Sunday, March 23, 2008

Buried treasure in Linuxville

One day a few years back I was lurking around a store called "Half Priced Books" looking for Linux material. They were having a sale which meant books were even cheaper. I stumbled upon "Linux Journal" for the year 1999. I am not much of a magazine collector but I know treasure when I see it. I've bought a few more mags the years that followed, today it is all internet. There was though one mag called "Linux User and Developer" from the UK which had Fedora Core 2 in it. Anyway back to the Linux Journal of 1999, the whole Linux world was different. 95% of the articles and emphasis was on servers and server applications, peppered with workstation stuff. The desktop was not a big topic. Most users seemed to be destined for system admins or engineering workstation and coding work. I don't think anybody had a notion that Linux could be a popular desktop OS. The times have changed and now many of the Linux vets are having to figure how to deal with users who just use the GUI. These mouse jockeys and app mavens really don't want or need to know the depths of Linux. They just point and click just as they did in MS Windows or Mac OS. But looking back is so cool. You can see that even though coders and developers world wide put Linux together, Linux is well thought out and proven by the developers and the users.

Well, what's going to happen to Linuxville in the future is an on going thing. I think we will have to separate the server from the workstation at least in the way we teach Linux to new folks. This is because most desktop users will not be interested in server functions and applications. The desktop deserves it's own focus. I really see a need for users to write more how-to's for all those applications. And to put in one book the popular desktops and window managers. Hey, people still like books you know!

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