I don't really know a lot about open-source and Linux, so I want to hear a few thoughts from guys, that are developing open-source projects/Linux kernel/Linux distros.
What do you think Linux developers/community need to do to make Linux better ("better" stands for popular, faster, optimized, user friendly, or whatever you define as "improvement")
You are mixing a lot of different aspects in my opinion.
One branch could be a full support from all and especially the major vendors.
Another big branch would be a serious challenge of laws/governments against monopolies, direct or indirect.
For the pure aspects of software development I don't know...
My take on this is a catch 22. There needs to be unification while not removing user choice. Your head has permission to explode
Seriously though the eco system has choice paralysis to the uninitiated in all the wrong places. Then to those who know choice is slowly being eroded and fractured and what choices there are aren't quite the choices they appear to be. You can have this car in white, black or tan...but I need a truck, you can have this car...
Things like when Firefox forced you to use Pulseaudio. OBS now forcing Pipewire. DE's seem to be breaking GPU setups for Wayland whether you use it or not. The choices used to mean you could really piecemeal a system for your needs. Now choices are simplified into homogenized pointlessness. Broken, fractured, frustrating. Choices are more cosmetic than functional making the choices less relevant.
I get why, I know it comes down to code base maintenance, future feature hopes and plans, lack of funding...tons of reasons but for all the rational reasons things have moved in this direction it will also continue to have the same knock on effects.
I think a lot of projects have lost sight of modularity in a relevant way. The "hacking" mentality that you need to wrap your head around not only all the security vulnerabilities but just how many ways a system can be built, tweaked, mangled and adapting your software to those possibilities to make it functional and relevant to all despite what they do or don't want to use outside your project. For ease of the developers they are now just forcing things on you because it's easy on them. That's the Apple way, the Microsoft way.
The best thing to do would be to get something Linux distributed out cheaply from a manufacturer.
Dell developer edition at $400 instead of $1600 would put it in the hands of many. Most people don't know or care what am OS is. They just want to watch porn and log into Facebook and buy thingamajigs from Amazon.
@fbodymechanic I don't know what you're talking about when you say most don't know or care about their OS. I know SOOO many people who are vehement that there computer MUST come with and be running the wildly popular OS "Office 97!"
Exactly! This is why chome books have done so well the barrier to entry is low and it’s already installed and ready to go and gets people on the internet which is what they wanted.
I am convinced that if the budget PCs that you can walk into a store and buy for a few hundred bucks came with a gnome de based distro they would put a lot of people into Linux. Especially because they would have a pc that does everything they want. Most people buy a pc and just use it. Not everyone goes out and changes the os on a system.
There's not a hope in hell unless Walmart starts selling 'em.
This conversion seems to have taken a left turn. Everyone is leaning on the hardware but most people have the hardware. It's the lack of understanding as to why to switch, how to switch etc. The issue isn't that people need to buy more hardware that just happens to have Linux or "FOSS" on it. If you really think this then it's more a marketing issue. Why aren't more people looking for, wanting, buying *nix based systems? i.e. No marketing to make people want, know, care, etc. The systems that are selling aren't selling because of the software, just due to price as @djwyman says chromebooks, android devices. People just want cheap and the illusion it does what they want...but that's another topic outside what would make Linux / FOSS better stronger faster. The ecosystem needs to have something compelling so people want it at all price ranges. This is why Apple and Microsoft pushed the idea of a "killer app" for so long.
I think what we got going on is great. Keep the buy in at least Linux mint difficulty. It weeds out the really really impossible to save users.
Chromebooks have done so well because of 2 reasons:
They were cheap and accomplished getting people online.
They got them into schools and got kids to use them. They are growing up and want to use what they know.
There's some core work done by profitable businesses, but that's almost exclusively server/embedded software.
Desktop is overwhelming done by hobbyists and/or professionals in their free time, who would love to do better testing, but don't have the computing power or people to do it. They'd love to invest more time into fixing or adding things, but don't have the time.
For being being "easy to use" by the "computer illiterate", again it's money. Money to pay such people to spend several hours using the software so the devs can evaluate their usage patterns, see the problems, devise solutions, implement and retest them.
Those who don't know Linux but try it and find it baffling aren't making videos about it for developers to see and those who do have such small channels, they don't get seen by the appropriate devs.
All of other stuff too that I cba to type out (partly because I JUST woke up) and in a crappy mood.
Well my point was more so that’s how you get people to convert or to use linux at all. Most people don’t care about their OS as long as the OS allows them to do the task they need it to do. My wife is a perfect example she could care less about what OS is on her stuff as long as it lets her on the internet, type up a letter, check her email so on. If you put it on devices from the start then people will use it. Or you put it in front of kids. My kids as far as I know have never used windows but they know their way around pop_os(that’s what is on their laptops), iOS, and android. I am sure if I put a windows machine in front of them they would be a little confused as to how it works and not find it very desirable.
You keep talking about speed in many ways Linux is faster than windows so why is speed needing to be improved on? If you need absolute performance then build an arch build with only what you need on it or there is clear Linux. Both fast options.
I think the biggest improvements needed for Linux is the fractured nature of the beast. I love customizing stuff, and choice but most people don’t and find the 100million different distros with multiple DEs off putting and overwhelming. It’s good for those that want choice but bad for people who don’t know the difference between the choices. Also marketing would maybe go a long way. Show people why they need/want Linux.
@djwyman back when I was still an OEM/Service center I spent years trying to get info over the phone. Everyones computer ran Office 97 and I did a refurb program. So if I went in and replaced all the systems in an office for example and they didn't want the old machines I'd take them, redo them and donate them to single parents going back to school.
Back then we'd tie an onion to our belt, which was the fashion at the time...I mean I'd redo the machines with Mandriva (which was the Ubuntu at the time) (or Vector (slackware based) if it was really old but still viable) and it was a constant war. Despite having all the programs for the things they needed to do I inevitably found they threw the machines out, sat them in a closet to rot at continued to download Windows malware and viruses and email or phone me angrily about how the virus they downloaded wouldn't run or install.
This later scenario because despite explaining this runs Linux (and even some times I added Wine if the kids were of gaming age) they expected the applications they wanted no matter what platform. Think of this like I gave people N64's only for them to scream at me all day because they wanted Halo. Now you can say these are just entitled D-Bags (and many were) but the concept is the same. People want what they want. While many want cheap other will sell their soul for the new Apple crap...because they want what they want. If they want cheap, they will buy cheap. Making Linux cheap will maybe get some people to switch until they realize their experience is terrible because the hardware is cheap garbage and blame it on *nix. Then tell everyone they tried that *nix thing and it sucked.
Those machines were free, completely usable and negate the idea of cheap hardware being the solution to make *nix better. The OP Question is about making the eco system better in general, not hardware sales and marketing.
Again addressing the OP question the issue is having the software people want and know for working how they know it to work. This is largely true these days because most the FOSS applications have become Windows staples. However this is still off topic because this isn't about *nix adoption it's how to make it better. Which I feel I addressed in my original reply despite being very shallow in depth. We need to unify in the right ways i.e. qt vs gtk so things aren't constantly a hodge podge. Stop killing users choices because it makes it easier on our projects and stop using tool kits that force you down these terrible roads.
For example the web is basically a hostage now because browser development is insanely expensive. Want to reduce costs? Use the premade engine a mega corp made cough Google*. Blam now we're all at the mercy of Google or living in a Richard Stallman three websites work world. Speaking of being at the mervcy of Google all those Chromebook / Android users/owners are as well. They have no clue about their freedoms, choices, security and they don't help make *nix better via their adoption.
In at least partial accordance, I would like to proffer that some people should just plain not use Linux. To that end, I say the current state of affairs is acceptable. It tends to do the weeding for us.
I don't want a "Linux 4 All." Think what a horrible thing it would need to be--how locked-down--no real configurability. No under-the-hood nonsense. A lot like Windows 11.
If there ever is, I hope it's not in my lifetime.
Anyone notice how @YUART started some chit and has been hiding in the shadows watching ever since.
The flexibility is there for (almost) all worlds though.
immutable OS and fully integrated packages (whatever the holistic naming is for Flatpaks/snap etc).
E2A: It's actually already dominating the "just do the thing I want you to do without me having to faff about" market. TVs, mobile phones, in-car entertainment, routers etc etc.
Maybe he fell off his speakers and is crying out for help, but we're too busy chit chatting about the topic he started to notice.
OP DOWN! SEND IMMEDIATE MEDEVAC! Heh or he just toss some meat into the lions den for the funzies.
Hmmm...perhaps you & my buddy @fbodymechanic should slowly back a-w-a-y from the tequila bottle.
If too much Tequila then "backing" away from the bottle is setting them up for bruises in the morning, surely.
If he's got that much in him moving forward won't yield a different outcome either.