During their Microsoft’s MIX ’11 conference in Las Vegas, Microsoft announced their upcoming release of Mango, the new Windows Phone OS. Mango is expected this fall. Mango will be Microsoft’s offering to finally compete with the more robust operating systems currently dominating the market — finally bringing features already popular in the market like multitasking.
Photo by rgeorgi
It has been quite a while now that stories of Google’s Linux supported desktop have been doing rounds over the technology news websites across the world. This has been an interesting move by Google. From providing the support for Google gadgets on Linux to now providing an entire Google desktop for Linux users!
The news got confirmed when Google stated that it will roll out Linux desktop on netbooks soon. Statistics say that netbooks are the only division in PC sales that’s actually reporting increase in sales. It is hence a simple business logic to invest in applications and tools which run great on netbooks.
Google earlier indicated that it had intentions of overcoming Microsoft’s reign in the computer desktop segment. The concern here is on Google’s plans in the future considering this bold yet strategic move on their behalf. Google is keen to setup an array of Windows compatible applications that will work in tandem with Google Linux powered desktops. Various applications that Google flaunts such as Google Docs, Gmail, Google Calendar, etc. shall prove to be a part of the assortment.
The strategy that Google has adopted to hit Microsoft in operating system market is actually worth noticing and very interesting. It has avoided having a head-on confrontation with Microsoft and slowly and steadily matured in its other niches such as web searches and web applications. The first head-on product they released in the market was Google Chrome in 2008 which has been doing pretty well. Matthaus Krzykowski and Daniel Hartmann, founders of the stealth startup Mobile-facts now say,
Google’s smartphone operating system, Android, can be used as a desktop operating system.
One of the possible problems that Google and its Linux desktop can actually face is its lack of Windows business network compatibility; but it too has a solution. With Samba, it has now become much easier to run Windows domain based networks on Linux based servers. The good thing is that it can run both in native and mixed mode.
Google powered Linux based desktops and notebooks shall see the real market sometime soon, this year. It has already built a substantial amount of buzz in the entire Open Source community with a good response from fanboys and the rest. With Google’s intentions becoming pretty clear now, the role of its developers would be very significant in Google Linux Desktop’s success story.
It is also a blessing in disguise for Linux. It could have no better than Google itself starting to promote it. Does it mean more Open Source apps? Free apps? Better GUI on Linux games? What else?
Together, Google and Linux are keen to make this a real fight for Microsoft. Let’s hope that we all see the launch of Google’s Linux desktop soon.
To quench my thirst of experiencing Linux, I started my journey way back in the year 2000 with RedHat 6. It was not a love at first sight and I had to reinstall Windows 2000 on my machine since I was too young to understand the concept of dual-boot! LiveCD was something I never knew in my dreams even! The very thought of messing up my windows installation while trying to get things fixed with Linux haunted me for days.
Things are very different today from what they were a decade ago. With the advent of LiveCDs, the perception for Linux has changed quite dramatically. What was one believed to be a geek’s operating system is now being used by school kids, doctors and grandpas too! One more valid reason for immense popularity of Ubuntu Linux is that it doesn’t need prior knowledge about *nix system and architecture to visit your favorite website. You can do it just by booting up your machine with a LiveCD. I’ve myself been an Ubuntu fanboy!
Though geeks prefer a distro which gives freedom and power to conceive what they’re actually trying to do and what’s happening within the operating system. However, there are people who want an operating system which is free and easy to install, configure and most importantly, use.
Keeping all these factors in mind, we would like to evangelize on of the best distro’s for newbies, advocating the following 5 reasons:
- The ability to have a glimpse: With the support of LiveCD, a fanboy can actually have a good enough look into the distro if not a full experience. It gives a chance to visualize and build a thought for the distro, based on one’s preferences and use case.
- Ease of installation and configuration: You need not be a master of terminal windows and an ace of shell commands/scripts to run a mighty Ubuntu on your machine. The latest release of the distro has a much faster and easier installation wizard. Installing Ubuntu through Windows using Wubi, or performing a single or dual boot installation is far more easier than it was in the past. You need not bother much about the partitioning act or the swap space to make a complete Ubuntu installation.
- Out of the box support: The Ubuntu developers have done exceptionally great in making it an “out-of-the-box” Linux distro. The seamless support it offers for the third party devices like digital cameras, usb drives, wireless connectivity, the ability to use restricted device drivers (if you wish to), etc. is a so very different and appreciable for people with varying desires and skills.
- Ease of upgrade: As times change, desires often grow symmetrically. This leads to periodic software and security upgrades. Owing to the use of apt-get package installer, the upgrade for the installed softwares is just a click away. One doesn’t need to do much apart from entering the root password of course. Even the upgrade to a newer release of Ubuntu is a cake walk, provided you have an Internet connection.
- Community support: Having a good community backup can do wonders in spreading a word about a technology, application or an OS for that matter. There is absolutely no denial of the fact that Ubuntu users cherish a large community support. Be it development or support, Ubuntu outlives several other distros in this classification.
Having said so much is so little to help evangelize Ubuntu Linux. You need to give it a shot if you haven’t by now. Saying so doesn’t mean Ubuntu is the best Linux distro. But, it is definitely a Linux distro which created a wave-pool in the Linux ecosystem. and a must try for all noobs out there.
Photo by Pigpogm
It might sound a bit weird but the kind of Operating System you’re probably using may affect your productivity at work! Though, a user is a more responsible entity when it comes to productivity, but somewhere down-the-line, we can hold your operating system responsible for the same.
Talking about Xbox 360, for example, I doubt you’ll use its processing power to do to something other than playing 3D games! Expecting something else out of it would probably be undesired. Similarly, MS Windows Vista is a multi user, multi purpose operating system which caters a user’s primal needs to tedious tasks. On similar lines, Linux offers a rock solid environment for servers/desktops with a powerful command-line support.
Productivity is a term which involves one’s personal interest apart from the tools/services which an Operating System can offer. However, we being human beings are prone to influences. But small steps towards increase in productivity shall yield big results. One must never forget — “Trifles make perfection and perfection is no trifle.“
Before we proceed further, I would like to mention that in my opinion, productivity comes within the user and not the operating system. So do not take this article as an ingredient to help you switch to an alternate Operating System!
Narrowing our discussion to productivity on Linux, we shall now explore some aspects which help increase the productivity and at times, otherwise.
Reasons why Linux may be productive
- The power of command line: Linux has a powerful command-line shell (Eg. BASH) interface for servers and desktops letting the novice as well as power users accomplish tasks and run applications from a common terminal.
- Customization: GNU/Linux is customizable to a good extent, based on one’s needs and kind of work he/she is involved into. For example, you can run multiple desktops, create scripts to automate tasks, et al. Such features eventually enhance your productivity off an Operating System.
- Less prone to distractions: I would not advocate the incompatibility of Linux with the latest 3D games in the gaming arena but when it comes to productivity, the not-so-gaming-friendly Operating System allows you to work with a better concentration. Imagine a game freak user trying to do something else, with his favorite 3D game’s icon residing on the desktop!
- Viruses: I would not say that GNU/Linux is free from viruses, but when compared to MS Windows, it gives far more stability in this regard. I’m sure, most of you would spend a considerable amount of time in either blocking, removing, or preventing viruses/malwares/spywares/trojans, etc. on your MS machine. When it comes to Linux, you don’t really have to worry about tracing viruses, due to the fact that Linux is not as highly targeted as Windows by the spammers. This means, you shall not have a defensive stand all the time and hence, better productivity.
- Maintenance: When we talk about a GNU/Linux distro, we do not think of disk-defragmentation or any similar maintenance issue. For a large hard drive, which is very common these days, you might have to leave your system unattended/unusable for long hours while you defragment it. Vis-a-vis on GNU/Linux, all you need to update/upgrade are the security updates and recommended application updates.
We saw some reason which can be a medium to evangelize GNU/Linux for its productivity. However, there are situations where using Linux may make you feel deprived of certain easy-to-handle situations.
Reason why Linux may not be good for
- There is no substitute to learning: If you’re a firm believer of thesaying, “Hard work pays off in future, laziness pays off now!” then Linux is surely not for you. For people like me, who have switched to Linux from MS Windows or any other Operating System, it’s not going to be a cake walk. There may be times when you’ll need to do a lot of work, which might appear to be pretty lame, like hunting for solutions in forums/IRCs, fixing apps which do not run, compiling source binaries, etc. Being a newbie user of Linux, it is quite likely that you start to accomplish a small task and end up hunting for a solution to another problem, which may not be directly help you get you task completed, in any of the IRC channels! Linux is all about learning, exploring, thinking – it’s a choice, an alternative.
- Over customization and tweaking: We discussed that GNU/Linux offers a good customization support for the users, both – power and novice. But this may often lead to obsession with tweaking! This has happened to a lot of Linux users who spend a lot of time just to customize their Linux distro, at times unnecessarily. This turns out to be a real productivity killer.
Lastly, productivity comes from within a user, not entirely from an operating system. An Operating System may have support, features and tools enabling a productive work environment, but it’s you, who has to capitalize on it!