Tux + Linux Items

Help promote Linux and FOSS at the
Sample T-Shirt from the ERACC Cafe Press Store
ERACC Cafe Press Store

The Century of the Linux Desktop

Here we go again. Some fellow has gotten all whiny about being such a big Linux fan, "… hardcore Linux user …", but he just had to go back to Microsoft to get things done. Why? Because he is tired of having to tinker with Fedora Linux to make things work, or fail to work, with cutting edge hardware … and 64-bit Flash on 64-bit Linux is sucky … and Skype on Linux is sucky … and … and … and. It was all just so painful and time consuming he could not take it any longer and went back to the safe arms of Microsoft to escape the horror that is Linux. Good grief.

Okay, first and foremost, a true "hardcore Linux user", in my mind a fan of Linux, is unlikely to switch from Linux to anything else. Oh yes, he or she will switch Linux distributions in a heartbeat, or maybe three heartbeats, if a distribution fails to work as needed. But switching to Microsoft and leaving the Linux desktop behind? Not likely, my friends. I consider myself a true "hardcore Linux user" and I see no voluntary switch from Linux in my future … ever. Here is why.

I deal with Microsoft systems for our company clients that insist on Microsoft, or need Microsoft for some lock-in software that only runs on Microsoft. I clean up Windows malware infected Microsoft systems, yes even Microsoft Windows 7 with anti-malware installed gets infected. I can, and do, install and set up modern hardware systems running Microsoft Windows 7 that run quite well day after day after day. The Windows 7 operating system is fairly stable and works well with the systems we custom build for clients to use with it. The software written for Microsoft Windows 7 installs and "just works" in every case where we have set up a system for a client. So am I tempted to defenestrate my Linux DVDs and install Microsoft on my personal and business PC systems? Uhm … no.

I am a fan of Linux. I mean the word fan in this sense of the word:

From WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006) [wn]:

fan


3: an ardent follower and admirer [syn: {fan}, {buff}, {devotee}, {lover}]

 

As a fan of Linux I am not going to switch to something else voluntarily. I can and will admit that Linux distributions and FOSS packages all have flaws and need work. The KDE4 debacle I think proves my point. When KDE4 applications I used finally ticked me off enough with fighting their problems, I switched … to different FOSS software running on my Mandriva Linux desktop, not to Microsoft. Of course, nearly everything designed by humans is flawed at some level. Any long-time programmer knows that a program is rarely "finished", it is just "released". Then the programmer moves on to work on the known flaws to fix them for the next release. This is true of Microsoft software, Apple software, proprietary UNIX software and FOSS/Linux software. None are exempt. End users get software that is "good enough" in most cases and are somewhat content. So, since this is true, why care about switching desktop platforms or not switching desktop platforms?

I care about software freedom as much as I care about software usability. I am not willing to tie my hands with restrictive licensing without a Very Good Reason. A compelling reason. An "I have no other choice" reason. FOSS and Linux gives me a choice in every case of software that I need to run my micro-business and use on my personal computers … and I love it. Yes, I could run much of this on a Microsoft based system too. But why would I want to? Microsoft licensing ties my hands. Besides that, my printers all work including the multi-function ones I chose. I have decent sound (no Pulse Audio please). When I need to use Flash the 32-bit version works "good enough". I am not interested in using Skype since I have a perfectly good VOIP SIP phone from http://www.8×8.com/ for which I pay a monthly fee. I create all my documents in OpenOffice.org, soon to be LibreOffice with my next distribution upgrade. I can create invoices and keep up with finances using GnuCash. So on and so forth.

I do not use cutting edge distributions of Linux such as Fedora. I use a Linux distribution, Mandriva, that is a wee bit behind the bleeding edge and does all the heavy lifting to get hardware working for me. DKMS is included and handles the proprietary bits from nVidia that I use. If Mandriva did not work for me there are many other distributions to try until I find one that does work for me. Once I get a system set up with my Linux distribution of choice I never need to tinker with it, period. It … just … works. The desktop Linux systems my company sells and have installed for our clients all just work. The desktop Linux systems one can purchase preloaded from other vendors off the internet just work. If one wants to break out of the box and tinker with Linux, the option is always there. But if one just wants a system that works to do web browsing, picture editing, document creation and editing, e-mail and other typical desktop PC tasks without tinkering … well, a Linux distribution can do that. If one wants something atypical from a desktop PC, Linux can do that too. But be prepared to tinker in that case.

Some witty Gamer Person is going to mention gaming. I know you are thinking about it even if you do not mention it. Sure, the bulk of modern games are written for proprietary, restricted, "you are a slave to our license" systems. If you care more about gaming than anything else, then stick with proprietary systems for now. Given time this too will eventually come over to Linux and FOSS. But the movement is slow because gaming companies in the business of gaming only care about where they can make the most money. At this point in time those markets are the closed, proprietary Microsoft desktop and the closed, proprietary gaming consoles. I am mature enough to care about my freedom to the point I am willing to give up gaming with some cutting edge, new games. Crysis does not run natively on Linux? I could not care less about it then and will never spend my hard earned money for it. There are good enough games for me that run natively on Linux when I need a break from reality. Because they run natively on Linux I buy them. Maybe some day you, dear Gamer Person, will be mature enough to understand and agree with me.

Why the title on this article? My prediction is not that 2011 is "the year of the Linux desktop". My prediction is that the 2000's are the century of the Linux desktop. All human endeavors controlled by a few elite eventually pass away. This was true of Sun Microsystems, SCO and many other now defunct companies. This will also be true of Apple and Microsoft in the long run. But Linux and FOSS are different. They are not controlled by a few elite and cannot be so controlled due to the open licensing these systems enjoy. Eventually, based on the long history of human endeavors, FOSS wins. If the world does not end in 2012 that is. :)

Discuss this article on:

Share

33 comments to The Century of the Linux Desktop

  • Yes, this article is from my personal perspective. As I am actually a "hardcore Linux user", I believe it is necessary for those of us so inclined to offer rebuttals to those who claim to be hardcore, but are not. No, Linux is not for everyone. But it is definitely ready for those who want a choice and freedom from restrictive licensing.

    Edit: Some of you are old enough to remember cigarette advertisements on television. Well. “I would rather fight, than switch.” :)

  • Folks, I am having to delete some of your comments. When you comment here use a real, verifiable, permanent (not throw-away) e-mail address. If you do not, your comment will be deleted as soon as I notice the fake e-mail. When you click the [Submit Comment] button you are agreeing to abide by our comment policy ("What comment policy?", you ask. See the URL above the comment box linked to with the words "comment policy"? That comment policy.)

    Added later: A comment, with a fake address :D , is asking why we require a “real email address on a message board?!!?” Of course, the person posting this comment is not likely from ftc.gov. So that comment won’t make it here.

    We require a real e-mail address because we believe if you are serious about your comment, then you have no problem posting with an e-mail address where we can contact you for more clarification if needed. Further, we do not operate as an “address-harvesting-spam-whore” and do not send out unsolicited commercial e-mail. Nor will we do this in the future. I have no desire to have my domains placed on RBLs.

    Bottom line, if you do not like the policy and do not agree, do not post a comment. If you can live with our rules and have something to say, then post a comment.

  • Asdfasdf

    I don’t understand why everyone cares about whether he is a “true” hardcore Linux user. Attacking his Linux credibility doesn’t address any of the issues he listed, which are *very* well-known problems that have plagued Linux for a long time. He’s certainly not the first person to encounter these types of problems.

    Sure, if you’re “hardcore” enough, you simply put up with the problems. That doesn’t mean we should lynch everyone who isn’t hardcore enough to put up with the problems. Are we lynching him because he called himself hardcore and it offends everyone who considers themselves hardcore?

    • Thank you for your comment and your concern. I am not offended. I just would not describe anyone that switches from a Linux desktop to some other desktop OS as a "hardcore Linux user". Maybe you see it differently. Fine.

      Now, let's take his points one by one. First, Fedora Linux is not what I would consider a typical user desktop Linux. It is very cutting edge, and thus is expected to be for those who want to tinker. Do not want to tinker? Do not use Fedora. Instead use one of the more newbie friendly distributions.

      He drags up an old complaint:

      Non-existing ethernet/wireless drivers – not so common today, but try remembering the time circa 2005

      Really? We must go back in time to the "bad old days" to justify leaving a Linux desktop today? Who cares how bad things were in 2005? This is 2011 and I have not seen any such driver problems with the modern systems we build here.

      Then there is this:

      Non-existing/crappy audio drivers – got an X-Fi 5 years ago …

      Wow, he bought a proprietary audio card that was known to have nearly zero Linux support from the freaking manufacturer. Then he is surprised and upset that no decent driver is available for that particular card for years? Mind boggling.

      Next point:

      Lamest video card drivers ever – most video card drivers for Linux are so bad I cannot even watch tear-free video. …

      I watch video on Linux all the time – online with Flash, offline DVD movies and MPEG/AVI. I use only nVidia based cards for the most part. I have no problem seeing what I want to see. I do not notice video anomalies when I watch these. Maybe I'm just too interested in the content to notice any anomalies. Lucky me. :)

      Next one:

      Lack of printer drivers – …

      This is an over-reaching, unsustainable argument. Every printer I have works with Linux or I would not have them. I even have Linux printing to Ricoh and Xerox document systems for some of my clients. These work great with Linux.

      Another argument:

      Crappiest suspend/resume support – laptop goes to sleep, but doesn’t wake up. …

      Valid argument. That does need work. So, until it is fixed just use shutdown / restart on your laptop. That is what I do and it is not hard to do. Actually, I really do not care about suspend/resume for myself as I would rather just shut down the laptop when I am not using it for a while.

      Continuation for the previous argument:

      Poor power management – my older laptop’s battery lasted several weeks while sleeping when I was using Windows on it. …

      Frankly, I am mystified as to why one would want to sleep a laptop for weeks on end. Other than to just say one can do it. Again, shut it down if not using it. Simple.

      Next:

      Lack of decent office software – call it OpenOffice.org and don’t insult it anymore…

      Office software on Linux meets all my needs. Oh, and I'll be calling it LibreOffice soon, thank you. No insults needed.

      Next:

      Problematic sound architecture – let me be completely blunt – everything sound related in Linux sucks …

      Everything? Once again, over-reaching and unsustainable. Sound works great for me. I use ALSA, and disable Pulse on Mandriva. A little chmod hack to the /dev/* audio files allows me to share the audio even if I start a second X session as another user. As a matter of fact, I am listening to internet Country Music radio on my Linux desktop PC as I type this. Pah, maybe I am imagining I am hearing sound …

      Let's combine these:

      Poor flash support (64-bit sucketh he sayeth)
      Poor skype support

      Hello! Proprietary, closed software! Blaming your Linux distribution for this is asinine. Complain to the closed source developers … if you think they care.

      Finally:

      Poor quality of desktop apps – Known issues in core applications such as Nautilus don’t get fixed for years. …

      Poor quality? Hardly. Long time problems that stay for years? Yup. Heck, Microsoft operating systems have had a pwned! problem since they started being hooked up to the wild and wooly internet. I reckon that does not matter to our intrepid "hardcore Linux user" under scrutiny here.

      • Asdfasdf

        Let's try this again with HTML tags since my previous post looked worse than I thought it would

        Really? We must go back in time to the "bad old days" to justify leaving a Linux desktop today? Who cares how bad things were in 2005? This is 2011 and I have not seen any such driver problems with the modern systems we build here

        He's summarizing the last 8 years of his experience.  As part of this summary, he's allowed to include past problems.

        Wow, he bought a proprietary audio card that was known to have nearly zero Linux support from the freaking manufacturer. Then he is surprised and upset that no decent driver is available for that particular card for years? Mind boggling.

        This isn't a strong argument.  Is it true that most hi-end audio cards are not supported on Linux?  Yes.  Does Linux therefore limit your audio options?  Yes.  The situation sucks.  Have you looked at how to set up Dolby Digital in Linux?  Try Googling it =P

        I watch video on Linux all the time – online with Flash, offline DVD movies and MPEG/AVI. I use only nVidia based cards for the most part. I have no problem seeing what I want to see. I do not notice video anomalies when I watch these. Maybe I'm just too interested in the content to notice any anomalies. Lucky me.

        Indeed, lucky you.  Unfortunately, your anecdotal evidence doesn't really invalidate his experiences.  It also doesn't invalidate the wealth of poor experiences reported by other users

        This is an over-reaching, unsustainable argument. Every printer I have works with Linux or I would not have them. I even have Linux printing to Ricoh and Xerox document systems for some of my clients. These work great with Linux.

        Again, anecdotal evidence doesn't really prove or disprove anything

        Valid argument. That does need work. So, until it is fixed just use shutdown / restart on your laptop. That is what I do and it is not hard to do. Actually, I really do not care about suspend/resume for myself as I would rather just shut down the laptop when I am not using it for a while.

        So you're hardcore enough to put up with the fact that suspend/resume support blows.  Who are we to criticize people who aren't similarly hardcore?

        Frankly, I am mystified as to why one would want to sleep a laptop for weeks on end. Other than to just say one can do it. Again, shut it down if not using it. Simple.

        Just because you don't have a need doesn't mean that no one has that need?

        Office software on Linux meets all my needs. Oh, and I'll be calling it LibreOffice soon, thank you. No insults needed.

        Sorry, but your needs are not the golden standard.  Your needs are not everyone's needs.

        Everything? Once again, over-reaching and unsustainable. Sound works great for me. I use ALSA, and disable Pulse on Mandriva. A little chmod hack to the /dev/* audio files allows me to share the audio even if I start a second X session as another user. As a matter of fact, I am listening to internet Country Music radio on my Linux desktop PC as I type this. Pah, maybe I am imagining I am hearing sound …

        Why is it that even hardcore Linux people say that Linux sound sucks then?  It's one of the most common complaints I've heard

        Hello! Proprietary, closed software! Blaming your Linux distribution for this is asinine. Complain to the closed source developers … if you think they care.

        Where exactly did he blame the distribution?  It doesn't even matter *whose* fault it is, it is undisputedly true that the Flash/Skype situation simply sucks on Linux.  And this is a Linux-only problem

        Poor quality? Hardly. Long time problems that stay for years? Yup. Heck, Microsoft operating systems have had a pwned! problem since they started being hooked up to the wild and wooly internet. I reckon that does not matter to our intrepid "hardcore Linux user" under scrutiny here.

        Not really relevant to his point?

        (Admin edit: Cleaned up the blockquote mess for you. :) )

        • Asdfasdf

          Great, only afterwards do I see the "quote" button on the toolbar.  FAIL

        • Yes, my evidence is mostly anecdotal. Unless you can visit me and let me show that these things work fine for me just as I claim. Of course, his evidence is also mostly anecdotal. I am posting my anecdotal experience with my Linux distribution in rebuttal to his anecdotal experience with his Linux distribution. The experience is subjective in both cases. However, in my case I went through about 6 or 7 Linux distributions before I found one that fit me. I am still using it and it works just fine for me. Most people can have the same experience I am having if they just want a Linux system to use.

          I daresay there are many people like me who have standard desktop system needs for whom a Linux distribution just works. We do not need or want "high end audio cards". The video works good enough for us. We understand that Flash and Skype are proprietary and suck everywhere, not just on Linux. The sound works good enough on standard hardware for us. So on and so forth. I also point out in the article that if a Linux distribution does not work as expected, then we go and find one that does what we need. There is no shortage of distribution options.

          The Last point I made is absolutely relevant to his point! He … is … switching … "back" … to … Microsoft. The pwned! problem has been around in Microsoft desktop systems for over 15 years. If he wants to rant about unfixed problems … there is one right there. :)

          • Asdfasdf

            Well, to add my own anecdotal evidence then, my experiences have largely mirrored his. I’m sticking with Linux, but I can certainly understand why someone would be fed up with it =P

            You can’t always fix a problem by trying a different distribution. If a kernel driver doesn’t work properly, then it’s a kernel problem and not a distribution problem. None of the distributions will work correctly.

            Concerning the *pwned* problem on Windows: meh. Any experienced user will know how to protect themselves. It’s true that it’s a longstanding problem, but at this point the problem has been largely addressed.

            If you’re using a non-bleeding-edge version of Linux, you’re exposing yourself to potential exploits anyway. Only the really large distributions do a good job of backporting security fixes.

  • Asdfasdf

    I should tone down my last sentence a bit. I don’t mean that you personally are lynching him, I mean the Linux community as a whole

    • No worries. I do not take it personally :) Besides, it gave me a chance to solidify my thinking. ;)

    • I made several comments in his defense as well…he has a right to his opinion.  Everyone keeps attacking HIM instead of attacking the problems (ad hominem attacks all around).  It's really sad that this is how the Linux community responds…it's really telling isn't it?
      Oh well, old dog, new tricks, et. al.

  • Poor flash support (64-bit sucketh he sayeth)
    Poor skype support

    Hello! Proprietary, closed software! Blaming your Linux distribution for this is asinine. Complain to the closed source developers … if you think they care

    I’m using 64 bit Linux Mint Isadora, have been doing so since it was released.

    I use 64 bit flash, no problems, it works perfectly, good quality picture good quality sound, sometimes I even have several flash videos running in several different tabs on Firefox, the sound quality is good enough that I differentiate which Video I’m watching, no stutter no tearing only the occassional pausing due to bandwidth issues.

    I use skype to communicate with various Windows users, I’ve used skype on both Windows and Linux, I prefer the Linux version. The Windows version of skype is a horrible baroque affair that is in reality a portal for Social Networking, not a communications tool.

    My only complaints re Linux and FOSS is that we don’t have decent tools of the skype type, jitsi is the best I’ve found so far.

    (Admin edit: URL in your comment was “borked”. Fixed. Put the quote in blockquote tags.)

    • Thanks for the comment, tracyanne. I have exactly one person using 64-bit Linux at this point. She is using 32-bit Firefox / Flash because the 64-bit did not work for her. I guess YMMV. However, the 32-bit Firefox with 32-bit Flash works just fine on her 64-bit Linux desktop PC. Thanks for the Skype information too. Since I have never had interest in using Skype, I had no real information to supply.

      Added later: Correction, I have two sites running a PC with 64-bit Linux. One is at a home office. The lady mentioned above. The other is at a charitable organization and is a system for volunteers to use while at their office. Each volunteer has his/her own login. One of the volunteers also has a VirtualBox VM with Windows 7 Pro 64-bit OEM installed to help with the proprietary charitable organization software they run that is only available on Microsoft. The Windows 7 VM is blocked from access to the internet and can only access the one share that serves the proprietary software via NAT from in the VM. This way they did not have to install anti-malware and saved a few dollars.

  • I agree with your post and your rebuttal. Hey, I know very little of Linux, but what I know has given me enough reasons not to go back to Windows.

  • Flagstaffphotos

    Tons of games available for Linux, by the way. Unreal Tournament and Quake are still awesome ways to burn up a few hundred hours shooting your friends' heads off in cyber-space. FrozenByte games just released a very good group of games for Linux -Trine, Shadowgrounds Survivor, etc. I'm running a GeForce 440 GS card with the latest Nvidia drivers installed using "One-Click Install" on openSUSE 11.4 – the newest games are running with max settings, and look fantastic.

  • Flagstaffphotos

    I wanted to quickly mention that I've seen a lot of complaints about Skype on Linux. Couple of points:
    1. I've never used Skype myself, but I've read recently that Skype has messy code, and is buggy on all platforms – clearly not a Linux problem
    2. If Skype devs wanted it to run well on Linux, I would imagine they would improve the code. I do use Google Talk, and I don't seem to have any problems at all. In fact, openSUSE configures my microphone/headset combo automatically, and with much less hassle than trying to get it to work on an MS system.
    3. Also, why would you use Skype at all, when now, with Google Voice combined with Gmail, you can call just about any phone line for free from your laptop?

  • minderaser

    Spot on rebuttal Gene! Good work.
     
    I've read through the comments to his article (and responded rather harshly in a place or two just because I couldn't take it anymore) and was amazed by a few things.
    1) That there were so many people who were in agreement with him, at least in part. Fortunately there were an even greater number who saw through his silly arguments.
     
    2) At one point in the comments the author mentions giving serious consideration to OS X. WHAT??!!??! His "straw that broke the camel's back" was not being able to get Linux running the way he wanted on some fairly uncommon hardware and thinks that situation is going to IMPROVE by switching to OS X. Good grief indeed. And, to make it even more perverse (if that's possible) he cites his reason for not switching immediately to Apple is that he has some MS licenses he might as well use while he can.
     
    Thank you for posting this. Captured many of my thoughts but written more eloquently than I could have.

  • This is a good article debating the "flaws" this guy found in Linux. I agree with you 100%. However, we must remember this is not just about us but everyone, even those who want to complain like this guy did. We should do our best to make Linux so good no one has anything to complain about. Of course more proprietary support would be great, but you know what? I think Linux does just fine, even great, without them. :)

  • Ashish Yadav

    I have a dual boot system and use Linux most of the time. Only time I need to boot Windows would be because of software which runs only on Windows. I currently use Natty and suspend resume now works for me, still I shut/down and start to save electricity.

    Off-course there are issues but most are because of software/hardware companies who doesn’t care about Linux and I don’t see why they would if people would don’t give a chance to Linux and switch back to slavery.

  • Eric

    Hi, 
    I agree with you 100%, calling yourself 'hardcore Linux user' and then switching to Mickeysoft blaming it on well known issues with Linux is just lame. Real Linux hardcore users try to find a solution, add to the community, albeit troubleshooting and bug reporting, but they don't go running back to M$ when some things fail (PEBCAK). I use Linux Mint Debian Edition with the Liquorix kernel (currently 2.6.39-1) on a Compaq Presario CQ62. And yes, I compile my broadcom-sta drivers from source every time I upgrade my kernel, yes I have to change my desktop settings using ATI Catalyst Control Center because switching external monitors doesn't work all that well. Does that mean I revert back to Windows? Hell no. 
    I use Skype on a daily basis, work for a very big telecom provider in Spain on a CDN (Content Delivery Network for multimedia, yes video, HD, audio, you name it) as Senior Linux System Administrator and guess what? It all just works. 
    Gene, great comment and thanks for the support to the Linux community. Have fun with Linux.
    Kind regards,
    Eric

  • Homer

    The problem with the original guys rant was that it simply doesn't sound genuine.  It sounds very much like the tried and tested comments of a paid Microsoft Astroturfer.
    None of his arguments are any that a true Linux user would make.  No doubt all of us have at one time or another come up against most of those issues over the past 10 years but anyone who persevered with the OS would no longer have any of them.  Whether that be through improved software over the years, or better hardware support these days or because a true Linux user would purchase hardware with knowledge of it's capability under Linux.
    Most of us came to Linux from MS where the continuity of poor performance and unending hardware/software issues drove us away.  It's almost ludicrous to think that someone who truly found salvation from MS in the GNU/Linux world could ever again believe that the grass is greened on the other side.  That's what is wrong with his argument.  It'd be different if he was a Windows veteran that tried Ubuntu for a week and ran back in frustration, but no-one that has put in the time to learn the FOSS ways, it's benefits and how to work around it's shortcomings, could ever return to MS and believe it to be a better system.  Your hands would feel so tied it would be impossible to use. OSX would be worse.
    I've seen a number of the same type of posts of late, they're always from the same people who have the same dirty laundry to air.  But it's tired and it's old and of no use to anyone.
    FOSS enables anyone to contribute to making things better.  Shamefully these people just take and when they should be giving they fill the internet with garbage trying to derail what is truly a wonderful achievement.  I'd like to say that FOSS continues to improve by it's nature but even that line is often taken to mean "it's not working well now but it's always getting better".  I don't mean it like that at all.  It was better than commercial operating systems years ago, when I say it continues to improve I mean that it continues to run larger and larger rings around anything commercially available.  It always will.  Basic economics say that it isn't financially viable to throw millions of dollars at software to make it better and better and corporations don't.  That's the difference when people code for the love of the challenge.  Finance can't inhibit it's excellence.
    So no.  I don't think he was really a true Linux user.  Just another paid blogger making as much negative noise about Linux as possible.

  • Ashish Yadav

    Also, why tha person is not using Mint if he want things to "just work"?

  • Jack

    I don't think you have to be a 'hardcore Linux user' to feel enough loyalty and comfort to not want to go back to the big bad Windows. And you're right- if you set it up right and maintain it, Windows isn't bad. Just like how buying old produce or drinking expired milk isn't always bad, just not preferable.
    You have nothing to lose trying Linux aside from your comfort zone. Even if I had to use Windows for some 'no other choice' reason (I'm a designer, but if I ever need those niche features not available on Linux yet, namely the color mode support in certain raster based programs), I wouldn't use it exclusively by any means. If you have enough hard drive space, it's just a more peaceful way to have a computer. If you can invest a tiny bit in getting familiar with the open source way of doing things (it's not hard at all), then your digital life becomes much simpler and open to more diverse possibilities.
    It's just silly that people are so afraid of something that's free, especially when all the big, obnoxious problems we had back in the day are nowhere to be seen, now. And seriously, people make complaints about Linux after they installed it, it's silly. People who had to install Windows themselves would have no end to the driver issues and basic setup and maintenance. From an 'install from scratch' perspective Linux wins hands down. Get a computer with Linux preinstalled and do something useful with your free time, lmao. You're lucky Linux is even as good as it is with your hardware already, and that you can basically expect it to babysit you. Sometimes people ask too much just because it's already so good.

  • KoNd-1

    At the end of the day we have our computers so that we can carry out certain tasks. If one OS doesnt help you do that, the best thing is to find one which does. I've been using Linux for while and I love it. But it DOES have a lot of flaws and usability issues, especially for non-IT or new users. I recently changed my PC and had issues with proprietary drivers in several Linux distros. Video is a major issue with me so I found it easier to use Windows 7 in the mean time. I'm still trying to sort it out coz I don't wanna use Windows as my OS. But sometimes the Linux community overlooks small usability and functionality issues which are really important to average users. Until it's properly dealt with, I doubt that Linux will have the market share in desktop computing that it's so hungry for. I still have some Windows software which doenst run well in Wine – solution virtualization. You get the best of both world. Linux as the main OS and a virtualized other Windowsprograms.well in Linux

  • mikebartnz

    I quite agree anyone saying they are a hard core Linux user and especially now switching to Windows when things have improved so much is more than likely an MS astroturfer.
    I have been using Skype for some time now with no problems what so ever.  In fact I was on some ones WinXP box the other day setting up Skype and did not really like the way it worked at all.
    I will agree that Flash on Linux is a dog and we all know who to hold to account for that.
    I haven't had trouble with sound for a few years now.

  • Ronald Trip

    Partly in response to Asdfasdf.

    Are we lynching him because he called himself hardcore and it offends everyone who considers themselves hardcore?

    Ding, ding, ding. Bingo!

    I mean the Linux community as a whole [is lynching him]

    He could have known that. A true hardcore, linux supporter stays with Linux through the rough patches. Long time Linux users have seen the very real growth the system has made and no matter how bumpy the ride got, it was always for the overall betterment of the system.

    This man adorns himself with the decorations worn only by those who stay in the trenches, because they believe that no matter what snags we hit, Linux is too important for digital freedom to abandon. Even on the desktop. That is why he is being chastized.

    "Wha, wha, wha, some parts of Linux aren't completely polished yet. I'm going back to mommy Microsoft for some candy." Paraphrased of course. Well, don't let the door hit you on the way out Mr. Batsov and leave your decorations of "hardcore" and "Linux supporter" at the front-desk. I don't care about your credentials. Thanks for your kernel contributions. Now get out and go donate your part of the tax to the Microsoft warchest.

    As a "hardcore Linux supporter", I don't want to be associated with this sorry excuse of a Linux "supporter".

    p.s. Mr. Batsov, feel free to label me as a fanatic zealot. It will make it much easier to justify your own lack of resolve.

    (Admin edit: cleaned up the (i)talics tags. If you used the menu bar [i] button and it did not work, let us know.)

  • I think what it all boils down to is some people just plain aren't suitable for a Linux environment…and the same goes for some people with Mac or Windows (or BeOS or Solaris or…).
    I consider myself a hardcore Penguinista, and I find Linux MUCH easier to use than Windows or Mac OSX (and I've used both a fair amount – not on MY computers, of course, though).  Virtually every printer (in my experience) "just works", along with most other hardware, provided you realize that you DON'T need to find a "driver" for the exact brand name and model like Windows users expect to do.
    At the same time, I do occasionally run into people that try Linux and appear to suffer a mind-bogglingly improbable series of persistent, strange problems that keep their systems from running.  Sometimes they just happen to have an improbably bad set of hardware that just happens to include a bunch of the few models that don't work right with Linux, and sometimes I think it's just that the way they want to use the computer is simply not appropriate for Linux.  Some people's preferred computing habits just make them a better fit for the pre-fab apartment complex of Windows or the fur-lined jail cell of Mac than for the array of environment choices in Linux.
    For example, Windows and Mac users who want to install software (including proprietary drivers) tend to insistently browse to the vendor's website, search for a download, download some proprietary installer or (if you're lucky) vendor-supplied rpm or deb package, and try to install it outside the normal package management system, and then they wonder why the system seems to "break" every other update.  It's strange, but I think it's just an ingrained habit.  (The good news is that with Apple and eventually Microsoft finally moving to "App Store™" distribution models, proper package management will be more natural to immigrants to the Linux environment).
    People having persistent, unexplainable levels of difficulty with Linux used to bother me.  Nowadays, although I still feel everyone should at least give Linux a fair try, I think it's better for everyone that people who just aren't a good match for the Linux environment should go back to the environment they fit into rather than constantly hanging around complaining that Linux should change itself into something else so that they fit in.  (A certain Linux magazine staff seems to have a continuous repeating complaint that, in my mind, boils down to "why can't Linux just be a version of Mac OSX that we don't have to pay for?", and I don't think it's healthy…)

  • Greg

    count me as a Linux fan since right before the turn of the century.  I like learning about computers and programming.  I have no desire to turn my computer into an entertainment center.
    I moved from Debian to Ubuntu, because Ubuntu smoothed out the rought parts.  I'm working on a Sabayon install now,  having problems with getting X going, this reminds me of the old days.  I like tinkering, so Linux and I are a good fit.
    I remember the day when I repleaced win98 with Linux on my home pc, it felt like a wave of freedom washing over my body.  It  was a real physical feeling.  When I sit down in front of a Microsoft OS computer now, I feel dirty, I can't get the image of patent troll, Steve Ballmer, out of my mind.
    And finally, finally, I have a job where I work on embedded Linux.  So now I'm 100% Linux at home and at work.  
    – Greg
     

  • I agree quite closely with the guy who wrote the blog post you are criticising.
    I too have had stable linux desktop systems suddenly stop working due to a random update.
    I too have had random instability of apps on all systems.  I stopped using Windows years ago and decided to live with the occasional linux quirkiness.  And for a long time, things got better.
    Suddenly though, it seems like the desktop is regressing.  I tried OSX for the first time 2 years ago and guess what, I liked it.  I have to use Windows at work since October last year and you know what?  It works.  Yes it has issues and yes, my Linux laptop was pretty much similar in functionality and far more reliable & efficient, but Windows was not the dog I remembered.
    Criticising the poster's Linux fan status is pointless.  I have kept my 2 linux servers, but I'm typing this on Windows 7.  Its not perfect.  Far from it.  But I have so much less stress than I had running Linux 3 months ago on the same hardware.  Not just one distro, mind you.  
    I have a FreeNX session permanently open to my Fedora box when Windows frustrates me and I have my terminals open on that desktop to keep my servers ticking over.
    I have Steam running on Windows and am enjoying my gaming for the first time in years.  I took up console gaming to tide me over while I ran Linux on the desktop.  For what?  More proprietary bullsh1t from Sony & Nintendo.  
    Nah.  To each his own.
    Thanks for the blog post.  Yours was at least non-inflammatory compared to some of the responses that guy got.  I respect both viewpoints and agree in part with both.

  • I'm a hardcore Linux guy too since 1995.  However, I don't attack anyone personally or their experience personally when they express their opinion on something.  In fact, a 'rule of thumb' I get by with is this:  "a problem perceived is still a problem".  For example, the non-techie people in my company may not be able to send an email to a certain email address…but they don't blame the spam blockers of that certain email destination…they blame IT.  This is misplaced blame of course…but they perceive a problem and even if it isn't our problem…it STILL IS OUR PROBLEM (as IT).
    So, no matter how much we lynch this guy and claim he isn't "hardcore" and that if he was he'd have stuck it out, we're still missing the point that he has perceived a problem…and thus, there is a problem.
    Until we look to fix these problems, we're stuck.
     
    It's funny, most people REFUSE to even say these problems exist…which is denial in it's full splendor.
    http://linuxfonts.narod.ru/why.linux.is.not.ready.for.the.desktop.current.html

  • Manuel

    I'm Portuguese and a stupid computer user (I stay away from the command line as much as I can). The first one explain some of my possible mistakes writing this comment and second explains that even with my limited computer knowledge I was able to install Linux on my machine and use since 2007. BTW I only did it because I got a desktop with a pirated copy of Windows XP. After that I noted the following: No more reinstalls needed. So, I moved on to my wife's computer and installed Linux and then she can open any crappy email without any issue. My 8th year old daughter used my computer (and Linux) since she remembered messing around with a computer. She had problems by learning Windows due to a school program that distributes netbooks to students and her teacher did not know how to work with linux (the netbook has a dual boot installation W7 pro – which works miserably on a netbook and a Portuguese version of Mandriva) She helped the teacher on the Linux side giving the lesson to her classmates (teacher included).
    Call me whatever you want but since I discovered Linux, even with it's flaws, I still see no reasonable reason to switch back to windows and I do not dare to blame Linux for the hardware issues, remember I'm a stupid user but not too stupid to allow any hardware manufacturer to tell me what should I use. If he doesn't give me a choice I'll look to the other one that does and by doing that I'm helping Linux to keep growing. I think it works better than crying, writing and unjustified blaming about.

  • […] The Century of the Linux Desktop I care about software freedom as much as I care about software usability. […]

Leave a Reply

  

  

  

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Follow the directions below to post a comment if you are human. After 3 failed tries reload the page to start with new images.