It's a good day for Progeny users as the distribution releases
its own GNOME 1.4 packages, an interesting time for Linux as the
community debates its future on the desktop, and a time for
reassessment for Michael Hall, as he presents the final edition of
"Accompanying the launch of the two major desktop
projects several years ago was the notion that "the desktop" was
the next logical target. To that end, we saw installation and
configuration become magnitudes easier on the premise that a hurdle
Linux needed to clear was how effectively available it was. The
desktops were to extend that effective availability further.
It's clear that they've already achieved a lot of success. Linux
installation and daily use is now, for the most part, truly simple.
It gets easier on a daily basis, too. The landscape has changed to
the point that where Red Hat was derided not three or four years
ago as a "newbie" distro, you can now scan talkbacks and see
readers identifying it as a "serious server distribution," while
Mandrake typically receives the nod for a good beginner distro. In
fact, I'd go so far as to argue that everybody who wants to try
Linux probably has. They certainly have the means, the
out-of-the-box tools made available courtesy of the usability
consciousness raising the desktop campaign engaged in, and a Linux
book market so saturated with assorted "dummy," "idiot," and
"fast-n-easy" titles you're reduced to just making sure someone
isn't trying to push a two-year-old release of the included distro
before collapsing in the face of the incredible selection.
What we're left with is, in fact, the problem with applications
availability and some attendant contributing elements: the
widespread perception that the Linux desktop community doesn't want
to pay, remains hostile to close-source software, and is tardy to
embrace the sort of standards mainstream commercial software
producers want before they'll venture into the Linux market. I know
as well as the average Linux advocate that some of these points are
being addressed, and I understand the imperfection of some of the
arguments against Linux that point to these concerns. On the other
hand, I've decided I'm overwhelmingly apathetic when it comes to
whether my neighbor embraces Linux for his day-to-day work. In
fact, in terms of Linux's advancement, my hopes largely center on
the issues of open standards and a platform-agnostic Internet."
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