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The Linux Desktop Isn't Your Father's PC

Dec 19, 2008, 19:04 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Gordon Haff)

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"Much of the time when I write about the evolution of Linux or the evolution of the client, I get lots of comments revolving around the lack of popular games for Linux or whether the GIMP can replace Photoshop. And, of course, the partisans for whom it's important whether Linux "win" or "lose" to Windows or Mac OS X jump in with their various ideological objectives.

"Idealogues and fanboys aside, however, part of the problem is terminology. "Desktop" gets used to refer to at least a couple of different things. One is the traditional, general purpose PC as we've come to know it over the past 20 years or so. The other is a shorthand for any client device with a keyboard and monitor. The former is a "fat client" with all that implies for a broad range of hardware support and available applications. The latter is more specialized. It may run only a limited subset of applications. Or it may run primarily network-based applications through an interface, such as a browser. Whatever the details, it's effectively much thinner--whether or not it's actually a thin client."

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