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Comment of the Fortnight
12 September 1999
Linux and the Desktop - Further Experiences

It's been about ten months since I wrote a comment asking if Linux were ready for the desktop market or not. I've been using Linux on a daily basis for the past few months with generally satisfactory results. However, the past couple of weeks have been incredibly frustrating. Therefore, you should take this article as 55% emotion and 45% lucid analysis.

This article is written more for an audience of Linux users rather than a general audience, as the previous article was. If you're in the general audience, though, feel free to read on; links in italics point to a mini-glossary that explains some of the terms being used.

I stated earlier that Linux's “networking and multitasking capabilities make it an ideal system for supporting a web server or file server.” Since I haven't been running my system as a web server, I can't comment very much on this aspect of Linux, except to note that PHP, a server-side embedded HTML scripting language, is now beta-testing version 4, which should have greatly increased performance. I used PHP version 3 to set up a test website that accessed a MySQL database. It was definitely faster and more convenient than writing a CGI script

The bulk of my use of Linux has been in the desktop environment for editing HTML and Java files, compiling Java, and working with graphics. It's been a bad couple of weeks in desktop land. Here are my experiences in:

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