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Is the Linux Desktop actually growing?
ZDNet ^ | 18 January 2012 | Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols

Posted on 01/20/2012 4:43:17 AM PST by ShadowAce

I use a Linux desktop. According to Google Analytics, 12% of the visitors to my various technology Web sites use Linux. Nevertheless, I know that on the traditional desktop, the vast majority of ordinary users are running Windows, and don’t even get me started on “The Year of the Linux Desktop.” It’s not going to happen. But, and this is interesting, it appears that there is a slight upward trend in desktop Linux use.

First reported by Katherine Noyes on Linux Insider, it turns out that the Web research firm Net Applications’ data show that Linux’s desktop market share has been growing , from a mere 0.97 percent in July, 2011 to a new high of 1.41 percent in January, 2012.

As a Linux lover, this is good news, but it’s also odd news. GNOME, long the desktop interface darling of many Linux desktop users, lost many of its fan with its 3.x revisionUbuntu, long the most popular Linux desktop, changed to a new interface, Unity, in April 2011 and many people hate the new Unity desktop.

Mint Linux, which recently surged to the top of mind for Linux desktop users, has kept its fans, but now it’s also changing its desktop interface. With its users turning up their noses at GNOME 3.2, it’s now creating its own GNOME 3.x shell: Cinnamon.

In short, these are confusing times for Linux desktop users. So where are these users coming from?

It’s not like these are Android or Google ChromeOS users. Those are both counted separately. True, their numbers are growing rapidly as well. I think Adrian Kingsley-Hughes was right when he said that “‘Post-PC’ is a far bigger threat to Microsoft than Mac or Linux ever was.”. But, that’s another story.

It’s not like the mainstream PC vendors are supporting desktop Linux. While you can get desktop Linux from them, you normally need to be a business making a special–and large–order. True, there are PC vendors that specialize in Linux. These include companies like ZaReason and System76 that deliver quality products with excellent support at a good price. But none of them have reported that they’re suddenly doing boffo business.

Could it be that Ubuntu is being successful with its plans to use Unity to make Linux more attractive to ordinary users? Are tech-savvy users finally realizing that Linux really will run on anything these days? Sure, it may not run popular Windows games like World of Warcraft (WoW) natively, but many Windows games, like WoW will run on Linux with Crossover Games. Linux, though, will run applications that do everything most people need or want. Are folks finally realizing that Linux’s stability and security advantages are worth the trouble of switching to Linux?

Darned if I know. I’m just glad to see more people joining me in Linux. You should give it a try sometime yourself if you’re mildly technical—the days when you needed to be a computer guru to run Linux are long gone. You may find that you like it. In the last six months millions of other computer users have made the jump to Linux.


TOPICS: Computers/Internet
KEYWORDS: linux

1 posted on 01/20/2012 4:43:22 AM PST by ShadowAce
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To: rdb3; Calvinist_Dark_Lord; Salo; JosephW; Only1choice____Freedom; amigatec; stylin_geek; ...

2 posted on 01/20/2012 4:44:11 AM PST by ShadowAce (Linux -- The Ultimate Windows Service Pack)
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Comment #3 Removed by Moderator

To: ShadowAce

From what my friend, a networking major has told me, I would probably need a long list of text commands if I ever wanted to use Linux. Computers are not something I know well.


4 posted on 01/20/2012 4:49:06 AM PST by wastedyears (Not too long you devious little parathyroid. Soon I'll be rid of you and I'll be free.)
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To: wastedyears
Quite a few people use it without ever using the command line.

The rest of my family does it all the time--I'm the only one to use the command line, but they all use Linux.

5 posted on 01/20/2012 4:55:17 AM PST by ShadowAce (Linux -- The Ultimate Windows Service Pack)
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To: wastedyears

wastedyears, check out pinguy os.

http://pinguyos.com/

“Pinguy OS an out-of-the-box working operating system for everyone, not just geeks
This OS is for people that have never used Linux before or for people that just want an out-of-the-box working OS without doing all the tweaks and enhancements that everyone seems to do when installing a fresh copy of Ubuntu or other Linux based Distro’s.”

I use that on a laptop and Linux Mint on a dell, in addition to my macs. Pinguy has all the usual suspects covered nicely, and works well, out of the box.


6 posted on 01/20/2012 4:56:50 AM PST by sayuncledave (et Verbum caro factum est (And the Word was made flesh))
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To: ShadowAce
...and many people hate the new Unity desktop.

Count me among them. Slow and buggy. I finally gave up on it and switched my main Ubuntu desktop back to a Gnome "classic" shell/gui.

Still considering jumping entirely to Mepis with a KDE 4.x shell/gui...

7 posted on 01/20/2012 5:02:58 AM PST by ThunderSleeps (Stop obama now! Stop the hussein - insane agenda!)
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To: ShadowAce

A fair chunk of casual browsing is moving to tablets running ios or android, and android is really a flavor wrapper on top of linux.


8 posted on 01/20/2012 5:03:20 AM PST by MrEdd (Heck? Geewhiz Cripes, thats the place where people who don't believe in Gosh think they aint going.)
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To: ThunderSleeps
I totally understand.

I use XFCE myself.

9 posted on 01/20/2012 5:03:55 AM PST by ShadowAce (Linux -- The Ultimate Windows Service Pack)
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To: MrEdd
True, but as the article mentions:
It’s not like these are Android or Google ChromeOS users. Those are both counted separately.
10 posted on 01/20/2012 5:06:03 AM PST by ShadowAce (Linux -- The Ultimate Windows Service Pack)
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To: ShadowAce

Quite enjoying Gnome 3.2. There are two issues with it.

- It’s a new paradigm and change is always hard.
- The tools haven’t quite caught up to where they need to be so tweaking it to get the behavior you want is not as easy as it will be as it subsequently matures.


11 posted on 01/20/2012 5:17:31 AM PST by 2 Kool 2 Be 4-Gotten
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To: 2 Kool 2 Be 4-Gotten

I have no doubt it will mature into a usable interface. However, after using it several times (my kids’ computer uses it), I want to pull my hair out every time I use it.


12 posted on 01/20/2012 5:38:20 AM PST by ShadowAce (Linux -- The Ultimate Windows Service Pack)
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To: ThunderSleeps

This whole Unity/Gnome 3 debacle is ridiculous. I can’t stand either of them. I’m holding steady with Mint 9 until Cinnamon is released. I tried KDE, but it’s just too bloated and slow. I tried Xfce, but it is too minimalist for my taste. My desktop isn’t ever going to be a tablet and vice versa.


13 posted on 01/20/2012 5:51:55 AM PST by perfect_rovian_storm
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To: 2 Kool 2 Be 4-Gotten

I like the old paradigm. Kudos to Clem at Linux Mint for doing what users actually want.


14 posted on 01/20/2012 5:59:38 AM PST by perfect_rovian_storm
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To: perfect_rovian_storm; 2 Kool 2 Be 4-Gotten
I have no problem with releasing new paradigms. That is how we will advance the desktop experience. Perhaps Unity is a failure--perhaps not. It *is* one more choice in the Linux world though, and choice is always good.

One day, a new way of desktop interaction will be introduced that will be a major innovation. It won't happen on Windows, though.

15 posted on 01/20/2012 6:02:58 AM PST by ShadowAce (Linux -- The Ultimate Windows Service Pack)
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To: wastedyears

Ubuntu is now ready for prime time. The only reasons I have ever used the command line is to network a printer and manually change the mahjongg score history.

If you have a home network with shared printers, Linux can make you a little crazy, but as a stand alone machine, it is now very good, and free!


16 posted on 01/20/2012 6:06:19 AM PST by Poser (Cogito ergo Spam - I think, therefore I ham)
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To: wastedyears
From what my friend, a networking major has told me, I would probably need a long list of text commands
That hasn't been true for a decade or more.

If you want to check for yourself, note that most modern Linux distributions (Ubuntu, Fedora, Mint, etc.) have what's called a "Live CD" version, that runs directly from the CD, without touching your hard drive at all.

You can either download an image and burn it to a CD (assuming you have Windows-based software that will let you burn an "ISO" image to a CD-R, or go to the nearest decent bookstore and find a "Learn about Linux" magazines with an included DVD.

Then, put the disc into your computer, restart, and give it a try. You might like it.

17 posted on 01/20/2012 6:09:25 AM PST by Johnny B.
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To: ShadowAce

L8r


18 posted on 01/20/2012 6:12:34 AM PST by Cacique (quos Deus vult perdere, prius dementat ( Islamia Delenda Est ))
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To: ShadowAce

I was speaking about it to a friend yesterday. Maybe this analogy is a stretch but it’s a bit “modal” like vi. If you’re in “work mode” your windows are all that you see. If you switch to “activities” mode you can browse your open windows, your available apps, your workspaces etc. etc.

So like vi, you have to be conscious of which mode you are in and be ready to switch back and forth as the need arises. The benefit, seems to be reduced clutter. When you’re in work mode you don’t have to look past lots of icons, menus, panels and the like.


19 posted on 01/20/2012 6:14:51 AM PST by 2 Kool 2 Be 4-Gotten
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To: ShadowAce

I have no problem with it either, as long as it is a choice and not forced. What they’ve done here is remove the current choice (Gnome 2) and forceus to choose between two radically different new paradigms.


20 posted on 01/20/2012 6:16:18 AM PST by perfect_rovian_storm
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To: ShadowAce

I have no problem with it either, as long as it is a choice and not forced. What they’ve done here is remove the current choice (Gnome 2) and forceus to choose between two radically different new paradigms.


21 posted on 01/20/2012 6:16:43 AM PST by perfect_rovian_storm
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To: Johnny B.
I started using Linux in the early 90s. I ran JNOS on a 3.5 in floppy. I have used one distro or another on at least one machine ever sense. I currently run SUSE 11 on my laptop and SUSE 12 on an old desktop. I don't have much use for Micro$oft or Apple OS any more. My wife still runs windows (her laptop came with it and it is still stable) but the kids are migrating to Linux after they use my computer.
22 posted on 01/20/2012 6:19:16 AM PST by DYngbld (I have read the back of the Book and we WIN!!!!)
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To: wastedyears

I’m not sure why your friend said this but I don’t think it is the case. To those who haven’t tried Linux, you can download one of the distros, burn it to dvd and boot your computer from the dvd. It lets you use the software without reformatting and installing it on your harddrive. Try Linux Mint, Ubuntu, PCLinuxOS, Mepis, etc... they are called distros. I download them as .ISO files and burn to dvd. I hooked my laptop up to the flatscreen tv, booted into Linux, it automatically loaded the right drivers to display the laptop on the tv screen. I then booted into Windows, it took me a few minutes to get the right settings to make the laptop display on the tv.

Jfls45

Linux has


23 posted on 01/20/2012 6:28:27 AM PST by jfls45
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To: perfect_rovian_storm
I have no problem with it either, as long as it is a choice and not forced.

That's the beauty of Linux--nothing is forced. You always have a choice--even if that means moving to a different distro.

24 posted on 01/20/2012 6:29:20 AM PST by ShadowAce (Linux -- The Ultimate Windows Service Pack)
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To: MrEdd

Bingo!

Linux will never be a big desktop OS on PCs. Windows and Apple will be the dominant PC OS.

However, as we’re move away from PCs to other devices (tables, phones, etc...) Linux will be a major player, but I’m not sure most users will even know it.

Android is just a flavor of Linux.
Most non-apple tablets run some version of Linux.
The Nook is a Linux device.
The Kindle runs Linux as its Os.

My guess is Linux will eventually become huge as a personal operating system, just not on the PC (and most people will never even know they are running Linux).


25 posted on 01/20/2012 6:58:04 AM PST by Brookhaven (Mitt Romney has been consistent since he changed his mind.)
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To: Brookhaven

I think its going to move up from tablets to the desktop. With many functions moving to the Cloud it is not really relevant what you run on the desktop anyway.


26 posted on 01/20/2012 8:08:43 AM PST by desertfreedom765
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To: sayuncledave

Downloaded it and burned to DVD. Booted it. Ha! Same ol’, same ol’. It boots and a note appears there’s a wireless network available, I should go to Network to configure. But Network gives no intuitive, sensible method of discovering a wireless network let alone configuring one.

I’ve tried several distros including Ubuntu, Mint, etc. and they’re all the same. Trying to set up a wireless network is absurd for the casual user.

I’ve basically had it with Linux. It’s created by geeks, with little intuitive knowledge into the everyday computer user. Windows may have its faults, but it’s easy for the average Joe to understand. Linux will never, ever, get there based on the same ol’ way of thinking.


27 posted on 01/20/2012 8:51:39 AM PST by bcsco
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To: bcsco
Try this. It's really, really easy if Ubuntu has gotten to the point of discovering wireless networks.

1. Ensure that your wireless device is turned on.
2. Click the Network Manager icon in the system notification area.
3. Under Wireless Networks click on the network you want to connect to.

28 posted on 01/20/2012 4:47:48 PM PST by whd23 (Every time a link is de-blogged an angel gets its wings.)
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To: martin_fierro; Ernest_at_the_Beach

I’ve been able to install it successfully (with some odd quirks) just once, a number of attempts, a number of flavors, a number of CPUs. The main impediment to wider use of Linux is the cliqueishness of its users and developers. In part that’s a consequence of the complete lack of a market incentive (because it’s free). In order to install it on an eMac I use, turns out I’ll have to empty out the data on the hard drive (which isn’t large by today’s standards) but I’m in no hurry, because I have no idea what the next barrier to installation will be.


29 posted on 01/29/2012 7:11:29 PM PST by SunkenCiv (FReep this FReepathon!)
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To: SunkenCiv; Ernest_at_the_Beach
I have no idea what the next barrier to installation will be.

In my experience it'll be getting Xorg to work with the video card -- though that may not be an issue with Macs as their hardware is much more uniform/predictable than PCs.

30 posted on 01/29/2012 7:50:47 PM PST by martin_fierro (< |:)~)
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To: martin_fierro

Xorg! Oh, sorry.


31 posted on 01/29/2012 8:15:02 PM PST by SunkenCiv (FReep this FReepathon!)
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