What Next?

I was cleaning up my office—a euphemism for moving the junk around but never getting rid of anything—yesterday and ran across my old laptop bag. Ok, let's be honest—it's a backpack. It has padding on one side that is about the size of my current laptop.

That bag was bought back when the laptop I had didn't even run on batteries. It was a Toshiba T5200/100. I did a little bit of searching and found this link to information. The high-points were a 20MHz 386 processor, up to 14MB RAM (which I had), a 100MB disk drive and a 640x480 orange gas plasma display. Weighing in at less than 20 pounds. This was pre-PCMCIA plug-in cards but it actually had an 8-bit and a 16-bit ISA card slot. Thus, armed with a screwdriver, you could add, for example, an Ethernet card.

While it shipped with MS-DOS, the only thing I ever ran on it was Linux. Back when we started Linux Journal, I used this system as my desktop and our advertising representative accessed it as a second user from her Zenith Z19 CRT terminal. No graphical user interface but it proved to be extremely reliable and totally adequate for the job. So reliable, in fact, that we were disappointed that we had to reboot it after about 400 days of uptime because we were moving to a new office.

Let's fast forward 12 years. The laptop in the picture is an ASUS. Nothing special other than I found I could buy it with Linux or, more important, without any proprietary software. It is a P4, 1.73GHz processor with 512MB RAM, a 40GB hard drive and a 1024x768 color display. While it only has one PCMCIA card slot, it has built-in 802.11a and b wireless, Ethernet, three USB ports, a FireWire port, sound and probably some other stuff I forgot. It weighs in—including battery—at less than three pounds.

Now, I am not trying to impress you with my new computer and it probably isn't that impressive for anyone who has looked at the latest laptops that are available. But, I am trying to impress you with Linux evolution. If anything, Linux has evolved as the hardware evolved to support it. Of course, our expectations have evolved as well.

So, what do we want next? That is, if you wanted your Linux system to do something "new and exciting", what would that be? I don't mean do something that already exists on a Mac or Windows system. I am talking about being creative here. If Linux was a good system on both of my laptops and we know computer hardware will continue to evolve, what is it that you want your Linux system to do in, let's say, two years?

Now I encourage you to be creative. There are a lot of Linux geeks out there and we have a feeling some of them secretly read TUX. So, ask and let's see if we can get some answers.

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fyl - Wed, 2020-08-30 18:17.