To some, the desktop is an anachronism; a style of input that’s increasingly redundant in a world of tablets and smartphones. But I don’t agree, and I think there’s plenty of evidence to show the desktop is going to be around for some time yet. And more importantly, Linux may become the only viable option. I’m primarily a KDE user, and as such, I’ve been mostly shielded from the turbulence created by several desktops reinventing themselves. KDE went through a similar period and I’m glad it’s now firmly in the past. But like many Linux users, I have more than one installation and use more than one desktop environment.
To me, there isn’t one environment suitable for all occasions. Sometimes I need something light and functional. At other times, I need a desktop that makes the best possible use of 1,024x600 pixels. For work, I need a desktop that allows me to manage plenty of windows, desktops. If I want to touch a screen, there’s Android. Linux has evolved to do all this because that’s how we’re using our hardware, and its a massive advantage. You only have to look at the comedy of errors surrounding the restoration of the ‘Start button’ in Microsoft’s Windows 8.1 update to see what happens when there’s too little choice and not enough consideration given to desktop users. That Linux is still at the forefront of desktop development is incredible. It’s the only operating system where you can choose how to use your computer and easily communicate with the communities making these changes happen. And it’s the only operating system likely to reflect your use, rather than how a company thinks you should be using your hardware. This is going to become increasingly important as PC hardware diversifies and as both Apple and Microsoft tie themselves closer to a single interface for all devices.