My previous post stirred up some controversy with a company who’s name (and affiliated products) are no longer mentioned on my website. While I feel this place serves as an area where I express my opinions, I do not wish to cause any legal reprecussions against myself or Clayton State. I was simply discussing the events, and work that I have been a part of for the last six months.
So, to change the subject I decided that Alpha 6 was time enough for me to jump into Ubuntu’s latest release – Hardy Heron. The progress at this point was too compelling to resist.
I wonder about Ubuntu and its fast approaching deadline. Mark Shuttleworth’s original goal was to create a sustainable Linux distribution. Ubuntu has shown remarkable growth in what has always been a very differentiated market. A quick check on DistroWatch.com currently shows 351 different Linux distributions. Ubuntu for at least the last year has been consistently at the top of all of these, in a tie with PCLinuxOS for hits per day on their website. The original timeline to judge the success of Canonical was five years, so release 10.4 could be the last.
So how is Ubuntu and Canonical doing? In the Linux camp, Ubuntu has certainly got the numbers, but support from third party software companies seems sparse. Ubuntu is now offered as a preinstalled option from Dell, but where are the other hardware vendors?
On the server side of the software market, many companies ship on Linux, however software on the desktop remains a desert. Some of the biggest software programs right now are notably absent. There are no Microsoft products for Linux (though Microsoft Office is available for Apple OS X). Adobe has only released Acrobat reader, and the Flash player for Linux. Countless other “big” applications are missing as well. It seems that desktop Linux mainly consists of a culture of free, open source software. This isn’t a total solution.
Hardware vendors are also notably uncommitted. While more driver support appears to exists then software support the standard for the Linux platform is set quite low.
The quick answer might be to state that no one is interested in Linux as a desktop platform. I think that this is selling the idea of an open source platform short. I believe that software developers would like to know how the “black box” inside Windows really operates. In this way they can control every aspect of their program, instead of relying on proprietary APIs, and filtered documentation.
User’s can also benefit by having a desktop custom tailored to their tasks and experience level. The strength of Linux and its openess is in the complete customization that can be performed by anyone.
So, here is to hoping that Canonical makes enough in roads to see release 10.10!