Your weekly reminder that Linux is just a fucking kernel and what you call "Linux Desktop" never existed...

You can't define whole platforms and ecosystems and operating systems just by the kernel they are using.

Same reason why it doesn't matter a bit if android, really pixelos, is running on top of the linux kernel.


This is prompted by an article about "The linux desktop is in trouble" that echo chambers Torvald's fragmentation comments, cause of course w/e Linus says is unquestionable truth, despite half the time being ignorant comments with no-base in reality outside of his domain and expertise.

Anyhow, the article ended up calling for "standardised desktop catered to everyone" like that doesn't exists already.

The author is completely ignorant about what makes an OS and a platform.

"Looking ahead, I'd love to see a foundation bring together the Linux desktop community and have them hammer out out a common desktop for everyone."

What about the GNOME or KDE foundations? or do those not count? What about the elementary folks doing an excellent job at designing their OS and ecosystem?

LINUX ISN'T THE FUCKING PLATFORM... Stop treating desktops environments as pluggable modules that you should be able to hotswap without that having an effect in functionality of your machine.

The term "LINUX SYSTEM" is as stupid as "UNIX", seriously, thankfully on a less insane scale... at least its the same kernel unlike unix, but why on earth would anything on the system be the same.

Heck, even the kernel can be completely different when you compare the RHEL/Debian stable kernels, the kernels of android devices, fork targeting IoT and embedded systems. And let me tell you about my brand new router that runs on top of 2.6...

Linus, Linux, and desktops 

@alatiera IMO, I don't think there will ever be a common desktop for everyone. I think the "fragmentation" of GNOME, KDE, elementary, and more is a strength - people with different needs and workflows can use what best suits them. They can work in the directions they want to work.

Linus, Linux, and desktops 

Base Linux and Linus with Linux Kernel. So, yeah, Linux is not Kernel or DE or framework.

@alatiera There is now a difference between what linux means to the people who know linux, and the people who don't. To the people who don't, it's an operating system. It's going to take a lot of work to get rid of that misconception.

@alatiera They do hotswap extremely well, but they can never hotswap perfectly.

Heck! The standards which allow that hotswapping acknowledges as much by allowing the different desktops to have their own configuration sections and an identifying environment variable.

@alcinnz Exactly, its insane to expect Geary to integrate perfectly with Plasma for example.

@alatiera @alcinnz yet people do expect every GTK app to fit in perfectly with platforms they weren't designed for :/

@brainblasted @alcinnz @alatiera To be fair, a big reason for that is that it's been used as a selling point for GNU/Linux since forever.

We need to get better at communicating that there is no "Linux" platform. GNOME, KDE, elementary, etc. are their own ecosystems, and apps designed for one of them don't automatically run on the others.

@tbernard @brainblasted @alatiera And personally I try to communicate this by not grouping all these systems under a single banner.

I avoid saying "Linux" or "GNU/Linux" considering each "distro" to be it's own distinct-but-related OS. Though that gets difficult because it quickly runs into miscommunication with people who don't think that way.

@alcinnz the problem with thinking in terms of distros is that "Fedora" can be many different platforms: GNOME, KDE, LXDE, …

The problem with thinking in terms of "desktops are the platforms" is that "GNOME" is a subtly different thing on each distro.

We need to get rid of the distros, and have each desktop be their own OS/platform.

@tbernard @brainblasted @alatiera

@mathieu @tbernard @brainblasted @alatiera I guess I'm lucky to be on elementary OS that way, I don't see these problems as often.

@alcinnz defining their platform in this way is without a doubt the best decision the elementary folks took.

@tbernard @brainblasted @alatiera

@mathieu @alcinnz @tbernard @brainblasted @alatiera and yet, the Pantheon desktop will be shortly available on Fedora 30. You can't block this kind of flexible adoption really.

@steko nobody said anything about blocking. It's open source, you can always do what you want.

But then the elementary folks also have no obligation to provide any kind of support at all, including ruthlessly closing bugs if they were opened by downstream users/developers and only caring about their own OS.

(also, I've been a Fedora developer for more than 10 years, thanks for telling me what I already know 😉)

@alcinnz @tbernard @brainblasted @alatiera

@steko @mathieu @tbernard @brainblasted @alatiera Can't say I really want to stop that. Every platform can combine whatever components they want.

I just to change the framing slightly so when we encourage people to adopt libre OS's they don't get overwhelmed by choice like what happens now.

I also hear complaints from other app developers being expected to support these varying systems, I'm not sure I'll face them though.

> We need to get rid of the distros

Tall order. Not every GNU/Linux is meant fof desktop use. A lot of distros don't even have a desktop to begin with.
And what about those who do have a GUI but no DE?
Identifying them by DE they use would be either hard or stupid.
Besides, DE is not a whole system, a lot is going on behind the scenes. Initialization systems, package management, spe ific IPC daemons, all that stuff that isn't a part of the DE may and will be different from distro to distro.

@alcinnz @tbernard @brainblasted @alatiera

@drequivalent this conversation is specifically about desktop usage. Obviously non-graphical use-cases are different and need to be treated differently. Also, water is wet, fire is hot.

As for everything underneath the desktop, it's required to have a usable desktop, and as such is part of "the platform" of that desktop.

@alcinnz @tbernard @brainblasted @alatiera

@mathieu @drequivalent @alcinnz @brainblasted @alatiera This. The shift we need is platform communities such as GNOME taking control of the entire stack and building a complete vertical OS.

Flatpak runtimes are a step in the right direction, we just need to take that all the way.


Just to be clear, by "take control" @tbernard isn't saying GNOME should become upstream for everything, and the everybody else from i3 to KDE just reuses components made by GNOME. That would be crazy.

What we're talking about is responsibility: desktops should feel responsible for the whole stack underneath them as OS vendors, instead of caring just about their modules and relying on distros to assemble it all.

Non-elementary apps are still perfectly runnable on Elementary.

Oh, you know who won't appreciate fragmentation? App developers. Instead of one more or less unified platform they'll have to deal with 8 or so. Fuck this, better stay on Windows, right? Or worse yet, make an Electron app.

@mathieu @tbernard


That's not at all what we're saying.

What we're saying is app devs target a platform and design for it.

Then, on other platforms, their app should look exactly like they designed it, as if it was running on the target platform.

Is that clearer?

@buoyantair @tbernard

@mathieu @drequivalent @buoyantair @tbernard I'd have to disagree a little here: The app developers know what issues they face, so it ultimately has to be their decision how to handle this, k?

@drequivalent @tbernard @mathieu @alcinnz @brainblasted @alatiera Just a thought draft: it might somewhat reduce fragmentation: instead of targeting Linux with a lot of variants, each highly daunting and never getting a native feel, an ISV might target GNOME with very few variants and then target KDE with very few variants, and so on, getting native feel on all of them.

@alvarezp yes.

They might also target only KDE, do a great job at integrating with it, and then we could still use it on other platforms anyway.

@drequivalent @tbernard @alcinnz @brainblasted @alatiera

@mathieu @drequivalent @tbernard @alcinnz @brainblasted @alatiera Is it so? Honest question. Does targeting for KDE offer better chances of good multiplatform behavior than targetting for GNOME or other desktop environments?

@alvarezp @mathieu @drequivalent @tbernard @brainblasted @alatiera My understanding is that both GTK and Qt are just as good when it comes to compatibility with the other. And all major desktop environments tend to have similar levels of compatibility.

So rather than worrying about tooling, took a look at in order to get an idea what you can expect to be consistent across different platforms.

And know how much your visual design depends on your desktop's.

I've been thinking the same thing for quite some time. We need to move from linux distros to linux-based OSes (like Elementary or Deepin)

@drequivalent @alcinnz @tbernard @brainblasted @alatiera

@mathieu @alcinnz @tbernard @brainblasted @alatiera Whay would you call a Fedora installation with no desktop platform installed?

@alcinnz @tbernard @brainblasted @alatiera I try to do just this. It feels like the right way to go and the most consistent. That also solves --at least for me-- the infamous Linux vs GNU naming issue in this way: I want to see the FSF release and maintain a reference GNU system, even if it comes out limited because of the Hurd kernel. But, no releases, no GNU system.

@alatiera What annoys me most about this sort of attitude, is that there already is a 'single' desktop on #Windows & #macOS - if you're afraid of making a choice and want it made for you, fine. But what I really hate is when people want everything to be the same as they know. No, I don't want FLOSS desktops to be like the Windows desktop, or macOS, I like my choice. Thanks.

@alatiera why do people even ask him about the "Linux desktop" instead of the people actually building the ecosystems they're referring to?

@brainblasted because asking Linus *literally anything* is a 100% sure way to get a great clickbait title by quoting him.

Outside of his area of expertise, he's a pundit with strong opinions who swears a lot. That's excellent "press".


@mathieu @brainblasted I'd add to that also, that "nobody" really cares about the hundreds that build GNOME and KDE and that not many people have a narcissistic level that rival's Linus's

@alatiera "standard" and "catered to everyone" in the same sentence is a bold move. 🙄

@mathieu depends on how to define both in this context. If it means "shipped by all the major vendors" and "tries to be accessible to as much people as possible" then it doesn't sound that bad.

@alatiera yeah, I doubt that's what the author had in mind though…

Sign in to participate in the conversation

Server run by the main developers of the project 🐘 It is not focused on any particular niche interest - everyone is welcome as long as you follow our code of conduct!