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Just like the international gang summits in Los Angeles, Linux needs a collective, "sit-down" to discuss the future of this now formidable operating system. I'm not talking about a nice little get together with keynote speakers with high-powered, 10,000 foot views of where Linux is and where it's going. And I'm not talking about vendor booths touting the latest and greatest Linux toys or big blowout parties from a spectacle-making platinum sponsor.
What we need is a nuts and bolts, sound-proofed room, gathering of the minds and Linux thought leaders to discuss Linux, its current state, its legal standing and its future as an operating system.

It's time to get serious.

It's time to put aside our petty differences with the likes of Microsoft and Apple and just take care of business--the business of producing an operating system.

It's time to focus on the future.

We need key players and contributors from Google, Yahoo, Red Hat, Novell, Debian, Ubuntu, The Linux Foundation, Slackware, CentOS, Oracle, IBM, HP, Intel, AMD, VMware and Citrix to come together and hash out a grand plan for this once niche operating system that's grown up into the enterprise-level beast that has changed the world.

We're standing at an important crossroads in history with Linux and I think we need a clearer vision of the future than we currently have. This crossroads includes a boom in mobile computing, cloud computing, virtualization and the common desktop system.
My view of what we currently have is a periodic cycle of new kernel releases, several regularly updated distributions, a ton of forked projects and sub-distributions and no real goal for Linux as a holistic project. And when I say Linux, I mean Linux as a complete operating system--not a specific distribution and not just the kernel.

We need for the best minds in the world to come together in one place for a concentrated focus on creating a Linux map for the next 10 or so years. This map should include the role of Linux in cloud-based computing, virtualization, embedded applications, supercomputing, space exploration, education and energy.

Like those gang summits, let's put aside our fight for those abandoned buildings in our neighborhoods and think bigger. Think not just on our specific projects but on the global Linux project.

Without a goal, it seems that our efforts are less innovative and more catch up to what Microsoft and Apple are doing with their operating systems. Believe me, those operating systems have a map and a goal--just as we should. Linux, as one of the "big three", should have some clear cut goals and aspirations as a project and not just a bunch of rambling, random projects that are worked on in our ever-decreasing spare time.

If Linux is going to be a desktop operating system, let's state it and work toward that as a focused goal. If it is to become a cloud operating system, let's focus resources on that. It doesn't have to be just one thing; it can be many but let's explicitly state what we want it to become and then explore it. Random disconnected and isolated pockets won't get the job done.

We need goals, a strategy and resources to make this happen. Without this collective effort, where do you think Linux will be in five or ten years?

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Last Post by admoore
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I hear this sort of argument from people all the time, and what it amounts to is turning the Bazaar into a Cathedral. Why would we want that?

Now, I'm not one to needlessly split hairs over terminology, nor am I one to get "politically correct" about saying "GNU/Linux", but I will note that it's interesting how your thinking (IMHO) goes wrong where your terminology goes wrong. Linux is not an operating system! That's not just meaningless comic-book-guy-style nitpicking, it's an important aspect of how the "Linux community" is related. Google's goals for their Linux-based OS are different from Ubuntu's goals. Cisco's use of the Linux kernel is wildly different from Intel's and AMD's. Why should they have to be the same?

Free software development is a free market, a democracy of ideas. It marches slowly, yes, but every step is solid.

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Well, for the masses, Linux is an OS. When people say "I use Linux," they are referring to an OS. It doesn't make sense to separate the two for easy communications. Linux refers generically to a Linux kernel and a distribution wrapped around it but there are so many distros that saying Linux is just much easier. Like in Texas, we say "coke" to refer to any soft drink. "Let's go get a coke" means let's go get a soft drink which may or may not be Coca Cola.
Yes, everyone uses Linux differently but we need some common goals on which to focus our efforts.

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Amen, brother!
It's time we started thinking strategically. We need to pull together & plan ahead.

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Hi ken, I know it's been a few days but I thought I'd respond.

I have no issue with colloquialism, and I am quite prone to saying "Linux" to mean the whole stack. I don't really care about people being sloppy with terminology.

My point, rather, was that sloppy terminology in this case has lead to sloppy thinking. To use your "coke" example, what you are suggesting is that all the people who make "cokes" (i.e., soft drinks) get together and iron out what a "coke" is supposed to look like, taste like, and be packaged like so that we have consistency and not confuse the customer. That's silly of course, because none of those drinks are intended to look or taste like the other; it's only you who are classing them all as one thing by calling them "coke".

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