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I was thinking on how to respond to another toot tonight, and it caused me to think about Linux as a competitive desktop option.

And I think that it will never make it to desktop stardom because of business. FOSS developers spend so much time reinventing the wheel because wheel XYZ doesn't it do it for them, but no time on the tools that regular users need. For example: There are so many window managers that there's a top 20 list (ubuntupit.com/best-linux-windo). Yet there is no decent PDF editor.

Apple didn't survive the 90s and early 00s because it was anything special. It survived because the design industry was keeping it alive. Steve Jobs early on gave a shit about design tools on Mac so it became a de facto standard for graphic design.

Same goes for Windows and business desktop use. There is a lot to like and not like about it, but it focused on tools and device management in a way that made business happen.

For Linux, that never happened for the desktop. However, it did happen for servers. That same focus that drew away attention from tools like PDF editors, focused in on development and programming and server daemons that made Linux the standard for online servers. So much so that even MS caved in making sure Azure supported Linux, and bringing the WSL so developers could stick with Windows and still have a POSIX environment to work in.

@redeagle Agreed! I find myself stuck on macOS just to efficiently use Preview.app (with images/PDFs), Calendar.app (with Nextcloud) and Notes.app (with IMAP syncing). Although, Big Sur’s design has me looking at @elementary :blobheartcat:.

I use Standard Notes, LibreOffice and Firefox to be ‘portable’, but their non mac-isms tend to slow down my work.

@redeagle
There was not a corporation and corporate board with a profit motive to drive such an agenda. It wasn't built for that.

@redeagle
The hackers are the ones who manage servers and I imagine their advocacy (plus hefty governmental and then corporate support) drove adoption. UNIX was a mainframe system even before Linux. It didn't come from nowhere. It was heir apparent.

@redeagle Master PDF Editor got me through the only year of college I could stand to take, it's a reasonable choice

@redeagle I edit PDFs in LibreOffice Draw sometimes, and it just works great. Finding the right tool is more of a problem than the tool not existing in my experience. Improving the "open with" experience or default options could probably help a lot.

@redeagle might just be be, but I found xournal to be relatively usable as a PDF editor. However, I still get your original point, "PDF editor" is only a small aspect of the problem. And the other thing is also that probably 18 out of 20 window managers are seriously under- or unmaintained…

@daniel_bohrer @redeagle
Neither xournal, not LIbreOffice are really usable replacements for handwritten annotations, fill-in-forms, and digital signatures.

@spaetz @daniel_bohrer @redeagle I just used xournal++ yesterday to fill in a form without fillable fields and to also sign my signature. Admittedly I was using a drawing tablet for the signature part, but it was all very easy for me to get a good result.

@math_always_to_tyrants @daniel_bohrer @redeagle I have used xournal++ before and like it best for annotations. Unfortunately, its signing feature is just like gluing your signature as image file in, not the cryptographic certificate-based signature that are necessary for signatures that need to be valid from a law perspective.

@redeagle I think there are bigger problems: Normal people can't "just buy" a linux desktop at their local big brand computer store. And they are only interested in what will make them money, which requires a demand for the desktop.

But at the end of the day, the linux desktop isn't even close to the product adoption "chasm". Most stats say linux desktop share is 1-2%, which isn't just "innovators".

@oiyouyeahyou Yes, and that is because people use what they know. And since most businesses use Windows, consumers will use Windows at home.

Work to make a business case for Linux is what I'm saying.

@r3pek Businesses do. They need to add stamps and markup and notes. We use a PDF editor at our business to markup construction plans for both sales and project management. I know many businesses that use it in accounting to add stamps and notes to bills and invoices.

@redeagle fair enough ;) Libreoffice Draw doesn't fit the needs?

@redeagle And what are you going to do about it? Give money? Start a project to solve the issue? Or instead give money to the non-FOSS option (Windows) to keep things the same.

I really don’t like these anti-Linux posts being boosted by Kev here on fosstodon, starting an evacuation train. It’s like you left a religion and have a need to feel validated in your decision.

@greypilgrim @redeagle I don't really read it as an anti-Linux post, more of a purpose/mission question. From my perspective, this concept of unlimited growth potential and a consumers propensity for always wanting, "MORE!!" is a major issue and I think FOSS addresses that in a unique way. if someone wants to make a top-notch PDF editor, they can do that, but I'm not sure there is a reason to. Unless the goal is mainstream adoption of Linux. But I don't think that should be the goal...

@pyre35 @greypilgrim The whole post started because someone was talking about people using Adobe and choosing to cage themselves. I argued that it's not a choice and there were not enough FOSS alternatives to some of their software. I was once a professional graphic designer and always tried FOSS, but it always lacked pro features like spot colors, cmyk color space, printers marks, and such.

@redeagle @pyre35 I can understand those things. The original post felt like it had a bit more ultimatum with words like "no time on the tools", but doesn't seem like that is the attitude you're intending to spread here.

@greypilgrim @redeagle yeah it's just an interested space, FOSS. I'm OK with a little negativity if that's what intended, as I think it's helpful to have a little push and pull. We should always strive for better products as long as we keep a main goal/purpose l in mind. I guess that purpose is up for debate though :)

@greypilgrim @pyre35 No. I was just pointing out that FOSS developers work on the problems that interest them because they're not getting paid to develop. And those problems often don't line up with business, and business is how something gets used.

I'd love to use Linux at work, but I need a bunch of software before that happens and not have that software delivered in 3 different package formats and not the one I need.

@greypilgrim Hahaha. I'm not anti-Linux and actively contribute time, money, and energy into open source phone systems. You know, solving business problems.

I'm trying to frame FOSS vs non-FOSS (rooting from a post about Adobe) from the perspective of people that care less than we do. If I get my mom an Ubuntu box and she wants to download a card game, she's going to go online and be confused. She'll be like "who's Deb, and is her game better than this other one? Does RPM mean it's faster?"

@TrechNex @redeagle Out of that list: 5 programs are "just" for shuffling, extracting or joining pdfs, 2 are non-FOSS, 1 is a Desktop-publishing Program (!), 1 is a viewer with basic annotation support but neither real handwriting annotations or digital signatures, and one is a "drawing" application that is able to import/export PDFs. Not exactly replacements for Adobe Reader & co, to be honest.

@TrechNex @redeagle Okular looks quite decent actually, I have weirdly enough never really closely looked at it.

@spaetz @redeagle that's fair. My experience has been that we have the functionality, but you have to do a bit of a scavenger hunt to figure out which tools perform the actions you need.

I think there would be value in someone putting together a "one stop shop" that pulls things together. I am given to wonder if the reason why you can only buy proprietary solutions is because there is some kind of licensing or software patent issue.

@TrechNex @spaetz I was mostly just using PDF as an example of business software. The format itself is an ISO standard and anyone that cares to read the spec can develop software for it.

I don't doubt that the specs are very complicated.

@redeagle @TrechNex I understand that is was "just" an example. It just triggered an ugly itch that I need scratched as a user, confirming your theory. :-)

@redeagle @spaetz I hope that's the case.

I've had bad experiences in the past of companies claiming they are using standards-compliant formats, only to discover that they've embellished them with extras to keep you locked in to buying their software.

eg. Microsoft publishes an OpenXML document standard, but uses a "transitional" version of it in Microsoft Office.

It wouldn't surprise me if Adobe did something similar with PDFs. I vaguely remember that you could use tools to verify compliance

@TrechNex @redeagle @spaetz Those three variants (particularly PDF/A) are actually a good thing.

By default Acrobat is not (necessarily) standards compliant. By using PDF/A (PDF “Archivable”) you force it to be 100% standards compliant and bar it from using non-standard extensions. It also forces it to embed all fonts and images and make sure the document is totally standalone without external dependencies.

Using PDF/X is meant to make it suitable for printing, it converts to CMYK and makes the document standalone like PDF/A does.

PDF/E is a subset of PDF meant for engineering documents. It's specifically meant to be really easy to read/write for a variety of software so engineering businesses could break from locked-in proprietary engineering document formats.

All three of those formats are in ISO standard as well.

@redeagle While I agree with sentiment, PDF is a different beast, since it's major line of business for Adobe, they won't let you get off the hook that easy.

@archit3ct Fortunately, it's not majorly different. Adobe won't let you off by business means. The PDF format is an open standard.

@redeagle Yes that's exactly what I was talking about, standard is free, but often Adobe uses a lot of proprietary features, and their grip on business community forces businesses and governments to use those proprietary features, so which means any editor is not going to be that useful, since majority of interactions going to be on business related side.

@redeagle Yeah, that's definitely a big part of it.

Also, UX and UI take a back seat in the Linux application world. Everyone dumps on GIMP as the biggest example of this, but... there really aren't a ton of quality GUIs in Linux.

Linux needs more devs willing to solve boring problems beautifully.

@redeagle it's a vicious circle though: Most companies don't develop non-free software and games for desktop Linux because the average person doesn't use it, so there is little money in doing that. Developers make what they need, so Linux has been great for devs for a long time already (and I feel it's just getting better every year!)

Large software companies only releasing software for Windows forces people to use Windows. That won't change over night 😬

@redeagle just ran into this yesterday. In Elementary OS, you can't put files on the desktop..everything has to go into the file manager. Reading through forums everyone is defending their design choice by saying they think it's cleaner. I get it. But there should at least be an option to turn on common features that people need. Just my two cents! Great post

@redeagle I see this as the main problem with Linux I was discussing with one of my circles.

However, this seems to be a culture issue im my opinion however, I’m starting to see people retaliating against it now and making an effort for tools that regular users need.

I’m very excited about the next few years of Linux on desktops 😏.

@redeagle while I kinda agree with you that there are tools on Linux that are not adequate (PDF editing _is_ one of those painful things), I really don't think making the Linux Desktop more "Business friendly" is in any way or shape helpful.

We don't need business. We need to provide a better alternative for people who want it. We will never reach people who don't know they can change their OS or why they should.

To try to target them anyway just blows up our support systems

@redeagle So existing pdf editors don't do it for you? Reinvent the wheel and write one. Easy!

@redeagle I’m curious: Do you think that “desktop stardom” for GNU/Linux would be desirable? I can think of a couple potential reasons, but for the most part, as a developer, I’m perfectly happy to have a system the fulfills my needs better than any other, precisely because I have a large variety of options for things I care about (and yes, window managers belong in that category, while my needs for editing PDFs are more than fulfilled by generating them from LaTeX or XSL).

@redeagle
Very people use desktops anymore. It is not the competitive terrain.

@redeagle and windows will never be a good option because there are no good window managers

@LovesTha It isn't a good option for you because it doesn't have a good window manager.

I'm talking about the masses. Regular folks who don't even know what a window manager is.

I get that that exclusion is probably appealing to some, but I think it would be great if I could run my business on Linux devices. It's just missing some pieces.

@redeagle yeah, more everything everywhere would be nice.

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