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Why Linux Is Not Yet Ready For the Desktop 1365

Posted by timothy
from the choose-your-own-misadventure dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Every now and then a new- or old-media journalist tries to explain to everyone why Linux is not yet ready for the desktop. However all those men who graduated from their engineering universities years ago have only superficial knowledge about operating systems and their inner works. An unknown author from Russia has decided to draw up a list of technical reasons and limitations hampering Linux domination on the desktop." Some of the gripes listed here really resonate with me, having just moved to an early version of Ubuntu 9.10 on my main testing-stuff laptop; it's frustrating especially that while many seemingly more esoteric things work perfectly, sound now works only in part, and even that partial success took some fiddling.
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Why Linux Is Not Yet Ready For the Desktop

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  • by Corson (746347) on Monday May 18, 2009 @08:09AM (#27993773)
    I've heard and read that mantra ten years ago. The future is not web-based because no large corporation will put/send/store their sensitive stuff (as in trade secrets) on any other corporation's web servers. Not even email. Ever.
  • Sound and HDs... (Score:5, Informative)

    by purduephotog (218304) <hirsch@@@inorbit...com> on Monday May 18, 2009 @08:10AM (#27993775) Homepage Journal

    It took almost 3 months to get the sound working on Ubuntu (TOS-link). Even to this day I'm scared that if I lose the system I'll lose the configuration- it required editing different accounts, adding new packages, modifying them in a non-standard fashion, adding options that weren't documented...

    Windows XP? Put it in and the sound comes out.

    I'll say the same thing about hard drives too- while the support is built in I still had to do some 20 commands to add, mount, locate, format, automount, edit the UUID manualy, fdisk....

    Nothing better to kill 2 hours of your precious life.

  • by qtzlctl (1538903) on Monday May 18, 2009 @08:19AM (#27993859)

    Why Linux is not (yet) Ready for the Desktop

    Preface:

    In this document we only discuss Linux deficiencies while everyone should keep in mind that there are areas where Linux has excelled other OSes.

    A primary target of this comparison is Windows OS.
    Linux major shortcomings and problems:

    0. Premise: proprietary software will stay indefinitely. Full stop. You may argue eternally, but complicated software like games, 3D applications, databases, CADs(Computer-aided Design), etc. which cost millions of dollars and years of man-hours to develop will never be open sourced. Software patents are about to stay forever.

    1. No reliable sound system, no reliable unified software audio mixing, many (old or/and proprietary) applications still open audio output exclusively causing major user problems and headache.

    1.1 Insanely difficult to set up volume levels, audio recording ... and in some situations even audio output.

    1.2 Highly confusing, not self-explanatory mixer settings.

    1.3 By default many distros do not set volume levels properly (no audio output/no sound recording).

    2. X system:

    2.1 No good stable standardized API for developing GUI applications (like Win32 API). Both GTK and Qt are very unstable and often break backwards compatibility.

    2.2 Very slow GUI (except when being run with composite window managers on top of OpenGL).

    2.3 Many GUI operations are not accelerated. No analogue of GDI or GDI+. Text antialiasing and other GUI operations are software rendered by GUI libraries (GTK->Cairo/QT->Xft).

    2.4 Font rendering is implemented via high level GUI libraries, thus:

    2.4.1 fontconfig fonts antialiasing settings cannot be applied on-the-fly.

    2.4.2 Fonts antialiasing only works for certain GUI toolkits (see 2.1).

    2.4.3 Default fonts (often) look ugly.

    2.4.3.1 (Being resolved) By default most distros disable advanced fonts antialiasing.

    2.4.3.2 By default most distros come without good or even compatible with Windows fonts.

    2.5 No double buffering.

    3. Problems stemming from the vast number of Linux distributives:

    3.1 No unified configuration system for computer settings, devices and system services. E.g. distro A sets up networking using these utilities, outputting certain settings residing in certain file system locations, distro B sets up everything differently. This drives most users mad.

    3.2 No unified installer across all distros. Consider RPM, deb, portage, tar.gz, sources, etc. It adds a cost for software development.

    3.3 Many distros' repositories do not contain all available open source software. User should never be bothered with using ./configure && make && make installer. It should be possible to install any software by downloading a package and double clicking it (yes, like in Windows, but probably prompting for user/administrator password).

    3.4 Applications development is a major PITA. Different distros can use a) different libraries versions b) different compiler flags c) different compilers. This leads to a number of problems raised to the third power.

    4. It should be possible to configure everything via GUI which is still not a case for too many situations and operations.

    5. Problems stemming from low linux popularity and open source nature:

    5.1 Few software titles, inability to run familiar Windows software. (Some applications (which don't work in Wine) have zero Linux equivalents).

    5.1.1 No equivalent of some hardcore Windows software like AutoCAD/3D Studio/Adobe Premier/Corel Painter/etc. Home and work users just won't bother installing Linux until they can work for real.

    5.2 No games. Full stop. Cedega and Wine offer very incomplete support.

    5.3 Incomplete or unstable drivers for some hardware. Problems setting up some hardware (like sound cards or TV tuners/Web Cameras).

    5.3.1 A lot of WinPrinters do n

  • by tepples (727027) <tepples@nOSpAM.gmail.com> on Monday May 18, 2009 @08:25AM (#27993921) Homepage Journal

    The vast majority of desktop computer users is happy with Minesweeper, Solitaire and Tetris.

    The Tetris Company has never put out a product for Linux, except possibly the browser-based Tetris Friends. And it alleges [patentarcade.com] that workalikes such as Lockjaw and Gnometris violate its copyright, though this US Copyright Office document [copyright.gov] makes Tetris's claims look flimsy.

  • Re:9.10? (Score:5, Informative)

    by TobascoKid (82629) on Monday May 18, 2009 @08:27AM (#27993949) Homepage

    "I would think that it was released they should have it mostly working well."

    No, I would expect 9.04 to be mostly working well (which for me it almost does - the regression in the intel video card support is ticking me off though). 9.10 is at early alpha - I would expect it to not work very well at all. So the submitter's complaints about issues with 9.10 are unwarranted.

  • Article is a troll (Score:2, Informative)

    by bcmm (768152) on Monday May 18, 2009 @08:32AM (#27994009)

    It should be possible to configure everything via GUI which is still not a case for too many situations and operations.

    If regedit.exe counts as a GUI, so does your favourite text editor. Navigating to a path (in the registry or in the filesystem) and changing a cryptic string for another cryptic string is necessary on Windows to do interesting things, same as Linux. It is not generally necessary on either platform if you just want to listen to music and write emails.

    Also, to add an unscientific anecdote about hardware support, I now find it easier to make hardware work on Linux. Having bought a Vista laptop, I installed Windows XP and Linux on it, and have every piece of hardware working perfectly on Linux, but many missing/unreliable drivers (and, bizarrely, no support for USB keyboards) on XP.

  • by Wowsers (1151731) on Monday May 18, 2009 @08:33AM (#27994021) Journal

    The future is web based.

    Is it? After a typical month I am near my download limit for the month, and all it is is web browsing, email, and some file transfers. What is a web based solution going to do to bandwidth usage?

    I've used Google docs for a quick project, and it has vastly cut and inflexible features compared to a spreadsheet installed on your machine.

    Web based is too inflexible. Just my opinion of course.

  • Re:Games (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 18, 2009 @08:41AM (#27994133)
    Not if it's an OEM license.
  • Re:9.10? (Score:3, Informative)

    by TobascoKid (82629) on Monday May 18, 2009 @08:42AM (#27994145) Homepage

    I noticed with 9.04 that sound is now finally working properly again on one machine that had audio problems since Hardy. But my laptop can no longer play video with Xv - sometimes it seems that Ubuntu gives with one hand and takes with the other.

  • Re:The main reason (Score:5, Informative)

    by fbjon (692006) on Monday May 18, 2009 @08:45AM (#27994181) Homepage Journal
    There is always room for a contender with a price tag of zero and up. About TFA, I've switched to Ubuntu 9.04 myself from Windows XP. Here's my data point:
    • It's pretty close to desktop-itude, far more so than last year, but perhaps not out-of-the-box. Hence most real issues left are installation issues.
    • I still haven't found anything important that couldn't be configured via some GUI or other.
    • There ARE games for Linux: Wine works surprisingly well, but there should be an automatic way of getting the needed libraries for any particular app
    • OpenOffice load times: Draw and Calc start in 5 seconds, Writer in 6. It works fast under use as well. I used OO on Windows as well, and the Linux version beats it quite handily. I have no comparison with MSOffice, though.
    • It boots slower than a fresh Windows install, and about twice as fast as the actual real-life Windows install I had. It also shuts down faster.
    • KDE vs. Gnome needs to get more standardized, but I haven't been bitten by anything terrible yet.
    • Some sudo tasks require the command line. DO NOT FIX.

    Mind you, I've used linux here and there since the 1.3 kernel (slackware then), and I've tried out just about every version of Ubuntu. This is the first time it stays in use.

    Some things in TFA make me wonder though, like "Enterprise: no standard way of software distribution". How hard is it to set up a local repository(-ies), from where workstations get updates?

    Finally, the next time someone posts and article about Linux and the desktop, please be clear which desktop we're talking about. This article seems to talk about all of them at once.

  • They are indoctrinated to a world of malware, reboots and crashes. They are convinced that's just the way PC's are, so they stick with the devil they know rather than attempt to learn anything new. They refuse to open their minds to anything else. These people will cling onto Windows well after Microsoft go bankrupt and no longer provide updates. These people will sit securely in their own bubble and assume they are safe and secure. If it wasn't for the fact that EVERY user gets the fallout from Microsoft botnets regardless of their OS, I'd say leave them be.

    Hear, hear!

    It's largely what people are used to. For someone coming from UNIX to Windows for the first time over the past two years, I still can't believe anyone can accept such a buggy, balky, user hostile piece of crap on their desktop. Ubuntu is streets ahead of either XP or Vista on usability and reliability. But lots of people won't believe that even when you show them. Windows - and Microsoft - are what they're used to, and for them it's an article of faith not only that Windows is yet ready for commercial deployment, but that it's better than the alternatives.

  • by bcmm (768152) on Monday May 18, 2009 @08:53AM (#27994329)

    The article states that Wine does not run every popular video game designed for Windows.

    Neither does Windows, in an annoyingly large number of cases.

  • Here we go again (Score:2, Informative)

    by Bitflicker (1556613) on Monday May 18, 2009 @08:59AM (#27994391)
    I've been fighting this battle for years, since before I was writing for Linux Magazine. The bottom line is that Linux works very well for the people who use it today, but for the vast majority of mainstream users it's a freakin' nightmare. I can't run my (or my kid's) games? I can't run the programs I need for work (and their office packages are all almost compatible with MS Office)? I can't just buy hardware or software at Staples or Office Max or wherever, slap it on the system and get it to work?

    At that point it doesn't matter if Linux is beer-free or speech-free, how it can run forever without needing a reboot, how secure it is, etc. Until it can pass the day in, day out tests I mentioned above, and do it without the user having to unlearn and then relearn how to do things, it's going nowhere on the mainstream desktop.

  • by tepples (727027) <tepples@nOSpAM.gmail.com> on Monday May 18, 2009 @09:07AM (#27994531) Homepage Journal

    Here in Europe, we have these technologies called 'GPRS' and '3G' which mean you're network connected over 95% of the land area.

    We have that in the United States, but in this recession, not everybody who owns a laptop has 720 USD per year to blow on a 3G plan in addition to what they're paying for Internet access at home.

  • Re:9.10? (Score:5, Informative)

    by rantingkitten (938138) <kitten AT mirrorshades DOT org> on Monday May 18, 2009 @09:07AM (#27994533) Homepage
    As an aside, the Intel driver thing was about to be a deal-breaker for me also, after two days of using 9.04. Then I thought there must be a way to load the 8.04 video drivers for it, and lo, there is! [ubuntu.com]

    Give that a try. I bet it fixes your problem; it worked awesome for me.

    (I ran into an intractable network card issue with 9.04 though, which forced me to go back to 8.04 entirely, but at least this solved my video problem...)
  • Re:The main reason (Score:4, Informative)

    by Fallingcow (213461) on Monday May 18, 2009 @09:08AM (#27994551) Homepage

    There ARE games for Linux: Wine works surprisingly well, but there should be an automatic way of getting the needed libraries for any particular app

    I strongly recommend you try Wine Doors [wine-doors.org] if you haven't already.

    It's probably not included in the default installation because I think you have to have a Windows license to install some of the DLLs and such (then again, who doesn't have a couple of those sitting around?)

  • by BlueLightning (442320) * on Monday May 18, 2009 @09:12AM (#27994621) Homepage Journal

    OK, so let's deconstruct this point by point. I've left one or two points out where I have no specific comments.

    0. Premise: proprietary software will stay indefinitely. Full stop. You may argue eternally,
    but complicated software like games, 3D applications, databases, CADs(Computer-aided Design),
    etc. which cost millions of dollars and years of man-hours to develop will never be open sourced.
    Software patents are about to stay forever.

    Bold predictions indeed. True, I think proprietary software will remain, particularly in the vertical market; however a certain segment of software will become commoditised (arguably some of it already has been) and therefore users will expect it to be free or priced lower than cost.

    1. No reliable sound system, no reliable unified software audio mixing, many (old or/and proprietary) applications still open audio output exclusively causing major user problems and headache.

    1.1 Insanely difficult to set up volume levels, audio recording ... and in some situations even audio output.

    1.2 Highly confusing, not self-explanatory mixer settings.

    1.3 By default many distros do not set volume levels properly (no audio output/no sound recording).

    Couldn't agree more here. ALSA has improved audio in a few areas but in all other aspects, from a user perspective it has only made things more difficult. Someone else commented recently on Slashdot regarding the BSD approach to this problem, it sounds like they have done a lot better by staying with/improving OSS. I really wish someone would stand up and take charge of improving Linux's core audio infrastructure instead of putting band-aids like PulseAudio on top.

    2.1 No good stable standardized API for developing GUI applications (like Win32 API). Both GTK and Qt are very unstable and often break backwards compatibility.

    I'm not sure this is really as bad as is made out. In between major releases, Qt and Gtk both take backwards compatibility very seriously. Qt at least is a commercial product, they have a commitment to maintain compatibility.

    2.2 Very slow GUI (except when being run with composite window managers on top of OpenGL).

    Too general to respond to - can hardly be true for all machines.

    2.3 Many GUI operations are not accelerated. No analogue of GDI or GDI+. Text antialiasing and other GUI operations are software rendered by GUI libraries (GTK->Cairo/QT->Xft).

    I thought that was the point of Cairo... ? Not my area of expertise though.

    2.5 No double buffering.

    No explanation of how this is relevant to an end user.

    3.1 No unified configuration system for computer settings, devices and system services. E.g. distro A sets up networking using these utilities, outputting certain settings residing in certain file system locations, distro B sets up everything differently. This drives most users mad.

    Honestly I don't think the average user is really going to care where a configuration tool stores its settings as long as it works; only a power user or developer would. Of course it would be nice if people would use the same tools. However, although it's taken quite some time to work in all situations, NetworkManager has vastly improved network configuration ease of use and has been adopted by many distributions.

    3.2 No unified installer across all distros. Consider RPM, deb, portage, tar.gz, sources, etc. It adds a cost for software development.

    True, but arguably as far as the packaging alone is concerned, if you target RPM and deb you're going to cover most of the distributions that actually matter to end users.

    3.3 Many distros' repositories do not contain all available open source software. User should never be bothered with using ./config

  • Re:The main reason (Score:3, Informative)

    by dword (735428) on Monday May 18, 2009 @09:16AM (#27994681)

    • There ARE games for Linux

    Solitaire doesn't count :)
    Your argument for the fact that "there ARE games for Linux" is that there ARE games for linux. Are there cool games for Linux? I doubt it. Look at the most pirated games [google.com]... how many of them run on Linux? Why the hell would I install Linux if I can't play my favorite games? The coolest things about PCs is that you can use them to play games!

    I like your shiny bullet list. Here's mine (I hope you haven't patented it already):

  • by Doches (761288) <Doches@@@gmail...com> on Monday May 18, 2009 @09:18AM (#27994701)
    Maybe [winehq.org] you [winehq.org] want [winehq.org] to [winehq.org] take [winehq.org] a [winehq.org] look [winehq.org] at [winehq.org] the WinHQ AppDB [winehq.org] ?
  • Re:Wow.... (Score:2, Informative)

    by jvillain (546827) on Monday May 18, 2009 @09:34AM (#27995035)

    Couldn't agree more. This article would be 2/3rds right if this was 1995. But almost every thing in this article has been corrected for years and years.

    I find it odd how people go on and on about how stuff isn't ready for prime time in Linux but I run the bleeding edge of the raw hide branch of Fedora on multiple computers doing different tasks and I never see the kinds of problems these people go on and on about. I run server farms with Redhat and stuff just works. The only time stuff doesn't just work on Linux is when Solaris admins go "Linux is Unix" and then try to run their Linux boxes like they are Solaris and screw them up.

  • Re:Games (Score:5, Informative)

    by AmaDaden (794446) on Monday May 18, 2009 @09:45AM (#27995301)
    Not quite. That did cause some people to freak out but people started taking it seriously when they saw this job posting from Valve. http://www.valvesoftware.com/job-SenSoftEngineer.html [valvesoftware.com]

    From my link

    Port Windows-based games to the Linux platform.

    The problem is that at this point is been over a year and we have seen no progress. So it's hard to say if they are hard at work or gave up for now.

  • 3G is cheap (Score:5, Informative)

    by emj (15659) on Monday May 18, 2009 @09:46AM (#27995333) Homepage Journal
    In Stockholm I pay $3-$9 per month for 3G, even with max data usage you wouldn't pay more than $360/year. Are you sure you're not using prices from 99?
  • Re:Games (Score:3, Informative)

    by Curtman (556920) * on Monday May 18, 2009 @09:51AM (#27995431)

    While I was growing up, playing video games pretty much meant you had an Atari, NES, or SNES.

    Really? For me it meant bringing my Atari/NES/SNES friends over to play games on my Amiga and watch their amazement at how great it looked compared to their silly little machines.

  • Re:Games (Score:3, Informative)

    by niteshifter (1252200) on Monday May 18, 2009 @09:52AM (#27995437)

    As the A.C. below notes, not if it's an OEM issue of XP - the EULA ties XP to the machine it shipped with.

    What he can do is blow away the XP install on that machine, install Linux and Virtualbox, then install that OEM XP as a Guest and do the activation over the phone. XP's EULA's are blissfully unaware of virtualizing, unlike Vista's which is, and does prohibit this trick.

    Caveat: Some OEM releases of XP (looking at you HP) don't make nice - the installer looks for Vendor / Machine identifiers and will croak on ya. Dell plays nice, I did this with an 8600 / XP Pro rig.

  • Re:Games (Score:3, Informative)

    by robthebloke (1308483) on Monday May 18, 2009 @10:21AM (#27995985)
    At a guess I'd say you were under 25 years old. When i was growing up everyone was playing games on spectrum 48ks/Commodore 64, and were busy saving their pocket money to buy an Amiga or Atari ST. Consoles really didn't start making inroads into homes until the late 80's early 90's, until that point you had a proper computer (be it a specutrum, BBC, acorn, commodore or an amstrad).

    To say that gaming was always focussed on consoles is somewhat wrong - it was the other way around. The gaming industry started on home computers - this is where people like Richard & David Darling [wikipedia.org], and Peter Molyneaux [wikipedia.org] made their fortunes.

    Consoles only really started overtaking home computers for gaming between the late 80's and mid 90's, at a time when there was no cheap home computer available that was worth buying (i.e. Amiga) or the prices of a 'not for games' IBM PC was too high (£2000 for a 486 DX)

    For the past 15 years, gaming has been firmly routed in the realm of consoles with sales figures for PS/PS2/PS3/XBox/Wii/360/GC far surpassing any PC game market, and is likely to be the case for the next 10 years. The only difference the industry may face in future, is that casual gamers may migrate away from their Wii's to their iPhones.
  • Re:Games (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 18, 2009 @10:29AM (#27996155)

    Number of attempted linux installations that wouldn't even boot up without fiddling: 27
    Number of attempted windows installations that wouldn't even boot up without fiddling: 0

    Number of times I've had windows not auto-detect something: all of them.
    Number of times I've had Linux not auto-detect something: all of them.

    Number of times I've been able to locate windows drivers when needed: all of them.
    Number of times I've been able to locate linux drivers when needed: three times.

    Number of times the located windows drivers were a simple "click here to make your computer work" solution: all of them.
    Number of times the located linux drivers were a simple "click here to make your computer work" solution: once

    If I boot my computer into windows RIGHT NOW, will it be able to use all my hardware? Yes.

    If I boot my computer into linux RIGHT NOW, will it be able to use all my hardware? Yes.

    Keep in mind when reading this list: I noticed a trend early on, and rarely even try to set up things like my tablet or a printer anymore. Given fewer things to even attempt, Linux STILL fails at hardware drivers.

  • Re:Games (Score:5, Informative)

    by Ravenscall (12240) on Monday May 18, 2009 @10:31AM (#27996203)

    I would add that when I tried installing Ubuntu a month or so ago on the same laptop, it said my wi-fi card was working, but it would not work. It also would not let me install the proprietary nVidia driver. When I ran the nVidia installer, it broke X.

  • Re:3G is cheap (Score:5, Informative)

    by arth1 (260657) on Monday May 18, 2009 @10:49AM (#27996607) Homepage Journal

    US prices and coverage are truly that high.

    Verizon and Sprint have equal prices:
    If you stay under 5 GB per month, you pay $720 per year, plus multiple various fees and taxes[1].
    For 10 GB per month usage, you pay $3792 per year (plus plus).
    Add 20 cents for every text message and 25 cents for every picture sent *or* received.
    And a voice plan, if you need that.

    For that, you get a service that covers around 2% of the geographical area. I.e. if you stay near large cities or major highways, you will likely be covered, if not, forget it.
    Unlike in Europe, where coverage is measured geographically, in the US is measured as percentage of the population. Assuming that the population has zero mobility, live at work, and never ever go anywhere else.
    The coverage in the US today is on par with what it was in the early 90s in Europe.

    Heck, people over here still use pagers and cheques, and as recently as last year, you could still find prerecorded cassette tapes for sale in major stores. We're a 3rd world country, really. We just won't admit to it, because we live in a glass bauble and don't look outside.

    [1]: Quoting Sprint: Monthly charges exclude taxes, Sprint Surcharges [incl. USF charge of up to 11.3% (varies quarterly), Administrative Charge (up to $1.99/line/mo.), Regulatory Charge ($0.20/line/mo.) & state/local fees by area]. Sprint Surcharges are not taxes or gov't-required charges and are subject to change. Sprint chooses to collect Washington State B&O Fee of 0.471% of your monthly billed charges to recover its costs.

  • Re:Games (Score:3, Informative)

    by jshackney (99735) on Monday May 18, 2009 @10:51AM (#27996665) Homepage

    That and "niche" applications.
    The only reason there is a Windoze box in my house is that my wife is a quilter. The current version of Electric Quilt (AFAICT) will not run acceptably under WINE. There is no reasonable FOSS equivalent.

    Similar problem here:

    My only reason for keeping Windows is work/Logbook Pro, and hobby/MasterCook Deluxe. MCook runs almost acceptably in WINE, but better in VirtualBox. And there are a couple of FOSS equivalents for MCook, but to use a baseball analogy, the best FOSS app. I've found is in the local elementary school's Pee Wee league where MCook is last year's Major League World Series winner. With that said, the FOSS app. is getting better, and it has improved over the past couple years, hopefully it will continue to do so.

    Then there's Logbook Pro. No FOSS equivalent either. There's some vaporware projects floating around FreshMeat and SourceForge that have been there for several years with little or no activity. Also, running this under WINE didn't work--it wouldn't even install. VirtualBox OTOH was good, but not acceptable due to severe lag and spotty USB operability.

    While it's good for some applications, using a VM (to me at least) is like a Rube Goldberg machine. It gets the job done, but at the expense of efficiency and I'm absolutely maniacal about efficiency.

  • Re:Games (Score:3, Informative)

    by Optic7 (688717) on Monday May 18, 2009 @12:16PM (#27998329)

    I'll grant you C and D.

    B is debatable - at least 90% of drivers are auto detected and auto installed in Linux. The most common thing when installing Windows is having to spend some time on the net hunting for drivers, and sometimes they can be really hard to find.

    Regarding A, you couldn't be more wrong. Have you installed Ubuntu lately on a clean (blank) machine? It's easier and quicker to install than windows. Seriously. Specially when you take into account what I said about drivers above, and how much complication that adds to the windows installation process.

  • Re:Games (Score:2, Informative)

    by Serpent Mage (95312) on Monday May 18, 2009 @12:25PM (#27998515)

    I don't hate windows but I do use linux and have told average users to not switch to linux or to switch depending on what was appropriate.

    A) Installation IS a pain in the ass for anyone who isn't a geek with a decent amount of experience. Hell its a pain in the ass for those who DO have a decent amount of experience, especially when trying a new distro for the first time that has a wholly different install experience.

    That is just a load of crap. Installation of XP and Vista are both a bigger pain the arse then linux is. In fact, I have 2 friends who convert over to linux BECAUSE they could not get XP to install on their computer and use their hardware. And it "just works" under linux. And I've seen far too many people who have actually tried both admit that linux is easier to install and it just work. Almost never have I seen the opposite to be true.

    Coming pre-installed from manufacturer is not the same as installing from scratch.

    B) Driver support sucks.

    Yes. For printers and network cards you can actually use the windows drivers and they work perfectly. For everything else, if it doesn't come out of the box with linux, well that sucks big time. Sound drivers are the biggest problems I have found with linux. The cheaper sound hardware "mostly" works but constantly crashes, locks up, or other crap. Only thing I have found to be as good or better then the windows version is the soundblaster live drivers.

    C) Software selection leaves a lot to be desired.

    This is a true statement. Though I personally would argue that MS keeps pushing people out of their software selection as well. But that is a b*tch session really and not appropriate here.

    D) Games. I don't think I really need to expound upon this one.

    Yup the lack of linux adoption has caused the lack of game titles to appear on linux.

    that gaming on Linux SUCKS ASS because most games don't work on Linux.

    A lot of the popular titles do have native linux versions and some games run better on linux then on windows. Not all but most of them (making statement using nvidia drivers, milage may vary with other drivers)

    Windows can be as secure as any other OS out there.

    Sure anything can be secure. The real question is how much intelligence does it require. Your average joe *cannot* make it more secure the linux. The average joe never has to think and linux is 99% more secure for them then windows.

    And woe be to he who has a custom compiled kernel.

    Nobody. And why were you even wrambling about all that I don't understand. Nobody compiles the kernel anymore these days. Most your linux users use what is out of the box and it just works.

    I would LOVE to see Linux suddenly start kicking ass and taking names.

    No you wouldn't. Your attitude is clear enough that you really have no intention of giving linux a shot. I didn't reply to a number of statements you made but you do make a lot of 5 year old claims as well which simply are not true. It is like saying windows sucks because you have to remove stuff from the himem area to get your games to work. That was true once upon a time. Not anymore.

  • General drivers (Score:4, Informative)

    by badpazzword (991691) <badpazzword.gmail@com> on Monday May 18, 2009 @12:51PM (#27998935)
    My experience on this laptop (a Toshiba Equium M70-272):

    WinXP SP2 vs Ubuntu 7.04
    Screen: default driver @ 800x600x16 vs default driver @ native resolution
    Keyboard: default driver vs general driver
    Sound: not recognised vs general driver
    Wifi: not recognised vs Intel general driver
    Printer: not recognised vs printer-specific CUPS support
    Winmodem: not recognised vs default (non working) winmodem restricted driver

    So... what is your point again? ;)

    For some reason, driver hunting for Windows is acceptable, but don't dare tell the guy trying Linux that Ubuntu might not pick up the play button on the side of the keyboard automagically!
  • Re:Games (Score:3, Informative)

    by nextekcarl (1402899) on Monday May 18, 2009 @01:18PM (#27999413)

    What would be the point of emulating lots of software you use? and specially games, you even cannot as the fps would be like 1fps.

    This seems to be changing. Virtualbox is starting to include a capability for a client system to access the 3d hardware directly (that's my understanding of the process anyways) specifically for gaming performance. And they aren't the only ones doing so.

  • Re:Games (Score:4, Informative)

    by Bigjeff5 (1143585) on Monday May 18, 2009 @01:39PM (#27999797)

    Why would one who has windows license use linux?

    They are masochistic?

    There, fixed that for you.

    Seriously, as much as I want to love Linux, and as much as I hate Microsoft, Windows gets the user experience down better than anybody except maybe MacOS. I've stopped using Linux on my personal laptop - installed because I got fed up with Vista's little quirks (should have rolled back to XP not Linux though) - in favor of my slower work laptop with WinXP on it because it just tends to work and I know how to do what I need it to do.

    Linux is perfect for a home user as long as you meet a few criteria:
    - You want to run servers but don't have the hundreds/thousands of dollars to lay down for a simple, effective solution (i.e. Microsoft).
    - You are very technically inclined
    - "Free" is significantly more important to you than "Easy" or "Simple".
    - You are willing to put in the many, many hours you will need to learn the OS and how to configure it to do what you need
    - You don't need or want any software or hardware that does not have a good Linux implementation/equivalent

    There are others of course, but those are the big ones that come to mind for me. The last two in particular are why I can't use Linux. The first two are me, the third is true for me as well but not completely, and the last two don't fit me at all. I have a lot of better things I can be doing than spending hours trying to figure out why my sound doesn't work when I upgraded to a new version of my distro, discovering I have six different audio implimentations installed and only one of them will work.

    Honestly, I could have copied my data and installed XP with less time and effort than it took to fix my sound in Linux, which broke after an update because things are not unified even in distros.
    There is a reason *nix admins are few and highly paid in the server world, and it isn't because *nix is simple and easy. It's because *nix is very powerful for certain implimentations but it is notoriously difficult to manage. Until "notoriously difficult" becomes "easy" we won't see Linux on the desktop in any big scale. Ubuntu is better than any Linux I've used (and I've tried a bunch in the last 15 years), but it still doesn't touch XP, or really Win98 even. 95 it probably has beat though, heh.

  • by metamatic (202216) on Monday May 18, 2009 @01:48PM (#27999953) Homepage Journal

    Linux is a hobby systyem. The code is donated mostly by amateurs (or people working for rewards other than money - for example the recognition of their peers) and is therefore not within the normal disciplines of IT developemt.

    This just isn't true. Commercial software companies like IBM, Sun, Apple and Oracle have developed and contributed tons of code that is used in Linux, the operating system. IBM alone has more people paid to work on Linux code than RedHat has employees; it has funded improvements to memory management, filesystem support, and a bunch of other key code.

    [Opinions mine, not IBM's.]

  • I haven't seen this. (Score:3, Informative)

    by Grendel Drago (41496) on Monday May 18, 2009 @05:40PM (#28003581) Homepage

    I plug in a thumb drive or usb hard drive and maybe the OS will notice it and mount it for me, and maybe it won't. Usually it doesn't. Usually, I have to become super-user and perform actions to identify the drive and mount it that would be beyond the knowledge of the average end user. And even if the user does know how to do it, why should they have to? A 10-second task just got turned into a 5-minute task.

    Is it that the device isn't showing up, or that the device isn't mounting? That is, does it show up in the output from 'lsusb' or not?

    I've never had a working USB mass storage device fail to detect and mount on any of my Linux systems; for me, it's been a solved problem.

    USB scanners are the same way. They used to work, now you have to become super-user to use them. Some script that detected scanner plugin events and change the permissions just stopped working.

    Weird. The only scanner juggling I've had to do was installing a particular firmware file for my Mustek ScanExpress 1200 UB Plus, because (a) it's not freely redistributable, and (b) there are several different scanners with the same USB ID, and I had to specify which one I had.

    Multi-card readers: Same thing. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don't.

    As these are just USB mass storage devices, I think it's the same permissions issue you're seeing.

    I'd recommend that you open a question at Launchpad Answers and see if you can get some help on this. Something is amiss on your system, and fixing it is probably preferable to working around it like this. (I'm assuming that you're using Ubuntu.)

    It seems unlikely this bug [EHCI problems] will ever be fixed.

    Well, it certainly won't be fixed unless someone reopens the kernel.org bug report. (The original report was identified as caused by broken hardware; that's why it was closed.)

  • Re:Games (Score:2, Informative)

    by jmcvetta (153563) on Monday May 18, 2009 @07:12PM (#28004591)

    Vpnc is dead-easy to set up if you use the network-manager applet plugin (package "network-manager-vpnc" on Ubuntu). Alas, it does not support quite all VPN configurations (iirc, it can only do VPN over UDP, not over TCP), so I still need to use Cisco's (shitty & difficult to install) client in a few situations.

The bogosity meter just pegged.

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