has to surpass Windows XP in usability. They have the time to get this done. Longhorn is a long way off. Personally it would be nice to see some INNOVATIVE navigation ideas thrown around in the mainstream such as unified hotkey standards, radial pie menu in the window manager, and/or mouse gestures for launching commonly used applications (gesture down to open web browser, up for email) and common commands (down+left for copy, up+left for paste, for example). Maybe even mousewheel based window navigation instead of alt+tab.

    Granted these things can be done now but not without some footwork. These need to be integrated into a "desktop" linux distribution like Lindows, Lycoris, or XandrOS. Somebody just needs to put them together.

    Frequent tasks should require less keystrokes or mouse movement to accomplish. It isn't enough for it to be intuitive on where you should start to look for the document that tells you which clock does what. Less applications. Faster access and faster results.
    • Personally it would be nice to see some INNOVATIVE navigation ideas

      Unfortunately there's very little you can innovate with unless you're the one dominating the desktop markets.

      A novel navigation idea in Windows: People get annoyed but get over it because they have to.

      A novel navigation idea in Linux: People get annoyed ("it doesn't work the same way I'm used to") and give up.

      • If you dominate the desktop, you can't innovate. The tech support costs of innovation quickly spiral out of control. This might change as more jobs are moved to cheap overseas labor, but I doubt it. OEMs don't like innovation because they have to field the calls when a user is confused. Software developers hate it because it means redoing code and distributing patches (and maybe trying to charge for patches, which really ticks customers off).

        Microsoft's 'innovations' to the XP GUI weren't for innovation
    • Um, why does the installer need to be easy? Most people get there computers from an OEM (Dell, Gateway, etc), who'll just include a restore disk anyways. There's this notion Linux will gain lots of market share with a grass roots campaign of installs on old Windows hardware. I don't see that happening (hasn't worked with Mozilla, and that's a much easier switch). On the other hand, MS is gonna burn a lot of bridges with Longhorn, and the OEMs might finally start looking for alternatives.

      As for usability,
  • by compass46 ( 259596 ) on Sunday November 23, 2003 @04:27AM (#7540972)
    I have FreeBSD instead, less people will think it's a nasty venereal disease.
  • by nate nice ( 672391 ) on Sunday November 23, 2003 @04:40AM (#7541010) Journal
    Why are people so concerned with Linux on the desktop? Linux advocates should be spending all resources on making sure Linux keeps and expands it's adoption with the server. The desktop war is one that is long and hard and really Linux is not in a place right now where it can seriously compete with desktop offerings such as Windows or Mac OS X. What Linux does have going for it however is its fabulous server abilities. However great these abilities are, it cannot be overlooked Microsoft will keep spending more and more money to market their server options. Linux doesn't need some "validation" by being used as a desktop. Linux needs to keep improving as a server to make sure it stays superior to other server options. In time, the desktop may come. Until then, at least at this point, it is not something that is not too important. I only hope Linux keeps its focus and plays to its strengths.
    • There are a lot of reasons to support Linux on the desktop.
      • Moral reasons -- for those who think all software must be Free, period
      • Lower cost computers for everyone! (Also think schools and governments ... lower taxes!)
      • You believe Microsoft has too much power over the computer industry. In this case, a competitor needs to attack it on all fronts.
      • You prefer the UNIX way of doing things
      • Competition would be possible between consumer-oriented distributors. Currently, Microsoft competes with no one. When
  • by Micah ( 278 ) on Sunday November 23, 2003 @04:56AM (#7541053) Homepage Journal
    It seems like Linux on the desktop for the masses is always a couple years away.

    In 1998, I was swearing up and down that by the beginning of 2000, some major PC manufacturer would be selling Linux-preloaded systems branded for comsumers in places like CompUSA. That obviously didn't happen.

    For most of the last four years, I've been predicting that by the beginning of 2005, most people would be using open source operating systems (keeping in mind that that could be Windows, if Microsoft caught a clue in time). Doesn't look like that's going to happen.

    Now it's looking to me like the first half of 2006 is when Linux use on the consumer desktop will move from the "early adopter" to the "early majority" phase. I say this because:

    * It's virtually guaranteed that we'll have several more major deployments in 2004 and 2005. These might be specialized applications instead of general desktop, but that will help create demand for more general applications.

    * If you read the "Roadmap to desktop Linux" posted earlier today, it's clear that several very cool and useful features will be coming to the Free desktop in the next couple years.

    * OpenOffice.org 2.0 should be released in the first half of 2005, and it is planned to make development of add-ons much easier. This will hopefully help get more office-oriented vertical applications ported to OOo.

    When all this happens over the next couple years, I believe desktop Linux will turn from a stream to an avalanche.

    But still, we need consumer pre-loads with all hardware configured to work out of the box, and marketed well. Few people are going to buy a Windows-infested PC, then choose to replace Windows with Linux. This is probably the most iffy condition, but I think it will happen. Most PC manufacturers would do anything to break away from MSFT.
    • by kris ( 824 ) <kris-slashdot@koehntopp.de> on Sunday November 23, 2003 @06:53AM (#7541275) Homepage
      It seems like Linux on the desktop for the masses is always a couple years away.

      Depends on who you are looking at. For me and about 2/3 of my colleagues, Linux on the desktop has already happened several years ago. I, being a consultant, am running Suse Linux on my laptop, on my business desktop, and on all machines at home.

      I own a copy of VMware, but reviewing my usage of it, I only use it with Win98 to program my PBX at home, and most of the time with Linux to simulate certain customer configurations and experiment with RAID and cluster setups. All office work, including text processing, presentation and calculation is being done on Linux natively, as is web browsing, other internet work, and of couse all security work.

    • "It seems like Linux on the desktop for the masses is always a couple years away."

      A famous quote comes to mind:

      "When victory is inevitable, don't complain that it doesn't arrive fast enough."
  • I guess my one hope for this year is that end-user linux improves. I personally have two boxen operating right now, one linux, one windows. The windows one does exactly what I want, desktop related. It happens to be aggravating to deal with server-wise, which is what my linux box does. For example. I click and, three seconds (at most) later, mozilla comes up and I browse stuff. Yay.
    For linux, I wait about 10 seconds at a minimum. I understand there is a 800mhz difference between the two processors,
  • Here's a question I'd like to throw out:

    When, if ever, will there be a clear "winner" between Gnome and KDE for the average desktop?

    When Linux takes over the desktop in a few years, will either one of them be the de-facto standard that nearly everyone uses?

    Right now there's so much mindshare and development commitment in both, and it's hard to see when that will change. But I don't think it will last forever. Eventually one will have to give. Which one and how long will it take?
  • by RLiegh ( 247921 ) on Sunday November 23, 2003 @06:41AM (#7541254) Homepage Journal
    be made illegal for all intents and purposes. NO ONE in thier right mind can believe that the republicans in power would let the 3rd world get away with becoming independent of american interests [trans: "get away with not putting money in american pockets."]

    With the DMCA, etc in place, and the current state of soft-ware patents in europe, I think it's safe to say that in 2005, the only ones who'll be left using GNU software will be outlaws.
  • The Future Fair... (Score:5, Informative)

    by jefu ( 53450 ) on Sunday November 23, 2003 @07:15AM (#7541317) Homepage Journal
    I don't know what will happen in linux, but here are some of the things I'd like to see...

    Out of nowhere will come the killer office app that integrates word processing, spreadsheets and databases so they really interoperate nicely. (Think Improv, Access, and some quasi-wysiwyg word processor that works on xml schemas all bred together by a Christopher Lloyd as Dr. Brown and then make "easy" enough for the masses. Maybe even constraint propagation as the spreadsheet engine.)

    A personal information manager will surface that enables us all to keep track of mail, favorite websites, IM buddylists, newsgroups and all that ephemeral, necessary information that clogs our bits and our neurons. (Ideally it will integrate with the above.)

    Linux will finally have a sound system that works and without it being a pain to deal with.

    A way to build and install kernels and modules that requires less than serious geekery to get to work.

    Package management will mature enough that we wont have to chase dependencies manually, and so that packages will install cleanly.

    A good dictation package.

    A linux based PDA about the size of a paperback with handwriting recognition and (of course) all of the above.

    Hey, I can dream, can't I?

  • by fr0dicus ( 641320 ) on Sunday November 23, 2003 @07:35AM (#7541353) Journal
    Linux will get an opengl rendered desktop, most window managers will default to a brushed metal look, fast user switching will be implemented (looking much like a big spinning cube). Some sort of special hotkeys will allow the user to see and cycle through their windows graphically.

    Oh no wait - Windows has to do all this first.

  • by DrXym ( 126579 ) on Sunday November 23, 2003 @08:03AM (#7541410)
    I believe (or rather hope) that someone will cop on during 2004 and we will see movement on the following.
    • A desktop offering hardware acceleration, scaling, blending, composition effects. There are promising extensions for X for this and they should be leapt on. But if means ditching X / a WM then so be it - QT / GTK are meant to be abstraction layers after all and X can run rootless on top of whatever-it-is if need be.
    • A desktop where KDE / GNOME / dist homegrown tools are blended into a single cohesive entity. Not one with a generic KDE / GNOME slapped together with some weird tools (i.e. Mandrake). The desktop will be referred to as "the desktop" in all dialogs / apps and not KDE / GNOME / Drak / Yast etc. except in advanced documentation.
    • A unified help system - one that offers one stop access to all man pages, info, html, READMEs, GNOME / KDE / dist help, all ordered in a task centric way with full search facilities.
    • A desktop that offers to install additional apps (especially DVD, MP3 player etc.) in a user friendly manner click N run style during installation and at any time after. Even if there are legal reasons for not shipping MP3 on the CDs for example, the dist could still make it easy to find them remotely.
    • A unified distribution neutral driver model with detection, installation / removal architecture. The situation at the moment with getting a driver (or the hell of writing and supporting one) on Linux is a joke. Even a popular driver like NVidia involves screwing around at the command prompt and having a toolchain and kernel source if your dist is not directly supported.
    • A unified theme engine. A single engine that any app, toolkit or WM can use to render buttons and decorations.
    • Identification of every day operations and a UI to support them completely with no overlapping functionality. There should be no need for mere mortals to drop to the shell. Not even once. If OS X users can control a BSD derivative with a (single button) mouse then so can Linux. It doesn't mean Linux must be 'dumbed down', just that needless complication should be identified and removed / hidden from those who don't want to see it.
    And most importantly:
    • A realisation that Longhorn is coming and unless people pull their fingers out of their arses and address these shortcomings now Linux is going to look like a relic. It struggles enough to even compete with XP and that in no small part is due to lacklustre enthusiasm most Linux users have for the problem. Linux will never replace Windows on it desktop with the RTFM attitude so leave it at the door.
    • "Linux will never replace Windows on it desktop with the RTFM attitude so leave it at the door."

      Perhaps that is because for most of us, the goal isn't to replace Windows with Linux. It is to replace "legacy" Unix with Linux. Microsoft isn't even on the radar for 90% or more of the people actually developing and providing the Linux kernel, tools and other applications.

  • by Florian ( 2471 ) <cantsin@zedat.fu-berlin.de> on Sunday November 23, 2003 @09:17AM (#7541558) Homepage
    • Which Linux application area do you believe will grow the fastest in 2004?

      Conventional, but probably true answer: servers. There are still many companies running standard services like mail, web etc. on proprietary operating systems (Sun, Microsoft) in a time where it makes no whatsoever sense anymore. With kernel 2.6, Linux will gain acceptance as a high-end Unix replacement and be deployed wherever older server installations need to be replaced.

    • Will 2004 *finally* be the year when Linux makes significant in-roads on the desktop?

      No. The desktop UI is still too inconsistent across KDE/Qt, Gnome/GTK, Mozilla/XUL and Openoffice and still offers no viable alternative to the commandline when it comes to system administration/configuration.

      I predict that in 2004, attention will move away from KDE and Gnome as all-in-one-solutions. Instead, it will be finally accepted as reality among developers and users that different GUI APIs will continue to coexist, and that efforts should be made to standardize the protocols and user interfaces across the APIs. For the future of GNU/Linux and *BSD on the desktop, freedesktop.org will be much more important than kde.org and gnome.org, but it could take five-ten years until the difference between a KDE/Qt, GTK/Gnome, Tcl/Tk, Fltk program will be as irrelevant to users as the difference between a Carbon and a Cocoa app on MacOS X or as that between a Microsoft MFC program written in C++ or an OWL-based program written in Borland Delphi for a Windows user.

      Once this level of standardization is reached, the importance of all-in-one desktops like KDE and Gnome could dramatically decrease, since users instead could combine components like taskbars, window managers, file managers and system menus at will. (Which, thanks to freedesktop.org, is already possible: fspanel / fbpanel / suxpanel / the xfce4 panel can be used as drop-in replacements for the Gnome panel, rox / xffm4 as drop-in replacements for Nautlius, and the list of freedesktop.org-compliant window managers suitable as replacements of metacity / kwin is endless.)

      However, it will take yet another five years until 2013 or 2014 that a standardized Unix/GNU/Linux/BSD desktop will allow developers of system components (like sendmail/exim/Postfix/qmail, lpr/cups, Samba, Grub/Lilo...) to write GUI configuration panels for their own software. At the moment, desktop projects like KDE, Gnome/Ximian and Webmin can only provide insufficient configuration wrappers around low-level system tool; the only sane solution is that such GUI configuration panels are provided by the original component developers in sync with their release schedules, and will work consistently on any GUI configuration (as opposed to the present situation where a configuration panel would have to be provided in separate versions for KDE, Gnome, XFCE, webmin and what-have-you). Only at this point, GNU/Linux will be able to replace commercial end-user GUI operating systems on a large scale and be accessible to home users.

    • Which distributions will show the greatest growth in 2004?

      Contrary to what Eric S. Raymond says: The unclear situations of RedHat/Fedora and SuSE (after it has been bought by Novell) could create a strong push towards Debian as the standard binary (GNU/)Linux distribution. The Debian core distribution could become a de-facto-replacement of the disappointing "Linux Standards Base (LSB)", as more and more (commercial and community) distributions will be based Debian. Knoppix, Lindows and, in the near future, User Linux are prime examples. Debian itself will gain more acceptance in the mainstream and among new users as soon as it will ship with the new installer.

      Given the record of Netscape/Mozilla's, StarOffice/OpenOffice's and Apple Darwin's transformation of corporate into public development projects, I doubt that RedHat/Fedora will ever become a true community project. It is also being overlooked that the equation RedHat=Linux is specific to the U.S. only

  • by Spoing ( 152917 ) on Sunday November 23, 2003 @11:40AM (#7541980) Homepage
    Right now, some people here are actively using OSS and/or Linux all the time...as the normal and most reasonable choice.

    In 2004, that trend will increase. If you've got a laptop, why not put Linux on it all by itself?

    OK, some of you have your reasons, though making the jump and dealing with the problems (if any) is one way to get the ball rolling. Here are two resources to help out;

    1. Linux On Mobile Computers [tuxmobil.org]
    2. Linux on Laptops [linux-laptop.net]
  • by llouver ( 579855 ) on Sunday November 23, 2003 @12:33PM (#7542276)
    Meanwhile, while linux tries to infilitrate the government, the DoD is tyrying to infilitrate the linux. The DoD Defense Information Infrastructure Common Operating Environment is/was an initiative to to define a common software stack to run across multiple platforms that includes software installation, user management, and printing tools. When you talked about putting Linux on the DoD desktop, that used to mean having a DII COE stack for linux. This year DISA released a beta Linux COE kernel and then released the source code for it which can get from anonymous CVS. DISA has paired up with the OpenGroup to define a testable/brandable definition of COE. And there is a project to develop a platform independent COE stack from scratch.

    Relevent URLs:

    http://www.disa.mil/coe/kpc/linuxpc.html [disa.mil]

    http://gforge.freestandards.org/projects/qp-coe [freestandards.org]

    http://www.opengroup.org/openbrand/coe [opengroup.org]

    http://opencoe.sourceforge.net [sourceforge.net]

What this country needs is a good five cent microcomputer.