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Sunday, August 7th, 2011, 4:19 pm

GNU/Linux on the Server Side Helps ‘Desktop Linux’

The Network Effect in action

Network spheres

The myths about “desktop Linux” are mostly associated and tied to “easy of use”. Many people, mostly ones with next to zero experience when it comes to GNU/Linux, have blindly decided that the slow growth of GNOME and KDE is due to an inherent problem other than marketing. But perceptions are changing when people discover that they are surrounded by GNU/Linux, even if their own client machine does not run a Free/libre operating system.

Whenever I perform scientific experiments, I entirely separate my work machine from the computational machines, which are dedicated to a particular task and are optimised for uptime, resilience, and good memory management. These machines exclusively run GNU/Linux, for technical reasons of course. In addition, soon enough one of the Windows clusters will be converted into dual-boot, permitting even more computational power to be amassed from remote nodes, provided one is not a Windows drone. In this modern age when just about any large cluster or computational server runs GNU/Linux, what can a Windows or Mac OS X user do to justify a choice of non-homogeneous platforms, wherein there is basically disharmony and inconsistency between the back end (server) and the desktop/workstation? There is a time penalty associated with moving a program from a proprietary desktop environment to GNU/Linux at the back room. It is not surprising that more and more people in my field are moving to UNIX or Linux on their desktop.

To what extent might the rise of Android impact people’s feelings towards GNU/Linux on the desktop? It does seem like iPhone has already managed to persuade some users to replace a Windows desktop with an OS X desktop. I see examples of this all the time, although as proof it’s merely anecdotal, not statistical.

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