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


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Southern Patriot

and OS X does stuff (good luck uninstalling anything)

Huh? Most apps in OS X are "uninstalled" by simply dragging them to the trash. At worst, they might leave behind a tiny preference file in the Preferences folder which can either be left (it won't interfere with anything else) or simply deleted.

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CentralDogma

Drivers are still the main problem with linux for me.

I honestly believe, there is a driver for just about everything on linux. The problem is finding the right one and installing it. They should work on a pakage manager for drivers.

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.
I agree. Moving things to a GUI by default would go a long way for linux.

I also saw some people mention the problem of segmentation cause by too many distros. I agree, and that's the cost of open source.

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Yorak

To be honest with everyone, I do not want the general public using Linux (any distribution) as their primary operating system. Most of you at this point are wondering why I feel this way, and I will explain. Let us look at Ubuntu. It is an amazing distribution. Any person with just slightly above average computer savvy can get it installed and running without a problem. The hardware support has advanced at an incredible rate in the last two years, specifically. In my own personal experience (this does not account for everyone), I have not had a single problem getting a base installation working on about five or so different machines. Out of those five, four had a wireless card. Of those, none had a problem at all. When it comes to installing new software, it could not get more simplified. For instance, not long ago on an Ubuntu install, I was looking for a Linux alternative to ConvertXtoDVD. It took about fifteen seconds to Google it and find my answer (a program called DeVeDe, which is awesome by the way). I could either open the package manager and search for it, or type an extremely simple command (sudo apt-get install devede). This is great, right?

When problems arise with anything (ex. Flash chugging along like an obese Mississippi woman trying to jog.), it may be hard to find support for that specific problem. There is a large amount of documentation on the web, specific to Ubuntu. Where do we go when that does not work? Most people would recommend you post on the forum. During the first handful of Ubuntu releases, support was easy to come by. If you posted a thread on their forum, somebody would certainly try to answer your question. Now, with seemingly a billion users (yes, I over-exaggerated, chillax babes), it becomes very hard to find help for a certain problem that documentation is not helping.

I have a love affair with Arch Linux. Not only did I learn a great deal during the installation and configuration, but I had exactly what I wanted, and nothing more. There is a large amount of users, but nothing compared to Ubuntu, Fedora, Debian, etc. The community is close-knit and problems get solved. AUR (Arch User Repository) is amazing. It is a community driven repository for Arch users. So many of the people that submit packages know what they are doing. I can have a bleeding edge package already built for me, ready for a simple command to download and install it on my machine. With Ubuntu (and Debian alike), packages take much longer to appear on their repositories.

Many will say I have an elitist attitude. By the Dictionary.com definition, "consciousness of or pride in belonging to a select or favored group". If that is the case, then I must admit I do fall in this category. I think every distribution would do much better if they thinned the herd a bit. Not positive how they can achieve this, but it is not my problem. So most distributions are going to lead to their own demise. Luckily, I have found a place that will hopefully will not (never say never) lead down that road. My problems get solved when the arise. When I want a new piece of software, I do not have to wait a year for it to appear on a repository. We are all a team, and that is the way it should be. I do not despise other distributions. Actually, I have much respect for all of them. I am only telling you my opinion of why Linux should not be mainstream, and what will happen as the amount of users increase. It will be a clustereff. :D

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08993

I have a love affair with Arch Linux. Not only did I learn a great deal during the installation and configuration, but I had exactly what I wanted, and nothing more. There is a large amount of users, but nothing compared to Ubuntu, Fedora, Debian, etc. The community is close-knit and problems get solved. AUR (Arch User Repository) is amazing. It is a community driven repository for Arch users. So many of the people that submit packages know what they are doing. I can have a bleeding edge package already built for me, ready for a simple command to download and install it on my machine. With Ubuntu (and Debian alike), packages take much longer to appear on their repositories.

If elitism is not seeing the need to have to jump through hoops of abstraction, then I'm guilty as well. One post on this thread bemoaned having to edit text files, and they'd rather have somebody code an application to render a GUI to edit said simple text file.

http://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Rc.conf - You'd need four GUI apps for this I guess, one for each section. These apps have to be coded and maintained, or you can open the text file in an editor and make your changes in 10 seconds. Elitism? I just don't get it at all.

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Motoko.

Linux doesn't suck..

It just needs a educated user.

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pupdawg21

My biggest gripe with Linux is lack of consistency. Sometimes too many choices can be a bad thing. Especially when the really good choices often are hard to find and have obscure names that mean relatively nothing to the masses.

Also the need to use the command line for many things is also a deterrent. Also needing to do hacks/workaround at times to get mundane things working.

Ironically though Microsoft is going back toward a Command line theme with windows Powershell but it is not the ONLY option. You still have the choice to use a GUI to accomplish nearly everything but the addition of Powershell and all the power and flexibility it allows in terms of automation and scripting really leaves no excuse as to why Linux still relies on only the command line in many cases to perform things in some distros.

With all that said though Linux doesn't quite suck it's just difficult for the sake of being difficult at times.

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Motoko.

My biggest gripe with Linux is lack of consistency. Sometimes too many choices can be a bad thing. Especially when the really good choices often are hard to find and have obscure names that mean relatively nothing to the masses.

One of my favorite things about Lucid Lynx is the new UI implementation, it's sexy IMO.

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SyntaxError

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.

It's way too late for this, but thank you. +1 for you. None of the elitist linux people I've asked about the mounting drives issue ever came up with this.

It's been over a year since I bothered with Ubuntu or any other distro, and I don't see any place for it in the future, now that Win7 is here.

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Kreuger

It works great for me, so that's all I care. I'm not going to try and convert anybody. If you have problems with it, fine keep your Windows. At least it works for you :)

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Xtreme2damax

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.

There are actually some drivers, dependencies, or software that requires recompilation of the kernel along with the proper headers. Also in Ubuntu, Compiz wasn't working as it should so I needed to install some dependencies that weren't included with Ubuntu despite Compiz being default in Ubuntu now. I also had to edit the Xorg.conf for some things because they wouldn't work properly, particularly Compiz. I also had to do a fair amount of work to get my wireless working in Ubuntu, I went through hell with the video system because I had a Geforce FX card and integrated Intel graphics little over a few years, the onboard video was conflicting with the Geforce FX and locking up the PC during boot. I had to edit modprobe.d and blacklist the Intel graphics to boot into Ubuntu. Anything there isn't a pre-compiled package for, needs to be compiled from it's source. I couldn't play music or videos out of the box because of the missing codecs, and had to keep installing any required dependencies that were missing for all software that didn't have a pre-compiled package.

Some things have of course become simpler since I did most of that, I've got a new PC and my wireless works out of the box. For some reason my old old PC would hang on boot with the Intel graphics and Geforce FX because they were conflicting with each other, that doesn't happen with my new PC that has an Intel GMA 4000 and a Geforce 9800 GT.

The latest Nvidia drivers do need to be compiled and installed from source, as the non-restricted driver isn't the latest and that requires a bit of tinkering with the Xorg video subsystem when compiling and installing the driver in order to enable the driver. Of course the Ubuntu forums were very helpful whenever I had an issue, for that I am grateful.

Don't get me wrong, I don't mind using Linux as it is fun to tinker with and quite a nice hobbyist OS for those capable of using it. My point is the average novice home user isn't going to know how to do a lot of this even if someone was right there walking them through it. Linux still requires a fair bit of technical expertise, tinkering and knowledge, particularly knowledge of the command line to get everything running efficiently with little or no issues. The command line is almost a requirement in Linux, where with Windows it's optional so average users doesn't touch it or even know it's there. This is all far beyond the capabilities of the average home users who don't know squat about there computer other than turning it on, opening their web browser, checking email and playing an odd game or two. They just want everything to work upon immediately booting the system and become completely lost if the system doesn't power on and the problem is as simple as a loose power cable.

Nothing can beat the simplicity and ease of Windows when it comes to the average non-technical novice home user. ;)

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ichi

The command line is almost a requirement in Linux, where with Windows it's optional so average users doesn't touch it or even know it's there.

The curse (so to speak) of the Linux command line is that you can do absolutely everything (system administration wise, and then a whole lot of other stuff) from there. There's just less motivation to create GUI tools for every little task than on Windows, where the classic cmd is very limited and awkward.

So yes, it sucks for those that have no interest in using it, but fortunately nowadays you have almost no need to drop to it except on certain particular situations (usually involving configuration of not well supported hardware or experimental features). That is, you might need the CLI on the initial configuration of your computer, but not on your daily usage.

I use the CLI on a daily basis on my laptop at work, but I have never ever needed to use it on the computer I have attached to the TV (that is my main computer at home).

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ViperAFK

Seriously, what are you guys doing that you "have to use the command line"? Guides and such online often tell you to use the cmd, not because you have to but because having users copy and paste commands is easy and fast.

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protocol7

It's probably been said already but IMHO the biggest hurdle is the lack of consistency among the distros. You have multiple audio APIs, multiple window managers, multiple packaging systems. Just pick one of each and put it in a box. Then you have a consistent and marketable product. And then you might also encourage better driver support.

But that's assuming linux users actually want that. I sometimes think they prefer to be on the fringes with the freedom that brings to choose what flavour of everything they want.

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08993

It's probably been said already but IMHO the biggest hurdle is the lack of consistency among the distros. You have multiple audio APIs, multiple window managers, multiple packaging systems. Just pick one of each and put it in a box. Then you have a consistent and marketable product. And then you might also encourage better driver support.

But that's assuming linux users actually want that. I sometimes think they prefer to be on the fringes with the freedom that brings to choose what flavour of everything they want.

Most driver development is done by kernel developers, it's distro independent however obviously each developer has their own favourite distribution and distro dev's quite often submit drivers upstream (as can anybody). Also, distro's pinch bits off each other all of the time, just look at the success of the Debian spin-offs.

I understand what you are saying, but Linux just doesn't work like that, if there was only one distro it would suffer due to not being able to implement ideas from the other distro's, and you'd have no Ubuntu etc. This vision of a unified Linux already exists, it's called Mac OS X, and I know it isn't Linux but this "unified" distro wouldn't be either.

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Southern Patriot

This vision of a unified Linux already exists, it's called Mac OS X, and I know it isn't Linux but this "unified" distro wouldn't be either.

1. Mac OS X is in no way related to Linux, other than both being related to Unix. It is more closely related to FreeBSD although with a Mach kernel.

2. a unified Linux distro would still be Linux, since "Linux" simply refers to the kernel that is being used.

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Xtreme2damax

Seriously, what are you guys doing that you "have to use the command line"? Guides and such online often tell you to use the cmd, not because you have to but because having users copy and paste commands is easy and fast.

For me at least I needed to use it in the past because of performing certain tasks, in order to edit some conf files I needed to elevate via sudo and I spent time compiling drivers to get my hardware working. I also compiled anything there wasn't an existing pre-compiled binary for, for my distro. Compiz wasn't working correctly and I needed to fix that, conflicts with my old integrated graphics that required me to edit modprobe.d to blacklist.

I've tested Ubuntu since the Breezy Badger days and have ran into many more issues, endured more frustration and confusion in my short time using it than I ever have with Windows. :p

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08993

1. Mac OS X is in no way related to Linux, other than both being related to Unix. It is more closely related to FreeBSD although with a Mach kernel.

2. a unified Linux distro would still be Linux, since "Linux" simply refers to the kernel that is being used.

That's my point, a unified distro wouldn't have half as many contributors due to a smaller pool of sumbitters. A unified Linux would end up propriety due to having to remain unified, and hence the kernel would have to be branched off thus becoming yet another another Unix derivative. The closest example of such being Mac OS X.

It depends what people mean by unified. Why have all of these options in the Kernel when it is to run only one distro? You'd have to stifle ideas and forks. If it remains FOSS what controls would be in place to stop other people making other distro's? In a few years time you'd be in the same position with lots of different DE's and distro's, and the unification would be for nothing. The only way to hold control would be to go propriety, and that would not be Linux.

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Panacik

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.

Thats the thing though, most people would like flash to jjust install as it would within Windows.

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 use about 3 distros thanks. Is that not enough? They are no way NEAR foolproof my friend. For tech people like me, Warwagon and a few others, it is fine, but for many people, who just want to be able to get on without having to worry about how to install simple things, it is not ready.

That is why in the OP (which i still dont think you bothered reading or watching the video or presentation), those Linux bods are actually talking about what needs to change across the Linux distro board, for it to become more common place in the general user world... If everything was as easy and great as you say, then there would be no discussion happening on these matters would there...

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.

I applaude you, but that still doesnt mean it is more or just as friendly than Windows.

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.

Exactly.

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markjensen

Thats the thing though, most people would like flash to jjust install as it would within Windows.

I use about 3 distros thanks. Is that not enough?

Looks like none of them are *buntu. Open your browser, and go to any site with flash, you have a bar in the top of your browser telling you that you need the flash plug-in, and you can click that same bar and it installs. Just "as it would within Windows". ;)

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SakuraKira

Linux is now hugely popular, it doesn't need fixed, all the gamers with PS3s love it :rofl:

Not anymore...

http://gamepolitics.com/2010/03/29/new-ps3-firmware-remove-%E2%80%9Cother-os%E2%80%9D-feature

I quite liked Ubuntu when I tried it, but I do agree with the "too many distros" hurting Linux market growth. Just looking at the Wikipedia list of "popular" distributions, there are almost 20. That alone can be a major hurdle for a novice who has only used a Windows PC or a Mac their whole life. If someone is going along, has heard about Linux for years and finally decides to try it, the number of options can be overwhelming, and might even discourage the user from doing further research. That variety, which makes it so popular with experienced techies, I think will hurt Linux in the long run, unless one of the more popular distros dramatically overtakes all of the others in popularity.

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cork1958

IMO, the biggest thing that can be done to help linux improve is to get rid of the asshat zealots on *nix support forums. I've seen some pretty bad and vulgar responses towards people for asking simple questions.

+1

That would DEFINITELY be a major step in the right direction!!

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Nashy

It's no commercial. It's going to go nowhere as a free product. While it's free, it will never just work out of the box. MP3, DVD. The major ****arounds that can be caused when trying to get flash to work well.

Sound. Holy ****. How can making some sounds work be so hard. It's 2010 for Gods sake.

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Panacik

Looks like none of them are *buntu. Open your browser, and go to any site with flash, you have a bar in the top of your browser telling you that you need the flash plug-in, and you can click that same bar and it installs. Just "as it would within Windows". ;)

Actually, my two main Linux OS of choice are Ubuntu and Mint. I also tried Suse a few times, but in comparison it doesnt work as well.

In both mint and Ubuntu, i have to select the version of flash i want (linux distro etc) then i have to select the package type. Its simple enough, but to a non-tech, its a mind field.

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markjensen

Actually, my two main Linux OS of choice are Ubuntu and Mint. I also tried Suse a few times, but in comparison it doesnt work as well.

In both mint and Ubuntu, i have to select the version of flash i want (linux distro etc) then i have to select the package type. Its simple enough, but to a non-tech, its a mind field.

It would be "mine" field. And no it is not.

Ubuntu install. Open Firefox. Go to any site that uses flash. Hulu, perhaps.

The top of your firefox browser puts up a yellowish (if I recall correctly) alert bar at the top saying this site uses a flash plugin you do not have.

Click it.

Installed.

Done.

Have you really used Ubuntu? Or are you pulling our collective legs?

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ViperAFK

It would be "mine" field. And no it is not.

Ubuntu install. Open Firefox. Go to any site that uses flash. Hulu, perhaps.

The top of your firefox browser puts up a yellowish (if I recall correctly) alert bar at the top saying this site uses a flash plugin you do not have.

Click it.

Installed.

Done.

Have you really used Ubuntu? Or are you pulling our collective legs?

For some reason that never works for me (in windows or linux) but thats a ff problem. But Its also just as easy to open the package manager type flash and install it.

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