Just read another "forget desktop Linux" piece by a writer trying to cover Free software on a sight ostensibly doing the same. This is exactly the sort of thing I wrote about in a recent blog entry, and it's sad to see it continue.
First off, "world domination" is not the only metric, nor the most useful one in every case. We have tens of millions of users around the world and I'm sure they'd appreciate it if we didn't forget them. I am one of them, and I know I certainly feel that way. You may be as well.
There's another aspect to that article: it suggests concentrating on mobile. Now .. where have I heard that before? Oh, right: everyone saying the desktop is dead, long live the web, we should focus all our efforts there.
Wake up call #1: hundreds of millions of laptop and desktop systems are sold each year. It's a market that isn't going away. Nothing is "killing" it. It is being displaced to some extent, but it isn't going away. It's less interesting because it isn't growing, and the corporate drive for ever increasing profits thus stamps it as "mature, boring." This is different from "dead."
Wake up call #2: there is no reason we can't do desktop and mobile and web. Yes, "and", not "or". Free software projects could create very compelling horizontal integration between these sectors as long as we treat them as not being mutually exclusive choices. This is part of the strategy of both Apple and Microsoft (and others), and the market would berate either for saying that they were abandoning some of these tech segments to focus exclusively on one. In KDE, our focus on the desktop has been extended to devices and the web in the last few years, and that's a good thing, something that should be supported. Which brings me to:
Wake up call #3: If people engaged in supporting Free software can't manage to keep long term focus, not freak out and continue to support the efforts that are ongoing ... we're screwed. We are, and will be, our own best friends or our own worst enemies. It starts by not telling others to stop supporting the efforts of thousands of volunteers and companies from around the world. That is, simply put, a betrayal.
A sophisticated view would be an examination of how we can draw together the efforts and successes of mobile for the desktop to give it a boost; to analyze how Free software desktop products and Free software mobile and web products can integrate and work well together.
There are projects and teams out there doing exactly that right now. Several teams in KDE are doing exactly that, and we mean business. It would be nice to not have to keep pulling knives out of our backs from journalists as we continue pushing forward. Long live Free software on the desktop, mobile, web and server!