When judging the success, or lack thereof, of Linux, many proponents of Linux often cite the success of the Android mobile operating system. After all, a majority of smartphones in the world now run Android, which has Linux as its base. Android still contributes some code back to the Linux kernel, and there is no denying that it has a Linux feel, if you happen to open a terminal and check out the inner workings of the OS.
What Android may not be, however, is a traditional Linux distribution. But some could argue Ubuntu is no longer even a traditional Linux distribution. Does that make it any less Linux? Perhaps it is time we embrace diversity as much as we are willing to embrace freedom and choice. Linux is not dominating the desktop market, but it has definitely taken over the mobile and ebook market (think Kindle, Nook, etc.) We should be proud of that.
I spent most of January sick, and I am not entirely sure that it is completely gone. Still, I feel well enough to write again, and there are a few hot topics that I would like to address.
1. Ubuntu Phones – Early this year, Canonical announced plans to develop an Ubuntu phone operating system. This goes beyond simply running an Ubuntu interface over Android. This is a completely new OS. As you probably know, Mozilla is also developing a Firefox mobile OS. So, the question many may ask is: Is there truly room for another mobile OS?
If you spend any amount of time around free software users or developers, you know it is all about freedom, not price. A decade ago, it was difficult to share content without stepping on some copyright toes.
Creative Commons changed all of that and paved the way for an entirely different type of freedom-conscious community: a free content one. Read more »
Yes, Virginia, there is a Steam on Linux. And yes, this story is old news. The Steam beta on Linux has been going on for a couple of weeks now, but the important news is that I have received my invite. Behold! the obligatory screenshot:
Steam’s new “Big Picture” mode also works in Linux. It’s pretty awesome, and it detected my Xbox 360 controller without a hitch.
Right now, there are only a handful of games available, including Serious Sam 3: BFE and Team Fortress 2, but hopefully, that will improve over time. If you use the same account you have for Windows, it will show your Windows games, but will not give you a “Play” button. Like the Windows version, you can also add your non-Steam games to the client for easy launching.
Bandwidth caps be damned. Google will apparently allow its users to share 10GB files via Google Drive. Now, even if you have a file one tenth that size, it could be very good for online collaboration and development.
Linux is the free and open source kernel that powers numerous operating systems (or distributions) that users can freely download, install, remix, share, and even sell. Linux is all about freedom, but it also has the benefit of often being free of charge as well.
Because of its free nature, there are thousands of free and open source applications for Linux. Some of them come and go quite quickly, while others are stable and even among the most widely used software applications in the world (such as Mozilla Firefox). The following are five Linux apps that are still relatively young but that show the signs of being tools Linux users will love and continue to use for some time.
Indie game developers are becoming much more receptive to Linux users, and Kot-In-Action has become a household name with its action-packed Steel Storm games. Moreover, the introduction of a Linux client for Desura has made it much easier for game developers to market to Linux gamers.
KDE Plasma Workspaces provide a graphical interface and lots of eye candy for the desktop Linux experience. Many would argue that it is equal to or even better at this than Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X. KDE, however, is not only a graphical frontend for Linux. It comes with a set of applications and also with a set of system administration tools that can help power users take control of their desktops or laptops without dropping to the command line.
KDE administration tools are primarily located in System Settings. Start system settings by clicking on the kickoff (K) launcher button and selecting “System Settings” or by pressing Alt+F2 and typing “System Settings”. If, for some reason, you cannot find it, the command path is /usr/bin/systemsettings.
Luckily, most Linux distributions include these applications by default, but you also should know the options.