Four years is an eternity in the computer world, but it doesn't take a crystal ball to predict that Linux will continue making headway against Microsoft's close-source Windows OS. Between Vista needing gimmicks to convert the skeptics (Mojave), to increasingly user-friendly versions of Ubuntu, Microsoft may find itself in a grudge match with the open-source community by 2012. But what can we expect out of a Linux distro in 48 months? InformationWeek attempts to answer that question with a mix of bold predictions and some much needed feature enhancements. Let's take a look at some of the highlights.
Three Basic Usage Modes
Linux has traditionally been free for most users, but in-store boxed copies complete with a price tag have started popping up, and IW says this trend will "at least gain nominal momentum." Free to use variants won't be disappearing anytime soon, and IW sees free distributions that contain no components with patent encumbrances or other issues picking up steam.
While Linux hardware is already present in a plethora of devices, look for it to become a brand name four years down the road, pushed in large part by the continued popularity of the Netbook market.
Bye-Bye Command Line!
One of the biggest roadblocks preventing Linux from marching into the mainstream market is ease-of-use. The days of typing in commands died with DOS, but on a Linux distro, even some basic configurations might require the user to fire up the Terminal. Of course, there are legions of Linux-ites that prefer it this way, the same ones who not so affectionately refer to Ubuntu as Noobuntu.
Catch all the predictions here, then tell us your Linux predictions below!
And as a full-featured Windows replacement, no other Linux distribution comes close to Ubuntu, which features a full suite of pre-loaded desktop applications and an easy to use installer. Ubuntu contains many unique and innovative qualities designed to make it less intimidating the average Windows user who may be looking for a change. One of these features is called Live CD. Once you have downloaded and burned a copy of the Live CD ISO, you will have the ability to launch a fully functional copy of the Ubuntu to test out driver compatibility and to sample the user interface, all without installing a single file to your PC. This guide will walk you through testing your hardware and installing a dual boot setup all without formatting or repartitioning your hard drive.
Pingdom AB, a Swedish-based website monitoring firm, recently studied the uptime of the update sites for the three most popular desktop operating systems, Microsoft, Apple, and Ubuntu. During the second quarter of 2008 (April-June), Pingdom reports (2) that Windows Update was up 100% of the time, compared to Apple Software Update's 99.9% uptime, and Ubuntu Archive's 98.64% availability. During the period, Apple's update service could not be contacted for a total of 2 hours, 34 minutes, while Ubuntu's update service could not be contacted for a total of 1 day, 5 hours, and 45 minutes.
It sounds like a clear win for Redmond, but a closer look at how update sites work suggest the story isn't so simple. For more, join us after the jump.
Linux is moving a little bit more to center this week with Ubuntu Hardy Heron 8.04 Linux distros becoming available at BestBuy.com and Amazon.com for $20. It includes OpenOffice, FireFox, Evolution email, Rhythmbox media player, and MP3 support. While Wal-Mart has offered Linux based computers at their stores on low end PCs and laptops, this marks a first for boxed Linux Distros at consumer electronics stores like Best Buy.
ValuSoft is packaging the OS and it includes printed documentation and 60 days of unlimited customer support.
ValuSoft advertising goes right for the consumer panic button with this line; “You're right in the middle of an important procedure when your computer freezes and crashes, erasing your data and costing you hours of extra work.” We’ll see how well that works on the masses.
Earlier this week OCZ announced a new lineup of low cost SSDs, trumping Super Talent's MasterDrive MX series in both price and performance. In an attempt to address the former, Super Talent has begun bundling Ubuntu with its SSDs and will continue to do so right through to September 30th.
"Bundling an excellent OS plus applications package like Ubuntu helps MasterDrive MS customers get up and running that much faster and easier. This is a great value add that doesn't increase the cost." - Joe James, Super Talen Marketing Director
And James is right, it doesn't increase the cost. Of course, it doesn't increase the value (or performance) of the MasterDrive MX line either. But it might increase the perceived value of Ubuntu, which if you head over to Ubuntu.com, you can download the Linux distro free of charge. Or if you'd prefer a hard copy without firing up Nero, you can put in a request for a free CD and they'll even throw in a handful of stickers. Sadly, neither option will cost you a cent, not even shipping, and who wants a free OS? Pshaw! Super Talent's bundle tackles this problem, and you'll have to fork over at minimum $299 (30GB). Or if you really want that copy of Ubuntu to come laced with uber value, you have the option of paying up to $649 (120GB). Now all you Windows owners with a predisposition to paying for your OS can finally get your Linux on without feeling like you cheated the system, something Amazon couldn't offer with its paltry $12.99 price tag.
openSUSE 11 officially premiered yesterday with more than 200 new features specific to openSUSE and a redesigned installer that makes openSUSE even easier to install (and if you've ever installed it before, it was pretty darn easy then).
If you're into bling (and who doesn't like a little bling), there is the 3-D desktop app Compiz Fusion and it is now default in openSUSE 11.0. It includes a number of Compiz plugins, as well as easier configuration with Simple CompizConfig Settings Manager (CCSM) and the more comprehensive CompizConfig Settings Manager that lets you do detailed configuration of your Compiz setup.