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


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markjensen

Easy fixes to make linux the best os in the market..

1. Drivers...Drivers...Drivers.

2. Add/Remove programs. I am pretty decent when it comes to installing software on linux, but my mother isnt, and she shouldnt have to be a computer geek so that she can install her favorite game from the internet on her pc (nor is grandma or dad).

3. Drivers...drivers...Drivers.

4. Sound....freaks...just pick one and stick with it!!!!!!!!!

Items 1 & 3 are both the same. And both have the Linux kernel developers (yes, the guys that actually write the kernel) offering FREE driver coding and support to any hardware manufacturer. That's right, the Linux kernel team will do all of the coding and maintenance. Even sign an NDA, if required, to keep proprietary information secret.

Not sure how many times people can flog "Linux" when the fault clearly is the hardware OEMs.

And Add/Remove programs? That is one seriously broken system! Every app must either write their own updater code (yes, redundant code to check for updates on EVERY app you install), or - worse yet - the app will not keep updated, exposing users to flaws that the developer may have fixed, but the end user has no way to know there is a fix. The package management system in Linux is far superior, and just as pointy-clicky as what you are used to.

Yeh I agree with those points.

RPM, Deb, TarGZ, etc.

Rediculous, just one format and a source tarGZ is needed.

Just one format is specified in the LSB (Linux Standards Base). RPM. And, to be honest, if you are exposing yourself to rpms vs debs, you are either going about things the wrong way (googling and downloading packages manually) or are an advanced user who wants a specific version (compiled-in options or such?) of a package. I have used Linux well over years solid (without Windows - longer if you add in dual-boot testing), and have only compiled on purpose ONCE. I might have compiled without knowing it, following instructions online when I was first trying Linux and had no clue what I was doing. :unsure:

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.

Agreed about the command line. So many people slag it, but it is awesome! Regardless of what UI the other individual you are trying to help uses, the commands are the same! (Y) I can post a command that I want someone to run to help them and get some information. They drag their mouse over to highlight and middle-click in a terminal, and the command is pasted without typos. It sure beats telling people to click start, go to control panel. Scroll down to Network, and double-click that. Find their Local Area Connection that is active among the 3 or more listed options shown. Right click that, and select properties (yes, we have single-click, double-click and right-click all right here in this set of instructions so far), In the middle, look for a box with things like NETBIOS listed, and scroll down until you see the TCP/IP entry. Highlight that, then click the Properties button below it. Finally, tell me what it has for settings.

ifconfig | grep Mask

is so much easier for me to type, and for others to execute. (Y)

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The_Decryptor

Linux offers the best method of installing and updating apps, Windows offers a great method of uninstalling apps, and OS X does stuff (good luck uninstalling anything)

In threads like this, Linux often gets a lot of undeserved crap put on it. Linux doesn't come with Flash for Firefox by default? Neither does Windows, it's not a big deal as Firefox will locate and install Flash itself (and if it fails, it'll load up Adobe's site in a new tab)

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Purple Haze

It's a superficial thing, but I'd love to see better fonts. They're getting better, but they're still mostly clunky and hideous.

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boogerjones

ifconfig | grep Mask

is so much easier for me to type, and for others to execute. (Y)

Ummmm,
ipconfig | find "Mask"

Oh look! It's basically identical to the Linux version.

So in other words, in Linux you have to use the command line, read ****ing man pages through a terminal, sudo/grep/asdfihzxiuchv/whateverthe****, whereas in Windows you have the option of using the command-line along with a GUI that doesn't look like it came out of a sewer pipe. I'm a proficient computer user, but having to use the Linux command line absolutely sucks (unless it's 1990 or in special case-scenarios), especially if they're thinking about mainstreaming Linux as a desktop operating system. Although I do agree that the Linux software update and repository is superior to what's on Windows. But how the **** is Microsoft suppose to maintain that kind of library. It simply isn't possible. Plus, they'd probably get sued by every piece of software/malware that isn't included in the directory.

Yes, Windows has it's share of problems (and I'm near the front of the line when it comes to criticism), but I don't even think there's a comparison between Linux and Windows at this point.

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Negi

Items 1 & 3 are both the same. And both have the Linux kernel developers (yes, the guys that actually write the kernel) offering FREE driver coding and support to any hardware manufacturer. That's right, the Linux kernel team will do all of the coding and maintenance. Even sign an NDA, if required, to keep proprietary information secret.

Not sure how many times people can flog "Linux" when the fault clearly is the hardware OEMs.

Simple. It's the same way how users flog Vista for being incompatible with hardware when it's hardware manufacturers who don't update their drivers.

And Add/Remove programs? That is one seriously broken system! Every app must either write their own updater code (yes, redundant code to check for updates on EVERY app you install), or - worse yet - the app will not keep updated, exposing users to flaws that the developer may have fixed, but the end user has no way to know there is a fix. The package management system in Linux is far superior, and just as pointy-clicky as what you are used to.

It's not like apps get updated on Linux even with package management systems either. The repositories of many distros are just chock-full of stagnating, outdated software.

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markjensen

Ummmm,

ipconfig | find "Mask"

Oh look! It's basically identical to the Linux version.

Allright, flog me with the mediocre example I used. Perhaps
 
glxgears | grep Render

to query hardware rendering would be a better example. There are endless examples of how the command line in Linux is efficient, and I picked one that matched one of the few Windows cmd equivalents. Anything with sed, perhaps?

Simple. It's the same way how users flog Vista for being incompatible with hardware when it's hardware manufacturers who don't update their drivers.

Microsoft offered to write kernel drivers for any piece of hardware for free? And maintain it? Wow. Pretty sure you are wrong there.

Here is the Linux kernel developer's project offering everything done for free: http://www.linuxdriverproject.org

I googled, but it seems that the folks in Redmond have the OEMs write the drivers, and Microsoft will include them and make them available. Maybe they write a few generic ones, but they don't seem willing to write full drivers for nVidia or HP or such.

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Fred Derf

Ummmm,

ipconfig | find "Mask"

Oh look! It's basically identical to the Linux version.

So in other words, in Linux you have to use the command line, read ****ing man pages through a terminal, sudo/grep/asdfihzxiuchv/whateverthe****, whereas in Windows you have the option of using the command-line along with a GUI that doesn't look like it came out of a sewer pipe. I'm a proficient computer user, but having to use the Linux command line absolutely sucks (unless it's 1990 or in special case-scenarios), especially if they're thinking about mainstreaming Linux as a desktop operating system. Although I do agree that the Linux software update and repository is superior to what's on Windows. But how the **** is Microsoft suppose to maintain that kind of library. It simply isn't possible. Plus, they'd probably get sued by every piece of software/malware that isn't included in the directory.

Yes, Windows has it's share of problems (and I'm near the front of the line when it comes to criticism), but I don't even think there's a comparison between Linux and Windows at this point.

I do think there is a valid point in there somewhere. I user should have the option of using a command line if they feel they can accomplish the task faster but they shouldn't be forced to use it.

Now I'm not saying that is the case with Linux but I do often feel that the GUI way of configuring tools is often considered to be the alternate way of doing something rather than the primary method.

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alfaaqua

Agreed about the command line. So many people slag it, but it is awesome! Regardless of what UI the other individual you are trying to help uses, the commands are the same! (Y) I can post a command that I want someone to run to help them and get some information. They drag their mouse over to highlight and middle-click in a terminal, and the command is pasted without typos. It sure beats telling people to click start, go to control panel. Scroll down to Network, and double-click that. Find their Local Area Connection that is active among the 3 or more listed options shown. Right click that, and select properties (yes, we have single-click, double-click and right-click all right here in this set of instructions so far), In the middle, look for a box with things like NETBIOS listed, and scroll down until you see the TCP/IP entry. Highlight that, then click the Properties button below it. Finally, tell me what it has for settings.

ifconfig | grep Mask

is so much easier for me to type, and for others to execute. (Y)

Commenting on this, I think cmd.exe will be removed and powershell.exe will take over.

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Growled

It's not like apps get updated on Linux even with package management systems either. The repositories of many distros are just chock-full of stagnating, outdated software.

I've found that to be true as well.

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Dysphoria

Windows is a commercial OS that you pay for and you have certain expectations of Microsoft to provide support for it.... and I do not want to go into a silly argument, but if you dont want to use Linux, than dont use it.

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Fred Derf

It's not like apps get updated on Linux even with package management systems either. The repositories of many distros are just chock-full of stagnating, outdated software.

Yes, that was another peev of mine. I've been out of the Linux loop for a little bit but the version of Synaptic Package Manager that I used last failed to tell me (in an easy/usable way) when the package was last updated. I would have liked to have filtered out any crap that was last updated in 2008 or earlier (oh, I'm sure there would be some good stuff that works and thus doesn't need to be updated but there is a lot of crap too).

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Negi

Microsoft offered to write kernel drivers for any piece of hardware for free? And maintain it? Wow. Pretty sure you are wrong there.

Here is the Linux kernel developer's project offering everything done for free: http://www.linuxdriverproject.org

I googled, but it seems that the folks in Redmond have the OEMs write the drivers, and Microsoft will include them and make them available. Maybe they write a few generic ones, but they don't seem willing to write full drivers for nVidia or HP or such.

And it's Microsoft's job to do that because?

You asked how people can blame Linux even when it's not (entirely) Linux's fault. I just explained why. When users boot up a new OS for the first time and their wireless/printers/speakers/etc don't work, and still don't work after repeated googling and/or other steps in an attempt to fix the problem, they blame the OS. It happens to both Windows and Linux. I'm not saying it's justified, but it happens.

Besides, after reading the site you linked, I found this:

Q: How are you going to write a GPL driver by signing an NDA? Is it going to require a binary blob or some other way of obfuscating the code?

A: No, not at all. I have written many drivers after signing NDAs with companies. They are usually signed either to keep information about the device private until it is announced at a specific date, or to just keep the actual specification documents from being released to the public directly. All code created by this NDA program is to be released under the GPL for inclusion in the main kernel tree, nothing will be obfuscated at all.

If I understand it correctly, the source code of the drivers will be released freely as well, which makes signing NDAs moot. In fact, I'm not sure if you're actually allowed to release GPL software under NDA in the first place. This is a disadvantage that will forever cripple Linux compared to Microsoft, since the latter has no obligation that stops it from bundling proprietary drivers with Windows.

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SyntaxError

Linux sucks for countless reasons. I've used a couple distros over the years in my attempts to dump MS. I keep going back to Windows.

I tried Red Hat ages ago. I don't remember what version. It took 2.5 hours to install, and forced the creation of 3 partitions in the process. I spent another hour trying to access my floppy drive to copy a few files over. That never happened. Never did get the damn thing online. Half the time it wouldn't accept my root password (which was "root", just so I wouldn't forget it). There was no gui, it was entirely command line. I'm sure I had plenty other problems with it that I've long forgotten.

I've also seen Red Hat at work in a business environment. It was on a couple laptops that were used exclusively for scanning barcodes, nothing else. Half the time both laptops would lock up, and once rebooted, they required someone with admin access to get back into them and get them back on the network. Huge pain in the ass.

Years later I tried Smoothwall to replace my router. What a busted heap of crap that was. It was hit or miss trying to get 2 pci nic cards and one onboard nic working, and all 3 nics were common hardware, an Intel nic, a SiS onboard nic, and a Microsoft nic. It didn't help that Smoothwall labels every nic with it's own color instead of using it's make/model to identify it. I never did get Smoothwall working.

I've tried a few different versions of Ubuntu. It's far superior to any other linux distro I've tried, but it's still crap. Constantly have to mount drives before you can access them. Tried to follow instructions on how to auto mount them on reboot, but all that did was completely prevent access to my drives, forcing a reinstall of Ubuntu. When I first tried Ubuntu, I couldn't get online because it didn't support my atheros based wireless nic. Found out I would have to edit the source code for a specific driver, recompile it, then install it, just to get online. The hell with that. I had several other problems with Ubuntu as well.

The built-in help in any distro is horribly lacking as well.

And the user shouldn't have to be a programmer versed in half a dozen languages just to customize the OS.

I learned the basics of ms-dos in 8 hours with no help except for a manual in my lap. I tried doing the same with Linux, and felt like I was trying to learn Chinese while being dyslexic.

After just a few hours, I have up. I was completely drained, frustrated, and ready to murder Linus Torvalds himself.

I've spent 30 years learning MS operating systems inside and out. I'm not willing to do it again with something as completely alien as Linux.

So in short, Linux has a very long, hard road ahead before it will ever be user friendly and accepted as a mainstream OS.

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Mr. Gibs

Microsoft offered to write kernel drivers for any piece of hardware for free? And maintain it? Wow. Pretty sure you are wrong there.

Here is the Linux kernel developer's project offering everything done for free: http://www.linuxdriverproject.org

I googled, but it seems that the folks in Redmond have the OEMs write the drivers, and Microsoft will include them and make them available. Maybe they write a few generic ones, but they don't seem willing to write full drivers for nVidia or HP or such.

It's not Microsoft's responsibility to write hardware drivers, and not to mention the ridiculous amount of manhours it would take for them to make drivers for every piece of hardware out there. However, in the case of Windows there are drivers for virtually every piece of hardware out there. In the case of linux, there aren't that many drivers.

Hence: Windows 1, Linux 0. Now is this a fault of Linux? Of course not. However, it still is a Windows benefit.

The average user doesn't give a crap who writes the drivers, he just wants his hardware to work and if it doesn't he's not exactly going to be sympathetic to the "Linux Cause" and will prob just go back to using Windows / Mac OS X.

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Negi

Constantly have to mount drives before you can access them. Tried to follow instructions on how to auto mount them on reboot, but all that did was completely prevent access to my drives, forcing a reinstall of Ubuntu.

What you want, my friend, is the "pysdm" package. Search for and install it via Synaptic, then look for the "Storage Device Manager" shortcut somewhere in the "System" menu.

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Rob2687

One of the biggest mistakes people make is in thinking they can download a distro, wipe their hard drive and elope leaving behind their current OS forever. It's a different system and to think you can substitute one for the other and have it support all your needs in the same way that Windows or OSX did is rather silly

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Jason S.

my 2c:

i know as much about Linux (Ubuntu) as i do OSX.

whenever i want to do anything w/ Ubuntu, i have to go to the internet to find the info.... sure enough, there's some horribly long string of commands i have to run in Konsole (whatever it's called.) Oh, you want to change preferences? navigate to /usr/bin/lame/etc/settings.conf and open it w/ Vi, then find line 653 and change the value. oh, and for some reason files for a program are scattered all over the file system. 1. go here, mod file 2. go here and mod this file 3. go to 1.

Now, Linux diehards will say "but the command line is so much more powerful bra!" but in reality, it's extremely time consuming and confusing. I've installed Apache in CentOS once and it was a nightmare.... compare that to IIS in Windows Server and it's night and day. why, why, why in 2010 do i have to use the command line for so many seemingly simple settings? just about the only thing i do in DOS these days is 'ipconfig.'

Also, the learning curve between Ubuntu and OSX is vastly different, in my experience. In Ubuntu, like i said earlier, i have to go to the internet to find out how to do anything. with OSX, when im confused, i can poke around and figure it out. i guess OSX is more "user friendly" in my opinion.

and what's with installing programs? i realize that the package manager is available, but there are other programs downloaded on the internet that are .gz, tarballs or bin files. once again COMMAND LINE! yay so i have to navigate to the location of the file, then type "configure" then "make" then "make install." whatever happened to double clicking and following the GUI?

in the end, i continue to teach myself Linux, painfully, in an effort to broaden my experience in the IT world and as a resume booster... if i can avoid it, i certainly will.

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Rob2687

The best answer to the whole 'why do I have to compile everything from source :'(' complaint in recent times is the PPA (Personal Packages Archive) system.

Personal Package Archives (PPA) allow you to upload Ubuntu source packages to be built and published as an apt repository by Launchpad. You can find out more about PPAs and how to use them in our help page.

https://launchpad.net/ubuntu/+ppas

The issue before was that it was hard for developers to keep building their apps for every distro and every recent version of that distro. Now with PPAs developers can check in their source and have it built for a whole smack of Ubuntu releases. In fact anybody can grab a Launchpad account and create their own PPA. The result is that many common apps are being put on Launchpad with their own PPA. For the Joe Sixpack user this means all you have to do is add the PPA to your repositories in Synaptic.

So the problem with distros containing outdated versions of apps? I've found that lately there are PPAs for the bleeding edge releases of lots of stuff that I use like (S)Mplayer, XBMC, graphics drivers, Firefox, Chrome, AWN, etc.

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Admodieus

One problem I've noticed recently is that a number of diehard Linux users decry any effort to make Linux more user-friendly to the casual masses but it's something they find unnecessary. Take the entire Ubuntu distribution for example. It's popular for a reason - Canonical has tried hard to make it more accessible to people, whether it be Wubi, the Software Center, the new theme/look, the Netbook Edition, etc. However, it's often a whipping boy in crowds of long-time Linux users that I know; "Ubuntu sucks!" is a Pavlovian response whenever they hear/see someone running it.

I've tried dozens of distros, ranging from Ubuntu variants (Mint), to Fedora and CentOS to OpenSUSE and Arch. I personally prefer Ubuntu because it has more of the trappings of an OS on the level of OS X or Windows. I love the notification system that's been in there for a year. I love the Software Center, even though I'll still use apt-get when I first install it to get some crucial packages. And I think the new theme is long overdue, and their idea of getting rid of the notification area intriguing and worth a shot. I've even been able to install Ubuntu and Mint as a dual-boot option on some people's computers that I support, so when they inevitably screw up their Windows partition, I tell them to boot into Linux until I can get to their house to fix it so they at least have Internet/email access.

Linux's own enemy, as many people have said, is its own following. Standardizing an audio stack and package management system is just pushing the problem elsewhere; the community needs to standardize on one distributions (or at least a few) for a couple of years in order to give commercial developers a chance to develop for just one stationary target instead of a dozen moving ones. Once we get a steady stream of software, then everyone can begin branching out again.

That being said, all three of my computers run Windows 7. Every now and then, I try making the switch over to Linux and working around the software I can't leave behind (Wine or Crossover Microsoft Office, Zune in a VM), but eventually sound breaks for no reason or I find myself in dependency hell and just scrap the entire attempt. Windows has its problems, but it also has its benefits, and those currently outweigh anything I get from Linux.

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SMELTN

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.

You know I honestly believe thats why so many "nerds" like Linux, is because they feel special because of the technical stuff. They feel like Linux is made for smart people instead of "Windows is making me feel dumb". I have numerous friends who use Linux because of that reason. Its just like we flame people for buying an Apple as a status symbol more than anything.

I think that is what will hold Linux back from the mainstream, or at least has in the past. I see Ubuntu 10.04 as a step in the right direction for sure, but it will still be awhile. I actually think it was looking brighter for Linux until Windows 7 came out, but now all those people that were thinking of swapping over to linux are now very satisfied with 7.

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sanctified

?

Linux's own enemy, as many people have said, is its own following

Bravo, rep for you.

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ViperAFK

Drivers are still the main problem with linux for me. *cough ATI cough*

I dont get why people think linux's way of installing apps is bad. I think its awesome, all your software auto updated and you get it all in one place. It used to be kind of annoying not being able to get the latest software in your repo, but as posted above PPA's with ubuntu pretty much solve that.

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Lannister

Been said already.

Needs better hardware support.

And there's way way too many distros. There seems to be so many people working in the linux world, but they're spread too thin. Dump the minor distros, standardise on package management, and make the desktop experience the competing factor for the remaining distros.

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Southern Patriot

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.

And those same users wouldn't understand why or how to install Java on Windows or OS X either. Your point?

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Southern Patriot

Needs better hardware support.

Maybe for the "latest and greatest" hardware, but I've found that when talking about hardware that is more than a year or two old, Linux actually tends to have BETTER hardware support than Windows does, especially if the hardware is fairly common. I've had several webcams, for example, that have poor driver support on current versions of Windows (and likely NO support on OS X), but work just fine in most Linux distros.

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