7 directions of Linux development in 2019

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The new year has arrived, which means we can say that another year has passed, in which Linux did not take the leading place among desktop operating systems. In many areas, Linux is doing just fine, but there are still a number of long-standing problems in the Linux ecosystem.

For some people, the idea of ​​seeing Linux as the most common desktop OS doesn’t seem particularly important. Instead, they need something that allows them to effectively solve their problems. However, Linux is a system that “just works”, so to speak. When you think about the fact that a certain average user spends a significant amount of time working in a browser or browser games, it is logical to assume that Linux (given its high level of security and excellent reliability) has everything you need to become a leading desktop OS. But it still has not become so. Why?

This question has for many years been baffled by many. But the answer to it, which could have been given five years ago, is completely different from the answer that can be given today. In this regard, I decided to talk about the seven directions of Linux development, which, if they receive due attention, can make Linux the leading desktop OS. What is discussed here does not necessarily apply to some simple or popular solutions. In this article we will look at seven ideas, the implementation of which can really help Linux in the fight for desktop systems.

"Official" distribution

I have been talking about the “single official distribution” for some time, but this is not quite what it may seem at first glance. Fragmentation of distros in the Linux community does more harm than good. For example, some company X has developed a very popular program that works in Windows and Mac OS environments. When this company is asked to make a version of their Linux program, it replies: “We would do it with pleasure, but the fact is that it is too complicated.” As the situation develops, it turns out that this company does not release a version of its product for Linux due to the fact that in order to do this, you need to take into account the mass of features of the Linux ecosystem. For which distribution to create a program? Which package manager to use? What desktop environment should it be designed for? What tools to use for its development? This list of difficult questions can be continued for a very long time.

That is why I believe that in the Linux world we need some kind of a single “official” distribution. One that our company, X, can focus on when creating the Linux version of its product. Suppose this “official” distribution is Debian with the GNOME desktop. This will mean that company X, in order to transfer its development to Linux, only needs to be done so that their program would work in the environment described above. If you, as a user, need a company X program, then you will know that you need an “official” distribution for this. This does not mean that with the advent of such a distribution, all the others will disappear. In no case. This just means that the Linux ecosystem will have a universally accepted distribution kit, based on which large companies will be able to create their software products.

I understand that the idea of ​​a single official distribution is unpopular, but the Linux community should take it very seriously. Otherwise, for Linux, as before, versions of such popular and popular software packages like Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Premiere, Microsoft Office and many others will not be created.

Viable X.Org replacement

The X.Org server did its job, but nothing has come to replace it. Canonical had a bad experiment with Mir. Wayland has been in development for quite some time, but this system is not yet ready for serious use. Since X.Org exists and has been used for a very long time, it carries with it extensive “luggage”, and something in this “luggage” is unsafe. Think about the fact that Linux is growing and developing very fast, and about how quickly the desktop environment, based on ancient technologies, can evolve. Instead of continuing to use the outdated basis for the graphical interface, Linux needs to switch to something modern, able to evolve as dynamically as other parts of the system. Is this a Wayland solution, or maybe something else? It is hard to say. But Linux continues to evolve at a rapid pace. This applies to both the kernel and programs that users work with. At the same time, the X Window System is simply unable to evolve at the same speed. There is no reason to expect that in 2019 an alternative to X.Org will emerge, ready for real work, but it can be hoped that serious steps will be taken in this direction in this year.

Удаление устаревших приложений из каталогов

I can no longer remember how many times I opened the Linux application directory in search of some program I needed, and found only projects that no one has been working on that have not been updated for a long time, which use outdated or non-working dependencies. This is no good. Those responsible for filling in the various application directories need to remove all the garbage from them. Least of all, the Linux ecosystem needs inadequate applications that are offered to users. I understand that one of the reasons for this situation is the pursuit of beautiful numbers. But I consider it wrong to strive for the possibility to declare that there are tens of thousands of applications in a certain catalog, not taking into account the share of high-quality products. Outdated, abandoned, unsafe applications should disappear from directories.

Антивирусы и другие защитные программы, работающие в реальном времени

Here, some of the readers may decide that I am talking about completely abnormal things, but I, nevertheless, invite them to listen to me. I was often asked the following question: "Do I need an antivirus while working in Linux?". I always answered him like this: “No, at least not yet needed.” Why do you say bye"? Because when desktop Linux turns into a phenomenon comparable to Windows and Mac, you can be sure that computers running Linux will be very interesting for intruders. But beyond that, what about the users who receive emails with malicious attachments, and then, not understanding what they are doing, send these malicious attachments to other users? And what about phishing attacks, which are at risk of all those who use the browser? Linux has tools likeClamAV (and ClamTK), but they do not perform real-time system scanning. The Linux community needs to start thinking about the future, that is, in this case, to attend to the development of open-source antiviruses that work in real time.

Programs for non-professionals using professional tools

There are many programs in the Linux ecosystem, for, let's say, “mid-level” users. A huge number of Linux-based applications for IT-professionals. It lacks only applications for so-called “prosumers” - non-professional users who buy professional-level programs. Among such applications can be noted such as Adobe Premiere, Final Cut Pro, Photoshop, Avid Pro Tools, and other similar. Of course, many programs have been created for Linux (such as Audacity and OpenShot), able to meet the needs of a huge number of ordinary users, but such programs are far from the level that prosumers need. For example, no one would mount a full-length movie in OpenShot or work on an album in Audacity. Until professional-level tools are available in Linux, this operating system will be uninteresting to a specific user segment.

Improved font output

The font rendering subsystems in Linux have come a long way, but they are still infinitely far from similar Mac OS subsystems. If you worked for some time on a MacBook Pro or on an iMac, and then launched some Linux distribution, you will immediately feel the difference. The main reason for this is the fact that Linux still uses X.Org (we talked about this above). And, although this idea may seem secondary to many, the attention of users, in the first place, attracts the attractive graphical environment of the systems. If the user sees the desktop, whose elements do not look very good, this, in his perception, reduces the assessment of the system in which he works. And, in order to completely criticize Linux in terms of fonts, I want to note that if I spend all day looking at texts derived from poor-quality fonts, as I do, you may find that your eyes get tired. The Linux community is the most serious way to approach the issue of font design of the system, try to make sure that everything in this area would be just perfect.

The release of high-quality computers designed for Linux

After I visitedat System76 and got acquainted with their new desktop computer, Thelio, I had a strong feeling that the future of Linux depended on such developments. System76 takes a holistic approach to Linux. In particular, we are talking about the fact that the hardware they develop works perfectly under the control of the OS of this family. It is these feelings and should cause Linux-system. That is, for example, if someone wants to use Linux, he buys a laptop or a regular computer, connects peripheral devices to it, and this all works without problems and without the need for some complicated settings. These are the feelings and give System76 products. The Linux ecosystem needs more companies that make products as high-end as System76 products.


I can’t say that the Linux world should change overnight, accepting all the seven ideas I’ve talked about. But if we want Linux to become one of the leading desktop operating systems, the community should start looking for ways to implement these ideas. Of course, Linux can be improved in many other areas, but the path to perfection is quite possible to start with work on obvious shortcomings, and, of course, do not stop there.

Dear readers! What do you think is missing from the current Linux OS?

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