Today I read this rant about how the Linux desktop is not free enough. I almost stopped at the first sentence but still read on. I have to comment on a few things, but of course I don't have a google+ account, it's not free enough.
Desktop Linux Owns Too Many Apps
Ingo Molnar says: Desktop Linux distributions are trying to "own" 20 thousand application packages consisting of over a billion lines of code and have created parallel, mostly closed ecosystems around them. Not really, distributions maintain packages and you are always free to join discussions with most package maintainers/distributions, it's often easier than you think (mailing, IRC, etc) and mostly doesn't require creating an account with google. If your distribution isn't open enough, change. The typical update latency for an app is weeks for security fixes (sometimes months) and months (sometimes years) for major features. They are centrally planned, hierarchical organizations instead of distributed, democratic free societies. It's like that when you depend on your distribution to kindly package everything for you and make your life so much easier and virtually headacheless, however there is nothing stopping you from getting the sources and compiling the latest version yourself.
You seem to not understand that the democracy part is within the distribution, the devs and maintainers (etc) are the demographics that get to vote and decide when and how to implement updates/upgrades and such to their distribution. The passive consumer gets to use the whole thing for free with no questions asked. The passive consumer can also switch to any other distribution, or even create their own distribution, etc. I'm not sure what your vision of a free society is.
The Future is App Stores
No way I would think that, but I then read: What did the (mostly closed source) competition do? It went into the exact opposite direction: Apple/iOS and Google/Android consist of around a hundred tightly integrated core packages only, managed as a single well-focused project. Now I see what Ingo Molnar means by "free society", a free market. ...most new packages are added with a few days of latency (at most a few weeks), app updates are pushed with hours of latency (at most a few days) - basically it goes as fast as the application project wishes to push it. This is exactly why some people are happy to have their once a year updates. My requirement is that the software I use today isn't changed, updated, edited or removed potentially every few hours. If I do need the latest for a specific program, I get the source and compile or even get the easy to use binaries (like for Icecat/Firefox...). And if I always need everything to be bleeding edge there's a distro for that.
On a side note, I am going to guess that there could be less malicious code in among a quality distribution's packages than in an Iphone or Android App store. (Random search result: 30+ New Malicious Apps Spotted In The Android Market).
I'll finish with this last bit: Desktop Linux users are, naturally, voting with their feet: they prefer an open marketplace over (from their perspective) micro-managed, closed and low quality Linux desktop distributions. This would be true if most Linux distributions were closed and low quality, actually I can't speak for most but I can speak for Debian as I've been using that for my workstations since 2002. I can say that it has always worked, updates are fast enough for me and the quality is so high I get dizzy thinking about it.
I've heard many good things about other distributions as well, they each have their ways of doing things which seems to correspond to many different people's needs and such. This sounds more like "free society" to me, the possibility to maintain an entire operating system and all the programs you want however you want.
I don't ever want my desktop or system to be managed or controlled by an "app store". I'm not against paying someone for their code, but I am against giving up the control of my system to every developer whose program I've installed. Mostly I totally respect the work provided by my distribution in keeping everything clean, coherent, maintainable and secure.