Linux has lived a long life of stability and sturdy usability, but what if the underpinnings of that strategy fell away and the developer community were to welcome an influx of open source designers focused on producing the most pleasant and intuitive interface imaginable. It would serve as a slap in the face for current industry players who have focused on furthering the current paradigm: using a mouse and keyboard to manipulate various windows and enter text.
Of course, there’s something to be said for sticking with the familiar and pushing through incremental changes. That’s how users are able to easily transition from one version to another and it’s worked well for staples like Word, Windows, Photoshop and Mac OS.
But once in a while skipping a beat and blasting to the next level can bring a whole new level of interaction to humanity. The Internet did it most recently, and revolutionizing the underlying operating systems like Linux, Windows and Mac OS, which we all use to accomplish goals online and offline, has the same potential to launch us into the next great leap in productivity.
Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Canonical, the company that created Ubuntu Linux has similar thoughts. He says “the great task in front of us over the next two years is to lift the experience of the Linux desktop from something that is stable and robust and not so pretty, into something that is art.”
He’s set the bar high already by targeting Mac OS dead on. “Can we not only emulate, but can we blow right past Apple?”
Focusing on an existing competitor has the potential to create tunnel vision though, which stifles the very thing that makes Linux so vibrant: it’s inherent acceptance of diversity.
In all of the forums, blogs, videos, and conferences that surround Linux, even in the code itself; it’s obvious that Linux was created from a variegated set of minds focused on a common goal.
The challenge will be to further encourage the Linux swarm mind to develop enough commonality to create something cohesive, yet flexible enough to welcome unconventional ideas.