Linux in the Era Maturity: A Personal Reflection

Linux isn’t more of a mutant teenager I remember the days of hot discussions “This distro is best”, “This filesystem is the future…” “resierFS, XFS, Btrfs…” Yes, discussions do not die but my impression is that Linux is in an era of stability and maturity. I really like Fedora, I am testing Fedora 38 Budgie spin in a public school lab (20 PCs), and I am testing Fedora 39 workstation beta on my principal Desktop). I like KDE more than Gnome (sorry gnome fans). In the past, I tried other distros (rolling release was a temptation). Now I am testing another family distro just a hobby. Flatpak is great however, although I prefer KDE, Gnome is the most used and a great DE for focus especially if you are a distracted person like me. Applications KDE in Flatpack are good and no I don’t cry for a few megabytes more in an installation. Fedora upgrade to a new release is easy. I won’t lie the flaming discussions were good times but now is better much better just an example Nvidia in a beta version of Fedora 98% (without the need for anything beyond what is already being offered) is amazing. Of course, I’m waiting for the calm sea to stir. I’m keeping an eye on two projects: Plasma 6 (I hope KDE unifies the gears and frameworks releases.) and other is Suse Liberty Linux (I won’t use it but is an interesting idea). I look forward to the news, but I know it will come at a slower pace, maybe this is a price for adult age!

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KDE rocks!
However my first Linux experience was on a long since deceased (like the parrot!) distro. which was packing a shocking KDE 1.1 - I ran away screaming! I then dipped my toes in and out of various DEs & became a perpetual distro-hopper - looking for that perfect something!
Roll on a decade or two & I find all the long it was K + Fedora :smiling_face_with_three_hearts: is now the default on my machines aka Fedora Atomic KDE (kinoite)

Linux has reached the public, that was what we intended with a lot of install fests and conferences. In Latam we made Flisol, Fisl, a lot of FUDCons, spreading the word. I started with a livecd distro called Knoppix, then when I have a machine on my own I installed ubuntu. Those were the times of ndiswrapper to install wifi drivers, and a lot of trickeries to make hardware to work.

We have advanced a lot, but there is still work to do:

  • Nvidia works, but is not perfect yet
  • A lot of public is not yet satisfied
    • Designers: a lot of famous apps aren’t interested in Linux, like Adobe and even when the available suits do an amazing job (GIMP, Inkscape, Krita, Openshot, Kdenlive, Darktable, Blender) people are waiting to use their privative stuff on Linux to show interest.
    • Engineers: CAD software is not the best yet: FreeCAD, OpenSCAD and QCAD aren’t enough (that’s people opinion, not mine)
    • Gamers: Valve is doing a great job improving in this area, but there are stiil a lot of pain points (starting with the first point I made about Nvidia)
  • Teaching: IMHO what makes windows so used and with that enourmous market is not only that it usually comes preinstalled, but that is teached to everyone, at scholls, colleges, universities and so on. People don’t use the term “spreadsheet”, they use “excel”, and even with documents, people use the term “word” to refer to any word processor, and all of this is because is what they have learned to use.
  • Codecs: with the patent of mp3 expired, this improved a little, but DRM and a lot of the 4K or greatest/newest formats, codecs tends to be a nightmare on Linux. And when enabling an external repo and install what you need is quite easy for many of the community members, it isn’t normal or easy for the general public

For domestic use: YouTube, webmail, and basically everything that can be done in a browser, linux is OK (not great, but enough), but if you need to go a little deeper, it tends to fail.

And don’t get me wrong, for devs and sysadmin there aren’t excuses to use linux (even MS point devs to linux with its VS Code), but there is still a lot of work to do, and we are still discussing over Dropping X11 on KDE but not over the Nouveau maintainer resigning or how we still can’t name or use RPM fusion officially without being warned.

So, yes, we are in a really mature state, but we are very very far of being the best option out there, at least to “all the public”.


I mean, there’s not a lot to discuss about this, the project isn’t even close to abandoned.

But yeah, the codecs and NVIDIA situations are pretty much the only HUGE things in our way. The rest can be dealt with little by little. I just wish we shipped Flathub’s Firefox instead of native to deal with the codecs, but then we get another big issue in its place, which is the lack of full screen reader support for it, and lack of native messaging for some extensions.

Small note, if anyone that is up for the task of dealing with NVIDIA, please check out this issue, which could iron out some of these NVIDIA issues, but needs people to actually do it.

Lol. I started on Mandriva except back then it was still called Mandrake. It was based on Redhat Linux 6. I had no idea what I was doing and selected “Everything” during install and it had a 10 minute boot time.

Me too! Mandrake was my first linux experience. It was somewhere around 2002. I was a teenager and had no clue about what I was doing. There was an article in a computer magazine about Mandrake that got me interested and they provided the download links and install instructions. I remember the installation ate most of my 20Gb hard disk, dos commands I was familiar with didn’t work in terminal, folders were all weird (TBH I still don’t understand most of the unix folder structure.) and my english skills were not good enough to search and understand help properly… Somehow I installed Chris sawyers Locomotion with wine, but can’t remember if the game itself worked… It was a short lived experiment, but the spark was ignited.