Eric Raymond Speaks Out on Desktop Linux

By Steven Vaughan-Nichols  |  Print this article Print


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News Analysis: One of the founders of open source has some radical ideas on what needs to be done with desktop Linux to make it more popular with users.

Eric S. Raymond is one of the founders of open source, and a good deal of Linux's early popularity came from his nonstop beating of the drum for the free software operating system. Then, a few years ago, he bowed out of the limelight to live his own life.

Recently, however, Raymond has showed signs of once more playing a bigger role in open-source circles.

When he appeared at the recent LinuxWorld Expo in San Francisco, he said several things that some Linux fans will find more than a little controversial. Raymond spoke with DesktopLinux.com about the issues in a bit more detail.

Raymond said he believes that within the next two years, the Linux desktop must grab a large share of the desktop market, or it will never happen. His logic is that historically users shift operating systems when the hardware platform underneath them fundamentally changes.

That's what happened when PCs went from CP/M-driven 8-bit computers, like the KayPro and the Osborne, to the MS-DOS 16-bit systems of IBM and Compaq. After that, Windows and Mac OS took over on 32-bit systems from Dell and Apple.

Now, we are moving from the 32-bit world to a 64-bit one. Raymond said he thinks that if Linux doesn't grab its share of the desktop now, it will never get the chance.

How can the Linux vendors do it? Well, for starters, they must switch over to 64-bit computing as fast as possible.

Read the full story on DesktopLinux.com: Eric Raymond on desktop Linux

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Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols is editor of eWEEK.com's Linux & Open Source Center and Ziff Davis Channel Zone. Prior to becoming a technology journalist, Vaughan-Nichols worked at NASA and the Department of Defense on numerous major technological projects. Since then, he's focused on covering the technology and business issues that make a real difference to the people in the industry.

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