Linux needs a platform to succeed, this is what Tobias Bernard believes 


Tobias Bernard, is a Gnome designer who works for Purism to bring the environment on the company's mobile devices, the "Librem 5" the comments that the real Linux problem is that, Unlike Windows and macOS, there really is no Linux platform.

While Linux is the largest community project in the development world and despite this we continue to listen the famous phrase, "This year is the year of Linux" basically like saying "this year is the good one", but this does not happen. Linux, as much as it integrates innovations, continues to fail on the desktop and even though several have tried to explain this for many issues, including the lack of manufacturers offering pre-installed Linux PCs, support for proprietary software and drivers, user interfaces that people sometimes find very basic, or the problem of ecosystem fragmentation.

Despite this many efforts have been made to improve the ecosystem on Linux more and more, since previously one of the big problems due to fragmentation were the applications, because even this suggested a problem for developers since they offered their application through the compilation option to avoid having to invest more time in the creation of specific packages for the different Linux distributions or basically they invested that time in which both cases were part of the trouble.

Even though this has changed over time and the arrival of universal applications for Linux, say "Flatpak", "Snap" or AppImage, for Tobias Bernard this does not solve the root of the problem.

Well he says:

“I think the heart of the matter is actually the bottom layer: before we can have healthy ecosystems, we need healthy platforms to build them.

For him, successful platforms are distinguished by different elements that can easily be lost just by looking at the surface.


On the developer sideEg they have an operating system that developers can be used to build applications and offer an SDK and tools built into the operating system.

As well need documentation from the developer, tutorials, etc. so that people can learn to develop for the platform. And once the apps are created, there must be an app store to submit them.

But lDevelopers can't build great apps on your own. Having said that, you also need designers. And designers need tools to simulate and prototype applications, user interface templates for things like layout and navigation.

On the end user side, Tobias Bernard explains that need an operating system for the consumer with an integrated app store, where people can get apps created by developers.

The main operating system may be the same as the developer operating system, but not necessarily (for example, this is not the case for Android or iOS).

Users they must also have a way to get help or support when they have problems with their system (be it physical stores, a help website or whatever).

In other words, Tobias Bernard believes that you can not talk about a platform before meeting four essential conditions: an operating system, a developer platform, a design language, and an app store.

Linux, No, because Linux is a kernel, which can be used to create operating systems around which platforms can be built, as Google has done with Android. But a kernel alone does not meet all four conditions and is therefore not a platform.

Ubuntu is not yet a platform, because does not have the most critical elements, i.e. an SDK or a technology stack for developers and a design language. Other distributions are in a similar situation to Ubuntu, but worse because they don't have app stores.

While in the case of Gnome, he comments that it is a desktop stack most popular in the free software world and has an SDK and a design language. However, it does not have an operating system. Many distributions come with GNOME, but they are all different in one way or another, so they do not provide a unified development goal.


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  1.   anonymous said

    GNU is not a company! therefore your end is not money… stop comparing bacon to speed. GNU is there as a community project of social good, made by society for society in the form of a common good of use.
    Because so much eagerness to want to conquer people, GNU is there for whoever wants it, if they don't want it
    because it doesn't look like what you use ... very well, keep using what you've been using and hacking for eons. But trying to downgrade GNU to make it similar to the pirated owner they use to make them come, I think is the stupid capital letter ... GNU is precisely powerful and superior because it is not like the other owners.
    But coming from gnome, it is clearer than water ... since they became dependent on systemd, all is said.

  2.   linuxlachupa said

    Linux sucks it, Windows up!

    1.    pepper said


  3.   Miguel said

    What difference does the desktop matter, if it is almost irrelevant?

    99% GNU servers
    Mobile 99% kernel POSIX, FreeBSD + Linux
    80% or more Linux
    Chrome OS (Linux) laptops eating the market in the US

    And MS WOS adding LiGNUx terminal support

    In China and Russia they have already decided to MIGRATE the entire administration to LiGNUx DESKS

    Huawei already sells laptops by the millions with Deepin LiGNUx pre-installed.

    When Huawei sells its laptops with Deepin LiGNUx pre-installed in the West, in addition to China and India (or something similar) it will be the year of the LiGNUx desktop.

    And it is much closer than we think.

    1.    linuxlachupa said

      Not exactly the desktop, without being a computer scientist or a free software enthusiast, the ignorance and for my part "the over-dependency of linux" by its different "flavors" creates a kind of bubble of overwhelm when deciding on a distribution with that desk.

      In addition to being in different areas, WEB, NETWORKS, OFFICE and even gaming, it has generated a massive interest on the part of the end customer «user or consumer» but its problem lies precisely in its operation «a tool».

      Its popularity is growing but there is no consumer-facing distro that is attractive enough for someone to see a linux device next to a windows device and say, okay this is better at something the consumer looks for, "security, efficiency and low price ».

      The best example is android, but its limitations on mobile devices are less and less, I think that in the future android will evolve to a massive distro that rivals windows, but not as a secondary distro but as something canonical.

      1.    David naranjo said

        I agree, due to the fragmentation that Linux has, it is difficult to lay the foundations to create a unified platform.
        Even though Linux is the central part, because free software allows you to take the source code of an application, Linux distro or any project that is distributed under these terms, sooner or later a person or organization will appear to take the code. modify either minimally or heavily and this will continue to pass as a string.
        What am I going to do with it, because I will take as an example the case of Debian at the time they decided to adopt systemd ... This generated discontent that divided the community in which they were basically pro systemd and anti systemd, which generated that the latter will choose to continue with their vision of a Debian without systemd which led to the creation of Devuan.
        Another example, gnome when I made the transition from Gnome 2 to Gnome 3, many discontent and ended in other projects that would take the foundations of Gnome 2 and were embodied in Mate.
        Finally an example where the idea of ​​"I like your project, but I want my own version of yours" applies, we have Ubuntu that is derived from Debian or the case of Deepin that as many will know is an OS developed in China.
        Until the day when everyone sits down and says "ok, let's work together to unify Linux", the case of Linux triumphing on the desktop is hardly going to happen.

      2.    Marlon said

        In my opinion what linux lacks is that it can be used without any extra Office application.

    2.    David naranjo said

      Linux has undoubtedly reached points that others could hardly achieve, such is the case in servers as it practically dominates the market.
      In Mobile (from a personal point of view) it is succeeding because many companies can adapt it without having to resort to investment in research and development for a new OS, let's take the case of Firefox OS which ended in failure because Android and even iOS They are not systems of today or 5 years ago, they have gone through many years of constant development to be where they are now. Firefox failed because it did not have the fundamental applications that usually attract a common user, which are social networks, web browser, instant messaging.

      Such is the case of automotive systems, few companies are committed to internal development. Well, Linux already has the foundations in place to be adapted to different needs.
      As for laptops in China, they have many restrictions, so as many of us know even they have their own social networks.

  4.   Ruben said

    In my humble opinion as a user who has been testing Linux distributions for many years, I have to say that the fundamental problem is that there is no drive in Linux, and that causes each distribution to have its buts, which does not happen with Windows because all the potential Human is dedicated to a single operating system, which is why this is the most polished. Hopefully the day will come when we have a single Linux distribution supported by the huge community and we can all enjoy an OS at the height and without buts ... Although every year I have been observing great changes in the different distributions, I admit that the buts keep me going using Windows, and the truth is that I DO NOT WANT, but I am forced to do so.

    1.    Rodrigo Mariano Villar Vespa said

      "Linux has undoubtedly reached points that others could hardly achieve, such is the case in servers as it practically dominates the market."

      PS4 uses Orbis OS which is based on FreeBSD, Nintendo Switch also uses an operating system based on FreeBSD, Apple's operating systems are BSD OS and their market share is quite large not to mention that NetBSD, OpenBSD and FreeBSD are also widely used , OpenBSD is used whenever the best in security is required, NetBSD due to its portability can be used in almost any device supporting 58 hardware architectures being used by NASA and FreeBSD for example used by Netflix and WhatsApp among many, it is said that over 40% of all the internet runs on FreeBSD.

  5.   Light creator said

    In my opinion, this is an excellent review. ?

    1.    AvFenix said

      Use BSD because its license allows you to start from the operating system with open and free source, make modifications to it, and then convert that modification into proprietary software. Hence, it is so popular among many companies to adopt BSD in some of its variants. Sony also uses it for the PS4 and will continue to do so with the PS5.

      As for the fragmentation of Linux, it is something that is irremediable. Although the fragmentation is not in GNU / Linux, but rather the libraries with which the desktops and the applications for them are developed. There is fundamentally a kind of schism within the Linux world with the division between GTK and Qt. Large companies have opted for Gnome and GTK, although a large proportion of ordinary users has a preference for KDE Plasma, which works with Qt. This fragmentation is not going to end, by the very nature of GNU / Linux, where the user tends to seek maximum freedom in the ability to choose between many options, and developers tend to make forks to capture their own vision of how they have. to be an app.

      However, I don't see fragmentation as the big obstacle to Linux exploding on the desktop. The reason for not taking off is in the hardware manufacturers, mainly PCs that already sell you the machine with Windows pre-installed. If they agreed and went on to sell the PCs with Linux preinstalled, it would be a matter of a few years before Linux would become the desktop standard to the detriment of Windows. The great mass of users does not install the operating system, they simply buy the PC with the system already installed. Just like you don't install Android, you just buy a terminal and it already comes with Android unless you buy an iPhone. Simply because terminal manufacturers already choose to use Android in a generalized way. If the PC did the same with Linux, then people would massively use Linux on the desktop.

  6.   Rodrigo Mariano Villar Vespa said

    I liked GNU / Linux before. Why not now? There are several reasons among them GNU / Linux is the combination of GNU and Linux forming a single operating system which makes being several pieces together to form an operating system is very messy compared to OpenBSD, NetBSD and FreeBSD (The 3 main BSDs) Well, they are complete operating systems and it will seem something without sitting down but that something is well structured, ordered, has consistency as well as not being 2 projects that do not have the same objective, then there are the dependency problems that are generated for example with RPM packages, Despite being the same package there are dependency problems, not to mention that there are an absurdly large number of distributions that several are similar to each other and do not provide a damn except that ridiculous and absurd thought that everything is easy and simple to use generating fragmentation and of course in GNU / Linux it is common to see someone wanting to reinvent everything as Systemd which is a most disgusting vomit with shit Above, of course there are several init systems but that is one of many GNU / Linux problems, there is no standard but everyone goes where they want.

    Finally, no, it is not Spam, I only mention several reasons why GNU / Linux does not like me and it fails on the desktop mainly due to the huge number of distributions, compared to the BSD, the latter are rivals of GNU / Linux and although many are not interested in the very technical aspects know that these influence the behavior of the operating system where GNU / Linux has enormous deficiencies and defects compared to the BSD that would be together with GNU / Linux the most advanced Unix-Like.

  7.   marc said

    We are in business as usual, comparing a company that is a colossus thanks to the sale and resale of the same OS, with Linux which is a collaborative project, it has no comparison, they are very different things, if you don't like it, don't use Linux, if you are a bit useless to find out what you use do not use linux, it is as simple as it is.
    I would tell Tobias to worry a little more about Gnome, that although it seems that it is the great alternative it is not, the documentation is Fuzzy on the page you do not know exactly if what you read is still in force or has become obsolete, the architecture Gnome is another fuzzy point and to top it off, the complexity to create user interfaces in Gnome with packages like Glib without using RAS interfaces is high if not very high, something that you back off when you want to tweak some application code.
    On the side of "app stores" I don't believe it either, you have AppImage a HUGE application gallery, on the part of flatpak and snap there are also software repositories of anything that a developer dares to dockerize, and if this is not enough, There is also a HUGE repository of applications that use Electron, so do not tell me that there are no repositories and all this without counting the repositories of each of the distros that are infinitely simpler to install than for example a crack for some program of WinX that you don't want to pay a good pinch of money.
    It really seems to me that there are enough alternatives for each of the things Tobias asks for, and luckily there are very good alternatives.

  8.   Isaac Palace said

    Why is WhatsApp sweeping over Telegram, being the second technically superior? For the same reason that Windows is still king on the desktop.