Seeing a lot of projects going bad in my own environments, i could see some patterns in open source communities and linux on desktop. This post is a bit of a rant and a cry for different approach.
I was a consultant, now just a developer working mostly in data processing for big organizations. Not a single organization where i have stepped into has been using linux other than on servers. Not a single one.
While kernel has exact guidelines, strong quality control, oversight and personalities behind, desktop projects are a lot more loose. Instead of having a common goal, open source organizations are splitting their resources instead of pooling them together.
- one X server implementation, reference one, used everywhere
- higher complexity then wayland
- many window managers / compositors, one for every desktop environment
- not a revolutionary approach, rather evolutionary, still very much relying on Xorg so no real incentive to migrate
While many window managers approach can bring innovation into this space, this seems very unlikly since no invoation has taken place 10 years after starting wayland project. Basis of the project can be used among all compositors, with maybe minor things just being different, everyone started egotripping and inventing their own. “Fixed” pool of people working on common goal was now split among different goals. As of now, Gnome has architecture problems and KDE is so buggy that just by leaving my PC alone, session crashes. Quality situation got worse while architecture and implementation got simplified. Paradox in the making?
Proposals like wlroots and libmiral are discarded for reasons unknown, i guess NIH and/or “we invested so many time into this we are going to use it”. Basically this will be long fucking ride until this thing gets on the right track.
There are many, many examples where linux quality is lacking and actually, having shitty experience just makes people go back to windows. Several people i know did exactly that – they tried, really tried, then just went back to the devil. They got sick of bad ux and mediocrity.
Fragmentation of projects, as said before can be seen in wayland/xorg space.
Then there is
- compositors: kwin, mutter, …
- office: libreoffice/openoffice/calligra.
- desktop: mate, cinnamon, gnome, xfce, lxqt,…
These important pieces of software should be used among the distribution. We need a Torvalds equivalent for linux desktop. One really smart guy that will set the rules for the whole industry.
Due to fragmentation, libreoffice (as most advanced and used one) is the prime example of why this fragmentation sucks. Instead of implementing e.g. dropdowns for formulas, people are working on openoffice and calligra. Result of this is shitty quality among all 3 products.
Microsoft Excel drives the corporate world. Libreoffice has to look better, has to have convenience better than it is now to attract people.
As a knowledgable user, i still hate to use it due to visuals, due to different behavior and overall performance. Microsoft office has no alternative and it will have no alternative until office community starts to work on one product and not split their time reinventing the wheel.