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LinuxPlanet: .comment: Luddite Linux; The Role of the Modern GUI

Jul 05, 2000, 14:11 (15 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Dennis E. Powell)


Desktop-as-a-Service Designed for Any Cloud ? Nutanix Frame

[ Thanks to Kevin Reichard for this link. ]

"People were interested in making computers easy to use long before there were graphical user interfaces. They succeeded. You did have to know some things about how computers worked if you were able, say, to save a file and find it later. You still do. The route Linux took was far different. ... That whole text-based phase of development never really took place. ...the broad range of console productivity applications never appeared, because the jump from guru command prompt was directly to X. Why? Because Microsoft said that was where users wanted to be. Programmers and users believed Microsoft."

"I... have a stack of machines in the other room, with various monitors (even an EGA) and 386 and 486 processors of various speeds. The hard drives are all big for their day and all under a gig. I rescued all of them from the dump. ... All are capable of running Linux, but they're a little thin for anything other than use as maybe a firewall machine or something. ... There are millions of machines like them. They could be doing good work at schools and in charitable organizations. But there is no software available for them."

"Nowadays, it seems as if everyone who has a CD burner is a Linux distributor. It is possible to have favorites among the distributions--I certainly do, though I haven't tried them all--but there is a certain sameness to them. How lovely it would be to see someone strike out in an entirely different direction, not to support the hottest new hardware but to maximize the utility of Linux on low-end machines. I betcha it would be possible to put together a distribution that would cook along on a 386-16 with 16 megs as well as DOS ever did. A little menuing program and a group of useful applications--some are already written--would make it user-friendly. (And this Luddite Linux, as I'll call it, would simply scream on a fast machine.) Graphical programs? Can you say runtime X?"

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