With all the brouhaha going around about Desktop Linux being "dead" (see this post from Miguel de Icaza – of Gnome and Mono fame – that sparked this latest round of "the sky is falling on Linux" talk) I thought now would be a great time to talk about one of the many ways that Linux is not only alive, but is downright thriving.
We all know that Linux desktops make great "internet" workstations. If you want to browse the internet in a fast, stable and virus-free way, Linux is king.
And, if you spend your day living in spreadsheets and "word" documents, Linux does quite a nice job there as well. OpenOffice is a highly capable, well-respected office suite, even within enterprise organizations.
Those two areas of functionality alone probably constitute 90% of what most people use during a work day (I pulled that 90% number out of thin air using my extreme guess-timation skills.) But what about more specialized areas of functionality that require hardcore, task-specific software? Let’s say… graphic design work, for example. How "not dead" is the Linux Desktop in that area?
So glad you asked!
One of my "jobs" is writing and designing comic books, and I do so entirely on Linux desktops using a small collection of absolutely amazing software. That’s right. Start-to-finish comic book writing, design and publishing, all on Linux.
I start out writing the script in OpenOffice. Then, I move on to designing the vector art assets primarily in Inkscape. I can design and build a large library of vector assets (characters, scenery, backgrounds, etc.) in an incredibly short period of time thanks to how astoundingly intuitive Inkscape is to use.
From there I like to do the more traditional "bitmap drawing" using the excellent Krita (part of the Calligra suite from KDE). Krita, at first glance, looks to be the KDE version of "Photoshop." But Krita really isn’t about photo editing; it’s about drawing. In the field of "digital painting," Krita is nothing short of amazing. The interface is uncluttered and a joy to use. And, even more importantly, the output is of exceptional quality.
In fact, between those tools (all of which are first-class Linux apps), my desktop becomes a complete design system for creating comic strips and graphic novels, and a fairly robust, powerful desktop at that. For both a general use "internet" desktop and desktops used for more specific functionality, Linux is just plain rocking.
Or...you know..."Desktop Linux is dead."