Press "Enter" to skip to content

Posts tagged as “desktop”

Putting Lipstick on a Penguin

There was a time, and it’s been a while back, when I believed my mission in life was to mount my open source horse and endorse Linux without remorse far and wide.

“Linux is coming, Linux is coming!”

One if by torrent, two if by…uh, download link.

While it’s true that I was a shameless shill for a particular distro during that period, it was the message that was important. Linux will change your oil. Linux will change your baby’s diapers. Linux will change your life.

TuxTuxAnd while using Linux may well change your life, I may have ever-so-slightly exaggerated the amount and impact of that change. Maybe just a little bit. Maybe.

It was then I explored ways to present Linux to the new user, and to do so in a way that did not cause system shock. I decided to make each new Linux installation look as much like Windows as possible. My partner Diane did fairly well when I told her we would become a one operating system household. She wasn’t weaned…she was herded into the world of Linux. I had cleaned the last virus from her computer.

Ken StarksKen Starks

Ken Starks is the founder of the Helios Project and Reglue, which for 20 years provided refurbished older computers running Linux to disadvantaged school kids, as well as providing digital help for senior citizens, in the Austin, Texas area. He was a columnist for FOSS Force from 2013-2016, and remains part of our family. Follow him on Twitter: @Reglue

Laptops, PCs: Not Quite Dead Yet

About six months ago, I placed tongue firmly in cheek and wrote satirically in FOSS Force about how we are entering the “pre-post-PC era” in technology. Depending on whom I’m talking to about this topic, sometimes I bring it up just to watch their eyes glaze over.

But for all intents and purposes, I unequivocally believe that all the talk about desktops and laptops being obsolete is hilariously misguided nonsense.

Personal ComputerPersonal Computer

Larry CafieroLarry Cafiero

Larry Cafiero, a.k.a. Larry the Free Software Guy, is a journalist and a Free/Open Source Software advocate. He is involved in several FOSS projects and serves as the publicity chair for the Southern California Linux Expo. Follow him on Twitter: @lcafiero

Advertising Desktop Linux

It ceased to be funny about the third time I read it. “Is this the year of the Linux desktop?”

Uh, yeah it is. Just like it was in 2014, 2013, 2012…It just depends on whose desktop you are talking about.

The topic came up when an old friend, Richard, and I began an email exchange to catch up after a number of years. He’s a senior Linux admin for one of the major New York City hospitals and the topic turned to some things we’ve noted over time. We talked about how Linux isn’t. It isn’t in the public awareness. It isn’t in stores. It isn’t offered by OEMs in any real quantity. It isn’t visible at all. Richard stated that it was probably better that way. Why he said that, I don’t know. I’ll have to bring that up again, but I have a fairly good idea.

Ken StarksKen Starks

Ken Starks is the founder of the Helios Project and Reglue, which for 20 years provided refurbished older computers running Linux to disadvantaged school kids, as well as providing digital help for senior citizens, in the Austin, Texas area. He was a columnist for FOSS Force from 2013-2016, and remains part of our family. Follow him on Twitter: @Reglue

Jeff Hoogland On the Future of & Life After Bodhi

The FOSS Force Interview

Jeff Hoogland comes by the respect he has within the Linux community the old fashioned way; he’s earned it. He’s done so, in large part, by creating the Bodhi Linux distro, which is not only very popular with a large and loyal user base, it’s rock solid, stable and even elegant. It’s also not a “cookie cutter distro” by any stretch of the imagination — there’s nothing else like it on the DistroWatch’s list. He also likes to share his ideas with the community, which he does through his blog, Thoughts on Technology.

Jeff Hoogland - Bodhi LinuxJeff Hoogland - Bodhi Linux
Jeff Hoogland, founder and former project manager and lead developer of Bodhi Linux.
Unlike many Linux developers, he doesn’t earn his living in the software business — not entirely anyway. He’s a mathematician by trade, who pays his room and board as an adjunct faculty member teaching mathematics at ITT Technical Institute in Springfield, Illinois.

In his free time, he’s a gamer. Oddly, his game of choice isn’t played with a joystick hooked-up to a computer, but something a little more retro — the 1990s fantasy trading card game Magic: The Gathering. Evidently, he’s quite good at it.

Oh yes, he’s also a family man, but more on that later…

It’s been exactly four months since Hoogland steped down as lead developer for Bodhi Linux, a move that naturally caused some concern among the distro’s users. Wondering myself about the future of Bodhi and Hoogland’s personnel plans, last week I sent him a message, asking if he’d be interested in doing an email interview with FOSS Force, which he quickly agreed to do. Not wanting to take too much of his time, I kept the interview short, at only a dozen questions.

Christine HallChristine Hall

Christine Hall has been a journalist since 1971. In 2001, she began writing a weekly consumer computer column and started covering Linux and FOSS in 2002 after making the switch to GNU/Linux. Follow her on Twitter: @BrideOfLinux

Despite Rumors, Xfce Alive & Kicking

Rumors: They exist, for better or worse, and there’s not much you can do about them. In addition, rumors are the starting blocks for the old Churchill adage that “a lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.”

Three times this month, Xfce came up in conversation — online, of course, and in the realm of social media and in forum discussions — and the context in which each conversation came up had the desktop on the brink of closure, with one unwitting person saying that Xfce was dead.

Xfce logoXfce logoNothing could be further from the truth, and several in the discussions rose to Xfce’s defense on the absurdity.

Xfce lead developer Olivier Fourdan “won’t really comment on the rumors,” he said, “but as long as there are users and developers, the project is not dead.”

Larry CafieroLarry Cafiero

Larry Cafiero, a.k.a. Larry the Free Software Guy, is a journalist and a Free/Open Source Software advocate. He is involved in several FOSS projects and serves as the publicity chair for the Southern California Linux Expo. Follow him on Twitter: @lcafiero

Get Out the Vote for LinuxQuestions.org

Ken Starks — I love him like a brother, but I hate following him every Wednesday here at FOSS Force after his Tuesday column runs, because every time — week in and week out — his column is always a good one.

He knows what I’m talking about, too, because he got to experience the same kind of thing at Ohio Linux Fest when his keynote came after Jon ‘maddog’ Hall. While I wouldn’t characterize Ken’s situation there the same way he did in his keynote — like Tiny Tim following Aerosmith — I certainly can relate. If you haven’t given his latest post a read, go ahead, I’ll wait.

Be that as it may, it’s time to vote. Every year around this time, LinuxQuestions.org trots out its annual LinuxQuestions.org Members Choice Awards. The 2014 version, which ends in February, certainly does not disappoint.

One great thing about this poll — probably the best thing about this poll — is that each of the categories has an extremely wide range of candidates, and there are programs in many of the categories that I’ve never heard of. Hearing about them for the first time, I get to try them out. So not only is it fun — yeah, I think voting is fun (so shoot me) — it’s also educational.

Here’s how we’ll do this: I’m not going to post every category, but I’ll post some of them and tell you my choice — vote with me or not, it’s entirely up to you — and then I’ll mention some of the programs new to me that I plan to try out. Conversely, you can post your own choices in the comments below.

Larry CafieroLarry Cafiero

Larry Cafiero, a.k.a. Larry the Free Software Guy, is a journalist and a Free/Open Source Software advocate. He is involved in several FOSS projects and serves as the publicity chair for the Southern California Linux Expo. Follow him on Twitter: @lcafiero

Easy Netflix on Linux

Linux’s got Netflix. No fuss, no muss, easy-peasy Netflix, straight out-of-the-box.

It wasn’t so long ago that common knowledge dictated that the reason GNU/Linux wasn’t getting traction was software, namely MS Office and Photoshop. Those days are long gone. Office is now pretty much irrevelant, with many if not most home users (at least the people I know) opting for Open Office or LibreOffice. Meanwhile, Photoshop’s moved to the cloud and although it still won’t work on Linux, many graphic artists are finding that GIMP is robust enough to tackle nearly everything thrown at it.

Netflix on Linux Mint XFCENetflix on Linux Mint XFCE

So that should be it, right? Wrong.

Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it), a paradigm shift in home computing has occurred during the past seven years. These days, computers are as much about entertainment as they are about word processing, spreadsheets and the like. At the center of the computer-as-entertainment-device revolution is our favorite old DVD rental company Netflix, which offers more streaming moving image titles that you can shake a stick at — if shaking sticks at movie titles happens to be your thing — with unlimited streaming costing as little as eight bucks a month.

Christine HallChristine Hall

Christine Hall has been a journalist since 1971. In 2001, she began writing a weekly consumer computer column and started covering Linux and FOSS in 2002 after making the switch to GNU/Linux. Follow her on Twitter: @BrideOfLinux

Don’t Fret Linus, Desktop Linux Will Slowly Gain Traction

When Linus Torvalds was asked last week at LinuxCon where he’d like to see Linux excel next, he replied, “I still want the desktop.”

I nearly stood up an cheered when I read this, here in my house nearly 700 miles from the conference. That is until I became confused by what he said next.

“The challenge on the desktop is not a kernel problem. It’s a whole infrastructure problem. I think we’ll get there one day.”

Linux TorvaldsLinux Torvalds
Linus Torvalds at LinuxCon 2011 in São Paulo, Brazil
Photo by Beraldo Leal from Natal / RN, Brazil.
What? What challenge?

Of course there’s not a kernel problem. From where I sit, there’s not a GNU problem either. I’ve been using Mint with Xfce for a while now and I find it better than any version of Windows I’ve ever used, many times over. Other than needing a little polishing with some distros, there’s no problem whatsoever with the penguin. Desktop Linux is only the best there is.

However, if by “infrastructure problem” he means that consumers can’t rush down to the local Best Buy store and pick a new computer off the shelf that’s already been loaded with a carefully configured Linux distro, I agree. That is a problem. Right now, it’s the only thing keeping Linux from having decent user share. But I’m pretty darn sure that’s getting ready to change.

Christine HallChristine Hall

Christine Hall has been a journalist since 1971. In 2001, she began writing a weekly consumer computer column and started covering Linux and FOSS in 2002 after making the switch to GNU/Linux. Follow her on Twitter: @BrideOfLinux

Linux Advocates in the Wild

Every now and then, you get the opportunity to show others what your Linux computer looks like. Some of those people will want to give Linux a shot on their computers as well. I can’t think of anything as gratifying as teaching someone how to use desktop Linux. On a personal level, I do it because I am sick of fixing friends’ and family’s Windows problems. On a professional level, well…that’s my job.

I want to tell you a story about one of those Linux conversions and the amazing ripple effect that one person caused. You just never know how far your kindness can spread.

tux_linux_inside_512tux_linux_inside_512Jaimee is a bright young lady. She attends a magnet school for the gifted and accelerated students in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. She lives with her aunt during the school year and comes home to her family during the summer months. She will be a senior this coming school year and she is focusing on a career in physics. The entrance exam for this magnet school is brutal.Think of it as SATs on steroids. And this is just the high school.

Ken StarksKen Starks

Ken Starks is the founder of the Helios Project and Reglue, which for 20 years provided refurbished older computers running Linux to disadvantaged school kids, as well as providing digital help for senior citizens, in the Austin, Texas area. He was a columnist for FOSS Force from 2013-2016, and remains part of our family. Follow him on Twitter: @Reglue

Latest FOSS News: