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This is Rediculous
Desktop Linux Just Died
by Rick Kitts
March 17, 2004
What's old is new


I just read this. It's a note from Havoc Pennington who happens to be some muckety muck in the GNOME world.

This is the death knell for desktop linux as a first class citizen in the world. While people bitch and complain, debate about this or that, wrap their morality around the discussion and so forth, MSFT will be delivering solutions that work (please, no trolls about their stuff only sorta works). The MSFT stuff will be coherent, it will solve real problems and it will be moving things forward.

See here's where MSFT always, always wins. There are bunches of options. They (Bill, Steve, whoever) sit in a room and debate for awhile. Others in the company join in, voicing opinions and so forth. Eventually Bill says, "This way". And that's it. Everyone at MSFT goes that way or they leave. Nobody is going to fork Windows. And so they make progress on the path they set out on. What MSFT has, that a "community" (gack. stupid term) doesn't is not a top down dictatorial structure. It's single mindedness.

The GNOME guys, in this case, need to sit down and simply say "we're going this way". If the code forks fine. If some people jump off the wagon fine. If GNOME fails, fine. Because the goal is not to get a lot of people using an average solution. The goal has to be an excellent solution drawing a lot of people. If the direction they choose leads to solutions that are better than others, people will use it. There is room for a dominant player in the open source world. In fact it's probably required.

But they won't. Nobody is going to say "Damnit, it's Java. And we're going to put a lot of effort into GNU Classpath". It'll be like the Unix vendors of the 80s trying to realize the binary compatability interface or some commonality amongst their offerings. Never happened. Never happen. And so they died. Watch this whole thing closely if you have the stomach for it. Absent something seriously changing you will have no finer proof of the adage that history repeats itself.

Mark my words, it's dead. Idiots we.

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About the Blogger

Rick Kitts has been making a living writing software for a little while. He's started a company or two, worked at bigger companies, but mostly at startups. Constantly on the look out for things to help him build better systems he's a bit of a tool and process slut, though he can't bring himself to try C# or get serious about UML. Go figure. He's convinced being invited to have a weblog on Artima is the result of some glitch in the matrix. He's keeping quiet about it though.

This weblog entry is Copyright © 2004 Rick Kitts. All rights reserved.

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