Linux on the down low


Updated: September 19, 2014

Is it just me, or has the Linux arena recently gone rather quiet, unspectacular, boring? I am asking this question, because I have noticed that many of the sites I often visit for a glimpse of their latest news and posts have simply reduced their overall online visibility to the point of extinction.

Moreover, there's more and more focus on the mobile and such, which is kind of understandable, but I am seeing a loss of identity, a mutation of a once recognizable profile of many of the leading Linux sites into a template-like three or four-column news reel kind of thing, with the mandatory dynamic device viewing optimization, of course. Worst of all, the passion sees to be completely gone. So let's elaborate some more.

Tux is having a crisis

Until about half a year to one year back

I clearly remember seeing news on Steam almost every other day. The talk of Mir versus Wayland and friends. The talk about systemd and upstart going head to head. The effect that Windows 8 had on the Linux community. Sites were thriving with news and opinions on the comings and goings in this arena, there was passion and participation, there was deep genuine interest. You could judge that by the number of comments, the type of comments, the pingbacks and trackbacks, feedback and cross-opinions, rebuttals, rants, and other jolly ways the Internet communicates behind the safety screen of its inherent anonymity.

And now?

In the last few months, it's all gone quiet. Ubuntu LTS hardly stirred the flames in the community. It's as if nothing worthy has happened. The same goes for Mint. I do not see anyone talking about Steam anymore, and a dozen excellent Linux sites have since closed shop. Then, those that remain are sort of puttering along, with none of the zeal and fire that used to be there. And there's virtually no feedback from users and readers.

The big question is, why? Or is this perhaps only my interpretation of the reality, without any regard to the facts? But I am genuinely interested in patterns and mathematical phenomena behind events. Only this time, I'm not sure.

Sad

Note: Image taken from Wikimedia, licensed under CC BY 2.0.

I am guessing it has to do with Google changing their algorithm yet again, and focusing most of their search, and hence user traffic, toward mobile oriented content. And that means Linux on the desktop being left in the shadows. Maybe that really is that. However, that does not explain everything. Not the sudden lack of passion and love. Or perhaps we should point a finger at Microsoft, because their Windows 8 kind of ruined the desktop, and it won't be until the successor release is launched that we are going to see a renaissance. Or maybe Linux has reached some kind of a zenith, and it will take a while before it can rise again on its own. Honestly, I don't know.

Closing word

This is probably my shortest article yet. The thing is, I don't have any great conclusions, or anyone to blame. I'm just deeply curious. Problems of this kind are fascinating, but the rather random nature of how things work online makes troubleshooting virtually impossible.

I am interested to hear what you have to say. That means emails. But I might publish a handful of responses, if they come with a surprising new truth or an angle I have not considered. Then, if you think I'm wrong, prove me wrong. That would be even better.

Cheers.

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