Skip to comments.Is the Linux Desktop actually growing?
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 dont even get me started on The Year of the Linux Desktop. Its 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 Linuxs 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 its also odd news. GNOME, long the desktop interface darling of many Linux desktop users, lost many of its fan with its 3.x revision. Ubuntu, 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 its also changing its desktop interface. With its users turning up their noses at GNOME 3.2, its 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?
Its 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, thats another story.
Its 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 specialand largeorder. 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 theyre 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 Linuxs stability and security advantages are worth the trouble of switching to Linux?
Darned if I know. Im just glad to see more people joining me in Linux. You should give it a try sometime yourself if youre mildly technicalthe 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.
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.
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.
wastedyears, check out pinguy os.
“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.
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...
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.
I use XFCE myself.
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.
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.
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.
I like the old paradigm. Kudos to Clem at Linux Mint for doing what users actually want.
One day, a new way of desktop interaction will be introduced that will be a major innovation. It won't happen on Windows, though.
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!
From what my friend, a networking major has told me, I would probably need a long list of text commandsThat 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.
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.
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.
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