Why Linux (Still) Sucks (And What We Can Do To Fix It)


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ViperAFK

Really, I find you dont really need to use the terminal for anything in modern distros.

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SMELTN

Joe Average computer user doesn't know what the "Extensible Tool Platform and Java IDE" is. Some more tech savvy users may pick up on the word Java and remember that some websites use Java/Javascript. Most computer users, however, think of coffee and can't make heads or tails our of any other word listed with it.

I am running the RC of Ubuntu 10.04 on my HP laptop just to play around with it. My daughter who is 11 yrs old has never touched it. She asked me if she could use it to play some math game that they play at school, which is a flash player game on some school sponsored website.

She opened up chrome just fine, went to the website, it said it needed a plugin to work, she actually went to the software updater and typed in Adobe Flash player in the search, it pulled it up and she pressed install... The ONLY thing she didn't know was the password to install the program. She is 11!!

She didn't have to find out what website to get that extension or program from, she found it by just typing in the search box for the software manager.. Something Windows update should do for you!!!!

99% of your users do not need to know what an Extensible Tool Platform or Java IDE is, because they will never use it, you are correct. As long as the website they are trying to browse tells them what they are missing, they can find it and download it in seconds. Also non-tech people download programs because we tech people, or friends tell them that program is cool and does such and such. All they need to know is the name and they can get it. Easy!!

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redvamp128

Really, I find you dont really need to use the terminal for anything in modern distros.

Quite true - only use I have found for the terminal at all lately is basically when something messes up- and can always pop into it to fix itself (which usually I am the cause of that for installing "non-stable" to have the latest and greatest.) But then again Windows however lacks to some extent that functionality other than safe mode but I have found that sometimes when It can't boot you can't fix what is broken. In Linux dropping to a terminal to reinstall the window manger or working video driver is a plus without loosing your data.

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zhangm

the only thing that makes linux suck is you need to use the terminal for alot of things(similar to cmd prompt)i know it has been improved but it is still not there yet. other than that linux is better than what it used to be.

I disagree. The CLI has always been my fallback, since it always remains consistent.

Video card drivers blew up? There's always the command line.

Compositing and window manager crashed? There's always the command line.

Schizopherenic mouse drivers? There's always the command line.

Another ugly fecal-colored theme? There's always the command line.

It might not be pretty, but it works, and I think that's what end-users really need in an OS.

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Panacik

Wow, what a post..... "Linux sucks" it's an opinion of some Windows/MacOs X users, who've never worked with anything but one OS.

Most of the new distros have exactly what you are complaining about.

I would suggest that you get out of your nutshell and try something new, or if you already have found what you are looking for than you shouldnt make any empty/uneducated posts.

Why are people rude on some of those Unix forums is because they get most of the time noobs who are not willing to learn but rather prefer to complain about how Linux sucks, and with that attitude you wont get far anywhere...

did you actually read the OP or just make an assumption that it was trolling about Linux?

Let's put it in perspective: my mum and dad can turn on a Windows or to some degree a Mac and use it fairly easily, even managing to install some applications themselves.

If I gave them Linux, they would probably be able to use Firefox... But then need to install something simple like flash... Ok go to the Adobe website. Select Linux installer... Which version? Then which revision? Then which type of package?

See the problem there?

Saying they are "lazy" and should take time to "learn" is simply a lame excuse. Why would they want to learn how to use console commands to do a simple install, when they can use windows or osx, put in a disk and install pretty much instantly?

That's the drawback of Linux. It's customisable and free, but it's mind boggling to every day users, which is what turns them away.

For the record, I use windows, osx and Linux. I like all, but understand why Linux is not taken on by the general population.

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Xtreme2damax

Less emphasis on the command line, more emphasis on the GUI. Make one click installers mainstream and get rid of the package system where emphasis is placed on the command line to download and install most packages, all the package managers are is an automated command line tool with a GUI. Less distros, make one distro mainstream and have all needed dependencies already pre-installed on a fresh system to run most programs as I am sick of constantly downloading dependencies for every single program I want to run. Have a mainstream, streamlined updates system and make it so the kernel doesn't need to be touched for new software and drivers.

I'm sick of having to compile everything, where I just want to have a single installer and just install what I want effortlessly. I'm sick of messing with the video backend and configuration when I just want to install drivers and be done with it, same for other hardware and drivers

More time is spent babysitting the operating system for most people than actually using it productively. For Linux to be widely adopted, it needs to be simplified for the average home user and have everything streamlined for it to be considered a viable alternative for those who are used to the ease and simplicity that Windows has to offer. Focus on one mainstream distro targeted towards average home users, and one for businesses and also improve the situation with driver support.

Ubuntu has the right idea, but it's still not simplified enough for the average home user, I'd say there is more chances for something to go wrong with a Linux based system that Windows when you focus on driver and stability issues rather than the malware commonly present for Windows based systems. The average home user will try to install a driver or just typing things into the command line and end up breaking something, most are no going to know how to edit configuration files or tinker with things or tweak the system to get it running properly.

Linux is just simply out of touch with reality for your average home user who just wants everything to work upon booting, being able to install anything with ease by clicking an installer, not have to worry about messing with internals, editing configuration files, compiling drivers, compiling software, recompiling the kernel and headers to get certain things working, not touching the command line which is almost a requirement when working with a Linux based operating system.

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Dysphoria

Let's put it in perspective: my mum and dad can turn on a Windows or to some degree a Mac and use it fairly easily, even managing to install some applications themselves.

If I gave them Linux, they would probably be able to use Firefox... But then need to install something simple like flash... Ok go to the Adobe website. Select Linux installer... Which version? Then which revision? Then which type of package?

See the problem there?

Not true what so ever. On Fedora, you go on the task bar menu to System -> Administration -> Add Remove Software

Then enter in the search bar the software you want to install, let take your example and type Flash or Adobe and voila it will give you a list of application packages, so just select the Mozilla Flash plugin and click apply.

Try using linux for a change, before making any generalized statements. There are a lot of distros out there and some of them have really gotten foolproof over the last several years.

I have used Linux since RedHat Linux 4.2 in 1997/98. I use to run Linux out of floppy disk for testing servers and switches. If you see how much has changed in the last 15 years you can really appreciate the work done on it... .considering it's open source - free for everyone to use.

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PGHammer

1. Drivers ... it isn't really the fault of Linux, that some hardware might not work correctly, or work at all. It's more down

to some hardware manufacturers not even bothering to actually create driver software that works on Linux. Sometimes,

those manufacturers that do actually bother, release quite buggy pre-beta quality driver software for Linux users, that'll

only install using command lines in a terminal window, while spending more time and effort writing decent drivers for

everyone else, with easy to use setup.exe files you simply double click, follow a few prompts and reboot your PC.

2. Add/Remove programs ... Most common Linux distros such as Ubuntu and openSUSE have point and click package

managers for installing and uninstalling software, that are as easy to use as Add/Remove Programs in Windows.

3. Drivers ... see my earlier response to point 1.

4. Sound ... not sure what you meant by that.

1A. Linux will come in behind (in fact, way behind) Windows in terms of driver development (especially for non-server use) because of not only marketshare, but mindshare. Linux, in the brains of most IHVs, is considered mostly a *server*, not desktop, operating system/distribution, and that is despite 'buntu (let alone openSuSE/Mandriva/Fedora/etc.)

2A. This one has more to do with the developers than the distributions, to be honest. The two major packaging formats (Debian's DEB and the RPM format founded by RedHat and used by all of its various forks, including Mandriva/openSuSE/Fedora/et. alia) have the major (and even most of the minor) cross-distribution applications and base building blocks (kernels, development tools, etc.) represented across the board. The real issue is the outliers and niche applications; most are targeted toward a specific *hole* which is aimed at a specific distribution.

4A. Sound libraries are what he meant. While OSS is fast being replaced by ALSA as far as a default audio library in Linux distributions goes, it's what interfaces between ALSA and the distribution's guts that causes most of the pain, and the blame for *that* must rest of the developers of the desktop environments (GNOME, KDE, LXDE, etc.) and distribution development teams (I've seen three different distributions have three different methods of interfacing a sound card with KDE 4.4). While the *no single right method* looks great in theory, it bites in practice.

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sanctified

Yes you do that.... some physical activity might do you good. Well at least is nice and sunny out where I am ....

Nice and sunny here too. That walk was great.

So, what did I miss?

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Fred Derf

Some people are taking my "Extensible Tool Platform for Java IDE" as a huge insult to Linux package management. My only point was that it could be easier for non-technical people. I think that, sometimes, developers forget how non-technical non-technical people are.

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sanctified

Some people are talking my "Extensible Tool Platform for Java IDE" as a huge insult to Linux package management. My only point was that it could be easier for non-technical people. I think that, sometimes, developers forget how non-technical non-technical people are.

And that is my point. Developers should start thinking what is the best for new, non-technical users.

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08993

Some people are talking my "Extensible Tool Platform for Java IDE" as a huge insult to Linux package management. My only point was that it could be easier for non-technical people. I think that, sometimes, developers forget how non-technical non-technical people are.

That's what Windows is for :)

Being serious though, I know lots of coders who couldn't configure an OS to save their lives. If they want to install Extensible Tool Platform for Java IDE, why should they have to jump through further hoops to install it?

Look, I'm not being elitist but if you want a simple, pre-configured OS, it's there. If you want a more symbiotic link with your PC where you have control to tailor the OS to your exact needs, it's there. If you want a simple OS that is somewhat pre-configured that you can play with a bit more, it's there. If you want to code your own OS, you can. Nobody is forcing anybody to use anything they don't want to.

I really don't see the problem - people should be glad they have the choice, it's not hurting anyone. I don't see the point in building a GUI app to configure a simple text file, or having to load an app to run a simple terminal command so I use a distro that has a similar ethos to the way I do stuff, and you can prize it from my cold, dead hands!

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Shadrack

I love Linux and all the good open source software it comes with. So many awesome tools. I'm also quite the terminal nerd. My only complaint with Linux was the lack of some mainstream apps I needed for work. I ended up going with Mac OS X because it has all the open source software goodness, combined with the mainstream commercial apps I need.

And all of them should just dissapear.

Couldn't agree with you more.

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+warwagon

Not true what so ever. On Fedora, you go on the task bar menu to System -> Administration -> Add Remove Software

Then enter in the search bar the software you want to install, let take your example and type Flash or Adobe and voila it will give you a list of application packages, so just select the Mozilla Flash plugin and click apply.

Sorry but the average user isn't smart enough to leave the browser when their flash video won't play and then go to Add remove programs, to do a search for the correct addon they need, to make it work.

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redvamp128

Sorry but the average user isn't smart enough to leave the browser when their flash video won't play and then go to Add remove programs, to do a search for the correct addon they need, to make it work.

a solution to that one is a section - where it displays - suggested closed source programs section shortly after install.

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+warwagon

a solution to that one is a section - where it displays - suggested closed source programs section shortly after install.

suggestions don't help the poor user that needs (insert addon name here) before they can view content on a certain website

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redvamp128

suggestions don't help the poor user that needs (insert addon name here) before they can view content on a certain website

you do have a point there- short of - during install adding a box where it would default install common closed source applications- with a check mark beside the name and an explanation.

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+warwagon

you do have a point there- short of - during install adding a box where it would default install common closed source applications- with a check mark beside the name and an explanation.

Why can't they just do it like Windows?

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redvamp128

Why can't they just do it like Windows?

Some websites actually do it already-- I know for example it will with flash direct you to the download of a .deb file for debian (ubuntu) but then again no real explanation for what the user is to do with that.

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Behemoth

Linux is just simply out of touch with reality for your average home user who just wants everything to work upon booting, being able to install anything with ease by clicking an installer, not have to worry about messing with internals, editing configuration files, compiling drivers, compiling software, recompiling the kernel and headers to get certain things working, not touching the command line which is almost a requirement when working with a Linux based operating system.

Ive used GNU/Linux exclusively for three years, and I've never had to do any of that. Also, I only use the command line when it's easier for me. There's a GUI for nearly everything in GNU/Linux now. The only distro I know that meets that criteria is Gentoo, and I think most new Linux users know to avoid that one unless they want to do all of the above.

The software you are unable to install by clicking an 'installer' is delivered by a Package Manager, and in most user-friendly distros, couldn't be easier to use.

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Frylock86

She didn't have to find out what website to get that extension or program from, she found it by just typing in the search box for the software manager.. Something Windows update should do for you!!!!

All modern browsers do this on their own on Windows. No need to include that in WU.

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SaltLife

Linux has come a long way from the first time I tried slackware 8. I've always enjoyed every distro I've 'played' with.

That being said, I've never been able to keep the distro running as the primary OS. Mainly because:

1. Unable to load some type of rich media content (netflix, some TV/Music stations restrict OS types.)

2. Driver/wireless related issues. Occasionally the wireless would lose connectivity on my broadcom card, and ifup or the network configuration was just to complex to explain to my children/wife to reestablish.

3. Commercial Application (Office is a requirement in my household, with school)

That being said, I personally love linux, I enjoy the terminal and customizing my own bash scripts. But it really is the small things that cripple this OS from being my primary OS.

And on another note, I do like how someone mentioned earlier how even though technically you can get DVD and other codecs to work, it doesn't make it legal.

I do see great things in the future for linux, hopefully android/chrome os bring some of these advancements to the community.

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Growled

I love Linux but I see forever being behind the curve. It will forever struggle to keep up. Commercial OSes seem to develop the newest technology and Linux has to copy it. I don't ever see Linux being a mainstream OS anymore. It will remain a hobbyist OS, I think.

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1759

Seriously? I find that Linux's GUI is far superior to that of Windows or Mac, especially with compositors like compiz.

I think compiz is crap (well, doesn't help that I've been ATI-based for years, but that's getting back into lack of quality drivers...), and most of the screenshots I see Linux users post (doesn't matter where), many just ape OSX, with a dock, and probably some form of Expose-like functionality. I know it can be customized to a user's ideal, but most of what I've seen, all basically looks like Windows/OSX copying.

If I want to run a *nix, I'll turn on my Mac, or run some Ubuntu VM in Virtualbox on 7. I actually like Linux, but there needs to be some more standardization. From WM's, to package managers, audio stacks, etc, on Windows/OSX, no matter what system you sit in front of, it will operate the same way, with Linux, ehhh, who knows, it's almost too customizable.

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rawr_boy81

1) Lack of hardware support - and yes I can deal with downloading it off third party repositories but until Linux provides a stable API/ABI, third parties will not be able to make binary drivers (they're unable to open due to IP considerations).

2) Lack of big name software vendors like Adobe, Corel, and other desktop software software.

3) Lack of quality open source applications; OpenOffice.org crap - 95% of the submissions are from Sun, where are the other Linux vendors besides just submitting patches to get it to compile? The same crap UI, same crap 'feel' about the software itself. Plain horrible with OpenOffice.org being the tip of the iceberg.

4) Lots of half assed, half baked implementations; there is a removing of HAL and replacing it with udev - great. Guess what? look at the number of applications that haven't moved yet; GIMP hasn't moved and the GIMP bug in GNOME's bugzilla has a quip from a GIMP maintainer to the tune of, "I can't be bothered, that is your problem". Don't get me started with the move to GNOME 3.0 with the deprecated libraries - why haven't these applications moved away from the deprecated libraries? the list has been up for almost 2 years, it doesn't take 2 years to remove dependencies. If you can't maintain your application then it should be removed from GNOME because it is obvious as a programmer you don't give a crap:

http://people.gnome.org/~fpeters/299.html

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