Linux Rifle in Trouble and the Desktop that Never Was

by Ostatic Staff - May. 21, 2015

The parent company behind the Linux rifle, TrackingPoint, is having financial difficulties and is no longer accepting orders. Elsewhere, Tony Mobily said the time for Desktop Linux passed without it ever becoming a success while Bruce Byfield discusses how the design philosophy of desktop projects influences their end product. Qt and KDE celebrated 20 years of Qt development goodness and wants to know your favorite single-board computer.

The Linux rifle was an exciting prospect, but alas, it seems it just wasn't meant to be. The company posted a short but sweet note at the top of their website saying:

Due to financial difficulty TrackingPoint will no longer be accepting orders. Thank you to our customers and loyal followers for sharing in our vision.

Last fall a spokesman for the company said they had more orders than they could fill after moving operations, expanding, and receiving large investments. However, today it looks as though TrackingPoint will be shutting its doors. reported today that 60 employees have been laid off this year, 20 in last week or so. A skeleton crew remains to oversee what is rumored to be the inevitable bankruptcy.

From the Linux rifle that will never be to the Linux desktop that never was, Tony Mobily said that Linux had its chance, but blew it. Software installation is still confusing and distro-centric and the latest hardware isn't supported, but mostly, the smartphone killed off Linux' chance to succeed. Because of the latter issue, Mobily figures "the desktop battle is now irrelevant" and we, the masses, have bigger and harder battles to wage. "The ground is no longer the software and software itself, but copyright laws, intellectual properties, company ethics, DCMA, and privacy. With the new battles, I feel there is much more at stake: our very freedom, and sense of ownership, is being taken away from us."

For those of us still using a Linux desktop, Bruce Byfield today said it's the projects' design philosophy that determines the users' work flow. For example, GNOME's design philosophy seems to be the minimal the better while KDE's appears to be customization above all. Byfield then gives a couple of comparative examples in Brasero versus K3b saying:

Brasero displays five basic actions at the top left, even opening the menus reveals only a few basic functions. When you start to burn, your sole choices are the external drive and the files to use. The bottom of KDE's K3b screen looks similar to Brasero, but the top displays the file manager when you open it. Open the menu, though, and you find dozens of additional features. Start to burn, and you have choices of device speed and format that to many users are completely unknown. When you start to compare the two, you soon realize that GNOME's minimalism and KDE's completism present very different challenges for both designers and users.

Other links of interesting include:

* Initializing and Managing Services in Linux: Past, Present and Future

* Take Our Survey: Best Linux Hacker SBCs for Under $200

* Happy 20th Anniversary Qt!, Qt - 20 years leading cross-platform development

* The Day Linux Crashed