Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
It's funny.  Laugh.

Video Linux Sucks (Video) 293

How do we know Linux sucks? Because Bryan Lunduke says so. How did he become a Linux authority? By using Linux, of course. He has also written a kids Linux book, Linux for Hank, and a grown-up Linux book, Linux is Badass. But wait! That's not all! Bryan is also one of the people behind the infamous Bad Voltage podcast.

And now, for something slightly different: In moments of weakness, Bryan admits that maybe Linux suckage isn't total, and Linux may have a good point or two and maybe some of the suckage could be removed. Zounds! Is that possible? Watch our video chat with Bryan (and/or read the transcript) and see. Or watch the entire 44 minute speech he gave at the 2014 LinuxFest Northwest, which was the 5th (or maybe 6th) "Linux Sucks" speech he's given at LFNW. That makes this a tradition, not just a speech. So if you find yourself in or near Bellingham, Washington, in 2039 you might want to pop in and see if Bryan is still updating his "Linux Sucks" speech. He'll be the geezer hobbling to the front of the room with help from his AutoCane, a device sure to be developed between now and then -- which will no doubt run Linux. (Alternate video link)

Timothy: So Bryan, you have been saying for a long time and here at LinuxFest Northwest among other places: “Linux Sucks.”

Bryan: Yeah, it sucks. It is terrible.

Timothy: And you said that as someone who loves Linux. So let’s talk about why you came to have this negative attitude.

Bryan: It is not a negative attitude, man. It is just a realistic attitude. It is like if you go out and you buy a car and you are like: This is my Prius, man. This is a Prius. It is a hybrid fusion whatever drive and that’s awesome, right? Because you get mega good mileage and it has all these great things about it. But it is also kind of a douche mobile and you have to understand that it sucks even though it is awesome. Everything’s got its pluses and minuses, even things that you love. I love Linux, I have made my whole life around Linux. I work for Linux companies. I write for Linux magazines, but it really blows.

Timothy: Now, you seem to have some especially harsh words this year for a few of the big name companies, what are the worst things, what makes Linux suck in 2014 that really shouldn’t be true?

Bryan: You know, the big things for me, there is two big things: First, there is a pervasive culture within the Linux world of needless, senseless fortuitous forking that makes a man a little bit grumpy. My favorite example is the current one, is the OpenSSL problems. We have OpenSSL that the whole internet requires to do anything, one little heart bleeding problem happens everyone loses their bananas and someone decides to fork OpenSSL and make LibreSSL. Which makes absolutely no sense, because now you have two incredibly important security libraries out there that you have to maintain, which basically means you are twice as likely, that’s just a random made-up statistic, but twice as likely to have problems like what we just experienced. But yet, it is part of our culture. So we just do it. We fork things. We don’t like it a little bit, we fork it. We don’t like GNOME? Let’s fork it, and make something that’s 99.9% identical to GNOME. So that’s a little bit annoying. The other big thing for me right now is the attitude of certain companies that shall not be named, that just like to kind of maverickally go their own thing. You know, they just decide, “I don’t like any desktop environment”, “I don’t like any desktop compositing window manager”, “I don’t like anything”, “I am going to rewrite it all from scratch, and all you guys can go to hell”. Okay they don’t actually say that. But that’s how a lot of us feel. So that’s the other thing that kind of gets my goat lately. There are lots of other little problem, but those are the two. Those are the ones.

Timothy: Now, let’s say relative suckiness.

Bryan: Relative levels of suckiness?

Timothy: So we are here, this is the 15th year that this particular gathering has been going on. And in that time, we’ve seen a lot of cool improvements and your talk, to be fair, for anyone who hasn’t seen it yet, you aren’t entirely down on Linux. What are the good things that have happened this year?

Bryan: Alright. So to be fair, you’re right. I’ve been doing this thing for five or six years now. When we started doing this, it was: “Here is all the reasons why Linux sucks.” And it was a rapid fire list of everything that was broken. And we started it, Wi-Fi drivers, to video drivers, everything. Now to be fair, most of those things aren’t a problem anymore. So Linux works a whole hell of a lot better now than it did in, say, 2006. So nowadays when I do the presentation, it is probably ‘40% Linux Sucks’ and like ‘60% Linux Doesn’t Suck,’ because just to be fair, things have gotten a lot better. But honestly, I would say, some of the things that are the best about Linux right now are the exact same things that are the worst about Linux right now. Pervasive forking and people doing absolutely crazy stuff despite what the community thinks. I like that someone came along and said, “OpenSSL? Screw that! I want to make LibreSSL.” I like that someone had the cojones to say, “I can do this better”

Timothy: Again people who are quite competent at auditing code.

Bryan: Exactly. Competent people and passionate people. And in the end, they may be wrong. They may have gone the stupid stupid road. Or they may come up with some really awesome improvements in LibreSSL that get brought back into OpenSSL. Or vice versa. In the end, we are all going to end up benefiting. And like that company that will not be named in this particular video, that tends to go their own thing and create their own desktop environment. It’s not one that I particularly like. But I love that they are doing it. They are trying something new. They are blazing their own path. And to me, that’s kind of part of what makes Linux kick ass. I don’t want to see everyone say, “Oh well, KDE exists. So we are fried, we’ll never improve the desktop again. We will just sit.” We don’t want to be stagnant. We want to go crazy. We don’t want to be Microsoft or Apple where they just sit on their hind quarters, change the color of a couple of things every now and then, or put web pages into little tiles and call it good. We want to do cool interesting stuff. And that’s what makes Linux awesome, and what makes it suck all at the same time. I don’t see any way to actually fix that, because it is like having the Prius. It sucks. And it’s awesome. And you have to take both.

Timothy: It is like the leather seats if you are looking for an automatic transmission.

Bryan: Well, you can’t get a leather seats in a Prius, man, they are totally ruined. Animals had to die to make that Prius you know what I am saying here. You can’t do that. But they are nice, they may be felt seats.

Timothy: Sure.

Bryan: Yeah, right.

Timothy: In this year’s iteration of your talk, one thing you mentioned is the amazing chat client of Elementary.

Bryan: Right. Who saw that coming?

Timothy: Does that mean that Elementary doesn’t suck as much?

Bryan: Well, that’s the crazy thing. Elementary has earned, has gotten over a million users or a million downloads of the current version. They’ve had about two versions now? I think that’s it. I think that’s all they’ve ever done. And both of them are labeled beta I think. And yet, over a million people have grabbed that sucker. And it looks beautiful. And they are getting big news. And on Distrowatch, they are like number six now, they are like above, they are above Arch, they are above Slackware, they are above Gentoo. They are above the grand daddies of Linux. And I think it’s amazing that a little upstart with no funding can come along and say, “You know what? I am going to make a Linux distro that’s basically Ubuntu but with some really kick ass icons, and then see what happens from there.” I mean they did more than that. But that’s how they got started. And now they are huge. They are becoming something that could be a real force to be reckoned with. It happened with Linux Mint. Really it happened with Ubuntu. This is what made Ubuntu. They just came out of nowhere, and they were like: ‘Whatever, we are brown and orange, and that now, we have a cool distro.’ And everyone freaked out and used it. And it is awesome. I think it is amazing because it just shows that flash forward five or six years from now, Ubuntu is not probably going to be dominant, Fedora is probably not going to be dominant. The reality is it is probably going to switch and be—who knows? Mepus and Elementary and Slackware—those will be the predominant distros for a few years. And I love that. I think that’s where it could go.

Timothy: What one thing would you most like to see suck less by this time next year?

Bryan: By this time, next year? My one thing is: I would love to be done talking about X.org. I would like to never have to mention the big. Not that I have anything against the longstanding display of X. it has done such a wonderful job for us. But I would very much like to just kill off that X.org existed and say, “Okay, Weyland has not only shipped but all the distros that are big are using it, and we are just fine, and that’s what we are focusing on.” I would like to cross off X.org. That would do it for me.

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Linux Sucks (Video)

Comments Filter:
  • Zounds?! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 19, 2014 @04:55PM (#47041195)

    Whoever wrote this summary should be kicked in the balls, hard, at least three times.

  • Re:Duh! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by thevirtualcat ( 1071504 ) on Monday May 19, 2014 @04:59PM (#47041235)

    Lucky you.

    They all suck, including the one I use!

  • Always videos :( (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Gaygirlie ( 1657131 ) <gaygirlie@[ ]mail.com ['hot' in gap]> on Monday May 19, 2014 @05:00PM (#47041251) Homepage

    I don't like this growing trend where people insist on creating everything as video, even things where the video doesn't actually serve any purpose other than showing a talking head. Information is so much easier to consume when you can consume it at your own pace, depending on your own speed of reading with no distracting heads and not being limited by the speed at which the video happens to progress. Text also happens to let you quickly jump over things you already are familiar with or jump back and forth between interesting passages.

    I want less videos. I want more text.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 19, 2014 @05:13PM (#47041345)

    Can we at least get a [Paid Post] tag/image or something, and let people with high karma filter this crap out?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 19, 2014 @05:16PM (#47041359)

    I too hate when the harsh light caused by a video playing illuminates my tech dungeon, bro. I can deal with the minimal lumens from a few terminals but it's complete bullshit when someone forces me to examine the filth I wallow in while using my device.

  • "Sucks" Is OK (Score:4, Insightful)

    by VernonNemitz ( 581327 ) on Monday May 19, 2014 @05:18PM (#47041377) Journal
    So long as other operating systems suck worse. Kind of like "democracy is not really a good form of government, but all the others suck worse".
  • Amen (Score:5, Insightful)

    by future assassin ( 639396 ) on Monday May 19, 2014 @05:18PM (#47041385) Homepage

    I have no idea who inisited on it and when it became cool to have to watch a slow ass instructional video when a small write up and 10 photos will do the job 10x faster and I can scroll up and down the page or print it when I need a reference. Its so painfull just see how many vdeo tutorials where are for say Drupal.

  • by meerling ( 1487879 ) on Monday May 19, 2014 @05:23PM (#47041421)
    Contip: That still doesn't return the wasted bandwidth, nor does it give you the random access ability of a page of text. Additionally, if the subtitles are not hardcoded, jumping the video or increasing the playback speed will usually make the subtitles go away. For that matter, depending on what playback device you use, your options for increasing or reducing playback speeds tend to be very limited, especially at the higher speeds where they tend to skip over entire segments resulting in lost text. And that's not even mentioning that you need a good subtitler to keep the timing reasonable and readable, something that is rather lacking in a large number of those that do subtitles. Maybe you mean for them to hire a professional subtitler, though that would massively increase the cost. (Yes, I watch a lot of subtitled videos.)

    Sorry AC, but your 'protip' doesn't work worth a damn.

    Some things are better for video, some for text, and some for audio. Too bad there's a lot of idiots that think everything should be video. I'm dreading the day I find a video of some baka reading a book, magazine, or newspaper. I'm sure they exist, but fortunately I haven't been forced to view them yet.
  • Re:Zounds?! (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 19, 2014 @05:54PM (#47041709)

    In the US, people are raised to consider not caring what other people think to be a virtue. They also consider stupidity a virtue. This is a core reason this country sucks so bad socially. I'm a natural born US citizen. Not eurotrash. And as an IT professional, many people consider being ignorant of technology, in 2014, when the computer is their primary tool to do their job, to be a humorous "ahh shucks" virtue.

    Them: I need help with my Outlook.
    Me: And that's how you expand your subfolders. Your email wasn't "gone".
    Them: Oh that was so simple! I'm just really stupid when it comes to computers. Ahh shucks.

    They waste company time and resources, and I don't know why these idiots are allowed to work there. 10 years ago, I could partially understand it. It's 2014. You should be ashamed if your profession uses email and you can't use Outlook.

  • Re:Zounds?! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by 517714 ( 762276 ) on Monday May 19, 2014 @06:40PM (#47042025)
    You saddle your coworkers with Microsoft products and complain about their stupidity? How much time and resources has your decision cost the company?
  • by Eravnrekaree ( 467752 ) on Monday May 19, 2014 @06:44PM (#47042049)

    Linux has many positives, there is no doubt. However, there are many problems with the system. The lack of applications leads to situations where a user is told is a great OS, but there is nothing on the OS that does what they want to do. Its great to have a kernel that works well but whats the point if you cant do what you need on it because of the lack of applications. Wine has been around for 20 years yet still has yet to develop an emulation layer that can run 99% of Windows applications reliably. It constantly breaks support for older applications carelessly. The changelogs seem to be filled with obscure performance hacks that lead to a .01% improvement in performance but it appears little is happening in major progress on supporting all of the Windows API.

    The bigger problem is lack of hardware support, to the point that the application issue may just be a result of the problem with it being so difficult to get new, novel, or unusual hardware to work on Linux. The fact is, hardware makers will always provide better working drivers in a timely manner than backwards engineering. Its a pipe dream to think that many hardware makers will open source the drivers. By the time open source drivers come around, the hardware is often so old its not even being sold any more or is out of date. Some hardware has no drivers available.

    This problem stems from the attitude of the Linux kernel developers. Many of the Linux community have an absolute aversion to actually working with hardware manufacturers to get hardware support implemented, especially with Dell. With Microsoft repetedly throwing Dell and other manufacturers under the bus, there was an opportunity to reach out to Dell to look at Linux as an alternative. This option has been thrown away by Linux. Linux could have gotten much wider adoption by accepting the users using small amount of binary code, which wouldnt even be required to be used as open source drivers would still be developed. Part of the problem as well is the badly documented or not documented at all kernel driver interfaces. It is actually almost impossible to find any comprehensive reference on kernel internals and the driver interfaces. Driver interfaces which seem to change with each kernel version as well, blowing up hardware support for users in the process. Backward compatability is critical throughout the system. Users need to be able to be assured they can use applications and driver accross kernel versions. I have suggested before a driver compatability layer for binary drivers so they will work between kernel versions.

    Another problem is the bone headedness of Canonical and Gnome who have copied every disasterous mistake and disaster of Windows 8 in creating user interfaces that are incomprehensible. The fact is, for users, an interface that is well known and practical rather than some hair brained scheme concocted by some crackhead who thinks they know better than everyone else and wants to ram their self righteous idea of user interface design on users, as with Ubuntu Unity and Gnome 3. Just stick with the tried and true taskbar start menu paradigm, please. These people are actually worse than the kernel developers because they think that they are genuises with user interface design but are self absorbed, obsessed and arrogant with trying their insane user interface experiments without any sense of practicality or really caring about users at all. The user interfaces they create are vastly worse than what the kernel developers would come up with.

  • WHY (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DeathElk ( 883654 ) on Monday May 19, 2014 @06:47PM (#47042063)

    I've watched two of these stupid talking head videos. Why is it that I've wanted to punch both of the subjects in the face?

  • X sucks (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TsuruchiBrian ( 2731979 ) on Monday May 19, 2014 @08:39PM (#47042781)

    For anyone who wants to explore this specific topic further, this is a really good video talking about the problems with X from former X developer and current Wayland developer David Stone.


  • Re:Zounds?! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by epyT-R ( 613989 ) on Tuesday May 20, 2014 @12:37AM (#47043819)

    There's a lot of this sentiment out there, esp from europeans. It makes me wonder if europeans aren't just falling for the anti american propaganda over there in the same insipid way they claim americans fall for shit here. The fact you're advocating violence (by gun no less, which is quite ironic) as a method of social engineering suggests the european cultural attributes that drove the creation of the US in the first place are still present. How nice.

    1. you generalize and stereotype, claiming your 'superior' social(ist) morals where you don't stereotype and generalize people based on their race or culture...err wait.
    2. europeans are becoming fat too, haven't you heard?
    3. japan is about as close as it gets to herd mentality, with sweden a distant second. In fact social dogma and expectation has gotten so rigid and inflexible in japan that they've managed to beat the desire to breed out of their people. That's hard to do.
    4. there are individualistic americans who stand for individual liberty, limited government (and thus no chance of corporatocracy), but in your smug groupthink 'superiority' you whitewash them all with sarah palin, george bush, and fox news. Europeans are just about as ignorant of american culture as americans are of the countries of europe. The difference is that americans don't trust their government and are easily manipulated by corporate advertising, and europeans implicitly trust their government and therefore its propaganda. Neither state is showing long term success for liberty in the west.

  • Re:Duh! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NotDrWho ( 3543773 ) on Tuesday May 20, 2014 @09:04AM (#47045433)

    Every distro except the one I use does suck.

    You're joking, but that is actually Linux's biggest problem, and the reason it will never make any significant dent in the desktop market. Apple and MS may have a few minor variations of their OS's, but for the most part they make things pretty simple. The consumer can generally choose from two basic flavors of Windows (Home and Professional) and one flavor of Apple OS.

    But when you get into Linux, you have to start by telling the consumer "Well, there really is no such thing as Linux" and explaining to them that there are hundreds of different distros to choose from, many of which are radically different from one another. This sort of incredible fracturing may be attractive to uber-hardcore geeks, but it sends the average user running as fast as they can back to Windows and Apple.

    For a brief period it seemed like Ubuntu might break through this barrier and become the defacto Linux standard. But, inevitably, the Linux hipsters turned against it ("It used to be about the MUSIC, man! Now you've gone all commercial and so you suck!"). And so we're back to the fringe mess that is "Linux."

    And, no, Android is NOT Linux. No one outside of a few autistic nitpickers thinks that running a heavily modified Linux kernel in an almost inaccessible undercarriage of an OS makes it "Linux." That's like saying that a 747 is a Rolls Royce just because it happens to use Rolls Royce engines.

  • Re:"Sucks" Is OK (Score:2, Insightful)

    by smash ( 1351 ) on Tuesday May 20, 2014 @11:38AM (#47046745) Homepage Journal

    Ran Linux extensively between 1995 and 2006. I still have Linux servers, but they're mostly FreeBSD now.

    It (and the free desktop in general) sucks, and many of the broken things that I wished were fixed in say, 2000 are either still broken or (in the case of actual software stability) even worse now. Example: playing media from a network share. What the FUCK is my desktop environment attempting to copy the fucking file off the network into temporary storage before playing it doing that for? OS X? Plays from network share. Windows? Plays from network share. Linux? Oh, let me copy that 1 GB video file for you over WIFI before I will play it. I'll be ready in few minutes.

    Yes, i could mount the share under a folder manually using the shell and pretend it is local. Why the fuck should I have to? It is un-necessary grunt work that the computer can and should do for me when i browse the network using a file manager.

    Don't even get me started on the myriad of different file open dialogs, (some which are network aware, some which aren't) on a typical desktop install. Never mind the inconsistency of keyboard shortcuts, desktop stability (you know the last time I had the OS X GUI lock up on me? Hint, it's not this year or last year. In KDE? within 15 minutes of playing with it to check up on whether any progress in the above areas have been made this year. I remember using (and compiling from source) KDE 1.0, 2.0 and 3.x and they were way more stable than the current KDE releases.

    Linux and the free unix desktop has so much potential, but the pervasive refusal to use existing libraries, standardize on anything or actually fucking finish any single component of the OS before trashing it and replacing it with something else means that it is constantly a case of two steps forward, two steps back, with the occasional actual advance, generally due to ripping off the UI of either Windows (in the 90s) or OS X (currently), without making the underlying infrastructure work properly to support the functions those respective desktops actually provide.

    Look... the GUI is a solved problem for the most part. Many people are happy to stay on Windows XP, which was released 12 years ago and was only a minor GUI update from Windows 95. Stop re-inventing the wheel, trashing everything and starting over, and actually get the unix desktop stable, and implement the functionality. I couldn't give a fuck if i have transparent windows or rotating cube desktop switching or whatever. I just want the applications I use to actually WORK, please.

    Rant over. No doubt a bunch of fanboys will moderate this flamebait, troll, or whatever, but I don't care. Covering ears and refusing to admit to any of the free desktop usability flaws (note: not UX - i'm talking software stability and feature set) will just ensure that the Free unix desktop continues to fail.

As of next Tuesday, C will be flushed in favor of COBOL. Please update your programs.