From now on, I defer all my opinions on the quality of the Linux desktop and the open source projects that work on it to this guy, the LinuxHater. I started reading this blog after I ran across this article on the ‘Z’ via the ‘dot’ written by a guy from Google. It really hits home what both of them have to say.
The hater shares some really honest opinions using some very colorful language (warning – if you’re sensitive to that kind of thing) on everything from how hard it is for his grandmother to get into Linux, to how all the forking and duplication that’s going on FOSS community is doing some serious harm to our ability to build up the Linux desktop to compete with Mac and Windows. It’s a really funny read. And I have to agree with the Google guy. Given how much the hater knows about what he’s writing about, he’s really a Linux lover who desperately wants Linux to succeed but is loosing his cool in frustration.
And it’s hard to argue with what the guy says. Open source is about freedom, freedom of the developer to build whatever he wants, however he wants it. And if he doesn’t like working on a project, he can start his own, and even fork the code. What he can’t do, however, is fork the developers. And that’s what’s killing the Linux desktop. Too much duplication is watering everything down. Everyone’s so focused on building the best framework, they’re forgetting about the average end user who doesn’t care, or have the capacity to care, and just wants something that’s easy to use and works.
With Eclipse, we’re making conscious efforts to avoid this problem. At almost every project creation review someone asks whether the project is duplicating some other project and, if so, we work hard to get everyone to work together to resolve it. I think it helps that Eclipse is very much commercially driven. We understand the economics of open source development. We have very limited resources to invest, and it’s so critical to work as a team with other companies, even if we compete in the marketplace. If we can get over that, why can’t Linux desktop projects, who don’t even have a financial vested interest in succeeding, do the same?
But there’s a lot of politics in open source, especially with projects close to the Free Software Foundation. I’m not sure how we get out of it. Hopefully, those involved can see through the sarcasm and listen to the message. Linux rocks as an operating system, it really needs a desktop to match, and the community needs to unite to provide the sufficient resources to build it.