Big Winners and Losers of 2011

by Ostatic Staff - Dec. 16, 2011

There's been a couple of those "Winners & Losers of the Year" posts pop up recently and TuxRadar is asking visitors what they think. It's an interesting topic because it seems as much of a niche as Linux is, there are several smaller niche subsets. Some comment from the perspective of Open Source consulting, from an overview all technical news, or from the regular desktop user.

Now which is the most interesting to you? To me, I relate to the desktop user perspective. I may have begun using Linux back when one had to get proficient under the hood, but that was still from the end-user perspective. Most of what I learned was in response to a personal need. Well, I guess it's that way for most, even the developer.

This is why TuxRadar's Open Ballot this week is more relevant to me than some others. I think some forget that users are a necessary element of the equation.

 So, who do regulars user think were the big winners and losers of 2012?

You didn't expect agreement did you?  Some think GNOME 3 was a winner and Ubuntu the big loser while some think both lost out. I'm in the latter camp by the way. Most agree that Linux Mint is on the winning team, despite the brouhaha over the Banshee revenue. One guy thinks Ubuntu made a comeback this year. Folks couldn't even agree on a winning browser. Some think Chrome wiped the floor with Firefox, while just as many think Firefox is winning. I prefer Firefox over Chrome, but I think they messed up with that accelerated release cycle thing. I don't trust Chrome or Google. I use Gmail, but I signed up before my paranoia kicked in.

Man oh man, the number of folks mentioning Android is surprising to me. I know some circles really want to push Android, but I didn't predict how many regular desktop users were going to seem pro-Android. Again, for me, the whole Google thing... Just how open is that Android anywho? Did we ever decide?

I particularly like the comment by towy71. He (or she) said, "Linux is a winner every year
Losers: unity, gnome3 & canonical." I have to agree with all that, except I think that extension project just might save GNOME 3's bacon.

A few people are saying KDE is a winner for 4.7. Folks seem to like that version. It might be time for me to brave away from 4.6, especially since my Aggregator has starting crashing lately.

Another outlier even mentioned Slackware for remaining relevant. Well, his exact words were, "Slackware for continuing to be powerful, rock-solid and fast." Gotta love the Slack. This same commenter also put Novell in the big loser column with, "Novell for selling their soul." I'm not sure I agree with that. When I think of Novell selling their soul, I think more of the Microsoft deal than the Attachmate acquisition.

LoosersR'Us expressed how I feel sometimes with the tablet interface direction the big desktops are taking with his subject line: "Who are the Loosers? Linux Users.." His comment gets a little long and ranty, you can read it here, but I can't really disagree with his premise.

My PIcks?

So, for me, the winner this year is Linux Mint. They deserve their day in the sun. It's a good system and the team works very hard to make it that way. Congratulations to them.

But some of Mint's good fortune came as a big ole ribbon-wrapped gift from Ubuntu. Their decision to forge ahead and continue with Unity after the outcry forced many to Mint. I think Ubuntu is the big loser this year. Mark Shuttleworth is doing a tremendous job marketing and promoting Canonical, but Ubuntu has become a shadow of its former self.

And GNOME 3 was losing big, but I really think that extension site has gone a long way to mend relations with their users. There were extensions before and howto after howto found more and more, but users couldn't seem to find just the right thing when they needed it until GNOME had the good idea to sponsor a centralized repository. With that one act, they've become a wash this year.