Re: My two cents worth

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On 1/23/20 10:09 AM, Ian wrote:
I would like to contribute a few thoughts to this list as a non-techhead, non-guru, humble end user.
Thanks for your contribution.

Please note that all of the comments below are my opinion only, and are not intended to reflect any truth or fact.

I spent most of my life in IT departments of large companies and government departments preparing system design documents and working with developers and end users to build the user systems to meet the user's requirements. So I basically had one foot in user space and the other in development space.

From that perspective, may I say that, to me, it looks like some of the documentation referred to in this list has been prepared by people with a strong technical background, but perhaps with less focus on the end user experience. I feel that there could be some benefit from taking a broader view of where Linux may be going. Couple of questions.

Do you see the future of Linux as growing in the community and seriously challenging the current software paradigm of paying to use software?
This is possible, Android is an open source operating system with a wide non technical end user community. It is currently the dominant operating system used to access the internet .

Do you see Linux desktop becoming more ubiquitous in the community at large? And even seriously challenging the market dominance of the current market leaders?

Do you see Linux becoming more ubiquitous in the corporate community, running corporate networks with Linux desktop on every desk?

If the answer to either/both of the last two is "yes" do you see Fedora as being the distro of choice for these scenarios? Or coexisting with some number of other distros living in the same user spaces.

Do you see the development and maintenance of Linux moving from the realm of the amateur enthusiast and centralised in one of more corporate like organisations that can manage the development and distribution of Linux cooperatively?

Do you see Fedora as a leader in the Linux ecosystem? How do you see the relationship of Fedora to all the other Linuxes?

Do you see Linux "coalescing" into a smaller number of varieties than are currently available (hundreds on distrowatch)? If so do you envision that Fedora will be (or should be) the motivating driver behind the move to a smaller number of "primary" Linuxes; better supported, more robust and generally better managed?

I hope from the above you can see that my view is to ask what Linux/Fedora can or should *be*, not what it can *do*. In five years time what do you want to see when you look at Linux? where is it? What is it doing? How is it being used? Who is using it? How is it making all our lives easier and better?

In my view, part of the future for Linux is expansion into the non-geek world of personal users who want to use their computers to get stuff done. A certain amount of rationalisation of the Linux space may need to occur for this to happen, and there may emerge a few market leaders that support personal users, and become the "go to" distros for new Linux users. It would make sense, in this scenario, for Fedora to to be one of the market leaders, as it is one of the oldest and best supported distros. (the first distro I ever used was Fedora). If this occurred I think it would leave the rest of the Linux userspace basically unaffected. Some of the more esoteric distros out there might lose a few users, but I would expect the effect to be basically unmeasureable. On the other hand it may be that, once the average PC user has had a taste of Linux, they may look around for something that suits them better, so some of the lesser known Linuxes could actually gain users. Roundabouts and swings.

I also see an opportunity for Linux, and Fedora in particular, to move more aggressively into the corporate sector. This expansion however would have to be managed, and would require "corporatisation" to manage the development, maintenance and marketing of Linux to the corporate and government sectors. It seems to me the logical organisations to take up this role would be those offering implementation, management and support services for large computer networks and installations, on a contract basis. They already exist (Like RHEL), and many of them already manage Linux networks. But two things need to happen for this to occur. 1) a greater focus on marketing the Linux desktop to corporates and government, and
Perhaps a comparison with Ubuntu, Deepin and OpenSuse are needed here.
2) a more robust, resilient and reliable Linux desktop.
Can you elaborate more on "a more robust, resilient and reliable Linux desktop"? In particular do you have feedback from people or institutions that use linux desktops and have paid support contracts? Many people running linux desktops set them up themselves then leave them to run but under invest in setup and customization, so their viewpoint while the most common one for linux desktops, maybe unfairly negative.

Unfortunately I believe that currently the Linux desktop is just not robust enough to be considered for corporate use. I like to tell my friends that the difference between using Windows and Linux is like the difference between driving a Toyota Camry and a '66 Mustang. The Camry will always get you there with no fuss, always work, is reliable, efficient, and boring as bat-poo. The Mustang on the other hand is exciting and fun to drive, drinks petrol, can surprise and delight you, terrify you sometimes, will usually get you there, and is fairly reliable. But expect to spend a fair bit of time under the hood (or bonnet, if you are in Australia). I hope you get my point. So the Linux desktop needs to be the Toyota Camry of desktops (maybe without the boring part).

So my vision for Linux would include:
Linux supports everybody using computers to achieve their goals, whenever and wherever they need it.
Linux champions the principal of free and open source software.
Fedora is a market leader in the development, distribution and support of Linux. Fedora welcomes all contributions to its continuous improvement and quality at all levels.
Fedora provides a simple, powerful and reliable user experience

As a final note, this blog post gives another perspective of open source software development. It recommends that developers get paid to contribute to open source software development, a not unreasonable outcome. In my opinion, it also lends weight to the concept that the development of open source software needs at least a degree of centralised management, which could also help in the management of payment to developers for their contributions. Just a thought...
It seems accounting departments need education on how to value contributions to open source software.

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