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Why Linux Sucks

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Linux is not ready for the desktop.
Some of my current issues.
So far I've experimented with Gentoo, Ubuntu, SUSE. Will be trying Fedora, Debian, MEPIS.

Gentoo Status - Sucks
I was doing a Stage 2 install of Gentoo. Got Gentoo installed, compiled, and onto disk. Emerged X and the various other things for X. Then spent a bit staring at xorg.conf. Gave up.

Ubuntu Status - Poor
Using the Full install CD. Got the system installed, up and running, but was annoyed that the hardware detection software only identified my PCI ATI 7500, and no the AGP ATI 8900. After spending a few hours looking around inside Synaptic, and installing fglrx components, then searching for where those config scripts got installed too. Was dismayed to find that the config scripts couldn't see the AGP card either. Looking up information on DIA proved fruitless. On top of this the Gnome interface was sluggish. Indicitive of either general compatibility drivers or bad screen management.

openSUSE Status - OK
Using the 1 CD Install for Beta 3. System went online just as smoothly as Ubuntu. Actually detected the AGP card, but did not detect the PCI card. So far still installed, while trying to figure out how to check OpenGL compaitibilty and learn about it's package/ports system. KDE desktop is pretty fast, and after digging around awhile found how to regenerate a xorg.conf file to tell the system that my monitor was a Sony GDM-F500R, which was listed it it's known list of monitors. Very nice. Unfortuantly, the YaST2 system seems to be pretty bungled and the entire area is non-functional. The control panels are spread all over the place. This seems to a result of the way Linux is hanging onto the horrible horrible idea of X.

HAL (Hardware Abstraction Layer)
This is the biggest one. Very important that a desktop OS not only find hardware, but then provide a uniform method for updating and configuring that hardware. I never missed proper control panels so much before. It requires way to much patience and sifting through random forums to administer a Linux system. Part of this issue is lack of a uniform HAL system across all linux systems, compounded by the fact that Xserv exists to control User I/O devices. Instead of XServ simply getting device information from a HAL layer.

X Servers suck X.org or Xfree86, both suck
Sucks, Sucks Suck. The only good thing about a X server is takes the idea of a mobile network desktop to heart. That's where the goodness ends. XServ is providing the HAL for Video, Monitors, Keyboards, and Mice. Either XServ should go on a diet, and sit on top of a seperate HAL or should just become the linux hal. On top of this, it needs a userfriendly method to detect and configure new hardware devices instead of all these custom configuration scripts. As far as I have gathered the only way I'm going to have both of my ATI cards up and recognized under X is to learn everything about xorg.conf.

Config Files need Gui Interfaces
Linux loves to stick to what it believes is its hertiage and require the end user to hack in the terminal. It's cute, but when it's confusing as hell to someone starting out. (me) I'm not expert at Mac OS X, I personally really don't like macs, but I don't have to pop open a webbrowers everytime I want to do something to the system. You cannot simply dismiss my inexpereince as being a Newb, because I've explored more then most end users. So people who are more timid about computers them me would find them selves extremely frustrated with Linux. Moving config files to a GUI front end allows a person entirely new to the process to see exactly what options are available to them. While a example config file CAN provide that ability, a GUI doesn't force a end user to worry about syntax or refering to help documents to build a working group of settings. I'm sure the lack of guis are a combination of most systems not being guarenteed to have windows system and time on part of the developers. You get what you pay for.

Diversity sucks
A Linux OS is made up of a few things. A Kernal, drivers (compiled or modules), a windows system, a gui system, and a hell of alot of random programs. There is only one thing that makes a Linux system Linux. The Kernal. Beyond that Kernal is chaos. People complaining because this software isn't the right liscence, or complaining about building from source vs binaries, or starting their own distro instead of helping and existing one, or KDE vs Gnome, or Xorg vs Xfree86. The list of things people who care about linux will complain about goes on and on. In the end, you end up with alot of talented people working alone, instead of collarorating. Instead of resolving differences and working on one unifed OS, everyone is working on what they think is best. While that's cute, and "progressive" etc, Linux can't hope to compete agaist systems that have one direction with more resources. You can look at Mac OS X as an example. A very solid base was taken, then a uniform driver system, windowing system, and a bunch of well documented API's were combined. BAMF, we have a solid OS that is easy to use, easy to configure, and easily to develop applications AND deploy applications too.

Linux is not ready for the desktop. It's not even ready for my desktop. An OS is not just a Kernal, it is an entire package, and so far, all the packages for Linux I've seen either suck or will setup a very simple productivity enviroment.

I am still looking for a Linux Desktop so I can work on doing a cross platform application, and for now I'll be using openSUSE.

Edit: I'm currently in rpm hell w/ openSUSE. Also really need to clean up the grammer and spelling in the above, but probably won't.
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Careful what you say; the penguins are watching. And you don't want to see them when they're angry.

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I feel your pain. A while back Gentoo ws making me pull out my hair over my mouse. I have since switched to Fedora Core 4 but I notice similar problems: Gnome is slow, config files are scary and confusing for beginners. Sometimes the help files and HOWTOs are not that helpful either (I was never able to get Samba working - one of the main points of my use of Linux in the first place!)

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Intrestingly openSUSE supported networked samba drives on the default install. The fact that it is running KDE and I am still sorting out rpm hell to get the regular bittorrent client running is another issue entirly.

How to setup a samba mount point ON the computer I still don't know about.


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The interface sucks, but xorgcfg is a graphical way to setup X. xorgconfig will give you a text prompts for it. Neither are all that good, but do help. I'll post more thoughts on this later, now I have to go to class.

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Ok, I have some more time now before I have to start my homework. Anyways, Gentoo IS NOT meant to for the desktop market really IMO. I always saw Gentoo (and pretty much any other source based distro like Gentoo or SourceMage) to be for people who already know what they want and are often either developers who want more control over their system, or want to optimize things specifically for their processor, etc. Once installed and basically configured (correctly) source based distributions are quite stable and can work quite well as a desktop. My current desktop for 90% of the time is SourceMage. The other 10% is still Windows because I like games, and most games are Windows only still.

Ubantoo: Well, I've never actually used it. Running it from a live cd on my machine ran just fine (for being a live cd I should say.) It found most all my hardware if I remember correctly. I think it fell back on the vesa driver. It might not have figured out my network card too. I don't remember, it's been awhile.

openSUSE I've never tried. Actually, I never even tried SUSE. I believe it was similar to the former Mandrake now Mandrivalinux. (http://www1.mandrivalinux.com/en/ftp.php3 if you want to give it a try.) Both use RPMS which quite frankly have always been a bit of a problem IMO to manage, use, and install. (Especially dependencies.)

Configuring hardware still takes a bit of work in some cases I'll admit. Most the problems I've ever come across was with the drivers not found though.

Quick note, XF86 isn't much used anymore, X.org is the new standard. Now on to xorg itself. Xorg and XF86 aren't just used for Linux (see NetBSD, FreeBSD, AIX [I think], etc.) So I don't think it would very easily become Linux's HAL when so many other OS's use it too (not saying it's not possible, but the two would most likely need to become more closely intertwined for that IMO.) I also kinda feel that Xorg should be split up a bit. To me it would make sense to split it up into it's parts (even as simple as just windowing & input.) It always bugged me when I was first starting out and my mouse failed and caused X to not even start. It was always, "Back to the config." Splitting it would keep the uniformity across systems but would be easier to integrate the parts more intuitively I would think. Just speculation though, I haven't put a whole lot of thought into it really. Xorg does have another good feature, no matter which Linux, or really UNIX like OS you go to, you're most likely going to be dealing with a pretty standard windowing system.

Linux consists of even less than what you said. Linux consists of a kernel (which includes drivers and modules.) Distributions are what are so diverse. The BSD world is quite different when it comes to this. They believe the base system is more than just a kernel. They are the ones that include base tools, and some stuff they made for their kernel. From there you usually still have to add a windowing system and a GUI and what else you want. Linux has many many distributions. Most of which don't go far. The "big" ones generally have most things to get most people going. My biggest gripe is probably about most packaging systems that people end up getting exposed to. I think RPMS quite frankly suck. They may have gotten better over the time since I've used them, but about five years ago it was just aweful. A few years ago it was better but still way under par for finding dependencies. Gentoo and SourceMage (and Lunar-Linux which had the same start as SourceMage) have pretty good dependency trackers IMO. Which is better of the three is arguable in anyway you want, but they all do it better than RPMS IMHO. People often say there's a distribution for everyone. This is almost correct. Though new users might still have a hard time when it comes to installing and configuring Linux (though most people I know can't install and configure Windows either.)

Now, I had my mom using Linux and she liked it better than Windows. I had her all set up and using Slackware-current to update automatically using swaret. She felt quite comfortable using KDE to get online, check her email, etc. But if something did go wrong she'd be completely at a loss. If something in windows went wrong she'd also be completely at a loss. Also, most of the public terminals at my college are Fedora Core 2 set up to only use Firefox, Gaim, from GNOME. I haven't seen anyone have problems with it at all.

So, if it's set up correctly I think Linux can be a pretty good desktop for people. It's just when it comes to packages and such that a lot of the main-stream Linuxs' still need work. (and hardware detection to make for easier installs)

That's just my two cents.

P.S. Sorry that was a bit long. I hope you at least got something out of it. Slackware was my personal favorite distro before I found SourceMage.

Quick edit: Did you try using openSuse's yum package installer/remover? I don't know much about it, but just remembered reading about it.

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you picked the wrong distros ^_^'

I just completely re-installed Slackware on two towers and FreeBSD on my laptop. They both are very stable and have everything I need (compilers, email, browsers, internet comnnection of course, firewall, cd-rw/dvd burning, mp3 playing, etc...anything almost windows can do except maybe lacks support in the IM department for VoIP/web camming). If I can do it you can do it.

Try slackware.org

If you need help I can help you too because I know xorg.conf like the back of my hand now :p

And that's about all if anything you'd have to tweak with slackware, is possibly your mouse wheel or screen resolutions. slack works so easy with broadband or dialup. I have both. upgrading packages is really easy too with Kpackage. just uninstall then install the *.tgz

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Sorry for not seeing these posts sooner.

I have to reinstall SUSE, as it would appear I've botched the install a bit. And I'll post an update in the future about it.

Simply though, the point of this box is to act simply as a development box, so I can work on crossplatform code easier. That means I NEED OpenGL support. It also means that I would like to hook it up to my dualhead desktop, but that's less of a priority. Doesn't need to server files, I've got FreeBSD to do that.

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