9 Major 2012 Events That Will Influence the Linux Desktop in Coming Years Page 2: Page 2

2012 was a lively year on the Linux Desktop, with the promise of more to come next year.
Posted December 27, 2012

Bruce Byfield

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3. Haiku Alpha 4

Haiku is the free software implementation of BeOS. A dozen years ago, BeOS failed as a commercial operating system, but it retains a cult following among long-time users of free software.

While Haiku failed to reach general release in 2012, it did release its fourth alpha, a very stable release that shows its potential. Notable features include a rationalized file hierarchy and a filesystem that allows users to add whatever attributes they choose.

Long-time Haiku contributor Ryan Leavengood describes Haiku as a mixture of the aesthetics of OS X with the licensing and development philosophy of Linux. According to Leavengood, the fabled general release should come within a year.

4. Enlightenment E17

Speaking of cults of nostalgia, I remember when Enlightenment was the cool desktop to use and knowing hackers were wearing T-shirts proclaiming, "I'm on E."

A dozen years and at least one major code re-write later, Enlightenment has finally released another general release. Once described as a window manager and now as a desktop shell, Enlightenment retains most of the features that once made it so popular, including speed and a high degree of customization and configurability.

Some aspects of Enlightenment, such as choosing which modules to load, may be more than new users care to worry about. However, distributions like Bodhi Linux and Elive offer acceptable default settings.

In this age of desktop diversity, Enlightenment could easily outlast the first nostalgic rush of interest and settle down into its own niche as an interface for more advanced users.

5. OpenMandriva Foundation

A decade ago, Mandrake was one of the leading distributions. Today -- several name changes and rounds of financial trouble later -- the commercial distribution now known as Mandriva has gone into a serious decline.

2012 saw another effort to regroup and continue development in the form of OpenMandriva. This foundation of stakeholders includes both Mandriva SA and ROSA Lab. It's a mixed community-corporation effort centered in Russia that is doing its own modifications on the KDE desktop.

Mageia, an earlier community-based fork that has enjoyed a degree of popularity in the last year or two, appears to be boycotting OpenMandriva. All the same, the foundation could play a major role in helping this once-popular branch of the Linux desktop to survive -- and maybe even prosper.

6. The MariaDB Foundation

The MySQL database was once part of the standard Linux server applications -- the M in the so-called LAMP solution (Linux, Apache, Mysql, Perl/Python/PHP).

However, after MySQL's sale to Sun Microsystems, Oracle acquired it with Sun's other assets. Many, including MySQL's founder Michael (Monty) Widenius, distrusted Oracle's commitment to keep the open source database alive as a rival to its own proprietary products. In fact, Widenius make every effort to prevent Oracle's acquisition of MySQL.

Widenius failed. But he went on to encourage the development of MariaDB, a fork of the MySQL code, as an alternative. These efforts reached a new level with the announcement of the MariaDB Foundation.

Days later, the announcement was followed by Wikipedia's announcement that it intended to move from MySQL to MariaDB. Given the widespread distrust of Oracle in the Linux community, that announcement is almost certain to be the first of many.

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Tags: open source, MySQL, Ubuntu, Linux desktop, Gnome, KDE, tablet, Linux Mint, Calligra, MariaDB

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