Nov 302011

Frank Harris-Smith

As recent as the last 2 years I’ve noticed that the formerly Microsoft dominated PC world seems to be taking Linux more serious. Since Dell took that first pioneer foray into shipping systems with Linux pre-installed in 2008, other manufacturers have stopped ignoring the Linux world by writing drivers for Linux and porting their software for Linux.

I make some of my income through an on-line outsourcing agency called oDesk. When I first heard about the agency I looked it over critically and was struck by the serious business professionalism of the site.

And this:


This is the oDesk Team application for time keeping/work verification, team communication/collaboration and project management. oDesk takes Linux seriously.

There are many programs with Linux versions now. My son and I routinely video chat using Skype. I use the Linux version and he uses the iPad version. No Microsoft code involved on either end . [Editor note: now Skype itself IS microsoft]

I recently bought an inexpensive Hewlett Packard printer, a Deskjet 1000 J110. My first use with Linux was with Linux Mint in April 2011. I had to download a driver from HP. They had a Linux driver for it. Now the driver is native in the Debian Linux kernel – both 32 and 64 bit

The previous time I’d upgraded the Linux on my laptop I needed 1 driver, for the ATI Mobility RADEON 9600 video so I could use the 3D video acceleration. Now, only 1 year and ½ later the video driver is in the kernel.

There are many important Windows applications that now have a Linux version like Google Earth and Teamviewer. I only actually use those two but there are many others.

Roll back the calendar only 5 years…

After playing around Linux for a few months I decided to get a version installed on an old Dell Inspiration 3200 laptop so I could surf the Internet without fear. Such an old laptop didn’t have a built-in WiFi adapter, so I used a PCI Card WiFi adapter plugged into a PCI Card slot. A WiFi card that was very common but it had no Linux driver. I used the Windows driver and NDISWrapper to get the WiFi working with Linux

In my first ½ year of experimenting with Linux (mid 2005) many basic functions were not part of the kernel (2.4) of the RedHat 7.2. I had to write scripts to mount and access my digital camera or USB FlashDrives.

Windows NTFS support on RedHat 7.2 was non-existent. Then NTFS support in Linux became experimental. Now it’s completely transparent and build in. It “Just Works”

Are we “There” yet?

If you have ever taken a long road-trip with small children you have heard this one. Well, is Linux “There” yet? It is being taken more seriously. With Linux drivers being coded by hardware vendors and Linux versions of popular software coming out I’d say there’s a definite improvement.

Is there a “Too” there though?

Suppose Microsoft came out with a version of Office 2010 for Linux. Who would buy it when there are two great Office Suites for Linux already that are MS Office compatible? Is paying for the Authentic MS Office worth the little bit of improvement you would get? “Improvement” being debatable here.

There is a way to use Microsoft’s Internet Explorer on Linux. But why? I never liked Internet Explorer, being a Netscape user from 1988. I keep hearing scary things about Internet Explorer, even with IE 9

In conclusion

Is Linux being taken seriously? Lately I’d say it is. More boxes of PC hardware list Linux requirements along with Windows and Macintosh. With the successes of Android on smart phones and Linux on netbooks industry has started to take notice.

This article is about the perception of Linux by the world outside of the Linux community. Linux has always been taken seriously by it’s adherents for many varied reasons. Some like the power of command that scripting gives them. Perfect for experimenting with, as an example, robotics?

Other adherents like the cutting edge technology that Linux offers. Apple’s Multi- touch? My Ubuntu-powered 6 year old laptop has that (two fingers on the track pad and it scrolls).

Other like the “philosophical” aspect of having a GNU/Linux Operating system, released as Free software.

Many other reasons like security, stability and efficient use of a PC’s resources are in there.

And many of us like it for many reasons and growing.

I heard that there’s this Linux Distro for Robotics


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  9 Responses to “Is Linux being taken seriously?”

  1. Gnu/linux è un sistema di produzione.
    Per pc casalinghi e ultramoderni non è ancora la scelta adatta.(non è scelto come piattaforma per far girare i giochi… ha alcune pecche sulla gestione energia… non ha software commerciali professionali per immagini e video).
    Per andar su internet e imparare a sviluppare è sicuramente la scelta migliore.

  2. Ottimo articolo.
    I passi avanti che ha fatto Linux in questi anni sono stati a dir poco spaventosi. Un gigante nella terra di Lilliput.
    Non solo molti programmi hanno un client linux dedicato, ma anche molti giochi, soprattutto gli indie games.
    Sono sicuro che un giorno sarà al pari di Windows, e spero anche superiore, per quanto riguarda la “considerazione” di varie software house e aziende produttrici di software in generale.

  3. Non è scelto come piattaforma per i giochi perchè non si ha voglia di sperimentare. Non a caso più si sperimenta e più si ottengono i risultati.
    L’80% dei giochi in commercio è giocabile su Linux. Poi è chiaro che se uno vuole le directx 11, vuole avere 60 FPS e non dover aggiungere 2 o 3 librerie per far partire il gioco, allora sceglierà sempre Windows.

  4. Netscape user since 1988 ? You sure ? I thought the web was invented in 1991 and 1988 < 1991 evaluates to True.

  5. Fedora has a Robotics and Electronic Labs spin, what win !!

  6. You might want to check the date that you started using Netscape. Hint: it did not exist in 1988.

  7. Try Pinguy OS

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