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[Discuss] The next Linux desktop: Ubuntu 12.04

On Sat, Mar 10, 2012 at 7:50 AM, Richard Pieri <richard.pieri at> wrote:
> I think that what we have here is another case of a Linux desktop following
> the leaders (Macintosh, Windows) without understanding *why* those leaders
> are doing what they're doing. ?As you pointed out, Tom, Metro isn't a power
> user's shell. ?It's intended for small, touch-based devices, and with good
> reason. ?That's where the money is these days. Apple and Microsoft are
> focused on smartphones and tablets because that's what consumers are buying
> in staggering quantities.

For smartphones, you are probably right.   However, I read some
figures the other day that say that PCs are still outselling tablets
by something like 8 to 1.   I think the race towards tablets is not so
much about the size of the market as the high rate of growth and the
perception that the winners (and losers) are not yet set in stone.
The market for PC/notebook form factor devices seems less ripe for
major changes in market share among the various choices and thus is
attracting a lot of attention from companies that want to "own" this
new market.

Still, I find all the hype about how the new Ipad (and tablets in
general) are going to decimate the market for PCs to be amusing.   If
I had to do all of my computing via a virtual on-screen keyboard and a
screen smaller then a 8.5"x11" piece of paper, I would go crazy.
Even the dual monitor setup that I use most of the time isn't always
big enough and a "retina" display isn't going to matter unless I hold
it at an (awkward) 8-10  inches away from my face.   The issue isn't
just resolution, it is how much of my visual field the display covers.
  Whether it is wanting access to lots of information sources
simultaneously or experiencing immersive entertainment, tablets are
not physically big enough given the way most people are going to hold
them.   If tablets were big enough, they wouldn't have the portability
advantages that they have over traditional laptops.

Consider the following two lists:

Cooking:   Oven, Stove Top, Microwave, Toaster,  Toaster oven, Rice
Cooker, CrockPot/Slow cooker, Electric waffle iron, Electric griddle,
Electric drip coffee maker, Bread machine

"Personal" Computing:  Smartphone, tablet, laptop/netbook, desktop PC,
smart TV, Internet video devices (ROKU, etc.), cable set top box,
gaming consoles (portable and fixed), e-book reader

The cooking list has both special purpose as well as general purpose
devices, but most US homes have the first three and probably have at
least one or two from the rest of the list.   Special purpose devices
can make things easier/faster and if they are cheap enough they will
find a potentially huge market.   As I see it, personal computing
devices are likely to work out the same way.   The first four on the
computing list have different enough form factors that even if we
could put the same computing power in all of them, there would still
be a need for the different devices due to display size, user input
methods, and portability concerns.  Now if we ever get watches with 8
core CPUs, 30 day battery life, and perfect voice recognition which
communicate wirelessly to both 3d displays built into our glasses as
well the wall sized displays in every room in our house, I might
change my opinion.

Bill Bogstad

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