Old school UNIX users still say this as a mantra: The real user doesn't need a GUI, all that matters is a powerful shell.
These days much more people use the free UNIX operating system plus all the free and open programs known to the world as 'Linux'.
God it was ugly! The old fashioned flat look, fewer colors, no 3D. The new race of Linux wanna-be-gurus shout here and there: It is network transparent, it is fast, it runs on every platform. Actually few people knew and understood the free implementation of the X11 environment. On of them being Keith Packard. Packard and 'friends' contributed new code to the tree and Fontconfig/Xft/Composite/Damage/Fixies were born. Meanwhile Nvidia and Ati started to support the kernel with proprietary drivers. Now days we are entering the new era on the free UNIX desktop experience. Too bad we are the last. Long road before us to catch up with Mac OS X but the right path is followed.
This video demonstrates what I am talking about. It still does the thing the hard way, using workarounds and hacks to do its job, but it is really impressive. As I look back at the screenshots of my Gnome 1.2 I really can't believe I liked it at the time. Now, I can't imagine using my notebook without the dropshadow windows, the exposé-like functionality, the animations... The bad news is we still don't have a working and easy to use video and audio conferencing app for the free desktop. I hope this will change in 2006 at last. For those of you guys and girls wanting to try out the Linux - now is the right time, when we have a modern display architecture, mature applications, progressive office environment, games (incl. 3D fps and so on) and the freedom.
The last thing I'd like to mention is the news of a new virus attacking mac OS on Intel platform... I do not know if it is the core duo long errata list or the rising popularity of mac OS X but the malicious force of the underground hackers is now pointing at the operating system I happen to like the most for almost a year... what Steve Jobs and Co. will do? Can't wait to see...It will be an interesting year indeed!