Fri. Jan 21st, 2022

There is a new Linux desktop on the horizon that provides one thing particular. However are the builders and designers specializing in the suitable options and viewers?

Linux logo in purple

Picture: PegasuStudio/Shutterstock

As soon as upon a time, Stephen King stated of author Clive Barker, “I’ve seen the way forward for horror and his identify is Clive Barker.” What does that should do with tech? Not a lot, however it’s apropos to what I am about to debate. 

Just lately, the Linux neighborhood discovered itself with a brand new upstart darling within the combine. That darling is known as Maui Desktop. 

Nice. One other desktop to compete in an already flooded subject? Maintain up … this one is particular.

It is all about convergence.

Nice. One other try and resuscitate a beforehand failed idea. You may as properly have began this out with “Wuzzzup?” or “Speak to the hand.”

OK, sufficient with the popular culture references, what is the massive deal?

SEE: Linux turns 30: Celebrating the open supply working system (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

Fortunately, with the assistance of Nitrux 1.8, it is now attainable to get a glimpse of what Maui Shell goes to seem like. Despite the fact that it’s totally a lot within the early levels (with the suggestion it’d come out of beta in Fall 2022), I am not going to lie: It is spectacular.

Earlier than you bounce over to Nitrux to test it out, know that it is extremely a lot in beta, and the 1.8 launch of Nitrux is just meant to provide you a glimpse of what is to come back. From the glimpse I’ve beheld, it appears to be like just like the builders and designers of Maui have taken the very best bits from plenty of Linux desktops and rolled them into one. It has a contact of elementary OS’s Pantheon, a little bit of GNOME goodness, a style of KDE, a sprinkle of Cinnamon and even a splash of Deepin Desktop. Roll all of that into one desktop and you’ve got Maui Shell.

After all, in the mean time, it is not all that spectacular. The default desktop consists of a dock with two entries and a high bar with a system tray and notification space (Determine A).

Determine A


The default Maui Shell desktop is fairly bare-bones in the mean time.

Click on on the appliance overview (or no matter they plan to name it) button to disclose classes of apps (Determine B).

Determine B


All the functions which might be put in by default with Nitrux 1.8.

You may open a lot of the put in functions, however whenever you go to open the Maui Settings app, you will discover it would not seem. Why? Beta.

However why one other desktop?

That is the large query and one I’ve a few responses to. First, nevertheless, I wish to handle the elephant within the room.


Wait, what? Convergence is easy. You could have a cell phone that runs an OS in a reasonably typical trend. Nonetheless, beneath the hood, there is a subsystem that waits to detect the presence of a dock. As soon as a person docks the cellular machine, the OS transforms to “desktop mode,” the place it behaves extra like a desktop OS and all is displayed on an exterior monitor.

Sounds nice, proper?

There is a very sticky concern with this: the dearth of a dependable, marketable Linux telephone to converge with. Sure, there’s the Pinephone, however the reality is the Pinephone is extra for builders and the hard-core. Irrespective of how good Pinephones are, they’ll by no means discover their means into the palms of common customers. Why? As a result of they’re neither Android nor iOS. And the easy reality is the world of cellular gadgets is below the crushing sway of Google and Apple. There is not any means of getting round that. 

SEE: 40+ open supply and Linux phrases it’s essential know (TechRepublic Premium)

So, though the thought of convergence is basically cool, it is solely that means in idea. In actuality, you would be working with an underpowered desktop that would not be almost as succesful as a non-convergent machine. And, clearly, the most important concern is that the builders of Maui Shell will quickly discover out that until they plan to create an app that may overlay on Android gadgets, there will be only a few customers making the most of convergence and extra customers simply eager to work with a cool-looking desktop.

Which is on the coronary heart of the problem.

Linux has loads of desktops. However you see, Linux and open-source are all about selection. And in the mean time there’s this drawback many people typically have the place it may be a little bit of a problem to advocate the suitable desktop for the suitable person.

  • GNOME is about probably the most secure and performant desktop available on the market, nevertheless it’s come at a price of being not acquainted sufficient for brand spanking new customers.
  • KDE is extremely acquainted however provides just a few bits that might trigger issues for brand spanking new customers.
  • Pantheon is wonderful, however largely solely shipped with elementary OS, which suffers from a extreme lack of installable functions in its AppCenter.
  • Cinnamon is a superb desktop, however it’s kind of old skool for many who’d like one thing a bit extra trendy.
  • Xfce is simply an excessive amount of.
  • Enlightenment is basically cool, however means above the heads of recent customers.

So, you see, there’s a place for a brand new desktop … as long as it is aware of what it’s. And that is what I consider the builders and designers of Maui Shell ought to be concentrating on—a desktop that provides simply the suitable mix of all the great components of every current desktop to culminate right into a UI that provides one thing for each kind of person. However the audience ought to be the brand new person. Why? As a result of that is the very goal each Linux distribution ought to have its sights on. Linux distributions have been preaching to the choir for years now, and it is executed nothing however remind the choir how a lot they love being within the choir and little to attract in new members.

Maui Shell may change that. If (and that is a giant if) it would not push convergence as its primary function. Certain, make convergence part of it, however when you have already got the makings of a desktop that may very well be excellent for brand spanking new and outdated customers alike, you’ve got received your hook built-in. Use it.

And for many who are curious, I extremely advocate you obtain a replica of the Nitrux 1.8 ISO, spin up a digital machine and see what Maui Shell is all about. Simply bear in mind, that is very a lot in beta, so do not anticipate to make use of it for rather more than a kick of the tires.

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