Linux on the Desktop is a long way off, here's why.   -   May 8, 2003

I'm a UNIX developer and proud of it. I love the stability, scriptability, and remote administration capabilities of UNIX. I've built everything from small scale scripts to large web-applications running on hundreds of machines. However, I've never run UNIX/X as my desktop, and with Gnome and KDE gaining popularity, I'm standing out more and more every day among my UNIX developer brotheren. I'm often asked "why", and I recently stumbled upon an open source project which inadvertantly explains it all for me in one simple webpage.

Mono is an open-source implementation of C# and the CLI (Common Language Runtime). Ximian has done an amazing job getting the Mono project off the ground. They do an amazing job distributing both binary and source releases for mere-mortals to install their growing runtime environment.

This screenshot is a list of binary downloads for Mono 0.24. On this page there are downloads for SIX different versions of Linux, THREE of them are RedHat. However, I have a bunch of RedHat 6.1 machines, and unfortunatly, that's not one of the included sets of binaries. There is only one download for Windows, and it runs on everything from NT through XP. NT 3.51 predates all but the earliest Linux distributions.

The tangle of different versions for Linux isn't the only difference. The Windows download is a single setup executable. Double click on it, click "next" a few times, and it's up and running. If you have more than one version of Mono installed, no problem, the package is installed by default in "C:\Program Files\Mono-0.24". The same can't be said for the other installations.

Obviously Mono is not the only piece of software that follows this pattern. However, I felt that their download page provides a more powerful description of why I run Windows on the desktop than any of the words I could write explaining the issue.

Posted by jeske at May 8, 2003 12:59 AM