Every year some people like to proclaim “this year will be the year of the linux desktop!” or words to that effect and subsequently there is much debate on whether it will be this year or whether it already happened last year or will at some date in the future.. in my opinion the Linux desktop has already arrived and been in quite widespread use for a considerable time already and leading the drive for desktop adoption is Ubuntu.
There are actually many Linux “distros” catering to all sorts of use cases, quite a few of which include the desktop and they work very nicely for the most part. Ubuntu linux has blazed a trail in making the much maligned Linux desktop “just work” for ordinary people who don’t live in basements or have long bushy beards like Gandalf. It provides a slick and intuitive interface and there is a huge amount of applications packaged up for easy installation with barely more than a point & click..
Personally I’ve been using Ubuntu on my desktop for a few years now and previously I used Centos which is also good but perhaps better known for powering servers rather than desktops. Besides my linux desktop I, along with gazillions of other people these days, also have a “smartphone” which runs Android. Although widely used on phones, many people are not aware (and don’t really need to be) that Android is actually based on Linux. Android is a great operating system for phones but it is closely tied to Google, for better or for worse, and much of the complexity and also the freedom and power of linux is quite well hidden behind the fancy smartphone interface with certain functionality being unavailable unless the phone is ‘rooted’. It would be nice if it was more open and unrestricted like a “proper” linux desktop, wouldn’t it? Well in steps Ubuntu..
Recently announced by Canonical (the company behind Ubuntu) is Ubuntu for Phones – a cool new smartphone operating system which is a lot more like a regular Ubuntu linux desktop and pretty much turns your phone into a full PC which is super neat! In fact they also say “The phone becomes a full PC and thin client when docked.” which means you pop the phone in to a little docking station which is connected to a monitor, keyboard and mouse and you then use it like you would any full desktop computer – how great is that??
Sadly it is not yet available to the public but I really hope it does get released soon and is supported by many phone manufacturers. It would be great to have a viable alternative to the current offerings from Apple and Google.