[clug] Linux Resources

Brenton Ross rossb at fwi.net.au
Sat Aug 3 13:12:46 UTC 2019

On Sat, 2019-08-03 at 18:59 +1000, George at Clug via linux wrote:
>  Today, as I do from time to time, I have just been "thinking" about
> the "Desktop Personal Computer", where it has been, and wondering when
> and how it will be phased out and replaced as a concept?
> How many more years do you think the "Desktop Personal Computer" will
> exist for?  Anyone willing to guess?  Maybe 10, less that 20?
The first thing in a discussion like this is to define what is meant by
"Personal Computer". I would suggest that it must be able to fulfil
three criteria:
1. Be able to run application programs on the device without external
2. Be able to store the data for those applications on the device.
3. Be able to be programmed by the users of the device.

I find it interesting that "open source" came into being because it was
considered that not having the source code for the applications allowed
the vendors to effectively control access to our data.

We are now in the process of moving the applications and even the data
to servers run by those same vendors. Does this sound like a good idea
to anyone ??

Sadly, the convenience of internet based applications seems to appeal
to the vast majority of users.

The result is that for most users a computer has become a machine for
running a web browser. It is certainly not necessary for it to be a PC.
The result is the emergence of Chromebooks and the decline in the sales
of PCs. I suppose if we are honest a smartphone and perhaps a
Chromebook are all the computing most people really need.

These sort of trends tend to become self-reinforcing. As the sales of
low cost PC give way to Chromebooks, they will be dropped from the
market which will encourage an even larger movement away from PCs. As
the sales volume drops the prices will inevitably rise, which further
reinforces the trend.

Eventually there will only be a few, very expensive, PCs available to
satisfy the small market of professionals that need the computing power
locally. [This is of no consequence to the computer manufacturing
industry as they will be building machines for server farms.]

However, all is not lost. It is now possible to acquire a proper PC at
low cost in the form of an ARM based machine, such as the RaspberryPi.
I expect that we will always have some form of entry level machine, at
least for as long as it is thought that teaching computing is a good

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