The Future of the Linux Desktop?, Part I

It seems there are a lot of interesting things being developed lately. I’ve been reading about GNOME Storage, which is a really cool concept. I haven’t played with it yet, or looked into the code, but I think that if done right, it can really add to the desktop experience. Perhaps it could be used as a feed for Galago.

Linux as a desktop system has, in my opinion, a lot of potential. Though I wouldn’t recommend it at this point to most people I know, I do hope for a day when I can. The reason why it has so much potential is that anybody can modify the source of any program to provide the integration, assuming there’s not an API and plugin architecture that would do the job. Of course, we all know this, but think about it. Work like Dashboard or Gnome Storage just wouldn’t be all that doable under a closed environment without a lot of collaboration and licensing between Microsoft and any other companies. Unless of course there’s an API available there, but MS APIs only go so far.

There’s a lot that can still be done. My goal with Galago is to be able to automagically retrieve information related to the task at hand on almost any supporting program, in a desktop-neutral fashion, and to have an indicator of a person’s status wherever you see his/her name, e-mail address, or other contact information. But this is just one small part.

I want to see a desktop where when I open my report for school, I can instantly see on the side of my screen or somewhere icons for the other files related to this report, URLs I accessed to find the information, and the status of any people on my buddy list I worked on the report with. I’d prefer not to see this in a big white window on the side, like Dashboard does and Galago will do, but something more integrated into the environment. How, I’m not sure yet.

Something else that may be neat to see in the future is a revision control feature built somewhere in the backend. I believe Gnome Storage has this in their plans, and I hope it ends up being a part of the desktop experience. I’ve had clients and family members complain that they accidentally deleted or overwrote a file they were working on, and wanted me to recover it. If this was built right into the system, their documents would be safe.

Drag-and-drop install/uninstall of applications is another feature I’d love to see. This was something that Mike Hearn brought up the other day. If a person could download a single package and drag it to their desktop to install, and then drag it back to the trash to uninstall, it would simplify package management for the user dramatically. Of course, this requires that we finally get packaging sorted out and standardized, but this isn’t likely to happen any time soon. However, his autopackage project does provide an interesting form of package management that I wouldn’t mind seeing take off. The rest could be abstracted through GNUpdate.

At this point, I’d like to bring up how cool the stuff Robert Love is working on. It’s one of the upcoming things that are really exciting me.

I had more I was going to bring up, but it slipped my mind, so I think I’ll end this post….. now.

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