2010’s Biggest Linux Thing

Well another year is drawing to a close, and that means it’s time to begin taking stock of all that has passed in 2010.

It was an eventful year for those of us in the Linux community, that’s for sure — so eventful, in fact, that it’s almost difficult to remember all the many significant things that happened.

Fortunately, the team at TuxRadar have been on hand to help. A recent Open Ballot on the site, in fact, asked readers’ opinions as to what the biggest Linux event was in 2010, causing plenty of remembering and lively discussion.

As is generally true in the Linux community, consensus was elusive.

‘The Release of Linux Mint 10’

“The best moment for me was the launch of Fedora 14 (and subsequently Red Hat Enterprise 6) along with the efforts,” wrote Harish Pillay in the TuxRadar comments, for example. “They augur well for 2011 and beyond.”

On the other hand: “What could be bigger than Linux gaining dominance over Apple on the mobile market?” enthused Awesome Pingu.

“I believe it’s Ubuntu’s Compiz based Unity and the new, new Gnome Shell that looks pretty much like Unity,” opined Mel.

Alternatively: “For me the biggest event in 2010 was the release of Linux Mint 10,” chimed in Timothy B. “The improvements clem and his team made in this release were really great. I have gotten more people to linux than any time before that release. Just because it looks so simple and good!”

‘The Way Canonical Is Forking Itself’

The sampling of opinions on the site was nothing if not diverse, so Linux Girl headed over to her next eggnog party armed with a small poll of her own.

“I don’t think anything compares to Oracle ending up controlling MySQL and OpenOffice and their sheer incompetence when dealing with the FOSS world,” Montreal consultant and Slashdot blogger Gerhard Mack opined.

Slashdot blogger hairyfeet saw it differently.

“The biggest event by far in my book is the way Canonical is quickly forking itself away from mainstream Linux, which I for one am 1000 percent for,” hairyfeet told Linux Girl.

‘A Linux for the Masses’

“For 15 bloody years everything has been done BY hackers FOR hackers, and where has that gotten?” hairyfeet explained. “Either the ugly bits nobody sees on some soon-to-be-TiVo’d platform like Android, or in quick experiments called, ‘let’s cheap out’ where Linux is put on bargain basement hardware, only to be quickly replaced by Windows when the OEM takes one look at the support costs and return rate.”

The only way to get Linux into the mainstream “is to do what Steve Jobs did to BSD to Linux, and it looks like Shuttleworth may be willing to step up to the job,” hairyfeet suggested. “Unity, Wayland and now it looks like GDM will get tossed for lightDM — it all points to Canonical taking a hard right away from the giant mound of copycat distros and into something actually user-friendly.”

Toward that end, Linux’s “horrible driver situation” must be dealt with,” he added.

‘The Big News Is Android’

“I can only hope the next move will be Canonical forking the kernel away and driving a stake through that problem with a hardware ABI,” hairyfeet said. “Imagine being able to run an upgrade and have every single thing continue working after you’re done.”

In short, “it looks like finally, after all these years, we may actually end up with a ‘Linux for the masses,'” hairyfeet concluded. “And if that isn’t worth getting excited about, I don’t know what is.”

For Slashdot blogger Barbara Hudson, on the other hand, “the big news is Android,” she told Linux Girl.

Windows Phone 7 Is ‘a Loser’

“Look at the lawsuits — you don’t sue over something inconsequential,” explained Hudson, who goes by “Tom” on the site. “Android has, to borrow a phrase from Redmond, choked Windows Phone’s air supply.”

Despite a half-billion-dollar advertising campaign, Windows Phone 7 “is a loser,” Hudson asserted. “And it’s outselling the iPhone. The only way Mr. Frostee can catch up is to give away WP7 licenses to the manufacturers, and that’s not going to happen.”

There’s an old saying, Hudson noted, that goes something like this: “Don’t try to be No. 1. Aim for No. 2, and then wait for No. 1 to make a mistake.

“In a world where YouTube is a must-have, not including flash support was a mistake,” Hudson explained.

In short, “unlike the iPad, the phone space has lots of name-brand competition,” she concluded. “So my vote is Android overtaking iPhone sales in August.”

‘Wintel Will Have to Compete’

Blogger Robert Pogson had a similar view.

“The biggest Linuxy event in 2010 was Android’s success,” Pogson agreed. “We see clearly that absent illegal restraint of trade, GNU/Linux does well in the market.”

By the end of 2011, in fact, “I expect that the Wintel monopoly will be stone dead and ARM+GNU/Linux will be on retail shelves for all personal computing purposes,” Pogson predicted. “Wintel will have to compete on price and performance at last.”

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