This is a short rant I would like to say out there. I know, I know, the links which I will post here are outdated, but I still think its relevant.

Before you go and bash me for being a totally bad guy, please take note:

1. I have been in the Linux world since 1997, having first loaded my first Linux distribution on a floppy (I was working as a sales agent in an ISP, but on my spare time experimented with other operating systems), and downloaded some unknown Linux hobby distributions over a dial up connection for hours on end,

2. I have contributed making some packages for Peanutlinux/aLinux, and made some RPMs for personal use for the distributions I use along the way, like PCLinuxOS/Mandrake.

3. I have contributed in the past other open source projects, like being an applications maintainer for some windows applications in the WINE wiki, for things like dreamweaver, etc.

4. Even now, I use Linux pretty much extensively, and I do trainings for company clients as a sideline for Linux short courses.

Now, I happen to just read a couple of links; one about why Linux is not ready for the desktop here and Ingo Molnar’s piece about what ails the Linux desktop here

And found myself agreeing to these two pieces.

Let me give you why I think the Linux desktop (no, I’m not talking about android) is behind the times. Lets not think of because of lack of proprietary drivers, etc. I’ll say it in the simplest of terms, hopefully.

It’s because of even after all this time, when I have to fix issues such as graphics, sound, network, or even ACPI issues, I always come back to the command line.

Second, when updates to software come up, like a new kernel, there are times when things that was working perfectly before do not work at all – this happened quite a number of times with my sound card on my dev machines (I have a desktop, and 5 laptops/netbooks), and this bugs me outright.

This comment by Ingo sums it up for me, mostly (I emphasized some words here):

– desktop Linux has started, in relative terms to the rest of the market, losing marketshare.

– unlike 10 years ago today there’s better alternatives even for technical users – who instead of complaining loudly and pushing back against bad changes will simply leave.

Linux desktop developers have not noticed the increasing silence of users leaving. It’s hard to notice – in fact it’s easy to mistake silence for approval

Thus Linux desktop projects don’t have the capacity anymore to push the kind of changes they used to be able to push.

This is what I meant when I said “the death cries of a dying platform”. It is silence.

And I think it’s ultimately fixable, by promising and legislating stability and learning to “let loose” the hands of application packages – my thoughts about that are outlined in part II.

Really, good sw distribution is a natural strength of FOSS – instead we let it become our main weakness. So it’s fixable IMO and we can do much better than the closed source alternatives.?

Also, I’ve always maintained that having a stable API would help a lot. I’ve encountered programs that used to compile in this version of Linux distribution won’t work with a new one, and that happens often, even more so with desktop programs.

All in all, this is why except with server deployments and other stuff, I’m in windows (or OSX for some) most of the time in development. It’s the right tool for the job.

I used to have time to tinker when I was younger, now, those tinkering annoy me more often than not, and when deadlines come up, I have no time to do that.

And don’t get me started on the desktop shifts with Gnome/Unity/etc. I hate those.

Well, that’s that.

2 thoughts on “A Linux Rant”
  1. clintcan wrote, “when I have to fix issues such as graphics, sound, network, or even ACPI issues, I always come back to the command line.”

    This is only a problem because the OEM who built your PC installed that other OS and not GNU/Linux. CLI is no problem at all for OEMs or system administrators. It is a problem for consumers but if GNU/Linux were installed properly and maintained remotely, there’s never a need for CLI. CLI is still very useful for consumers with lots of content to manage. It replaces scrolling and searching with wild-cards and recursion.

    Where GNU/Linux is offered on retail shelves, it sells well. See Brazil, for instance, where Walmart lists best-sellers as GNU/Linux desktop PCs.

    I have been using Debian GNU/Linux for years and do not suffer “breakage” with updates.

  2. I do agree with your comment Robert. I mostly work in the command line as I use Linux with servers at work, and rarely use the GUI and can usually fix whatever problems with any laptop I have encountered mostly with ease. However, for consumers, like what you said, CLI is a shock for them.

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