Ok Adam wanted to have some feedback about his latest post about Apples and Oranges. I will take on this task. Lets start with: I could not disagree more:
- Adam thinks that Microsoft is successful because its monolithic
and that Linux should be, also. I don’t think that would be the right way. First of all Linux is so successful because it was not monolithic but was able to adapt in different environments. It gave people the freedom they did not get from Apple or Microsoft.
- Slow releases I think is the most problematic thing we still have. Release often and early is better for an increased development velocity. To be honest: Linux is still very much in the flow – that means changing APIs and backwards incompatibility. Is this bad? Yes. But this does not have to be this way forever. One way that often turned me away from distros like SuSE or Fedora was their lengthy update cycle – forget about Debian in this relation. This only results in totally boring distributions. The problem is that on Linux you get software via a distribution and on windows you download via web or buy in a store. So the only way in Linux to get updates is via distribution. Of this would be only every 1 1/2 years or more like Adam suggests Linux would always be more behind – more than it already is, often, due to distribution that are, due to their release management systems, not be able to release often (like RPM or DEB based systems). I think the way to go is rather to allow people to just install from every source and also let the users decide if they want this software – and not having only a few central repositorities
- Linux IS a platform? Hell yeah! Linux is available on a wider varity of architectures – more than any other OS. Adam seems to suggest that packages should have less dependency so every package should include all the libraries. That might make sense in some way if one looks at software a bit like appliances so to make a programs less dependent on the underlying infrastructure. This can be done today already. But we should also not forget that the FLOSS way is to cooperate. So if you take GNOME or KDE as a desktop environment they are set up in a way that let applications work together. and it makes no sense to put in redundant packages and dependencies. I think maybe its good to include more small libraries in an application statically because depending on it from the distribution would mean that it would have to be packaged already.
- Novell/SuSE/integration. i could hardly agree that this is agood example because I had a hard time to get everything to work there. And also they misuse GNOME and change things form upstream that should not be changed. So that results in a menu thats really not very usable and instead looks more like Windows XP (Is till do not believe that this really is the result of hard usability research!) and things like the font beeing too small for the panel clock (since many months now and the dont fix it). Foresight to me seems to be much more integrated in the sense that it uses the default web browser of GNOME: Epiphany which should be default on ever GNOME desktop because it is much more integrated.
- Hardware: Here I would partly agree: We should have a Linux hardware standard. Or better free and open hardware standards. Here are some initiatives on the way from manufacturers of printers and wireless nics in collaboration with Linux developers. We could even use some more – not have just Linux compatible or certified hardware but hardware that is made for Linux. This would mean to have a more long term plan so that we coudl tell hardware vendors what standards we like to see in two or three years.
- backwards comaptibility is not important really. Microsoft and Apple never had that, really. Its nice to have ok.
- What i think Linux needs is more of a vision. And that you can depend on some things. So it would be nice to have more stable APIs and a foreseeable future. So that users and developers know where they are heading. Right now this seems to be impossible for the big distros like SuSE,Fedora, Ubuntu. The only distro that seems to be able to release in time wioth GNOMEs 6 month cycle is Foresight and so its the only distro I ca depend on – although it might have some issues here and there – but this I had on all distros with the only difference that they rarely go fixed – and that fixing with a package of my own was never a way to go.