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LinuxPlanet: The StartX Files: The Linux Uncertainty Principle

May 22, 2001, 14:14 (35 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Brian Proffitt)

Where do you want Linux to go today? Brian Proffitt maintains that the Linux desktop isn't dead, but it's ensnared in conflicting visions and the occasional misplaced need to match Microsoft feature for feature while forgetting the value of incremental gains in basic end-user functionality.

"...The question I put to you is this: should Linux try to make a move on the desktop?

If you want my answer, and I am assuming you do since you're reading this, I say let's go for it. With some caveats. The desktop in Linux is clearly the area of technology that most wants to be like Windows when it grows up. Gotta have a cool file manager, gotta get that office suite and integrated mail client. Don't get me wrong, these would be handy tools to have on my Linux machine. But perhaps we should not try to catch up with their Windows counterparts in one fell swoop. We should push functionality over aesthetics. Tools over interface.

I submit Opera 5 for Linux as a recent example. The interface did not significantly change during the beta trials and yet some of the functionality and stability was problematic right up to Beta 8. Actually past that. I had some issues getting my printer to work with a new Red Hat 7.1 installation when I reviewed Opera last week and so could not test the printer functions of that browser. I found out later that there were still--still!--printer problems from Opera."

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