September 24, 2009, 5:42 pm
I have just finished up three days at LinuxCon in Portland, put on by the Linux Foundation. As you might expect from such an event, there were discussions on a wide range of topics, some to get you thinking, some to excite you and some to challenge your notions. The levels of presentation varied by presenter and, overall, I would say it was a great success.
One topic that was discussed quite a bit was the Linux Desktop - the state of the desktop, the future of the desktop and the direction the desktop is taking. It was so popular a topic that it was mentioned in no less than three keynotes, and not always positively.
Bob Sutor from IBM took this tack about the desktop (and I am paraphrasing, along with some of my own thoughts). One option is that It goes away. We stop using desktops so who cares. This is an interesting tack to take, especially given the large advances of small, smart devices. More and more of us have smart phones that access data in ways that are hardly traditional desktop models. The UI is as alien to the model of the traditional desktop as windowing systems were to VT-220 terminal operators. As this trend continues, even the idea of what a desktop is along with what an application is will continue to evolve, and the idea of a Linux desktop as it is today may cease to be relevant. Personally, I do not see this happening any time soon, but my crystal ball runs Windows and I have not been able to upgrade it (anyone want a good used crystal ball cheap?).