YEAR of the PENGUIN: A Linux mobile in 2015?
Choh. Just as they sort the desktop out, bloody PCs disappear
Stop me if you've heard this one before
It's not just distros either, the variety of great desktop environments continues to grow as well. It used to be that there was GNOME and KDE and then everything else that sorta worked, sometimes. In the last couple of years though that's changed and it really became noticeable this year with great new releases from Cinnamon, MATE and Elementary OS's desktop. At the same time old stalwarts like XFCE and LXDE have evolved to the point that they're every bit as user-friendly as the rest.
This year saw Linux Mint turn out version 17.1 with an updated version of Cinnamon, which offers an amazing experience. Elementary OS Luna is brilliant as well (though only a beta, proceed with caution). GNOME 3.14 still feels slightly incomplete, but Fedora 21 manages to put together a very useable desktop with it anyway. And the often over-looked KDE project has put out some great updates this year as well, which, for my money, look their best in openSUSE 13.2.
It's not here yet but Debian's upcoming Jessie release looks great as well - unless you're really, really opposed to SystemD, in which case – hey - there's a fork for you.
Then there there's Ubuntu. 14.04 was a very solid Long Term Support (LTS) release that can serve as the foundation for not just Ubuntu's future, but that of Linux Mint, too. Then came 14.10, which felt like perhaps it would have been more appropriately released as 14.04.2, but Canonical never had big plans for 14.10 anyway because somewhere in the Aeron chairs of the Canonical offices the future is being written. Literally.
Forgive me if you've heard this one before, but 2015 really could be the year of the Linux mobile device. Or at least the year of a Linux mobile device. Provided of course Canonical can convince one of its hinted at hardware partners to produce an actual device. Bq? Meizu? Anyone? Bueller?
If nothing else, at least the longstanding "Year of Linux" turns out to have a mobile addendum which should keep the joke going for a while yet. Thanks for that at least, Canonical.
Still, even if it is easy to poke fun at the idea of mobile Linux devices, it sure would be great if Canonical pulls it off. I have been critical of Canonical in the past, but I really do look forward to seeing what it can produce in the mobile space. If for no other reason than opening the market for others to follow suit.
Canonical is hardly the only company trying to bring a Linux-based mobile device to market. Jolla, makers of Sailfish OS raised $1,824,055 on Indiegogo during November and December with the promise of a Sailfish OS-based tablet. That's 480 per cent of the $380,000 goal. If nothing else there's at least a large market of Linux enthusiasts clamouring for a Linux-based device.
The real question is: when will we get it? ®