Good can prevail when evil is... lazy...

Good can prevail when evil is... lazy...

This week, after reading Scott Carpenter’s fun (yet a bit scary) satire 5 ways to save on your monthly software rental bill in the year 2056..., I felt like a fairytale ending. I was after something sort of cool and utopian, where we’re all free and enjoying ourselves. But, when I was speculating about what this fairytale would entail, it brought me around to wondering...

What will happen AFTER the year of Linux on the desktop?

I realise this may seem like an odd question. But while there is a lot of speculation as to whether or not FLOSS will make it, have we considered what will happen when it does?

Let me put this another way. Consider the classic good guy vs bad guy scenario. We could pull out the tired cliche of David and Goliath. We could think Cinderella. We could consider Hansel and Gretel. We could, to put a modern slant on it, think about any of the generic cop movies. What are the common similarities here?

Good guy fights nemesis. Nemesis generally has power, control, advantage, and the surrounding population repressed or on side. Good guy has smarts and generally good looks and marriagability. Good guy, perservering through a series of diabolical setbacks (like poking a chicken bone through the bar of your cage, for example. Or having your stepmother lock you in the fireplace. Or being runty when your opponent is a giant. Or encountering corruption in your squad.), finally kicks the bad guy’s butt. (Or rubs her face in it by marrying a prince.) And they all live happily ever after.

Or do they? That’s always been my main problem with fairy tales and movies that go for two hours only. What happens after? Think about it. Was Cinderella satisfied with her princely catch? What if he was a womaniser, or picked his teeth in public, or was actually a Bluebeard in private? What did Hansel and Gretel DO, when they escaped? I mean, their stepmother tried to kill them! Did they just go home and wear it? The bits of the story that aren’t told later are the most interesting... and in the Microsoft and FLOSS story, once FLOSS pushes Microsoft into the uber-oven and runs away, where will FLOSS go from there?

Let’s see where the current big guy is at. Oh yes. They are about to release Vista. And can I just say I read a hilarious review of Vista brought to us by our friends at Time Magazine? The article basically goes like this—get Vista, it’s super! It’s going to be a really good move, upgrading! Why, you ask? Because it looks like a Mac and has security worthy of Linux! AND it hooks up to your Xbox 360! And if you have a pretty new pc, it’ll be no extra hardware outlay at all!

WOW! Stop the presses, kids, Microsoft have produced something that they claim is steaming ahead of the competition by BRINGING IT UP TO SPEED with Macs and FLOSS. Nice one, guys. That’s SUCH incentive for me to go Vista! Screw the fact that it’s proprietary, it should be punished for being lazy!

So this is my warning blog. When we arrive at the year of Linux on the desktop, let’s not get lazy, complacent and fat, like some corporate giants I could mention. Even when we’re big, we need to keep thinking like the little guys. And we can release FLOSS “Panorama”—because we have our eyes wide open.



Anonymous visitor's picture
Submitted by Anonymous visitor (not verified) on

The only way the pinguin is going to be in a desktop is if someone makes a nice moving penguin screensaver for vista.

The time right was 98-200 wen windows where really bad.

Today people can survive with Xp Pro so the momentun has gone far far away.

And those MS$ guys have so much money they will prevail.

In the meantime some linux distros are strugling for money and support those MS guys don't know how to spend the big bucks they make with windows....

Don dream with linux on the desktop i have tried myself several times with some friends and customers, most people is lazy they take the easy and known path, the dont want to lear new stuff.

My eleven year old kid is learning powerpoint i tried to teach him impress but the homework instructiones were :
clisck start-programs-ms-office-power-point... the click new, wizard, select "standar-powerpoint presentation" ... etc etc, Hi told me : Dad why you use that if everybody else use microsoft stuff 90 percent don mean anyrhing to you?

What i mean is they don't teach computing or wordprocessors they teach Microsoft or Ms-word stuff....

Linux has its nich but not in the desktop that war is over a long time ago.

Linux uses less computer power... pc manufacturers dont like that they want you to buy new stuff every 2 years.

I don't think it is right, but i have to accept thats the way it is... And my advice to everyone who has hopes in the linux desktop is Relax accept the way the world is, we all want to eliminate poverty from the face of the earth, but my friend thats the way it is!.



Anonymous visitor's picture
Submitted by Anonymous visitor (not verified) on

I can't wait for the year of the linux desktop; for everyone else. However it came to me about 3-4 years ago.

But my comment is really in the vein of when OSS becomes the "king of the hill" that it will follow the traditions of others and become lazy. I don't expect this to happen, and if it did, it wouldn't happen for long.

That is because of the beauty of open source software. If you don't like where the current branch is going, just fork it. And add what you want to. Granted, it means "bucking up" and "getting you hands dirty" and other things like that. But it removes the problems of someone getting lazy.

Some good examples come to mind, Xorg and xfree86. The latter was lazy, and some one got so fed up that they forked it.

Firefox and Mozilla, the latter again was getting lazy. It wasn't innovating enough, and it was bulky. And someone had the bright idea of seperating the browswer from all the other fluff. And BAM, a new product that is giving a monoply a run for its money... and that wasn't even its original intention (as far as i know, i could be wrong).

So in a way, OSS is even more free than we thought. Its free from laziness if there are people willing to put in the time, implying that people themselves are motivated enough to change things.

Anonymous visitor's picture
Submitted by Anonymous visitor (not verified) on

It made it to hundreds of desktops then, it is completely servicable for most needs, and is now pulling ahead into thousands of new markets around the world. Check your server logs; Linux systems are neck-and-neck with Apple.

How come I never see anybody asking "When will Apple make it to the desktop?" Hey, they were even there FIRST! Come to think of it, Linux is the present incarnation of Unix, and UNIX MADE IT TO THE DESKTOP FIRST, TOO! Before Microsoft was even founded. How come this special argument is made up just to handicap Linux? I never heard anybody ask when OS/2 or Amiga will make it, back in their day...

I would like to see just one person clear up this cloudy, subjective, fuzzy "goal" artifically created just for Linux. Just what is this supposed to mean? And whatever the definition of that goal is, it's completely irrelevant. The concept of free software goes back through Linux to GNU and BSD... open source was here first before anybody thought of trying to make people pay for software. Since Windows hasn't converted me, one could just as reasonably ask, "When will Windows make it on the desktop?"

Terry Hancock's picture

Maybe it's because Apple once had the desktop? You know, so now they should be asking "When will Apple get back on the desktop?"

Windows hasn't been ready for the desktop in years, come to think of it.

But seriously, it's true. I've use a lot of different operating systems over the years, so it wasn't really that big of a shift for me to switch to Linux from (as it happens) Windows 3.1. I had used Unix, Macs, TRS-80s, and whatever, so it's not really that big of a deal.

What's kind of funny is that, since Windows got to 3.1 or so, the idea has arisen that using computers is some kind of special skill that not just anybody can do. I've always found that a bit strange. Plenty of "normal people" managed to get by with MS-DOS in its day, after all.

Anonymous visitor's picture
Submitted by Anonymous visitor (not verified) on

People are lazy marketing sheep. They don't want to learn anything new, even though Windows makes them do that all the time anyway. And they actually believe marketing hype.

As for me, Linux (SuSE in particular) has been my personal, and business desktop for 5+ years now. The only Windows remnants I have left is an XP install on a VMWare Server that I use for testing purposes. I don't miss Windows at all.
In fact when I do use it, I get frusterated at how much it slows me down, and how unproductive it makes me.
I also marvel at how really crappy it is OOB (Out Of Box). I have to spend over an housr after installing XP downloading driver updates, installing applications, and configuring umpteen things for security.
I have a CD full of utilites I install to make it useful, and it still doesn't touch SuSE for completeness and functionality.
Clipboard handling and lack of threading in the UI in Win especially drive me nuts (Quick, try to move that window thats under the dialog box!).

Nope, it's not Linux that isn't ready for the desktop, it's people that aren't ready for modern computing.

The _REAL_, original Tachyon,
Accept no substitutes!

Anonymous visitor's picture
Submitted by Anonymous visitor (not verified) on

>Nope, it's not Linux that isn't ready for the desktop, it's people that aren't
>ready for modern computing.

I couldn't have said it better myself.


Anonymous visitor's picture
Submitted by Anonymous visitor (not verified) on

>What i mean is they don't teach computing or word processors they teach Microsoft or >Ms-word stuff....

I have to totally agree with this. I teach basic computing at a local state college. All we teach is MS Widows and Office Programs. We don't teach the basics of word processing or spreadsheet, we teach the MS method. It drives me absolutely nuts.

I've always viewd "year of the desktop" under two criteria.

1. Linux works for the majority of tasks.
2. The puclic and computing companies actually accept it as a standard.

And from my view, Linux is there.

1. I can do my word processing, artwork, music editing/playing, downloading, productivity tasks, web editing, and anything else I really want to do on a computer. Software is easy to install and download and stuff 'just works' after install of the base system or a quick trip to the package manager. Add in auto scripts like Automatix and I can get a linux machine into full working order within 2 hours. I can't do that with windows.

2. Linux has hit main stream acceptance. No, not everyone will switch to it but I no longer get stared at for saying I use it. Most computer users know someone who uses Linux. It's considered on par with Mac. Linux has been accepted by both the public and most private firms. Even if those computer firms are not producing for linux...they are taking it seriously.

The year of the desktop has arrived. Rather or not Linux becomes the number one desktop really doesn't matter. No one questions the realitivity of Apple, and linux is just as big as Apple right now. Linux may be a specialty OS for 'geeks and hackers', but people know what it is and that someday it will be an alternative waiting for them.

BitShifter's picture
Submitted by BitShifter on

Vista? I hear it's not as good though. As for FLOSS, I've read a number of good reviews, though I haven't tried it yet. Who knows what will come in the future? I'm betting some new fangdangled softwaqre that will blow our minds away.

Author information

Bridget Kulakauskas's picture


Bridget has a degree in Sociology and English and a keen interest in the social implications of technology. She has two websites: Illiterarty and The Top 10 Everything. She also handles accounts and administration for Free Software Magazine.