Is Desktop Linux going the wrong way?

Via OSNews, Jem Matson asks “Is Desktop Linux Distros Headed in the Wrong Direction?.” “The impending release of Windows Vista with its fancy Aero Glass special effects, along with the hasty addition of the similar XGL and Compiz technologies to the latest SUSE Linux release makes me think that programmers have a warped idea of what desktop computing is about. For some reason, many GNU/Linux users are concerned about competing feature-for-feature with Vista, while Apple and Microsoft struggle to add more graphical extras to their already graphics-intensive desktop OSes. It's gotten so that you need a serious 3D video card (with proprietary drivers) and a fairly fast computer just to keep up with desktop environments. Whatever happened to being productive and having fun?”

Many of us dissed Windows XP when it shipped with the Candyland theme and the Teletubbies hill as a background. A little 3d shading and a shiny thing or two is fine, but eating up half your processing power creating a glittering frame for your black-and-white text is pretty silly.

I've recently installed the Xubuntu desktop package onto a couple of older machines running Kubuntu and I'm delighted with the snappy performance I'm getting out of 5 year-old hardware. The Xfce desktop is plain, clean simple and fast. While I'll ooh and ah as much as the next person over glassy transparent effects, they don;t do a lot for my day to day coding (in text), email (in text) and blogging (in text). Hmmm. Maybe someone should consider better looking… text.

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This work by Ted Roche is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 United States.