Sunday, September 02, 2007

Ubuntu Everywhere?

I have long felt that desktop Linux would become a reality only when you could go to a Linux gathering and find no more than a third of the attendees at the command line. In other words, as long as users are frequently at the command line, the OS is not ready for a big share of the desktop. Desktop users require ease of use.

Earlier this summer, I was at O'Reilly's Ubuntu Live conference in Portland, and the Ubuntu tribe were almost all using the GUI interface. This inflection point confirms for me Ubuntu's claim as the desktop Linux distro. (The conference was especially enjoyable because of the lack of zealotry. It was simply a conclave of the interested with no excess of the us-against-the-world mentality--a factor which made it a far more rewarding experience.)

Having secured its place on the desktop, Ubuntu is trying to move to the server, where competition is much more intense, and where the desktop origins could help as well as hurt. Time will tell.

However, the desktop roots did not preclude Ubuntu's use in Microwulf, the first-ever supercomputer for less than $2500 and first-ever under the $100/Gigaflop threshold.

For your friends who want to try Ubuntu, but who are not geeks, I highly recommend an approachable, not-too-techie intro: Ubuntu Linux for Non-Geeks: A Pain-Free, Project-Based, Get-Things-Done Guidebook from the ever readable No-Startch Press.


Unknown said...

I've been an Ubuntu user for a few months now, and yes, I use GUI mode... but I find myself in Konsole (I'm a Kubuntu user in reality) when I really have to do a bunch of work and have to have it done fast. I started a blog about it, pretty heavily leaning on multimedia, called Ubuntu For Free. I've really been enjoying all of the publicity that Ubuntu's been getting, because it kind of seems like it's really impacting Ubuntu's rate of progress (like the new unbreakable X Windows)

Andrew Binstock said...

For readers not familiar with Kubuntu, it's Ubuntu with KDE as the default GUI, rather than Gnome.