This week my crystal ball tells me that Linux is due for a major makeover and not just another pretty theme: A real makeover. It's time for Linux developers to stop following the Windows and Mac Desktop deveopers and get creative on their own. I understand the argument against this change in direction. The argument goes something like this: Make Linux look and act like familiar OSs so that migration to it will be easier for end users. My argument is to make Linux better by creating an intuitive interface that doesn't look or act like Windows or Mac.
KDE and GNOME, the leading Linux Window Managers, mimic the look and feel of Windows and older versions of the Mac OS with customizable themes, desktop icons, cascading menus and so on. The Enlightenment Window Manager is interesting and is on the right path but still falls into familiar territory for my taste.
But what about a look that's distinctly Linux?
If I want to use something that looks and acts just like Windows, I can, in fact, use Windows. If I want to use the Mac OS, I can spend an extra thousand dollars or so for a Mac computer and have the Mac OS. Am I forever destined to stick with a terminal window because all the window managers are too somebody else?
Perhaps the biggest problem with Linux desktop adoption is that there isn't enough of a perceived difference between Windows and Linux or Mac and Linux.
My prediction is that others who feel like me will get together to demand a new Linux-only Windowed Interface. Let the others copy us for a while. Linux, it's time to lead the way for a brave new desktop interface--code name Miranda (Only the most literate amongst you will get that).
The time has come for Linux to step ahead of the pack and bring something new to the desktop--an interface that reflects how we want to work and why we want to work with Linux.