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.

@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

> 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.

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!