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Posts tagged as “desktop”

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.

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 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 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_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

Ikey Doherty Talks Evolve OS & Budgie Desktop

Ikey Doherty is probably one of the most tech-smart people I know. Fact is, Ikey is much like that guy you hear about on the news, the guy that can hear a string of four digit numbers and tell you the sum of them in a couple of seconds. Now, I don’t know if Ikey is capable of that feat, but I do know what he can do.

Ikey Doherty can code. Ikey Doherty can code in a number of languages.

Ikey Doherty
Ikey Doherty, Linux programmer.
So you might say to me, “Well Ken, I can code too. Anyone who goes to college to study Computer Science can code something.”

OK, I’ll give you that. But let’s back up a bit. How much could you code before you went to college? A little bit? Was it a hobby until you decided you were interested in doing it professionally? The last time I did the calculations in my head, Doherty writes extensive and complex code in at least four languages.

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

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