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Friday, February 13, 2009

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written by: Viktor Ustijanoski in
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Is Linux development goes on right direction?

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Every OS like MacOS, Linux or Windows has GUI. But under the hood, there is different story for all three of them.

First, Linux is great operating system, the community work for more than a two decades to produce robust, fast, secure and compatible operating system based on layers or call it components. Every Linux operating system is based on layers: kernel, shell, audio core, X(graphic core), windows manager, etc.. all managed through your GUI or text based shell. So if one component fails, the system will stay stable. In past few years, some parts of the system have increased development and some stay limited by their native framework and does not bring innovations anymore. Famous distributions make Linux closer to the regular user, but still many people wants to be creative, not administrative, so it's time to get Linux things in right direction.

Time has come. Nowadays Linux has same compatibility with oldest written Linux code. This means, code that was written 10 years ago, still works like that is written today. Get XMMS for example. Thats perfect, but it has some negative sides. Today hardware has endless possibilities of processing and graphic power, usability, low latency, easy plug and play and Linux is going a little bit slow using all this new hardware features. Means it's going to be slow and slow throught the years. What must be done?

I will express my personal views based on Linux GTK community and proposals and my experience using several other operating systems starting from Mac.

1. Mac. It is good, stable, layer based operating system, (kernel, core video, core audio, UI) looks great, has compatibility with older Mac OS software, (the break-point was made with transition between MacOS 9 and MacOS X OS architecture) and it's using the new technologies (3D, Video and Audio) building more advance, attractive and ergonomic user interface on robust and solid Unix foundation. An it works, simple and efficient. Connect your audio instrument and play. Connect your video camera and start video authoring. Drag and drop applications to install them. Has easy configuration, great professional software and it is mostly used by professionals. But also has negative sides. It is usable only on Mac hardware or hacked can be run on other hardware – called Hackintosh. Linux can benefit from that.

2. Windows. It has different architecture than Unix, and is most popular of all OS. It's not stable like Unix-like OS, have many viruses, average drivers, bad customer care, paying licenses, not appropriate software that comes with Windows. The greatest Windows nowadays is Windows XP. Vista does not have speed, stability and compatibility of older brother so it failed. But is that like we think? My personal opinion is that Vista was transition between old structure Windows and new - Windows 7 structure, Windows OS build on Unix idea – layers (or as they called them Subsystems). They leave Windows XP back-port compatibility on Vista, and already make full transfer of Vista (new code) based software on new concept - Windows 7. With other words, they made the break point with Vista. Windows 7 is coded more wisely, old code was trashed and new code goes on scene. Microsoft has succeed in graphical structure separation for Vista, has time based low latency audio foundation, more software for free and put the new system (Vista) on test to the public and all that for money. They get all kind of user feedback from the different user experience, comments, proposals, angriness and use that knowledge for modifying the Windows core producing more refined Unix idea in Windows form called Windows 7. So Windows 7 is coming soon, it's fast as Windows XP and have improved Vista user interface and support for most modern hardware technologies. Also has huge base of professional applications for every sphere. But, all that for money, and Linux here, can benefit too.

3. Linux. If Linux wants to keep step with other two OS's, it must have a break point. That was the real proposal from Linux community. Linux already has build very solid, stable foundation. Now it needs a little “polish”. The community have very solid Window Manager - Gnome (KDE, Xfce are different window managers) based on GTK and GTK must have break point to support new technology. While Vista failed, Linux has made progress. User progress, driver progress, hardware producer support, many peoples hear about Linux, try to use it and help about Linux support. Many hear about Ubuntu, Fedora, Suse, try the distributions and understand that they are usable and very stable. But it has more to be done. At this development level GTK must have changes. It doesn't support advanced graphics, physics, transparency, mirroring, morphing transitions (partially supported with Compiz and Emerald) and doesn't have advanced innovative framework for future development. The User Interface (UI) must be unified for a better and easy user experience. It means integration on many advanced technologies in the same advanced GTK core, so UI, 3D, Video and Graphics can be rendered faster even on slower machines and it will increased system usability. The break must be made with compatibility in mind until developers transfer their old code to the new libraries. The Linux community proposal was parallel back-port libraries and new transitional libraries into one framework. After that, when all code will be transfered, old code will be trashed and new code in form of Gnome 3.0 goes on scene.

The same will be made with Audio. The old audio servers will be replaced by PulseAudio, time based, low latency audio server that is integrated in new Linux distributions. It allows flexible adjustment the frequency of interrupts to what is required by the connected applications, which will allow lower latencies (reaction time) for applications and it will save battery power from your notebook and netbook. It is under development and it must be supported by big Linux contributers for faster extreme stable release. Then Linux will have great audio layer foundation. And can be used by professionals for creating, recording and live performance on stage.

Also there are great and free software for Linux but changes must be made here too. Great foundations must be used with great applications. Linux has network, internet and server software advantages, but It lacks in other professional branches comparable with other two OS's. Improvements must be made in development, financial support and focus on big professional project like Ardour, Gimp, OpenOffice, Blender and other professional network, music, web, graphic, CAD software. So Linux will benefit from all advantages: stability, biggest hardware support, usability, flexibility, easy of use, professional applications and all that for free.

Is Linux development goes on right direction? I think yes, it goes, changes already started. Please fell free to make suggestions and comment my article.

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Anonymous said...

I think that all OS-s are moving to MacOS GUI-like direction.

Viale Fabrice said...

You are able to promote a break point without writing about KDE4 strategies ! An Incredible performance...

Anonymous said...

You are right about GTK. GTK must be changed because it is based on old code structure.

fava said...

One comment. You stated that "Nowadays Linux has same compatibility with oldest written Linux code."

That is only true for the basic posix api, and thats because the posix api has not changed in who knows how many years. There is lots of code that has been removed from linux because its not used anymore. A google search of linux api depreciated turns uo over 60,000 items. Not all have been removed, but they will eventually.